Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
In 53 mills for which figures have been received, nearly 41, 000 houses have been built by the employers to accommodate about 131, 000 of their workers and it has been estimated that between 30 and 40% of the total labour force in these areas is housed by the various companies. Most of these houses are built in back-to-back rows and consist of one room with a verandah in front in which cooking and washing is done. In the better lines the space between the rows is paved with brick and drained. Windows and roof ventilation are also provided in some types, whilst artificial lighting has been extended to a number of lines. A large number of septic-tank latrines have effected immense improvements in conservancy and sanitation.
Water supplies are usually provided by the mills; numbers of deep tube wells have been sunk, and in other cases water is pumped from the river and purified before distribution. The creation in the mill areas of small municipalities, many of the members of which are associated with the jute industry, has done much to improve general health conditions in difficult circumstances, and substantial sums have been expended with benefit to all concerned. In Titaghar, for example, a complete sewerage scheme with purification works has been constructed at a cost of over Rs. 12 lakhs. In Bhatpara a more comprehensive improvement scheme, estimated to cost Rs. 22 lakhs, is in course of development and comprises a complete sewerage scheme with purification works, a town water supply, new road construction and provision of parks. In both cases the Government agreed to contribute one-third of the cost. In a number of areas the industrial concerns have assumed responsibility for pumping and distributing water supplies and have also borne the bulk of the cost of the sewerage schemes. The municipalities, however, have failed to make adequate use of the powers they possess under the Bengal Municipal Act for the improvement of private bustees. While much has been done, therefore, the general problem of the housing of the workers is still unsolved. The majority remain unprovided with decent dwellings, and the houses built by the mills are in marked contrast to those in the bustees lying around.