NEW DELHI: The Railway ministry has set the target to complete the electrification of all its tracks and phase out diesel locomotives by 2022.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal addressing a conference here asked the officials to speed up the electrification work and set the target of 2022 to switch to electric locomotives completely by phasing out their diesel counterparts with a focus on increasing speed.
The Minister also set the target to install LED lights in all railway properties including stations, yards, housing colonies and hospitals in the next eight months.
The Railways will save about Rs 11,500 crore annually through such a move, officials said.
Shifting of railways into fully electric mode will save lots of money spent in importing diesel.
At present, the Railways has a fleet of 19,000 passenger and goods trains. Of these, about 5,000 trains run on diesel by consuming around 2.8 billion litre of diesel a year.
With the 45 % of track already electrified, the Railway Minister has urged the national transporter to increase the pace of electrification from 4,000 km in 2017-18 to 5,000 in 2018-19.
The Railways also aims to save Rs 41,000 crore in the next ten years on its electricity spending by procuring power directly from producers under the Open Access Arrangement. In this arrangement – instead of Business As Usual (BAU) – they have succeeded in achieving a cumulative saving of Rs 5,636 crore from April 2015 to October 2017.
The Open Access policy under the Electricity Act, 2003, allows consumers with electricity load above 1 MW to procure power directly from generators, electricity exchanges or through bilateral arrangements.
In BAU system, the power is procured from electricity distribution companies. The cost of power procured from BAU is always higher than that of Open Access arrangements.