The Central government, in its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Friday, expressed inability to concede the Andhra Pradesh government’s demand for an exclusive railway zone.

It was stated in an annexure to the affidavit filed in response to Telangana Congress leader Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy’s petition seeking details of the implementation of the A.P. Reorganisation Act, 2014 (APRA) that there were already 16 zones and the establishment of a new one was “a remote possibility as it would not be operationally efficient”.

A final decision would be taken on the basis of the expert committees’ views and those of the MPs, the State governments concerned and other stakeholders.

The affidavit quoted from the minutes of a review meeting held on the APRA in March 2018 under the chairmanship of the Secretary of Union Home Ministry. However, according to a counsel appearing for the petitioner in the apex court, in the light of Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in the Rajya Sabha that the zone would be established as promised, the Central government might file a revised affidavit as per its political commitment.

The Centre also said Section 75 of the APRA provided only for the continuity of the services of the institutions listed under Schedule X located in one State to other and not for apportionment of their assets and liabilities. Besides, there was no provision specifically regulating the distribution of ownership of Schedule X institutions.

Metro project

The affidavit also clarified that the approval of the Vijayawada metro railway project was subject to its recasting in accordance with the New Metro Rail Policy of 2017. The State was yet to submit certificates of utilisation of Rs. 1,000 crore given for expansion of drains in Vijayawada and Guntur while the UCs were submitted for Rs. 1,500 granted for construction of capital city.

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