‘Pursuing demand for formation of separate railway zone’

Union Minister of State for Industry & Commerce D. Purandeswari on Wednesday said she had been working relentlessly to promote Brand Vizag so as to make it an ideal destination for investments in the industries, tourism, health, education, and other sectors.

She was speaking during an interaction with industrialists here at Hotel Four Points by Sheraton organised by a group of entrepreneurs.

Stating that as per her pre-poll promise, she had been pursuing the demand for formation of a separate railway zone with headquarters in the city. “If the Railway Board is averse to formation of new zone, let the Waltair division be merged with the South Central Railway,” she said.

Recalling her talks with Railway Minister P.K. Bansal and Minister of State K. Suryaprakash Reddy, Ms. Purandeswari said she had strongly opposed the reported bid to shift the proposed location of Railway Wagon Maintenance factory from Duvvada to Odisha. She shot off a letter to Mr. Bansal and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to register her protest against “step-motherly” treatment being meted out to Visakhapatnam.

Ms. Purandeswari said she had demanded introduction of direct trains to Chennai and Varanasi from the city.

Advocating integrated development of the city and its periphery, she said a study was being conducted by IIT-Delhi to find out ways and means for planned development of Visakhapatnam as an international city.

On the demand for relaxation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) to pave way for investments in hotels and health resorts all along the coast, the Union Minister said she would pursue the matter with the authorities concerned. The Minister said once financial closure was achieved, NHAI would convert highway roads inside the city into six lanes at a cost of Rs. 863 crore with several underpasses and flyovers.

She said the city needed several multi-level parking complexes. Underlining the potential to put Visakhapatnam on world tourism map, she said temple tourism, health tourism, as well as leisure tourism could be promoted in a big way.

She said the Centre would release Rs.50 crore for developing the beach road from the city to Bhimili as a tourist corridor.

Rushikonda IT Park Association president P. Vishnu Kumar Raju presided and vice-president O. Naresh Kumar welcomed.

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