§ MR. ANNAN BRYCE (Inverness Burghs)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether there exists at present a serious deficiency in the amount of rolling stock on the Indian railways, whereby heavy losses are being entailed on native producers and traders, and the development of the resources of the country is being retarded; whether the amount of funds to be allocated to railway expenditure in the next ensuing financial year is to be reduced from fifteen crores to twelve crores; whether, if such reduction is made, it will apply both to equipment and construction; whether a reduction on equipment will increase the loss already being suffered by producers and traders; and whether a reduction on construction will involve waste of the force of the construction staff, loss of interest on the money already spent, and loss of profit from the delay in bringing the new lines to the productive stage.
§ * MR. HOBHOUSE
There is undoubtedly a deficiency of rolling stock on some of the Indian railways. The sum to be allocated for railways in 1907–8 is £8,000,000 (twelve crores) of which £2,787,000 is to be expended on the supply of rolling stock on open lines, as against £2,546,606 in 1906–7. There has therefore been an increase, and not a reduction, in the expenditure proposed under this head. I am, however, aware of the importance of this subject, and it 1245 is receiving consideration from which I anticipate effective results. The reduction in the estimate for construction cannot operate in the way suggested in the Question, except in the case of works already begun; and the Government of India will undoubtedly take stops to avoid such consequences as far as possible.