The Chron­i­cle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

BU­L­AWAYO, Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 5, 1966. — “In strongly rec­om­mend­ing that the rail link should be con­nected from Beit­bridge to join the south-east rail­way line at or near Rutenga, the mu­nic­i­palites of Gwelo, Que Que, Ga­tooma and Fort Vic­to­ria and the TMBs of Hart­ley, Sha­bani and Selukwe have recorded their dis­ap­proval at the man­ner in which this vi­tal is­sue is be­ing treated by Bu­l­awayo”.

These words are in the mem­o­ran­dum from these au­thor­i­ties which was to­day sub­mit­ted to the rail link com­mis­sion, which was sit­ting in Gwelo. The mem­o­ran­dum con­tin­ues: “Those con­cerned (in Bu­l­awayo) are ap­par­ently quite happy to see that a de­ci­sion is taken re­gard­less of the in­ter­ests of the coun­try as long as the in­ter­est of Bu­l­awayo are taken care of.”

“We know from past ex­pe­ri­ence that over the years this sort of po­lit­i­cal pres­sure has been suc­cess­ful in over­rid­ing the in­ter­ests of the coun­try in favour of the two cities, but we feel cer­tain that this is un­likely to hap­pen with the present gov­ern­ment. Should the find­ings of an un­bi­ased and fac­tual re­port show that it would be in the na­tional in­ter­est to con­nect Beit­bridge to West Ni­chol­son, then we will go along with that find­ing and give it our full sup­port. It should not be too much to hope that Bu­l­awayo will like wise agree to sup­port a de­ci­sion to put the line from Beit­bridge to Rutenga, if this is shown to be in the na­tional in­ter­est.” “We will leave it to the re­port called for by the gov­ern­ment to dis­pel the il­lu­sion of Bu­l­awayo be­com­ing a ‘ghost town’ should that city not get some­thing it has not got now”. The rea­sons the Mid­lands au­thor­i­ties rec­om­mend that the link should be at or near Rutenga are that while the dis­tances from Beit­bridge to West Ni­chol­son are about the same, the land tra­verses to Rutenga is fairly flat, open coun­try, with a rise of only 160ft. On the other hand, the coun­try be­tween Beit­bridge and West Ni­chol­son is very bro­ken and hilly with a arise of 1,149ft with con­se­quent ef­fect on train load­ing and run­ning.

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