Every aspect of the work of the Calcutta Y.M.C.A. which was touched upon at the annual meeting held on Monday evening was of exceptional interest. Not the least interesting was the reference in the Director’s report to the overcrowded conditions now prevailing in Calcutta, and to the efforts made by the Association to cope with them. There is accommodation for 220 men in the six dormitories provided by the Association, but during the past year this accommodation has proved utterly inadequate, and not only have visitors been forced to sleep in the verandahs and halls outside the dormitories, but many have been turned away because “nothing could be done for them.” These facts give a striking glimpse into the problems which beset the hundreds of young Englishmen who keep flocking into Calcutta to take up or look for situations. In the old days they gravitated naturally to the Y.M.C.A. before looking round for themselves and settling down at some boarding house or hotel. Now many of them are homeless, and are likely to remain so. The Rent Bill will ease the situation by enabling boarding house keepers to exist, and the benefit will doubtless be passed on to the older residents. So far as the constant new arrivals are concerned, however, the outlook will remain obscure for some considerable time to come.
DISASTER IN MANILA
Information is eagerly awaited as to a terrible disaster which is said to have occurred at Manila some days ago, resulting in the death of over two thousand people and severe injuries to several thousand others. The disaster has forced the abandonment of the carnival, which was then at its height. In the first instance news was brought into Hongkong by the officers of the Protesilaus that there had been a big fire in a timber yard, with damage aggregating a million and a half pesos. Doubts were later set at rest by a telegram received by Mr. H. Hyndman of Messrs. Bailey and Company, reading Carnival destroyed by fire. Casualties expected great. The fire started at 6-20 P.M. in the Leyte booth, with a strong wind blowing, it spread to all buildings on the west side of the ground burning everything.
DACCA SOCIAL SERVICE EXHIBITION
This evening His Excellency the Governor of Bengal opened the Social Service Exhibition at the Press Buildings, Ramna. There was a large gathering. Mr. J.T. Rankin, Chairman of the Exhibition Committee, read an address of welcome to the Governor. In the course of the address he referred to the interest His Excellency has always evinced in the cause of Social Service by encouraging all achievements of arts and service. Continuing he said that the varied forms of human activity represented in the exhibition had awakened thought and feeling. The demonstrations of Dr. Bentley and the inspiring addresses of Messrs. Donovan, Mukerjee and Wordsworth had been of incalculable benefit to the thousands of men and women who had the privilege of listening to them.
The Child Welfare Exhibition and Fete organised at the Prince of Wales’ Museum by the Bombay Women’s Council, headed by Lady Lloyd, with a view to educate public opinion and raise a substantial sum of money for welfare work, was formally opened by H.E. the Governor this evening in the presence of a large and representative gathering. Sir George Lloyd, in declaring the Exhibition open, made a brief and interesting speech. His Excellency said he was himself very indirectly responsible for the exhibition. More than a year ago, when he and Lady Lloyd began to apprehend conditions of life in Bombay after some tours of inspection of slums, they began to plan a little bit of what were their responsibilities in trying to remedy the great social evil.
FOOD IN CEYLON
The Food Production Committee appointed by the Ceylon Government owing to food shortages has completed its work most expeditiously, and published its report on Saturday. It explains that the present economic conditions are due to the un-remunerative character of paddy cultivation, and recommends a fixed minimum price of Rs 3 per bushel offered by the Government. It further recommends immediate steps for the restoration of village tanks further settlement schemes similar to Natchchaduwa where the 500 acres under tanks are settled groups not less 25 families. Each family is offered five acres of paddy land free, also three to five acres high land for a home on the village site, provided they develop the land for the cultivation of foodstuffs. These concessions are to be advertised in vernacular leaflets.