The issue was highlighted by The Hindu on January 9

The East Coast Railway (ECoR) administration has hurriedly withdrawn the old coaches, which were used in violation of the Railway Board orders, on the Visakhapatnam – Sai Nagar Shirdi Express and replaced them with new ones. It was a pleasant surprise to see the Sai Nagar Shirdi Express with new coaches on Thursday.

The Sai Nagar Shirdi Express and the Visakhapatnam-Chennai Express, which were introduced in December 2012, and some other originating trains recently introduced from the city, were all found running with old coaches and the new coaches allotted to them used elsewhere.

The injustice by ECoR was highlighted by The Hindu on January 9 and Rajya Sabha Member T. Subbarami Reddy raised the issue when the Parliamentary Standing Committee visited Secunderabad. The result: the old coaches were promptly replaced with brand new ones.

New zone

“The imminent bifurcation of the state and injustice being done by the ECoR headquarters in Bhubaneswar makes it all the more important to create a new zone with Visakhapatnam as headquarters,” CPI State secretary K. Narayana told The Hindu.

“The demand for the creation of a new railway zone with headquarters at Vizag is based on economic considerations.

From both the passenger traffic point of view and freight traffic point of view, Vizag stands at a higher place compared to Bhubaneswar,” says EAS Sarma, retired IAS officer and president of the Forum of Better Visakha (FBV).

“The Railway Board ought to have created the new zone with its headquarters here long ago. Unfortunately, neither the state government, ruled by the Congress, nor our representatives have made any earnest effort to get this sanctioned.

That this should be the case when a Minister from Andhra Pradesh is in the Railway Ministry speaks volumes of the indifference of the state's representatives to the people's problems,” he said.

“Waltair Division contributes the highest revenue to the zone but the ECoR headquarters is biased towards the regions in Odisha and the bias would end only with the creation of a new zone,” says Railway Zone Saadhana Samithi convener J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy.

Concurring with their views, CPI-M State committee member Ch. Narasinga Rao said: “A new zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam is the only solution to end the decade-long injustice to the region.”

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