Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The scale of accommodation varies on different railways, but for the lowest grades of worker the standard is usually one room of 90 to 100 square feet, a verandah of 40 to 60 square feet and a courtyard about 100 to 120 square feet. On certain railways the older types did not include courtyards, but we were informed that steps have been taken to add these in most cases. One of the best types we have seen is at Golden Rock, Trichinopoly, where the South Indian Railway has adopted a new design which provides for a room of 155 square feet, a kitchen, courtyard and washing place. For skilled artisans on the same railway, the usual type includes two rooms with a total area of 190 to 220 square feet and a verandah of 40 to 50 square feet. On the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway the artisan house is of an improved type, containing one main room, a courtyard, a verandah and a kitchen. Superior quarters are provided with individual latrines, but for lower grade quarters blocks of latrines are provided at a suitable distance from the houses. All railway managements are agreed as to the beneficial effects on the workers of improved housing conditions. Designs of staff quarters, though standardised as much as possible, are constantly being altered to meet the growing demands connected with rising standards of living, but many of the older types of existing buildings require to be replaced by houses more in keeping with modern standards. In spite of the large expenditure and the continual endeavours to construct additional accommodation in accordance with a pre-arranged programme, there is still a dearth of quarters on most railways. Whilst recognising that financial considerations enter largely into the problem, we hope that the Railway Board and the administrations will be able to arrange for increased provision of houses as rapidly as possible. We were much impressed by the improved lay-out and the generous accommodation provided in some of the more recently erected railway colonies and particularly at Golden Rock, and we are satisfied that continued expenditure in the same direction will prove a round investment from every point of view. At the same time, we consider that in the past too little regard has been paid to Indian preferences in the construction of railway housing. The standard blocks of brick quarters to be seen near most stations, even in rural areas, have a depressingly foreign appearance and can hardly be regarded as homes. We suggest that in future schemes the importance of building as far as possible in consonance with good local traditions should not be overlooked.