HC Deb 02 April 1925 vol 182 cc1549-51W
Colonel DAY

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what are the conditions of recruitment, rates of pay, hours of labour, and welfare conditions of the labourers on the tea plantations of Assam; whether he is prepared to ensure the instruction of the labourers as to the terms of their contract in their own native language; and what steps, if any, are taken by the Government to see that the terms of contract are kept by both employer and employés?


The labourers are recruited by other labourers who have already worked in the tea gardens. For the year ending 30th June, 1924, average monthly wages per man, woman and child, calculated on the basis of daily


The daily average number reported for 1923 is, in round numbers, 147,000 adult males, 80,000 adult females and 7,000 children under the age of 12 years. Separate figures for the ages mentioned are not yet available. The employment in mines of children under 13 has since been prohibited.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India the number of fatal accidents in the Indian mining industry for the years 1922 and 1923, respectively, showing the number of adult males, adult females and children of both sexes between the ages of 10 years and 18 years, respectively?


As the reply to this question is in the form of a statistical table, I propose, with the hon. Member's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. A copy of the latest Report of the Chief Inspector of Mines in India is being placed in the Library.

Following is the table referred to:

working strength and on the basis of the total number on the books, were reported as follows:

Assam Valley Division.
Daily working strength. Total number on books.
Rs. As. Pies. Rs. As. Pies.
Men 11 5 1 8 12 11
Women 9 8 9 6 14 3
Children 5 4 9 4 1 8

Surma Valley Division.
Daily working strength. Total number on books.
Rs. As. Pies. Rs. As. Pies.
Men 8 12 10 6 15 4
Women 6 15 5 5 1 5
Children 4 11 4 3 1 8

Work is for the most part paid for at piece rates. In addition to wages, the labourers enjoy valuable concessions in the form, for example, of free housing, cheap rice and land for private cultivation, as well as free medical attendance, etc. There is no reason to suppose that the labourers do not understand the terms of any contracts which they may enter into with their employers. As regards the last part of the question, in the event of a breach of contract on either side, the ordinary remedy in the Courts is available.