Visakhapatnam: Leaders of various parties, cutting across their political affiliations, staged a huge dharna opposite the DRM’ s office at Dondaparthy here on Friday demanding a separate railway zone with headquarters at Visakhapatnam.
The activists raised slogans against the government and demanded North Andhra MPs to submit their resignations from their seats. They vowed to organise a joint struggle till the demand was achieved.
They said that Visakhapatnam was one of the fastest growing cities in Asia with tremendous economic, IT and industrial activities, which have direct impact on the development of the backward coastal districts of Srikakulam and Vizianagaram.
Visakhapatnam needs direct rail connectivity with all important stations in the country and better facilities for passengers and goods traffic. This would be possible only when a separate Railway Zone with Head Quarters in Visakhapatnam was created.
The activists said Waltair was one of the best revenue earning Divisions in India and the present area covered under the Division justifies the demand for creation of a separate zone. They also alleged that in the past less revenue earning were accorded Zonal status in other parts of the country.
They alleged that the authorities of the present Zonal Office at Bhubaneswar were snatching the existing facilities by reducing the berths, extending trains to Bhubaneswar, diverting important trains through Duvvada without touching Visakhapatnam and not undertaking any major developmental activities in the Region.
The speakers also demanded establishment of a Railway recruitment board (RRB) in Visakhapatnam in view of the injustice being done to candidates from the region in selections.
The other demands include setting up of a freight corridor and either a coach or a wagon factory in Visakhapatnam.
The leaders submitted a memorandum listing the demands to the DRM for forwarding to the Chairman of the Railway Board. In the dharna, activists from YSR Congress party, Bharatiya janata Party and communist party of India participated.
The police arrested a few of activists when they tried to barge into DRM’s office and shifted them to nearby police station.(INN)