Sep 13: The proposal for electrification of over 13,000 kilometres of railway tracks was given the approval by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Railways is planning to complete the electrification of its broad-gauge routes by 2021-22.
Railways has already electrified a major trunk of its network. The remaining routes cover 13,675 route kilometres or 16,540 track kilometres, comprising of 108 sections across the country. The total cost for the electrification of the remaining routes is estimated at Rs 12,134.5 crore.
With the completion of the project, Railways will manage to wipe out many bottlenecks created by the need to change traction. With improved last mile connectivity, the electrification is also expected to improve the operational efficiency of Railways. As per the statement from the ministry, the proposed electrification will also help in enhancing line capacity and improving the average speed of trains.
Railways dependence on diesel engines is also expected to be brought down. Consumption of high-speed diesel oil is expected to be brought down by 2.83 billion litres per annum, which would translate to a reduction of Rs 13,510 crore in fuel bill.
Electrified tracks contribute for the hauling of over half of passenger traffic in Indian Railways, and over two-thirds of the freight traffic handled by Railways. This will be further upped with the complete electrification of broad gauges. Despite the majority share in traction, electric traction accounts for only 37% of the total energy expenses of Indian Railways.
The Ministry is also expecting a surge in direct employment generation with the electrification. Direct employment of over 20 crore man days are expected to be generated during the period of electrification of the tracks, said the ministry.