Indian Railways seems to setting a benchmark in ’going green’. The ministry of railways is taking considerable steps to promote a green environment and renewable energy. Besides, Indian Railways being a major consumer of energy, several systematic programs have also been launched towards improving energy efficiency as well as energy conservation. These include the use of renewable sources of energy along with alternative fuels in its energy mix.
Let us take a look at some of the major policy initiatives taken by Indian Railways to manage environmental resources:
- In a bid to shift to cleaner fuels, Indian Railways has signed a preliminary deal with Gas Authority of India Limited to use natural gas in some of its operations. Indian Railways annually consumes about 3 billion litres of diesel, A fraction of that will be replaced by natural gas. Using natural gas will be about 25 percent cheaper than the alternatives fuels used by the railways at workshops and production units. Railways will strive to shift all 54 of its workshops to natural gas by June 2019.
- Last year, Piyush Goyal- chaired Ministry of Railways announced that Indian Railways will have 100 % bio toilets in trains to make railway tracks free of open defecation and hence improving the overall environment. According to the minister, defecation on rail tracks is not only unhygienic but also unsafe as the tracks are damaged because of the uric acid, causing accidents.
- The Railway Ministry plans to have 1000 MW solar power by 2020-2021. The move is likely to help Indian Railways to source about 10 percent of its electrical energy from the renewable source. So far, around 71.19 MW of solar plants have already been installed over rooftops at service buildings and railways stations.
- Trees are being planted to encourage greenery in railway premises to establish greener and energy efficient railway stations. Also, several railway stations have been provided with vertical gardens as well as plastic bottle crushers to reduce the number of waste plastic bottles.
- LED lighting has been provided on electrified railway stations and service buildings for the conservation of energy. 100 percent LED luminaries have been fitted on all electrified railway stations except those under gauge conversion and on 99 percent of service buildings.