The Indian Railways may rope in state-owned Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) to fund its ambitious plan to electrify the entire network by 2021-22. The corporation is likely to lend the railways the entire project cost of around Rs 30,000 crore, spanning over four-five years, at an annual interest rate of 9% for a lending period of 8-10 years, a top railway ministry official said.
The railways will be spending almost Rs 8,000 crore every year towards electrification for the next four years. Railway minister Piyush Goyal recently met top REC officials and discussed the funding for the electrification project, the official added.
“The railways has prepared a Rs 35,000-crore plan to electrify its remaining 33,000 km network in another four years. However, the minister is of the view that we can reduce the cost by 20-25% by giving out large contract sizes and standardising the designs. He has already instructed officials to work on it,” the official said.
The cost of electrification works out to slightly more than Rs 1 crore a km. By going fully electric, the national transporter will save Rs 10,500 crore every year on account of fuel. The railways currently has an energy bill of Rs 26,500 crore.