Last remnants of Jammu-Sialkot rail link erased

ABHINAV VERMA

Jammu, Jan 6: The last remnants of historical Railway station that linked Jammu with Sialkot in Pakistan would soon be no more as it would make way for flyover and for that road widening has been taken up at Bikram Chowk here.
Though majority of the present generation may not have much familiarity with this historical place, but there are many in the old generation, who turn nostalgic on the very mention of the steam engine train that once stood for the centuries old cultural connections between Jammu and Sialkot cities.  
A gigantic iron hose that fed the trains with water, besides a train Signal light and a few meter railway track – the only remains of the historical station are being mopped away with no provision kept in the project to conserve the place that is worth a historical legacy.
The historic monuments, including a hose made in Britain stands as a forgotten landmark of the rail link in the workshop of the State Road Transport Corporation near the Tawi bridge here, is soon to be a history as the government has decided to demolish the entire structure in order to pave way for construction of a prestigious flyover.
This section was the only rail link here before Partition and has not been revived because Jammu and Kashmir has always remained volatile with Pakistan raising disputes over the territory.
The old railway station has been converted into a workshop of the government owned Road Transport Corporation and the platform was recently demolished to widen the main road outside.
A huge cultural complex has already been constructed in a portion of the erstwhile railway station and some part of it is being used as a stores yard of the Projects Construction Corporation.
While the place has faced total neglect over all these years, its existing is being completely erased notwithstanding the tall claims of the government to conserve the cultural and historical legacy of the state and showcase these to attract the tourists coming to the state.
The historic water pump- presently a part of the SRTC yard would be dug-up in a day or two to pave the way for the ongoing construction of the Bikram Chowk to Gandhi Nagar Fly Over.
The historic water pump was used to fill water in the steam engine of the train which chugged between Jammu and  Sialkot and vice versa before  the partition .
The state government has shifted the SRTC yard to Narwal, but have kept no provision  to preserve the symbolic remains of the one time major surface communication link of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the sub-continent. .
A senior citizen, Gian Chand of Chattha informed that the rail link between Jammu and Sialkot was established long before 1947 and served as most reliable surface link of Jammu and Kashmir  equally important for economic activity and  traveling.
“Sugarcane was imported from nearby villages of RS Pura-Sialkot border for the sugarcane factory, which was established in RS Pura (Ranbir Singh Pura) town before partition. If there was no partition, the rail link of Jammu and Kashmir with other parts of country would have been via Sialkot route”, he added.
He said there were only two other stations on the way to Sialkot — at R S Pura and at Suchetgarh which have also met the same fate.
When contacted, Director of Tourism Department, Robin Singh Mehta expressed ignorance about the historic perspective of the structure. “I m not aware of this spot it may be the property of railways, you can contact to them or Divisional commissioner Jammu” he said.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 6 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 6 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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