The agitation for a separate railway zone based at Visakhapatnam was intensified on Monday when members of Opposition parties squatted on the railway tracks at Kothapalem near Simhachalam railway station and stopped trains for 90 minutes.
CPI district executive committee member Chalasani Raghavendra Rao, who was dragged on the railway tracks, received minor injuries. Activists of all political parties were stopped at several places in the city, but some of them accompanied by M.V.S. Sarma, MLC, managed to reach Kothapalem.
Good trains carrying iron ore from Bailadilla to Visakhapatnam Port Trust and two empty rakes from Gangavaram Port to Bailadilla were stopped from 10.45 a.m. to 12 noon with CPI, CPI(M), BJP and PRP workers squatting on the tracks. Police personnel lifted women activists and sent them off to Harbour Police Station.
Just before two passenger trains were about to leave Simhachalam station, the police rounded up all the workers from the tracks. “Visakhapatnam Railway Zone should be carved out by including Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. It is not the extent of geographical area, but the industrial development and revenue from the area which calls for a separate railway zone to take it out of utter neglect it had undergone so far under East Coast Railway,” Mr. Sarma said.