Secunderabad (SC): South Central Railway (SCR) General Manager P.K. Srivastava said that the high-level committee set up by the Railway Board was in the process of ‘conceptualising whether the special railway zone’ was required for Andhra Pradesh. “Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Railway Minister had a detailed discussion on the proposal recently and some reports have been submitted. The entire magic box is likely to be opened in the budget,” he observed.
Addressing media persons here after a day-long inspection in Tenali-Gudur section on Friday, Mr. Srivastava said the issue of location of headquarters of the proposed zone, in Vijayawada or Visakhapatnam would arise after the committee arrives at a conclusion on the need for special zone for A.P.
Speculation over decision on new rail zone continues
While undue delay in the announcement of the new Railway Zone for Andhra Pradesh is not only leading to unnecessary speculation but also robbing Waltair Division of its chances of getting new trains.
While Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has categorically stated on more than one occasion that the headquarters of the new Railway Zone in Andhra Pradesh should be in Visakhapatnam, contradictory statements by various groups are creating confusion.
The latest statement of the SCR General Manager that the issue of location of the headquarters of the proposed new zone in Vijayawada or Visakhapatnam would arise only after the Railway Board took a decision on whether the special railway zone was required for AP, is once again giving rise to speculation.
Mr. Haribabu, who is also State BJP president, had said at public meetings in the past that the headquarters should be located in Visakhapatnam as Vijayawada was chosen as the capital and the Chief Minister was also in favour of decentralised development.
“The Chief Minister and I told Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu that both the TDP and the BJP want the headquarters of the new zone in Visakhapatnam, when he sought our opinion on the issue. Irrespective of what the committee, set up by the Railway Board says, establishing a new zone is a ‘political decision’ and I am confident that the zone headquarters will be in Visakhapatnam,” Mr. Haribabu told on Sunday.
It should be noted that Chattisgarh is the capital of Raipur while Bilaspur is the headquarters of South East Central Railway (SECR) and Bengaluru is the capital of Karnataka while Hubli is the headquarters of South Western Railway (SWR). These show that the railway zone headquarters and the State capital need not be located at the same place.
Meanwhile, it’s learnt that the East Coast Railway headquarters in Bhubaneswar has not proposed any new train from Visakhapatnam at the recent IRTTC meeting in New Delhi.
The ECoR headquarters reportedly turned down the proposal of the SWR to run a direct train from Bengaluru to Visakhapatnam, though a proposal was sent by Anakapalle MP Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao. ECoR is said to be planning to run another train from Bhubaneswar to Bengaluru.