Date of Post: 09 Oct, 2017
New Delhi: In a move to expedite the complete electrification of railway network, railways has advanced the deadline by 2 years to 2020.
A senior railway official said, this means the railways would remove diesel engines in the next three years and all 19,000 trains will run only on electric locomotives.
Speed Up Electrification Process
- Railway minister Piyush Goyal has issued directions to speed up the electrification process of railway routes.
- This will save at least Rs 11,000 crore annually on fuel expenses, railway officials said.
- Currently, railways spends Rs 18,000 crore annually on purchase of diesel.
- Goyal said,”We are giving a relook to the ways of speeding up the electrification process of rail lines across the country. The cost on account of power is quite less and so we can do a lot of savings in that.”
Shifting Train Operations To Electric Mode
- Senior officials maintained that shifting train operations to electric mode will drastically reduce import of diesel from foreign countries that will also be beneficial for the country’s economy.
- Currently, railways has a fleet of around 19,000 both passenger & goods trains. Of these, about 5,000 trains run on diesel.
Electricity From Alternate Sources
- A number of states have allowed railways to purchase electricity from alternate sources & thus its procurement cost has reduced from Rs 9 per/unit to Rs 5 per/unit.
- Railways, earlier, had to purchase electricity only from state-owned power utilities.
Power Minister Offer For Railway
- Piyush Goyal, during his previous stint as power minister, had offered the railway ministry help to expedite the electrification process.
- The power ministry had offered to bear the entire cost of electrification at one go as the process involved no land acquisition.
- The entire electrification would cost approximately Rs35,000 crore, officials said.
Railways To Stop Production Of Diesel Locomotives
- A senior official said,”The savings from not using diesel alone will be around Rs18,000 crore and the cost will be recovered in seven years. Railways will stop production of diesel locomotives in the country if we achieve the target of complete electrification.”
- The railway has stepped up efforts to electrify 4,000 km long route in the current fiscal.
- During the last 3 financial years (2014-2017) and for 2017-18, total number of 93 railway electrification projects consisting of 16,815 kms at an estimated cost of Rs17,165 crore have been included in the Budget.
- The pace of electrification has been increased from present average of 1,700km route per annum to 4,000km in 2017-18; and around 22,000 km route has to be electrified by 2021.