New Delhi: Acceding to the long-standing demand of the people of the bifurcated state of Andhra Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, the Centre has decided to carve out Visakapatnam from East Coast Railway and convert it into a separate zone.
The new zone would be named as South Coast Railway, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said at a media briefing here on Wednesday evening.
But ECoRly, headquartered in Bhubaneswar, could take solace from the fact that the Railway Board has decided to form a new division in Rayagada. This division will comprise some portions of the Waltair division, while the rest will be merged with the neighbouring Vijayawada division under the new Zone.
It remains to be seen how the people of Odisha and the state government reacts to the Centre’s move to carve out the all-important and revenue generating Vishakapatnam from ECoRly.
The new zone was part and parcel of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014. Indian Railways was required to examine establishing a new railway zone in the successor State of Andhra Pradesh.
Recently, Goyal had received representation from leaders from Andhra Pradesh about the Centre’s promise for a new zone in Vishakapatnam.
The new zone named “South Coast Railway (SCoR)”, will comprise existing Guntakal, Guntur and Vijayawada divisions, said a statement issued by the Railway Ministry.
Sources in ECoRly said losing of Visakhapatnam will not have any major financial impact on the zone. They said the revenue earning portion of waltair division such as Bailadila mines, Kirandul and Bacheli will continue to remain under the Rayagada division. The loss of the Vizag port will be the only set back for ECoRly.