Developments in Andhra, Odisha and Centre indicate Vizag likely to be new railway zone

Hopes rise of Vizag being new railway zone headquarters in Andhra Pradesh

विसाखपट्‌नम Visakhapatnam (VSKP): The recent developments in Andhra Pradesh, neighbouring Odisha and the Centre indicate that the Port City is likely to be the headquarters of a new railway zone.

Presently, Vizag is headquarters of the Waltair division of the Bhubaneswar-based East Coast Railway. Now, Vizag is expected to become the headquarters of a new railway zone as promised by the Centre as part of the reorganization of AP.

“The developments in the last week has fueled the hopes of Vizagites that Vizag will have better chances for getting the status of the headquarters of a new railway zone,” Vizag MP Kambhampati Haribabu told.

Apart from several top leaders, even Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu was keen on making Vizag the headquarters of the new railway zone as part of the commitment for decentralized development, Haribabu said.

“In the recent meeting with South Central Railway (SCR) general manger PK Srivastava, Naidu and some other key ministers urged the railway officials to go ahead on Vizag as the zonal headquarters,” said Haribabu, who also participated in the meet.

Naidu is set to discuss with the railway ministry officials and Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the importance of the demand for a railway zone and Vizag as its headquarters, which has been pending for the last two decades, according to a senior SCR official and senior Telugu Desam Party leader.

“A detailed report on the railway zone issue has also been prepared in line with Naidu’s request. The report will be submitted to the Union government on the railway needs of Andhra Pradesh during his scheduled official visit to New Delhi on June 25 and 26,” said the SCR official.

Railway officials and elected representatives of neighbouring Odisha had earlier taken the stand that Waltair division, which is headquartered at Vizag, should not be separated from the Bhubaneswar-based East Coast Railway (ECoR) zone. They are now reciting a new mantra of special funds for ECoR if Waltair is separated from the zone as part of the creation of new railway zone in Andhra Pradesh.

“More than 50% of the revenue of the entire zone comes from Vizag-based Waltair division and we had made all efforts to ensure that the zone does not lose Waltair division. However, things have changed because of the efforts of the people of Andhra Pradesh who are pressing for a new railway zone headquartered in Vizag, So, we are now asking the state as well as the Centre to allocate special funds for ECoR for its development, including creation of another railway division in place of Waltair, if this is separated from the zone,” said a senior Congress leader from Bhubaneswar.