Central Railways Mumbai division, according to reports, has decided to cultivate flowers on the 150 acres of land near its railway tracks on the Mumbai suburban network. Based on accounts, a private company will be given the contract by means of an open tendering to undertake floriculture on more than 150 acres of land patches at 113 locations on the railway tracks.
According to reports, an official remarked that the company can then sell the flowers in the open market. By means of this, the railway will be able to make Non-Fare Revenue (NFR) and ensure the beautification of the tracks. It is mentioned in various narratives that the Central Railway has considerable vacant land patches on its main, harbour and trans-harbour lines.
Officials have been reported to have elaborated on how at certain of these locations, those residing near the tracks dump garbage or illegally grow vegetables on the land. Earlier, the railways were helped by a Nashik-based firm called, Sahyadri Farm in the ideation of this concept.
Back in 1970, by means of the Grow More Food (GMF) initiative, railways had permitted their employees to farm these lands on lease. But this was stopped post the receival of complaints from activists that the crop was cultivated using sewage water. Then the railways had stopped giving licenses for the same.
Based on a narrative by the Indian Express, an official claimed that an Expression of Interest of “Floriculture” at many stations and spots in the Mumbai Division of the Central Railway for five years has been issued.