Hyderabad: Indian Railways, the lifeline of the country, carrying over 23 million passengers every day is the largest passenger carrying system in the world. It is also the single largest consumer of natural resources and a major contributor to green environment due to reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It has set a goal of turning 100 stations green within next one year.
With economic growth, the passenger and freight traffic on the Indian Railways is expected to grow from 3,635 billion passenger kilometres and 961 billion tonne kilometres respectively in 2005 to 19,427 billion passenger kilometres and 6,677 billion tonne kilometres respectively by 2030, an increase of more than six folds.
Railway has plans to change its energy mix and will be using green energy. It is going to install solar and wind plants for using green energy on its system. To change energy mix towards green energy in a phased manner, Ministry of Railways plans to set up 1,000 MW solar and 200 MW wind plants. Railways have an ambitious goal to save Rs 41,000 crore in energy savings in the next one decade.
Indian Railways had entered into a partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in July 2016. As part of this partnership, CII is facilitating various railways’ production units, workshops and other assets go the green way and in the process equipping them to green their operations and practices.
CII’s GreenCo Rating System is a first-of-its-kind rating in the world that facilitates organisations in improving their overall green performance. GreenCo focuses on major environmental areas including- energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, waste management, resource conservation, green supply chain, product stewardship and life cycle assessment.
K S Venkatagiri, executive director, CII- Godrej GBC, Hyderabad, told Telangana Today, “Indian Railways today has over 7,300 stations and there are plans to bring in energy efficiency measures in top 800 stations to start with. CII is currently working with 45-50 stations for capacity building. We had been closely working with the Environment Directorate of Indian Railways in developing the right methodology to go green. Initially, it was piloted in six stations including Secunderabad and then the initiative was rolled out in other major stations across the country. We also took the staff of Railways to private sector establishments to understand how they succeeded in implementing green practices.”
He added, “Many railway stations that initially obtained Gold certification took active interest in upgrading themselves to go for Platinum rating. Secunderabad has already attained Platinum rating while Kacheguda is aiming for the rating in next 3-4 months. In 3-5 years, we anticipate substantial amount of interest across the country with each unit of Railways competing with others. Not just railway stations, even hospitals, colonies, schools, manufacturing units and workshops are going for rating. For instance the oldest hospital in Ajmer is going for hospital rating, which will aim to bring in improvements in patient recovery, infection handling and other critical parameters.”
Railway stations had been grouped under six categories and have to fulfill 28-30 parameters to be eligible for the green rating. Saying that the Indian Railways and CII are also evolving methodology to include trains as part of the green initiative, Venkatagiri informed, at least seven railway stations are developing waste-to-energy plants.
As on date, GreenCo Rating is being implemented in 42 facilities (production units and workshops) of Indian Railways. And 26 facilities of Indian Railways have achieved rating levels ranging across Certified, Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, while the others are in the process of implementation.
GreenCo has helped Indian Railways bring in a focused approach towards green practices by strengthening its energy conservation initiatives, facilitating renewable energy opportunities, water management and waste management. Indian Railways has also utilised GreenCo as an opportunity to work with its suppliers in greening their operations. Indian Railways has not only reduced the environmental impact, but has also been realising substantial benefits, both tangible and intangible.
The participation in GreenCo rating process has helped the Indian Railways manufacturing units and workshops in achieving approximately Rs 10-15 crores per year of saving, he informed.
Two Railway stations, two Railway schools and administrative buildings of IRICEN, ICF and SCR headquarters have been certified green as part of this effort. Diesel Locomotive Works (GreenCo Silver), Varanasi and Perambur Carriage Workshop (GreenCo Bronze), Chennai have been certified by CII GBC. In addition Lallaguda Carriage Workshop (GreenCo Silver), Hyderabad achieved certification.