NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Railways is in the process of going green with Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu ordering a slew of measures from water audit to harnessing wind energy along tracks, besides setting up an Environment Directorate to facilitate the increased use of solar energy. The minister had issued the directives in this regard after returning from the G-20 Summit in Australia on Monday.
Prabhu, who took over as Rail Minister last week, has ordered water audit to be conducted for efficient use of water resources by Railways. Interestingly, Railways does not maintain any centralised data of water consumption by its 16 zones and this will be its first ever water audit.
The focus is also on harnessing wind energy along rail tracks and increased use of solar energy and biofuel. The minister has also ordered the setting up of a Directorate of Environment and Management to take forward the green initiatives.
Other measures include better use of land available with Railways and authorities have been asked to carry out GIS mapping of land and digitise all land records.
Clearly, initiatives intended to slash Railways’ fuel bill, which is the second largest component of expenditure after the employee salaries for the cash-strapped government behemoth used by over 1.3 crore people every day.
In 2013-14, a whopping `28,500 crore of Railways’ total expenditure of `1.27 lakh crore were spent on fuel expenses.
This move will further boost the work done by the Indian Railways Originations for Alternative Fuels which is running a pilot project of using solar energy to run trains.