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Dec 14, 2017 02:57 PM IST | Source:

Suresh Prabhu on what Indian Railways is doing to save the environment

Railway Minister calls Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Paris climate accord “unfortunate”, calls for a collective effort to save environment.

Nikita Vashisht @nikita_vashisht

“If something doesn’t happen soon, we’ll have to go to museum to know how a planet looked like… how life looked like,” said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu while addressing a function on World Environment Day.

Calling railways as the “best means of transport as far as environment is concerned”, Prabhu said.

“There is only one planet… everybody has to celebrate it together,” he said, speaking at a seminar titled ‘IR towards a Low Carbon Mass Transportation’.

Expressing satisfaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to support Paris agreement on climate change, Prabhu said that it was “unfortunate” that the US has decided to withdraw from the same.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris climate accord on June 2, 2017, calling it partial towards India and China and saying that the deal was negotiated "poorly" by the Obama administration out of "desperation".

The US was one of the major signatories of the COP21 summit (concluded on December 13, 2015) where 195 participating nations agreed upon a draft agreement aimed at curbing global warming by reducing carbon emissions.

Green Railways

Indian Railways has to its credit launched a slew of initiatives aimed at curbing carbon emissions.

Railways has reduced water consumption by 20 percent, adding to its kitty a sum of Rs 300 crore so far. It aims to save more over the next 10 years, taking the corresponding figure to Rs 3000 crore.

The Indian Railways, under Prabhu’s regime, aims to double the output seen by electrification process and bring diesel usage to a “minimal” level.

Inviting cooperation from all the ministries, the minister said that environment’s protection required “mutual cooperation” from all the sectors as the onus did not rest only on the environment ministry.

Prabhu further added that India doesn’t need policies that are “just environment-friendly” but also those that make “economic sense”.

Mooting a sensible use of funds, the minister said that the “government’s money is precious” and that the ministries “should not wait for its allocation” to work towards switching to a cleaner environment.

“…we must involve communities,” he said, while stressing on collective and participatory approach of citizens, state as well as union government.

Indian Railways has adopted methods like water body restoration, water audit, rainwater harvesting, tree plantation, block plantation, solar panel embedded railway coaches, bio-toilets, establishment of waste to energy plant among many other initiatives.
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