§ (4.0.) MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the following paragraph in the 25th Statement, exhibiting the moral and material progress and condition of India, pp. 78, 79:— 776The principal change in the Punjab Excise system during the year was the enactment of new opium rules under which the acreage fee was raised from half a rupee to two rupees per acre in order to check the production of small quantities of unexcised opium for home consumption. It is proposed also to close the Chundoo shops where prepared opium is smoked upon the premises, as the existence of these houses tends to spread the vice of smoking opium which is of recent origin in most parts of the Punjab";whether the Government will draw the attention of the authorities in other parts of India to the desirability of closing the shops where prepared opium is smoked on the premises, as has already been proposed in the Punjab; whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the new opium rules of the Punjab; and whether he can state the extent of acreage in poppy cultivation in the Punjab during the last 10 years?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY STATE FOR INDIA (Sir J. GORST,) Chatham
The passage contained in the first paragraph of the hon. Member's question is accurately quoted from a Paper presented to Parliament last year. The Local Government has reduced the opium smoking licences, and is considering further reductions. The attention of the Government of India will be invited to the hon. Member's question. I shall be happy to show the hon. Member the new opium rules, and he can then consider whether it is necessary to lay them on the Table. I will also show the hon. Member a 10 years' statement of poppy cultivation.