Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu said Railways won’t spend more on energy despite increasing freight, passenger traffic. On World Environment Day, Railway Minister unveiled plans to reduce the national transporter’s carbon footprint.
New Delhi: The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that the Indian Railways have taken several steps in the last six months towards Energy Conservation and Environment Protection. Addressing a Seminar here today on “Environmental Challenges before Indian Railways”, Shri Prabhu said that the Railways will not spend a penny more on the energy bill of Rs.30,000 crores incurred last financial year despite increasing freight and passenger traffic.
The Railway Minister said that he has asked all Zonal Railways to conduct energy audit and water audit in efforts to minimize the environmental impact .Shri Prabhu said that the Indian Railways is the third largest consumer of water behind Agriculture and Power sectors. The Minister said that the social impact being an integral component of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), thus needs to be given due attention before undertaking any Railway project.
Shri Prabhu said that as part of the afforestation campaign, the Ministry of Railways has worked out an Action Plan in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to grow indigenous species of plants like jatropa on Railway lands with an aim to increase the Green Cover and addressing environmental problems like soil erosion besides creating additional employment opportunities. Shri Prabhu said that their aim is to reduce the Carbon footprint of the Indian Railways by promoting Alternative and Renewable Energy sources in a big way. He said that the Railways have set a target of generating 1,000MW of Solar Energy and 200 MW of Wind Energy to substitute part of its own energy needs in the next five years.
The Chairman Railway Board Shri A.K Mital said that 80% of the Railways energy bill is on account of pulling trains and introduction of new technologies like dynamic braking and three phased locomotives can result in consumption of 30 percent less energy. he transporter’s energy bill is about Rs 30,000 crore in a year out of which diesel costs are around Rs.18000 crore. At present, per litre bio-diesel costs are seven rupees less than diesel. While railways buys diesel at Rs 59 per litre, bio-diesel is Rs 52 only.
He said that the Railways is also promoting biodiesel fuel and wide use of LED lighting at Railway Stations and railway coaches.
Shri Hemant Kumar, Member (Mechanical), Railway Board, said that 17,000 coaches have been retro-fitted with biodegradable toilets and that another 17,000 coaches will be added, either new coaches or retro-fitting, in the coming year.
General Manager, Northern Railways, Shri A.K. Puthia said that the use of biodiesel and CNG has already started on the Rewari-Rohtak DEMU. He said that use of e-tickets and adoption of e-office will result in big savings on paper consumption.
On the occasion, the Railway Minister launched an ebook on “Indian Railways – Marching towards better environment” and received a Report of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) on “Solar Energy Potential of Indian Railways” from Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW.