In an effort to contribute towards the betterment of the environment, Indian Railways has been taking up many eco-friendly steps in the recent past – including plans for water conservation, generation of solar power, etc.
One of these initiatives involves the restoration of a heritage well that is now helping the Jaipur division of North Western Railways (NWR) meet their everyday requirement of about 8,000 litres of water.
NWR authorities have restored an architectural open well situated near the Isarda railway station in Tonk district, which falls on the Jaipur-Sawai Madhopur rail route. The well, which was built in 1961 by Sawai Man Singh-II, has a diameter of 6.10 meters and its depth is 31.54 meters. It was handed over to the India Railways but had dried up and was not being used. The engineering department of NWR Jaipur division started the restoration in February and people started using it from March 11.
“It was in poor condition as the old walls and other structure were totally damaged. It was full of garbage. We took an initiative through which the well was cleaned, new walls were constructed, water level was checked, and water was purified and got it ready for the usage in March this year,” a senior officer NWR official told The Times of India.
Today, the well has been restored and it can discharge 5,000 litres per hour, which is used for cleaning the station, as the drinking water supply for about 10 railways quarters in the nearby railway colony, and other such purposes. According to Anjali Goyal, divisional railway manager of NWR, they have also created a garden with more than 100 trees and the well helps in watering those plants too.
Prior to the restoration, NWR was getting about 8,000 litres of water every day through a private contractor to be supplied in the residential railway colony. Authorities informed that they have also created a rain water harvesting system near the well so that it gets recharged during monsoons.
Additionally, Indian Railways has also come up with a proposal to plant 5 crore saplings before the monsoons on railway land across the country.
“We are finalising the varieties of trees such as neem, pilkhan, jamun to be planted on rail land including on both sides of the tracks. The saplings will be region-specific and vary from zone to zone,” said a senior official in the Environment Directorate of Railway Ministry.
For the plantation exercise, Railways will sign a MoU with the Environment Ministry, other than working with different NGOs. The target is to finish the plantations before the monsoon so that the rain allows the saplings to grow.
Authorities will ensure that branches of the trees don’t block the tracks. Railways is also setting up automatic coach washing plants at all rail depots for reduction in use of water for cleaning.