New Delhi: A high-level panel in the Railway Ministry has opposed creating any new zones or divisions, including the proposed Mangalore and Gulbarga divisions, citing financial burden on the national transporter.
A panel comprising senior officials of the Railways said in its report that as Railways “is already facing several financial problems,” creating new zones or divisions would result in further deterioration of the situation.
A year ago, the Ministry of Railways had constituted a panel and referred to all the requests of setting up new zones and divisions. Since 1991, the Railways received requests to set up 32 new zones, including Kerala, and 42 new divisions in various places in the country.
The panel, which studied each request, said setting up new zones or divisions would not serve any purpose. Moreover, existing divisions are good enough to meet the growing demand in terms of passengers or freight transport. Now, the railways has 17 zones and 68 divisions.
On the demand of creating separate divisions at Mangalore and Gulbarga, the panel reportedly said it “is not viable” both in terms of finance and infrastructure. Currently, Mangalore comes under Palghat Division of Southern Railway while Gulbarga falls under Secunderabad headquartered South Central Railway Zone.
People in Dakshina Kannada have been demanding the separation of Mangalore from the Palghat division and merging it with Hubli headquarters of South Western Zone. Mangalore MP Nalin Kumar Katil and Udupi MP Jayaprakash Hegde on Thursday met Union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and requested to create a separate Mangalore division.
However, elected representatives from Kerala have been opposing the move saying it will harm the Palghat division financially. The Palghat division earns 98 per cent revenue from Mangalore due to freight transportation to Mangalore port, they said. Recently, Kerala MPs have met Kharge and requested him to create a separate railway zone for Kerala.