Both Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada in the race. The idea is to merge Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal divisions in SCR and Waltair division to form the South Coastal Railway Zone but the location of its headquarters has become a topic of intense debate for obvious reasons.

Uncertainty prevails over the Railway Board’s choice of headquarters for the proposed South Coastal Railway Zone while speculation is rife that Visakhapatnam has been found to be the ideal location instead of Vijayawada which was considered the front-runner.

Locating the new zone’s HQ in Visakhapatnam is being opposed by Vijayawada division branches of South Central Railway Mazdoor Union and (SCRMU) and SCR Employees’ Sangh (SCRES) which assert that Vijayawada is most suitable due to its predominant position as South India’s busiest railway station whereas Visakhapatnam is a terminal station (located in Bhubaneswar-based East Coast Railway).

A high-level committee consisting of officials of the Railway Board and representatives of SCR is expected to submit its report on time for Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to raise the subject during his upcoming visit to New Delhi.

The status of Railway projects in the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh has already been taken to his notice by SCR General Manager P.K. Srivastava a couple of days ago and the new Zone issue was also reportedly discussed.

It may be noted that the Central Government has provided for establishment of the new Railway zone in Successor State of Andhra Pradesh under Schedule 13 of the A.P Reorganization Act and wanted the proposal to be examined within six months from the Appointed Day (June 2) and an expeditious decision taken thereon.

The idea is to merge Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal divisions in SCR and Waltair division to form the South Coastal Railway Zone but the location of its headquarters has become a topic of intense debate for obvious reasons.

SCRMU Divisional secretary G.N. Srinivasa Rao said it would be disadvantageous to set up the new zone HQ at Visakhapatnam as resource mobilization takes long time during emergencies compared to the logistical advantage that Vijayawada has by virtue of its convenient location between Secunderabad and Chennai.

Vijayawada Divisional Railway Manager Pradeep Kumar had earlier told The Hindu that Vijayawada stood a bright chance of being made headquarters of the zone but a lot of issues have to be looked into before reaching a conclusion.

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