HC Deb 13 May 1901 vol 93 cc1456-7
MR. SAMUEL SMITH (Flintshire)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the increased facilities for drinking now being granted by the revenue authorities in Madras Presidency, by which the number of liquor shops in that presidency were increased during 1899–1900 by 407, in opposition to the resolution of the House of Commons of 30th April, 1889, condemning any increase in the facilities for drinking in India; whether, seeing that there are drinking bars in Calcutta, Bombay, and other large cities, where women are employed, and that the Government of Burmah have decided to prohibit the employment of women in public-houses in that province, he will consider the advisability of extending this reform to the whole of India; and whether he has any information showing that in spite of the fact that the unlicensed sale of cocaine in Bengal has stopped, and licences have now to be taken out by dealers at considerable expense, the consumption of cocaine is steadily increasing; and, if so, whether he will consider the advisability of prohibiting the sale of this drug in Bengal except for purely medicinal purposes.


(1) I am aware that while the number of arrack shops in the Madras Presidency decreased in 1899–1900, the number of toddy shops was somewhat higher than in the previous year, owing to provision for what were considered to be the reasonable requirements of the people. There has been no departure from the policy of restricting the shops to such reasonable requirements, and as compared with 1891–2 the latest number shows a reduction of 3,152, or 10 per cent. (2) I have no information to justify action in the matter of the employment of women in public-houses. (3) In October last the Government of Bengal placed the sale of cocaine under the restrictions applying to the sale of intoxicating drugs. I have no evidence that its consumption is increasing, notwithstanding these restrictions.