Railway minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said that the Indian Railways is going to become a net zero-carbon emitter by 2030. That’s a big ask, from a carrier that ferries 22.2 million passengers daily, on over 13, 200 trains at last count. By placing a marker in the sand, one hopes the move will encourage large private sector firms in India to set their own dates too.
Speaking at an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with the Railway Board, Goyal said that the national transporter was going green in a big way. Witnessing a seven-fold increase in electrification in just the last year.
“With the current action plans on the anvil for 100 per cent electrification, coupled with renewable strategies, Indian Railways will become a net zero carbon emitter by 2030. However, it is always a team which needs to work in partnership, with a collective effort of working towards a common goal,” he said. For the record, in the year2014-14, the last year for which data seems available, the railways consumed 2780 million litres of diesel, one of its biggest cost heads. Considering all the expansions, new trains and more, this consumption number is widely expected to start falling only from 2019-20 onwards. Going green will have other benefits too, as higher crude oil prices have already stretched the railway’s, and government finances significantly.
Speaking on the scale of modernisation and transformation, the minister added, it has been able to ramp up renewal of tracks to 476 km every month. In the last 64 years, freight loading has increased by 1,344%, while passenger travel in terms of kilometres has increased 1,642%. The total investments in 2013-14 for railway infrastructure was at Rs46,000 crore, while for 2018-19 it will be Rs1.4 trillion.
He asked the industry to help in developing railway stations under the public-private partnership model as the railways was facing difficulties in finding partners. Industry participation as per the minister will be key to making the Indian Railways the newest, finest and safest railways network in the world. It is always a team that needs to work in partnership and the collective effort will help to meet the common goal.
Being one of the worlds largest railway networks, the Indian Railways sure has a daunting task ahead of them but with steady investments and guidance, it’s on the right track.