Railways to set up own power plants
PATNA: The railways has taken a decision to set up its own power plants with the help of private sector to meet its increasing needs of energy
across the country. Instead of relying on the state government for uninterrupted power supply, the railways would prefer to invest in setting up power stations to run passenger and goods trains smoothly.
According to a Railway Board official, a recent survey carried out by the railways has revealed that the power consumption of the railways is likely to increase by 66 per cent (approximately 20 billion units) annually by the end of the 12th Plan in 2017. It would need to develop its own resources to meet its increasing power demand, he said.
The railways is currently utilising 12 billion units of power annually. In fact, its power consumption has been growing at an average of five per cent every year. The railways has been buying power from the Bihar State Electricity Board at an average of Rs 4.29 a unit for running locomotives and Rs 4.37 per unit for other purposes, a board official said.
According to sources, the proposed dedicated freight corridor and various other new electrification plans would force the railways to buy more power from the state electricity boards to run both passenger and goods trains more smoothly. While the railways is paying high tariff of Rs 5 plus for buying power for domestic supply (power supply to railway colonies) from state electricity boards, it could save almost half the amount if it goes in for a joint venture to set up power generation plant, sources said.
A board official admitted that the Planning Commission had recently asked the railways to revive its old power stations and set up new ones with the help of NTPC to generate more power to ensure run of passenger and goods trains effectively. The Nabinagar plant in Bihar is likely to prove a boon for the railways in future, he said, adding the railways is in need of more such power projects.
According to sources, the railways is currently running both passenger and goods trains with the help of diesel and electric locomotives across the country. Since electric locomotive is more eco-friendly and cheap compared to diesel locomotives, the railways is relying more on electric locomotives. Besides, an electric locomotive has more hauling capacity as well, sources said.
In East Central Railway (ECR), the railways has been paying crores to the state government for purchasing power to run electric hauled passenger and goods trains, an ECR official said.
Action from railway Board Required.