HC Deb 16 March 1899 vol 68 c965
MR. STANHOPE (Burnley)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether offers have been entertained by the authorities from certain capitalists for purchase of State railways in India, in particular the Eastern Bengal Railway; can some statement be made by presentation to Parliament of correspondence or other documents that may serve to explain the principle on which such proposals proceed, or the object with which such transfer of State property and assets is considered expedient; also a statement of the terms offered by capitalists who propose such purchase; in framing such terms, will care be taken to include consideration for interest payments that have been drawn from current revenues of India from time to time, and which stand as debits to the various Indian railways: and, before any purchase or sale of Indian railway property has been agreed upon, will a report be called for from the auditor of the accounts of the Secretary of State in Council, stating his approval or disapproval of the disposal of such property, such report to be laid before Parliament previous to any definite sanction being given to such transaction?


I am not aware that any offer for the purchase of any State line in India has been entertained. Should any such offer be received, the terms of purchase to be entertained would only be arrived at after consideration of all the interests concerned, and would be fixed after consultation with the financial advisers of the Secretary of State; but among these the auditor is not included.