New South East Coast Railway Zone likely by June end for residual Andhra

सिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC): The new railway zone (South Coastal Zone) is likely to be announced in the upcoming Budget Session at the end of June. With most political parties having promised the new railway zone, there is no going back on the promise.

Both the ruling and Opposition parties showed their inclination to the new zone before the elections. Insiders indicate division process is underway and the new headquarters will be setup in either in Vijayawada or Guntur, although the demand for Vishakhapatnam has been long pending.

Interestingly, there is expected to be only one new appointment for the new division, that of the general manager for the new zone. The administrative staff will be divided among the two zones, while field staff and district level staff will continue as before.

The need for a new zone is being felt even more strongly to provide a rail link between the bifurcated states. Also, the fact that every zone is informally identifiable with a state, the need of the new zone has been heightened further.

A senior official said that “Although the Railway Board has not been particularly in favour of a new zone, it is not the final authority. It is most likely that the new zone will be directly announced in the budget.”

Vijayawada and Guntur are both major junctions, well connected and having all supporting infrastructure, the headquarters for the new zone is likely to be set up in either of these. However, redefining boundaries of the South Central Zone as well as that of the East Coast Zone is likely to bring Vishakhapatnam division to the new zone, according to the senior official.

The new zone is expected to see port-oriented growth as it will have the advantage of four existing ports and two more in the process. Seeemandhra region has the benefit of Vishkapatnam, Gangavaram, Kakinada and Krishnapatnam ports, setting up of Machlipatnam and Duggirajapatnam ports are underway.

Being a social economic requirement of the new region, the new zone is likely to fulfill several demands of enhanced connectivity of the new capital of the new state with Hyderabad.