Major sops for Bhadrachalam region

D. Chandra Bhaskar Rao

Bhadrachalam road-Kovvur broadgauge line included in Railway budget

The new line will cut short the distance between Hyderabad and Visakhapanam by about 130 km

Pilgrims bound for Bhadradri are also taken care of by sanctioning 14 km of new rail line

KHAMMAM: The tribal pocket of Bhadrachalam became the focal area in the state grabbing the maximum in terms of sanctions and proposals in the railway budget. The Bhadrachalam road (Kothagudem) – Kovvur broadgauge line, a project that remained a dream for over six decades, was finally included in the budget thus bringing cheer not only to the commoners but many corporate houses with stakes in the region.

Pilgrims bound for Bhadradri – abode of Lord Rama are also taken care of by sanctioning 14 kilometres of new rail line connecting Sarapaka , a village on the outskirts of Bhadrachalam with Pandurangapuram station (on Manuguru - Dornakal section). New proposals benefiting the region included Bhadrachalam- Malkangiri rail line which is obviously intended for opening up the most inaccessible stretch on the Andhra -Orissa border (AOB), that had for long been the hot bed of the Maoists.

The 149-km Bhadrachalam road–Kovvur rail line proposed after Independence, could not be taken up for paucity of funds. An updating survey of the project was considered in railway budget for 2004-2005, thanks to the representations made in person by a TRS leader, Gopagani Shankar Rao to the then Minister for Railways, Lalu Prasad. His correspondence dates back to days of Madhu Dandavate as the Railway Minister.

Project cost

Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party leader and Khammam MP Nama Nageswara Rao who took up the proposal with the Railway minister was successful in convincing the Railway board about the economic viability of the project. The broadgauge line would cut short the distance between Hyderabad and Visakhapanam by about 130 km, besides connecting the region with the major ports on the east coast.

Some 200 villages inaccessible in the agencies would be benefitted by the new rail line that was likely to cost Rs 800 crores including the land acquisition cost. The people in the region would get the advantage of greater mobility sought to be provided by the project. The Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), which had been depending on the on road transportation for supply of coal to many of its bulk consumers, would also be benefited by switching over to rail transport.

So far as the Pandurangapuram – Bhadrachalam rail line was concerned, the credit would go to the Union Minister of state for Human resources Development, D. Purandareswari and the Mahabubabad MP, P. Balam Naik, says 89 year old senior Journalist, T.V.G.R Krishnamurthy. Mr. Krishnamurthy had been in the thick of the campaign for the rail links for over a decade. Looking forward to the construction of the new line, he said Bhadrachalm would emerge one of the major pilgrim centres in the country once the project came through.

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