The establishment of railway zonal headquarters in Visakhapatnam is a must to ensure equitable socio-economic and industrial development of the region, says Union Minister of Tribal Affairs and Panchayat Raj Shri Vyricherla Kishore Chandra Suryanarayana Deo.
His proposal for relocation of South Eastern Railway (SER) zone headquarters in Bhubaneswar and shifting of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) zone headquarters from Bhubaneswar to Visakhapatnam is seen as a viable solution to end the decade-long injustice suffered by Waltair Division under the ECoR dispensation.
While the proposal is being hailed by the people in Visakhapatnam region, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has raked up an ‘unnecessary controversy’ saying that Odisha would not allow shifting of the headquarters. Kolkata is the headquarters for both Eastern Railway (ER) zone and SER. Kolkata is situated in the North-Eastern part of the country and cannot claim to be a part of South Eastern Railway Zone and the South Eastern Region. The reshuffling and re-organisation of Zonal Railway systems will ensure equitable growth of both Andhra and Orissa.
“Vishakhapatnam is situated at the centre of the East Coast between Kolkata and Chennai. The ECoR headquarters, which should have been located in Vishakhapatnam, was unfortunately established in Bhubaneswar. The SER headquarters should be shifted to Bhubaneswar with the Khurda Division attached to it and ECoR headquarters must be shifted to Visakhapatnam with the addition of Vijayawada Division in lieu of Khurda Division,” Mr. Deo has written to the Antony Committee.
“If they (Odisha leaders) are so attached to the name (ECoR) let them retain it. Waltair Division must be de-linked from ECoR and a new zone can be formed with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, with the addition of Vijayawada and Guntur Divisions to it,” Mr. Deo has told.
Several proposals related to Visakhapatnam that have already been announced in the successive railway budgets have not materialised so far.