With spiralling energy costs turning out to be a major challenge for the cash strapped railways, the transporter is planning to rope in the private sector for electrification of tracks in an attempt to reduce its energy bill and dependence on imported fuel.
The state-owned transporter will soon launch a pilot project to garner private investment in the sector. As per the plan, the private player will be handed over tracks to electrify, operate and maintain on annuity basis. The private players will be compensated with fixed annual payments for the investments. “Many private players and PSUs have shown interest as the project is bankable,” Kul Bhushan, member (electrical), railway board, told TOI.
“It will be a win-win situation for railways and private players as the gap between cost of diesel and electricity is widening,” Kul Bhushan said, adding, “Railways will be able to compensate private players with funds saved from shifting from diesel to electric traction.” While there is huge delay in several rail projects, the transporter exceeded the target for electrification of 4,500 km track during the 11th fiveyear plan (2007-12) and electrified 4,556 km.