ECoR bifurcation: Odisha demands 3 new divisions

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government has demanded creation of three new railway divisions in the State following the Centre’s proposal to bifurcate East Coast Railway (ECoR) by withdrawing Waltair (Vishakhapatnam) division from its jurisdiction and including it in a new division in Seemandhra, the residual Andhra Pradesh after formation of Telangana.

In a recent letter to the Railway ministry, chief minister Naveen Patnaik has said that if it wants to take away Wailtair division from ECoR, all the railway zones of the State should be reorganized to fall under the jurisdiction of ECoR.

Besides, it should facilitate creation of three new divisions under ECoR. The new divisions should come up either at Rourkela or Jharsuguda, Jajpur or Keonjhar and Rayagada for empowerment of ECoR, the letter said.

Currently, while Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj come under Kolkata-headquartered South Eastern Railway, areas like Belpahar, Brajarajnagar and Sundargarh fall under South East Central Railway division in Bilaspur.

Under the AP Reorganisation Act-2014, proposals are there for the creation of a new division in Seemandhra with the inclusion of Waltair in it.

Meanwhile, the Railway Board has formed a committee to conduct a ground study on possible reorganisation of the railway divisions.

Sources said the Waltair division, which was brought under ECoR jurisdiction in 2003, has over 30 railway stations in Odisha including Koraput and Rayagada. Besides, a number of industrial units also come under this division.

Out of a total of 1,106 km of rail route under Waltair division, 37 per cent (410 km) of rail route passes through Koraput and Rayagada, they added.