New Delhi: Indian railway has informed the National Green Tribunal that it will not be possible to provide 'Roll-On, Roll-Off' (RO-RO) services with the existing infrastructure and it is not feasible in Delhi as almost the entire rail network in the region is electrified.
RO-RO is a service that enables loaded trucks to be carried directly on railway wagons between two destinations. On May 5, the NGT has sought Railway Ministry's response on a plea seeking introduction of the RO-RO service for commercial vehicles which are more than 10 years old to improve air quality and traffic situation in the region.
"Almost the entire rail network in Delhi & NCR region and most of its approach routes are electrified thus RO-RO cannot be a feasible option owing to the issue of infringements with the overhead electrical wires," the Railways said in its affidavit filed in compliance with the tribunal's direction.
It said that an estimated 80,000 trucks enter into and move out of Delhi every day and a significant number of them are laden with cargo meant for consumption outside Delhi, i.E., transit cargo, and if such cargo is transported through railways, it will reduce truck movement.
"There is a scope for reducing truck movements in Delhi area if such transit cargo is moved directly by rail from ports and other originating points. This will reduce the number of trucks transiting through Delhi area," the affidavit said.
It said that Indian Railways have been progressively moving towards more and more electrification and is, therefore, emerging as an increasingly environmental friendly mode of transportation.
"Presence of overhead electric wire does cause infringement issues in RO-RO operations and any step to revert to diesel operation will be a retrograde step from the point of view of capital investments already made in electrification of extensive stretches of railway tracks, but also because diesel operation will increase environmental pollution," it said.
It said that RO-RO service is success in the 740-km-long Konkan Railway line as it is entirely single line and a non-electrified section with adequate capacity for running these services due to less traffic density on the rail alignment.
The plea had said that the Konkan Railway has been operating RO-RO service for fully loaded trucks for the last 16 years and have transported approximately 5 lakh trucks during this period.
It said that the technology and system of RO-RO, therefore, has been tried and tested successfully by the Indian Railways and may be replicated in NCR.
Highlighting the benefits of RORO, the petition had said that this service will improve the air quality in Delhi and NCR with reduced number of commercial vehicles plying on roads.