VISAKHAPATNAM / NEW DELHI: In all likelihood, an official announcement on the creation of a railway zone with Visakhapatnam as its headquarters will come soon, maybe by the end of this month or early next month.
According to sources, the NDA government at the Centre had taken a political decision for the creation of the zone. What remains is only administrative follow-up.
The sources said the Union government had completed necessary exercise and has given go ahead signal to the Railway officials to complete the exercise as soon as possible.
As a part of the formation of the zone, a five-member committee of the Railway Board and Railway Ministry is expected to visit Visakhapatnam in the next week. After the committee makes an assessment and submits the report, the government will announce the formation of the zone, the sources said.
The new railway zone will have Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal divisions apart from the Waltair division, but only the part that is in AP. The Waltair division extends beyond AP borders and the undivided Waltair Division used to net an annual revenue of Rs 6,500 crore per annum for the East Coast Railway.
As most of the revenue is by way of import of iron ore from outside AP, after the bifurcation of the Waltair division, the revenue of part of Waltair division in AP will go down to Rs 1,300 crore per annum.
This way there might not be any resistance from Odisha but it is not clear how people in AP would react. But the officials are moving ahead with this formula, hoping that at the end of the day, the Centre might divide the revenue of the Waltair division between AP and Odisha.
In fact, the Centre shared the information about the formation of the new Railway Zone with all the senior BJP leaders and MPs in both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
“The BJP government has said the Railway Zone will come up in its 2014-19 tenure only. Officials and the committees will visit as per the government decision but I do not have communication about the dates of the visit,” Vizag MP K Haribabu.