HC Deb 13 June 1907 vol 175 cc1585-6

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India what is the total sum collected up to date from the people of India for the erection of the Victoria Memorial Hall, in Calcutta; whether he has noticed the remarks made by the Maharaja of Darbhanga, during the Budget debate on 27th March last (page 178 of Blue-book), to the effect that a sum of nearly:£70,000 had already been spent on the foundations alone, that there had been a subsidence of the foundations which would endanger the superstructure proposed by Lord Curzon, that there is a growing public opinion in favour of abandoning the original design of a huge hall, and of using the balance of the sum subscribed in providing each province with memorials which, in the Maharaja's own words, shall be fountains of benevolence to the diseased and distressed amongst the poor of the people; whether, in view of this expression of opinion by a well-known representative of the people, he can see his way to postpone further prosecution of the original design pending a plebiscite of the subscribers as to the disposal of the funds in hand; and whether in the event of the Maharaja's proposal being accepted by the subscribers, he will take steps to give effect to it, if necessary, by legislation.


The exact sum subscribed to the Victoria Memorial Hall up to date is not known here. It was reported in 1903 to be about fifty lakhs of rupees (£333,333). The money is not held by Government, nor are the works on the Memorial being carried on by Government establishments. By an Act passed in 1903 the funds collected are vested in a body of trustees, who are charged with the erection, maintenance, and management of the Memorial. I have read the remarks of the Maharaja of Darbhanga referred to in the Question. They will doubtless receive the consideration of the trustees of the Memorial.


Can the right hon. Gentleman induce the Viceroy to give any indication that the Maharaja's representations shall receive attention?


No; I must leave this matter to the Viceroy.