§ MR. SMOLLETT
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, If he would explain to the House under what circumstances the Marquess of Salisbury consented to extend the period of repayment of the debenture debt of the Madras Irrigation and Canal Company for three years; whether this grace was given, as stated in the Annual Report of the Company, published in "The 1162 Times" newspaper of the 1st June, because there was "some difficulty in raising upon the unauthorized issue of mortgages, funds sufficient to pay off the whole of that debenture debt;" if this be correct, what is meant by the phrase "the unauthorized issue of mortgages;" whether the undertaking is actually burdened with mortgages; if so, to what extent; and, whether the mortgagees have a lien upon the net revenue and receipts of the canal and navigation works, if such should ever accrue, and taking precedence of the debt due to the Secretary of State for India?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
, in reply, said, it appeared from a letter in which the extension of time was granted, that it had been so made in expectation that the spread of irrigation would secure both the principal and the interest of the debenture debt. If the hon. Member would consult the Report he would find that the word used was "authorized," and not "unauthorized." The undertaking was burdened with mortgages, but to what amount he could not exactly say, but £228,000 of debt had been paid off. The debt still duo to the Secretary of State would have precedence over all other debts and mortgages.