New Delhi: As part of India’s goal of cutting carbon emissions by 33-35% by 2030, railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday launched ‘Mission Electrification’—an initiative to reduce dependence on diesel by electrifying nearly 90% of railway tracks in the next five years.

“Although we have been doing electrification for a long time, we have now set targets for ourselves to complete the electrification in a time-bound manner," Prabhu said. “The largest component of green house emission comes from transportation after power generation, hence transportation will play a key role in reducing the ill effects of such emissions."

Prabhu was speaking at a one-day international conference organized by the Railways in the national capital to discuss decarbonization of the railway network with various stakeholders.

The national transporter aims to speed up the present average rate of electrification of 1,700 route kilometers per year by doubling it next year.

For this purpose, letters of intent (LoIs) for the execution of electrification projects were handed over to Indian Railway Construction Company Ltd, Rail India Technical and Economic Services and Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.

In addition, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the railway ministry and the ministry of science and technology for a joint effort towards developing and utilizing renewable energy technologies.

Given that Indian Railways consumes 2% of the country’s total power generation, giving decarbonization of the railways priority could help achieve India’s 2030 emission reduction goal and improve energy security by reducing fossil fuel imports, Prabhu said.

Also on Thursday, a mobile application called RailSaver was launched to enable railway officials to keep a track of energy consumption and trends.

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