§ SIR SEYMOUR KING (Hull, Central)
To ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the losses of the British officers of the 1st Goorkhas from the earthquake in Dharmsala; whether he is aware that the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Regiments of Goorkhas were given a guarantee that the stations originally assigned to them should never be changed without their consent; that 428 Dharmsala thus became the permanent headquarters of the 1st, and, when their second battalion was raised in 1886, the expansion of the cantonment was carried out with the knowledge that the regiment as a whole was assured of its fixed location; that accordingly the British officers purchased houses, and a mess house was eventually provided equal to the requirements of a double battalion; that in the latter instance debentures were taken up by the officers, the Government advancing such money as was required; and, seeing that the earthquake has wrecked the mess house and the private residences, and that this means little short of ruin to the officers, while all have to face liabilities over the mess, there being outstanding debentures of about 32,000 rupees, whether the Government of India will afford relief to the officers.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Brodrick.) I am aware that in some cases a guarantee has been given that Goorkhas shall remain permanently at their stations. Otherwise I am not in a position to reply to this Question which is, in effect, an amplification of a previous Question to which I replied on May 30th.† The Government of India have the subject under consideration, and, as I then said, any proposals which they may submit will be favourably regarded.