Indian Railways has logged the highest ever electrification of sections covering 6,015 Route Kilometer (RKM) in a single year during 2020-21. Despite COVID pandemic, It has surpassed the previous highest of 5,276 RKM achieved in 2018-19.
- It is a proud moment for Indian Railways for achieving the target of 6000 km plus electrification project completion during tough time 2020-21. Indian Railways is becoming environment friendly and energy secured.
- The latest Broad Gauge network of Indian Railways is 63,949 Route kilometer (RKM) and with 740 km of Konkan Railway is 64,689 RKM, out of which 45,881 RKM i.e. 71 % have been electrified by 31.03.2021.
- A lot of emphasis has been given to Railway Electrification in recent years with a view to reduce the Nation’s dependence on imported petroleum-based energy and to enhance the country’s energy security, with a vision of providing eco-friendly, faster and energy-efficient mode of transportation.
- More than 5 times electrification was achieved during (2014-21) last seven years as compared to during 2007-14. Since 2014, a record 24,080 RKM (37% of present Broad Gauge routes) have been electrified against electrification of 4,337 RKM (7% of present Broad Gauge routes) during 2007-14.
- Out of total 45,881 RKM electrified so far, 34 % has been electrified in the last three years only.
- Indian Railways has also commissioned a record 56 TSSs ( Traction Sub Stations ) during 2020-21, as against previous best of 42, which is an improvement of 33% despite COVID pandemic.
- A total of 201 Traction Sub Stations have been commissioned during the last seven years as well.
- Some of the Major sections electrified by the Indian Railways over the year are as follows:
|1||Mumbai-Howrah via Jabalpur|
|3||Gorakhpur-Varanasi via Aunrihar|
|8||New Delhi-New cooch behar-Srirampur Assam via Patna & Katihar|
- Indian Railways has planned to fully electrify its tracks by December 2023.
- Total Rail electrification would contribute to the goal of “net zero” emissions by 2030 by drawing its entire electrical load from renewable energy sources.
Steps being taken for speedy implementation of projects:
As on 01.04.2020, 513 Railway projects of 53,039 km length, costing approx. Rs. 7.5 lakh crore are in different stages of planning/sanction/execution, out of which 10,013 km length has been commissioned and an expenditure of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore has been incurred upto March, 2020.
- These projects include:-
- 189 New Line projects of 21,343 km length, costing Rs. 4,04,853 crore, out of which commissioning of 2,633 km length has been achieved and expenditure of Rs. 94,575 crore has been incurred upto March, 2020.
- 54 Gauge Conversion projects of 7,003 km length, costing Rs. 59,699 crore, out of which commissioning of 3,733 km length has been achieved and expenditure of Rs. 23,405 crore has been incurred upto March, 2020.
- 270 Doubling projects of 24,693 km length, costing Rs. 2,85,324 crore, out of which commissioning of 3,647 km length has been achieved and expenditure of Rs. 67,816 crore has been incurred upto March, 2020.
- Completion of a Railway project(s) depends on various factors like expeditious land acquisition by State Government, forest clearance by officials of forest department, shifting of infringing utilities, statutory clearances from various authorities, geological and topographical conditions of area, law and order situation in the area of project site, number of working months in a year for particular project site due to climatic conditions etc. and all these factors affect the completion time and cost of the project(s) which is finally worked out at the completion stage.
- Various steps being taken by the Government for effective and speedy implementation of rail projects include:
- Prioritisation of projects.
- Substantial increase in allocation of funds on priority projects.
- Delegation of powers at field level.
- Close monitoring of progress of projects at various levels.
- Regular follow up with State Governments and concerned authorities for expeditious land acquisition, forestry and Wildlife clearances and for resolving other issues pertaining to projects.
- Average annual Budget allocation in the Indian Railways for New Line, Gauge Conversion and Doubling works during 2014-19 has increased to Rs. 26,026 crore per year from Rs. 11,527 crore per year during 2009-14, which is 126% more than average annual budget outlay of 2009-14 and Revised Budget outlay of Rs. 40,757 crore was provided to these projects for financial year 2020-21 which is 254% more than average annual budget outlay of 2009-14.
- For financial year 2021-22, the highest-ever budget outlay of Rs. 45,165 crore has been proposed for these works, which is 292% more with respect to average annual budget outlay of 2009-14.
- During 2014-19, 13,124 km length (3035 km New Lines, 3,993 km Gauge Conversion and 6,096 km Doubling) has been commissioned which is 73% more than the commissioning during 2009-14 (7599 km).
- During 2019-20, 2,226 km length (360 km New Lines, 408 km Gauge Conversion and 1458 km Doubling) has been commissioned which is 46% more than average annual commissioning during 2009-14 (1,520 km/year).
Freight Loading Performance:
Despite the Covid challenges, Indian Railways closed the year with record freight loading and earnings. In the closing month of this fiscal year 2020-21, Indian Railways surpassed the last year’s loading that is 1224.45 compared to last year’s 1205.04 which shows the growth of 2%. Indian Railways earned 116634.9 from freight loading compared to last year’s earning 113477.9 which sees a growth of 3%.
- In the month of March 2021, Indian Railways’ loading was 122.19 million tonnes which has seen the growth of 24% compared to last year’s loading for the same month that was 98.76.
- In this month, Indian Railways earned Rs. 12137.22 Crores from freight loading which is also 24% higher compared to last year’s earnings for the same month (Rs. 9806.09 crores).
- On a day to day basis, as on 31st March, 2021 (morning), the freight loading of Indian Railways was 3.24 million tonnes, which is 35% higher compared to last year’s loading for the same date (2.4 million tonnes).
- On this date, Indian Railways earned 364.92 crores which is also 53% higher compared to last year’s earnings for the same date (239.14 crores).
- Despite the many challenges put in by Covid, Indian Railways continued to register a steady growth in its freight loading and earning.
- Offering of concessions/discounts in Indian Railways are among the factors attributed to this achievement.
- It may be noted that improvements in freight movements will be institutionalized and incorporated in the upcoming zero based time table.
- Indian Railways turned this calamity into an opportunity to improve all round efficiencies and performances.
Source: PIB-Press Release | Image Credit (representational): MoR