HC Deb 10 December 1847 vol 95 cc926-7

wished to ask the Secretary to the Board of Control what arrangements had been made by the East India Company with those companies that proposed to embark capital in railway undertakings in India?


would state what had been done with respect to railways in the three presidencies of India. In Calcutta it was designed to construct a railway from the city of Calcutta to Delhi; and an arrangement had been made by the East India Company with a company called the East Indian Railway Company upon these terms—viz., that two sections should be executed at a cost of 3,000,000l. sterling, the Government finding the land and guaranteeing interest on that amount for twenty-five years, at 5 per cent.; the Government to have the option of purchasing the railway at the end of twenty-five or fifty years. A similar arrangement had been resolved upon with regard to the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company, for a railway from Bombay to a town about thirty-five miles north-east of that place; the guarantee extended to 500,000l. No arrangement had been made with respect to the Madras Presidency.


inquired whether any legislative proceedings would be necessary to give effect to these arrangements, or whether the East India Company considered that they had power to carry them out without any Bill?


apprehended that the Company considered that they had that power.


, who had given notice of his intention to put a question with reference to the steps that had been taken for the promotion of railways in India, particularly from Bombay to those districts in which cotton is chiefly grown, remarked that Lancashire, in this one year, had paid as much, owing to the failure of the crop in America, as would have made the line which the Great Indian Peninsular Company wished to make. Was the hon. Gentleman aware that a formal application was made to the Government, at least a year ago, and that the subject was brought under their notice, though not altogether formally, three years since? The length of time required to make the line would be very considerable; every day's delay was important, because the season when work could be done commenced in September, and unless an arrangement were made speedily, another season might be lost. The terms and conditions were understood to be of that nature that if they should be persisted in, it would be totally impossible to raise money in the English market. The subject was of the first importance to Lancashire.


would merely remark, that the terms offered by the East India Company must be considered as liberal, inasmuch as they found the land for both railway companies, and guaranteed 5 per cent. He was not aware of any obstacle having been offered to these projects by the East India Company.

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