At a time when the delay in the Centre’ decision of granting a special Railway Zone to Andhra Pradesh with Vizag as its headquarters remains the hot topic of political mudslinging, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology YS Chowdary on Thursday said that the feasibility study panel did not find the project a viable one. The minister, on the sidelines of a development programme here, said,” The committee appointed by the Indian Railways to examine the feasibility of special zone project has submitted the report and it has found that the proposal is not a viable one.”
However, he quickly added that the ruling TDP government was leaving no stone unturned to get the project sanctioned. The Indian Railways set up a three-member committee to study the possibilities for a special railway zone and the panel conducted a comprehensive study by taking several factors into consideration, including operational feasibility, financial aspects, infrastructure availability and others.
The special railway zone was promised to Andhra Pradesh after the State bifurcation and it was included in the AP State Reorganisation Act, 2014. Even three and a half years have passed, the Centre is yet to announce its decision.
Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, during his visit to Waltair Railway Division last month, also did not sound positive on the demand for the special railway zone. “There are already many small railway zones and the Ministry of Railways has to take a final call on the issue,” he said. The sources in the Railways said that technically, the proposed zone was not possible. “It can happen only if the Centre gives it a nod bypassing the feasibility report,” sources said.