Journey on the Road to Infrastructure Development
Roads and buildings are ancient in India with the development of civilizations like Harappa and Mohenjadaro. Grand Trunk Road across the country between Peshawar (Khyber pass) in the North West Frontier Province and Calcutta is the famous earliest road in the country built in 1857. Romans were adept in road building and the statement “All roads lead to Rome” meant literally the same.
In Karnataka, prior to 1834, Revenue Officers were in charge of Public Works. In 1834, a Superintendent of Maramat was in charge under the Revenue Department for public works.
In Karnataka (the then Mysore) State, the Public Works Department was created in 1856. By 1856 all District Headquarters were connected to Bangalore by road.
The staff then was
Assistant Chief Engineer
From 1856-1876, the PWD expenditure was Rs.99 lakhs on original works and Rs. 89 lakhs on repair works. In other words, the Plan and Non-Plan expenditure was almost equal.
In Mark Cubbon’s time (1834-1861) roads in the then Mysore State were classified into Imperial, Provincial and Village Roads. In 1897, two Circles, the Western and Eastern were created each with one Superintending Engineer. However in 1909, both the posts were abolished based on the recommendations of the Retrenchment Committee. The First Chief Engineer was Col.C.Bowen BE, and the first CE from Mysore State was Mr.Y.Srinivasa Rao B.A.
Some of the earliest buildings which are continuing to exist and the cost of construction then are presented below:
Bangalore Central Jail
Bowring Hospital, B’lore
During fortytwo years from 1881 to 1924 the following were built:
Public Offices (Bangalore)
The Central College (Bangalore)
Maharaja’s College (Mysore)
Public Offices (Mysore)
Victoria Hospital ( Bangalore)
Law Court Buildings (Mysore)
The Sir Sheshadri Memorial Hall (Bangalore)
The Chamarajendra Technical Institute (Mysore)
Minto Opthalmic Hospital (Bangalore)
The Government High School (Bangalore)
Krishnarajendra Hospital (Mysore)
University Buildings (Mysore)
Vanivilas Institute (Bangalore)
Fernhill Palace, Ooty
In 1922 the salary of Engineers in Mysore was:
Assistant Chief Engineer
But, for 1 Rupee 4.5 seer rice and 10.3 seer ragi was available (i.e. for Re.1, 5 kg rice and 12 kg ragi); today for 1 kg rice, the price is Rs 15 to 20 and 1 kg ragi, it is Rs.8.
In 1930, the State had Provincial road length of 212 miles (341 km) and District road length of 458 miles (737 km)
In 1956, at the time of the reorganization of Mysore State, the road length was as given below:
Category of Road
Major District Roads
Other District Roads
Forest Department Roads