HC Deb 06 February 1908 vol 183 cc1068-9
SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India if he will inform the House of the circumstances under which a railway survey fifteen miles from Lundi Kotal is being carried on under fire and under protection by several companies of the Khyber Rifles; whether the local tribes object to the construction of the proposed railway and desert their villages; whether it is still proposed to follow the mountain route; whether the proposed cantonment at Torsappah is finally abandoned; whether the survey of the river route is also going on; whether the Afghan and Indian Governments are argeed on the interpretation of the Durand agreement as to the frontier towards Dacca; and whether the hostility of the Mohmands has been overcome.


A civil engineer was deputed by the Government of India at the end of last October to examine the country within British limits beyond the point in the Kabul river known as "mile 300," construction of a railway to which was sanctioned in July, 1905. The object was to ascertain the best alignment for a prolongation of the line, should such a project be sanctioned. The engineer had an escort of 100 Khyber Rifles. Desultory firing from the left bank of the Kabul river was reported on 27th November, but on the 6th December the local officers reported that the trouble had ceased. There were no casualties. No opposition to the survey was made by the tribes in British territory. The return of the engineer in charge to Peshawur on the completion of his survey was reported on 2nd December. No decision has been arrived at as to the prolongation of the line beyond "mile 300."' The proposal for a cantonment at Torsappah may be regarded as finally abandoned. The frontier with Afghanistan towards Dacca has never been settled, and the surveys have been carefully confined to British territory. There can, of course, be no question of construction, or even surveys in debatable territory till the frontier has been amicably settled with His Majesty the Amir's Government.

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