The total capital invested in railway property, to the end of 1902, amounted to $1,025,000,000, and during that year the average net earnings of the entire mileage amounted to 5.10 per cent of that amount. The surplus earnings, after the payment of all fixed charges and guarantees and interest upon bonds amounted to $4,233,080.
The number of passengers carried in 1,902 was 197,749,567, an increase of 6,614,211 over the previous year. The aggregate freight hauled was 44,142,672 tons, an increase of 2,104,425 tons over previous year, which shows a healthy condition. During the last ten years the gross earnings of all the railways in India increased at the rate of 41 per cent.
Of the gross earnings 59 per cent. were derived from freight and the balance from passengers.
There is now no town of importance in India without a telegraph station. The telephone is not much used, but the telegraph lines, which belong to the government, more than pay expenses. There has been an enormous increase in the number of messages sent in the last few years by natives, which indicates that they are learning the value of modern improvements.
The government telegraph lines are run in connection with the mails and in the smaller towns the postmasters are telegraph operators also. In the large cities the telegraph offices are situated in the branch postoffices and served by the same men, so that it is difficult to divide the cost of maintenance. According to the present system the telegraph department maintains the lines, supplies all the telegraphic requirements of the offices and pays one-half of the salaries of operators, who also attend to duties connected with the postoffice. There were 68,084 miles of wire and 15,686 offices on January 1, 1904. The rate of charges for ordinary telegrams is 33 cents for eight words, and 4 cents for each additional word. Telegrams marked “urgent” are given the right of way over all other business and are charged double the ordinary rates. Telegrams marked “deferred” are sent at the convenience of the operator, generally during the night, at half of the ordinary rates. As a matter of convenience telegrams may be paid for by sticking postage stamps upon the blanks.
There are 38,479 postoffices in India and in 1902 545,364,313 letters were handled, which was an increase of 24,000,000 over the previous year and of 100,000,000 since 1896. The total revenues of the postoffice department were $6,785,880, while the expenditures were $6,111,070.
THE CITY OF AHMEDABAD