Need to step up rail electrification: Lalu

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New Delhi, Oct 21 (UNI) Railways Minister Lalu Prasad today said there was a need to step up the pace of electrification of the Indian Railways and run fast moving trains to meet the ever increasing passenger and freight traffic.

Noting that the Indian Railways was the lifeline of the nation, he pointed out that in view of the hike in oil prices, it was a challenge to contain cost and make judicious use of energy in hauling trains.

At present, just 28 per cent of the route on the Indian Railways is electrified.

Addressing a gathering at the inauguration of an international seminar on ''Emerging Technologies and Strategies for Energy Management in Railways'' here, Mr Prasad said energy accounted for 25 per cent of working expenses on the Indian Railways, of which 15 per cent was spent on diesel and 10 on electricity.

He said EMUs and MEMUs, which run on electricity, are becoming more and more popular among the people of both urban and non-urban and there was a need to run these trains on more routes.

The Minister hoped that the Navinagar Rail Electrical Company with the cooperation of NTPC will ensure adequate electricity supply to Railways at a low cost.

He congratulated all electrical engineers for their contribution in containing prices of electricity for the past five years and improving the bottom-line of the Railways to the extent of about Rs 4,000 crore per annum in its gross profits.

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