Andhra Pradesh

Demand to retain residual portion of SCoR’s Waltair Division grows louder

Visakhapatnam Railway Station

Visakhapatnam Railway Station   | Photo Credit: C.V.Subrahmanyam

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No logic behind shifting it to Vijayawada, says Vijaya Sai Reddy

Demand for retaining the residual portion of Waltair Division is growing louder by the day. Leaders of various political parties are appealing to the Railway Minister not to go ahead with the decision of merging the residual portion of Waltair with the Vijayawada Division.

YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) general secretary and Rajya Sabha Member V. Vijaya Sai Reddy, who had led a delegation of party MPs to the Railway Minister in the past, had sought continuation of the residual portion of Waltair Division with headquarters in Visakhapatnam.

‘Heartburn’

He followed it up by writing a letter to the Prime Minister. Mr. Reddy handed over the letter to the PMO in Delhi last week. While thanking Mr. Narendra Modi for granting the new South Coast Railway (SCoR) zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, he noted that the decision to split Waltair Division into two and transferring one part to the newly announced Rayagada Division and merging the remaining portion with Vijayawada Division has caused heartburn among the people of Visakhapatnam region. “The YSRCP and the State government are also highly dissatisfied with this decision,” he said.

Highest revenue earner

He noted that throughout the history of Indian Railways, new divisions were created to make them more efficient and operationally feasible.

“Waltair Division is one of the few full-fledged divisions in India that has excellent infrastructure as well as abundant land for expansion. It is unprecedented in the 166 years of the history of Indian Railways that a high revenue earning division was being dissolved,” Mr. Reddy pointed out.

Further, Waltair, which earned about ₹8,000 crore in 2018-19, is the fifth highest earning of the 67 railway divisions in Indian Railways and, with revenue much more than the combined revenue of the other three Divisions of SCoR: Guntur, Vijayawada and Guntakal. “The move would also make Vijayawada Division unwieldy and complicated, and would be a drain on the Indian Railways financially besides making it an operational nightmare,” he said.

Mr. Reddy also noted that ₹5,300 crore of the ₹8,000 crore revenue of Waltair was generated from Visakhapatnam city itself.

Further, the existing railway infrastructure in Visakhapatnam was adequate to run the divisional headquarters and would not involve any additional expenditure. He appealed to the Prime Minister to consider continuation of Waltair Division with slight modifications in contours, based on technical and operational feasibilities. Mr. also sought replacing the colonial name of ‘Waltair’ with ‘Visakhapatnam Division’.

Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee Member (East Coast Railway) N. Gajapathi Rao wrote to the Railway Minister seeking continuation of the 125-year-old Waltair Division. “There was no precedent of dissolving an existing division, when a zonal headquarter was formed in the same city,” he noted.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 2:31:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/demand-to-retain-residual-portion-of-scors-waltair-division-grows-louder/article29317115.ece

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