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Indian Famine Commission

Volume 90: debated on Thursday 7 March 1901

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the evidence of 7th February before the Famine Commission of Mr. Lely, Commissioner in Gujarat, to the effect that, owing to the exhaustion of the soil, the fall in price of sugar and cotton, the disuse of the old custom of grain storage for home consumption, and the loss of 70 per cent, of their cattle, there has been a complete breakdown among the cultivators of Gujarat; and whether, seeing that Mr. Lely repeatedly urged a suspension of 15 per cent, of the revenues last year in Gujarat, he can state the grounds on which the Bombay Government refused to remit more than 20 per cent.; is he aware that owing to the force of circumstances only 28 per cent, could be collected; and can he explain why the proposed suspensions of revenue were nit earlier made known to the people. I beg also to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the evidence before the Famine Commission of Mr. Dalai, Famine Commissioner in Baroda, showing the benefit to the suffering cultivators of the wells constructed by the Baroda State in the Kadi district; and whether, with reference to Mr. Dalal's statement that the people of Kadi are less poor than those of Ahmedabad, he will consider the desirability of extending the benefits of this system to the neighbouring British district of Ahmedabad.

As the circumstances to which the lion. Member's questions refer are now being inquired into by a Commission in India, I must await the arrival of their Report before I can express any opinion on the subject.