HC Deb 02 March 1944 vol 397 cc1554-5
12. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for India if he has considered the copy sent to him of the survey and report of the Anthropological Department of the University of Calcutta that the total number of deaths above the normal due to famine and disease in Bengal is estimated at 3,500,000; and whether he can make a statement giving his latest information and figures.

Mr. Butler

From the information in my possession, it would appear that the survey and report referred to covered only 816 families, with a total membership of 3,840, spread over eight districts. This would obviously be an inadequate basis for an estimate of mortality over the whole of Bengal. Vital statistical returns for Bengal for 1943 are not yet quite complete. Meanwhile, I cannot add to my right hon. Friend's answer of 20th January.

Mr. Sorensen

Have any steps been taken to point out to the Anthropological Department the alleged inaccuracy of their estimate, in view of the very great difficulty experienced by hon. Members as a result?

Mr. Butler

As I have said, the statistics are not quite complete; but I will certainly ask my right hon. Friend, when getting further information for the House, to pay attention to the point raised by the hon. Member.