Rail zone turns out to be a sensitive issue


The proposed railway zone, which figures in the 13th Schedule of the A.P. Reorganisation Act, 2014, is one sensitive issue about which the Central government could not take a final decision. This is partly because of the row over location of the headquarters of the proposed zone.

There was a time when BJP State president and Visakhapatnam MP K. Haribabu stated that establishment of the new zone with the port city as its headquarters was almost given the green signal by the Ministry of Railways and only some procedural issues were to be sorted out.

On Wednesday, he commented that if the railway zone was established with its head office at Vijayawada, A.P. would have got its wish fulfilled, but Visakhapatnam stands the loser, reflecting the strong sentiment that it had become in Visakhapatnam.

News reports that the railway zone would comprise Vijayawada, Guntur, and Guntakal divisions and be headquartered in Vijayawada triggered protests in Visakhapatnam.

High-power committee

The fact is the Indian Railways had constituted a high-power committee to work out the modalities of the railway zone a few months after bifurcation, but the panel has so far not submitted its report on the feasibility of carving out the new entity.

Visakhapatnam (Waltair division) is situated in A.P. but falls under the jurisdiction of Bhubaneswar-based East Coast Railway. If it is to be made HQ of the proposed zone, it has to be taken out of ECoR purview.

Railway officials might be hinting at procedural issues but the outcome of several rounds of deliberations at the highest level remain a secret. It could also be that the ECoR would not like to give away Waltair to A.P. for fear of losing huge revenue.

As far as the operational parameters are concerned, Visakhapatnam division contributes a higher revenue to the Railways than Vijayawada, which is one of the busiest junctions in India with over 400 trains (passenger and freight) passing through it daily.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:27:08 PM |

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