§ MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether there is any truth in the statement that the Ruby Mines in Upper Burmah have been taken possession of by British Troops; whether the mines have been leased, or are about to be leased, to a London jeweller, at an annual rental of £30,000; and, if so, who is to receive such rent; who were the former owners of the mines; whether force was employed to obtain possession of the mines; and, if so, whether the former owners will be compensated; and, whether any guarantee has been given to the leaseholder of the mines for their peaceable possession; and, if so, whether British Troops or the Native Police are to be employed for that purpose?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Sir JOHN GORST) (Chatham)
(who replied) said: The district of Upper Burmah, in which the Ruby Mines are situated, has been occupied by Her Majesty's Forces without opposition. The mines have not been leased by the Government of India to anybody. If they were so leased the rent received would form part of the Revenues of India. The Kings of Upper Burmah claimed to be the owners of the mines. It has been alleged, however, that their 162 rights were subject to certain rights vested in the inhabitants or headmen of the villages in the Ruby region. These alleged rights are now being investigated on the spot, and no disposition will be made of the mines until they have been ascertained and denned. No person has been dispossessed by force of any right of property in the Ruby Mines, except King Theebaw, whom it is not intended to compensate. As there is no leaseholder of the mines, the question of guarantee has not yet arisen.