No Railway Zone for Residual Andhra; No Coach Factory for Telangana: Railway Board

Hyderabad हैदराबाद (HYB):The railway ministry has dashed the hopes of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh by informing the state government that it is not possible to establish a new railway zone exclusively for AP and that “it is not needed to set up a rail coach factory in Telangana”. A communication to this effect was also submitted to the Union home ministry, which is overseeing the division process and compliance of the promises made during the passage of the AP Reorganisation Act in Parliament.

In the 13th schedule of the Act, it was assured that the Centre will examine the proposal of a new railway zone in residuary Andhra Pradesh and the feasibility of a rail coach factory in Telangana. But the railway ministry, four days ago, made it clear that a rail coach factory in Telangana is “not needed as the existing capacity and planned capacity is sufficient to meet future needs”. With regard to the new railway zone, the ministry said “the proposal is not justified due to financial, geographical and other reasons.” People had hoped that the railway zone would boost transport facilities and exports.

The ministry’s stance has taken the state government aback. “It is mere reiteration of their old stance on both the issues. A separate railway zone and inclusion of Waltair division in the South Central Railway zone are pending for long. The railway ministry has refused to meet the demand based on a financial viability report,” said a source in the government.

Meanwhile, in more bad news for Telangana, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) informed the state government and the Centre that it has no new coal linkage to take up the 4,000 MW thermal power plant for the state. NTPC also informed the Centre that without new coal linkage, it could not take up such a massive thermal project.

“NTPC has been asked to re-prioritize its present coal allocations. However, it has not shown interest and has instead asked the state government to provide land and water first,” said a source.

With no coal, power sector officials said it is next to impossible to set up the thermal unit, which needs more than 10 lakh tonnes of high calorie coal supply every month.

Chief secretary PK Mohanty held talks with the cabinet secretary and officials of 18 ministries in New Delhi on Thursday to update them on the progress made on the division process.