Green Routes To Draw Hydel Power For Train Operations, As Budget To Focus On Energy Saving, Infrastructure Expansion

by Arun Kumar Das - Feb 1, 2022 10:52 AM +05:30 IST
Green Routes To Draw Hydel Power For Train Operations, As Budget To Focus On Energy Saving, Infrastructure ExpansionIndian Railways
Snapshot
  • While the station buildings along the green routes are also to be equipped with solar energy, the trains will offer environment-friendly passenger amenities like bio-toilets and LED lighting.

In a big push to clean energy, the Indian Railways is likely to declare some routes as green corridors to run trains on electricity drawn from hydel power stations.

Some routes along the hill states in the North East and in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu and Kashmir are likely to be earmarked as green routes envisaging train operations to be sourced from hydel-based power generation.

While the station buildings along the green routes are also to be equipped with solar energy, the trains will offer environment-friendly passenger amenities like bio-toilets and LED lighting.

Besides, the introduction of light-weight aluminium coaches in the budget is also in the direction of making rail operations energy-efficient.

The Railways has requisitioned the services of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, for the study of hyperloop, and the Union budget is likely to announce the hyperloop project on a pilot basis for the Railways.

The Union budget, to be presented Tuesday (1 February), is slated to meet an urgent need to increase the budgetary spend for the Indian Railways for it to develop capacity, infrastructure, and enhance rail freight share ahead of the demand.

The plan size is likely to increase from the last time to fuel growth in the rail sector.

In the last budget, the government had allocated Rs 2.15 lakh crore, which was the highest ever for the Railways. Of the total allocation, Rs 7,500 crore came from internal resources and Rs 1 lakh crore from extra-budgetary resources. Further, Rs 1.07 lakh crore came from gross budgetary support.

Since the passenger revenue has been hit by the pandemic, an increase in capital expenditure is expected, so that the Railways could serve both passengers and freight customers better.

Electric multiple unit freight, speeding up electrification on broad gauge networks, more freight and semi-high-speed corridors, and another bullet train between New Delhi and Varanasi are some other proposals that are likely to be considered in the budget 2022-23.

More freight corridors are being planned in several parts, including the East Coast Corridor, connecting Kharagpur with Vijayawada, the East-West corridor between Bhusaval and Dankuni via Kharagpur, and North-South corridor, connecting Itarsi with Vijayawada.

And to target more cargo, the Indian Railways may go in for high-capacity wagons.

The Indian Railways has been losing market share to road transport because of inadequate and poor service. As a result, most of India's passengers and the bulk of freight go by road.

A serious attempt is being made to attract passengers and goods from the roads to the rail in the near future with improvement in service.

The budget session of Parliament will continue until 8 April.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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