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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

The transit trade of Nushki is


The

Nushki bazaar is along a wide road kept tidy and clean, and the place boasts of butcher-shops, a washerman, one tailor marked by smallpox and one who is not; _ghi_ merchants with large round casks outside their doors; cloth merchants; blacksmiths and grain shops. In a back street--for, indeed, Nushki boasts already of two streets parallel with the main thoroughfare--under a red flag hoisted over the premises is an eating house--a restaurant for natives. The merchants are mostly Hindoos from Sind.

[Illustration: Jemadar and Levies, Nushki.]

[Illustration: A Giant Beluch Recruit. (Chaman.)]

The land on which the shops have been built has practically been given free by the Government on condition that, if required back again at a future date, the builder of the house upon the land reclaimed is entitled, as an indemnity, only to the restitution of the wood employed in the construction of the house--the chief item of expense in Nushki constructions.

Cotton goods, blue, red and white, seem to command the greatest sale of any articles in Nushki, after which the local trade consists of wheat, almonds, barley, carpets (from Sistan), wool, _kanawes_ (cloth from Meshed), and cloths imported from England, mostly cheap cottons; camels, dates, etc.

The transit trade of Nushki is, however, very considerable. The Government

returns of the trade that passed through Nushki during the year from April, 1900, to April, 1901, showed an aggregate of Rs.1,534,452, against Rs.1,235,411 for the preceding twelve months, while two years before (1898-1899) the returns barely amounted to Rs.728,082. Last year, 1901, the trade returns made a further jump upwards in the nine months from April to the end of December, 1901, the imports amounting to Rs.680,615, and the exports Rs.925,190, or an aggregate of Rs.1,605,805, which is very satisfactory indeed.

So much has been written of late about Nushki, especially in connection with the new railway, that I have very little to add. I most certainly think that, strategically and commercially, Nushki is bound to become a very important centre, and, as far as trade goes, eventually to supplant Quetta altogether, owing to its more convenient position. The projected railway from Quetta to Nushki will be a great boon to caravans, both from Afghanistan and Persia, because the severe cold of Quetta makes it very difficult for camels to proceed there in winter, and camel drivers have a great objection to taking their animals there.

For any one looking ahead at the future and not so much at the present, it seems, however, almost a pity that the newly sanctioned railway should not join Nushki with Shikarpur or Sibi instead of Quetta, which would have avoided a great and apparently almost useless detour. Nushki will be found to develop so fast and so greatly that, sooner or later, it will have to be connected in a more direct line with more important trading centres than Quetta. Quetta is not a trading centre of any importance, and is merely a military station leading nowhere into British territory in a direct line.

However, even the Quetta-Nushki railway is better than nothing, and will certainly have a beneficial effect upon the country it will pass through. From a military point of view the railway as far as Nushki only is practically useless. It is only a distance of some ninety odd miles, through good country with plenty of water and some grazing.


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