Nadia, Bengal District Gazetteers (1910)
"Nadia" by J. H. E. Garrett, I.C.S., in the Bengal District Gazetteers series, Bengal Secretariat Book Depot, Calcutta, 1910
Of the five subdivions in the district, all but Meherpur are traversed by at least one branch of the Eastern Bengal State Railway. The Meherpur subdivision is cut off from the railway...... The Ranaghat subdivision is well served in every respect. Ranaghat itself is an important junction on the Eastern Bengal State Railway ; from this place the new branch leading to Murshidabad, and the central branch (formerly known as the Central Bengal Railway) both take off from the main line, the former roughly to the north-west and the latter in a direction slightly south of east. There is also the light railway which takes off from the east bank of the Churni, not far from Ranaghat, and leads to Krishnagar via Santipur...... The Krishnagar subdivision is also very well served. It is traversed throughout its greater length by the Murshidabad branch of the Eastern Bengal State Railway; and, through the eastern portion, by part of the main line. It also has connection with Santipur by a light railway...... The Chuadanga Subdivision is bisected by the main line of the Eastern Bengal State Railway......The Kushtia Subdivision is served by the main line of the Eastern Bengal State Railway from near Alamdanga on the south to Damukdia on the north, and by the Goalundo branch from the junction at Poradah to the eastern boundary of the district at Khoksa......
The district is now (1909) very well served with railways. About 170 miles of the Eastern Bengal State Railway, all broad gauge, lie within its borders. The main line from Calcutta to Siliguri passes through the district, roughly from south to north; the distance from Kanchrapara on the southern boundary to Damukdia on the Padma is about 92 miles, and this section has 21 stations. The Lal Gola branch takes off from Ranaghat junction; it passes in a north-westerly direction; the portion within the district is about 48 miles in length, and there are 8 stations upon it. This branch traverses the Kalantar, which is the tract that is most liable to famine in the district and generally contains the lowest stock of food grains. In the 1896-97 famine the supply of food suddenly gave out in this tract, and, in the absence of the railway, which had not then been constructed, the greatest difficulty was experienced in importing enough grain to prevent deaths from starvation. If another famine should unfortunately occur, this line will save the District Officer much of the anxiety which his predecessors had to bear. The central branch of the Eastern Bengal State Railway also takes off from Ranaghat junction; only about nine miles of it (with two stations) lies within the boundaries of the district; it passes in an easterly direction through the Ranaghat subdivision into the Bangaon subdivision of the Jessore district. The Goalundo branch takes off from Poradah
junction, and passses in an easterly direction for about 21 miles, when it crosses the boundary of the district near Khoksa into Faridpur ; there are five stations on this portion of the line. The light railway which runs from Aistola Ghat, on the right bank of the Churni about two miles from Ranaghat, to Krishnagar via Santipur, is about 20 miles in length, and has seven stations. This line was constructed by Messrs. Martin and Company at a cost of Rs. 7,00,000, upon a guarantee by the District Board of 4 per cent, interest on the capital expenditure. The line was opened in the year 1898, and was worked by the company until it was taken over by the Eastern Bengal State Railway on Ist July 1904. During the intervening years it never worked at a profit of more than 3 per cent., and the District Board in consequence lost a considerable sum annually in making good the guarantee which it had given. The arrangements for crossing the river at Aistola Ghat were defective, especially during the rainy season, and it was this and the fact that the stations at Santipur and Krishnagar are at some distance from the centre of the town, that caused the receipts to fall below the figure which it was expected that they would reach. Orders have recently been issued for the preparation of detailed plans and estimates for the construction of an extension of this line from Ghoralia station to Kalna Ghat via Santipur city, and from Santipur city to Santipur station on the light railway ; also for the construction of a new bridge over the Churni, and the conversion of the present broad gauge siding from Ranaghat station to Aistola Ghat to 2 feet 6 inch gauge.
A detailed project and estimate amounting to Rs. 15,36,522, as finally revised, have been prepared for constructing a 2 feet 6 inch light railway, 56 miles in length, from Krishnagar to Jalangi, vid Meherpur.
A rough project and estimate have also been prepared for a branch from Shibnibash station on the Eastern Bengal State Railway to Kotchandpur in Jessore. The Manager of the Railway has recommended a line vid Khalispur, Kaliganj and Jhenidah ; the length of this would be about 65 miles, and the estimated cost is Rs. 52,49,115. From statistics which have been taken it appears probable that this line could count upon gross earnings of Rs. 90 per mile per week from the date of its opening.
The total rail-borne imports into, and exports from, the district during the year 1908-09 amounted to 1,374,277 and 1,642,660 maunds respectively. Among imports the most important items were - paddy 622,399 maunds; salt 212,124
maunds; kerosene oil 116,369 maunds; and rice 113,207 maunds. Among exports the most important items were raw jute 755,324 maunds; gram and pulses 474,934 maunds ; other food-grains 114,456 maunds; and gur (molasses) 84,189 maunds.
The chief railway trade centres are Ohuadanga, Bagula, Ranaghat, Damukdia and Poradah: there are also less important centres at Darsana, Sibnibas, Kumarkhali, Krishnagar, Debagram, Kushtia and Chakdaha......
[Note: The standard maund was 37.3 kg, but the weight varied widely from place to place.]