Bengal PDF พิมพ์ อีเมล


     Just under a month was spent in the Province of Bengal, of which the first few days were passed in visiting, under the guidance of Dr. Meek, the Director of Industries, a number of the principal Industrial works and factories in and around Calcutta. Visits were paid to Tanneries, Pottery works, Chemical works, Jute Mills, Paper Mills, and a Shoe factory : all of which gave us a valuable insight into Bengal's industrial life, with its varying difficulties and conditions.

     Thereafter, we came under the aegis of Mr. J. M. Mitra, the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, and were taken to various parts of the Province and shown different aspects of the Co-operative movement.

     Co-operation in Bengal has one feature, on which it prides itself, and that is the strength of its Central Banks- in contrast to Burma, where the Central Banks have had a very hard struggle.

     In Bengal there are now 73 Central Banks, with a combined working capital of over 13 million Rupees ; whereas in Burma there are only 12 with a working capital of 3 1/2 million Rupees, and in Bombay 19 with a working capital of six million Rupees.

     This means that in Bengal Co-operators are able to tap local capital freely, whereas in Burma this has hitherto been found a serious problem to solve.

     Another feature of Bengal Co-operation is the variety of objects for which Socieites have been formed toy-makers, fishermen, oil-pressers, spoon-makers, lac growers, medical aid, anti- malaria, and landlords Societies, all being among those which have sprung up within recent years.

     As regards Co-operation in Calcutta itself, visits were paid to the offices of the Registrar, the Bengal Co-operative Institute, and the Co-operative Provincial Federation.

     The Co-operative Institute is housed in the Registrar's offices, and is worked by Government officials. Its duties are to issue leaflets and pamphlets dealing with the Co-operative movement, and generally to act as propaganda agent therefor.

     The Co-operative Provincial Federation is in fact the Provincial Co-operative Bank for Bengal.

     It deals directly with the primary Societies around Calcutta, and also with Central Banks outside.

     Its account is kept with the Imperial Bank of India, upon which it draws by means of cheques.

     The Imperial Bank of India gives a cash credit of five lakhs of Rupees (Rs.500,000/-) to this Federtaion.

     The Manager is an Indian, who was formerly a Government servant in the offices of the Registrar.

     We also visited a Union of Milk Societies about 16 miles from Calcutta, for the supply of milk to that city. This Union, which comprised 47 Societies in all, was certainly an interesting one from a Co-operative point of view, as it has freed the village members from the middlemens' clutches and has assured a large supply of good milk to Calcutta. Transport was a difficulty until the Government gave a loan for the purchase of a motor-lorry for bringing the milk in every day.

     Outside Calcutta, visits were paid to Bankura, Naugaon, and the Sundervans.

     At Bankura, in Western Bengal, we visited some weavers Societies and also two "Tank" (so-called Irrigation) Societies. These latter Societies are doing useful work in digging out fresh "Tanks" or ponds, and renovating old ones, for the purpose of storing the water as it falls from higher levels, and regulating its supply to the fields, in the absence of an irrigation system.

     There is also in parts a small amount of actual irrigation being carried on by Co-operation, by means of damming existing waterways in the same way as at Laplae in Siam.

     At Naugaon, in North Bengal, we inspected a Ganja Co-operative Society. This Society has a practical monopoly of the supply of Ganja (or Indian hemp) to the United Provinces as well as Bengal, and by means of Co-operation has more than doubled the annual profits of its members. It is also useful from a Government point of view, as it enables the latter to control the growth of the drug more easily and to stop illicit cultivation. But these types of Co-operation, although no doubt in themselves of an admirable nature, are scarcely applicable to conditions in Siam, since Milk, Ganja and "Tanks" form no feature of the conditions of life in this country.

     More practical advantage was perhaps derived from the visit to the Sunderbans.

     There, visits were paid to Co-operative Credit Societies at Hua Katar and Dacca. The former is an ordinary rural Society with 45 members and a capital of Rs.11,500/-.

     That at Dacca, however, is an urban credit Society to encourage the conch-shell industry. With the financial support of the Government, the conch-shell is brought from Madras by contract with the Madras Government and is made at Dacca into ornaments.

     The Society is an ordinary credit one, and gives loans to members to carry on their work.

     A Central-Co-operative Store was seen at Khepupara. This is a store, run on the usual lines, for the sale, on commission, of both local products and imported goods. The average cash sales per week were paid to be Rs.3,000/-. Sales are also allowed on credit, but with members only.

     Visits were paid to Central Co-operative Banks at Khepupara Barisal, and Dacca.

     That at Khepupara has 105 Societies affiliated to it, and has one feature which so far we found unusual. In addition to subscribed shares, it has bonus shares. If the Bank is in a position to distribute a bonus to its shareholders, it does so in the form of shares, instead of cash.

     There are also two veterinary surgeons attached to this Bank, towards whose salaries the Government contributes Rs.1,500/- annually.

     As a note of interest, it may mentioned that the inhabitants of Khepupara are mostly Arracanese from the coast of Burma, whose ancestors came over originally in the capacity of pirates, but afterwards remained. Their posterity have now settled down to more peaceful occupations.

     The soil is very fertile, and a large colonisation scheme is being carried out by the Government, which contributes an annual sum of Rs.80,000/- towards the cost of development. This sum is expended on digging canals, setting up bunds, and in other ways ; and now settlers are continually coming in to take up reclaimed land.

     There is no Colonisation officer in Bengal. At Khepupara a suitable officer was chosen and appointed Assistant Magistrate : and he directs the whole scheme.

     The Central Bank at Barisal is ten years old and now a flourishing concern. It owns its own premises and has a large surplus in hand. The value of its shares is Rs.50/-, but only half of this has been paid-up.

     The Bank at Dacca is not doing so well, and there are at present 31 affiliated societies undergoing liquidation. This Bank charges a high rate of interest on its loans to Societies, namely 12% but it has also one unusual feature, namely , that if the borrowing Society repays its loans when due, a deduction of 11/2% is made and only 10 1/2% is charged.


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