impracticable. William Bentinck’s Regulation IX of 1833, however, became
the true basis of the land settlement in northern India. Moreover, government
demand was reduced to two-thirds of the gross rental, and the settlement took
30 years to be completed. R. M. Bird, the Lt. Governor of North-Western
Provinces, implemented the settlement, and is rightly known as ‘the father of
land settlement in northern India’. Subsequently, the system was introduced
in the Central Provinces, the Panjab etc.
The development of Indian railways may, broadly, be divided into five
different stages or phases: (i) the ‘old guarantee system’, 1849–69; (ii) state
construction and ownership, 1869–82; (iii) the ‘modified guarantee system’,
1882–1924; (iv) nationalisation, 1924–48; and (v) integration and regrouping,
First Phase (1849–69)
To start with, three experimental lines were sanctioned in 1845: the East
Indian Railway, from Calcutta to Raniganj (120 miles); the Great Indian
Peninsular Railway, from Bombay to Kalyan (32 miles); and the Madras
Railway, from Madras to Arkonam (30 miles).
     But Indian railroad building began in right earnest after Lord Dalhousie’s
Minute of 1853 on the subject. And the Revolt of 1857 hastened this process
by making the British government realise the importance of speedier
transport and communications.
     Since no large-scale private capital for these huge undertakings was
forthcoming, the Company decided that English companies, interest on
whose capital investment would be guaranteed by the state, be constituted to
take up this work. By the end of 1859 contracts with eight such companies
for the construction of 5,000 miles of railroad were signed. In all these cases
the government underwrote the capital and guaranteed a 5 per cent return on
it, coupled with a free grant of all land required for construction. In return,
the companies were called upon to share the surplus profits with the
government. The railroads were