In Madras there are, as is known, no Moderates. Hence it is, perhaps, that so simple a matter as the measures recently adopted by the Madras port authorities to expedite the passage of imports through their sheds has been held up to reprobation as an instance of racial oppression. The method adopted by the Port Trust was to increase the penalty upon uncleared cargo, and it was represented, in a letter to the Press, that by imposing this penalty only on Singapore, Penang and Coast Port cargoes, the Port Trust was favouring the Madras Chamber of Commerce importers of general cargo at the expense of the Indian grain and sugar merchants. Sir Francis Spring, defending the port authority against these insinuations, writes that “the only people who are habitually guilty of making a bazar of our sheds are the importers of bag cargo, and that these men, from whom the outcry has arisen, are now perturbed because we propose not to allow them as much time for their selling as we were able to do in periods of less high pressure.” He adds that it rests entirely with the importers themselves to avoid the penalty by expeditious clearing of their imports, and mentions several instances in which the period of grace allowed has proved amply sufficient for the complete removal of consignments.
ALL- INDIA HINDU CONFERENCE
DELHI, DEC 24 The All-India Hindu Conference will be held in Delhi on the 27th, 28th and 29th December. The Hon. Raja Rampal Singh has been elected President. The secretary of the All-India Hindu Sabha has addressed a letter to the drafting committee of the Indian National Congress and the secretary of the All-India Moslem League suggesting that, in view of the fact that Bakr-Id riots disturb the harmonious relations of the Hindus and Mahomedans more than anything else, the Subjects Committees of the Congress and the League should be asked to consider the desirability of appointing a mixed commission of the representatives of the All- India Hindu Sabha and the All-India Moslem League to enquire into the causes which led to the deplorable riots which took place last year in the Shahabad district of Bihar and at Katarpur in the district of Saharanpur this year, and to suggest measures to prevent their recurrence in future. A resolution to this effect is likely to be placed before the Hindu Conference.
THE FUTURE OF AVIATION
Lord Weir, Air Minister, in a speech at Manchester, said that we now possessed substantial numbers of aeroplanes and seaplanes able to carry a crew of seven and thirty passengers for 1,200 miles without stopping at a speed of a hundred miles an hour. He suggested that big shipping and other transport organisations should actively interest themselves in the development of commercial aviation, and that when peace was concluded the State should sell its superfluous aeroplanes suitable for conversion to commercial use to private firms cheaply. The Air Board must be reorganised. The first essential step of the new Ministry should be to organise international flying. This would, he said, involve an international air convention. The articles of this convention had already been drafted and were being submitted to the Allies.
ROWDY SCENES IN BERLIN
At the Soviet Congress, during a sharp passage between Barth and Ebert thirty soldiers of the Berlin garrison entered the hall and demanded the immediate discussion of the question of the formation of a Supreme Soldiers’ Council to which all troops would be subordinated. The President declared that an immediate discussion on the subject was impossible. Turbulent scenes followed. Herr Ledebour insisted upon an immediate discussion but the Majority Socialists protested and prepared to leave the hall, whereupon the uproar increased. Herr Haase exhorted the meeting to keep calm and finally the Congress adjourned amid wild scenes.
RETIRED I.C.S. OFFICER S GIFT
A retired Indian Civil Servant who desires to remain anonymous has placed a thousand pounds at the disposal of Mr. Montagu, to be placed in permanent trust with the Government of India in order that the interest may be applied to the relief of scarcity and famine in Ahmednagar and Gurgaon, with which the civil servant was closely associated during his service. Mr. Montagu has expressed his cordial appreciation of the public-spirited offer and the Government of India has been asked to make the necessary arrangements to give effect to the wishes of the donor.