HC Deb 31 March 1881 vol 260 cc349-50

asked the Secretary of State for India, If the Government have determined again to try to have Railways constructed in India by private Companies aided by the State, and on what terms the Calcutta and Khoolna Railway has been offered to Messrs. Rothschild; and, whether any other lines have been offered to private projectors with any, and what, Government aid?


Sir, the Government are extremely desirous of seeing private enterprize applied to works of public utility in India, and hope to see railways constructed through the instrumentality of private Companies, without the usual guarantee hitherto given, but with certain aid from the State. It has, therefore, been determined to assist a Company, in which Messrs. Rothschild have taken much interest, for making a line from Calcutta to Jessore and Khoolna. The terms which have been agreed upon with the promoters of this railway are briefly these:—The Government is to provide the land free of cost to the Company, and to grant them a lease for 99 years. Government is to have the option of purchasing the line at the end of 30 or 50 years on paying £125 for every £100 stock. On the termination of the 99 years' lease the works are to become the property of the Government, the movable stock being purchased at a valuation. The capital, as raised, is to be paid into the Bank of England to the account of the Secretary of State for India in Council. Interest at the rate of 4 per cent is to be advanced on money so paid till the line is opened, or until June, 1886, whichever occurs first. The interest so advanced is to be repaid to the Government, with interest from half the earnings of the line above 5 per cent. No other schemes of a similar character have been brought under my notice, and no other lines have been offered to private projectors.