Posted: Posted Date – 11:30 PM, Mon – 20 Jun 22
Hyderabad: This article follows the last article on the reforms introduced by Salar Jung in the fields of railways, communications and coal mines.
The need to do something to relieve the public treasury of this incubus was realized very early on by Salar Jung. The only plan that seemed practicable and propitious in the end was the extension of the railway to the northern or eastern border, to connect with the central India system on one side and to practically access the sea the other. The project had the added benefit of exploiting the large mining fields towards the Godavari River basin.
The Nizam’s government was impressed that certain extensions would greatly benefit both the state and the country. He sent Syed Abdul Haq to England in April 1882 to negotiate with houses whose financial situation was unquestionable with the aim of starting a company on the model of the conditions offered by the Bombay syndicate. He negotiated with MM. Morton, Rose & Co., Merchants of London, who agreed to start the company, if the government guaranteed 5% interest. Syed Abdul Haq also negotiated with the National Provincial Bank of England and on December 27, 1883, and reached an agreement with them. Subsequently, in January 1884, a company was established in London called His Highness – the Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railway Company Limited with a capital of four and a half million at term on which the government of Hyderabad guaranteed the shareholders an interest of 5 percent for a period of twenty years and as security for the timely payment of guaranteed interest.
Through this agreement, the company acquired a 99-year operating lease of the existing line from Wadi to Secunderabad. Then they set out to build, maintain and work for 99 years for a panel gauge line from Hyderabad to Bezawada, and a branch line from Dornakal to Singareni Collieries. Another line was to be constructed, which, starting from Warangal, would run towards the north-western frontier to Chanda, a distance of 160 miles. The latter was to be a link between the railway systems of northern and southern India besides opening up a backward part of the Nizam’s dominions. This line after the completion has become a great boon to the public. The Hyderabad – Godavari Valley Railway connected Secunderabad with Ankai, a station on the Dhone and Manmad line. The new line passed through the districts of Medak, Indur, Nanded, Parbhani and Aurangabad. These districts were in the wealthiest and best cultivated parts of the Nizam’s dominions; it was therefore “expected with confidence that a line built at less cost will prove a financial success, as well as of immense advantage to the commerce of the country”.
Hyderabad was first connected by electric telegraph system with Bombay and Kurnool in 1856-57 CE and Salar Jung used the device for official purposes. Telegraph lines were opened by the Indian government as per the agreement of 1870. Regular postal communication between the capital Hyderabad and the districts was established. In 1869 the postal service was reorganized and the office of the Postmaster General was established in the metropolis to oversee, direct and control the postal arrangement throughout the Deewani territory.
A regular system of daily delivery by means of postal couriers has also been put in place. Different types of stamps ranging from half anna to eight annas were printed and introduced. In 1882 CE, a postal agreement was signed between the government of the Nizam and the British government for the mutual exchange of correspondence between the post offices of the two governments.
The Hyderabad Deccan Mining Company was a London-based company in which the government of Hyderabad held 75% of its capital. The lease of the Singareni coal fields to the Hyderabad (Deccan) Company Limited was finally signed on September 12, 1893. To begin with, it mined coal in the Warangal district. Singareni’s coal traffic, which in 1893 was 1.18 lakh tons, rose to 2.07 lakh tons in 1894; revenues under this had increased from Rs 5.73 lakh to Rs 9.25 lakh during the same period. Coal was consumed in large quantities by the Great Indian Peninsula Railways. It was also sent to Madras by canal from Bezawada, and on an experimental basis a shipment of about 17,000 tons was also sent to Bombay. The Company gradually increased its production.
To be continued…
Professor Adapa Satyanarayana
Department of History, Osmania University