New Delhi, Oct 21 : Union Minister of Railways Lalu Prasad Yadav today said that Indian Railways is the lifeline of the nation and it is necessary to run fast moving trains in view of ever increasing passenger and freight traffic.
Addressing a gathering at the inauguration of an International Seminar on "Emerging Technologies and Strategies for Energy Management in Railways' here, Yadav said that there is need to increase the pace of electrification to meet the increase in demand.
The Minister said that in view of the hike in oil prices, it is a challenge to contain cost and make judicious use of energy in hauling trains. He hoped that the Navinagar Rail Electrical Company with the cooperation of NTPC would ensure adequate electricity supply to Railways at a low cost.
Yadav said that energy accounts for 25 per cent of working expenses on the Indian Railways out of which 15 per cent is spent on diesel and 10 per cent on electricity. At present 28 per cent of route on Indian Railways is electrified which further needs to be expanded.
He further congratulated all electrical engineers for their contribution in containing prices of electricity for the last five years and improving bottom line of Railways to the extent of about Rs. 4000 crore per annum in gross profits of Railways.
The seminar is spread over seven sessions and will cover different aspects including energy challenges, concepts, products and technologies on board trains and at stations, energy conservation audits and addressing issues of climate change.
Through dissemination of knowledge and discussions, the forum aims to forge recommendations for evolving strategies to hasten implementation of energy efficient technologies.
About 500 delegates are participating in the two-day seminar, organized by Institution of Railway Electrical Engineers (IREE).