OCCASIONAL NOTE

The “India Merchant” who has been writing to the Times Trade Supplement to expose the dangers of the new preferential export duties on hides and skins returns to the subject. As everyone is aware who is remotely connected with the trade, the prophesies of “India Merchant” have already been fulfilled in astonishing fashion. The cultivators, herdsmen, shepherds and others have been badly hit and the poor class hides and skins – more particularly of the “fallen” variety – have become in large part unmarketable. “India Merchant” has become aware of this fact since writing his first letter and, by means of figures, he shows that his prophecy that the receipts of the “producers” would suffer a ten per cent decline has proved almost literally accurate. He asks, as many people asked when the duties were imposed, why a legitimate existing Indian interest should be thus mulcted to serve the purposes of an interest which is non-existent and may never be existent in any effective sense. He contends that the poorest of India’s poor are suffering; that it is doubtful whether good class tanning will ever suit the necessarily “low class” Indians who take it up; and that there is a real chance that the American Government may retaliate against the Manchester cotton importer for the detriment which the Indian duty is likely to occasion the American importers of hides and skins.

MAHISHADAL RAJ JEWELLERY THEFT

A few days ago the theft was reported of a box containing jewellery valued at Rs 20,000 from the residence of the Raja of Mahishadal in Wellesley Street. A Nepalese named P. Bhowma Panda who was on sentry duty, was subsequently found to have disappeared and he was traced and arrested at Howrah station by Inspector Nathu Singh. These two broke open the box, and handing the sentry a few rupees and one or two articles of jewellery. The police yesterday held an identification parade, the Nepalese is said to have picked out a constable, as one of the two men who had on the night in question deprived him of the jewellery. The constable was placed under arrest and later, the whole the possession of another constable of the stolen property was recovered from who was also arrested. The three men will be sent up for trial in a day or two.

STRIKE ON NORTH-WESTERN RAILWAY

LAHORE, JAN 16

The strike situation on the North-Western Railway is becoming calmer day by day. The employees at Bhatinda and smaller stations in that district surrendered unconditionally and resumed work yesterday, and Saharanpur is now the only affected centre. Here the men on strike were served with ejectment notices, it being maintained that they were no longer railway employees, having broken their terms of service by a absenting themselves from duty without leave. The men left the railway quarters quietly and were accommodated in the city. The majority have taken promises recently given in good faith. Recent conference with the Agent is clearing the air to a great extent.

MUNICIPAL SANITARY OFFICERS

The Behar and Orissa Municipal Sanitary Officers Bill, 1920, will be introduced at the next meeting of the Legislative Council. The object of the Bill is to amend the Bengal Municipal Act, 1884, to provide for the appointment of medical officers of health and their subordinates in municipalities. It is inexpedient to delay further this measure for strengthening the sanitary executive in municipalities, as some years may elapse before the complete reenactment which is in contemplation of the law relating to those bodies is an accomplished fact. At present the local Government have power to insist on the employment of sanitary inspectors by District Boards and to prescribe the qualifications of such officers, but in regard to municipalities they have no such power.

RUSSIAN ROUBLE NOTES

DELHI, JAN 16

It is notified for general information that the Government of India have prohibited the export of Russian rouble notes to all destinations from and after the 17th January, except in the case of rouble notes deposited in a Government treasury under the terms of the Rouble Note Ordinance of 1919, which may be withdrawn for export under a license issued by a District Magistrate or Commissioner of Police. Any person obtaining a license to withdraw notes already deposited by him in a currency office or Government treasury will be permitted to retain them with a view to export for a period not exceeding ten days. In order to export them, he should present his license with the notes for export, either to the Customs Officer or to the Post Office.