New Delhi: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday unveiled a plan to save Rs41,000 crore over 10 years through an integrated energy management system.
According to Indian Railways’ Mission 41k initiative, the national carrier will electrify 24,000km of rail tracks over the next five years by doubling the annual rate of electrification from 2,000km to 4,000km in the next two years.
To achieve this target, the railways plans to follow the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) model of awarding contracts for railway electrification projects. It also plans to mechanize the execution through self-propelled wiring trains among other initiatives.
Prabhu said switching from diesel to electric can help railways in a big way. Through electrification, railways can reduce dependence on imported fuel and rationalize the cost of energy. He added that the 10-year plan, which started in 2015 on a pilot basis, will continue till 2025 and has already started yielding results.
“Railways has already saved Rs300 crore during 2015-16 and Rs1,000 crore till November 2016. We hope this year the savings would be around Rs1,800 crore through energy management,” said a railway ministry official, requesting anonymity.
Apart from electrification of tracks, the other initiatives under Mission 41k are change in the carrier’s energy mix by using more green energy through 1,000 megawatt (MW) solar and 200MW wind plants, installation of LED lights and bulbs across all railway stations, trains and offices.
“If consumption of only one class of fuel grows, it will lead to skewed development of the energy mix,” said B. Ashok, chairman of Indian Oil Corp., the country’s largest oil marketing company.
During 2014-15, the total energy cost of Indian Railways was Rs31,220 crore. This included expenditure of Rs10,436 crore towards electric traction which carries about two thirds of the total freight and about 50% of passenger traffic; R 18,586 crore towards diesel traction which carries the balance one-third of freight and about 50% of passenger traffic and Rs2,198 crore towards supply of electrical energy to various offices, workshops and railway stations, etc.
The move comes as railways projects a six-fold increase in its passenger and freight traffic by 2030. The passenger and freight traffic on the railways in India is expected to grow from 3.64 trillion passenger kilometers and 961 billion tonne kilometres respectively in 2005 to 19.4 trillion passenger kilometres and 6.68 trillion tonne kilometres, respectively by 2030.