Inordinate delay plagues operationalisation of South Coastal Railway

The rail zone can be a game-changer of not only for the North Andhra region but also for the State as a whole.

The rail zone can be a game-changer of not only for the North Andhra region but also for the State as a whole. | Photo Credit: File photo: K.R. DEEPAK

Lack of political will, half-hearted efforts and poor understanding of the subject on the part of elected representatives from Andhra Pradesh, are said to be the root causes of the inordinate delay in the operationalisation of the Visakhapatnam-based South Coast Railway Zone (SCoR).

It may be recalled that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of SCoR was submitted to the Railway Board, for its approval, long ago. An RTI reply received from the Railway Board on July 14, 2022 says: “DPR for setting up of new SCoR Zone at Visakhapatnam is presently under examination in the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board).”

While one may wonder why the Board is taking such a long time to give its green signal to the DPR, railway sources say that the DPR had suggested merger of one portion of Waltair Division with Vijayawada Division and the remaining portion with the new Division being created at Rayagada in Odisha.

People’s representatives from Andhra Pradesh had sought retaining of the residual portion of Waltair Division with Visakhapatnam as headquarters, instead of merging it in Vijayawada. Changes in the DPR, already submitted, requires approval of Parliament. It’s here that political will plays an important role.

‘No political lobbying’

“It’s unfortunate that there is no political lobbying from our MPs in Parliament. Both the ruling and TDP MP s are vying with one another in toeing the line of the BJP government, instead of insisting on implementation of promises made to the State,” says Visakha Railway Zone Sadhana Samithi convener and CPI State leader J.V.S.N. Murthy.

“This is not just the case of the zone, even in case of provision of new trains on high-demand routes, provision of halts at satellite stations like Duvvada, Pendurthi and Simhachalam or even implementation of decisions like naming of trains, which does not involve any financial burden on the railways, our political representatives are not serious,” he says.

“They should take a cue from neighbouring Odisha, where leaders of all political parties sink their ideological differences when it comes to protection of the interests of their State,” he says.

The rail zone can be a game-changer to reinforce the economy of not just North Andhra but also that of the State as a whole. In the name of zone, development works like the Marripalem Maha Terminal, third line to Gopalapatnam, construction of additional platforms and additional pit lines at the Coaching Depot have all suffered a setback for the past three years.

It’s high time the BJP government fulfilled its assurance given to the people of Andhra Pradesh, and ordered early operationalisation of the zone.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2022 10:30:08 am |