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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

And a bi weekly service links Robat with Quetta


effort has been made to improve the water supply upon the road, and new wells are constantly being sunk. True, the water, all along the route, is not of the best, but one does not generally expect to find delicious sweet spring water in a desert. One thing is, nevertheless, certain, that the best has been made of given circumstances. Barring the most trying section of the route (in Beluchistan territory) between Mukak and Mushki-Chah, where the water is really foul, the majority of wells may be more or less brackish, but, as I have said before, not necessarily unwholesome. In fact, I have a firm belief that brackish water is the water one should drink in the desert to keep healthy, and is the remedy provided by nature for the purpose of balancing other ill-effects produced by travelling over hot, sandy, dry, barren land. Brackish water, however, should not be confounded nor classified with dirty water.

There are post offices at the principal stations, such as Robat, Saindak, Mirui, Dalbandin and Nushki, and a bi-weekly service links Robat with Quetta, the time taken to convey letters being now reduced to 100 hours. A Consular postal service in connection with this continues from Robat, _via_ Sher-i-Nasrya, Birjand to Meshed. There is a parcel-post service, on the very convenient "Value payable parcel system," as far as Robat and Sistan; but from England the Post Office will not take the responsibility of insured parcels beyond Robat.

justify;">The Government has granted a most important concession--of great value to traders--by which money can be remitted to or received from either Sher-i-Nasrya (Sistan) or Birjand, through the Consular Treasury, under the charge of the Vice-Consul for Sistan.

Messrs. McIver, Mackenzie, & Co., of Karachi, and Mr. Duncan MacBean, of the Punjab Bank, Quetta, are prepared to act as forwarding agents for Indian and Persian firms, and the Quetta Branch of the Punjab Bank is further in business communication with the Imperial Bank of Persia, which, as we have seen, has agencies in the principal cities of West Persia and also in Meshed.

Another concession, most important to the stimulation of trade by this overland route, has been granted by the North Western Railway in regard to goods despatched from Karachi to Quetta for export to Persia by the Nushki-Robat route. From the 1st of April, 1901, a rebate, equal to one-third of the freight paid, was given on all goods, such as tea, spices, piece-goods, iron, kerosene oil, sugar, brass and copper, etc., booked and carried from Karachi to Quetta for export to Persia by the Sistan route. The usual charges are to be paid on forwarding the goods, but on producing a certificate from the Agency Office at Quetta that the goods have actually been despatched to Persia, _via_ Sistan, the amount of the rebate is refunded.

From the 1st of May, 1901, another concession came into effect, allowing a similar rebate of one-third of the actual freight paid on all goods received at Quetta from Persia by the Sistan route (a certificate from the Agency Office at Quetta being required to prove the fact), and despatched thence to Karachi or Kiamari, or to North-western Railway stations in the Punjab and North-west Province, or to stations on connected lines.

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