While around 46% of the railways’ 66,000-route km are already electrified and work on another 20,000 km is ongoing, the carrier will now also electrify the rest of the 13,675 km at a cost of Rs 12,314 crore.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal for 100% electrification of the Indian Railways’ (IR) route kilometres by 2021-22 which is expected to reduce the transporter’s dependence on diesel, leading to reduction in oil imports and cutdown of carbon emission. While around 46% of the railways’ 66,000-route km are already electrified and work on another 20,000 km is ongoing, the carrier will now also electrify the rest of the 13,675 km at a cost of Rs 12,314 crore. Talking to reporters, railway minister Piyush Goyal said the Indian Railways will be the first big railway network to be 100% electrified.
“While we will be saving around Rs 13,000-14,000 a year on energy bill now, the savings will even go up in the future. The move will save India’s foreign exchange reserves and the environment as well,” he added. The railways consumes 2.83 billion litres of diesel per annum at present. After taking over as the minister last year, Goyal had issued notices to increase the rate of electrification and had envisaged 100% electrification. He added that the government will fully electrify those sections first which carry heavy passenger and freight traffic. Many major routes such as that connecting the metro cities utilise more than 100% of their line capacity.
The railways has engineered a way to convert diesel locomotives into electric ones. As and when the existing engines are coming up for overhauling, at the cost that the railways would have spent to overhaul the old diesel engine, for the same amount or less, the carrier is able to convert it into an electric locomotive.