The Indian Railways will be saving Rs 300 crore a year through a concerted effort to conserve water and restore water bodies on rail land across the country, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on monday. Besides, the Railways has undertaken energy conservation and energy efficiency measures with a target to achieve 1,000 MW of solar power and 170 MW of wind power installed capacities.
“Railways is the best means of transport in environmental view as we are dealing with all aspects of environment,” Prabhu said here while addressing an event on the occasion of World Environment Day. The Railways is considered the most energy efficient mode of transport and therefore the most environmentally sustainable among all including road, air and water. The Railways has undertaken a series of measures for water conservation and recycling through installation of rainwater harvesting structures and setting up water recycling plants.
Prabhu said the Railways will eventually save Rs 300 crore a year through these water conservation measures. It has set a target to recycle 20 crore litres per day. The installed capacity of recycling 1 crore liters per day is being enhanced to 3.5 crore litres per day by the end of 2017 through a concerted effort. Once the recycling potential of 20 crore litres per day is achieved, the Railways shall save Rs 300 crore per year only on its water bill, apart from saving precious water resources.
Water recycling plants provided already at 30 locations saving 12 million litres of water per day. Water audit is underway at the major water consumption centres and rainwater harvesting systems already provided at more than 2200 locations and are being extended further. Prabhu said the bigger challenge for environment is climate change. The Railways has taken a leadership role in shouldering India’s responsibility towards climate change goals to promote green environment and clean energy.
To have an unrelenting focus on the subject, the Railways has established a directorate dedicated to the affairs of environment, cleanliness and waste management. Highlighting the focus on electrification, Prabhu said “All our broad gauge lines will be electrified which will help in reducing emissions”. On tree cover, he said “We have also set a target of planting 5 crore trees in next three years to increase the forest cover on the rail land”. This year, 1.2 crore trees have been planted against a target of 1.15 crore.