People urged to exert pressure on MPs to fight for new zone

People’s representatives of all parties from Visakhapatnam region should immediately wake up to the situation and do their bit to prevent further injustice to Waltair Division from the East Coast Railway headquarters in Bhubaneswar to Waltair Division, felt representatives of Vizag Development Council (VDC). The only solution to end the ‘injustice’ being done to Waltair Division, which contributes over 50 per cent of the total revenue of ECoR Zone, and is the fourth highest revenue earning Railway Divisions in the country, is to de-link it from ECoR and set up a new zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam by merging Vijayawada, Guntur, and Guntakal Divisions (all three in South Central Railway) in the new zone, VDC president P. Vishnu Kumar Raju, its vice-president O. Naresh Kumar and CII Vizag chapter president G. Sambasiva Rao said at a media conference here on Tuesday.

Waltair Division (Visakhapatnam) has over 1,000 acres available for establishment of the zone and to meet future requirements. Visakhapatnam and Gangavaram Ports would be the future transhipment ports not only in view of their central location on the east coast but also due to their being the deepest ports that could handle ultra large vessels. Besides, a number of ports have come up in coastal Andhra and the railways would have increased freight revenue. The proposed new zone has the potential to emerge as the highest earning zone in Indian Railways. The creation of zone would lead to adding of new lines to meet the growing demand and could also boost industrial growth further and generate additional traffic.

They said Visakhapatnam was the ideal location for setting up of a wheel and axle plant, wagon and coach factory in view of the availability of raw materials, cheap skilled labour and ports to export and transport finished goods. The presence of the Diesel Loco Shed, the largest in Indian Railways, the Electric Loco Shed, which can hold around 170 electric locomotives and a 150-bed Divisional Railway Hospital, work out in favour of establishing the zonal headquarters in Visakhapatnam.

On the ‘injustice’ to Visakhapatnam region, Mr. Naresh Kumar said a major share of the revenue of Waltair Division was ‘diverted’ for development of other Divisions of ECoR, which were located in Odisha, while ignoring the needs of Visakhapatnam region.