Betel leaf transportation in train resumes giving relief to farmers
Tirur (Malappuram): The transportation of betel leaves in trains that was stopped due to the COVID crisis has resumed from Tirur railway station, giving relief to over 10,000 betel farmers and betel merchants and about 5000 other labourers in the district.
Tirur betel leaves are known for its special taste, medicinal properties and thin, beautiful leaves. When the Tirur betel leaves received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the farmers were excited. However, the movement was affected with COVID restrictions.
Now betel leaves are sent via trains from Tirur station thrice a week. Betel leaf baskets are loaded in Ernakulam-Nizamuddin Mangala Express. The Railways also can earn upto Rs 3 lakh through this goods movement.
A total of 30 tonnes of betel leaves are sent to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi in three days. Earlier, 20 tonnes of betel leaves were exported to Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad in Pakistan every day. But export to Pakistan was stopped 4 years ago.
As the platform in Tirur railway station has a small roof, the merchants are struggling to load the baskets filled with betel leaves in trains. They said that betel leaves often perish after it gets soaked in rain at the platform.