Vijayawada (BZA): Vijayawada which is the busiest railway junction in South India, stands a bright chance of becoming headquarters of the separate South East Coast Railway Zone (SECR) proposed for Seemandhra in the wake of bifurcation of the State. It certainly has a very strong contender in Visakhapatnam which is far ahead in terms of revenue but basically being a terminal station, it may in all probability lose the race.
Reluctant to forego
Another thing that’s bound to spoil the chances of Visakhapatnam is its location in Bhubaneswar-based East Coast Railway, which will obviously not be prepared to forego the substantial revenue contributed by it (Visakhapatnam).
What is most likely to tilt the scales in favour of Vijayawada is its predominant logistical advantage of being a major junction through which 300-plus trains (express, passenger and freight carriers) pass every day at over 12 per hour round-the-clock.
Revenue-wise, Visakhapatnam is of course the front-runner with an annual turnover of nearly Rs 5,000 crore recorded in 2012-13 and it is just about Rs 2,300 crore for Vijayawada.
Visakhapatnam draws its revenue primarily from coal which is moved to all parts of south India from Bailadila mines in Chhattisgarh and on a similar plane Vijayawada gets nearly 60 per cent of its revenue from Krishnapatnam and Kakinada ports. It also has a very big source of income in mangoes which are exported to far off places like New Delhi.
From the overall perspective, Vijayawada has the clear edge over Visakhapatnam, says Cocanada Chamber of Commerce President Dantu Surya Rao, who is a member of Vijayawada Divisional Railway Users’ Consultative Committee.
He said that Vijayawada would straight away be suitable for establishment of the new zone by virtue of its location and also its history. It is busier than the South Central Railway (SCR) Zone headquarters Secunderabad.
The SCR zone was formed in October 1966 by merging Vijayawada and Hubli divisions of Southern Railway and Secunderabad and Sholapur from Central Railway. And the point that SCR headquarters is situated in Telangana is not to be missed.