Railways panel to examine new zones proposals

Railways has set up a committee to examine the proposals for creation of new zones and divisions, a decade after it embarked on such an exercise.

Updated: Jul 08, 2012, 11:40 AM IST

New Delhi: Amid growing demands from various quarters for creation of new zones and divisions, Railways has set up a six-member committee to examine the proposals, a decade after it embarked on such an exercise.

The committee would look into the various demands from state governments, MPs and MLAs since 2009 and submit its report within the next six months, sources in the Ministry said.

The development comes in the wake of sustained demands from political class and clamour from citizen groups for reorganisation of zones and divisions, which, they contend, would not only help Railways oversee operations more efficiently but also help the regions benefit from it.

Close to 30 proposals have been received over the last three years for creation of zones and divisions from across the country, they said. At present, there are 17 zones in the country.

The committee will take into consideration operational feasibility, financial implications, administrative issues, infrastructural availability to examine the feasibility of the creation of new zones or reorganisation of the existing ones.

About a decade back, Railways had added seven new zones to its network after an exhaustive exercise of redrawing the zones.

The seven zones were South Western Railway, North Western Railway, West Central Railway, North Central Railway, South East Central Railway, East Coast Railway and East Central Railway.

Kolkata Metro was added as a new zone in December 2010, making it the 17th zone.

During its course of examining the proposals, the committee would consult the zonal railways and also take the views of the federations and unions about proposals which are found feasible, officials said.

The setting up of the committee, however, comes at a time when Railways is battling with financial odds. Any reorganisation proposal would be studied taking the financial implications on Railways, the officials said.

Opposition to the creation of new zones will also be another factor which the committee would have to keep in mind. Arrangement to ensure operational efficiency and economic viability will be of prime concern for the committee, they said.