Visakhapatnam gets Railway zone

Visakhapatnam railway station

Two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the coastal city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Railway Minister Piyush Goel declared the creation of a separate railway zone with the city as the headquarters.

Creation of a separate zone for the successor state of Andhra Pradesh was an assurance given in the 2014 bifurcation Act and also by the ruling BJP-led union government.

The new zone, which will consists of the money spinner divisions of Vijayawada, Guntur, and Guntakal, will be known as 'South Coast Railway'.

The South Central Railway, under which these divisions were earlier a part of, will now be limited to Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Nanded. However, the Waltair division of Andhra Pradesh will be split into two and a part will remain with Visakhapatnam.

"Opposition parties have criticised BJP unnecessarily for the delay. There were technical issues that were to be surmounted," BJP leader and NTR’s daughter D Purandheswari said.

Rajya Sabha MP G V L Narasimha Rao, comparing the initiative to a gift, conveyed his gratitude to Goel for granting the decade-long wish.

However, the ruling TDP reacted cautiously saying the Centre’s undue delay has cost the unemployed youth of the coastal region.

While there was no official response from the state government in Amaravati, the announcement is considered politically motivated.

"Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu wrote letter to the Union railway ministry about the setting up of the zone. TDP MPs have been fighting for the zone inside and outside the Parliament for long," a senior TDP leader from North Coastal Andhra said.

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