The Indian Railways has signed its first EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) contract with Larsen and Toubro (L&T) for electrification of railway lines.
The contract valuing Rs 1,050 crore was awarded by Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE) and Konkan Railways for electrification of 781 route kilometres (RKM). It will cover Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Rewari and Alwr – Bandikui – Jaipur – Phulera – Ajmer (353 rkm) section and Roha – Verna (428 rkm) of Konkan Railway.
Besides, eight such agreements were also exchanged between Zonal Railways and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) for 1,735 rkm of electrification projects valuing Rs 1,746 crore.
The EPC contracts were awarded as part of a strategy to speed up the electrification of railway lines under ‘Mission Electrification’ plan unveiled November 2016. So far only 42% of the lines are currently electrified. The Rail ministry is planning to increase its electrified network to 52,400 rkm by 2021. The Indian Railways is expecting to cut its fuel bill by Rs. 3,300 crore annually by 2020-21, by electrifying 90% of all broad gauge tracks under ‘Mission Electrification’ plan. In 2017-18 Budget, it was announced the Railways would tap the EPC route for expediting electrification projects.
Indian Railways consumes 2% of the country’s total power generation. The power could be effectively utilized in other sectors. The Mission Electrification plan will help in reducing the energy bill of railways considerably. It would also make the travel through Railways faster.