New Delhi: In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint by electrifying 2,400 km of railway tracks over the next five years, the railway ministry will be collaborating with various public sector enterprises to speed up the electrification process, which would in turn reduce its annual fuel bill by Rs10,000 crore.
These enterprises include the likes of Indian Railway Construction Co Ltd (IRCON), Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) and Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL).
“We want to enhance the electrification process with better mechanized means to achieve the target of electrifying those routes which carry heavy traffic. This may not lead to 100% decarbonization of the rail transport but it’s a good step and around 90% of the tracks will get electrified, hence reducing the dependence on diesel,” said Ashwani Kumar Kapoor, member (traction), ministry of railways, at a media briefing.
At present, only 42% of the total track network is electrified; this carries around two-thirds of the total freight traffic and 50% of the total passenger traffic. The electrification process would cost around Rs80 lakh per km.
“We are also organizing an international conference on decarbonization of Indian Railways in the national capital tomorrow,” Kapoor added.
The aim of the conference is to bring together various stakeholders on a common platform to deliberate on technological solutions and financing options to increase the pace of electrification along with achieving the target of setting up of renewable energy installations with total capacity of 1,000 megawatt (MW) by 2020.
Currently, the total carbon footprint of Indian Railways is roughly around 22 million tonnes per annum. According to a report by the National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC), electrification should be made a priority as it will reduce rail transport’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.