§ SIR JOSEPH PEASE (Durham, Barnard Castle)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the increased number of opium shops licensed by the Ceylon Government (69 in 1901 against 63 in 1896), and to the greatly increased importation of opium into Ceylon (23,754 lbs. in 1900 against 14,976 lbs. in 1896); and whether he will suggest to the Government of Ceylon the desirability of diminishing the facilities for the spread of the opium habit amongt the Sinhalese.
(Answer.) I have consulted the Governor, who is now in this country, on the subject of the hon. Member's Question. Sir West Ridgeway informs me that his attention is contantly being given to the question of the consumption of opium in Ceylon, but that, taking into consideration the growth of population, he is inclined to think that the increase in consumption has not been material. The matter will be carefully watched.— (Colonial Office.)