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Decision on new railway zone hangs in balance

Decision on new railway zone hangs in balance
Highlights

The pressure is mounting on the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to take a decision on a new zone. Trade union leaders, railway employees and political leaders of different hues have been making trips to the national capital to impress upon the minister. A delegation of MPs from Anakapalle, Araku, Vishakapatnam and Rajahmundry met the minister recently.

The pressure is mounting on the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to take a decision on a new zone. Trade union leaders, railway employees and political leaders of different hues have been making trips to the national capital to impress upon the minister. A delegation of MPs from Anakapalle, Araku, Vishakapatnam and Rajahmundry met the minister recently.

Politicians from Andhra Pradesh are clamouring for making Vishakapatnam the headquarters of the new zone. A senior politician remarked that the railways is not able to supply rakes to Visakhapatnam port and once a new zone is established this anomaly would be rectified. The East Coast Railway Shramik Union (ECoRSU) has been vociferous in its demand. K Shiva Kumar, divisional secretary, SCRMU, Secunderabad division says, “If a new zone is created several projects would get cancelled and Rs 500 crore would be needed for the creation.”

Unions and politicians want to bring the Waltair division under the new zone from East Coast Railway. Even as the demand to make Vishakapatnam the new headquarters is gaining ground, many are also putting their bet on Vijayawada which caters to 350 passenger and goods trains every day.

A panel is constituted to study the feasibility but railway officials are tight lipped. The committee is to examine the feasibility after consulting MPs, state governments and other stake holders. MPs- Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao (Anakapalle), Kothapalli Geetha (Araku), Malyadri Sriram (Bapatla) have been repeatedly making requests. Will their voices be heard is a question only time will tell? As of now the creation of a new zone hangs in balance.

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