§ MR. SOUTTAR
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether an estimate can be given of the extent of the diminution which certain Indian railways have of late suffered in their traffic returns: and, whether it can be said how far the diminution is attributable to the drought and how far to causes of a more permanent nature?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
The latest returns show a decrease of 619,950 tens of rupees in the gross earnings of Indian railways from the 1st January to 6th June 1896, as compared with the corresponding period of 1895. This decrease is attributable to short crops and some consequent scarcity—but not, so far as I am aware, to causes of a permanent nature.