Jul 8, 2016

Railways manages to keep its Diesel Bills to Rs.16000 Crore



New Delhi: Subdued crude prices across the world and, subsequently, India have left the railways smiling. Against an estimate of Rs.24,000 crore for 2015-16 for all the diesel it uses, the railways managed to keep the bill to around Rs16,395 crore. Officials are looking at it as a step in the right direction to bring down fuel bills further in the years to come. Currently, about 34.6% of freight and 48.8% of passenger traffic is hauled by diesel locomotives traction on Indian Railways.
About 38,000 route kilometres out of the total 66,000 nationwide run on diesel. In fact, in 2014-15, the railways used about 2,780 million litres of diesel, which is 3.5% of the country’s total diesel consumption.

The good performance on the diesel front was discussed during a meeting of senior railway officials of the mechanical engineering cadre. Officials were advised not to take it easy because a lot of the credit for lower diesel bills can be attributed to low crude prices rather than all-out efforts by the railways’ mechanical cadre to bring down fuel consumption.

The railways’ plan to get its diesel bills in check remains ambitious. Its literature on fuel consumption released on environment day this year mentioned that keeping 2013-14 as base year, the specific fuel consumption must improve by 5.37% by 2020. Between the years 2020 and 2030, the improvement should be at 4.23%, keeping 2020 as the year of reference.

The other big move is the use of bio-diesel — about 5% of it — to blend with diesel. While the railways used 4.1 million litres of bio-diesel between April 2015 and March 2016, the plan is to increase this blend gradually to 20% by 2030.

“It is good that the railways is being able to take advantage every time prices of crude go down worldwide. But the ground reality is that overall efficiency of train operations, whether diesel or electric, is the only way ahead. That is still some time away, but a start has been made,” said a senior railway official.