Make your own free website on Tripod.com

     THE EARLIEST EFFORTS ...




On 6th. September, 1845, Mr. Halday, secretary of Bengal Presidency,  wrote to Mr. G.A.Bushbee, secretary of the Indian (British) Government , that  civil engineer, Mr. F.W.Simos had arrived Calcutta with a letter from East India Company to examine the feasibility of introduction of railways in India, and carry out survey for the same. This was after R.M.Stephenson,s submission of his " Report upon the Practicability and  Advantages of the Introduction of Railways into British India"  in 1844.

Simos started work immediately after arrival on an elephant and after 8 years from then the first train ran in India.

150 years ago railways were the main catalyst in industrialisation and modernisation in Europe. Lord Dalhousie an outright colonialist wanted to bind India by iron chains as he knew it was essential to create quick communication and transport system in India in the interest of British Raj. In order to ensuring effective administrative control in a vast country like India, it was necessary to send military forces quickly from one end to the other. This was more so felt with uprising of Indian Independence movement. He also realised the necessity of railway network in spreading industrialisation while he worked in the Board of trade in London prior to his assignment in India.

It is seen from a letter dated 10th. of September 1845 where Mr. Haliday suggested laying of a railway line from Calcutta along the south side of the river Ganges till Mirzapore. This was one of the centres for  internal business in Bengal Presidency which extended in the North east from Arakan to Agra. But  it was decided to connect the coal mining areas of Burdwan district in the first phase of the route. In 1851 a proposal for acquiring land for the railways was mooted.  Though the government did not engage directly in railway construction  it had in fact took a long time to decide about  details of survey, land acquisition, compensation payment etc.

The contract for the construction of the railway line in Bengal presidency was awarded in 1850 to M/s Hunt, Brey,  Ensley & Company of London and M/s Burn & company of Howrah.

The records in the archives of Govt. of West Bengal show that a Zamindar of Serampore Gopikrishna Goswami and Shyamacharan Ghosh of Baidyabati appealed to British Govt. for compensation against the land acquired. The area was under Dutch control at that time. The line was to run through French occupied Chandernagore which delayed due to refusal of permission at the outset. But a memorandum was signed in Paris between the British Ambassador and French Foreign Minister allowing East Indian Railway company to construct railway line through Chandernagore .

We find a report that instruction was issued In 1853 to use timber in construction of railways, which created a lot resentment among the native santhal tribe of Santhal Parganas. It lead to Santhal uprising in 1855. Not only Santhals but Indian residents in general were dissatisfied in the manner in which land acquisition and indiscriminate deforestation to collect timber was done by East Indian Railway Company.  

(Source : The State Archives of Govt. of West Bengal,at Bhabani Dutta Lane at Kolkata)

CLOSE THIS WINDOW TO RETURN TO INDEX