Vijayawada city is set to lose its stake for housing the headquarters of the proposed new railway zone to Visakhapatnam amid reports that brisk work is being done behind the scenes to locate the new zone in the port city.
The Railway officials are, however, tight-lipped over the recommendations made by the committee constituted by the Railway Board to study the feasibility and other aspects of the new zone and its headquarters. The Railway Board, according to official sources, preferred to locate the new zone HQ at Visakhapatnam (Waltair).
Steps are afoot to bring Waltair Division under the purview of the new zone from its present position of in the jurisdiction of the Bhubaneswar-based East Coast Railway. The A.P. Reorganisation Act mandated the Indian Railways to ‘examine establishing a new railway zone in the Successor State of Andhra Pradesh within six months from the appointed day and take an expeditious decision thereon’.
Accordingly, decks are being cleared for the new zone which will be the 18th one on the Indian Railway map. The 17 existing zones include Kolkata Metro.
An official of Vijayawada Division told The Hindu that there would be no objection even if the Kotthavalasa-Kirandul line which is a major source of revenue for ECR is retained by it as few employees would be keen to work in that harsh terrain. As far as Vijayawada Division is concerned, the expectations of it being made HQ of the new zone were belied. It was because of the failure of local politicians.
“Vijayawada which has the busiest station in the SCR through which nearly 350 passenger and goods trains pass every 24 hours should have been duly rewarded”, the official said adding establishment of the new zone HQ would have enhanced its stature and brought more facilities to the travelling public. The biggest advantage of Vijayawada station is that it is a junction, the second busiest junction after Mughalsarai, whereas the one at Visakhapatnam is a terminus.