MR. J. H. ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether out of 6¾million acres of land capable of cultivation in Assam, not more than 1¾million acres are under cultivation; whether he will state what was the area of land and what were the main conditions under which it was proposed to offer it for cultivation under the scheme for opening up a large tract of this province recently submitted to the Government of India by the Chief Commissioner of Assam; whether he will further state to what extent and under what conditions the Government of India have seen their way to sanction this experiment; and whether, in view of the pressing importance of finding new outlets for Indian capital and labour, he will present Papers in reference to the question alluded to.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Lord G. HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
The areas mentioned in the first clause of this question are, I believe, correctly stated. The Chief Commissioner of Assam has laid certain proposals for the colonisation of that district before the Government of India, who, though not in complete accord with the Chief Commissioner, have agreed to consider any scheme which he may submit for the colonisation of a large tract in Assam on the general lines which he advocated. At present I am not in a position to give any detailed information on the subject, but, if the scheme assumes a practical shape, I shall no doubt receive a communication from the Government of India, and shall 162 then be prepared to consider whether Papers dealing with this question can be presented.