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Transport And Communication

Transport And Communication

  • Up to the middle of the 19th century, the means of transport in India were backward.
  • They were confined to bullock-cart, camel, and packhorse.
  • The British rulers soon realized that a cheap and easy system of transport was a necessity if British manufactures were to flow into India on a large scale and her raw materials secured for British industries.
  • The British rulers introduced steamships on the rivers and set about improving the roads.
  • Work on the Grand Trunk Road from Calcutta to Delhi began in 1839 and completed in the 1850’s.
  • Efforts were also made to link by road the major cities, ports, and markets of the country.
  • Development of Railway
  • The first railway engine designed by George Stephenson was put on the rail in England in 1814.
  • Railways developed rapidly during the 1830s and 1840s.

  • The earliest suggestion to build a railway in India was made in Madras in 1831.
  • But the wagons of this railway were to be drawn by horses.
  • Construction of steam-driven railways in India was first proposed in 1834 in England.
  • It was given strong political support by England’s railway promoters, financiers, and mercantile houses trading with India, and textile manufacturers.
  • It was decided that the Indian railways were to be constructed and operated by private companies who were guaranteed a minimum of five per cent return on their capital by the Government of India.
  • The first railway line running from Bombay to Thane was opened to traffic in 1853.
  • Lord Dalhousie, who became Governor-General of India in 1849, was an ardent advocate of rapid railway construction.
  • Dalhousie proposed a network of four main trunk lines which would link the interior of the country with the big ports and inter-connect the different parts of the country.
  • By the end of 1869, more than 4,000 miles of railways had been built by the guaranteed companies; but this system proved very costly and slow, and so in 1869 the Government of India decided to build new railways as state enterprises.
  • But the speed of railway extension still did not satisfy officials in India and businessmen in Britain.
  • After 1880, railways were built through private enterprises as well as state agency.
  • By 1905, nearly 28,000 miles of railways had been built.
  • The railway lines were laid primarily with a view to link India’s raw material producing areas in the interior with the ports of export.
  • The needs of Indian industries regarding their markets and their sources of raw materials were neglected.
  • Moreover, the railway rates were fixed in a manner so as to favor imports and exports and to discriminate against internal movement of goods.
  • Several railway lines in Burma and North-Western India were built at high cost to serve British imperial interests.
  • Postal & Telegraph System
  • The British also established an efficient and modern postal system and introduced the telegraph.
  • The first telegraph line from Calcutta to Agra was opened in 1853.
  • Lord Dalhousie introduced postage stamps.
  • Previously cash payment had to be made when a letter was posted.
  • He also cut down postal rates and charged a uniform rates.

Transport And Communication –¬†Transport And Communication

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