Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trade talk brings hope for Golden Track

FAZILKA: Punjab government's demand of re-opening Ferozepur and Fazilka border for trade and transit with Pakistan has rekindled hope among residents of these border districts for revival of trade activities. 

The re-opening of pre-partition rail link between Ludhiana and Karachi, popularly known as Golden Track, could change the fortunes of these border districts in particular and could also give considerably boost to trade activity in Punjab and northern India. 

The Golden Track, which ran between Ludhiana and Karachi via Ferozepur and Fazilka, was the most economically viable and shortest route on which trade activity flourished in pre-partition days as Karachi and Ludhiana were the hub of industry and trade in those days too. All the towns en route this rail link also contributed in a major way. Fazilka was one of the largest wool and cotton markets of the northern region in those days. Its trade activities extended up to erstwhile Burma (now Myanmar) and Liverpool in England through this route. 

This 1,000-km-long rail track was set up by the East India Company. The Indian raw material was transported through this rail link to Europe, Middle East, and Gulf countries. The areas surrounding Ludhiana, Ferozerpur, Fazilka (now in India) and Amruka, Samarsatta, Minchanabad, Hyderabad to Karachi port (now in Pakistan), which fall along this track, flourished. With the partition of the country, the link was snapped and it had a telling effect on the economy of these places. 

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