Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda’s budget is a big disappointment to Andhra Pradesh in general, and North Andhra and Visakhapatnam in particular.

People have been expecting that a new zone for Andhra Pradesh with Visakhapatnam as headquarters would be announced, but not a word has been said on that.

Visakha Railway Zone Sadhana Samithi convener J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy described the budget as being “unfair” to Andhra Pradesh and North Andhra region.

“The people of Visakhapatnam have been waging a relentless battle for a separate zone with headquarters in the city. Their sentiment has been ignored.”

BJP leader M. Nagendra described the budget as a ‘big disappointment’ to north Andhra and Visakhapatnam. “We thought that at least an announcement on establishment of a new zone in AP would be made but it did not happen. The overnight express from Vizag to Tirupathi was also not announced,” he said.

He said that the BJP stood for establishment of the railway zone headquarters in Vizag. He hoped that the revised railway budget would meet the aspirations of the people of north Andhra.

MLC M.V.S. Sarma said that contrary to the statements made by Union Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and MP K. Haribabu that a new zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam would be announced, no such thing had happened.

He appealed to Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to intervene and ensure Visakhapatnam was made headquarters of the new zone.

Mr. Sarma also said that the proposal to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Railways could throw the security of the nation in jeopardy.

CPI(M) district secretary K. Lokanadham said the budget had thrown cold water on the aspirations of the people of the region on the new zone.

No announcement was made on re-routing of six through trains through Visakhapatnam, which were diverted via Duvvada. He called upon the people to agitate till changes were made in the budget.

Rajya Sabha Member T. Subbarami Reddy described it as the “worst ever railway budget” presented so far. No projects were sanctioned for Andhra Pradesh. He demanded that the Centre keep its promise on the new zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam.

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