OCCASIONAL NOTE

The five great firms of meat packers against which the American Department of Justice is about to take proceedings under the AntiTrust law are all located, to use the American expression, in Chicago, namely Armour and Co., Cudahy Packing Co., Morris and Co., Swift and Co., and Wilson and Co. The total sales of these firms last year were upwards of three thousand million dollars, and their aggregate profit amounted to more than 51 million dollars. Of this sum 21 millions were netted by Swift and Co., who are by far the most important of the group, although Armour and Co., are the best known, perhaps, to the outside world. It has been claimed, on behalf of the big packers, that they only handle 40 per cent of the total meat production of the United States. In addition to the five large houses, there are said to be 266 packing firms subject to Government supervision – that is to say, which have inter-State businesses – and in addition to these there are many hundreds of smaller packers which do a purely local trade. The large packing houses do not restrict their operations to butchers’ meat. Swift and Co., for example, are the largest single dealers in cattle, eggs and poultry in the United States. The agitation against the methods of the packers has been growing in volume for many months, and although they have endeavoured to show that their methods are essential if prices are not to go higher than they are.

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE

The tenth annual report, that for 1918-19, of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, just issued, is an interesting record of researches made for industrial purposes. The Hon. Mr. H.V. Cobb, Resident, was the elected chairman for the year and three meetings of the council of the institute were held during the period. The library block was practically completed by the end of the year and it now remains to level and lay out the grounds. As regards investigations made in the Institute, in the department of general and organic chemistry, Mr. M.N. Mehta, M.A., B.Sc., a graduate of the Bombay University, was engaged, with the help and under the guidance of Dr. Sudborough, in an investigation into the deterioration of paper. This question has been taken up at the request of the Government of India. An examination of certain perished books has been made and proves that paper made from rags does deteriorate, although this has been denied by certain cellulose experts.

CHOWRINGHEE EXTENSION

The work of laying the new tram lines from Kyd Street corner to Esplanade for the Kalighat cars, in connection with the widening of Chowringhee on that frontage, has already begun. After the scheme was sanctioned there was some delay owing to a shortage of tram rails. These have since arrived from abroad, thus enabling the work to be taken in hand. The track from Esplanade to Kyd Street has been dug, but only about a hundred feet near Esplanade end have been laid with concrete. The rails are lying on the west side of the track ready to be put down as soon as the foundation of the track has been made secure. The new Chowringhee line will meet the present Kidderpore line on Ochterlony Road and will form part of the new track, and for this purpose a new track will be laid for the Kidderpore cars to the west of the present Kidderpore track, cutting through Ochterlony Road.

DISTRESS IN BANKURA

Seventy-two relief-works were opened in Bankura. The number of persons relieved on works was 6,492. The number of persons in receipt of gratuitous relief was 20,039, viz., 15,251 on cash doles in 114 Unions, 3,479 on paddy husking advances, 782 weavers and 527 better class poor. The total number of persons relieved was 26,531. The decrease in the number of persons on relief-works was due to heavy rains and active agricultural operations, while the increase in numbers on gratuitous relief was due to the opening of new relief centres. The number of persons relieved on private works was 2,000. Also four charitable societies relieved 1,799 other persons by rice doles. Offences against property are increasing. The physical condition of workers and public health are good. Fodder and water are sufficient. Cloth is being distributed to destitute. The relief measures are adequate.

HOSTILE TRIBESMEN

Reconnaissances from Dakka report small bodies of the enemy still occupying their usual positions about Girdi, a lashkar about two thousand strong is said to be near Basawal. The tribesmen followed up one of our reconnaissance parties during its return to Dakka on the 5th instant. They were dispersed by shell fire and lost sixty to seventy killed. In Tochi there have been some minor disturbances. On the 8th a body of tribesmen took up commanding positions to prevent our road piquets reaching their posts in the vicinity of Edak. The enemy were driven off but the road traffic was interrupted for several hours. These activities are locally attributed to the instigation of Nadir Khan. Small raids are reported by villagers on the Seistan border, but these have been repelled by villagers themselves.