Vizag Rly Zone An unfulfilled dream

Vizag Rly Zone An unfulfilled dream

Vizag Rly Zone An unfulfilled dream. The citizens of Visakhapatnam waited with bated breath for the long-awaited announcement of new railway zone in the bifurcated Andhra Pradesh.

The citizens of Visakhapatnam waited with bated breath for the long-awaited announcement of new railway zone in the bifurcated Andhra Pradesh. But their hopes were dashed by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu who took part in BJP Jan Kalyan Parv in Visakhapatnam recently. One thought gone were the days of coalition governments at the Centre with political compulsions. Alas, it was not to be.

Amnesia seems to be very common among the present breed of politicians, too. Visakhapatnam division contributes whopping earnings to the Railways, but these earnings are diverted for development purposes in other divisions of East Coast Railway, relegating the North Coastal Region to the lower than the lowest option.

Ample proof for this attitude is that not even an inch of new railway line was laid after Independence. The main line between Cuttack and Visakhapatnam was laid during the period in between 1893 and 1896 i.e, 114 years back. Naupada – Gunupur, Raipur – Vizianagram and Bobbi – Salur lines were laid nearly 2 centuries back.

Diversion of important trains from Visakhapatnam to Bhubaneswar, drastically reducing the reservation quota for the local people of this region for trains like Visakha Express from Secunderabad and Prashanthi Express from Bangalore, resulted in a feeling of alienation. Ironically, the earlier quota of passenger reservation in trains like Mail, Coromondel and other express trains emanating from Howrah and Bhubaneswar have been drastically reduced.

What is more Godavari Express, a train with 100% occupancy right from its inception some decades back, was also proposed to be extended to Bhubaneswar for the reason that it has no sufficient occupancy rate – the biggest joke!!! It is an irony that the highest earning Visakhapatnam Division is not given its due recognition, and it is relegated to an unnoticeable and unworthy position, dumping heaps of slur on it by diverting some important trains as if these super fast trains hate to see Visakhapatnam.

Probably, with the ulterior motive to make comfortable these people from Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh by extending these superfast train facilities to them only. In the matter of employment opportunities in the Railways, people of North Andhra in the Waltair Division are mostly denied appointments either in the East Coast Railway.

Formation of a separate zone would only help development of hinterland, unbiased development of all the stations and the areas in the zone, and lead to creation of employment opportunities to the job seeking youth in the Railways. Successive Railway Ministers for the last more than 6 decades after the Independence, never bothered to develop this Division which was one of the highest revenue earning divisions.

With a lot of apathy in the official circles in the Railway Ministry, and the East Coast Railway and given the gross indifference of politicians at the helm of affairs, it becomes inevitable for the people of Coastal Andhra to start a mass movement for achieving a separate railway zone.

By Javvadi Lakshmana Rao

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