Railways seek security for India’s first solar train
Merely a month ago, Railway minister Suresh Prabhu launched India’s first solar-powered train, which runs from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Farukh Nagar in Haryana. The railways has asked for additional security forces to protect the solar panels installed on six of its coaches.delhi Updated: Sep 07, 2017 00:01 IST
Merely a month ago, former railway minister Suresh Prabhu launched India’s first solar-powered train, which runs from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Farukh Nagar in Haryana. However, the train’s solar panels are under safety threat from the villagers.
Branded as the solar-powered train, its six out of 10 coaches are fitted with solar panels on the rooftop to convert solar energy into electricity to run fans and bulbs.
The railways has raised its concern with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and asked for additional security forces to protect these panels.
“The train runs through rural areas and we have perceived a threat to the solar panels, which could be stolen by villagers,” said an official from the Northern Railways.
He added, “The train often stops at unspecified locations due to signal congestion and we fear that locals might detach the panels and run away.”
The Railways officials said that their concern are not out of place as solar panels used to generate power at level crossings and signals across the country are often stolen by locals.
“Villagers install these panels on the rooftops of their houses to get electricity for bulbs and fans,” said the official.
Sources in the RPF confirmed that Railways has raised such a concern and it is looking into the matter.
A senior RPF official said, “We have not come across any effort in which locals tried to steal the panel. However, going by the Railways experience of the theft of panels from signals and crossings, it wants to take precautionary measures.”
He added, “In nine out of 10 cases, we cracked the theft and arrested the people because railway solar panels are a little different in terms of the shape and size from what is commercially available.”
The official admitted that it is a common problem at signals and level crossings across the country.