There is a sudden groundswell for the agitation demanding a separate railway zone based at Visakhapatnam, with Waltair Division of East Coast Railway forming the hub.

More than 500 people from all walks of life and workers of seven political parties excepting the Congress marched in a rally from Gandhi Statue at GVMC Circle to DRM's Office in Dondaparthi raising slogans against the Railways for neglecting the Waltair Division.

Leaders from all Opposition political parties made a fervent appeal to the people of Visakhapatnam to come out in large numbers on August 2 to participate in a `Rail Roko' agitation and send a message to the Railway Board and Railway Ministry in New Delhi on this long-pending issue. “Injustice has been done to the three north coastal districts though the Waltair division contributes Rs.3500 crore annually to the E.Co. Railway – second highest revenue earning division in the country,” said CPI District Secretary J. Satyanarayana Murthy.

Terming it a disgrace for the students of this region if they had to write the Railway Recruitment Board examinations in Secunderabad, he took strong exception to the rude behaviour of the people from Orissa in stopping Andhra candidates and sending them back.

Visakhapatnam East Constituency TDP MLA Velagapudi Ramakrishna Babu said that the Telugu Desam Party was determined to protect the interests and prestige of the Telugu-speaking people and their party MLAs' visit to Babli was one of the examples. “We will go all out to ensure Visakhapatnam-based Railway Zone was created in the near future. All trains diverted via Duvvada should also be brought back to Visakhapatnam Railway Station as it now had eight platforms,” he said at the public meeting outside the DRM's office. The political parties made a request to the RPF, GRP and City Police to cooperate with them while t hey carryout the agitation on August 2 as it was a common cause and all citizens here would benefit. The BJP senior leader P.V. Chalapathi Rao wanted Vizag MP Daggubati Purandheswari to raise her voice in Parliament to ensure this issue was resolved. The party city unit president M. Nagendra also spoke.

Lok Satta, PRP, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders also spoke on the occasion. The CPI(M) city unit secretary Lokanadham took objection to people's representative from the Congress for not supporting the movement.

More In: Visakhapatnam