The Telugu Desam Party, which was part of the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, committed a blunder politically when it allowed the Waltair Railway Division to become a part of the East Coast Railway headquartered at Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam MP D. Purandeswari has said.

Political support

Responding to the Railway Board's rejection of the demand put forth by a delegation representing seven opposition parties for a separate railway zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, Ms. Purandeswari opined that the merger of Waltair Division with the South Central Railway was the only feasible solution, and that needed a lot of political support without which it might not materialise.

“We have been ridiculed several times by the opposition parties when we sought merger of the Waltair Division with the South Central Railway, and I have been personally following up the demand with Union Minister Mamta Bannerjee, Minister of State for Railways Muniappa and Railway Board officials to either carve out Visakha Railway Zone or merge with SC Railway,” Ms. Purandeswari told The Hindu on Friday.

During her several interactions with the Ministers and board officials, her understanding was that creation of a new zone would require a greater disturbance of several zones, but merger of the Waltair Division with the South Central Railway was feasible if the long-pending demand of the Marathwada region in Maharashtra to transfer Nanded to Central Railway was met.

“Currently, the Nanded Division serves 90 per cent geographical area of Maharashtra, and earnings of the Khurda Division of the East Coast Railway had come closer to the Waltair Division, necessitating its division into two, which will then compensate for the loss of Waltair Division for E.Co. Railway,” she contended.

‘Accept mistake first'

New lines were laid in Orissa under the Khurda Division and 13 new industries had come up making it one of the busy divisions, she pointed out.

Asked if she would join hands with delegation of opposition parties for achieving a separate zone based at Visakhapatnam, she said: “Let the Opposition accept their mistake first.”

The Pratyeka Railway Zone Sadhana Committee headed by CPI district secretary J. Satyanarayana Murthy had said that they would seek the support of all the MLAs and MPs from the three North-coastal districts to garner strength for the movement.

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