Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The important provinces for inland steamer traffic are Bengal, Assam and Burma. Elsewhere the development of railways has greatly reduced the volume of this traffic, and the only other province with steamer services of any importance is Bihar and Orissa. Inland steam navigation is now confined mainly to the Brahmaputra, the lower reaches of the Ganges, the Irrawaddy and some of their tributaries and connected creeks and canals. Almost the entire steamer traffic of Bengal and Assam is in the hands of two important steamer companies, namely, the India General Navigation and Railway Company, Limited, and the Rivers Steam Navigation Company, Limited. It is estimated that the crews engaged by these two Companies exceed 16, 000 in number. In Burma the bulk of the organised steamer traffic is in the hands of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, which employs crews numbering about 4, 500 and in addition some 3, 500 workers in its dockyard at Dalla. The higher as well as the lower ratings of the inland steam vessels come from the same area as seamen, namely, the Noakhali and Chittagong districts of Eastern Bengal and the Sylhet district of Assam; the majority, who come from the vicinity of Chittagong, have shown through generations keenness and aptitude for this kind of work.