India Railway to go green

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has presented his maiden Railway budget in the Lok Sabha of Indian Parliament.

As speculations were going on, the budget has given prominent importance to green initiatives to be launched in railway sector.

An Environment Directorate will be constituted in Railway Board to highlight and focus on environment management. A detailed energy audit will be conducted for energy saving. Government will also extent accreditation for environment management.

The government will install windmill and 1000 MW solar power plants by developers on railways and private land in the next 5 years with 40 percent subsidy from Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.

The clean energy generated will be provided to 200 Stations, rooftops of 26 buildings and 2,000 level crossing gates in the initial phase.

Apart from that, solar energy will be used to illuminate coaches too. There are plans for establishing solar energy generation plants in production units and workshops also.

With an aim to tap wind energy, wind mills will be established along the tracks.

In addition, the railways will procure power through the bidding process at economical tariff from generating companies, power exchanges, and bilateral arrangements. This initiative is expected to save at least Rs. 3,000 crore in next few years.

Prabhu also announced the launch of a water conservation mission. The expansion of water harvesting systems prevailing in railways will be executed.

Further, there may be a proposal for setting up of water treatment plants and recycling plants in coaching depots, workshops and railway factories.

The minister wants maximum use of alternative fuel in rail operations which may save millions in transportation cost.

Prabhu also added that CNG and Diesel and locomotives running on LNG are currently under construction.Noise levels of locos will be at par with international norms; concerns related to wildlife will also be addressed.

Bio-toilets will be another green facility which will be included in 2,500 coaches in the initial stage, increasing progressively.

Moreover, the budget is likely to propose setting up a plant for producing energy from waste.

Sabeena Wahid