"The Ministry of Railways has allotted 761 kms of railway route electrification work at cost of Rs 888.96 crore to Power Grid Corp (PGCIL)," a senior official told PTI.
The letter of allotment was handed over to the power ministry Joint Secretary (transmission) Jyoti Arora and PGCIL Director Ravi P Singh by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during the international conference on Decarbonization of India Railways Mission Electrification held in the capital, the official said.
Among the four stretches to be electrified by PGCIL are Pune-Miraj-Kolhapur 326 km at a cost of Rs 513.07 crore, Chhindwara-Nainpur-Mandla Fort 183 km at Rs 90.71 crore, Londa-Miraj 189 km at Rs 208.15 crore and Mansi-Sahrsa-Dauram Madhepura 63 km at Rs 77.03 crore.
The electrification project will help the government cut down crude import and also ensure faster movement of trains on these tracks. At present, around 35,000 km of rail track remains unelectrified.
The electrification of tracks is expected to help the Railways save around Rs 10,000 crore annually. Indian Railways consumes around 2.8 billion litres of diesel annually, at a cost of around Rs 18,000 crore -- nearly 18 per cent of its working expenses.
Earlier this year, Power Minister Piyush Goyal had talked about the government's plans to rope in PGCIL for meeting the tall order of electrifying 35,000 km of tracks.
Goyal had also said PGCIL would do a pilot of 1,000 km to assess its capability. Indian Railways has planned to electrify 24,000 km of rail track in the next five years to reduce dependence of fossil fuel.
According to the minister, the electrification of entire rail tracks in the country will lead to power consumption going up by 7 billion units.