§ MR. LEA
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India by whose authority and under what circumstances the official name of the Mandalay-Kunlōn Ferry line of the Burma Railways system was changed to that of the Lashio Branch; for what reasons the opening to traffic of the Mandalay-Kunlōn Ferry line beyond Lashio is delayed or is in abeyance; what steps have been taken to preserve the works and buildings already completed between Lashio and the Salwen River at or near the Kunlōn Ferry from deterioration by climatic or other causes, also to conserve the survey marks on the same section; and what was the net total cost of the alternative survey executed in 1900, from the proposed crossing of the Myitnge River near Lashio, via Hsinwi and Möng La, to the Salwen River on the route of the Mandalay-Kunlōn Ferry line.
§ THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Mr. CHARLES HOBHOUSE,) Bristol, E.
It was decided in 1903 that the extension of the Burma Railway towards Kunlon should not be carried beyond Lashio, and the extension is consequently sometimes spoken of as the Lashio Branch. The decision to stop at Lashio was based on the view that, having regard to the unfavourable prospects of the line, any extension beyond Lashio would be an unwise and unjustifiable employment of Indian funds while so many more urgently required and more promising schemes were calling for attention. I am not aware that any work or buildings have been constructed between Lashio and the Salwen River, or what steps have been taken for conserving the survey marks. With regard to the alternative route from Lashio to the Salwen River via Hsinwi, a reconnaissance survey of this route was carried out in 1898–99, and the cost of the line was roughly estimated at Rs.1,35,00,000 (£900,000).