Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Municipal bye-laws in regard to these lodging-houses are generally disregarded. During the past two or three years, municipal inspectors have attempted To secure some improvement by prosecuting the worst offenders, but no vigorous campaign has been instituted. Two reasons are given for this detective control. One is that the magistrates treat delinquents too leniently, the ordinary sentence for breach of the regulations being only a small fine. The second is that, if the rules were enforced and each lodging-house only housed the regulation number of persons, crowds of labourers would have no shelter of any kind. The suggestion was made to us that. in order to force a crisis, strict enforcement of the regulations should be applied to the worst areas, the most propitious moment for inception of the campaign being at the end of the monsoon. The argument was that this plan would not add to human distress, that many of the excess numbers would thereby be forced to return to their villages in India. and that the authorities would be compelled to adopt more active steps to amend the present state of affairs. There can be no doubt that a large amount of additional accommodation is urgently required if the numbers of immigrant labourers are maintained at their present level, but it is not certain that the present laissez-faire attitude does not impose greater hardships than would result ultimately from a much more strict enforcement of the existing municipal regulations.