HC Deb 29 October 1919 vol 120 c639
19. Mr. CAIRNS

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that dissatisfaction, as evidenced by public meetings of protest, exists in Burma with regard to the system of commandeering paddy by the Government; whether this system, together with the Government control of rice, has resulted in the grant of a monopoly of the rice trade to a few selected firms, the making of considerable profits by these firms, and a considerable loss to the native cultivator; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?


I have no detailed information regarding the measures of control over the rice crop adopted by the Burma Government, but the prices allowed were well above the average, and r do not gather that the cultivators and middlemen have lost except in the sense that profiteering has been prevented. In one important respect the control has benefited the cultivators, as it has led to an increase in the amount of freight allotted to the Burma trade. I am not aware that the system of control has resulted in a monopoly of the trade, but I will make inquiries. I hope it may be found possible shortly to dispense with this control, which has been necessitated by the conditions prevailing in India and in Europe.