HC Deb 27 April 1944 vol 399 cc909-10
11. Mr. Astor

asked the Secretary of State for India, for what reasons the N.A.A.F.I. do not operate in India; what arrangements are in operation to provide canteen and club facilities for officers and other ranks; and whether the level of service and prices is comparable to that enjoyed by allied troops in India and British forces elsewhere.

The Secretary of State for India (Mr. Amery)

It was agreed, after review in which the representatives of N.A.A.F.I. took part, that, in order to avoid overlapping, the Indian Canteen Department should remain responsible for canteen supplies for British and Indian troops in India. Prices in canteens are controlled by the Government of India, who have regard to prices prevailing elsewhere, for example in N.A.A.F.I. I am aware that the amenities provided are not as extensive as those provided for American troops in India, but a difference in this respect between the two Forces is not confined to that country. The position, however, is being constantly improved and amenities such as hostels, leave camps. Forces clubs and the like are being developed by the Commander-in-Chief, who has the advantage of the co-operation of the Directors of Welfare, voluntary organisations and private individuals who dispense hospitality to the Forces so far as it is practicable under Indian conditions.

Mr. Astor

Is the Minister aware that the service provided by some of these contractors for canteens is very inferior, both as to quality and price; and will he have a survey made and see if anything can be done to remedy what is a very severe hardship in a very bad climate?

Mr. Amery

I understand the Government of India keep the situation under survey.

Mr. Gallacher

Will the Minister not consider releasing the Congress leaders to give them opportunities to be of service to India, instead of letting loose private contractors?

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