BANKING TRADE AND COMMERCE
Old routes: At the beginning of the British rule there were no made roads and no lines of traffic fit for wheels. The chief lines of communications were from Ahmadnagar and Kopargaon. Trade was mainly by carts and pack bullocks. The Ahmadnagar-Nasik route served the trade link through Rahuri, Sangamner and Sinnar. The Ahmadnagar-Malegaon route was 119 miles in length passing through Rahuri, Puntamba, Vaijapur and Kesari pass, and from Malegaon it was 32 miles further to Dhulia. There was also a direct trade link to Aurangabad via the Ahmadnagar-Aurangabad route with a length of 75 miles, either through the Nimbedehera or the Jeur pass, and then through Pravara Sangam and Velunja, a branch of it passing to Jalna. To the south-east most of the goods were transported by the Ahmadnagar-Sholapur route, 129 miles in length passing through Mandva, Mirajgaon, Pategaon, Chapadgaon, Karmala and Madha. The other trade route of less importance was the Ahmadnagar-Satara route with a length of 120 miles and passing through Valki, the Sakli pass, Kothul, Kolgaon, Patas, Supa and Guluneha. Most of the goods traffic to Pune was by the Ahmadnagar-Pune route having a length of 77 miles and passing through Akolner, Ranjangaon and Vaghote. The route further extended by 71 miles to Bombay through Panvel.
By about 1850, a large traffic from Berar went to Bombay by the Imampur or Jeur pass in Ahmadnagar district and the post line from Bombay to Calcutta also passed through Ahmadnagar district and went by the Jeur pass to Aurangabad. At this time the three prominent leading trade routes were: from east to west from Barshi and Karmala in Sholapur by Alsunde and Pedgaon towards Pune, from the Balaghat and Kharda in Jamkhed by Nimbodi
and Chambhargonde towards the north-west and south-east and from Ahmadnagar to Karmala and Sholapur along the right bank of the Sina river. [Gazetteer of Bombay Presidency, Ahmadnagar District, 1884, pp. 326.28.]
The major portion of the goods traffic was carried on through Daund-Manmad railway line which was opened for traffic on 17th April 1878. [Ibid.]
Present trade routes: The Daund-Manmad railway line referred to earlier is the most important trade route in the district. This line connects the district with two trunk routes, viz., the Bombay-Nagpur-Calcutta railway line of the Central Railway and the Bombay-Pune-Madras line of the South-Central railway at Manmad and Daund, respectively. This is a broad-gauge line which connects the district with northern as well as southern India. The produce exported to
northern India, especially to Calcutta, Delhi, Bihar State etc., is sent via Manmad and the southern-bound produce is sent through Daund. The important commercial centres in the district such as Shrigonda, Ahmadnagar, Rahuri, Shrirampur and Kopargaon are served by this railway route, and thus, these commercial centres are linked with the distant market centres in India. The sugar and gur from Rahuri, Shrirampur and Kopargaon talukas are sent by this railway line to distant places.
The Pune-Nasik national highway via Sangamner is one of the most important arteries of trade which connects the district with Nasik on the Bombay-Agra national highway. The next important artery of trade is Ahmadnagar-Pune state highway. All the Bombay-bound goods traffic from the district is carried on this route. This is the only route which brings the district in the direct trade link with Pune and Bombay. Most of the light goods are brought from Bombay by this route. The agricultural produce especially gur and sugar from the northern part of the district is mainly transported by motor trucks by Ahmadnagar-Kopargaon-Manmad-Malegaon road which connects the Bombay-Agra national highway at Malegaon. Thus, the northern-bound export trade is mainly transported by this important trade route. This route serves the important centres in Ahmadnagar and Nasik districts. The other important artery of trade is the Ahmadnagar-Aurangabad state highway which further extends to Jalgaon. Much of the goods traffic to Aurangabad and Jalgaon districts is carried on through this road. There is a heavy exchange of merchandise between these two districts through this route. The Ahmadnagar-Sholapur trade route also serves the trade from the southern talukas of the district. The Ahmadnagar-Daund road also serves as an artery of trade parallel to the railway line.
Besides the main routes, there are other major roads which connect big wholesale trade centres and which help goods transport from villages to the main centres and railway stations.