VISAKHAPATNAM: While welcoming the announcement to take up modernisation of the Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, and Vizianagaram railway stations in the PPP mode, Vizagapatam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has sought formation of separate railway zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam before finalising the bids.
Reacting to the invitation document issued by the East Coast Railway (ECoR), which has its head office in Bhubaneswar, VCCI president M.V. Monish Row wrote a letter to Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to insist on declaration of the new zone as promised in the AP Reorganisation Act. The East Coast Railway recently declared that the Visakhapatnam railway station would be developed on par with international standards with an investment of ₹260 crore in the PPP mode.
“The invitation also offers Visakhapatnam railway land for development along with the station. We made a demand for separate railway zone before bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. We feel that the zone should be declared immediately,” Mr. Row told. Plan to develop Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, and Srikakulam railway stations should not be allowed under the East Coast Railway with headquarters in Bhubaneswar, he said. “Public sentiment is in favour of the new zone with headquarters in the city. Hence, we appeal to the Prime Minister through our Chief Minister to concede the demand without dilly-dallying on it further,” he said.
Mr. Row said that if such railway projects come under the new zone, the entire ecosystem of the smart city, Sagarmala, PCPIR, Coastal Economic Zone, and logistics hub, could all be synchronised. Investors would also show enthusiasm in the region. Ultimately, creating more jobs for locals would be a reality under the new zone, he added.
“Visakhapatnam is the crown jewel in the entire zone, and if these projects are allowed to come under the control of ECoR with Bhubaneswar as head office, it will be a travesty of justice,” he stated.