OCCASIONAL NOTE
An interesting problem in the evolution of local self-government in Madras is now engaging the attention of the Administration. The district boards of Malabar, South Canara, and the Nilgiris are empowered to levy a land cess up to a rate of two annas in the rupee on the annual rent value of occupied lands. The district board of Coimbatore has asked to be placed in the same position as the three authorities above mentioned, and the Madras Government, in assenting to the request, has intimated its intention of bringing in legislation to give effect to it, and has also suggested that the same power should be extended to other district boards, to be exercised only with the approval of the Government. The proposition is vehemently objected to by a Madras newspaper, on a number of grounds, chief among which is the allegation that the ryot will be in danger of being taxed still further in order to provide for local improvements which should be paid for by the Provincial Government.
It is argued that to empower district boards generally to levy a land cess up to 2 annas in the rupee might and would lead to over-taxation of the cultivator, because, as the Decentralisation Commission laid down in its report, "the boards cannot as yet be made fully representative of the people," and "constant changes in the rates would lead to general dissatisfaction, and possibly to fraud upon ignorant ryots."

NEWS ITEMS
INDIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Mr. Gokhale’s Proposal To Open A Fund
(From Our Correspondent)
Poona, Oct 15
Interviewed by the representative of the Associated Press this morning Mr. Gokhale stated that telegraphic communications had been passing between himself and Mr. Gandhi since his arrival in India, which indicated the possibility of important developments in connection with the Indian situation in South Africa.
He would make a public statement on the subject on the 24th instant in Bombay, when it was proposed to reconstitute the old South African Committee, and the work of raising funds in aid of the struggle would be taken vigorously in hand. This work had to be delayed a little owing to the recent bank failures having produced a general uneasy feeling in Bombay which it was thought desirable should have time to subside.

THE HON. MR. D. C. BAILLIE
Programme Of Tour
(From Our Correspondent)
Allahabad, Oct 15
The Hon. Mr. D.C. Baillie, Acting Lieutenant-Governor, left Cawnpore on Tuesday for Rampur. His Honour leaves Rampur on Thursday for Naini Tal and will shortly go on a personal tour of inspection in the districts affected by the failure of the later rains. Mr. Baillie will leave Naini Tal on the 21st, and after a shoot at Nagla will proceed to Bareilly, Agra, Jhansi, and Lucknow. On November 3rd His Honour will visit Cawnpore for the memorial service.
Then he will leave for Partabgarh, where the arrangements include the opening of the Baillie Dispensary and the laying of the foundation stone of the Hadi Memorial Hall.

ACTION FOR DAMAGES
(From Our Correspondent)
Madras, Oct 15
The suit brought by Mr. C.H. Rogers, General Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, to recover a sum of Rs 15,000 as damages from the Madras Times in connection with the article published in the columns of that paper, dated April 18th last, came on for settlement of issues yesterday before Mr. Justice Wallis.
The following issues were framed by His Lordship:- (1) Whether the words complained of were fair comment; (2) whether the allegations of fact were true in substance and in fact; (3) what damages, if any, is the plaintiff entitled to.