HC Deb 24 February 1896 vol 37 cc931-2
MR. R. A. YERBURGH (Chester)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India—(1)whether in view of Article VI. of the Franco-Chinese Convention of 20th June, 1895, the Government of India will take steps for the connection of their telegraph system with that of China at Isumao, that of Siam at Kiang Hsen, and that of French Indo-China in the region of the Upper Mekong; (2) whether in view of the Anglo-French Agreement of 15th January last, which by guaranteeing the independence of the portion of Siam through which the route of the projected Burma-Siam China Railway runs, has removed all political obstacles to the construction of the said Railway through Siam, the Government of India will enter into arrangements with the Government of Siam for the execution out of Government Revenue of such Surveys and Estimates by railway engineers of the sections of the said Railway lying within their respective territories as are necessary for placing the line upon the market, or for the construction of the portions of the Railway lying in their respective territories by the Governments concerned; and, (3), whether, in view of the French Railway projects for tapping the trade of South Western China at Isumao, the Government of India will have explorations conducted and surveys made of the most feasible routes for connecting the Burmese Seaport of Rangoon with Isumao, so that the best route for a railway may be selected, and whether it will, on the completion of such surveys and explorations, either itself undertake the construction of the said Railway or facilitate its construction by private enterprise?


I have no information of an intention on the part of the Government of India to extend their Burmese telegraph system beyond its present terminus at Kieng Tung in the direction indicated. The Government of India has not expressed any intention of entering into arrangements for construction of the lines of railway suggested in the second and third paragraphs of the Question. Without entering into discussion of the matter suggested by the form of my hon. Friend's Question, I may observe that until the Kunlong Ferry Line is completed and the Siam Government has had time to consider its railway policy, any serious discussion of a Burmese-Siam-China Line to Sumao appears to me premature.