Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The Railway Board has laid down that its general policy is to provide quarters where, for special reasons, it is necessary to do so, and where conditions are such that private enterprise does not adequately meet housing demands. Railway administrations can acquire land for building schemes under the Land Acquisition Act, and we were informed that every endeavour is made to secure sites situated in healthy localities. Expenditure up to 1st April 1929, was Rs. 24.81 crores, while the expenditure during the 4 years ending 1st April 1929, was 4.85 crores and the next two years' programme contemplates a further expenditure of 2 crores. Even so, considerable numbers of the railway staffs are not provided for, and these live in rented houses owned by private landlords. At wayside stations only a very small proportion of the staff is not provided with railway quarters, and all staff employed on construction projects are housed in temporary quarters especially erected for the purpose. The available accommodation is fully utilised, although gangmen recruited locally prefer to live in their own villages. Rent is charged except in the case of the lowest grades who are normally given free quarters. Generally men who are liable to be called upon at any time without notice are also provided with free quarters and, where an employee is entitled to free quarters and none are available, a house rent allowance is given. Up to the present, as a general rule workshop staffs have not been given quarters as most of the workshops are within reach of large towns. On some railways, however, a proportion of the workshop staff i s provided with houses owned or leased by the railways. The Burma railway administration states that 78% of the workshop employees at Myitnge and 38% of the locomotive shop staff at Insein are so housed. On the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway 92 quarters have been provided in Bombay for the lower paid workshop staff and arrangements have been made to lease from the Development Department certain chawls at Worli to accommodate another 400 workmen. Provision also exists for housing a large percentage of the workshop employees at Khargpur by the Bengal Nagpur Railway and at Golden Rock, Trichi-nopoly. by the South Indian Railway. The Bengal and North Western Railway have a colony at Gorakhpur for men employed in the workshops. The Railway Board has recently revised its policy in regard to the grant of free quarters and rent on state-aided railways. Under the new policy all future entrants, except men in inferior service, will have to pay rent. Further, each class of quarters is pooled, and rent is assessed and levied at a rate calculated to yield not less than 4% on the capital cost of each class, excluding cost of land. This percentage represents interest and costs of maintenance only, and depreciation charges will be met from general railway revenues. In actual practice the rent charger varies from 3 to 10% of pay, but on different railways it is estimated in different ways, sometimes on a floor space basis, at other times on the basis of the employee's wage. No sub-letting is allowed but, where there is a shortage of quarters, the tenant sometimes shares his quarters with another railway employee.