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S Coast railway zone to be operational in 2 months

The new zone with headquarters at Vizag was formed in February, 2019 but not yet commissioned

S Coast railway zone to be operational in 2 months
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BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao submitting a memorandum to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in New Delhi

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Visakhapatnam: The dream project of Andhra Pradesh, the formation of South Coast Railway (SCoR) will be made operational in two months with positive response from the Central government, BJP MP and national spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said on Sunday.

The new zone will have a length of 3,496 km with 1,106 route km. At present, Waltair division is part of East Coast Railway Zone (ECoR) with headquarters at Bhubaneswar. Before ECoR, the areas were part of South Eastern Railway with headquarters in Kolkata.

After meeting Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, he told Bizz Buzz in an interview that both land and finance had been made available to operationalise the new zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam. This was one of the main demands at the time of bifurcation in 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the eve of general elections had announced here that a new zone will be formed in deference to the growing public demand in February, 2019.

Rao said they are trying to invite the Prime Minister to lay the foundation stone for the SCoR zonal headquarters office complex when he is likely to visit the City of Destiny in connection with the commissioning of the 15 million tonne expansion project of HPCL Visakh Refinery.

The refinery has been expanded from 8.33 million tonnes at a cost of Rs 22,000 crore. There are also efforts include the launching of modernisation of Visakhapatnam Railway Station at a cost of over Rs 900 crore and other mega projects.

The government has also approved the Detailed Project Report (DPR). Delay in making the zone operational has caused anguish among the zone protagonists leading to issuing of a threat to revive railway zone by several activists of Visakhapatnam Railway Zone Sadhana Porata Samiti.

Now it has been proposed to make the zonal office into a smart office by using the latest technologies like Internet of Things (IoT). The new zone will consist of Guntakal, Guntur and Vijayawada divisions and the proposed Rayagada divisions. One of the main bones of contention was the proposal to wind up the profit-making Waltair division and merge parts of it in Vijayawada and Rayagada divisions.

The DPR moots construction of zonal office in an area of 20 acres and the conversion of Divisional Railway Manager's office into zonal office as an ad hoc arrangement till the permanent buildings are ready. Allotment of additional posts, air conditioning and furnishing the existing office will cost around Rs 5 crore.

Another building has been suggested near the office for training purposes. Unused land measuring 40 acres at Wireless Colony and 52.22 acres allotted to railways at Mudasarlova, according to the DPR, can be used for various zonal offices and quarters.

The DPR has recommended 170 gazetted officers and 1200 non-gazetted staff for SCoR of which 90 from South Central Railway and 40 from ECoR will be absorbed in the new zone.

Santosh Patnaik
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