According to reports, on a green path, the Thiruvananthapuram railway division authorities are close to running its 384 level crossing gates on solar power. The first solar-powered level crossing will be functional this month itself, said sources.
During the presentation of Railway Budget 2013-14, railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal had announced the railways’ plans to harness solar power to energize 1,000 level crossings in the country to help the railways avail fiscal incentives, including tax breaks and depreciation benefits, besides a chance to earn carbon credits.
According to officials, solar lighting system would be used at level crossing gates. They will be equipped with solar panels, which will have charge control, back-up battery and LED light fittings. The solar panels will have the capacity to generate 1 KW power.
The initiative is part of the railways’ pro-environment action plan and energy conservation measures to use renewable energy sources.
“In the first phase, level crossings in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal will be powered with solar energy. We have 384 level crossings under Thiruvananthapuram division and they will be converted to solar-based in phase 1. The first solar powered level crossing has already been set up near Neyyattinkara,” said a top official.
Thiruvananthapuram division has 350 manned and 34 unmanned level crossings at present. “An amount of Rs 60 lakh has been earmarked for the solar-powered level crossings, which is actually insufficient. However, we can at least begin the new initiative. A tender for purchasing and installing the solar system will be invited in the coming days and the conversion works will be carried out phase-by-phase. Our aim is to make Thiruvananthapuram the first division to convert all level crossings solar-powered,” the official added.