New Delhi: A proposal for electrification of the last leg of more than 13,000 route kilometres of railway tracks got approval of the cabinet committee on economic affairs on Wednesday.
A statement from the railways ministry said that the remaining un-electrified broad gauge routes comprising 108 sections, covering 13,675 route kilometers (16,540 track kilometers) at a cost of Rs 12,134.5 crore, has been approved.
The statement said that considering the requirement for seamless operation of rail traffic across the network, it is necessary that the bottlenecks created by the need to change traction are done away with. 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.
The electrification is likely to be completed by 2021-22. The major trunk routes on the railway network have already been electrified and are operational.
Following the electrification, there would be an estimated reduction in the consumption of high-speed diesel oil by about 2.83 billion litres per annum and a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
At present, around two-thirds of freight and more than half of passenger traffic in Indian Railways move on electric traction. But it accounts for just 37 per cent of the total energy expenses of the national transporter.
After the electrification, railways is likely to save Rs 13,510 crore per annum in fuel bill and the same will improve its finance.s, the statement said. The approved electrification will generate direct employment of about 20.4 crore man days during the period of construction.