The lack of even a mention on the long-pending demand for establishment of a new railway zone in Andhra Pradesh in the affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court, has dampened the spirits of people of the city and region and evoked criticism from various quarters.
“Our party leadership in Delhi has already taken a ‘political decision’ on setting up of a new railway zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam and there would be no going back on it,” says BJP leaders from the city.
Refuting the criticism that the Centre did not even make a mention of the ‘Visakha Railway Zone’ in its affidavit to the Supreme Court, the party leaders said the Centre had replied to the specific questions raised and since the political decision was outside the purview of the AP Reorganisation Act, there was no need to mention it.
They admitted that the BJP, when it was in the Opposition, had demanded a new rail zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, and had promised it in its 2014 election manifesto.
“The AP Reorganisation Act only said a committee should be formed to examine the feasibility of setting up of a new railway zone in AP. The committee had reported that there was no feasibility of setting up a new zone. Hence, a political decision was taken to establish the new zone,” they said.
A political decision on the establishment of a new railway zone, with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, was reportedly taken at a meeting of BJP leaders from the State with the party’s national president Amit Shah in New Delhi on June 13.
Senior party leaders GVL Narasimha Rao, Ram Madhav, Muralidhara Rao, BJP Mahila Morcha national leader D. Purandeswari, party’s State president Kanna Lakshminarayana, Visakhapatnam MP Kambhampati Haribabu and BJP Floor Leader in the AP Assembly P. Vishnu Kumar Raju were among those who were present at the meeting.
Subsequently, Mr. Haribabu had announced in Visakhapatnam that a decision was taken ‘in principle’ to establish the new railway zone.
“Our party leadership had taken a political decision to establish the new railway zone, with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, on June 13. This was purely a political decision taken to honour the sentiments of the people of Visakhapatnam, who have been waging struggles for nearly two decades on the issue,” Mr. Vishnu Kumar Raju told The Hindu , when contacted on Friday.