COMMUNICATIONS

 

THIS CHAPTER DEALS WITH THE HISTORICAL AND STRUCTURAL ASPECTS OF THE VARIOUS MEANS OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS, viz. railways, roads, post and telegraphs and radio-sets in the district. As such an attempt has been made to give detailed description of railways, roads and the facilities regarding public transport available in the district of Dhulia. The following extracts from the Old Gazetteer of the then Khandesh district would show the state of transport and communications available in the district in the 19th Century.

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Routes.

"The early rock-cut remains at Ajanta, at Patan near Chalisgaon, at Chandor, and at Nasik, make it probable that, as far back as the second and first centuries before Christ, trade routes between north and south India passed close to those places. In the third century after Christ, the author of the Periplus (247) mentions that trade crossed Khandesh from Broach to Paithan on the Godavari, and to Tagar ten days further east. The remains at Bhamer near Nizampur make it probable that this trade passed from Broach through Surat, up the south bank of the Tapti by Visarwadi, and through the Kundaibari pass near Nizampur, and the Kasarbari pass in the Satmala hills, to Paithan. The position of Tagar is not known. If the statement that it lay ten days to the east of Paithan is correct, the trade probably passed eastwards through Khandesh, leaving the district either near Patan or near Ajanta. The road though very difficult, was passable for wagons. There were also from very early times more direct routes to the sea coast by Nasik through the Sir, Thal, and Pipri Bhor passes to the ancient sea ports cf Supara, Bhiwandi, Kalyan and Chaul.

"The rich cave and temple remains at Ajanta, Patan and Chandor seem to show that till the Musalman conquest (1300), the passes in the Satmala hills continued the highways of an important traffic. Under the early Musalmans the route by the Barvan or Sukaldevi pass from Malwa to Khandesh rose to importance. In 1306 Malik Kafur, at the south entrance of this pass, established the city of Sultanpur, and during the rest of the fourteenth century, this route by Sultanpur, Nandurbar, Visarwadi, and Songir would seem to have been one of the regular lines of communication with upper India and Gujarat. Probably there was also during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the time of the greatest splendour of the Musahnan dynasty of Ahmedabad. a line: of traffic to north Gujarat and the coast along the north bank of the Tapti and from Malva through Kukarmunda over the Buvaka or Chandseli passes to Rajpipla. Two other lines must have been of special importance when Asirgad was the capital of Khandesh. Of these one rrns north and south, from north and central India through the Simrol pass by Asirgad to Ajanta and the south; the other runs west to the coast, the route known as the Asirgad road, through Burhanpur, Savda, Jalgaon, Paldhi, and Borkhand, to Nasik and the Thal pass.

"During the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth centuries, when Burhanptir was at the height of its power and Surat was the chief port of western India, the bulk of the great traffic between the inland countries and the coast passed through Khandesh. The European travellers of the seventeenth century describe the main route as passing from Surat east through Navapur. Nandurbar, Dondaicha, Sindkheda, Thalner, Chopda, Sangvi and Nhavi. to Burhanpur. A second very important route Jay from Surat to Navapur, and then struck south through Pimpalner, Nimpur and the Patan pass, to Golkonda.

"During the early years of this century, Maratha misrule almost destroyed the trade of Khandesh. At the beginning of British rule there were no made roads. ' The tracks were ill-appointed and deficient in everything but discomfort and danger. Few and far between were the miserable hamlets, and the mountain passes were as rugged and impracticable as their fierce possessors'. In 1826, the chief routes were from Dhulia as a centre, 155 miles north by Songh and Thalner, through the Sindva pass to Mandleshwar and Mhow; north-east by Amalner, Chopda, and the Dhaulibari pass, seventy-three miles to Dhulkot; east by Parola, Erandol, and Savda. 103 miles to Burhanpur; south-east by Bhadgaon and Pachora, 84 miles to Ajanta; south by Mehunbara and the Gavtala pass to Aurangabad; south-west by Malegaon, Chandor, Nasik and the Thal pass, 179 miles to Bhiwandi, a route passable for every sort of laden cattle; and west by Pimpalner and Navapur to Surat. For many years the only one of these tracks on which money and labour were spent was the great Bombay and Agra trunk road by the Thal pass, Nasik, Malegaon, Dhulia, Songir, Nardana, Dabhasi, Dahivad, and the Palasner or Sindva pass. The road enters Khandesh near the Dhulia village of Jhodga, and running north passes through Virdel crossing the Tapti at Savalda where there is a ferry. It then runs due north through Shirpur until it reaches the Khandesh boundary in the centre of the Satpudas near the foot of Borghar. The Tapti is the only unbridged river, and except between the Tapti and the Palasner or Sindva pass where it is gravelled, the road is metalled throughout. In 1853-54, some progress was made in improving the cross roads of the district. About one hundred miles of fair weather roads were made at a cost of . 988 (Rs. 9,880). But until 1863 the main Agra highway used most of the funds set apart for road-making in Khandesh. Since the levy of a special cess for local works, road-building has made rapid progress. At Songir on the Agra road about twelve miles north of Dhulia, a much used line, made partly from Imperial and partly from local funds, passes north-west through Dangurna, Chimtana, Methi and Vikran, twenty-four miles, to Dondaicha. East from Dhulia, for forty-six miles through Parola and Erandol, runs a gravelled and unbridged local fund road to Mhasavad railway station. From this line a gravelled and unbridged branch runs twenty-two miles south to Kajgaon railway station, and a second branch passes six miles north-west from Erandol to Dharangaon. South from Dhulia a road, gravelled, drained, and bridged except over the Girna runs thirty-four miles to Chalisgaon station, and from Chalisgaon is continued seven miles south, through the Outram or Ranjangaon pass, to the border of the Nizam's territory. From Dhulia, west towards Pimpalner, a road has been finished thirty-two miles to Sakri. From Sakri, a line is cleared, and the part over the Kundaibari pass bridged and metalled, thirty-eight miles north-west to Navapur on the way to Surat. In the east two lines centre at Jalgaon, one fenrteen miles from Neri in the south, gravelled and bridged, the other from Dharangaon twenty miles to the west, of which the first three miles to the Girna have alone been finished. In the south from Pachora station a gravelled and drained road runs eight miles west to Bhadgaon. Since the opening of the railway (1865), the old Asirgad road, running east from Jhodga on the Bombay-Agra road to Burhanpur, has been deserted and left to fall into decay-Resides these and the short gravelled roads that run between the towns and stations of Maheji, Savda and Raver on the Jabalpur, and Varangaon and Bodvad on the Nagpur line, are many much used fair weather cart tracks.

Passes.

"Of ninety-four passes through the hilly country to the west, mirth and south of Khandesh, fifteen are in the Sahyadris, fifty-four in the Satpudas, and twenty-five in the Satmalas. Of the fifteen Sahyadri passes, seven are in the range separating the Pimpalner sub-division from the Dangs and the Nasik district, and nine are in the spurs that intersect the Pimpalner sub-division. Those leading into the Dangs are BORJHARBARI, near Raypur. passable for half-laden cattle and CHANMALBARI. near Umbarpata, barely passable for carts. Those leading into the Nasik district are, the SELBARI-GHAT, on the main line between Surat and Nasik, bridged and in good order; PISOLIBARIGHAT, passable for carts but with little traffic; HEDALVADIGHAT, a tract for foot passengers; MORDARA, on the old road from Surat to Malegaon, a fair pass; and RAHUDVADI, passable for carts but in very bad order. Those in Pimpalner are GHODEGHAT near Chanpalla and one between Sen and Amli passable for foot passengers and unladen animals; KUNDAIBARIGHAT, about fifteen miles west of Nizampur, on the main road between Dhulia and Surat, described in 1828 as full of finest but passable to carriages, now bridged and metalled and with considerable traffic; CHULKHACHABARI and THANEPADA on the road between Nandurbar and Nizampur, with fair traffic; MUG or TAMBORABARI, on the road between Brahmanvel and Dahivel, barely passable for carts; GHATBARI on the road between Ashtana and Nizampur, through Khorna, in good order and with considerable traffic; YESARBARI, on the road from Sakri to Nizampur, with little traffic; and KALAMBHIRBARI, on the road between Sevali and Nizampur, through Bhamer, in good repair and with considerable traffic.

"The Satpuda passes, beginning from the west, are AMLIBARI, leading from Amli towards Dhadgaon and the Kathi state, passable for laden bullocks, elephants, and camels; SAVARBARI and SINGPURBARI, from Savargaon and Singpur below the hills to the Kathi state, passable for unladen animals only; VALHERIBARI, DHEKATIBARI, AMONIBARI, and ASAMBAGHAT, all leading to Dhadgaon in the north and Taloda in the south, passable only for unladen animals and foot passengers carrying headloads; CHANDSELIGHAT. about thirteen miles north-west of Taloda, also on the road to Dhadgaon and thence to the Narbada, in 1826 choked with forest, now passable for moderately laden donkeys and bullocks, and with some traffic; BUVAKA or DODHABUVAGHAT, NAMTEA, and KARDIBARI, on the road from Dhadgaon to Surat, barely passable by foot passengers carrying headloads; NAVEGAVGHAT, on the road from Akrani to Shahada, passable for lightly laden camels and elephants; and TURANMALGHAT, on the road from Turanmal to Shahada, passable for foot passengers with headloads and lightly laden bullocks and donkeys. In Shirpur the only passes are VADALI, a cart road from Lasur to Vadali; and MALAPUR, a cart road from Ganpur to Malapur; BARVAN or SUKALDEVI, north of Sultanpur in the Barvani state, the usual road from Indor to Surat, passable but hard for cattle; PALASNER or SINDVA. on the Bombay-Agra Road, about thirty miles east of Barvan or Sukaldevi, with three lines, two of them passable for carts. In Chopda, besides six footpaths used more or less by the people in the plains and the Bhils of Adavad and other places in bringing down head or bullock loads of grass, fuel, and bamboos, there are the following passes used by carts; KAKRYAGHAT, leading from Vardi to Gandya Devara and to Bormali, passable for carts, with traffic in wood and bamboos; CHACHRAPATI, between Kurund and Kargund, passable for laden cattle; DHAULIBARI, twenty miles north-east of Chopda, between Malapur and Chirmira and leading also to Kharjon in His Highness Holkar's territory, passable for laden bullocks and carts, with a Vanjari traffic in wood and bamboos; SIRYA BARDA, on the road from Varad to Vaijapur, formerly passable for cattle, lately taken up as a famine work and made into a cart road; VAIJAPUR, a cart road from Adgaon to Vaijapur, with no special traffic; and UMARTHI, a cart road from Mamalda to Umarthi and on into His Highness Holkar's territory. In Savda, besides twenty mountain footpaths, VADHRIBARI, MARURBARI, SAVKHEDABARI, NAYGAVBARI, ADGAVBARI, ITVEBARI, VISAVABARI, SATIBARI, DHAVLIGARBARI, PAL, MARULBARI, UMRIA, HINGONEBARI, MOHADI, LONAR, AMBAPANI, DHIM-GHATI, PALON, GUDGIGHATI and VIRODE, used generally by Bhils in bringing head bullock loads of wood and bamboos, the following are the chief passes; HINDALBARI, from Pal, with a considerable traffic in wood brought by Vanjaris from His Highness Holkar's territory, BHILAINBARI from Abhodas to Pal, a cart road with no traffic; MANGRUL, a cart road from Mangrul to Boris in the Central Provinces with no special traffic; Pal, a cart road from Raver to Pal with traffic in fuel and bamboos, and from Savda to Pal with no special traffic, and GANGAPUR, a cart road from Padala to Nemad.

" The Satmala passes are beginning from the east, AJANTA, above Fardepur, about thirty miles south-east of Pachora, easily passable by carts; HALDIAGHAT, and JANJALIAGHAT, passable for laden cattle; MURDESHVARGHAT, a footpath; JOGESARIGHAT, NANDRAGHAT and SHENDRAGHAT, all passable for laden cattle SIDHGHAT and ANTURGHAT footpaths; KALADAT, also a footpath, from Haraswadi to Savargaon where a fair is held in the month of Chaitra (March-April), in honour of the god Kasoba who has a temple there; ASADGHAT, a footpath from Saygaon to Mehun; MHAISGHAT from Saygaon to the Mehun, passable for laden cattle, much used by people going to the Savargaon fair; GAVTALAGHAT or AMBA, between Chalisgaon and Kannad, the old trade line on which, at the hill foot, the ruined city of Patan stands. It was once used by carts, and though now out of repair, loaded carts with locked wheels can be taken down with difficulty. It was originally made by Aurangzeb and repaired by Lieutenant Outram when he settled the Bhils at Kannad; KANHOBACHA-SONDA, from Lonja and Saygaon to Kannad; NIMGHAT, from Patharje to Sathkund, passable for laden bullocks. OUTRAM or RANJANGAVGHAT, ten miles south of Chalisgaon, was in 1870 provided with a complete cart road; it has much traffic in grain, pulse, oilseed, fruit, and cloth. JUNONYACHAGHAT, from Shivapur to Junona, passable for laden cattle, was much used before the Outram pass was made. Beyond, in the extreme south-west are a group of small passes, KALGHAT, from Patan to Amba; GHAY-GHAT, from Ahankari to Ambala; GANESGHAT, from Patan to Kalanki; and CHILHARGHAT, GADHADGHAT, SHEKSONDA, and MURUMGHAT, from Kharadi to Lodhra, and HANVATGHAT, from Pimpalgaon to Lodhra. These are all footpaths passable for unladen cattle only.".

The position of Railways in the district in 1880 when the old Khandesh Gazetteer was published is given below.

Railways.

"Under the British besides by roads, the district communications have been improved by the opening of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. The portion of the line, about 142 miles, within Khandesh limits [ This line is in the present Jalgaon District. Hence this account pertains only to Jalgaon.] was begun in 1852, and opened for traffic between 1861 and 1865. It enters Khandesh at its south-west corner, a few miles north of the town of Naydongri in Nasik, and runs northeast, keeping near the course of the Girna as far as Jalgaon. In a length of eighty-two miles between the western boundary of the district and Bhusaval, where the line divides into the Jabalpur and Nagpur branches, there are nine stations, Chalisgaon, Kajgaon, Galna, Pachora, Maheji, Mhasvad, Shirsoli, Jalgaon, and Bhadli (Nasirabad). From Bhusaval, on the Jabalpur line, a distance of thirty miles, are five stations, Dujkheda, Savda, Nimbora, Raver and Khanapur, and on the Nagpur line, a distance of twenty-eight miles, are two stations, Varangaon and Nadgaon. Except the bridges across the Vaghur near Nasirabad and across the Tapti near Dujkheda, the line was simple and easily made. Besides the ordinary buildings at the different stations, costing from 300 to 1500 (Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 15,000), with a station master's house and booking office, and at Pachora, Jalgaon. and Nadgaon, small waiting rooms, there has been built at the Bhusawal junction a handsome station at y cost of 80,000 (Rs. 8,00,000), with large bath and refreshment rooms, a large work-shop, dwellings for European employees, public gardens, handsome reading rooms and a gymkhana.

Bridges.

"The chief road bridges in Khandesh are, on the Bombay-Agra road, across the Panjhra at Dhulia. a stone bridge with twenty -nine openings, fifteen of thirty feet and fourteen of eight feet spurt, and across the Bori on the Dhulia-Chalisgaon road, a stone bridge of fifteen openings, nine of forty-five feet and six of twenty feet span. A flying bridge at Mehunbara on the same road was carried away in the 1872 flood, and a new one is now being set up. The chief railway bridges are five in number. Three of them with thirty feet openings on the Tetur, the Bola, and the Korunda, all tributaries of the Girna, were works of no special difficulty. The bridge near Nasirabad across the Vaghur, which is here 300 yards wide, consisted at first of ten openings spanned by iron girders on Warren's principle. Five of these openings were afterwards removed and filled in. Soon after leaving the junction station at Bhusawal the line crosses the' Tapti. The river is 590 yards wide and subject to sudden and severe floods rising at times to a height of seventy-eight feet. It was at first spanned by a bridge 875 yards long, consisting of five openings of 138 feet and fourteen of sixty feet covered iron girders, and twenty arches of forty feet each. The beds of the Vaghur and the Tapti, as well as of the smaller rivers are of solid rock, and for the bridges good foundations were obtained with ease. But the masonry was in many cases unsatisfactory, and as some of the bridges have shown signs of failure, it has been found necessary to build them on a new design with piers of iron cylinders filled with concrete. The Tapti bridge was in 1872 replaced by a new bridge on this principle, about 852 yards long and consisting of twenty-eight spans of sixty-six feet and five of 150 feet girders.".

 

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