HC Deb 04 April 1922 vol 152 cc1998-9
2. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether Colonel Frank Johnson, who was censured for his action at Lahore, was shortly afterwards granted oil or other concessions in Burma; what he paid for the concessions; and whether the concession was reported to Delhi before being granted by the Burma Government and was made with the approval of the Indian Executive?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Earl Winterton)

I will read the reply given to a similar question in the Legislative Assembly on the 15th September, 1921: No mining concessions have teen granted to Colonel Frank Johnson personally in Burma, but concessions for oil have been granted by the Local Government to two companies in which he is interested In the Punjab, Colonel Frank Johnson has been granted by the local Government a prospecting licence for oil over 1¼ square miles in the Attock district. A prospecting licence is ordinarily granted for only one year in the first instance in order to enable the concessionaire to test the property. Development of mineral resources which are Government property is a provincial subject under the rules issued under Section 45a of the Government of India Act, and local Governments have full powers to grant prospecting licences and mining leases without reference to the Government of India, provided that they are in accordance with the mining rules prescribed by the Government of India. The Burma Government have stated that the concessions have been granted to the two companies in pursuance of the ordinary industrial development of the Province, that they employ expert staff, and have expended money freely investigating the mineral resources of the Province, and that in all respects mineral concessions, rules, and regulations have been scrupulously observed, and Colonel Frank Johnson's connection with the administration of martial law in the Punjab was not considered relevant. That answers all the hon. Member's inquiries, except as to fees. The rules require from an applicant (i) a fee of 50 rupees for a certificate of approval as a suitable person to receive a licence, (ii) a deposit to meet the cost of survey of the area applied for, and (iii) if a mining lease is granted, a royalty of eight annas per 40 gallons of oil or five per cent. ad valorem on gross value.


Are we to understand that the Indian Government approves of this grant to Colonel F. Johnson, in spite of the fact that he was censored for his conduct?


The answer—which is an abnormally long one—given, as it was, by the Government of India, answers that question most specifically.

Colonel Sir C. YATE

Can the Noble Lord take up the question of removing this Vote of Censure from Colonel Johnson?


That in no way arises out of this answer. The question has nothing whatever to do with it.

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