Waltair Division, despite contributing above 50 p.c. of revenue, gets a raw deal. It is 10 years of neglect for Waltair Division under East Coast Railway (ECoR).
It was on April 1, 2003 that the ECoR, formed with Waltair, Khurda and Sambalpur Divisions, became fully operational, ignoring widespread resentment of the people of Visakhapatnam region against merger of the Waltair Division.
The golden goose of ECoR – Waltair Division – which has been contributing more than 50 per cent of the total revenue of the zone has been getting a raw deal, be it in the allocation of funds for creation of infrastructure facilities or introduction of originating trains. The leaders from Odisha are demanding more funds in the Railway budget year after year citing the high income of ECoR. Representatives of various organisations in Visakhapatnam allege that not even 10 per cent of the funds, allocated to ECoR, are being spent in Waltair Division.
Important originating trains from Visakhapatnam like Prasanthi and Visakha Express and Chennai Weekly Express were extended to Odisha thereby drastically reducing the quota of berths for Visakhapatnam in these trains.
Though diversion of trains via Duvvada doesn’t result in any significant saving of time for through trains, they continue to be diverted.
The allocation of berths till Vizianagaram in the ‘general quota’ and Visakhapatnam in the ‘remote quota’ in trains starting from Bhubaneswar and Puri and some trains passing through Visakhapatnam is a clear case of injustice of ECoR as most of the berths run empty till Vizianagaram and from Visakhapatnam they run into huge waiting list, say Railway Zone Saadhana Samithi leaders.
Though the ECoR authorities have ‘no funds’ for construction of four new platforms on the Gnanapuram-side, more and more funds are being pumped into developing the Puri and Bhubaneswar stations.
While our people’s representatives are indulging in empty rhetoric and mudslinging against one another, their counterparts in Odisha sink their political differences and work for the development of their State. Creation of a new zone with Visakhapatnam as headquarters or merger of Waltair Division in South Central Railway is the only solution to end the injustice to Waltair Division, the Samiti leaders opine.