Page images

favourite object, circumstances of great lets from the sea will always afford a sufimportance are overlooked, because their ficient supply of water : and when once effects are too slow and remote to enter the canal is made, it will be liable to suffer into immediate calculation ; but though no alteration ; the alternate flux and reflux slow in their progress, they may neverthe- of the tide, far from affecting the banks, less be so sure in their effects, as to bring operating against their sides in such a manwith them consequences of a very momen- ner as to preserve their original form un. tous, and even fatal nature. Thus in all disturbed. At least during the late survey the projects to keep open the communica of the Sunderbunds, the different small tion between the Upper Provinces and Cal- nullahs situated near the line of the procutta, by means of the rivers flowing from posed canals were found to be nearly in the great Ganges into the Hoogly, it seems the same state as when surveyed by Major altogether to have escaped observation, Rennell. The reason appears obvious : that by straitening their courses, and em

the water holds little or no sand in suspenploying machinery to free their beds from sion, and the deposition of mud is trifling, the accumulated sand, that very sand is of which one instance may be noticed ; hastened down to a part of the river where Goodlad's Creck, which was excavated in it is of the greatest consequence to have a 1795-6, but has not yet become at all ubfree passage, viz. between the metropolis structed, nor do I think it has since expeand the sea, where on being stopped by the rienced any change. The cut made by tide, its deposition must naturally tend to

Lieutenant Morrison, of Engineers, havincrease the height of the sand-banks, and ing retained its original form, may be menobstruet the outward passage. Surely this

tioned as another instance of the durability is a subject worthy the most serious con

of such works in this part of the country. sideration, Slow has hitherto been the That this navigation should have been process, but that it is sure, appears un- so long disregarded, may perhaps be attridoubted, from the well-known increase to buted to the accidental circumstance of the sands of the river of late years.

the Matabanga and Baugretty having Were it possible so much to retard the pro

continued open for several years, and to gress of the sand down the Hoogly (by en

the subsequent partial, though inefficient couraging the windings of the river, and endeavours, at removing the obstruction by the formation of sand-banks at its efflux drags, cuts, &c. The total failure, howfrom the Ganges), so that it might be de- ever, of these attempts, in every instance posited before it reaches Calcutta, the river in which they have been resorted to, afin that case would become similar to the fords an unequivocal proof of their insufIssamutty, Cobbaduck, and others of the ficiency. Sunderbunds, which, at the same distance The Chundna river has never yet been from the sea as Calcutta, are free from sand, so much obstructed as to impede the proand having become little else than tide- gress of the largest boats ; and the Gurways, the sand-banks at their mouths have roy, a branch of the same river, although remained stationary, and without further not navigable throughout the year when increase; nor have the beds of these rivers Major Rennel wrote, now assumes an apat all filled up in the course of many years, pearance equally favourable to permanent the soundings taken in 1817 agreeing navigation (an explanation of the cause of with those made by Rennell at least forty which will be attempted in another place). years ago.

These are consequently resorted to by the Although the country towards the head Up-country and eastern trade boats, when of the Delta is unfit for canal navigation, all other passages to Calcutta are unavailfrom the causes above-mentioned, the same

able. These rivers strike off from the objections do not apply to that portion of Ganges, the former at Koostee, and the Bengal which is situated within the in- latter at Moddapoor : and they ultimately fluence of the tide ; and which, on the

unite at Mussundurpoor, in the Jessore contrary, appears to be peculiarly adapted district, Aowing into the Sunberbunds for such an undertaking. The surface of passage at the village of Allipoor, on the the ground is nearly on a level with the Boirub, near Koolna; hence the route lies water at high tide, consequently the ex- through the Sunderbunds and Tolly's pense of excavation will be trilling, and no Nullah to Calcutta. locks will be required, as the numerous in- The navigation as far as the SunderAsiatic Journ.-No. 99.

Vol. XVII. 91

bunds is perfectly safe: it then becomes niences of the present route. Luckily, dangerous to boats heavily laden with the facilities for the accomplishment of this merchandize, from the great breadth and object are greater than might be expected, depth of some of the rivers which form a on considering that the line extends in a part of the passage, particularly the point direction which might be supposed to cut at the head of the spacious inlet called the perpendicularly the general course of the Roymungal, and the crossing of another, rivers. termed the Seepsah, improperly the Mur. It has been already observed, that the jattah in the maps. Independent of which, navigation by means of the Gurroy, which, the natives are strongly averse to this route,

Aowing towards the sea, assumes succesfrom the dread of tigers, the danger of sively the names of Barashee, the Mudcooking ashore, the want of fresh water, doomutty and Hooringotta, and by the and the delay attending the passage through Attareebanke Nullah and Boirub, is perTolly's Nullah.

fectly safe until reaching Koolna, which When Tolly's Nullah was first excavated may be considered the commencement of and brought into use, it was perhaps suf- the Sunderbund passage, as it is here the ficiently large for the trade which had then pilots station themselves. to avail itself of the benefit it offered; but Leaving Koolnah, the old route is folthat it is quite inadequate to the present lowed as far down as the mouth of the Bynavigation, is evident from the fact, that at tagotta khaul, at Hutbarree ; it is then decertain seasons of the year, when a free serted, and the new route lies through the passage is most required, it is choaked up Bytagotta, Salty, Taily Kally, Bungurwith boats all the way from its junction ria and Mazzerpoor khauls, to the back of with the Hoogly, to a distance of three or the village of Cubulmunee, on the banks of four miles on the other side of Gurriahaut. the Cabbaduck, with which a junction is Indeed, many of these boats, finding a fur- formed, by means of a canal, in the directher progress hopeless, are compelled to

tion laid down in the map. deposit their burthens on the bank of the In order to avoid the very considerable Nullah, to be afterwards transported to bend of the Cabbaduck, between this canal Calcutta, either in smaller boats, or by a and Taikah, it would be necessary to cut land carriage of seven or eight miles. The through the isthmus at Naroolee; by doing increased population of the town demand- which, a tide would be saved. The pasing a larger supply of fuel, the wood-boats, sage from Koolna to Taikah will be shortwhich are the principal cause of this tened eighteen hours by the new route. obstruction in the Nullah, have increased This is, however, but a triling advantage, in proportion; and being now necessitated in comparison with the greater security of to load at a greater distance, and in larger the navigation; as it cuts off one of the most rivers than formerly, the size of the boats dangerous of the Sunderbund rivers, and has also become greater. When two of runs through a highly cultivated country this description of craft happen to be the whole way. brought to an opposite bank, it is with di. From Taikah, the new route is traced to ficulty an ordinary budgerow or grain boat the village of Deacol through the Boira can pass between them, even at the height Jheel to Husseinabad, across the country of the tide ; and as the tide falls, and the by a canal to Busserah, through the Ghaskasurface of the water decreases, the boat3 lee, the Beharee, Koosree, and Bunger in the Nullah jam together, causing much Nullah, the letter E. near the village of damage, and totally shutting the passages. Gubtullah, from thence through another

What is proposed, therefore, is to make canal to the Bedadoory nullah, which one grand line of water communication leads to Tardah, where we again fall in between the Upper Provinces and the with the present route. * eastern side of Bengal and Calcutta, open

The Nullah from E. to F. has breadth and secure for every description of boats, enough; but it would require to be deepby forming a junction between the rroy and Hoogly rivers, by means of canals at * It is said to be in contemplation to cut in two the head of the Sunderbunds, lessening the additional canals to those originally suggested ; expense by taking advantage of such Nula

one from the Cabbaduck river, al the village of lahs as lie in a suitable direction, thus

Banka, to Deacool; and the other from Chellaba.

ria tu Bamingolia, ilicieby avoiding the circuitous avoiding the large rivers, and the inconve. routes by Taikalı and Turdalı.

ened seven feet, as it is just dry at low tween the Ganges and Hoogly have of water: it continues winding through low

late ceased to be so ; the same may happen marshy land to Gabtullah, where it ends. to the Gurroy and Chundnah. Between Gabtullah and the Bedadoory, at 2d. The Issamutty, the Baugretty and Narainpoor, the ground is about three feet even the Jellinghie, once navigable throughabove high-water mark. The rise and fall out the year, may again become so. In of the tfde is seven feet; the depth required which case the passage by the canals would in this place would therefore be seven- be little frequented by the up-country or teen feet, for which, and the breadth equal western trade boats. to the Husseinabad canal, the calcula- 3d. In the event of other canals cut in tions are made. For the length I have the upper parts of the Baugretty or any taken the whole distance, from E to C, or

of the above-mentioned rivers being renthree and a half miles.

dered navigable by art, the circuitous route The Bedadoory, from Narainpoor to

by the canals would be abandoned for the Purtabnuggur was formerly navigable for shorter one by the river. large boats, but it has latterly been shut up

In answer to the first objections ; it has by bunds thrown across it in two places, been before observed, that the Chundnah and it has, in consequence, extended itself river has always been navigable, and the at those places, into jheels. These bunds Gurroy river of late years, when the Mamust therefore be removed, and others tabanga and Baugretty are closed. In formed along the banks of the nullah, to order, if possible, to ascertain the cause of prevent the overflow of the salt water; this, and the probability of their continuing the old channel contains a sufficient quan- open; as also the changes that might be tity of water.

expected to take place at the heads of the From Tardah we follow the double other branches of the Ganges, the right dotted line of the proposed route past

bank of the Ganges was examined from Bamingotta, across the salt lake up the Rajemahl to Koostee, and the Gurroy eastern canal, and round by the bauk of surveyed as low down as the Attaree Banthe circular road to the Hoogly at Chit

ka Nullah, which leads to Koolna. From poor.

Rajemahl to the village of Chacula, twelve Among the more prominent benefits

miles in a direct line below the Matabanga, that the above line of canal navigation

a sandy soil was found with little or no holds out to the trade of the country, may tenacity ; and in consequence the channel of be enumerated the great increase to trade, the upper parts of the rivers which branch which experience shews has ever followed off in this place, are subject to great an increased facility of transportation. changes, as also the danger of being enThe certainty of the navigation, the lessen- tirely closed by the unfortunate deposition ing the number of wrecks, and the pre

of a sand-bank at the entrance. vention of loss of property, and damage,

At the village of Chacola, on the conarising from boats running frequently trary, the Ganges puts on a different apaground in the present passages; the con- pearance. The soil here assuming a more venience of the canal in the neighbourhood clayey nature, resists the current which is of Calcutta for loading and unloading, deflected into the remarkable windings and affording also a safe retreat from the which the map of the river exhibits in this dangers of the Hoogly in stormy weather place. The Ganges likewise is here conThe formation of the canals must be at- fined within a comparatively narrow chantended with advantages to Government, nel, with an increased depth of water. that are too evident to require enumera

At Koostee the depth is upwards of 120 tion in this place : to the city an in- feet; all these circumstances indicate the creased salubrity, from the adoption of channel be to of stiff, compact matter. At a more efficient mode of draining, and a the entrance into Gurroy a black stratum reduction in the price of fuel, and every

of mould rises about two feet above the other article of consumption.

surface of the river in January; and judgThe principal objections that may be ing from the section taken across the enurged against the adoption of the scheme, trance, either this, or a stratum of equal appear to be the following:

consistency, must descend beyond the botIst. The rivers formerly navigable be

tom of the channel, which is here about fifty feet deep. This forms a foundation tirely from the accumulation of sand at the for the looser soil above, which is thus in head of the river, and that if it were rea great measure kept from being under- moved, there would be no hindrance to the mined and carried down the stream. Des- navigation in the rest of its course. The cending the Gurroy, the same black soil is sections taken at different places, prove, seen at every projection of the bank oppos- however, the obstructions not to be so paring the efforts of the current, which then tial as is supposed; for instance, between aots in keeping the channel clear and free Culna and Nuddea, at Moorshedabad and from sand. From Koostee to Gopaul. at Sooty, there was the same depth of four gunge a single detached sand is not obser

feet. From which it may be inferred that vable, and it is only where the river makes the bed of the Baugretty generally, from a sudden bend that one is to be found on Sooty to Koolna, may be taken as being the eddy bank. It might naturally be ex- three feet depressed, in ordinary seasons, pected that a greater quantity of sand would below the surface of the Ganges; allowing be accumulated from the above causes, at for the slope of the country, and that the the mouth of this branch of the Ganges, degree of practicability of the Baugretty and such is found to be the case : for the depends not on any change in the sands, Hooringottah, which is a prolongation of but entirely on the height of the Ganges. the Gurroy and Chundnah united, is The Baugretty is seldom navigable for nearly choaked with sand-banks, where the boats of 500 maunds burthen in January, tides begin to act with sufficient force to yet it remained so in that month of the deposit the suspended matter. It may year 1821, and the boatmen of the diffetherefore be presumed that this river will rent ferries affirmed that the river was not be liable to the same changes which about a foot higher than is usually expehave attended the others, and that we may rienced at the same season; yet, under rely on its remaining navigable for a great these circumstances, it was then impractinumber of years.

cable for boats exceeding 500 maunds burAs to the second objection, experience then; and it may with safety be admitted, offers no instance of a river which has once that the Baugretty will seldom be so combecome unnavigable for any great length pletely open, but that a very great proporof course, from the deposition of the mat- tion of the up-country or western trade ter carried down its stream, whether sand boats will have to resort to the proposed or gravel, ever returning naturally to a na. new route. What has been said in regard to vigable state. Many examples, on the con- the Baugretty will apply in like manner to trary, might by adduced to shew (what in. the Matabanga and Jellinghie rivers, as deed might be expected) their unabating these were impassable in January for boats tendency to fill up their beds. The bed of of 200 maunds burthen. the Dummooda has risen above the level The difficulty, if not the impossibility, of the adjacent country. The great, and of making permanent canals in the upper in some cases total change of course of parts of Bengal, which comprizes generally many of the Indian rivers may be attri. the answer to the third objection, has albuted to the rising of their beds, by which ready been shewn; it might, therefore, they are forced to enter new channels. be thought superfluous, to add any thing The beds of the Italian rivers may also be further in this place, had not a plan been brought forward as instances in point, proposed for carrying a canal from Rajparticularly that of the Po, which, from mahl to below Sooty; and as the feasibisuccessive embankments, has risen in many lity of this plan, which has many advoplaces to thirty feet above the level of the

cates, may be brought forward as an obadjacent country; and the most fearful jection to the one proposed, it becomes apprehensions are entertained that, at no necessary to point out in a distinct manner very distant period of time, the whole

what may be conceived the objections to country known by the name of the Pole- its success. The ground-work of the plan sino, or the Delta of the Po, is destined to is as follows: That at or near Rajmahl a become an extensive, and useless marsh. spot might be found where the Ganges is It is the opinion of many, that the ob. steady in its course, and where it would structed state of the Baugretty arises en- not desert the entrance of the canal, by throwing up sand-banks, as it has done continued a steady course for any length at the opening into some of its natural of time, and even here the encroachments branches. That a canal carried from thence of the river are visible, although in a less through a compact stiff soil would be in degree, from the rocky nature of the soil. no danger of having its banks washed away; About forty years ago, the Ganges flowed and that the large body of water which close to the town along its whole length: would be conveyed by it into the Bau- it is now 400 yards distant from the wesgretty would keep the channel of that river tern extremity: from a late change in the more free from sand than it is at present. direction of the current it is again making That a greater body of water brought into its approaches. The branch of the Ganges, the Baugretty would have the effect of dis- only a few years back, ran close by Oudaplacing the sands at the bottom of its channel, nullah, which in the dry season is now two appears to be very problematical, on consi- miles from the nearest stream. In further dering, that even after the foods of the proof of the changes in this part of the rirainy season, when the column of water ver, it may be mentioned, that about the has been increased 32 feet in height, no year 1600, the Ganges held its course uneffect is produced in deepening the bed ; der the walls of Gour. It had some time which may be thus accounted for : the previous to this been shifting gradually its soil through which the river flows is als bed, but it then left the vicinity of that city most wholly composed of sandy particles, and approached the Rajemahl Hills. From which have a considerable degree of gra. Rajemahl to the Baugretty a line of soil vity, with scarcely any of tenacity; the could no doubt be found of such a consisconsequence of which is, that they are tency, that the banks of the canal therein easily detached from the sides, but are excavated would withstand the force of the with difficulty removed from the bottom. current, but the labour and expense of Hence a river, flowing through such a soil, working on such a soil would be very conwith any increase of water, will enlarge siderable. It is besides generally elevated its section in breadth, and not in depth, several feet above the common alluvial finding less opposition in effecting the land, which may be said to be on a level former than the latter. In this way may

with the river at the height of the rains. be traced the creation and destruction of In order, therefore, to have a sufficient the great sand-hanks of the Ganges. A depth of water in the dry weather, it would sunken boat or tree, by retarding the cur- be necessary to dig seven or eight feet berent, allows the gravity of the sand to act

low the surface of the river at that time. in precipitating it to the bottom; while the And as the rise of the river is 32 feet, the stream, being too powerless to displace the depth of digging, on the lowest computaincipient collection, it becomes the cause of

tion, would be 42 feet. A mile of canal of a still further accumulation, and finally this depth, and 60 feet broad at the surface give a new direction to the current, which

of the water, would cost 74,000 rupees ; striking obliquely the sides of any conti- and as the distance could not be less than guous bank, crumbles it down, and carries 42 miles, the expense of excavating would away the sand, to undergo a process simi- alone amount to (31,00,000 rupees) lar to that which has been just described. thirty-one lakhs of rupees. Independently

It will now be shown, that the Ganges however of the very great expense that is not more steady in its course at Rajmahl would attend the completion of such a than at other places, and that the experse work, no hope could be entertained of an of the canal would of itself be an insupe- unimpaired navigation for any length of rable bar to the undertaking. With the time; for in its course, as appears by the exception of that small portion of the map, it would be intersected by a number town of Rajemahl which lies between the of hill streams, which, in the rainy season, bastions of the palace and the burying bringing down quantities of sand and other place of Futteh Jung, which forms the matter, would infallibly choak up the canal bight in which boats occasionally bring to, at the places where they entered it. there is no other part where the Ganges has

« PreviousContinue »