Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Visakhapatnam on March 1 to address a party meeting. Protests are being organised across the state with black flags asking Modi to go back. The Prime Minister had seen this protest a couple of weeks ago when he visited Guntur. Though he termed the black flag protests as a sign of clearing evil forces in his career, he was not comfortable with the State holding protests when he visits. Perhaps this is the reason why he had announced the railway zone for Visakhapatnam.
There was no cabinet decision for the creation of new railway zone. There was no gazette notification for the same. It was just proceedings of the railway board which were read out by railway minister Piyush Goel. It might take some time for the Central government to complete the formalities and create the new zone. The physical functioning of the zone might take some more months as there are more issues connected to the new zone.
Shockingly and surprisingly, the government had, while proposing new zone for Andhra Pradesh, scrapped one existing railway division. The proposal says the existing Waltair railway division would now cease to exist. The Andhra Pradesh portion of the division now would be merged with Vijayawada division, while the remaining portion would be kept under a new division created with rayagad as its headquarters. One wonders why the Waltair division was dissolved by the government while giving a new zone at Visakhapatnam.
The government had named the new zone as South Coastal Railway (SCoR) and would now be housed in the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) office at Waltair. This would mean that the government does not require even a single rupee investment for the new zone except to change the Waltari DRM office name board into office of the SCoR general manager.
This is what the Narendra Modi government had rolled out for Andhra Pradesh, which had been waiting for years to see a new zone with Visakhapatnam as its headquarters. Though the zone is announced, there is no enthusiasm among the people as the new zone is not going to bring any investments to the State. The decision had just converted the Waltair DRM office into the SCoR GM office and had not set for any other benefits.