§ MR. CRAWFORD
said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether, having regard to the probability of the early establishment of independent direct telegraphic communication between this country and India, by the way of Gibraltar, Malta, Suez, and Aden, it may not be desirable to use for other purposes than the extension of the Persian Gulf line the Submarine Cable now on its way to Bombay in the ships "Calcutta" and "Tweed"; and, if he will state the length of the Cable in question, its cost, and the expense of its transport, all charges for freight, demurrage, or otherwise included?
MR. GRANT DUFF
With reference to my hon. Friend's first Question, I 1491 have to say that we do not intend to make any change in the destination of the cable to which he alludes. With reference to his second Question, I have to say that the length of the cable is 520 miles. Its original cost, delivered on board, was £ 87,067. The insurance of the cable in dock, and fittings for the Calcutta and Tweed, will cost, it is believed, about £6,000 more. The hire of the two ships to Bombay, including demurrage and all other charges so far as they are at present known, will amount to about £33,000, and there are further undecided claims. Nearly £8,000 out of this £33,000 is the estimated cost for repairing the damage done by the accident to the Calcutta, which, as my hon. Friend knows, was all but lost in the Channel, with a large part of the cable on board. After arrival at Bombay the Calcutta and Tweed will cost respectively 15s. and 20s. per ton per month during the operation of laying the cable.