To the Bengal Government, as contrasted with the Government of India, it would seem natural to ascribe a superior competence to decide the status desirable under the Reform scheme for the “backward tracts” which have been administered from Calcutta for nearly a century. The Government of Bengal recommended a “clean cut” in the case of both the Chittagong Hill tracts and the Darjeeling District. That is to say, those districts would have been placed under the direct charge of the Governor, as suggested in the Montagu report. The Government of India are prepared to concede so much in the case of the Chittagong Hill Tracts but, in their incorrigible omniscience, they prefer to force on the Bengal Government, if they can, a compromise in the case of the Darjeeling District. Under this arrangement legislation would be provided for Bengal as a whole, but the Governor would have the power of excepting the Darjeeling District by subsequent notifications. As regards administration the Governor would be given permission in his Instrument of Instructions to assume towards his Ministers a tone slightly more pedagogic in the case of the Darjeeling District than anything they would tolerate in the case of the ordinary district. In fact, if he were a very bold Governor, he might even dare, in a particular case connected with the Darjeeling District, to over-rule a Minister. The task of the poor Governor will not be exactly enviable when Mr. Montagu and the Government of India have finished with him.
BOMBAY WOMEN S COUNCIL
BOMBAY, AUG 7
Lecturing before the Bombay Presidency Women’s Council, Mr. F.C. Grimth, Commissioner of Police, Bombay, said the three chief ways in which women could help the police were in regard to women criminals, to infanticide and to the social evil. The lecturer declared the present state of affairs regarding infanticide was a terrible blot, the extent of the evil was appalling and the police were practically powerless in the matter. Many of the cases were impossible to defect. When a conviction was obtained the comparatively lenient punishment imposed was not an efficient deterrent. Much of the infanticide so prevalent in Bombay, he thought, was due to the social custom in India which forbids the remarriage of widows. He looked for the formation of a strong public opinion which alone could put a stop to this appalling loss of infant life.
TEA DEALERS CHARGED WITH CHEATING
Some amusement was caused in a case in which Khitis Sircar and two others were charged before Mr. A.Z. Khan, at Jorabagan Court with cheating. Mr. Ashutosh Ghose, pleader, appeared for the defence. The case for the prosecution was that an Inspector of the Tea Cess Committee received information that the accused were under-selling Lipton’s tea and he reported the matter to the Committee. A sum of Rs 100 was advanced to him by the Committee to purchase two cases of tea, which he did. On examination the tea was found to be of much inferior quality to Lipton’s tea. The accused were arrested and on a search of his premises several packets and printed covers bearing Lipton’s name were found. Mr. Holles, tea expert of Messrs. Lipton’s, in giving evidence, said that on the spurious covers the word “chief” in “chief offices” was spelt “chiep.” Mr. Ghose objected to the expert giving evidence regarding the quality of the tea. After the examination of the Tea Cess Committee’s member, the case was adjourned till the 19th.
SIMLA, AUG 7
The sanction of the Secretary of State having been received to the division of the unwieldly Gujranwala district, the new Sheikhupura district will be inaugurated in the middle of October with Mr. M.M.L. Currie as its first Deputy Commissioner. In order to concentrate the irrigation of the Upper Chenab Canal as far as possible in these two districts opportunity is being taken to transfer to them an area of 376 square miles from Sialkot, while Sheikhupura will also receive 222 square miles from Lyallpur and the trans-Ravi area of Lahore with the possible exception of the suburb of Shahdara. Gujranwala will in future consist of the three tahsils of Gujranwala, Wazirabad and Hafizabad, while the Sheikhupura district will also finally consist of three tahsils. For the present, however, it is intended to work with the two existing headquarters of Sharakpur and Khangah Dogran until new tahsils can be erected at more suitable centres.
BANK OF INDIA
BOMBAY, AUG 7
At an extraordinary general meeting of the Bank of India, it was resolved to increase the capital of the bank from one crore to two crores by the creation of one lakh of new shares of rupees one hundred each. These are to be offered in the first instance at a premium of Rs 50 per share to existing shareholders at the rate of one new share to the holder of one old share, the new shares ranking for dividend from the 1st January, 1920.