UK aid to India: Railways edition

Ok, there is one more favour we need from the UK and this time, billions of us will be genuinely grateful. This story in The Hindu –

In a report, the U.K. Law Commission on Wednesday said it had identified as many as 38 Acts dating back to 1849 and 1942 and concerning the various railway companies that operated in colonial India and “in the wider East Indies”…

…Obsolete or not, they provide a rare glimpse into the origins of the Indian railway system, arguably one of the few beneficial legacies of the Raj. The first regular train service between what was then Bombay and Thane was established by the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company in 1854 under an Act passed in 1849 Act. It incorporated the company and gave it power to enter into contracts with the East India Company.
This Act is now on the chopping block as is a 1942 legislation enabling liquidation of the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway Company after its operation had been sold to the government. Other provisions proposed to be repealed include the Assam Railways and Trading Company’s Act, 1897; Oude Railway Act, 1858; Scinde Railway Act, 1857; and the Great Southern of India Railway Act, 1858.

Please dont destroy them just yet. Pass them on to us. I am sure our government can even pay up if you are being fiscally conservative in these tough times. Given the current state of our railways and the kind of Railway Ministry we are stuck with, even these 19th century laws might teach us a LOT!


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