The Indian Railways has inked a memorandum of understanding with state-owned gas utility GAIL to introduce natural gas in some of its production facilities and workshops. The initiative will be rolled out on a pilot basis first in railway facilities at Matunga and Kota, which is expected to result in annual savings of Rs 20 lakh and Rs 21 lakh respectively.
With the introduction of natural gases in its operations, the Indian Railways is looking to cut down on the use of industrial gases like dissolved acetylene, LPG and high-speed diesel (HSD), while saving a pretty penny in the process. The shift to natural gas will help the state-owned public carrier to save 25 per cent on cost of alternative fuels it uses at its production facilities, according to Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani.
Indian Railways reportedly intends to replace industrial fuel worth Rs 70 crore used every year with natural gas. Lohani further added that Indian Railways can replace 844,027 cubic metres of acetylene, 2.35 million kilograms of liquefied petroleum gas and 140,991 kilograms of cut gases to save Rs 17 crore every year. Following the MoU between them, GAIL and the Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuel (IROAF) would prepare a project report by September 30.
In the first phase, around 23 railways workshops will be fitted to use natural gas by December 31. All 54 workshops and production units, as well as other railway establishments, including base-kitchens, guest houses, hostels, will start using natural gas by June 30 next year.
Indian Railways has been using natural gas at its Rail Wheel Factory in Bengaluru. The change has led to a saving of 410 kilolitres of high-speed diesel every month. The move helped the railways save around Rs 8-10 crore per month as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 28 per cent, Lohani said.
About 1,100 houses at a railway colony in Bhubaneswar have been provided with domestic piped natural gas, he further added.
Edited by Vivek Punj with agencies inputs