Deo urges Centre to shift ECoR Hqrs to Vizag

Bhubaneswar: After the reported consideration of Bihar for Special Category Status by the Centre, Odisha received an unexpected jolt following Union Minister of Tribal Affairs and Panchayati Raj V. Kishore Chandra Deo recently urged the Centre to shift the East Coast Zonal Headquarters to Vishakhapatnam.
 
In a letter to the Antony Committee, constituted by the Centre to look into the situation arising out of the decision to form a separate Telangana state, Deo reasoned that since “Vishakhapatnam is situated at the centre of the east coast between Kolkata and Chennai, the East Coast Railways Headquarters which should have been located at Vishakhapatnam is unfortunately established at Bhubaneswar.”
 
“The South Eastern Zonal Railway Headquarters (currently in Kolkata) may be shifted to Bhubaneswar with the Khurda division attached to it and the East Coast Zonal Headquarters must be shifted to Vishakhapatnam with the addition of Vijayawada Division in the lieu of Khurda Division,” the minister said.
 
Deo suggested that the South Eastern Zonal Railway Headquarters should be shifted from Kolkata to Bhubaneswar as “by no stretch of imagination can Kolkata be said to be any part of the South Eastern region.”
 
Currently Kolkata houses two Headquarters – Eastern Zonal Railways and the South Eastern Zonal Railway Headquarters.
 
In the letter Deo has sought equitable development of all regions of Andhra Pradesh in the wake of bifurcation of the state.
 
Talking to OTV the minister opined, “My proposal to shift the ECoR Headquarters to Vishakhapatnam will undoubtedly smoothen the functioning of all the divisions under the respective zones.”
 
Asked about the apprehension of resistance from Odisha over the issue, he added, “There should not be any sort of resistance since the state is not losing anything.”   
 
Meanwhile, Deo’s proposal has ignited the fire of politics in the poll-bound state. While BJD has criticised such a move, the Congress said that the South Eastern Zonal Railway Headquarters should be shifted to Odisha first.
 
“It is a clear conspiracy against Odisha. I can’t understand what is the need of such a proposal. We strongly condemn it and we’ll raise voice if the Centre further thinks about the move,” Finance minister Prasanna Acharya said.
 
“We have no issue in the shifting of headquarters but I’d like to request Deo that steps should be taken to move the South Eastern Zonal Railway Headquarters to Odisha first and then the ECoR to Vishakhapatnam,” Congress leader and former Railway minister Kanhu Charan Lenka said.