Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, along with Railway Board Chairman Vinod Yadav, on Friday, announced that plans are afoot to operationalise the newly announced Visakhapatnam Railway Zone within eleven months. Informing that an OSD (Office on Special Duty) has been appointed for the railway zone and a comprehensive plan will be prepared within three months. Saying that the whole process of establishing the new zone isn’t an easy one, the Minister added that the entire infrastructure would be readied under 36 months.
The newly appointed OSD, SS Srinivas, will work towards planning the formation of the Visakhapatnam railway zone. Srinivas, who earlier worked as Chief Personnel Officer (Administration), South Central Railway, will undertake duties such as the survey of existing infrastructural facilities, the requirement of land acquisition, preparation of DPR for additional requirements and the blueprint for a smooth transition of staff into the new zone, a statement from railways said.
Piyush Goyal, on 27 February, announced a new railway zone to Andhra Pradesh, with headquarters in Visakhapatnam. Named as South Coastal Railway (SCoR), the zone will comprise the existing Guntakal, Guntur, and Vijayawada Division. Goyal further stated that the present Waltair division will be divided into two parts. One part will be incorporated in the new SCoR, and will be merged with the neighbouring Vijayawada division. The remaining portion shall be converted into a New Division with headquarters at Rayagada under East Coast Railway in Odisha.
However, the centre’s decision to bifurcate the Waltair division has not gone down well with many in Visakhapatnam. Protests were held in the city, urging the centre to reconsider its call to divide the 125-year-old Waltair division.