Lost in Partition, the Majha-Malwa rail link is about to be revived.
Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal corrected history's mistake while announcing the Ferozepur-Patti track that will revive this lost link, the Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) has said in a statement issued here on Wednesday. "Injustice was done to the border belt after the creation of Pakistan," said the AVM patron, Charajit Singh Gumtala.
Prior to 1947, Ferozepur was linked with the provincial capital, Lahore, and the commercial and industrial capital, Amritsar, via Kasur, a tehsil headquarter town in Lahore district. After Kasur went into Pakistan's control in 1947, this vital railway link was snapped. "The completion of the Ferozepur-Patti railway line will again connect Amritsar to the Malwa belt, and take its people to Tarn Taran, Patti and Khem Karan, connecting the entire western border region of India," said Gumtala.
The link will shorten the travelling distance between Amritsar and Mumbai by almost 240 kilometres, reducing the travel time between the holy city and the country's commercial capital by almost six hours. It will also lessen the congestion on the rail corridors connecting Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Ambala and Delhi; and Jammu, Pathankot, Jalandhar, and Delhi.
The trains from Jammu and from Kashmir, instead of taking the Delhi route, can go to Mumbai via Amritsar, Patti, and Feozepur. It will shorten the journey between Jammu and Mumbai as well. Referring to the commercial and trade importance of this new link, Gumtala said the distance to the sea ports of Mumbai and Kandla (Gujarat) would be reduced. The fruit-growing areas of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir too will benefit.
The transport time for freight between Amritsar and Mumbai will be reduced by almost three days, ideal for the quick delivery of perishable items such as fruits and vegetables to Mumbai and helpful for the basmati exporters of Amritsar.