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Bengal Famine—Question

Volume 218: debated on Monday 23 March 1874

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asked the Under Secretary of State for India, To state to the House the localities in the Bengal Presidency, together with their extent and populations, now threatened with or suffering from famine, the means adopted both by the present and late Governments for the alleviation of the distress resulting or likely to result there from, and the probable number of persons who will require relief; and, if it be intended to instruct the Viceroy of India to adopt means for promoting and establishing a complete system of irrigation in the rice-growing districts now under British rule?

, in reply, said, he thought he had already given most of the information referred to in the Question, although he did not state the probable number of persons who would require relief. According to late statistics from the Viceroy, it was calculated that possibly about 3,000,000 of persons at some time or other would require relief. It was the intention of the Viceroy to establish a more complete system of irrigation with the view of preventing similar calamities in future; and in the abstract of Papers which would be laid on the Table tomorrow some valuable information would be found on that point. In answer to a Question put to him by the right hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman) he might say that he had hoped that the Papers promised would have been distributed on Saturday; but, owing to the very large number of figures they contained, and the necessity of correcting the printer's errors, he was afraid they would not be in the hands of hon. Members till to-morrow morning.