Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
In every industrialised country the problems associated with the housing of the working classes have increased as industry has developed, and India has been no exception to that rule. During the past 50 years there has been a constant drift into the cities and towns. In that time cities such as Bombay, Calcutta and Rangoon have doubled and trebled their population; other industrial centres such as Madras, Madura, Lahore, Jubbulpore, Nagpur and Cawnpore have increased with great rapidity, whilst new towns like Bhatpara and Jamshedpur have sprung up in hitherto undeveloped areas. In each of these places the housing of the workers presents a problem sometimes showing distinctive characteristics and requiring its own solution, but for the most part arising from similar causes. Limitation of space and high land values are responsible for much of the congestion in the large cities, but these factors have had less influence in the smaller towns and centres. Probably the most important common feature has been the lack of control over the selection of sites intended for industrial development and the consequent additional overcrowding, caused by the presence of large numbers of immigrant workers seeking accommodation in the heart of towns already suffering from a shortage of houses. The combination of these circumstances has led to the unsatisfactory conditions existing in nearly every industrial area. A more recent phenomenon has been the growth of the smaller industrial towns, particularly of those associated with such industries as cotton, jute and mining. In and around such places land is usually plentiful and cheap, so that these handicaps to the extension of housing accommodation for the workers have had less influence. The same rapid growth in population has, however, invariably outstripped available housing and has contributed to the overcrowding, congestion and squalor. Thus the establishment of an industry in the average Indian town has, in certain respects, not always been an unmixed blessing. Whilst stimulating trade and increasing the rateable value, it has added to the population large numbers which are a constant menace to the health of the community and frequently necessitate heavy expenditure owing to outbreaks of epidemic disease.