HC Deb 10 August 1877 vol 236 cc747-8

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, If he will be good enough to inform the House the nature of the information received by Her Majesty's Government relative to the prospects of the coming season's crops in the Madras and other Provinces, and also what arrangements are being made to employ the Native populations of the famine districts in the construction of permanent and temporary works calculated to increase the water supply of the country?


Sir, the latest information which has been received by Her Majesty's Government concerning the prospects of this year's crops in India was contained in the telegram which was published in the morning newspapers some few days ago. It conveyed a more favourable account of the state of affairs throughout India, and I hope now that there is good reason for believing that there will not be, except in Madras and Mysore, any scarcity of the food supply. As regards Madras and Mysore, I am afraid there is very strong reason for believing that distress will continue for some months longer. Several Blue Books have been laid upon the Table relating to the arrangements which have been made for the employment of the Native population. The relief works on which they are employed may be divided into two classes—first, those beneficially affecting the districts or villages in which they are constructed; and, secondly, the larger works of general public utility. The Viceroy proposes to visit Madras on the 16th of this month, and although I am afraid there will be much privation and much suffering, yet the House may rest assured that Her Majesty's Government will spare no pains to mitigate, as far as they can, the sufferings of the inhabitants of the districts in question.