Andhra Pradesh still awaits promised railway zone

Visakhapatnam: As Andhra Pradesh and Telangana mark the 10th anniversary of their bifurcation, the promise of a separate railway zone for Andhra Pradesh has remained unfulfilled.

Despite multiple commitments during the bifurcation process, operationalization of the South Coast Railway (SCoR) zone has faced numerous delays, sparking criticism and political controversy.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, included a provision for examining the feasibility of establishing a new railway zone. In February 2019, the Centre announced the creation of the South Coast Railway (SCoR) zone which will be headquartered in Visakhapatnam. However, the operationalization of the zone has been delayed due to various reasons.
BJP leaders have accused the Andhra Pradesh government of delaying the operationalization of the South Coast Railway Zone. Thy claim that the main reasons for the delay include the delay in land transfer and lack of support from the state government. The TD party has also accused the YSRC government of not taking significant steps to establish the railway zone despite the Centre's announcements and allocations.
They claim that the state government has wasted four years without allotting the land despite repeated requests from the Centre, leading to the delay in operationalizing the railway zone. Additionally, the TD suggests that the funds allocated for the railway zone in 2020-21 budget remain unutilized due to the state government's inaction in allotting the necessary land.
The YSRC government has responded to the accusations by providing explanations regarding the land allotment and funds utilization. They claim they have allotted 52.2 acres near the Mudasarlova reservoir catchment area for the railway zone.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, during a press briefing, stated that the Centre is working with the state government to resolve the issues pertaining to the land for the construction of the South Coast Railway (S Co R) Zonal Headquarters.
Furthermore, concerning the separate railway zone, the then ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) initially introduced the proposal for the Visakhapatnam Metro back in October 2016. The project was established under a special purpose vehicle to oversee its execution. Proposals were put forth to implement a light metro spanning 79 kilometers across six corridors, along with a modern tram covering 60.20 kilometers, at an estimated cost of Rs 8.330 crore.
In 2024, during the Vision Visakha programme in Visakhapatnam on February 25th, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy announced a revised metro project. The new plan aims to extend over 140.13 kilometers across 10 corridors, to be developed in 10 phases. The first phase will encompass the construction of 46.40 kilometers, including a 34.23-kilometer stretch from steel plant to Kommadi, 5.26 kilometers from Gurdwara to Old Post Office, and 6.91 kilometers from Tadichettla Palame to RK Beach.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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