Railway station Khushab’s Kandian to Sargodha track has been closed for the past 10 years and local people have been deprived of trains during the period.
Despite strong demand from locals in Mianwali, Kundian, Khushab and Sargodha, the train could not be started.
The local residents said that while the train running on this route was making the journey easier for the people, the railways department was also given the best revenue.
Renowned researcher of Khushab, Imtiaz Hussain Imtiaz told The Express Tribune about the usefulness and historical significance of Khushab Junction railway station. Khushab Railway Station was built in 1885 jointly by Sindh Sagar railways and Northwestern railways, he added.
“In 1890, the first train in the British era, was run from Kandian (Mianwali) to Malikwal. Later, on the strong demand of the people, the then Punjab governor Sir Geoffrey Fitzhervey de Montmorency started the construction of the iron bridge over the Jhelum River on October 10, 1928.”
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He added, “The bridge was completed on April 25, 1931 and was inaugurated by the colonial-era governor. It was named after him, the Montmorency Iron Bridge on which both the road and the track were linked.”
Social figure Malik Danish Awan said that the importance of Kandian to Malikwal via Khushab and Kandian to Sargodha track can be gauged from the fact that from Khushab Junction to Kandian track, the train stopped at Khushab Joharabad, Hadali, Matha Towana, Bujjar, Quaidabad, Bandial, WanBachra of Mianwali and Kundiyan.
“Meanwhile, from Khushab to Malikwal, the train would stop in areas including included Khushab, Sundral, Dhak, Allah, Kandwal, Allah, Kandwal, Allah Town, Toba, Sarvia, Golpur, Pandadan Khan, Chalisa, Haranpur, Chak Nizam and Malikwal. Cities from Khushab Junction to Sargodha, which are served by train, include Shahpur City, Shahpur Saddar, Vegowal, Ladewala and Sargodha stations.”
This was a very popular route with thousands of people traveling daily and the government was benefiting from revenue of millions of rupees annually, he claimed. “These trains were closed for unknown reasons.”
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Muhammad Naveed, a local resident, said that while the government was announcing the launch of new trains, work was not being done to restore the old tracks, which was very unfair to the people of the area.
He further said that this issue should be taken up on the floor of the assembly but so far no political or member of the assembly had played any serious role in resolving this issue. “Power engines bring goods vehicles from Kandian but no vehicle is available for the people for the whole day.
Khushab Railway Station Station Master Zulfiqar Ahmed said that a train leaves for Lahore daily at 11:45 pm but the people of Khushab do not cooperate. “On lockdown days, people travel by train to Lahore, but not on normal days. There is no public train during the day.”
Public figure Sardar Shafqat Hussain Bhola remarked that it was unfortunate that only one train was running at mid night and the people were being fooled while salaries of employees were being given in vain. He demanded from Prime Minister Imran Khan to restore the existing trains from Kundiyan to Sargodha.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2021.