asked the Secretary of State for India on what dates were the construction of the new Manipur-Lashio and Assam-Chunking roads, respectively, commenced and when each is expected to be ready for military use; what department, military or civil, is responsible for the work; whether he has satisfied himself that every form of modern mechanical road-making machinery is being employed to hasten on this work; and why there has been delay in its execution?
The hon. and gallant Member will recognise that it is not in the public interest to disclose details of the progress of the construction of roads in Assam and Burma for military use. I can, however, assure him that the military authorities, assisted by engineers of civil departments, are carrying out this task with the greatest energy and are making use of all available resources including mechanical road-making machinery. I cannot agree that there has been any delay in execution of this work.
Has not my right hon. Friend given permission for publication of long newspaper articles stating in detail that permission had been given to start these roads? If he has given permission for those articles to be published, he must have satisfied himself that their publication was in the public interest.
Has my right hon. Friend taken steps to ascertain who did give permission for the publication of these articles, to which his personal attention has been directed; and if it is in the public interest for these details to be published in the Press, why cannot the matter be discussed in this House before the responsible Minister who can answer about it?