Bhubaneswar, Sep 11:
The ruling BJD today announced a three-day demonstration from tomorrow at railway stations across the state to protest the proposal of Union minister for Tribal Affairs and Panchayati Raj V Kishor Chandra Deo for shifting the headquarters of East Coast Railway (ECoR) from Bhubaneswar to Vishakhapatnam.
The youth wing of BJD will hold an hour-long demonstration at the railway stations from September 12 to 14 in protest against the move.
“The proposal of the Uunion minister is unfortunate. We will stage demonstration from September 12 to 14 at all the railway stations across the state to protest the move,” said Sanjay Dasburma, BJD youth president.
The Union minister’s proposal has provided ready ammunition to the BJD to gun for the Congress in the run up to the urban elections in the state scheduled for September 19.
“ECoR came to Odisha after a long struggle in 2003. This is a conspiracy by the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and an insult to Odia pride,” said Prasanna Acharya, senior BJD leader and state Finance minister.
Deo had proposed shifting of the ECoR headquarters to Vizag in a submission before Antony Committee, which is looking into the repercussions of the separation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh and the possible mitigation measures to counter any untoward situation.
Clearly aware of the repercussions of such a proposal on the psyche of the Odias, Deo has also simultaneously pleaded for shifting of the headquarters of South Eastern Railway (SER), currently located in Kolkata, to Bhubaneswar by way of compensation to Odisha.
Since Vizag is situated in the middle of Kolkata and Chennai, the headquarters of the railway division should be shifted to the coastal town of Andhra Pradesh while the SER headquarters can be relocated to Bhubaneswar by annexing the Khurda division to it.
But his proposal has drawn severe criticism from both Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the state Congress unit.
Former Railway minister and senior Congress leader Kanhu Charan Lenka said, the Union minister must announce the shifting of SER headquarters to Bhubaneswar first and then talk about shifting ECoR to Vizag.
Currently, ECoR has three divisions – Khurda, Sambalpur and Vishakhapatnam – under its jurisdiction.