Indian Railways is one of the largest state-owned public sector behemoth and a single-management enterprise. With around 15000 trains plying daily across the country, it is the widest and affordable medium of public transport available to Indian citizens. But, with this magnitude of daily operations, comes the problem of inefficiency and pollution. After years and Billions of dollars already invested, the Railways still operates largely on Diesel locomotives.
But, according to the new Railway minister, all this is about to change. Railways would now lead a path of self-sustenance and environmental friendliness. Several projects have been initiated during and post budget to improve operational efficiency and make Railways “Green”.
We present here the 10 measures that would ensure that Indian Railways goes ahead on the path of “Going Green”:
Use of Bio-Diesel blended fuel
Railways consume 2 Billion liters of Diesel everyday with annual fuel bill of Rs. 15000 cr. With 5% Bio-Diesel blended fuel Railways would save significant cost and would cause less pollution as well. With a vast fleet of 4000 Diesel locomotives, the Railways would certainly reduce its operational cost if the project goes through.
LED lights at major railway stations
Railways consume approximately 14 Billion units of electricity every year and they are in desperate need to cut down on their consumption. Hence, in the budget, the Railway minister has proposed huge investments to equip Major stations with LED lights which can cut the consumption by up to 70%.
Pilot project initiated by the enterprise under the supervision of Philips has been completed at Vijayawada Railway station.
Water recycling plants and water audit
To make stations self-sustainable and reduce water bill, water recycling plants would be installed at major stations. The treated water would be used for washing and horticulture purposes. Water audits would be carried out to gauge annual consumption and plug any wastage thereof.
Rain water Harvesting
The potential for Rain water harvesting is huge for Railways. This is another initiative which is being emphasized by the minister.
Pilot projects in this direction have already started and the cabinet minister is confident of witnessing positive results soon.
Solar panels to be installed over rooftops and rail wagons
To reduce the reliance on traditional fuel sources, the Railway has unveiled its plans to make Solar energy the next big thing. With Prime Minister’s target of achieving 100GW of Solar energy by 2022, Railways has geared up to make Solar energy a major player in its energy portfolio.
As part of this initiative, Solar panels would be installed on rooftops of major stations initially. Pilot runs of Rail wagons with panels on rooftop have already begun. Construction is in full swing for the first Solar power plant dedicated to Railways at Katra Junction.
Electricity generation through waste
A unique initiative has been approved to setup plants capable of electricity generation from daily waste generated at stations and railway tracks.
Project “Green Curtains” to check open defecation and littering
The ministry has made proposal for project “Green curtains” which conceptualize building of RCC walls parallel to railway tracks near stations. The area between tracks and wall will be carpeted with green cover and fresh plantations. The ministry also plans corporate partnership under CSR to expedite the project and check the issue of open defecation and littering on tracks.
Use of Bio-Toilets
Another maneuver to improve hygiene conditions along tracks and check littering, Railway has decided to fit rail wagons with Bio-Toilets. The project would be executed in a phased manner. Under “Swacch Rail – Swacch Bharat” program, the Railways have set a modest target of fitting 17000 Bio-Toilets in long distance trains.
Installation of Wind Mills on the surplus land
Railway has a staggering land area as surplus land which the enterprise has been unable to capitalize on. But, according to the new budget, the ministry has grand plans for this land. The land would be developed under real estate and also to install wind mills. This would not only address the encroachment on Railway land but also generate surplus power.
Paperless ticketing for unreserved tickets
Railway through its subsidiary IRCTC introduced online ticketing and later did away with carrying a printout of the same. This saved Railways a lot of paper annually. In another major shift, the Railways have decided to move to paperless ticketing for unreserved class as well. Unreserved passengers form a major portion of the total passengers travelling through this public transport medium.