Budget 2021

Railways gets the green signal for solar mission

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on February 01, 2020

Railways, which is on a mission to electrify all its routes by 2023-24, also plans to feed the network through clean energy   -  REUTERS

The Railways will attach refrigerated coaches to express passenger trains so that they can also move milk, meat and fish.

Elaborating on the subject, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said in a conference that this project can be implemented faster as Railways needs to scale up an existing project on these lines.

These cold-chain arrangements require refrigerated parcel vans as well as refrigerated storage capacity at the railway stations. “We have nine such vans,” said Yadav. Projects for such cold-chain warehouses are being developed by various public sector units such as the Container Corporation of India and Central Railside Warehousing Corporation Limited.

Generating power

Setting up a large solar power capacity alongside the rail tracks on land owned by the Railways was another Budget proposal.

The Railways can use vacant land along its tracks to generate 10 GW power from solar plants, said Yadav, adding that this energy generation will be more than the annual energy requirement, which is 3.8 GW. However, States governments have to provide electricity when there is lack of solar power (due to lack of sunlight), added the Chairman.

The Railways, which is on a mission to electrify all its routes by 2023-24, also has a vision to feed the entire network through clean energy, added Yadav.

To ensure that solar energy can be fed into overhead electrification, the behemoth is implementing two proof-of-concept projects by March 2020. It has lowered its fuel expenses this year due to higher electricity usage and controlling diesel expenses, added Yadav.

Revenue borrowings

For this fiscal, the Railways expects to book ₹1,90,000 crore, lower than the expected revenue by ₹10,000 crore. This drop is largely due to lower-than-expected freight movement due to the economic slowdown .

In 2020-21, the Railways expects to earn ₹2,08,000 crore revenue, taking into account growth in earnings from both the passenger and freight segments. As a result of controlling its expenses, it will have a “small operating surplus”. The national transporter’s operating ratio — a measure of profitability that shows the amount of money spent to earn ₹100 — will be worse than expected this year at 97.4 against the budgeted 95.

Borrowings for the national transporter through Indian Railway Finance Corporation are expected to drop next fiscal to ₹58,000 crore from ₹65,471 crore this fiscal.

This data on borrowings is according to Indian Railways Financial Commissioner Manjula Rangarajan.

Published on February 01, 2020

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