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Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu unveiled ‘Mission 41k’ during a roundtable discussion with external stakeholders on energy initiatives taken up by the Indian Railways. Prabhu said that the Ministry of Railways had come up with Mission 41k to save Rs 41,000 crore in the next decade in Railways’ energy costs. To implement this comprehensive strategy with the participation of various stakeholders, Prabhu said that the Railways would take advantage of regulatory frameworks, and look at new technologies. He said that this is an opportunity take a fresh look at “everything” and determine an ideal baseline.
All electrification works done in the last decade would be doubled and this would change the energy mix of the Indian Railways. The Railways has set a target of 1,000 MW of solar power and 200 MW of wind energy.
Prabhu also said that around 15-16 roundtable conferences with stakeholders were in the pipeline on various initiatives of the Indian Railways. He said that a roundtable discussion has also been planned on data analytics. Indian Railways generates massive amounts of data and has a huge captive audience. The ability to optimally utilise these will generate additional revenue for the Indian Railways.
Chairman Railway Board, AK Mital said that a target of moving 45 per cent of the freight traffic could be achieved only when the Railways can move freight in a cost-efficient manner. This has led to the Railways competing with the road sector. At present 70 per cent traffic runs on electric traction. In next six-seven years, the target has been set to run 90 per cent of the traffic on electric traction. By procuring electricity through open access, the cost of electricity procurement has come down drastically, which contributes 25 per cent of total working expenses.
Mital also said that the Ministry of Railways has launched ‘Mission Raftaar’ to increase the average speed of train movement by 5 km/h every year. Another important mission for the Indian Railways was the establishment of high HP locomotive manufacturing plants at Madhepura and Marhaura.
The roundtable discussion was attended by members and senior officials from the Railway Board and representatives from various government and private agencies in the field of energy, along with international experts and industry associations.