VISAKHAPATNAM: The hopes of people in north Coastal Andhra for getting new trains and new railway lines, were dashed by the 2016-17 Railway Budget. Majority of demands from the region remained unfulfilled. However, the proposal for establishment of a dedicated freight corridor between Vijayawada and Kharagpur is a major boost to Visakhapatnam city for improved port operations.
In the new Railway Budget, minister Suresh Prabhu sanctioned doubling of 15 railway lines at a cost of Rs 1,088.95 crore in Waltair division. These include the railway lines between Kottavalasa-Jagdalpur, Kirandul-Jagdalpur, Jagdalpur-Koraput junction, besides laying of a third line between Vizianagaram and Sambalpur as well as Bhadrak-Vizianagaram and also Vizianagaram-Kottavalasa. The Railways also proposed to take up fourth line between Kottavalasa and Simhachalam North as well as doubling of bypass line on Simhachalam North-Gopalapatnam under these works. Based on a request made by Anakapalle MP M Srinivasa Rao, the Railways allotted Rs 16.83 crore to study the feasibility of Tuni-Kottavalasa railway line via Narsipatnam, Chodavaram and Madugula. The laying of a third line on the Vijayawada-Duvvada route under South Central Railway zone at a cost of Rs 50 crore, is also considered to be an advantage for the city’s rail traffic. As promised earlier, the Railway ministry had agreed to introduce a Double Decker express train between Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada.
Further, the Railways sanctioned 28 works worth Rs 173.34 crore for Waltair division including traffic facilities, elimination of level-crossing gates, construction of railway over bridges/railway under bridges, track renewals, signal and telecom works, traction distribution works, and also creation of staff and passenger amenities.
Terming the budget as passenger/client- centric, Waltair divisional railway manager Chandralekha Mukherjee told reporters here Thursday that though none of the proposals for new trains from the Waltair division was approved, the division was expecting allotment of at least two new trains among the new types of trains including Antyodaya Express, Humsafar Express and others of trains, during the new fiscal 2016-17. “We are hopeful to open a container section during this fiscal, while tenders will be invited for setting up a sewage treatment plant at Visakhapatnam in March,” she said. The central bridge at the Visakhapatnam railway station, is also proposed for widening.
To the queries, the DRM said that the Vistadome coach proposed to run with the Visakhapatnam-Araku train is under construction and is expected to commence operations by July this year. The plan for the proposed wagon workshop at Visakhapatnam, also was finalised and Rs 30 crore were sanctioned in the new budget to take up further works. Further, she stated that focus was on improving the passenger amenities and also cleanliness at the railway stations.