Suresh Prabhu Provides Better Facilities to Passengers despite Sparse Funds

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As the Lok Sabha passed the Rail Budget 2016 presented by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, here is a look at how the Indian Railways has been using its sparse means to make India Cleaner and Greener.

Use of Solar Energy:

Indian Railways has been raking measures in harnessing the abundantly available Solar Energy for its electrical needs thereby assisting in conserving the valuable conventional fuels and also reducing carbon emission to environment.

indian railways

Ajmer Railway Division of North-Western Railway Zone took one more step today wherein it not only installed solar plants at 4 new stations of Ajmer Division but also used CSR funds for this purpose. With this, a total of 8 Railway Stations in Ajmer Division will be covered with Solar Plants using CSR funds.

A bipartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Railway PSU Indian Railway Finance Corporation Ltd (IRFC) and Ajmer Division of North Western Railway on 8th March 2016 at New Delhi for installation of eco-friendly Solar Power Plant of total capacity of 280 KWp at 04 major stations viz Marwar Junction, Rani, Falna and Ranapratap Nagar (Udaipur) Stations of Ajmer Division.

The cost of this project is Rs 3.29 Crores which will be borne by IRFC Ltd through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Funds. The life expectancy of these Solar Panels is 25 years.

These Solar Plants will generate approximately 5 Lac Units per year and thus there will be a huge saving of Rs 32.50 Lac per year by bringing down the divisional electricity bill. Thus, there will be a total saving of Rs. 812 lac during its life cycle.

It will also help in reducing the carbon footprint of Ajmer division by 456 ton per annum approximately thus total reduction of carbon emission will be 11400 ton during its complete life cycle thus helping environment

Encourage use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

Indian Railways is also encouraging use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Funds for improving passenger amenities so as to reduce pressure on scarce funds in Railways. Several Railway Zones and Railway Divisions spread across the country have been in their own right taking measures in this direction.

Since May 2015 Indian Railways is using CSR funds of its five Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) to fund 10 stations. Five railway PSUs -- CONCOR, IRCTC, IRCON, RITES and RVNL - have been assigned two stations each from among Mumbai CST, Howrah, New Delhi, Guwahati, Patna, Varanasi, Vadodara, Chennai, Agra and Bengaluru to bring about visible improvement in passenger amenities using funds available under their CSR schemes.

By pitching PSUs against each other as to who provides better passenger facilities at stations Indian Railways has been promoting healthy competition and providing excellent facilities to passengers without the need for extra funds.

Not only PSUs but private companies are also contacted by Indian Railways to pitch in their CSR funds for improvement of railway stations. The facilities that the companies can provide to the passengers include:

  1. Installing reverse osmosis water plants,
  2. Install water coolers,
  3. Install lifts and escalators,
  4. Provide carts for old and differently abled people,
  5. Renovation of toilets in waiting rooms,
  6. Renovation of waiting and retiring rooms,
  7. Building new waiting and retiring rooms
  8. Provide electronic boards and signage at the stations,
  9. Providing steel dustbins at the stations,
  10. Help improve circulating area at the stations.

Providing chilled potable water at railway stations:

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has plants to set up around 5,000 water vending machines across 1,200 railway stations. These vending machines will provide a litre water for Rs. 5, half a litre for Rs. 3 and a glass full at Re. 1. IRCTC plans to have two water vending machines per station.

By taking up such a task IRCTC has created opportunities for companies that provide water purifiers to set up such vending machines. Companies like Ion Exchange, Kent RO, Eureka Forbes, SR Paryavaran, Hitech Sweet Water, Virindavan Enterprise, Fontus Water, Acer Engineers, Meghdoot Media, Raj Water, Rite Water Solutions, Aquatech RO, Sai Balaji Water, Smaat India, Jain Sabkuchh Food and many more can set up potable chilled water through such vending machines at railway stations.

The companies that run the vending machines will pay lease rentals that IRCTC and Indian Railways will share. The outlet water that will be wastage will be used in toilet stations.

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