Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik opposed the ‘ one – sided move’ by the railway ministry to set up a new railway zone headquartered in Andhra Pradesh which would, in all probability include the existing Waltair Division which is currently under the East Coast railway zone headquartered in Odisha.
Mr Patnaik has infact demanded expansion of the East Coast Railway Zone and creation of three more divisions under it. The CM who cut short his visit to Delhi by a day and returned on Friday sent a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in this regard.
Even though Odisha has always played a major role in the fortunes of Indian Railways, it has been neglected in terms of rail infrastructure development, he said. East Coast Railway (ECoR) was made functional with 3 Divisions namely, Khurda Road, Sambalpur and Waltair.
On Friday it is the largest contributor to Indian Railway, being the premier freight loading railway and at the same time also boasts of one of the lowest operating costs amongst all the zonal railways. The artificial barriers of Divisional and Zonai boundaries are now impeding further growth which Odisha is capable of offering to Indian Railways.
The expansion of EcoR to cover all parts of Odisha under one zone is required. Expansion of ECoR has become a necessity in light of the recent industrial projects coming up in Qdisha to ensure better coordination and facilitation of bulk customers. He iterated that 3 more Railway Divisions under East Coast Railway – at Rourkela under ECoR Railway, Jajpur and Rayagada.
The proposed reorganization will help the Railways in better delivery of services in the State in terms of both meeting the requirements of the large and medium freight customers, the aspirations of amenities for the people and also in expediting the project works, said the CM.
Mr Patnaik pointed out that Ministry of Railways had constituted a Committee of Senior Officers in 2013- 14 to look into the possibility of reorganization of Railways for Andhra Pradesh. After consulting all the stake holders and considering a11 the options, the Committee had concluded that creation of artificial barriers was impeding the growth of Railways and therefore, had rejected the proposal of dividing ECoR in the interest of Railways and the nation.
The CM stated that before considering creation of any new zone for AP, the ministry needs to create three more divisions under EcoR as the proposal has been pending since three years.
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