OF THE OLD TRADE ROUTES IN AMRAVATI DISTRICT not much is known. References to the lines of road communications in this district are available for the closing years of the last century.

The section of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway falling in Amravati district was opened for traffic in 1865-66. This started a new era in the economic life of the district. The Amravati branch line, which connected the most important town in the district with the main line, was opened in 1871.

Of road routes[Central Provinces District Gazetteers, Amravati Disrtict, 1911.], the Amravati-Ellichpur-Paratwada-Dharni-Burhanpur road was the longest. It covered a distance of 157.72 kilometres (98 miles) and connected the remote parts of the district with the headquarters. The main branches of this great artery were as follows: -

(1) the Walgaon (Balgaon)-Chandur Bazar road with a distance of 26.54 kilometres (16 miles) fully metalled,

(2) the Ghatang-Chikhaldara road, winding up the hillsides for some 24 kilometres (15 miles) on a sufficiently easy gradient for motor cars,

(3) the Ellichpur (Achalpur)-Chandur Bazar road.

From Ellichpur a gravelled road emanated for Betul, crossing the district border at Bairamghat. The main road was crossed at Assegaon by a fair weather road from Chandur Bazar to Daryapur. Daryapur was connected to Amravati by a good country road and to Murtizapur (a railway station in Akola) by a high road, partly metalled and partly gravelled. The Morshi tahsil was served by another first class road from Amravati to Pusla via Sawarkhed, Morshi and Warud. This road was further extended to Nagpur district. A branch road from Warud to Multai served as an important link between Amravati district and Multai. Another arterial route of importance was the

Nagpur Dak road. However, the railway replaced it as a through route. The south and south-east portion [The following extract from the Central Provinces District Gazetteers, Amravati District, 1911, throws interesting light on the road routes then existing. "The lack of first class or second class roads, however, is not so serious a matter as might at first sight be supposed for the country tracks, except in the rainy season, are excellent and their soft surface is probably less tiring to the bullocks' feet than a more permanent roadway be".] of the district derived a far greater advantage from the railway line which connected three or its most important towns, viz., Badnera, Chandur and Dhamangaon. There was one metalled road from Dhamangaon to Yeotmal.

The Forest Department had maintained a ' splendid system of communications' for its own use in the Melghat reserved forests.

The system of communications in this district may roughly he compared to the human anatomy. The Central Railway running the whole length of the central valley is the backbone of the system. On it converges a network of highways and major roads communicating with most of the important towns and centres of trade. There is a short arm-like railway line reaching from Badnera to Amravati.

The entire system of roads converges on Amravati which, in turn, is connected with Badnera by a railway line. Thus the arrangements connecting the northern and eastern parts of the district with the outlying areas are extremely good.

The system of transport in the western and north-western areas of the district was completed with the inauguration of the Murtizapur-Ellichpur railway line and the Purna-Akola-Khandwa route. The former route serves the affluent areas of Daryapur and Ellichpur. The commercial importance of the line is immense. The Purna-Akola-Khandwa railway line, which passes through the remote forest areas of the district, serves as a very good link between the metre gauge railway in the north and south India. It mainly facilitates the transport of forest produce in Melghat tahsil.

In the following sections a detailed account of the railway routes, highways, major roads and approach roads and a description of the facilities of transport and communications in the district is given. An attempt has also been made to deal with the historical and structural aspects of the various means of transport and communications.