HC Deb 19 March 1928 vol 215 cc3-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware of the apprehension existing in India lest a merger of the Marconi Company and Eastern Telegraph Company may deprive the Indian public, Press, and trading community of the benefit of the economies, reduced charges, and increased efficiency in the telegraph services to which the discovery of the beam system has given, and was expected increasingly to give, rise; and whether he can give an assurance that the Government will be vigilant to take all necessary measures to protect the Indian public against the dangers of monopoly and of an artificial inflation of cable charges to and from India?


My Noble Friend has not received any representations from India, but is fully alive to the dangers referred to in the last part of the question.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Will any Indian governmental rights be alienated through this merger?


No rights will be alienated. The Government of India is interested in the matter, but I shall have to have notice of the question in order to explain exactly the extent to which they are interested. Of course, no rights will be alienated.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Or property?


No, Sir.


Is the Noble Lord aware of the big reductions in charges which came into force last year, and can he give an assurance that these reductions will not be lost?


As my hon. Friend knows, this is a much wider question than an Indian question. It affects the whole Empire. If my hon. Friend wishes to know the effect of the merger upon cable rates, he must put a question either to the Leader of the House or to the Postmaster-General.