The Centre on Wednesday approved a project for 100% electrification of railway tracks. This project would help the national transporter save Rs 13,000 crore a year on the fuel bill.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved electrification of non-electrified broad gauge routes comprising 108 sections, covering 13,675 route kilometer (16,540 track kilometer) at a cost of Rs 12,134.5 crore.
The project is likely to be completed by 2021-22.
Of the total 1.2 lakh km of the railway network, 46% of the network is already electrified and work is on to electrify another 30%, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters in New Delhi after the cabinet meeting.
"The proposed electrification, which is mainly for missing links and last mile connectivity, will increase the operational efficiency, enhance line capacity and improve the average speed of trains," he said.
After the planned electrification, there would be a reduction in the consumption of high-speed diesel oil by about 2.83 billion litre per annum and a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it said.
Post-electrification of all routes, the railways is likely to save Rs 13,510 crore per annum on fuel bill and the same will improve its finances. The approved electrification will generate direct employment of about 20.4-crore man-days during the period of construction, the minister said.
Goyal said the government will convert some of the existing diesel engines to electric ones with less cost. The railways will keep some number of diesel engine as a standby in case of emergency works, where there is collapse of the electricity network, and border area routes.