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PROVIDENT FUND

The East Indian Railway Provident Fund Institution was established on 1st January 1868, perhaps the oldest such institution in the country.

Initially, the Fund was open only to European employees, and others drawing not less than Rs.30 per month, with subscriptions of 5 % and 2 ½ % respectively. The railway company undertook to contribute amounts proportional to the total amounts standing to the credit of the employees, provided the annual earnings attained a certain amount.

From 1st January 1881, on the recommendation of the Agent, Sir Bradford Leslie, the membership was thrown open to all employees drawing Rs.15 per month, with a uniform subscription rate of 5 %. Railway’s contribution was made a fixed amount of 100 % of the subscription, calculated on a half-yearly basis.

From 1st July 1903, the subscriptions were raised to 8 1/3 %, that is one month’s pay.

SCHOOLS

EIR provided subsidized schools at each of the large stations in the plains for the children of both domiciled (European) and native staff when the railway was still owned by the company.


NW Railway had a school at Fairlawn near Jharipani. Oakgrove, ‘a well wooded and secluded site’ close by was acquired for the school. Oakgrove school opened on 1st June, 1888 with 210 pupils.

In April 1897, a separate school for girls was set up in the adjoining Jharripani Estate, with an accommodation for 140 scholars. Subsequently, NW Railway closed its school and entered into an arrangement with EIR for admitting the children of its employees also in the EIR’s school.

In addition, Inter College at Mughalsarai in 1825, High School at Danapur in 1890, Higher Secondary School at Jamalpur, Sahibganj and Asansol in 1868, 1878 and 1898 respectively and Middle Schools at Sahibganj in 1878 and at Jamalpur in 1916 were also opened.

Mention may be made that Lal Bahadur Shastri, who went on to become not only the minister of railways and transport but also the prime minister of the country studied in a railway school at Mughalsarai from 1911 to 1915.
 

 

INSTITUTES

EIR was one of the pioneer Railways to establish railway institutes and clubs at various places soon after a viable rail network had taken shape. These were to begin with primarily for the benefit of Anglo Indian and Eurasian staff, but after independence were thrown open to all employees.

The ambience of Jamalpur Railway Institute which was established in 1878 has been best described by Rudyard Kipling in the following words.

“Best and prettiest of the many good and pretty things in Jamalpur is the institute on a Saturday when the volunteer band is playing and the tennis courts are full and the baby dom of Jamalpur…fat, sturdy children—frolic around the band stand….decidedly the railway folk make their lives pleasant”

 

Vivekananda Institute : formerly the Durand Institute named after Sir. Mortimer Durand. This is the oldest Railway Institutre inIndia, established in 1878. It has a front tower with arched opening and side domes.
 


Dr. B. C. Roy Institute at Sealdah, earlier known as the Clem Browne Institute with double storied beautiful structure constructed in 1920.

 

There were several other well known institutes spread over the EIR. The significant among them were

Present Name

Former Name

Place

Year established

Central Institute

European Institute

Jamalpur

1870

Kazi Najrul Islam Institute

Hindmarsh Institute

Kanchrapara

1892

Bell Institute

 

Kanchrapara

1920

Senior Institute

European Institute

Liluah

1906

Gitanjali Institute

East Indian Railway Institute

Liluah

1927

Golmohor Institute

 

Howrah

 

Subhas Institute

 

Asansol

1915

Ghosh Institute

East Indian Railway Head Office Institute

Fairlie Place

1939

 
The Ghosh Institute at Fairlie Place presently housing the Library was founded in 1939 and was originally called the East Indian Railway head office institute. It was renamed as Gosh Institute in 1946 after the former General Manager, N. C. Ghosh.

The Purva Railway Sanskritik Parishad (Eastern Railway Cultural Association) was inaugurated 21st July 1958 at the Netaji Subhas Institute, Sealdah. This not only helped in fostering of cultural activities on this Railway but also brought forward and developed the dormant talents among the rank and file of the railwaymen.

The Eastern Railway Zonal Training Centre (ZTC) at Bhuli, Dhanbad started functioning in 1965 by amalgamating the Traffic Training School of Sealdah and the Technical Training School of Madhupur. The object of ZTC is to conduct various training courses for different categories of Group ‘C’ staff of various departments responsible for maintenance and safe operation of the railway system in a centralised manner.

Excerpts from visitor’s book at Gitanjali Institute, Liluah showing the words of appreciation from the great writer Sarat Chandra Chattopadhaya in 1935.

 

END OF PART I