Railway Users’ Association says injustice done to the division in allocation of funds
Visakhapatnam (VSKP): The highest revenue earning Division of East Coast Railway (ECoR) Zone – Waltair Division – has been allotted budget grant for passenger amenities much lesser than Sambalpur Division, which earned a pittance in four out of the last 10 financial years.
Waltair Division became a part of the newly-formed ECoR Zone on April 1, 2003. The other two Divisions are: Khurda and Sambalpur.
Khurda Division, which also earns lesser revenue compared to Waltair Division, has been given a lot more than Waltair Division towards passenger amenities in nine out of the last 10 financial years. The information obtained by the Duvvada Railway Users’ Association secretary K. Eswar from the ECoR headquarters in Bhubaneswar under the Right to Information (RTI) Act depicts the gross injustice done to Waltair Division over the years.
In 2004-05, while Waltair Division was given a meagre Rs.0.47 crore as against Rs.1.26 crore and Rs.2.55 crore allocated to Sambalpur and Khurda respectively.
The next year, the allocations were Rs.1.26 crore, Rs.2.72 crore and Rs.5.27 crore respectively. The allocations during 2011-12 were Rs.6.60 crore, Rs.5.40 crore and Rs.11.13 crore in the same order, during 2012-13, the figures are Rs.7.39 crore, Rs.5.10 crore and Rs.16.70 crore and during the current financial year while Waltair was allocated Rs.9.65 crore, Sambalpur got Rs.8.37 crore and Khurda was allocated Rs.17.28 crore.
Similarly, no new Broad Gauge Single Lines were laid under Waltair Division between 2004-05 till date while Khurda Division got approximately 491 km at an estimated cost of Rs.2,037 crore and Sambalpur got 54.30 km at Rs.227.94 crore during the same period.
“The amounts allocated on Division-wise surveys conducted from 2004-05 till date indicates the soft corner that ECoR headquarters in Bhubaneswar has towards the regions in Odisha.
While Rs.1401.67 crore was allocated for conduct of survey for laying of new lines was Rs.1401.67 crore in Khurda and Rs.2,374.16 crore in Sambalpur, Waltair Division was allocated Rs.50 lakh (approximately) for conduct of survey during 2012-13,” says Mr. Eswar.
In a recent letter to the Railway Minister, Gajuwaka MLA Chintalapudi Venkataramaiah decried the injustice being done to Waltair Division and sought a separate railway zone with Visakhapatnam as headquarters.
He noted: “ECoR has put the brakes on the progress of Waltair Division and Visakhapatnam”.