Post bifurcation of State, residual Andhra keeps High Expectations on Railway Budget 2015

विजयवाडा Vijayawada (BZA): The reorganised state of Andhra Pradesh has high expectations from the railway budget of Narendra Modi’s government, as the railway connectivity is vital for some of the ambitious plans of TDP government in the state for development of the state as logistic hub.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is very much keen on developing the state as port of call for the trade and commerce from South East Asian countries and railway connectivity from the proposed ports to the hinter-lands and rest of the state is essential for it to become as reality.

Separate Railway Zone to be named as South East Coast Railway for the state has been the foremost demand for the state and expectations are high from the Railway budget in that regard. However, sources in railways say that it is unlikely to materialise in the budget and the central government would only try to appease the state by promising to consider it in next railway budget. State Government is also expecting the state to provide a major share of budgetary allocation for the completion of the pending railway projects including doubling and new-lines in the state.

Some of those pending works include Vijayawada-Bheemavaram-Nidadavolu, Yerragunta-Nandyala-Jaggayyapet-Vishnupuram, Kakinada-Pithapuram. Though state-government had agreed during previous budgets to bear 50 percent of the costs for the development of Obulavaripalli-Krishnapatnam railway line for the doubling works for Guntur-Tenali, there has been not much progress till date. State government expects more funds allocated to those projects on priority basis.

The long pending Kadapa-Bangalore new railway line works ares not progressing as expected with no encouraging budgetary allocations since last couple of years, though the project was given green signal in 2008-09 railway budget. As far as doubling works are concerned, the works are under progress, but would require substantial funding for them to be put on fast track for earlier completion,’ a senior railway official told.

Andhra Pradesh has mainly two railway zones – South Central Railway (SCR) and East Coast Railways – operating in the state. Though there is a long standing demand for merger of Waltair division, currently under East Coast Railways with SCR, it has not be considered in any railway budgets till date. Now expectations are that a new zone would be created into which Waltair division will merge.

Though there has been a demand for Kotipalli- Narasapuram railway line, given the high cost, the proposal was set aside in the previous budget. People of Godavari districts are hoping it be considered this time. Another proposed new-line Srikalahasti-Nadikudi is still under survey. If it materialises, Rayalaseema and Andhra regions in the state will have a better railway connectivity and the pressure on the mainline between Nellore and Vijayawada will be decreased.

Though a wagon workshop in Khazipet was proposed, it had not materialised, neither did a medical college at Secunderabad in the last budget. Rail Neer project at Vijaywada was proposed and even 3 acres of land at Krishna canal was identified for the purpose, but the project was not given the sanction. Will it get the sanction this railway budget? people of the new capital region of the state hope so.

Development of Tirupati and Secunderabad as the world class railway stations proposed more than five years ago, though it was sanctioned, is yet to materialise. People of Tirupati, one of the most visited pilgrimage centres in the country, hope so.

In general, people of the state are expecting more compartments, which are convenient and safe, as the waiting list for almost all the trains either originating or passing through is always long now a days. Another issue they want resolved on priority is availability of quality food and water. In recent times there has been several complaints in regard to those two issues.