HC Deb 26 July 1866 vol 184 cc1528-9

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, Whether any and what steps have been taken with reference to the present distress occasioned by the famine now prevailing in India, more particularly in Orissa; and what measures the Government propose to adopt to prevent the recurrence of these visitations?


I am sorry, Sir, I cannot attempt to give anything like an exact account of the measures which the Government have taken to remedy the deplorable famine to which the hon. Gentleman has referred. I am informed that a precise official account is on its way home, which, if necessary, I shall be happy to lay upon the table. But this I can say, that the greatest efforts have been made by the Government to provide grain for those who are not able to provide it for themselves, and their activity is fully equal to the lamentable emergency which undoubtedly exists. With regard to the future, I fear it is impossible to assert that the Government can do very much to prevent a return of the calamity, which depends very much for its mitigation or prevention on the state of the seasons. I believe the prosecution of the works in which they are engaged is the only means at the disposal of the Government for that purpose.