Odisha: Once known as the ‘hungerzone’ of India in the 1980s, Odisha’s Kalahandi district has now started exporting high quality cotton to neighbouring Bangladesh through train.
Though earlier some cotton were being exported from Kalahandi to Bangladesh through lorry, this is for the first time on Wednesday when the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) exported cotton to Bangladesh through a goods train from Junagarh Road railway station in the district, officials said.
The goods train started its journey from Junagarh Road station in Kalahandi district to Benapol station of Bangladesh. The current consignment is of 6,500 bales of cotton weighing around 2,471 tonnes, they said.
The bales were packed into 42 wagons and sent to the neighbouring country via Kolkata.
East Coast Railways, Sambalpur Division, Divisional Manager Pradeep Kumar in a statement appreciated the effort of officers and staff of the division in capturing this long lead traffic to Bangladesh.
Kalahandi is the lead cotton growing district in the state and during the current season, cotton was grown over 60,575 hectares of land. The widely covered blocks are Bhawanipatna, Kesinga, Golamunda, Narla, Karlamunda and Lanjigarh, they said.
According to the District Agriculture department sources so far 5,50,576 quintals of seed cotton has already been procured in the district through three cotton mandis located at Karlapada, Utkela and Utchla.
Apart from CCI, other private parties also procured cotton in Kalahandi district this season. CCI assessed that there will be more than 7 lakh quintals of production of seed cotton during the current season in Kalahandi district alone.
Incidentally, plucking of cotton in three phases has been completed and plucking of the fourth and last phase is in progress, they said.
Traders echoed and said that the cotton export by rail was beneficial to them. “Transporting cotton bales by rail saves time and money compared to sending them by road,” said a Kolkata-based exporter who has purchased cotton for his clients in Bangladesh.
Apart from Kalahandi, cotton is also grown in the districts of Bolangir, Rayagada, Nuapada, Sonepur, Bargarh Gajapati, Ganjam, Koraput, Boudh and Kandhamal of Odisha.
Cotton cultivation is gradually getting popular among farmers.
Cotton cultivation was first started in Odisha in 2016-17, they said. PTI