Telangana Aftershocks: now Andhra wants creation of new South East Coast Railway (SECR)

Andhra Parirakshana Samithi urges formation of South East Coast Railway zone by bringing Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guntur and, a new Division with Tirupati as headquarter be formed to form SECoR.

As the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre prepares ground for creation of a new state Telangana – carved out of Andhra Pradesh, the aftershocks had the tremors in Railways too, with Seemandhra leaders and various activists demanding for creation of a separate Railway Zone for Seemandhra with Vijayawada as the Zonal Railway Head quarters of the proposed South East Coast Railway zone by merging Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur Divisions into the new zone.  The leaders also demanded that a new railway division be carved out of existing Guntakal division with Tirupati as the Divisional Headquarters.  They demanded that a new Zonal Railway be named as South East Coast Railway (SECoR) with Zonal headquarters either at Vizag or Vijayawada.

There is also a persistent demand to rename the currently run East Coast Railway as the Bhubaneshwar headquartered ECOR does not logically deserve the name of East Coast Railway since the east coast of India is stretched from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu, whereas the currently run ECOR zonal limits are well within the Orissa state and partially small portion of Andhra through Visakhapatnam Division under ECOR.  Hence it is worth to rename ECOR as Central East Coast Railway (CECoR) and the new Railway Zone for Andhra to be South East Coast Railway (SECoR), said President of Andhra Parirakshana Samithi, Mr.Venkataratnam Naidu from Vijayawada.

The heat is on the Railway Board now, to create a separate Zonal Railway out of South Central and East Coast Railway zones.  Seemandhra leaders are now planning to meet Minister of Railways Mr.Kharge and Minister of State for Railways Mr.Kotla for separate Zonal Railway demand carved out of South Central and East Coast Railway systems.  The issue of creating separate Railway Zone has taken a new dimension with the announcement for creation of Telangana as a separate state.  An all-party bandh in Seemandhra demanding for separate Zonal Railway is being planned, sources said.

Waltair Division (Visakhapatnam) is very famous of many industries, with rich in minerals, coal, forests and mountains, and is the largest revenue earning Division on East Coast Railway.  This region has been underdeveloped and has been witnessing a partiality treatment from Bubaneshwar eversince the East Coast Railway has been formed, the leaders said.  Likewise, Vijayawada and Guntur Division have been depending upon Secunderabad decisions although the Vijayawada division contributes to 35% of the overall revenues of SCR.  Most of the earnings from Vijayawada Division have been allocated to Nanded, Hyderabad and Secunderabad Division whereas the Vijayawada and Guntur Divisions have been witnessing persistent less treatment from SCR, he added.  The elected political representatives had been fooling the public of Andhra in particular and many organisations like Praja Spandana etc have been fighting for a separate Railway Zone right from the beginning eversince the Waltair Division was tagged on to East Coast mini Railway Zone functioning from Bhubaneswar in Odisha with effect from April 1, 2003.  “We have nothing against our neighbours but Andhra is virtually being treated as a milch cow and thrown after use.  These Divisions are almost feeding the other two Zonal Railway systems viz. ECOR and SCR with an annual income of Rs.12,000 crore,” President, Praja Spandana movement Mr.C.S.Rao said.  The people of Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada had expected a lot from the former MP N. Janardhan Reddy earlier and the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry D. Purandeswari had given a categorical assurance immediately after the elections in 2009 that formation of a separate zone was her top priority earlier.  But in the wake of announcement of a separate state for Telangana, the movement had taken a new dimension.  It’s possible to form a separate zone with Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore and Chittor Districts and it will change the face of the backward Andhra region. Mr.C.S.Rao called upon the people, political representatives and leaders to launch a massive protest to ensure that a new zone by name South East Coast Railway was formed with headquarters either in Vijayawada or Visakhapatnam.

The intervention of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy is needed for the formation of a separate Railway Zone with headquarters in either Vijayawada or Visakhapatnam, C.S.Rao, President of Praja Spandana, said.

It is understood that Railway Board may take a decision in this regard.  Board official, when contacted, with a request for anonymity said creation of a new zone with Visakhapatam as Zonal Hq may not be a viable option as it is geographically not a suitable one due to its proximity to Bhubaneshwar in administrative angle.  “However Vijayawada may be a better option for a Zonal Railway Headquarters of South East Coast Railway”, he added.