TDP’s Lok Sabha MP from Srikakulam, K Ram Mohan Naidu, on Monday, raised the issue regarding the recently announced railway zone for Andhra Pradesh. Mentioning that a special railway zone has been the dream of the people Uttarandhra for several decades, the MP requested the Central Government to initiate works related to the South Coast Railway without any further delay.
Addressing the Speaker, Mr Naidu said, “It has been 18 months and 3 weeks since the creation of South Coast Railway was announced but the zone has still not come into operation. In the recent budget, a total of Rs 170 crore was sanctioned for the creation of the new South Coast Railway Zone and the new Rayagada Division. Still, there is no clarity on when the operations are going to start. Also, there seem to be differences regarding the boundaries of the zone. I request the Central Government that the new zone covers the entire Andhra Pradesh according to the AP Reorganisation Act.”
Opposing the closing down of the Waltair Division, MP Ram Mohan Naidu said that it is among the most profitable divisions in the country and boasts of significant historic and cultural importance. Closing down the Waltair Division without a solid reason is unjust, the MP said. He further urged the Centre to include the seven railway stations under the Khurda Road in the South Coast Railway zone.
On 27 February 2019, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced that a new railway zone- South Coastal Railway (SCoR)- will be formed with Visakhapatnam as the headquarters. It was declared that the zone will comprise the existing Guntakal, Guntur, and Vijayawada Division. It was also announced that the present 125-year-old Waltair division will be divided into two parts. While one part would be incorporated in the new SCoR and will be merged with the neighbouring Vijayawada division. The remaining portion, on the other hand, shall be converted into a New Division with headquarters at Rayagada under East Coast Railway in Odisha.
The decision to bifurcate the Waltair Division though drew flak from different quarters in the region. It may be noted that several public representatives from Uttarandhra have made appeals to the Railway Minister for the retention of Waltair Division in Visakhapatnam.