HC Deb 16 July 1902 vol 111 cc368-9

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India if his attention has been called to the Memorandum submitted to the Chief Commissioner of Assam by the Hon. James Buckingham, C. I. E., on the effect on coolies on Assam tea gardens from the number of liquor shops established by the Government throughout the tea area of that State, to the complaints with regard to liquor shops from owners of tea gardens in Darjeeling and other tea areas of the Bengal Presidency, and to the statement on the same subject of Surgeon-General de Renzy at the annual meeting of the Jokai Assam Tea Company at Winchester House on the 8th instant, that it was impossible to get a proper supply of labour, or to keep it efficient when obtained, in consequence of these liquor shops; and, if so, will he consider the advisability of the immediate suppresion of all liquor shops in the tea-growing areas of Bengal and Assam.


I am aware that a Memorandum offering suggestions for the improvement of the liquor-excise system of the province has recently been submitted by the Assam Tea Association to the Chief Commissioner. These suggestions are certain to receive the fullest consideration from him, and I do not propose at present to issue any instructions in the matter. I am not aware that any similar representations or suggestions have been recently made by the Bengal tea planters, nor have I seen the report of the company meeting referred to; but I know that questions relating to the prevention of drunkenness among the tea garden coolies in that province have been frequently before the local Government.