Indian Railways Receives Brand-New Green Makeover
Indian Railways is going green. In an effort to become environmentally-friendly, the Ministry of Railways has taken many steps as part of a Go Green Initiative; among them: setting up solar power plants and wind energy plants, installing environmentally-friendly bio-toilets in passenger coaches, and the electrification of railway lines.
In a reply to Lok Sabha, the lower chamber of Indian parliament, the Minister of State of Railways, the second in command under the Minister of Railways, went into detail. He wrote about the areas and activities that have been identified by the national transporter and their present status.
The Railway Ministry plans to have 1,000 megawatt (MW) solar power by 2020 or 2021. This is likely to help the railway source about 10 percent of its power from the renewable energy. So far, about 71.19 MW of solar power have already been installed. This includes the rooftops of service buildings and railway stations.
Indian Railways has installed 36.5 MW of wind energy plants. Twenty-six of these have been installed at the Jaisalmer Railway Station between 2015 and 2016.
LED lighting has been provided at both electrified railway stations and service buildings. One hundred percent LED lighting is used in 99 percent of all service buildings and most electrified railway stations.
In June of 2015, five percent of the high speed diesel fuel used in diesel trains was bio-diesel.
A 20 percent compression natural gas substitution was used in diesel engines. This was done for 23 of the Diesel Power Cars on Diesel Electric Multiple Unit trains. This occurred along with the introduction of solar energy based DEMU trains.
To increase greenery on railway premises, trees have been planted. During the 2016-2017 year, 1.25 crores (12.5 million) saplings were planted. In the 2017-2018 year, 88.96 lakh (8.896 million) saplings were planted. Another 97.33 lakh (9.733 million) saplings were planted up until November 2018 in the 2018-2019 year.
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Indian Railways is working towards better water management. Water audits at major centers of consumption, and proliferation of water recycling plants and rain water harvesting systems have been undertaken.
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In 2016 and 2017, rating and assessment of production units and workshops as Green Industrial Units started. Two workshops and one production unit were certified "GreenCo." Since then, as many as 31 workshops, 2 diesel sheds, 4 production units, 2 supervisor training centers, and 1 store depot have become "GreenCo" certified.
Around 163,000 bio-toilets have been installed in almost 44,500 train cars. Out of those, over 127,000 bio-toilets were installed in another 33,500 cars since April of 2016. A bio-toilet is one that, using controlled aerobic conditions, allows microorganisms to convert human waste into compost.
The pace of electrification has been increased by the Railway Ministry over the last few years. Only 30,212 route kilometers of the railway network (which covers the entire nation) was electrified until April 1, 2018. During 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, 5,733 RKM was electrified. An additional 33,658 RKM of electrification is in progress.
A policy decision was taken in 2016 allocating one percent costs of all sanctioned works for execution of works related to the environment.
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