Hopes were crushed, sentiments were ruined, simmering discontent among Vizagites plummeted like mercury levels for non-allocation of funds for the new railway zone in Vizag and no announcement of special category status for the state of Andhra Pradesh in the Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday.
The citizens of the city raised much hope and aspiration for allocation of funds for new railway zone and grant of special category status due to bonhomie’ between the state and the Centre. Gone are the days of coalitions government with political compulsions and now with a full majority at the center seems to be suffering from several other infirmities. The essence of democracy is people’s will lost in the cacophony of speeches and wide publicity in all national newspapers at the cost of taxpayers’ money on a corruption-free government with an oasis of stability. Indeed, it is horrible to see and utterly baseless to hear without any stretch of the imagination. The arrogance of power has surpassed the basic principles of justice.
Shameless politicians shrugging of their inherent responsibility and passing the buck is the order of the day. It’s nothing but a pure display of half-truths and unwillingness of local leaders by forgetting their cherished promises. Yes, amnesia is very common among a present breed of politicians. We should hang our heads in shame once you dig deeper to unravel the startling truths about offering cushion comforts to regional allies. Ample proof for this step-motherly attitude is that not even one new project has been announced after the creation of the railway zone at Visakhapatnam. The biggest joke is not a single penny has been sanctioned for the Visakhapatnam Metro Rail project while allocating funds to other metros like Nagpur Metro Project. Not even mention of promised four vista dome coaches in the budget for the Visakhapatnam-Kirandul Passenger in order to cater to the huge rush of tourists going from Visakhapatnam to Araku.
It is an irony that the highest-earning railway Visakhapatnam Division is not given its due recognition, and it is relegated to an unnoticeable and unworthy position, dumping heaps of slur on it by de-linking of the Kothavalasa-Kirandul (KK) and Koraput-Rayagada (KR) railway lines from the new South Coast zone announced with Visakhapatnam as its headquarters. Probably with the ulterior motive to make comfortable these people from Orissa, Jharkhand.
With the formation of the new South Coast Railway zone, the people of Vizag raised much hopes that it will pay the way for the development of the hinterland, unbiased development of all the Stations and the areas in the Zone, creation of employment opportunities for the job-seeking youth in the Railways. But alas, successive Railway Ministers for the last 7 decades after Independence, never bothered to develop this Division which was one of the highest revenue earning divisions. The pressure exerted by the Andhra Pradesh MPs might be formally devoid of commitment for the cause. God Bless them with long life to contest the next elections with the oft-repeated slogans like special category status. Probably this sweet slogan will become handy for them for the next many more elections.
Visakhapatnam is a comparatively peaceful city and the natives are peace-loving people. However, when they are driven to the wall with nobody to hear and redress even their genuine grievances, they stand united irrespective of their social and political affiliations, to launch an agitation to achieve their just demands. With a lot of apathy in the official circles in the Railway Ministry, the gross indifference of politicians at the helm of affairs, it becomes inevitable for the people of Coastal Andhra to start mass movement and path of struggle for achieving development goals in the hustings. After all how much is too much?
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