Indian Railways will be making a new zone in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh named ‘South Coast Railway’, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said Wednesday.
The present divisions, including Guntakal, Guntur and Vijaywada and Waltair division will be split into two and will have the headquarter at South Coast Railway, said Goyal.
Goyal added that a part of the Waltair division will be converted into a new division with its headquarter at Rayagada, Odisha.
Last year, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had raised a demand for the creation of a new railway zone in Visakhapatnam, as per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014. However, in an internal report, the Railways Ministry had said that this will have a “catastrophic” effect, and “will be like putting many nails in the coffin of the Indian Railways”.
According to the report, prepared by senior officers of the Railway Board, the demand for a new zone to benefit a particular state “vitiates the pan-national character of the Indian Railways” and goes against the idea of the “forefathers of the nation”, who unified 42 small railways of the princely states into six zones in the 1950s.
There are 51 demands for 12 new zones and 69 demands for 35 additional divisions pending at present, as per the report. Regarding development of Andhra Pradesh’s railway infrastructure, it says there are sanctioned projects worth Rs 41,303 crore for the state, Rs 12,536 crore for Telangana, and Rs 40,641 crore for Odisha.