§ MR. DE LISLE (Leicestershire, Mid)
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether Begar or forced labour is still compulsory in Kulu (Punjab), although ordered to be discontinued since last August; whether the Assistant Commissioner has issued an order compelling the Zemindars of Kulu to carry the road overseer's baggage without any remuneration whatsoever, and whether other subordinate officials enjoy the same privilege; what is the number of deaths that have occurred among the Zemindars living at high elevations ordered down into the valleys during the heats of summer; and, whether the upper valley is still unprovided with dispensaries, schools, and post offices?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir JOHN GORST) (Chatham)
In Kulu, which is in a very backward state of civilization, it is thought that the administration of the country would break down without some form of forced labour. The practice has, therefore, been regulated, not abolished, as stated in the Question. All forced labour, except that necessary for maintaining existing roads, is to be paid for at its fair market value. The Secretary of State has no information as to the specific orders referred to. But the task of carrying the road overseer's baggage on a tour of inspection would be part of the labour necessary for maintaining existing roads. No deaths have been reported to the Secretary of State as having occurred from the causes referred to. The district of Kulu has a post office, two dispensaries, and six schools. The latter are ill-provided with 1079 scholars, although attending school is regarded as forced labour and exempts the parents of the children from any-further demand.