Visakhapatnam MP K Hari Babu from the BJP on Thursday said that a formal decision would be taken by the Central government soon, on setting up a railway zone in Andhra Pradesh, with the city as its headquarters.
Hari Babu said that the decision would be announced after a tour of the state by Central ministers Piyush Goyal, Nitin Gadkari and Prakash Javadekar.
The Ministers are expected to highlight the achievements of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government over the last four years.
Speaking to reporters, he also said that an in-principle decision had already been taken when party leaders from the state met with BJP national President Amit Shah, in New Delhi recently.
The demand for a separate zone, with its headquarters at Visakhapatnam, is often clubbed with protests for granting Special Category Status to Andhra. Many along Andhraâ€™s northern coast have reiterated the demand.
In March this year, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba said that feasibility reports and the Railway Board were not in favour of a new railway zone for the state. He also said that a new port at Duggirajupatnam was not feasible and asked the state to look for alternate site.
â€śThe Railway Board was averse to the establishment of the new zone. Its formation is a political decision. The Railway Minister would issue instructions to the board in this regard soon,â€ť Haribabu told mediapersons, responding to the earlier statement.
In January this year, then Minister of State for Science and Technology, Y Sujana Chowdary, said that the demand in Andhra Pradesh for a separate rail zone was not viable.
The Minister was quoting a railway technical committee report.
The separate railway zone for Andhra Pradesh was included in the 13th Schedule of the AP Reorganisation Act. The state government had suggested that the railway zone could be established by clubbing Waltair, Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal divisions.
Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has also assured his state several times that a railway zone would definitely be established, with its headquarters at Visakhapatnam.