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Business News/ News / India/  Railways to cover last mile of electrification after polls
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Railways to cover last mile of electrification after polls

The BJP-led government may include the plan to electrify the remaining 3,500 route km in its 100-day agenda if it retains power

While 95% of the network was electrified by the end of March, an estimated 3,500 route km is yet to be covered. (Image: Pixabay)Premium
While 95% of the network was electrified by the end of March, an estimated 3,500 route km is yet to be covered. (Image: Pixabay)

New Delhi: The Indian Railways is likely to complete the total electrification project of its broad gauge network only in the second half of the calendar year, according to two persons familiar with the matter.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government may include the plan to electrify the remaining 3,500 route km in its 100-day agenda if it retains power at the Centre, the two people said. Around 95% of the network had been electrified by the end of March.

Also Read: Centre working on five-year plan to rid NHAI of debt

“With complexities involved in completing the last few stretches, Railways is now hoping to wrap up the work in second half of current calendar year, in time for implementing the 100-day agenda of the new government that will come to power post completion of elections in June," said one of the two persons quoted above.

Originally slated for full electrification by December 2023, the deadline was extended to the end of fiscal year 2023-24. It has now been pushed further due to ongoing work. 

Despite setting a record target of 6,500 route kilometers for FY24, the railway ministry's report indicates only 3,307 route km were electrified by February 2024. 

The progress till March-end is estimated at around 3,500 route km leaving roughly a similar route km of work to be completed over the next few months.

Route kilometre is defined as the distance between two points on the railways, regardless of the number of lines connecting them: be it a single line, double line, or any other configuration.

Electrification varies across states; 14 are fully electrified, nine are above 90%, and two above 80%. In seven states and territories, electrification is minimal or yet to commence. Significant work remains in North Eastern states and others like Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, and West Bengal. Small stretches are left in states such as Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

The FY24 budget allocated 8,070 crore for electrification, with nearly half now expected to be spent in FY25, the person quoted above said.

Query sent to the ministry of railways remained unanswered till press time.

This electrification push is part of Indian Railways' strategy to reduce its annual fuel bill of over 15,000 crore. It will also contribute to India’s target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2070.

Indian Railways aims for net zero carbon emissions by 2030, with a plan to become the world's largest green railway network.

Between 1948 and 2014, about 22,000 route km were electrified. The pace accelerated significantly from FY18, marking a notable increase to over 6,000 route km annually until FY22. Railways achieved 6,500 route km in FY23 and set a target of 6,500 km for FY24. But this target was only half met with just around 3,500 route km achieved in FY24.

At 95% electrification, Indian Railway is far ahead of its global peers with electrification reaching just about 56% in the EU, 38% in the UK and just 1% in the US. Switzerland, however, has achieved 99% electrification.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Subhash Narayan
Subhash is the infrastructure editor at Mint and tracks the momentous developments taking place in the space that is fast changing the Indian landscape. He feels that reporting has been a passion that provides the necessary adrenaline rush and keeps you going.
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Published: 19 Apr 2024, 07:51 PM IST
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