Big statements, huge promises and dreams of a global city, if Vishakapatnam’s situation can be described in three words then we couldn’t find anything better. The never ending tale of conflict between East Coast Railway, South Central Railway and Vizag’s new railway zone is the big debate now in three different south Indian states. Before getting into the details you need to clearly know what a railway zone is and how things work here.
Railway zones: Post Independence, in 1950 a legislation was passed allowing the central government to take control over the independent railways created by British and private ownership. Thus railway zones came into existence. Though this may sound something complex and difficult it is rather as simple as “The Indian Railways is divided into individual zones, which are further sub-divided into divisions, each having a divisional headquarters” there are 17 railway zones of which Kolkata metro was given this status recently in the year 2010.
South Central Railway Zone: In 1966, South Central Railway Zone came into existence from former Nizam owned Railway Network which is roughly about 6115 Kms and comprises of cities like Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Guntakal, Guntur, Vijaywada, Nanded and expands to states like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
East Coast Railway Zone: The very First of the recently carved new railway zones. Formed in 2003, the east coast railway zone interlinks most of the major routes in the eastern coastal areas of the country. Located in Bhubaneswar, the headquarters of East Coast Railway is now a major ploy in political gamble being played by the center. And Vishakapatnam being one of the busiest railway stations in this zone as well as the country is in a cluster because of this.
MP Suresh Prabhu led Railway Ministry has introduced the railway budget in parliament which doesn’t cover any topic above but rather focused on allocating additional benefits instead of the existing demand from these 3 states.
The employees in Ecor Bhubaneswar have held a protest against this.
SCR Mazdoor Union suggested the sharing of Vizag between ECoR and SCR
The Problem: After the bifurcation in 2014 the central government and the Andhra Pradesh Re-Organization ACT -2014 have made several huge promises and statements to secure their “fate”for 2014 elections. But none of them came into existence until recently. Here’s one such “right” every Andhraite is entitled to and sadly now the journey seems to be halted in a station called confusion.
The ECoR insists that Vizag should be under its zone and states that any alternative proposal like shifting its headquarters from Bhubaneswar to Vizag will be rejected sternly. But, the netas in AP have a different opinion over this; they demand that a new railway zone should be established unconditionally, provided that the main stations in AP are included in this zone. Also, The south central railway zone headquartered in Secunderabad has not moved forward for carving out stations such as Vijaywada, Guntur and Gunthakal from its zone.
Though many propositions like shifting the ECOR headquarters to Vishaka, Carving out stations from SCR and allocating to ECoR, Making Vijaywada the head of new zone and dividing the SCR and Vizag zone without disrupting Ecor etc have been made by many, but the govt has not considered any of these options rather is sticking to its wait-and watch style.
With the elections nearing, this topic will likely be a key role of debate and NDA in south as well as the TDP party in AP are going to receive a lot of criticism over this. Also, It is likely that this may be held for later by NDA and introduce it right before elections for political advantage.
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