**Bhubaneswar:** The creation of South Coast Railway (SCoR) with headquarter at Vishakapatnam is yet another attempt by the Centre to destroy the railways in Odisha alleged BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra in a presser here on Thursday.
While large parts of North and West Odisha, which provides for major mineral traffic of Coal and Iron-Ore to Railways, continues to be under the jurisdiction of Bilaspur (SECR) and Chakradharpur (SER) Divisions, the creation of the new zone by splitting and transferrring major part of the Waltair Railway Division to the new railway zone has sounded a death bell to the railways in Odisha under East Coast Railway (ECoR), said Patra.
He further informed that, the diesel shed in Vizag is the biggest Diesel loco shed in the country. In Odisha there is no such Diesel Engine Shed. For electric engines also the Loco Shed at Vizag is the biggest in ECoR and similar is the story for Wagon maintenance facilities.
Reportedly under ECoR, the maintenance of almost all Diesel, Electric Engines and wagons was being undertaken in Vishakapatnam, where Railways have been investing continously over last decades and half.
Patra termed it unfortunate that despite continous request of Odisha Government and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to invest in Odisha, the Railways chose to put almost all its maintenance infrastructure and investments in Visakhapatnam. And now without these facilities, ECoR will be highly dependent on other railways and will not be able to serve the need of people and industries of Odisha.
CM Patnaik in a letter ot Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on February 16 had opposed this very move of taking away from ECoR in order to set up a new Railway Zone, headquartered in the State of Andhra Pradesh.
The Chief Minister had placed the demand to unify railways within Odisha by creating three more Railway Divisions under ECoR with its proposed headquarters being Rourkela, Jajpur/Jajpur-Keonjhar Road and Rayagada.
Patra further alleged the Centre has been ignoring the sanctioned projects for Odisha like the Sitapalli Wagon Factory and Narla Wagon Factory and Maintenance Workshop.
While Odisha provides Rs 20,000 crores as revenue in a year, the BJD led Centre spends hardly Rs 2000 crores in a year, thereby depriving Odisha of its rights. With industries and ports, minerals and huge investment projects, Odisha not being considered as a new Zone in itself with the three proposed divisions speaks volumes about the BJP’s neglect of Odisha.
The new SCoR was not a mandatory provision under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. This new zone coming just days before the Union Elections clearly exhibits that it has been done only for political purposes at the cost of the development of Odisha and its railways.
Patra targeted Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Juel Oram and the State BJP accusing them of crying crocodile tears for Odisha. He said people of Odisha will never forget Pradhan and BJP led Centre for this betrayal and conspiracy to satisfy the people of Andhra Pradesh for electoral gains.