THE DARBHANGA IMPROVEMENT TRUST BILL,BILL NO.7 OF 1934 IN THE BIHAR AND ORISSA LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Mr. W. B. Brett moved on behalf of the Government.He said that I need not repeat the story of what happened in Darbhanga on the afternoon of the 15th January 1934. It is sufficient to remind you that it was one of the three large towns in Bihar which suffered most damage in thee earthquake. Soon after the earthquake the Maharajadhiraja came forward with an office to lend a large sum of money to finance an Improvement Trust,which should replan the congested portions of the town and rebuild them in such away that they would not be such a source of danger to the lives of the inhabitants as they were in the last earthquake. When that proposal came to be considered and examined it was felt that there were certain difficulties in the way of an Improvement Trust working entirely with borrowed capital. As most of You are aware the Improvement Trusts are functioning in the big presidency towns of which Calcutta is the nearest and the best example. There the Improvement Trust can work on borrowed capital,because there is a keen demand for building sites, and if congested bazaars are opened up with good roads you can sell the site at a good price.But it is impossible to hope that you should get conditions like that in a town like Darbhanga. Darbhanga I should describe as a large country town and it is quite certain that an Improvement Trust there must lose a certain portion of the capital in carrying out a scheme of that nature . So the facts were faced , and the proposal was changed to its present form. As His Excellency has just told you , the Maharajadhiraja”s offer, as it now stands , is that he will make a free gift of five lakhs to the Trust and that he will further advance as such as much money is needed for work of the Trust up to a further total of nine lakhs. These nine lakhs will have to be repaid in the end, but the five lakhs will not. The latter sum is available for,and is expected to be used in , meeting the amount by which the outgoings of the Trust will probably exceed its receipts when it comes to excute the scheme. It is not enable such a Trust to be formed that I have introduced this Bill. Unless there is a properly constituted Trust, it is impossible for us to accept this most generous offer on the part of the Maharajadhiraja and the whole thing must fall to the ground.
The select committee to which the Darbhanga Improvement Bill,1934,has been referred to consist of the following members--
1. Mr. Sachchidananda Sinha.
2. Maulvi Shaikh Muhammad Shafi.
3. Maulvi Muhammad Hasan Jan,
4. Rai Bahadur Shyamnandan Sahay,
5. Babu Chandresekar Prasad Narayan Sinha,
6. Mr. W. B. Brett.
Speaking on the Bill Mr. Sachchidanand Sinha said -- I rise to give my unstinted support to the motion that the Bill be passed. We have heard a good many criticisms in regard to this Bill and, with your permission, Sir, I would like to take up the time of the Council,just for a few minutes, to remove if I can, some of these misunderstandings. The chief contention on behalf of the opposers of the Bill has been that its provisions will impose a financial burden on the people of Darbhanga in some shape or form. The Trust will buy the land and houses which the scheme comprises; it will have to widen the roads and construct some new roads; it will have to spend money on clearing the new building sites, and will probably itself construct some of the shops. It will need a certain amount of staff--- both for its office and its outdoor staff, though as Government already have a Town Engineer at Darbhanga, it is not likely that the cost of the engineer's staff will be very great. On the receipt side, it will recover the large part of what it has spent on lands by selling sites to the displaced inhabitants. In many cases this will be done by exchange , and no actual money will pass. It will also recover what it spends on building shops, since it will sell these shops, either outright, or on the hire-purchase system, to displaced inhabitants. It is carefully provided in the Bill that these prices should be reasonable, and within the means of the purchasers. All these provisions constitute genuine safeguards against any imposition on the residents. But that is nt all.