A meeting called by the South Central Railway authorities with the MPs of Vijayawada, Guntur, and Guntakal divisions, here on Tuesday ended abruptly with the TDP MPs staging a walkout to register their protest against denial of the promised separate railway zone for the State with Visakhapatnam as headquarters by the NDA government at the Centre.
The MPs had a “strategy meeting” at Vijayawada MP Kesineni Nani’s house in the morning, where they decided to press for the railway zone at the meeting.
The leaders came together to the meeting venue in a mini-van and submitted to SCR General Manager Vinod Kumar Yadav individual letters relating to the railway issues in their respective areas.
The MPs then sought clarity on the promised railway zone, reminding the authorities that it was part of the A.P. Reorganisation Act, 2014. Mr. Yadav said he would convey their demand to the Union Railway Ministry since he was not the competent authority to handle the issue.
The MPs gave a common representation to him, raised slogans in support of their demand and walked out. Holding placards, they continued to raise slogans and squatted on the steps of the office.
“A separate railway zone is the right of the people of Andhra Pradesh. We are more keen on fulfilment of this particular promise made at the time of bifurcation. Local issues can be addressed at the local level by engaging the authorities here,” said Mr. Nani.
Eluru MP Maganti Venkateswara Rao (Babu) alleged that the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre was deliberately denying the railway zone to the region.
“Their idea is to implement the project through a party that will ally with the BJP in the elections,” he said.
Rajahmahendravaram MP M. Muralimohan called the “delay” in implementation of the railway zone “a ploy to make Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu unpopular among the people of the State.”
Machilipatnam MP Konakalla Narayana Rao lashed out at the Modi Government, saying development projects were being denied to the State as part of a bigger ploy of the Centre.
He said the Railway Board meetings were reduced to a formality with the projects proposed by the people’s representatives neglected for long periods.