Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1221

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certain rights and are now employing some capital for opening a caravan road between Alnvaz and Isjjahan.

The only carriageable roads in Persia are Teheran-Kom and Teheran- Kazvin, each about 91 miles, and on the latter mails and travellers are con- veyed by post-carts. A concession for the construction of a cart road from Kazvin to Enzeli on the Caspian was granted to a Russian firm in 1893. There are hopes that this road will be completed in 1899, the concession having been extended until then, with the stipulation that it is not to be renewed if the construction be incomplete. The extended concession in- cludes the continuation of the road from Kazvin to Teheran, and from Kazvin to Hamadan.

Persia has a system of telegraphs consisting of about 4,150 miles of line, with about 6,700 miles of wire, and 95 stations,

{a) 675 miles of line with three wires — that is, 2,025 miles of wire between Bushire and Teheran — are worked by an English staff, and form the 'Indo-European Telegraph Department in Persia,' an English Govern- ment department, {b) 415 miles of line with three wires, 1,245 miles of wire between Teheran and Julfa on the Russo-Persian frontier, are worked by the Indo-European Telegraph Company, Limited, [c) About 3,400 miles of single wire lines belong to the Persian Government, and are worked by a Persian staff. A line, which will connect some posts along the north- western frontier with Tabriz and Ardabil is under construction. During the year 1897-98, 163,134 messages with an aggregate of 2,249,451 words were transmitted by the English Government and Indo-European Telegraph Company's lines. The average time of transmission of a message between Karachi and England was forty-nine minutes. The income of the Indo- European Telegraph Department for the year 1897-98 was 176,900 R. ; that of the Indo-European Telegraph Company for the year 1895-96, 152,285Z. The Persian lines are held in farm by the Minister of Telegraphs for 300,000 krans (6,000Z. ) per annum.

The first regular postal service, established by an Austrian official in Persian employ, was opened January, 1877. Under it mails are regularly conveyed to and from the principal cities in Persia. There is a service twice a week to and from Europe via Resht or Tabriz and Tiflis (letters to be marked ' via Russia '), and a weekly service to India via Bushire. There are 84 post offices. The posts are held in farm by the Minister of Posts for 700,000 krans (14,000Z.) per annum.

Money, Weights, and Measures.

The monetary unit is the kran, a silver coin, formerly weighing 28 nak- hods (88 grains), then reduced to 26 nakhods (77 grains), now weighing only 24 nakhods (71 grains) or somewhat less. The proportion of pure silver was before the new coinage (commenced 1877) 92 to 95 per cent. ; it was then for some time 90 per cent., and is now about 89^ per cent. The value of the kran has in consequence much decreased. In 1874 a kran had the value of a franc, 25 being equal to 11. ; in December 1888 a II. billon London was worth 34 krans. In the month of April, 1888, a 1^. bill on London was worth 36^ to 37 krans. In consequence of the recent fall in the price of silver, the value of a kran is at present (October, 1898) about i^d., a ll. bill on London being worth 53 krans, while the average exchange for 1896-97 was 50.

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