New Delhi: In a move to expedite the complete electrification of rail network, Indian railways has advanced the deadline by two years to 2020. This means the railways would remove diesel engines in the next three years and all 19,000 trains will run only on electric locomotives, a senior railway official said.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal has issued directions to speed up the electrification process of rail routes. Railway officials said this will not only contain greenhouse emission but also save cash-strapped railways at least Rs11,000 crore annually on fuel expenses. At present, Indian Railways spends Rs18,000 crore annually on purchase of diesel. On the other hand, its electricity purchase bill is pegged at Rs9,000 crore.
The expenditure on purchase of power will be Rs16,000 crore and thus saving Rs11,000 crore every year. “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,” Goyal said recently.
A number of states have allowed railways to purchase electricity from alternate sources and thus its procurement cost has reduced from Rs9 per unit to Rs5 per unit. Earlier, railways had to purchase electricity only from state-owned power utilities.
Currently, only 42 per cent of total track network is electrified, rest section is operating on fossil fuel. Railways energy bill is touching about Rs32,000 crore a year, of which diesel is about Rs18,000 crore.