The Waltair Railway division which came into existence in 1893 with the construction of Cuttack-Khurda Road and Puri line is all set to slip into the annals of history, with the Union Ministry of Railways announcing a separate railway zone for Andhra Pradesh with Visakhapatnam as its headquarters on Wednesday.
With a glorious history, the division will cease to exist once the new South Coast Railway (SCoR) announced by Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal after promising to examine establishing it as per item 8 Schedule 13 (infrastructure) of the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act, 2014.
The Waltair division shall be merged by bifurcating it with the neighbouring Vijayawada division and newly created Rayagada division, the officials said.
The Waltair railway division is spread over northern part of Andhra Pradesh, parts of Odisha and Chattisgarh. It has 1,106 km under its limits with 878 km of electrified route. It has 122 gazetted officers and 17,755 non-gazetted officers. Its key facilities include both diesel and electric loco sheds (the largest in Indian Railways) and a railway hospital with 154 beds.
Due to the Kothavalasa and Kirandul (KK) and the Koraput and Rayagada (KR) railway lines, it is considered one of the important freight-earners.
It gets a freight of 56.54 million tonnes with revenue of Rs.6,515.25 crore.
The annual passenger volume is put at 35.06 million, with revenue of Rs.536.43 crore. The gross revenue is Rs.7053.12 crore.
Meanwhile, there is a feeling among various sections in the North Andhra region that due to significant earnings from the KK and KR lines, those areas have been proposed to be brought under the Rayagada division and the decision was taken by the Union Railways Ministry under the pressure from the BJP leaders in Odisha.
However, the Waltair railway division has written many chapters of famous history during its journey.
Journey so far
The officials of Waltair division had played a key role in launching the operations of Visakhapatnam Port by then Bengal Nagpur Railway when the decision was taken to develop a port.
The port was thrown open to ocean traffic on October 7, 1933.
Subsequently, the division became part of South Eastern Railway.
It became part of East Coast Railway in April 2003 with headquarters in Bhubaneswar which subsequently led to a prolonged agitation by the people of Andhra Pradesh for the formation of a new zone.
Source: The Hindu