The ‘Green Transportation’ concept is catching up, with railways minister Suresh Prabhu having flagged off the National Capital Region’s (NCR’s) first pilot project on Roll-on Roll-Off (RORO) service – a multi-modal transportation model aimed at reducing Delhi’s air pollution.
According to plans, heavy commercial vehicles passing through Delhi will be loaded on flat railway wagons at railway terminals outside the capital and will get unloaded at the other end of the city.
The first RORO will run from Garhi Harsaru near Rewari to Muradnagar near Saharanpur. The service will subsequently be offered on eight other routes.
Each day, an estimated 66,000 trucks enter Delhi from the 127 entry/exit points to the city. Of these, 15,000 trucks are not destined to Delhi. According to a study by the Centre for Science and Environment, commercial vehicles entering Delhi spew close to 30% of the total particulate load and 22% of Nitrogen Oxide load.
“It is a good and a forward looking idea, which should definitely be tried out,” CSE director general Sunita Narain said.
“The RORO service has been in operation on much longer routes in countries including the United States and Russia, but conditions in India are different. To begin with, we want to experiment on the shorter routes,” an official said.
Vehicles in major Indian cities are estimated to account for 70% of carbon monoxide, 50% of hydrocarbons and 30% of suspended particulate matter of the total pollution load, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report of 2014.
Delhi – which has the highest vehicle density per km compared to any other city – ranked fourth for the average annual particulate matter pollution in 2016 -- 19% deterioration since 2014.
First launched by Konkan Railways in 1999, the RORO model proliferated to the East Central and the Northeast Frontier Railway zones last year.
“The service has been launched in other areas because of economic or other considerations, but the RORO service in Delhi is essentially aimed at reducing pollution levels and earning carbon credit points for the Railways,” an official said.