SUBJECT :Railways needs pollution norms too 

The publicity the Railways received when Suresh Prabhu flagged off the first eco-friendly train in Haryana this Tuesday made it appear that this was the transportation giant's first tryst with green technology. Rail transport is up to four times more fuel efficient than road and the vast size of its operations means a considerable difference can be made if it turns its attention to using alternate fuels, wherever feasible. For instance, just the installation of CFLs in railway households will reduce 10 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide emission. 

The Railways is already in the solar game, receiving 10 mw of green power for some of its stations, level crossings and rooftops. The coach factory at Rae Barely runs entirely on solar power. As Prime Minister Modi indicated while attending two railway functions, more stations and workshops have to be brought under this ambit and asked it to frame plans for purchasing 1,000 mw solar power through Central schemes. And as if to serve a reminder about the importance of green energy to the policy-making team at Rail Bhavan in New Delhi, Mr Prabhu inaugurated a solar plant on its roof that will lead to Rs 4 lakh in annual savings.

But the CNG-powered train in Haryana promises more than all these initiatives. Over 80 per cent of the Railways’ energy consumption is towards traction and this is an area that had not been addressed earlier. The Railways is the only segment in the transport industry with no pollution norms. There is no regulatory body to examine its emission propensity. Mr Prabhu will have to reorient railway institutions towards examining mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions through better efficiency of both electric and diesel engines. An opportunity for setting emission standards will come when the government selects one of the two US contenders for supplying 1,000 diesel locomotives over 10 years. At the same time, the Railways must explore more routes for partly CNG-powered loco, as is the case with the Haryana train.

Source: The Tribune