Setting an ambitious target of electrification of 24,000 km long track in the next five years, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Thursday said it will help in running trains in a faster and cleaner manner.
Besides, electrification of majority of routes will help railways in reducing the energy bill considerably, he said.
“Railways’ expenditure on energy is the second highest after salary and pension bill. Expansion of electrified routes across the country will also help in reducing the energy bill as we have committed to reduce the energy cost,” he said at global seminar on Mission Electrification and Decarbonisation of Indian Railways here.
Describing the event as an “important milestone”, Prabhu said, “When railways started its operation it used horses to pull the train. Now we are using horsepower to move trains at faster pace. So it is back to roots.”
Currently about 2000 km track is being electrified in a year and the aim is to reach 4000 km per year by 2017-18 and 6000 km in subsequent year.
Talking about mission electrification, Prabhu said, “The target is electrification of about 24,000 km in the next five years and the electrification will also reduce the energy bill. We have tied up with three PSUs to increase the pace of route electrification. With the expansion of electrification of majority of rail network, railways will run trains in a faster and cleaner manner.”
In order too fast track the pace of electrification Railways have joined hands with three PSUs - IRCON, RITES and PGCIL. He also asked the three PSUs to compete with each other to complete the electrification work in faster way. Railways expect to reduce fuel bill by Rs 10,000 cr annually through electrification of major routes.
Expressing concern over the ever-increasing pollution, he said, “Carbon emission is a major challenge in India and also in the world. We have reached level where carbon cannot be absorbed. We have to reduce the greenhouse gas significantly to prevent ill-effect of pollution on human lives.”
He said using clean energy including solar and wind power is key to reduce the emission level. “Through electrification trains speed will go up. We have framed a time frame. Three PSUs have been roped in to do the electrification. It is very important for the environment point of view.”
Prabhu also highlighted railway’s partnership with various ministries including power, science and technology, environment to achieve its goal. A new App for monitoring energy conservation scheme was also launched at the event.