Page 31 - Science India August 2022
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           Image Courtesy: Mumbai Port Trust
which railways had a significant part, can’t be totally denied.
The freight charges increased sub- stantially after 1919. The freight rate increased from 0.5 paise per ton-miles in 1919 to 1.5 paisa per ton-miles in 1934. The fare rates also increased from 0.35 paisa per ton-miles in 1919 to 0.83 paisa per ton-miles in 1934. The trans- port of raw materials from the cultiva- tors to ports took place through trains. There was no significant development in rail networks during the post-1920 period due to insufficient investment and a lack of interest in public service. Transport of gold to the port of Bombay
was done utilising the rail network dur- ing the Great Depression of 1931. This gold was shipped off to Britain to revive their economy. While the First World War impacted the rail lines gravely be- cause of their abuse to ship grains and troops to the ports of Bombay and Ka- rachi, the Second World War paralysed the railways.
The exports of grains like wheat and rice kept on ascending notwithstanding the normal event of famines e.g., during the famines of 1876-79 and 1896-1902, food grains were moved to ports via trains and afterwards sent out to Britain. Rail routes were utilised by the British to keep up with India as an exporter of raw material and merchant of finished products. This satisfied a significant goal of the British — forestalling the change of the Indian economy from agrarian to industrial.
There was another source of mounting hostility: the treatment of third-class passengers who were generally all Indi- an. They were herded in third-class com- partments, which had wooden benches and a total absence of amenities. How- ever, whites-only compartments were soon discarded on grounds of monetary reasonability, Indians found the accessi- ble reasonable space terribly inadequate for their numbers. There was even a long fight for Indians to have toilets on trains and conditions stayed filthy well into the 20th century. This ended up being an
 Image Courtesy: Historical Railway Images on Flickr

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