Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled at 9 A. M. on Saturday, the 8th December, 1973 in the Assembly Chamber Shillong with the Speaker in the Chair

Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up Unstarred Question No.11. 


UNSTARRED QUESTION

(Replies to which were placed on the Table)

Warrant of Protocol in the State

Shri Francis K. Mawlot asked:

11. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to present the Warrant of Protocol in the State of Meghalaya?

Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) replied:

11. The Warrant of Precedence for the State of Meghalaya is being drawn up and has not been finalised as yet. 

Warrant of Precedence in the State

Shri Winstone Syiemiong asked:

12. Will the Minister-in-charge of General Administration Department be pleased to state-

(a)

The Warrant order of Precedence of persons in the State?

(b)

Whether Chief Executive members of District Council, the Executives Members of District Council and the MLAs of the State find place in the Warrant of precedence?

(c)

If so, what are their positions?

Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) replied:

12.(a)

-The Warrant of Precedence for the State of Meghalaya is being drawn up has not been finalised as yet. 

(b)

-Appropriate ranks will be assigned to the Members of State Legislature, the Chief Executive members and the Executive Members of District Council. 

(c)

-Does not arise in view of (a) above.

Pine wood Hotel, Shillong

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked:

13. Will the Minister-in-charge of Tourism be pleased to state-

(a)

Whether the Pinewood Hotel is run by Government of Meghalaya? 

(b)

Whether the Hotel is making any profit?

(c)

If so, what was the profit during 1972-73?

(d)

If not, the amount of loss during 1972-73?

Shri Stanley D. D. Nichols-Roy (Minister of Tourism) replied:

13.(a)

-Yes. 

(b)

-Yes.

(c)

-The account of the Pinewood Hotel is maintained on the basis of the Calendar year, i.e., from January to December, and during the year 1972, the Hotel earned a profit of Rs.82,504.32 paise. 

(d)

-Does not arise.

Prof M.N. Majaw :- Unstarred Question No.13. Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether the account of the previous years shows a diminishing or increasing rate of profit. 

Mr. Speaker :- The main question is about the profit during 1972-73. 

Prof M. N. Majaw :- Comparatively, Mr .Speaker, Sir, whether the profit during 1972-73 indicates an increase in the rate of profit or not. 

Mr. Speaker :- I think that is argumentative. 

Prof M. N. Majaw :- It is a question, Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the profit is better than last year. 

Mr. Speaker :- Is the Minister ready to give the answer?

Shri S. D. D. Nichols-Roy (Minister of Tourism) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the account is here with me but for the previous year's account, I have not got the account here with me now.

Mr. Speaker :- Unstarred question No.14. 

Construction of an Inspection Bungalow at Silkigiri 

Shri Jackman Marak asked:

14. Will the Minister-in-charge of PWD be pleased to state-

(a)

Whether Government propose to construct an Inspection Bungalow at Silkigiri?

(b)

If so, when?

Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State, PWD) replied:

14.(a)

-So far there is no proposal fro construction of an Inspection Bungalow at Silkigiri. 

(b)

-Does not arise. 

Shri Jackman Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether Government propose to construct an Inspection Bungalow at Silkigiri?

Mr. Speaker :- The reply is already there. 

Unstarred Question No.15. 

Jeep for the BDO Dadenggiri T. D. Block 

Shri Manindra Rabha asked:

15. Will the Minister-in-charge of Community Development be pleased to state-

(a)

Whether it is fact that no jeep was provided to the Block Development Officer, Dadenggiri T. D. Block?

(b)

If so, the reasons thereof?

Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Community Development) replied: 

15.(a)

-No. 

(b)

-Does not arise. 

Prof M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the reply to question 15(a) is 'No', everybody in the Block Development Officer but whether the jeep is still in order or out of order I do not know. The minister is aware of the fact as to whether the jeep is in good condition or not. 

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Community Development) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the jeep is allotted, how can I know whether it is good condition or not. 

Prof M. N. Majaw :- Whether it is a fact that no Jeep was provided to the Block Development Officer. 

Mr. Speaker :- It seems that the Jeep was supplied. 

Prof M. N. Majaw :- 'No' means 'Yes' !

Mr. Speaker :- Because the question is in the negative-two negatives make one positive. Unstarred Question No.16. 

Accumulation of Cement Pipes 

Shri Stanlington David Khongwir asked:

16. Will the minister-in-charge of PWD be pleased to state-

(a)

Whether The Government is aware of the fact that there is a huge accumulation of cement pipes along the G. S. Road?

(b)

If so, the approximate number of these pipes collected as of date?

(c)

The name of the firm that has supplied these pipes?

Shri Darwin D. Pugh [Minister of State, PWD (R. & B)] replied:

16.(a)

- Yes

(b)

-1,448 Nos.

(c)

- There are four firms, viz.-

(1) M/S. Assam Concrete Pipes and Industries.

(2) M/S. Manas Industries.

(3) M/S. Assam Steel and Cement Products

(4) M/S. Indian Hume Pipes Co. Ltd.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, what is the amount involved for the purchase of these pipes.

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D) :- The total amount involved at Gauhati is Rs.9,52,124 plus the cost of carriage to the State at Rs.1,43,929 - Total Rs.10,96,053.

 Shri S.D. Khongwir :- What is the purpose for the purchase of these pipes? How can they be used in the G.S. Road. 

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, they will be used for construction of the culverts in the G.S. Road. 

Shri Maham Singh :-When were these pipes placed along the G.S. Road. 

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D) :- The work was completed on 10th October, 1973. 

Shri D.D. Lapang :- Whether Government is aware of the fact that the non-keeping of the pipes in a proper place creates much inconvenience to the motor vehicles. 

Mr. Speaker :- Actually the answer is founding your question itself, in other words, it is argumentative. You should put it this way-Whether these pipes create inconvenience to motor vehicles.

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is a fact that little inconvenience is caused but it cannot be helped

Mr. Speaker :- So let us pass on to Unstarred Question No.17.

Kommora Limestone Mining Company, Limited

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :

17. Will the Minister in charge of Mines and Industries be pleased to state -

(a)

The name of the General Manager of the Kommora Limestone Mining Company, Limited?

(b)

The name of the Managing Director?

(c)

The names of all the Directors of this Company?

(d)

`The share distribution or break-up among the Directors?

Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister-in-charge, of Mines and Industries) replied :

17.(a) There is no General Manager of the Company

(b)

Shri A.C. Bose, a Senior Mining Engineer, retired from Indian Bureau of Mines, Government of India as Chief Engineer.

(c)

(1) Shri S.K. Guha, I.A.S., Joint-Secretary in the Ministry of Steel and Mines, Government of India.
(2) Shri S.L. Khosla, I.A.S., Secretary, Industries, Power, Mining, Geology, etc. Departments, Government of Meghalaya.
(3) Shri S. Lyngdoh, Director of Mineral Resources, Government of Meghalaya
(4) Shri S.C. Dutta, Engineer, President, Economic and Entrepreneurship Development Foundation, Calcutta. Chairman and Managing Director, Development Consultants Private Limited. Managing Director, Kulijan Corporation (India) Private Limited.
(5) Brig. M.M. Mukherjee, Chief Executive, Economic and Entrepreneurship Development Foundation, Calcutta.
(6) Shri A.C. Bose, Managing Director.

(d)

As per Article 83 of the Memorandum and Article of Association of the Company, the Directors are not required to hold any qualification share of the Company. The following Directors hold one share each.
(1) Shri S.L. Khosla on behalf of Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation.
(2) Shri S. Lyngdoh on behalf of Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation.
(3) Shri S.C. Dutt on behalf of Economic and Entrepreneurship Development Foundation.
(4) Brig. M.M. Mukherjee on behalf of Economic and Entrepreneurship Development Foundation.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, has the Government seen the last report of the Inspector of Mining on Kommorah Mines.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, have we come to that question?

Mr. Speaker :- That is a new question.

Shri F.K. Mawlot :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, how many people were engaged in this Kommora Limestone?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I cannot give the exact number, I require notice. 

Prof M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir whether this is a Government-controlled company?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- This is  joint Sector Company in which the issued Share Capital so far is 7 lakhs out of which the Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation Limited holds equity shares to the value of Rs.5 lakhs and the Economic and Entrepreneurship Development Foundation holds equity share of Rs.2 lakhs.

Shri Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government is having more than 51 percent of the shares. May we know from the Minister-in-charge if it is a Government controlled Company.

Mr. Speaker :- This is in connection with your supplementary question and it is again a supplementary question to your supplementary question. 

Shri Maham Singh :- But I did not get a reply Mr. Speaker, sir, whether this is a Government controlled company. 

Shri S.P. Swer :- Is it not a fact that the shares come to 49 per cent?

Mr. Speaker :- That has already been given by the Minister-in-charge-that the shares are more than 51 per cent. 

Prof M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, is the appointment of Directors in proportion to the quantum of equity shares subscribed?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Meghalaya Industrial development Corporation is entitled to appoint three Directors-one of whom should be a representative of the Government of India and the EEDF is to appoint two Directors.

Prof M.N. Majaw :- In that case, Mr. Speaker, Sir, under what category was the Managing Director appointed under the MIDC or EEDF?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- He is appointed by the Board. 

Radiologist in the Civil Hospital, Shillong

Shri Parasvanath Choudhury asked:

18. Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to state-

(a)

Whether Government is aware of the fact that there is no Radiologist in the Shillong Civil Hospital?

(b)

If so, whether Government propose to appoint a Radiologist in the Hospital? 

Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister-in-charge of Health) replied:

18. (a) & (b)-Yes. A post of Radiologist already exists and as required under the existing arrangements Government of Assam were requested to send names of suitable officer for appointment to this post but none is available. The post is being advertised through the Public Service Commission shortly. 

Prof M.N. Majaw :- Sir, for how long this post of Radiologist in the Shillong Civil Hospital  has remained vacant?

Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister-in-charge of Health) :- I require notice for that, Sir. 

Prof M.N. Majaw :- Sir, it is very strange that the Government Civil Hospital at Shillong is functioning without a radiologist?

Mr. Speaker :- There is a large number of big hospitals in the country without radiologist. But of course, the Government must try to fill up such posts early.


Privilege Motion

        Now we take up the next item. I have received two notices of complaint of breach of privilege and contempt of the House, and since the two complaints relate to one and the same question, viz., the misrepresentation of the proceedings of the House, let me take up the first notice of complaint which I stand in the name of Mr. Humphrey Hadem, MLA, against two persons, one of whom is an hon. member of this House. The complaint of Mr. Hadem is against Mr. Upstar Kharbuli, a member of this House, and against Mr. E.K. Mawlong. The subject matter of the complaint relates to the publication of a leaf let under the caption "Ki ain khajna halor karep ka riang bad ka die ka thied". The hon. Complaint has already indicated that in that leaflet there are writings misrepresenting the proceedings of the house.  Before we proceed any further, may I asked Mr. Upstar Kharbuli what he has to say on this particular issue?   

Shri Upstar Kharbuli :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all I would like to say that this notice of complaint has just been received by me this morning itself. That is why I was a bit late in arriving here as I wanted to go through it. However I have been able to only just glance through it. Here, I would say Sir, first of all, that the main thing here is that when this Act was published for general information of the public in the gazette by the Law Department, I consider it my duty as a representatives of the people to render the English version of this Act to the nearest possible local version, that is in, Khasi language, as far as I can do so as tenable the people to know exactly what is there and every one who comes to me requesting me to explain about the implementation of this Act.

Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Kharbuli, will you look to appendix No.2? Actually those are the main bases of the complaint and not the translation of the Act as such.

Shri Upstar Kharbuli :- Sir, before I come to that, I find that this is a very serious charge which has been leveled against me but not actually against me only rather, I should say, against the Committee as a whole which I happen to be the chairman, including my colleague who is the office bearer of the Committee who happens to be one of the M.D.Cs. of the District Council of this District. Sir, you will appreciate my difficulty to give my comments right away when I have just received this notice only a few minutes back. So, I request the House, through you, Sir, that it would give me time at least to study these things.

Mr. Speaker :- In accordance with the rules of procedure, I have just asked you what you have to say by way of explanation. But afterwards you will have the chance to defend yourself. After you have made your submission, you may withdraw from the House so that the hon. member may move the motion of breach of privilege. 

Shri Upstar Kharbuli :- Just at present, Sir, what I have to say is that I do not feel myself to have committed any breach of privilege.

Shri Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir.

Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Maham Singh, you will have your chance after I call upon the complaint to make his complaint. So far as Mr. Kharbuli is concerned, it will be ridiculous for him to remain inside the House when this matter is taken up.

Shri Maham Singh :- My point, Mr. Speaker, Sir, is that the hon. member, Mr. Kharbuli, wants some time to go through the papers so that he can make statement afterwards.

Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Maham Singh, I am governed by rules I am not above the House either. I am guided by rules and conventions. So, Mr. Kharbuli, as I paid said, you will have your chance to defend yourself at the proper time.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, you said some time ago that the Member, according to rules, must leave the House. 

Mr. Speaker :- If he feels or if he does not that it is a false position for him let him remain.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Therefore, we may leave to  his wise discretion to decide whether to leave the House or remain.

Mr. Speaker :- So I leave it to the discretion of the hon. member either to leave or remain. Now, before I ask Mr. Hadem to take the floor, I will first of all read the complaint -

To

The Hon. Speaker, 
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. 
Shillong. 
Dated 7th December, 1973

        Honourable Speaker, Sir, 

        I beg to bring to your kind notice and to the notice of the House a very serious complaint of breach of privilege and contempt against Shri U. Kharbuli, MLA and Shri E.K. Mawlong, M.D.C, Chairman and General Secretary respectively of the Public Demands Implementation Committee, for having published a leaflet under the caption "Ki ain khajna halor karep ka raing bad ka die ka thied". In the said leaflet the above-named Chairman and General Secretary of the Public Demand Implementation Committee, have not only published and disclosed portions from the proceedings of the house without the prior permission of the hon. Speaker but they have also distorted the proceedings of this hon. House and thus have misrepresented the facts. By this willful act of distorting the documents of this Legislative Assembly and publishing the same without the prior permission of the hon. Speaker the said Shri U Kharbuli and Shri E.K. Mawlong have committed a serious breach of privilege and contempt against the entire House. In view of the above stated fact I beg leave to give notice under rule 167 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, of my intention to move a motion of privilege against the said Shri U Kharbuli, MLA and under Rule 158 against Shri E.K. Mawlong, M.D.C I also beg leave to attach here with a copy of the leaflet under reference together with an English translation of the relevant portions as appendices 'I' and 'II' respectively. 

Yours faithfully, 
H. HADEM
7th December 1973 

        Will Mr. Hadem come forward with his complaint before the House?

Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move a motion of breach of privilege and contempt of the House under Rule 158 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of this House against the........

Mr. Speaker :- You have already said under Rule 167. 

*Shri H. Hadem :- Yes, Sir, and also against the hon. gentleman, Shri E.K. Mawlong, the Chairman and the General Secretary respectively of the Public Demands Implementation Committee for having published a leaflet under the caption "Ki ain khajna halor karep ka raing bad ka die ka thied". In moving this motion, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to draw your kind attention to the fact that in publishing the said leaflet, Shri Kharbuli and Shri Mawlong have completely distorted and grossly misrepresented..........

Shri S.N. Koch :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of order and information, here Rule 167 speaks about prior notice. 

Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Kharbuli has already received a copy of the notice. But what is the definition of the word "prior". It may mean even one minute before the sitting of the House.

Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, before I was interrupted I was saying that in publishing the said leaflet Shri Kharbuli and Shri Mawlong have completely distorted and grossy mis-represented the facts as contained in the proceedings of this House in as much as they have stated that the Members of the Opposition had vehemently opposed the Act i.e., the Meghalaya Finance Act, 1973. and that was also stated on the 24th of July this year, they (Members of the Opposition, which term included me also at that time) (Laughter) have brought forward a proposal in the form of a Bill in order to safeguard themselves from such taxes on agriculture and trade and commerce. The fact is that the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1973, was passed without any opposition; it was unanimously passed. Further more, when on July 24, 1973, the Hon. member fro Mawhati attempted to have his Private Member's Bill, namely, the Meghalaya Agriculture Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, enacted, his was the lone voice, Sir. Not even a single Member either of the Treasury or of the Opposition spoke or supported the Bill. The question of the attempt to get the Bill under reference enacted did not arise, Sir. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you very well know the House has the power to get the Bill under reference enacted did not arise, Sir. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir as you very well know the House has the power to control, and if necessary, to prohibit the publication of these debated and decisions. Normally, Sir, no restrictions are imposed on the reporting of the proceeding of the House but where the dev\bates are reported malafied, i.e., when willful mis-representative of the debates arises, the offender is liable to punishment for committing such a breach of privileges and contempt of the House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you very well know, right from the 17th Century the publication of the proceedings of the House of the Commons was forbidden. Then some time in the next year 1938 the House declared that the publication of its proceedings would be a breach of privilege but, with the passing of time, the concept in this matter underwent a change so that, as it is today, the House of Commons forbids publication of its proceedings as a breach of privilege only if there are some aggravating circumstances like mis-representation . Furthermore, in our country, as a matter of conservation, prior permission of the President Officer or the Speaker has to be obtained before the proceedings and the documents of the House are published. May I also point out that our own rules, i.e.,  the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, also prohibit the printing, publication and sale of the proceedings and papers of the House.

Mr. Speaker :- What rule are you referring to?

Shri H. Hadem :- I am referring to rule 306. the rule reads as follows : "The Speaker may authorised printing, publication, distribution or sale of any paper, document or report in connection with the business of the House or any paper, document or report laid on the Table or presented to the House or a Committee thereof."

        Sub-rule (2) Sir, "The paper, document or report printed, published, distributed or sold in pursuance of Sub-rule (1) shall be deemed to have been printed, published, distributed or sold under the authority of the House within the meaning of article 194 of the Constitution. Then Sub-rule (3) - "if a question arises whether a paper, document or report is in connection with the business of the House or not, the question shall have to be referred to the Speaker whose decision shall be final." So, Sir, according to the Sub-rule (2) it was clear that printing and publishing of the reports or paper and other documents of the House should not be allowed without the prior permission of the Hon. Speaker. Therefore, Sir, in view of all these facts, I feel it is my considered opinion that the action of Shri Upstar Kharbuli, M.L.A., Chairman and also of Shri E.K. Mawlong, M.D.C., General Secretary, Public Demands Implementation Committee, is amendable to the law of privileges, and therefore submit that Shri Upstar Kharbuli M.L.A and Shri E.K. Mawlong, M.D.C., should be suitable punished as per rules governing the privileges of the House. With these words, Sir, I move my motion.

Mr. Speaker :- So, the Privilege Motion is moved? Any other hon. member would like to speak?

Shri Jormanik Syiem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion. The unauthorised publication of any part of the proceedings of this House is an offence and amounts to a breach of privilege. Now Sir, the leaf-let published, as attached in the complaint, is an extract of the proceedings of this House. The publication of this part of the transaction of business of this House. The publication of this part of the transaction of business of this House was not authorised by the house and therefore is an offence under the provision of Rule 306 (2) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the House. The mover has already read out a portion of that Rule. So I need not repeat it. The left let was published with the deliberate intention to mislead the public about the implication of the Finance Act as was passed in last Budget Session. Now the have published the Act as was passed, but they have suppressed the fact that it was based on certain provisions of the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act, 1939. The fact remains that this Act was introduced and passed, based on the basis of that Assam Act. The definition of this Act says that Agricultural  Income Tax will operate on those lands which are subject to land revenue, local rates etc.

Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Syiem, we are not discussing here the advantages or disadvantages of the Agricultural Income Tax Act. This House is to consider whether publication of that left-let constitutes a breach of privilege or not. 

Shri Jormanik Syiem :- It is an offence, and therefore, it constitutes a breach of privilege of the House because it was published with the malafide intention to mislead the general public that this Finance Act is going to operate also on all lands in Meghalaya. Therefore, Mr .Speaker, Sir, I submit that the suppression of the facts based on this Act is a distortion of the Act itself and is a misrepresentation of facts. So, Sir, the publication of any part of the proceedings of this House without the permission of the Speaker and the House as a whole constitutes a breach of privilege under the Rules of procedure and Conduct of Business of the House. As I have already stated, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the publication of that leaf-let without the authority of the Hon. Speaker or of the House is an offence and the persons responsible for  such publication are liable t punishment under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of this House. With these few words I support the motion.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as the motion of breach of privilege of the House relates to one hon. member, Shri Upstar Kharbuli and another gentleman Shri E.K. Mawlong, I am of the opinion that this House should consider whether this publication is a misrepresentation of the proceedings of the House or not according to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the House. Sir, according to the statement of Mr. Kharbuli himself., the publication was in Khasi and in fact, the Act was published in English. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, the attempt of the hon. Member to punish this Act is to educate the public.

Mr. Speaker :- The complainant did not say that translation of that Act constitutes a breach of privilege but he referred to the proceedings of this House in page one of the leaf-let. He is making a reference only to this particular page where in there is a reference to the two Sessions of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.  

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not see anything wrong here. In the complaint the hon. Mover has alleged that the translation of the Act his misguided the people or misreported the proceedings of the House. It is a fact that he is referring to the two Sessions of this august House. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, by the time this left-let was published, during the two Session of the Assembly, the hon. mover himself was in the Opposition. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the proceedings of the House during the two Sessions show that Mr. Hadem himself was in the Opposing Group.

Mr. Speaker :- May I draw the attention of all the of all the Members to Rule 175 for a debate on such question involving breach of privilege. I must remind the House that nobody has the right to publish any proceedings of the house or any part there of without the authority of the Speaker. Now here we are confronted with the question whether in that leaf let there is any distortion of fact with regard to the proceedings of the Budget Session and the July Session. Whether there has mis-representation of fact while referring to these proceedings. As the hon. member who has brought forward the complaint has clearly contended that this particular leaf let contains distortion of facts and mis-representation of the proceedings of to disapprove. It appears that there is a prima facie case of breach of privilege and I refer this matter to the privilege Committee in accordance with Rule 176.

        I have also received another notice on the same question from Mr. Hoover Hynniewta addressed to the Secretary, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly within reads:

Dear Sir,

        I hereby give notice of my intention to raise today in the House a question of breach of privilege against Shri G.G. Swell, M.P., Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, in-as-much as in his letter, dated the 2nd October, 1973 to the address of Mr. P.R. Kyndiah, General Secretary, All Party Hill Leaders' Conference he -

        (a) falsely and maliciously stated that there was a "unanimous demand of Opposition Parties in the Meghalaya Assembly in the July Session of this year that petty farmers and traders should be exempted from taxes on their agriculture and purchases".

        (b) falsely and maliciously stated that the Government (which is a part of the House and responsible to it) rejected the alleged demand referred to in (a).

        (c) maliciously accused the House, in an indirect and veiled manner, of having placed the last straw on the back of the people through its enactment of the Meghalaya Finance Act in its March-April Session this year.

        (d) contemptuously regarded the House as a mere hand maid of the Government which the latter could easily take for granted and utilise to pursue its alleged 'anti-people policies and measures".

        The instances mentioned above constitute a false, distorted and injurious report of the proceedings, and a reflection of the House amounting to a serious breach of its privilege by person who is in a position to know, understand and appreciate better than many others the import and consequences of his remarks and actions.

        The offending portion of the above-mentioned letter can be found in paragraph 8. A copy of the published letter is herewith enclosed.

Dated Jaiaw, Shillong :

Yours faithfully,

the 8th Dec. 1973.

H. Hynniewta, M.L.A.

        Mr. Hynniewta will make his submission before the House.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, you have in a precise way underlined the seriousness of this matter placed just now before the consideration of this House. Sir, it is with a deep sense of pain, sorrow and regret that I raise this matter of breach of privilege against our own representatives in Parliament who incidentally happens also to be the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Sir, a struggle has been raging inside me for quite a length of time whether I should accept my lot on behalf of the other Members of the House to bell the cat. I feel as if I were a humble substitute of the proverbial prince of Denmark, Hamlet, who placed in a mental predicament somewhat similar to mine. Like him I may describe my difficult position thus: "To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the arrows or slings of outrageous parliamentary fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing them and if it lies on me alone against of sea of troubles and by opposing them and if it lies on me alone as  mere individual I will be the last person to raise this matter against our own representatives. Sir, in this House it is not Mr. Hynniewta who has raised this question but it is the hon. member from Nongkhlaw Constituency who by virtue of Parliamentary Constitution has a vested interest in the prestige and dignity of this House and has a duty to defend the same when it is at stake. Sir, the Member from Nongkhlaw Constituency has 1.6 percent of the privileges and dignity of this House. This apportionment is arrived at by dividing 100 by 60. Although I find it is very painful still it is my duty to raise this question of privilege before the House. Sir, I am not concerned very much with the political interference strife going on for quite some time between Prof G. G. Swell and the APHLC party. A lot of political firing had been going on for some time but, Sir nobody can indulge in random political firing and allow the splinters thereof to hit the dignity of this House. I do not understand Sir, why a great personality should not think many many time before he drags the fair name of  this House into the field of political internecine strife between him and  his party. Sir, it is said that the law is not a respecter of persons. Similarly the law of privilege is not a respecter of persons.

        Now; Sir, I proceed to draw your attention and the attention of the House to the offending portion to which I referred in my privilege Motion. Motion. In this letter to Mr. P R. Kyndiah, General Secretary of the APHLC, Rika Cottage, Sunny Hill, Shillong-2 Prof Swell writes at Paragraph 8 inter-alia "over and above by having the Meghalaya Finance Act through the Assembly in its March-April Session this year and by rejecting the unanimous demand of the Opposition parties in the Meghalaya Finance in July Session of this House petty farmers, traders of Meghalaya should be exempted from taxes on agriculture and purchases, the State Government has placed the last straw on the back of the People". Sir, this to me amounts to a malicious distortion of the proceedings of this august House. Sir, there was no unanimous demand of the Opposition Parties of the Meghalaya Finance in July Session that the petty farmers should be exempted from taxes on agriculture and purchases. In advance I satisfied myself on this score by going through the proceedings of the house and I find there was no such unanimous demand on the part of the Opposition Parties. There was of course an Amendment Bill brought by the hon. member from Mawhati.

        I will not commit a breach of privilege by mispronouncing the name of his constituency. The hon. member indeed brought this Amendment Bill before the House but this Bill did not seek to exempt the petty farmers and traders from taxes on agriculture and purchases. The Bill referred only to members of the Scheduled Tribes and not to petty farmers of the State as whole, there was no reference whatsoever to the taxes on purchase. Therefore, Sir, this is distortion - and a willful one-of the proceedings of this House. His intention was to blame the Government which, according to him, by having certain Act through the House had placed the last straw on the back of the people. His intention was to squarely blame the Government because he could see the red rag of APHLC in and through whatever happened in the State. Like a knight errand he rushed head long not caring to find out  that the direction he was heading to was the inexorable privilege and dignity of this House. Sir, he falsely and maliciously accused the Government of rejecting the alleged demand to which I have referred earlier. Sir, the Government is also a component of this House. It is not open for him to malign the Government because this Government is responsible to us and not to the Lok Sabha. It is accountable to us and it remains in office so long as to enjoys the confidence of the House. Therefore, Sir, he would not blame the Government accusing it of doing something which it had not done, thereby casting a reflection on this House. Sir, holding the Government responsible for the enactment of the Meghalaya Finance Act he also accused it of placing the last straw on the back of the people. As a matter of fact, Sir, it was not the Government which enact the Meghalaya Finance Act. It was this House. So if the enactment of the Meghalaya Finance Act had placed the last straw on the back of the people, this House should be held responsible and not the Government. The Government is only a component of this House. Therefore, by charging the Government of having placed the last straw on the back of the people he had directly blamed this House. But he cannot cast a reflection on the House. On the whole, by treating this House as if it were a hand maid of the Government, he had committed a breach of privilege of this House. Sir, Parliamentary history is replete with instances of Government having been thrown out of office by the House and this House has not yet exercised its discretion to throw this Government out of office. Therefore, he would not say that this House was in effect a hand maid of the Government, in which members functioned just like dumb driven cattle and were meant only to obey the dictates of the Government. With reference to the false, distorted and injurious reporting of the proceedings of the House, I will draw your attention to Erskine May's Parliamentary Practised at Pages 140-141 which reads-"in 1701 the House of Commons resolved that to print or published any books or libels reflecting on the proceedings of the House is  a high violation of the rights and privileges of the House, and indignities offered to their House by words spoken or writings published by the Lords and the Commons upon the principle that such acts tend to obstruct the Houses in the  performance of their functions by diminishing the respect due to them" Sir, this portion which I read is self-explanatory and I need not add any comments of my own. In addition to that, Sir, it is also lad down as follows :-

        "Analogous to the publication of libels upon either House is the publication of false or perverted, or of partial and injurious reports of debates or proceedings of either House or committees of either House or misrepresentation of the speeches of particular Members". 

        Sir, I submit that the impugned portion of the letter constitutes a willful distortion of the proceedings of this House. The House was accused of doing the things which it had not dones. Also certain Members had been accused of doing the thing which they had not done. Therefore, it is willful distortion of the proceedings of this House. In view of the mandatory requirement that my remarks should be brief, I submit in all humiliated that I make out a prima-facie case of breach of privilege and contempt of the house Committed by Mr. G. G. Swell, MP., who also incidentally is the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha and is therefore, in a position to fulyl appreciate what constitutes the dignity and prestige of the House 

Mr. Speaker :- So a privilege motion is moved by Mr. Hoover Hynniewta. Any other member who would like to support or oppose the motion?

Shri Pritington Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the privilege motion moved by the hon. member from Nongkhlaw. Sir, we all know what is our position in this august House. We also know for a fact that this is the honorable House and this is the highest body in our State. So, Sir, whatever speeches we make on the floor of this august House cannot be misrepresented outside. Also, Sir, the proceedings of the House if they are misrepresented or if anybody publishes any leaflets or pamphlets outside by giving wrong figures, that amounts to a breach of privilege and contempt of the House. Sir, here is a case in which our representative in the Lok Sabha, who occupies the honourable position there, unfortunately has published leaflets in which he has misrepresented the proceedings leaflets in which he has misrepresented in the Lok Sabha, who occupies the honourable position there, unfortunately has published leaflets in which he has misrepresented the proceedings of this august House. So this is my humble submission, Sir, that it amounts House. So this is my humbler submission, Sir, that it amounts to a serious and injurious breach of privilege and contempt of the House. So I would like to submit Sir, that the hon. Member in the Lok Sabha Prof G. G. Swell may be given suitable punishment or penalty or it may be referred to the Privileges Committee of this House. 

Shri D.D. Lapang :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is very unfortunate that this Motion have been brought in this House against our own hon. representatives in the Lok Sabha. It is needless to express much Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the convincing facts already related by the hon. Mover. It is enough to convince the house with all the facts and figures about the effect of the statement made by Prof G. G. Swell about the effect of the statement made by Prof G. G. swell relating to the proceedings of this House which has very badly besmirched the dignity and prestige of this august House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I be allowed to read the lines as published in the latter of Prof G. G. swell as referred to by the hon. Mover. Page 7-"Over and above, by the having the Meghalaya Finance Act through the Assembly in its March-April Session this year and by rejecting the unanimous demand of Opposition Parties in the Meghalaya Assembly in July Session of this year that petty farmers and traders of Meghalaya should be exempted from taxes on their Agriculture and purchases, the State Government has placed the last straw on the back of the people". 

        Having pointed out by the hon. Mover to the Amendment Bill brought by my hon. friend from Mawhati, it did not tell us that the petty farmers and traders should be exempted and so on and so forth. It is also very plain that there was no unanimous support or opposition from the  opposition side to the enactment of the Act as mentioned here. It is, Mr. Speaker, Sir, very unfortunate that the mover happens to be from the Opposition side which relates to the fact that they do not have.

Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Lapang, when we are considering about the privilege and proceedings of the House, the House is expected always to be one. There may be different views and opinions in the matter. 

Shri D.D. Lapang :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, what I mean to say that the mover knows very well that the he did not join the Opposition in so far as the unanimity of the Opposition is concerned. So, Sir, I support the motion brought forward by Mr. Hoover Hynniewta and being the new born Assembly  of the full State, I would also feel that it is very wise and would be a considered opinion perhaps of every legislator and hon. Member here that such a move or distortion of the proceedings of the Assembly should never be allowed in order to maintain in the sanctity of the House. Being a responsible position in the Lok Sabha, it is very unfortunate that the misled the public and has also very badly affected the prestige of this august House. In view of these facts, Mr. Speaker, Sir,  support the motion. 

Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is really unfortunate today that we have to bring to bring a motion of breach of privilege and contempt of the house against our hon. member and most of all our own representatives who is there in the Lok Sabha. It is unfortunate as the hon. member from Nongkhlaw has stated that he is also the Presiding Officer of the house of the country and these facts which have been laid bare and pointed out by the hon. Member from Nongkhlaw form a prima facie case of breach of privilege of the House as a whole. We are all here as a body itself becomes weak and ineffective. Therefore, we feel that whether we are from the ineffective. Therefore, we feel that whether we are from the Treasury Bench or the opposition Bench , we are effected. We are all being maligned because we are all one. And the question now is whether this gentleman has done so out of ignorance or with full knowledge of the rules and procedure. Taking into consideration the fact that if it is done out of ignorance , we may have a little bit of consideration but if it is done with bad intention, I leave the matter to the wisdom of the Privileges Committee. 

Mr. Speaker :- It is really unfortunate that in today's sitting we are raising a very important matter against a person not less than one of the Presiding Officers of the Lok Sabha. We are in a very delicate situation and I am glad that the Members of the House have taken upon themselves the task of upholding the respect and sanctity of the House. The very fact that there is no opinion of the Members in this House, different from one expressed by the Government bench, it appears to me that it is a fit case to be referred to the Privileges Committee. It appears that the hon. members has already established his prima facie case against Mr. G. G. Swell . So I refer both the cases to the Committee of Privileges for examination and report on or before 15th March, 1974. 


Statement by Minister

        Let us pass on to the next item. Before we take up the resolution which was moved by Prof Majaw Yesterday, I am to inform the House that I received a notice from Shri E. Bareh, Minister, Agriculture who would like to make a statement on the reply he made Yesterday.        

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in my reply to the unstarred question No.3 (Interruption).

Mr. Speaker :- No. No. you can make a statement after the calling attention Motion. 

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- In the unstarred Question No.3 some supplementary questions were asked. To the supplementary question asked by Shri Maham Singh relating to amount of expenditure fro the areas I replied that the State Government has to bear only the cost of operation and that the Government of India has to bear the cost of chemicals.

        Now; on a further scrutiny I find that the reply was completely wrong. The correct reply is as follows :

        The State Government has to bear only the cost of pesticides to the tune of Rs.1,93,125.00 and the Government of India has to bear all the cost of aerial operation.


Calling Attention

Mr. Speaker :- Now let us pass on to item No.2. Mr. D.D. Lapang to call the attention of the Minister, Industries. 

Shri D.D. Lapang :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to call the attention of the Minister, Industries under Rule 54 of the Rule of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Assembly relating to the trouble at the Kyrdemkulai Hydro project due to nonpayment of compensation leading to the closure of the road thereby causing losses to the ASEB, (At this stage the Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair) Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on 19th November, 1973, the people of Nongmawbri village, Sohktung and Shadap clans decided to close the road, and they did close from that very day. So the road going to Kyrdemkulai Power House was closed and the people did not allow even the vehicle carrying supplies to the worker of that area to pass through. On the 23rd November, myself and the Chief Engineer and many other officers of the ASEB  went to the spot and 

(At this stage the Speaker left the chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair)

         We saw that the road was closed by the people and a gate also was constructed and a big gathering of people for us at the gate. When we had a meeting with them, questions were raised that they have exhausted their patience in waiting right from 1955 till today fro the compensation to be paid to them by the ASEB. Having found no other alternative, when the paddy fields have been destroyed, the could not fin any other means of livelihood. The have had to go to the extent of blocking the road and it was very much disappointing when the information was being brought from the ASEB that the matter was no longer in their hands because of certain factors. It is also given to understand that matters were being delayed by the Government resulting in consequent nonpayment of compensation. After a long discussion with them and also with the Executive Engineer who has gone to the extent of assuring them that the matter should be disposed of at the earliest possible time. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to say that on the 23rd day, the day that we went down to the spot; we somehow temporarily destroyed the gate and allowed the vehicles to ply along road, but we were told that the resolution of the Committee to close the road was very temporary and it would be effective at least for a couple of months only. So Mr. Deputy Speakers, Sir, I am compelled to bring this matter to the notice of the House and that if the matters could not be solved early the situation will be worsened. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I fail to understand how the Government did not understand how the Government did not understand the urgency and seriousness of the matter which effected the pole very badly and entailed losses to the ASEB. I am afraid lest we may erode the confidence of the people who happened to give their lands for such projects.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- May I request the Minister-in-charge to reply?

*Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Power) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir I am grateful to the hon. Member who has raised this Calling Attention Motion not only for information of the House and the Government but for his constructive approach and his personally tackling with the problem on 23rd November, 1973. Because this matter involved not only the Power Department but the Revenue Department, I have consulted both the departments in preparing this statement i would like to read out the statement. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Electricity Board has always been anxious to to finalise the acquisition proceedings and pay compensation to the affected people. Accordingly, acquisition papers were submitted to the Deputy Commissioner and in respect of cases where estimated cost was received from the Deputy Commissioner after publication of the notification, the estimated costs of compensation had already been placed at the disposal of the Depute Commissioner. In certain cases, however, the estimated cost have not been received from the Deputy Commissioner even after the publication of the notification and for which the compensation money could not be placed at his disposal. All draft notifications have now been sent to the Press for publication.

        In respect of the 9 cases for which the estimated cost of compensation has been placed at the disposal of the Deputy Commissioner, finalisation of the acquisition proceedings could not be made to be signed with the Government under which is required to be signed with the Government under section 41 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1984. Delay in executing the agreement is due to the fact that Government took some time to revise and formulate the Performa agreement of ready and the Board would be able to execute the agreement within a short time. The Performa agreement of Assam was ready and the Board would be able to execute the agreement within a short time. The Performa agreement of Assam was revised and amended by the Revenue Department in consultation  with the Law Department. Unless this agreement is signed between the Government and the Board, the declaration under section 16 of Land Acquisition Ac, 1984 cannot be published and without this the Collector or the Deputy Commissioner cannot finalise the acquisition proceedings. On account of the above difficulties payment of compensation could not be made in full. However, in respect f the  cases for which the amount of compensation, in April 173 had approved the payment of 50 percent of the value of the land, which the Deputy Commissioner had already made. A statement showing the position of the various acquisition cases and the actual position of the cases right from the date of submission of the acquisition papers to the Deputy Commissioner is placed below. It may be stated that the Board is always ready to place the amount of compensation immediately the notification is published and the estimated costs of compensation are received from the Deputy Commissioner.

Sl. No. Area Date of Submission to D. C. No. date of Notification  Date of placing the compensation cost at D. C.'- disposal Amount  Remarks
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1

5.97 acres 

11th February 1972

No.RD97/72/3, dated 10th June, 1972

8th January, 1973

8th January 1973

2

36.00 acres 

1st May 1972

No.RD95/72/3, dated 10th June, 1972

do

Under Rs.2,45,426.24P.

(1) Amount places as soon as the estimated cost is received from D. C. 

3

36.90 acres

8th February 1972 

No.RD68/72/3, dated 10th June, 1972

do

(2)Pending signings of Agreement. 

4

33.34 acres 

15th February 1972 

No.RD96/72/4, dated 10th June, 1972

do

5

2.41 acres 

4th / 8th February 1972

No.RD69/72/3, dated 10th June, 1972

do

6

33.50 acres 

15th May 1972

No.RD94/72/2, dated 10th June, 1972

do

7

58.40 acres 

8th February 1972 

No.RD70/72/3, dated 10th June, 1972

do

36.93 acres 

8th February 1972 

No.RD71/72/3, dated 10th June, 1972

15th April, 1973

Under Rs.27,177.05P
Rs.8,664.18P

 

2.92 acres 

8th February 1972

No.RD74/72/2, dated 10th June, 1972

do

10

8.17 acres 

23rd June 1973 

No.RD285/73/2, dated 11th January, 1973.

do

11

185.00 acres 

13th January 1973

No.RDA15/73/2, dated 22nd November,1973. 

do

12

35.10 acres

13th January 1973

No.RD16/73/2, dated 21st September, 1973. 

15th February 1973

13

34.00 acres 

13th January 1973

No.RD17/73/2, dated 21st September, 1973. 

do

Not placed as Estimated cost not received from D.C.

Pending receipt of Estimated cost from D. C 

14

70.91

13th January 1973

No.RDA18/73/2, dated 21st September, 1973.

do

15

231-10 acres

13th January 1973

No.RDA19/73/2, dated 29th September, 1973.

do 

16

26.77 acres

8th January 1973

No.RDA20/73/2, dated 25th September, 1973.

do 

17 

26.68 acres

7th April 1973

Sent to Press for Publication do 

18

54.00 acres

6th September 1973

do

19

73.14 acres

6th September 1973

do

Shri D.D. Lapang :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir I may I seek a clarification of on the statement? The Minister has stated that the acquisition papers have been submitted to the Deputy Commissioner. May we know whether the Government has taken up he matter at the earliest possible time?

Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Power) :- Yes Sir, I enquired from the Revenue Department and the Deputy Commissioner stated that this is being pursued as soon as possible. 


Motions

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Item No.3 Pending motion moved by Prof M.N. Majaw. May I request Prof. Majaw to resume  the resume the discussion. 

*Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I had already passed some observation yesterday on the functioning of the Public Works department. I would draw the attention of the house to the fact that there are some portions of the communication system in this State that need proper supervision particularly the interior road of the Bhoi area i.e., the  Umsning-Jagi Road and the hole of the Shillong-South Division which  was placed under the care of the Executive Engineer who is also looking after parts of the State as far as Balat, Dawki, and Amjong. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, these roads certainly need improvement. Also the rates Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, these roads certainly need improvement. Also the rates Mr .Deputy Speaker, Sir, need immediate revision if we are to inculcate certain measure of honesty into the contractors because we fully place upon them the stupendous task so that we can secure from them better functioning. Therefore, I very strongly recommended that the PWD rates be immediately revised. Most of the rates Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, are 80 percent compared with the market rates. Then when the contractors were called to submit tenders they hardly quoted 20 percent below the scheduled rate or even more. There are cases also where they come down upto 30 percent. How on earth is it possible for them to work honestly. For materials they have to purchase at the rate of 100 per cent out of the scheduled rate of 80 per cent and then again 20 per cent to 30 per cent below that scheduled rate and this is happening not yet the work is supposed to be going on. I do not really know how both ends meet and how can there be justice, I have made it better understood by the Department or by the engineers concerned. In the selection of these contractors Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would plead that greater preference be given to the persons residing along those roads. The point at issue Mr .Deputy Speaker, Sir, is the Mawphlang-Balat road, as an example.  For the entire length of 48 miles, if we look to history, we found that the contactors for construction of this important road, are from on particular village along this road and the contacts are secured by persons from this famous village. When persons of another village responded to the tenders, persons who actually had experiences in the construction of roads, who are registered contractors and who actually reside at the door step of the road, literally speaking, will be denied the contract. This is a fact Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. These persons when they submitted their tenders to secure work along this road besides being at the door step of the road, they failed to secure because of certain magical power possessed by persons from this one village along the entire road. This is only an example Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. So, I would request the PWD personnel to see that the local people who live along this road should have the same preference and equal share in the construction of roads. As such, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would suggest case of the Block Development Committees which are the Advisory Boards in the development of a particular of a particular Block in which we include the people's representatives like MLAs and MDCs and also the local persons of the area. I be an Advisory Board for each Division of the PWD and in that Advisory Board we should include the representatives like the local people to be associated with the Division or in aiding the Division in its work or with their recommendation.

        Next Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, comes the question of appointment. We have not much to say because we are in the opposition, the Ruling Party has much to say in the matter of appointment. But there are certain instances of appointment which should have come to our notice and brought to the notice of this House. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we know for a fact that there are adverse remarks in the file from the superior officers against a particular S.D.O in Mechanical Division. But despite these adverse remarks the person was still retained and while his bother in Hailakandi was opening an Auto Work Shop and spare parts shop, he got three trucks registered in the name of his mother and also in the name of his relatives he was running three taxis and owning a fiat car. A mere S.D.O of Mechanical Division all these and in spite of this, though he was served with the transfer order to another place he is still being retained in Shillong and continues to enjoy life despite the adverse remarks of superiors against him. I do hope the Minister in charge will look into the affair to see whether all the tyres as for example the truck tyres which are purchased from one particular shop fro the Mechanical Division were actually supplied to the department or not or whether these tyres are still remaining in the shop although they are meant for the two trucks in the Mechanical Division. To find out this, a surprise visit is to be made to thus particular concern which has been back listed by the Assam State Electricity Board and is continuing to enjoy the favour of Meghalaya. We know that if these tyres are sold in black market the will fetch a high price an if proper check is to be made it will be found that these tyres are not rotating around and are still lying with that particular concern. So Mr .Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is what happened in the Mechanical Division and if a through check is made, I have no doubt that what I have stated if true. So Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have nothing also to say but to remind that while we have leveled criticism against the department, we also like to praise certain aspects of the Department, we also like to praise certain aspects of the departments that they have drawn up comprehensive plan for construction of roads and funds are also given to the department for construction of these roads and if it is properly utilised then Meghalaya will be a better State.  

*Shri F.K. Mawlot :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the Motion. The PWD which have been given almost 1/3 of the money of the State needs of course a very through overhauling. The Mover of the Motion has already pointed out defects in the department and I would like to add only a few more words. The policy of Government in the construction of roads is quite good but the implementation is not satisfactory. I have come across one particular case in the Nongkhlaw PWD Division where the work order was issued to contractors should start the work immediately, that is 15 days after the after the issue of the work order. But up till now the work has not been started by the contractors because they are afraid lest they may be the loser. This is because the old rates have not been revised. The contractors who have submitted their tender have gone even to 10 per cent below the scheduled rates. Now after the work order has been issued another Executive Engineer was posted an again when the new Executive Engineer was posted and again when the new Executive Engineer was posted at Nongstoin, still the contractors were afraid to start the work because the felt that they would be the loser. Mr .Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is one road which start the work because the felt that they would be the loser. Mr .Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is one road which starts from Nongkaseng and runs through my constituency, I am told the Executives Engineer wanted to start the work immediately because this is an important road joining the outskirts of the Nongstoin Subdivision with its headquarters. But I am surprised to learn that the contractors dared not start the work because of the low scheduled rates the have tendered. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would urge upon the Department to revise the schedule of rates as soon as possible. Another road, that the construction has been started long ago but the most peculiar thing is that section 1 and section 3 of this road at Nongstoin have been completed whereas part of of section 2 of the work at Nongstoin Road is still pending even though vehicles like jeep can pass up to the last section and if  this second part is completed even cars can ply easily in section three. But I do not know what has the contractors is that although section three has been competed, there is no money for completion of the second section.

        I would like to request Government to instruct the Department concerned to complete this second portion of the road so that our poor villagers of Lyngngam areas can be helped because that road passes through the Lyngngam area. Mr .Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to stress once more on the revision of rates because if the old rates remain, especially in the Nongstoin area, there will be no work this year because the contractors past year till 1973 the contractors who have been submitting their tenders with 10 per cent have been earning a lot. There must be a miracle I think in the Department for example, the widening of the Shillong-Nongstoin Road, a portion between Mawngap and Mairang, in the 3rd K.M. one contractor was allotted the work at a tender value of Rs.35,250 and the running bill has gone upto Rs.1,66,529, i.e., he is earning well and for the information of the House, the work has not yet been completed till now. It remains the same. Another instance is the construction of the Mairang-Laitdom Road, 2nd half of the 5th Km, the estimated amount was Rs.16,433 whereas the running bill was to the the of Rs.22,112. 

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. Mawlot whether you are certain of this particular thing.

Shri F.K. Mawlot :- Yes, Mr .Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have been telling in the last Budget Session and also a copy of the statement which I have made and submitted to the Chief Minister for his information. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if we want to observe our people, if we want to do our duty, we cannot do it with mere plans. We have to execute these plans and if we are to execute these plans accordingly, a through overhauling of the management of the Department is urged for. Another instance, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, one Mr. E. Iawphniaw, a Class II Contractor, I supposed to get an amount of Rs.22,000 for which he never did anything and for which he never received the work order. That is the answer given to the House by the Chief Minister during the Budget Session because we had asked for the list of contractors and also the works allotted to them and the amount paid to them in the year 1971-72. In that statement it was found that this contractor, Shri E. Iawphniaw, was to get Rs.22,000 for which he never received the work order. This is for the information of the House and Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, all these charges which I m bringing today, have already been brought to the notice to the Government and the Chief Minister, and the Minister-in-charge of PWD. One Mr. Iang Swer, who died in the Jowai Civil Hospital in 1971, on the 16th March, 1972, had drawn an amount of about Rs.97,000 whereas the man had actually died at the Jowai Civil Hospital.

(Voices-He came out of Heaven)

        So I would urge upon the Government to see that overhauling of the Department should be done with immediate effect.        

Shri H.E. Pohshna :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to say only a few words on this motion and I fully appreciate the information that we have got here in course of the discussion that even a dead man (laughter) whether he come out of the grave or not, after he died for one year, to be condemned; it a very very beautiful Department and it is a very attractive department. we cannot go to the villages in beautiful cars without the PWD roads. Sir, the other day I happened to go with some officers of the Electricity Board by a road leading to the home village of the Minister of Agriculture. There I found that in the road which leads to the home village of the Agriculture Minister of course he has proved that he is not difficult to say whether it is a drain road or a PWD road. As a matter of fact, we had to turn back because the road was not jeep able. The PWD, it appears, is not taking much interest in the implementation of the schemes but only in the selection of contractors. Why do I say this? I would cite an instance. Tenders have been invited for a particular road the Amlarem-Padu road many months back but no allotment of work is done. Only the other day when questions were put in the Assembly that the selection of contractors had been made. Sir when I went to see the Executive Engineer and asked as to when this road would be stated, he said that "We cannot say as we have not been able to select the contractors." We know the Executive Engineer-in-charge of the Division has power to select the the contractors but something is there behind the screen. It appears that much politics had been played in the selection  of contactors. Selection was made not accordingly to the real qualifications of contractor for Class I to Class IV; there may be other classes even to Class X (Laughter). It appears some other qualifications are there and I think that they will be of political qualifications. The tenders have been opened long before, about 10 months ago and the comparative statement  has gone from one file to another, from one office to another, from one Ambassador car to another with the result that Class I and II contractors have been degraded. Previously the contractors who used to get the contract up to the value of Rs.10,000 or Rs.15,000 now the yet only Rs.5,000 because so many qualifications are required of them, as I said before. Every body is to qualify politically in order to get a contract and there are even some contractors whose names appear in the office of the Executive Engineer but they are qualified politically. Any way, we are here to suggest ways and means for the benefit of the Government and the people. At it appears that this Public Works Department does not co-operate even with the Chief Minister who himself happens to be incharge of this department, lots of assurances have been made for the construction of Jowai College in Jowai. But up till now no trace is found of any construction at all. Sir, lots have been talked of the extension of the Jowai Civil Hospital. Sir, how can we imagine when there are only 39 beds in the Hospital whereas the number of patients is increasing day by day. Many cases of accident and collision among the patient inside the Hospital occurred because of the congestion which no body cares to look after. Sir, the Hospital has become like a hazat. Why I speaks all these things because this has got connection with the work and function of the department, Sir. The Government has given assurance after assurance that they are going to improve this roads and that road but it appears that they have not got contractors to start the work because for want of special qualifications, as I said before. Therefore, Sir, I would request the Government to kindly take up immediate steps to implement the extension of the Jowai Civil Hospital without any further delay. With these words Sir, I would once again like to request the Hon. Minister-in-charge of PWD to see that the works are completed as early as possible before taking up new schemes.

*Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to associate myself with the least possible words in speaking on this motion. I see that this particular motion  is very important and the Hon'ble Speaker has therefore allotted more time for discussion of this particular motion. Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, I see that one of the most important departments of the Government is the Public Works Department and I also see that one of the many functions of this Department is the building of roads. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I as a lay man, cannot understand how roads are being constructed. I cannot understand how roads are being constructed. I cannot understand the technicalities of road making, but surely Mr. Deputy Speaker, I can see or be a witness to its consummation and I can always tell that whenever the road is constructed it is only when it is completed that I can always tell that whenever the road is constructed it is only when it is completed that I can say that the road is good or bad. To that extent Mr .Deputy Speaker, Sir, I can only tell whether the road has been properly constructed or not. I will not go into the details of road making because as I have said I am just a lay man and I do not know how road is being made. But Sir, I take for granted that is the intention of the Government particularly this Public Works department not to construct bad rod. I believe their intention is to build good roads and whenever an estimate is being repaired for any particular road, I can take for granted that estimate is aimed at Making good roads. With that confidence in my mind, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I can say that whenever I travel on such roads as a witness I can see that the condition of these roads is below the standard. Here Mr .Deputy Speaker, we are discussing this particular motion relating to this particular department and just about a month an half ago, there was one road in my own locality at Mawlai which was being constructed and when the contractor came for black-topping of that road I told him that black-topping cannot be done when the rains have not stopped. I asked him now how can you black-top the road and he told me yes it can be done, now it is alright and no damage will be done to the road. But Sir, I wish to bring to the information of the Department concerned that this particular road in which black-topping was done, was not upto the expected standard. In spite of warnings from the people of the locality, the road was not properly built. With my little knowledge about road making, I am very sorry to say Mr .Deputy Speaker, Sir, that many of the roads are punctured with many pits and pot-holes. So Sir, the function of this department was not at all satisfactory. On several occasions, I have detected that sand is mixed with cement  in an un-proportionate amount. I have also head that one person has experimented to mix sand with some quantity of fertilizer. We know that the colour of sand varies from the colour of fertilizer. You can get while sand iron Nongthymmai side and this sand can be differentiated from the colour of fertilizer. At this juncture, I would  therefore like to request the department concerned to see that proper supervision is carried on for construction of roads. The hon. Mover of the motion from Mawhati has said that his road at Mawhati is being supervised by an Engineer who stays  away from the road, about 70 to 80 miles and how can he carry on proper supervision work from such a distance. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have also seen on the G.S. Road that there has been a lot of improvement going on in this particular road, G.S. Road. I know it by way of getting jerking in the car when the vehicle reached that particular place. So by this standard of improvement Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to make a very special   request to the Department for this standard of improvement. I would also like to make a special request to the Department, 'please do not contemplate the improvement of Laitlyngkot-Dawki Road. Let it remain as it is. Do not contemplate making any improvement or widening of this road, it will only get spoiled.

        Another thing which I have noticed is that Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, some time early this year the people of Mawlai have written a letter to the Chief Engineer, Public Works Department to get the speech breaker on the G.S. Road at Mawlai. The reply is that it is illegal to construct speed breaker on the National Highway. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I cannot understand why the Public Works Department encouraged or allowed the people of Umsning to construct four speed breakers and this news has got around and it has come to the people of Mawlai. The people are collecting money for the construction of speed breaker at the G.S. Road Mawlai. As have already said at the beginning that the standard of performance of the P.W.D. is not at all satisfactory, I am of the opinion that perhaps, this particular Department is over-burdened with other functions of the State. As such, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I would like also to suggest here that since it is possible for the State Government to delegate some of its powers, functions and authorities to the District Council in so far as the P.W.D. is concerned, why not Government delegate some of its authorities functions pertaining to roads, buildings, etc., to the District Council here in Meghalaya, to the Garo, Khasi and Jaintia Hills District Councils, because yesterday Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, a motion was moved for decentralization of powers  and functions and that would be advisable for the Government. We have seen that the Government is over-burdened especially by this peculiar massive Department. It can delegate some of its functions in so far as pertain to the road and building construction. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring out the case pertaining to the master roll workers. These master rolls workers have been working under the Department and some of them have been working for the last 15 to 20 years and up till now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, they have been getting their wages at Rs.4.50 paise per day only and some time back during the composite State of Assam a delegation of these workers was sent to the Government of Assam. There was a promise by the Government to consider their case and see it it is possible to increase their monthly salary. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.

Shri W. Syiemiong :- Mr. Deputy Speaker sir, I would like.....

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- According to the fixed time there was no more time. Now, the Minister to reply. 

*Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at the outset I would like to express my heart-left gratitude to the hon. Members who have participated in this Motion. I am especially grateful to the hon. Mover of the motion because as a result this motion and the discussion on it, very valuable information has been provided. I am also grateful to the members for the suggestions they have made during the course of the discussion. It appears that the maim causes of the dissatisfaction in the functioning of the  PWD can be categorized as appointment, etc., especially in the implementation of the various schemes with special reference also to the place. The hon. mover of the Motion yesterday began by saying that he is one of those who believe giving praise where it is due and brick-bat where that also is due. I was also indeed very happy to note that he had started the discussion on that note. As I sat listening to him. (At this stage, the Deputy Speaker left the Chamber and Shri G. Mylliemngap, Chairman took the Chair). Unfortunately I find that all he had to offer is brickbat and a few suggestions. But I presume Mr. Chairman, Sir, that is to enhance the right and privilege of each and every Member of this House Yesterday while moving his motion, the hon. member from Mawhati made a very special reference to the Gauhati-Shillong Road and compared it with what it was during the British days and what it is today. And in doing so, he also took very special pain and care to state that as a result of the condition in which the Shillong-Gauhati Road today is there have been a large number of accident which the hon. member himself had to admit that he could not give trace of the accidents that took place. Now for the benefit of the hon. member why moved the motion, I would like to say state by way of recollection that during the British days, Shillong-Gauhati Road was a narrow single road and plying of vehicle was controlled by the control gates. The number of vehicles that existed in the erstwhile composite State of Assam which include the present State of Meghalaya, almost could be counted on finger tips. But today the number of vehicles getting registered is almost one a day. In those days the number of heavy vehicles was very small. But after Independence, the Shillong-Gauhati was declared as a National High way. I am making this statement with the intention to make another statement by way of clarification a little later. 

        Now coming to the question of accident, I should say that it is due to the fact that after this road has become a National Highway and after the road has been converted into a two way traffic, the number of vehicles become limitless. Now I will take this opportunity for reminding the hon. mover of the motion, probably he knows better than what I do, that accident are not necessarily caused only because of collection of huge Hume pipes and stones but accidents are caused due to break-down or failure of the brakes, rash driving, illness which some times overtakes the drivers and often it is due to intoxication. Intoxication, I am not referring only to drinking of Liquor. Intoxication causes by failure of power i.e..,  when the driver presses the accelerator and then tries to stop the car through brakes and so on and so forth. Then intoxication may be due to youth and intoxication may be because of pride. Once pride intoxicates a man, he thinks he is the best driver under the sun. Now the hon. Mover of the motion has referred to huge collection of Hume pipes and stones. In this connection I would definitely like to State that this collection of Hume pipes and stones is a must ;it is absolutely essential if the road as to be improved. The hon. Member has also made a pointed reference to the importance of the Umsning-Jagi Road better I should say Jagi-road-Umsning Road since there are many villagers falling within Umsning. He has also made a plea that Government, more especially the Public Works Department should take special care to ensure that this road is completed as early as possible. In this connection I would like to make a brief statement to the fact that the Public Works Department in particular and the Government in general had taken steps as early as in October, 1792 to ensure that the road is declared as National Highway during the Fifth Five year plan. I am also quite glad to be able to report that the North Eastern Council has agreed to take over the construction of the Umsning-Jagi road. The hon. Mover has also referred to the mistake committed in plain too big area under one single Executive Engineer. The Government is fully aware of the fact that one Executive Engineer should be in charge of one Division. But there are times; thus we cannot help. This has happened when the Government had to place the Shillong South Division under one Executive Engineer because Mr. Kharmalki was transferred to Garo Hills on promotion and since his promotion was due, the Government did not stand in the way. But I am sure the hon. Mover of the motion will be happy to note that the Shillong South Division has now been placed under the charge of one Executive Engineer in the person of Shri R. Passah. 

        The hon. Mover has also advocated the need for revising the schedule of rates. This is something which is done periodically. In this connection I would also like to draw the attention of the Members to the fact that recently the Government has taken a firm decision not to accept any tender quoting below 10 per cent of the scheduled rates. 

        Another very reasonable suggestion has also come forward regarding the necessity to ensure that the work is allotted to the local people, and if possible, to those residing along the roads. In this regard I would like to report that it is the policy of the Government and therefore of the Department that preference should be given at all times to the local contractors and those hon. members who have supported him on this point will concede to the point that it is not always possible to settle the work or to allot the work to the local contractors because of the nature of the work. Now I am thinking in terms of collection of chips and boulders and something like that, However much as the Department desire to allot the work to a local contractor an especially those residing along the two side of the road, it might does transpire that the local contractor may not possess a truck of his own and thereby we know from past experience that even if the work is allotted to such a contractor, he will not be able to deliver the goods according to the term of the contract. Now a point of reference was also made to a particular officer in a particular division. I do not want to name either the division or the officer but I would like to make this opportunity of informing the hon. mover of the motion that the officer concerned, I hope we both the same person in mind, has since been transferred.

Prof M.N. Majaw :- Thank You.

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- There of course the hon. Member from Nongstoin, my good friend Mr. H.E. Pohshna and the hon. Member from Mawlai have made certain points this morning by way of supporting the motion. I would like to come to these points a little later. At this point of time, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to take the opportunity of making certain general observation. The first point I would like to make is that in any discussion on the functioning of the Public Works Department or any other department of the Government for that matter, in this particular House, there are a few basic facts that should be borne in mind. Now the first and the foremost point that I would request the hon. Members to bear in mind is that it was a recently as 2nd April, 1970 that we achieved the Autonomous Statehood and it was on the 21st January, 1972 that we achieved or attained full Statehood. Then with special reference to the Public Works Department, I would like to take this opportunity of urging upon the hon. Member to remember that the Public Work Department started functioning with a skeleton staff having 2 Public Works Department circles, 7 divisions and 22 sub-divisions. It would be worthwhile to bear in mind the fact that in March, 1970 that is, prior to the creation of the Autonomous State, the total road length in the area, now composing the State of Meghalaya, was 2786.68 kilo meters only. We should not also forget that prior to the 21st January, 1972, the National Highway number 40, i. e., Jorabat-Shillong-Tamabil Road with a total road length of 168 kilo meters and the strategic Jowai-Badarpur Road with a total length of 174 kilo meters which has been now declared National Highway 44, were under the Government of Assam. On the attainment of full Statehood National Highway, i.e., section Jorabat-Shillong-Tamabil and the Shillong-Jowai portion of National Highway number 44, were handed over to the Government and the State of Meghalaya. The Jowai-Badarpur portion of National Highway number 44, however, has been kept with the Border Road Organisation of the Government of India. With the taking over of these National Highways, the Government took immediate action for the all, round development and all round improvement of the National Highways and had to be planned as per the standard specified by the Government of  India. I would also like to State that it has been under the stewardship of the Meghalaya Public Works Department that at it was today, we have succeeded in completing the survey work from Shillong to Jorabat and from Shillong to Jowai. We are now awaiting the approval of the Government of India on the alignment proposed for the improvement of these roads.

Shri F.K. Mawlot :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, we find hat the time limit.........

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, unless the hon. Member raises a point of order, he was no right to disturb.

Mr. Chairman :- Minister may continue. 

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- I would advise the hon. Minister to read the rules. Mr .Chairman, Sir, I was just saying that I would like to mention that to undertake work connected with Embankment and Drainage, we should have one division with one subdivision and the work-load in this sphere also has increased from 5 lakhs to 10 lakhs in the matter of little over a month. Embankment and Drainage has taken over all the irrigation schemes for the Agriculture Department. Another way of judging the achievement of the Public Works Department, Mr. Chairman, Sir, is  to recall that when we took over the Public Works Department the work-load was of the order of 5 crores. Today the same has increased to the order of 7 crores. In March, 1972, the total road length stood at 3147 kilometers. In March, of the following year, it has increased to 3226 kilo meters and by the end of March' 1974 we hope to have 3385 kilo metres of roads in the State. Now being fully aware of the need, importance and urgency of having of having network of roads connecting all importance places in all parts of the State, we have gone in for  organizational strength of the Department, and the strength has been raised by two additional Divisions and six additional Sub-divisions, one of these Divisions and three Sub-division have been specially earmarked for survey work. Now in view of the increased volume of work, one additional circle under Public Works Department Circle was also created by bifurcating the ears while from September, 1973. Now, I physical target that has been achieved by this Department. For the period from April, 1970 to March, 1972, 361 kilo meters of new roads were constructed. From April, 1972, to March, 1973, 79 kilometers of new roads were constructed. Completion of major RCC bridges on Someswari, Maheshkhola and Umwi. Then the Department has also in hand the construction of a 20-bedded Civil Hospital at Cherrapunjee. The Hospital is now in the final stage of completion. Then the Department has also allotted woks for the construction of the Shillong Polytechnic with the accommodation for 270 students. Since special mention was made by the hon. Member who participated in the debate on the  Motion regarding the Jowai Civil Hospital, I would like to inform the House that the extension work of the Jowai Civil Hospital for Maternity Section is in progress and we hope that it will be completed in near future. Then we have also undertaken the construction of Food Corporation of India godowns, one at Shillong and the other at Tura. This work is also in progress. I believe that it will not be out of place to mention here that the roads and bridges which were transferred to the Government of Meghalaya by the Government of Assam on the 21st January, 1972 were in a deplorable condition. These roads and bridges have been improved to a considerable extent and that also in a very short while. It is my submission, Mr .Chairman, Sir, that we must also bear in mind the Department has achieved despite the shortage of technical personnel and non-availability of building materials such as cement and steel. And, therefore, I would submit Mr. Chairman, Sir, that the Department has shouldered the responsibility entrusted to it mostly well. The achievements are commendable and any outright condemnation of the functioning of the Department, to say the least, is unfair and uncalled for. Finally, I would like to state that we as the Government, are fully aware of the fact that there is room fro improvement in the functions of the Public Works Department. Now, I am saying this not because I believe that the Department is through and though bad and rotten but for the simple reason that the Public Works Department is a human institution and no human being can ever hope to be perfect. I would also like to particularly to thank those hon. Members who participated in the debate on the motion, for the valuable suggestions that they have made and I would also like to give them assurance that these suggestions have been very carefully noted and that they shall be looked into. However, I would be failing in my duty if I have not also said, and now in the same breath that since neither the Public Works Department nor the Government possess a magic want it is not possible for me at this stage to give an assurance that each and every suggestion that has been made by the hon. Member will be accepted and implemented over night. Wish these few words, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I thank the mover and the Members who participated in the motion once again.

Prof. Martin N. Majaw :- On a point of clarification, from the Minister. There are four points. This decision by the Government not to allow quotation below 10 per cent. It is a decision taken by the Ministry looking after the portfolio or is it a Cabinet decision, because the achievements or loss will required fro audit purpose. Secondly, with regard to Jagi road the Umsning Road I am happy to learn that the North Eastern Council will take over this Road but whether improvement will be there or not, Government knows. In the meantime there should be reserve of sufficient funds in view of the fact that the bridges need immediate reconstruction. Number 3 regarding the Muster Roll workers I think the Minister knows from the way that these have been clamounrning for regular monthly salary, instead of daily payment of wages. As a matter of fact, Assam has already agreed give monthly salary in view of the fact that some of them have been working for about 25 years. So whether the Government is prepared to give them regular salary? Fourthly, on the Speed Breakers at Mawlai, clarification was not forthcoming from the Minister. Since Umsning has been allotted with Speed Breaker why not the Mawlai people also be allowed to construct Speed Breaker.

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, on the question of the Speed Breaker, I would like to inform the House that these have been on very very temporary basis and because the intention is to improve those culverts in front and behind or rather before and faster for which the Speed Breakers had been constructed. Now, as far as the decision concerning of the Government an not of the Department. On the Jagi Road Umsning Road I would like  to say that since the North Eastern Council has agreed to undertake construction and completion of the Road, we as a Government will do in our Power to ensure that the work is to be competed as quickly as possible. On the question of the Muster Roll workers I did not make a statement just as I have not made a statement on various other points because I think it was sufficient on various other points because I think it was sufficient to say that notes have been taken and we have noted the fact, the suggestion and the criticism and the Government shall look into them. I am not in a position to make a categorical statement whether we will do this or that. It will be examined, considered, and the decision will be given.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- One specific question Mr. Chairman, Sir, on the Speed Breaker whether it is legal or not to construct Speed Breaker on the National Highway. 

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) : -It is not legal without the permission of the Government of India. You have to seek the permission of the Government of India. 

Shri F.K. Mawlot :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to get a clari9fication from the Minister as to whether construction of the Nongstoin-Dalugiri Road will be taken up.

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am amazed that a member who wanted that I am to reply very brief, has now again asked me to give reply to each and every point that has been raised in detail. Nevertheless, fro his benefit. I would like to state that the road he has mentioned has been included in the Fifth Five Year Plan. 

Shri F.K. Mawlot :- I do not expect such a reply because the Minister in course of his reply, has given information not on the points raised by the hon. members. Therefore, I would like to have another clarification as to what action has been taken in the case of Iang Swer to which I have referred and brought to the notice of the Government. 

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- The matter is being looked into. 

Shri S.N. Koch :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, let me know whether Government has taken up any road in he Garo Hills District? If so, what are those road and how many?

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would suggest that the member tables a question.

Mr. Chairman :- Now, we pass on to the next motion. There two motions relating to the same subject, i.e., Raising of price of essential commodities and these are Motions No.7 and No.10 propose that these two motions should be taken up together and one hour will be allowed for discussion. Now, I would call upon the hon. member, Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh to move Motion No.7 and Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh to move Motion No.10.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss about the spiraling rise in the prices of essential commodities and shortage and insufficient supply of food grains to the State. 

Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Supply) :- For clarification Mr. Chairman, Sir, if the time allotted fro discussion includes also the time allotted for reply of the Minister? 

Mr. Chairman :- No. It is meant only for discussion.

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, may I suggest that we proceed as per your decision and then the Hon'ble Minister will get 15 minutes to reply today. In case he cannot finish it today he may continue on the 11th December, 1973 when there will be more discussion on the motions. 

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, the question of rising prices of essential commodities and the shortage and the instability of a supply of foodgrains to this State, is a well-known fact to all of us. This is a standing problem that is faced by all sections of the people of this State right from the low-income group, the high, the poor, the rich people and by the whole State, it may also by the Minister of this Government and by the whole country. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I remember the people of our State while demanding for a State of our own had a belief that when a State of our own is achieved all the difficulties faced by the people, economically, may be eradicated. But suddenly Sir, as far as our State is concerned, the people are tremendously facing this actuate problem of rising prices of all commodities, not to speak of foodgrains alone. Mr. Chairman, Sir, our people need at least two square meals a day, clothing to cover their body and also shelter to live in. Therefore, Sir, now get one square meal a day. Recently and for the first time in the history of our State in Shillong, by the first week of November last suddenly the trouble broke out in the Barabazar area due to the fact of rising prices. Besides, usually we find people quarreling in the streets, bazars and those are people who have consumed lot of food or even taken excess of food or drinks. But  what we find today, we have heard of cases of quarrelling in the Barabazar because people do not have anything to  feed their children nothing to eat in the evening. Mr. Chairman, the rise in prices is very vary high. I learn even though I am not going to the market, that the prices is very vary high. I learn even though I am not going to the market, that the price of rice now in Shillong is varying from Rs.2.50 to Rs.3 per Kg. No doubt by now it has come down a little over the margin, than what it was during the last few weeks. The price of mustard oil is Rs.9 to Rs.10 per litre and the price of kerosene varies from Rupee one two rupees per bottle and the price of atta is about 95 paise or even 1 rupee per k. Not only that, the price of paper that we are using every day in this Assembly for the sake of public service has gone up. This paper now costs of the suffering of the people in the interior, how they face this great problem, it is better imagined him described. The price in the interior is always higher by 50 per cent as compared with the prices in Shillong. 

        Now Sir, as wee have already discussed just now about road development in the State and because of the difficulty of communication in the interior, the price of commodities in the rural areas has doubled the price here in Shillong Mr. Chairman, Sir, the situation is such that the people cannot bear the rising in prices  of commodities. The reason behind all these Sir, might be because of the fact that the Government has imposed taxes on all commodities or may be because of low production or lack of transport facilities or failure of procurement. But what the people know is that because of the underdeveloped condition of the State and the failure of the Government, they had to depend for all the essential commodities on other States, and in bringing these commodities to our State they had to pay a high prices because of the transport bottle-neck. The only outlet to other parts of the country is through the G.S. Road which has been extended to the rest of the country is through G.S. Road which has been extended to the rest of the country and there is no other way round. Last November there was acute shortage of rice in Shillong. We learnt from the Government that there was a strike in the railways and because of transport difficulty where there is only one road linking our State with the rest of India, we had to face this problem of high price and consequently no food for three or four days for poor people. Another thing Sir, I would like to refer to the instability of supply of food grain. We learnt that procurement of foodgrains and supply of rice and other commodities is entrusted entirely to FCI which is now crying on this business for the last one year. And probably, Mr .Chairman, Sir, the FCI had failed to supply the food grain, as I have just earlier stated ......... (Bell Rang)......Sir, I would like a few more minutes. Sir, the supply of food grain is entirely with the FCI and because of the fact that its headquarters is entirely with the FCI and because of the fact that its headquarters is outside this State in Northern India and when that only road transport communication filed, the whole North East is cut off. As a result the people here in the State are suffering. It has failed to effect the supply of food grain timely because of the peculiar geographical condition where only on road communication is in existence. Then Sir, there is another thing, that is, regarding instability of regular supply of essential commodities as the State does not have its own procurement agency at all for the last few years and this year also there is no procurement of foodgrains from the State to ensure regular flow of supply to the people. So, Sir, if at all we are to look into this matter of ensuring stability of supply of of supply of foodgrains and checking the rise in price, which I consider to be very important points, I would request the Government through you Sir, to give special consideration and see that the FCI which is entrusted with supply of food grain should be set up within the State where it will be possible to supply the essential commodities within good time to the interior specially and to establish a stock in this North Eastern Region, also the question of improving this roads is a very important item so that communication within the State and with the rest of the country can be linked up for easy transport of essential commodities etc., and also immediate taking over of G. S. Road by the State is highly essential. With these few words I resume my seat.

Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, the people in the State expect that Government do something to check this unprecedented rise in prices o essential commodities in the State. Sir, it is fact that a heavy burden has fallen  on the common people because of the spiraling rise in prices of essential commodities especially of foodgrains. Sir, as we have seen, Government have not been able to tackle this problem. May be because we are depending on other States for supplying of food grains. But Sir, I would like to pint out that rice is one of the essential commodities which is a most important staple food of this State. Though some percentage of rice is being produced in the State, yet we d not know what is being produced, as there is lack of statistics. Up till now, there is no proper statistical figure to show the quantity of rice actually produced in the State and the actual figure of deficit. Sir, therefore, when the Government demand some quota from the Central Government to be supplied by FCI, it is not the actual requirement, it may be more or less because of the absence on proper statistics. Therefore, Sir, we cannot check the rising prices of these essential commodities. The supply of these and other commodities could have been ensured by the Government if, as the hon. Member from Pariong had said, there is proper road communication in the State. Sir, more over there is a restriction on the movement of these essential commodities from one part of the State to another. As we have issued order to restrict the movement of rice to other parts of the State. It may be the policy of the Government to restrict the movement of rice to the other parts of the State. It may be the policy of the Government to restrict the movement of food -grains in the State. But I say that this is not a good idea, rather it creates imbalance in the mode of living of the people of the State. In fact, we should allow freedom of movement food grains within the State. Of course, not outside the State. Moreover, Sir, what we want to stress is that the Government should have at least a proper figure of the actual deficit so that the State Government can pursue figure of the actual deficit so that the State Government can pursue with the Central Government to place more quantities of food-grains for our State. As you know, Sir, our State is most under-developed and backward, the Government must endeavour to request the Central Government to provide these essential commodities. Sir, if I remember correctly, recently the Governors Conference in Delhi had discussed that the Government should that our Government also should move that the Government should subsides these essential commodities. This a proper case that our Government also should move for that-that these essential commodities like rice, sugar, atta and edible oils should be subsidised by the Government. Sir, to refer again to the same point that the absence of road communication in the State very much hampers the distribution of these commodities. As it is, there is no road leading to the rice producing areas, specially in the Bhoi areas, and other areas bordering Bangladesh. Therefore, when there is bottle neck in the movement of rice the cost of this essential commodity becomes very high. Sir, it is also presumed that, the rise in prices in the last few months was not entirely because there was no stick in the State but because it was an artificial scarcity which the Government could not protect the people from the exploitation of some unscrupulous traders. Therefore, Sir, I would suggest that from now on we would request the Government that if should not allow big business-man tend to hoard and hide the foodgrains in times of need. The commodities should  be allowed to be sold freely by pety businessman or permit to deal in food grain be granted to them as they would have no money to hoard. Besides that, we would request the Government to provide, to least three months requirement essential commodities as a buffer stock in the State so that any emergency can be met by the Government and to render help to the people of this State at the time of their need. So, with these few words, Sir, I resume my seat. 

Shri W. Syiemiong :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, in associating myself with this motion I would also like to say a few words. Apart from the various reasons that have been stated by my colleagues before me as to the causes of shortage of essential commodities and other thing, I feel that some more reasons can be added there to. We understand very well that one of the reasons in this respect is the unrestricted flow of rice into the distilleries in the interior of this District. This is one of the reasons and unless the Government do something now, then the scarcity in the the same because a good amount of rice has gone down to these out still an illegal distilleries. Another this is the transport bottleneck. Sir, the hon. member from Pariong has pointed out that transport is the main life-line, i.e., the Shillong-Guwahati Road, over which we have no power and consequently rice and other things cannot be transported even if we had wanted or even if the Government of Assam would have allowed us. Sir, but apart from this, we should look over the entire aspect of the north-eastern region because the scarcity of food-stock in the last few days did not happen to be a peculiar example of Meghalaya only but actually it was of the entire country, as well as the whole world because there are scarcity in other countries also. But then the difference between here and there is only this-that whereas the scarcity in States like West Bengal has been as bad, the fact remains that the Government there could tackle the problem and that is why we have received no news of burning of buses in Calcutta or looting of shops in Calcutta or Bombay. Had it been as worse there as it was here, I am quite sure the situation would have been in a very bad shape. But then we are a tolerant people, Sir, and nothing so serious happened only mild protests here and there. But this should not make the Government complacent. We know ours is a deficit State. We agree with that but why could not we bring rice from other Districts or if not to that extent, why not from the foot hills of our own District. Even the rice produced in the foot hills, which is plentiful, that is restricted and it cannot come down because of the gates and other things. I feel, therefore Mr. Chairman, Sir, that for the betterment of the entire area of this North Eastern region, we in Meghalaya, which is a deficit State, should have a thorough understanding with all the North Eastern State through the help of the N.E.C. The N.E.C. is the advisory body of the entire region and therefore, it should be able to function to help the people in different ways. As you are aware, perhaps Mr. Chairman, Sir the U.N.O. was also created with the purpose to stop any eventual war among the nations.  Its main function is to stop any future war that may flare up between the countries of the world. But other agencies like the U.N.E.S.C.O.  U.N.I.C.E.F. and order agencies have been created in order to make the life of all mankind much happier much more peaceful because man cannot live only on the politics but on other material things. So also the N.E.C. must act in such a way that each State under its jurisdiction must proper both economically and politically. We must see that we understand each other in all respects. We should help each other in all respects. we should help each other to better ourselves. For example, if some State does not have sufficient coal, we can supply from our side and if we are deficient in any food-grains other States may supply us through the NEC. But we cannot depend for all times upon the FCI for procuring food-stuff. The other day, we met the Hon'ble Minister concerned and we were made made to understand that rice has been supplied from Haryana, a States situated about two thousand miles away from here. Suppose war starts and we will no get supply of food through Silliguri which is the main junction between our State and other States. If Silliguri is blocked, we will not be able to get any supply because we will be isolated from other States. Therefore we should not merely depend upon other States for our food-grains but let us try to bring food-grains from the neighbouring Member States of the North Eastern Region through the help of the NEC. Unless we have sufficient stock of our own in the north Eastern Region, I am sure we shall not be able to survive long. We will soon die of starvation. Mr. Chairman, Sir,  I want that the Government should also try to stop and check the rising prices and allow free movement of rice and while dong so Government should also see that traders o not practise any undesirable means of trading in food-grains. The Government should check all black-marketers and unscrupulous hoarders of food-grins. It is why he has been suspended from his tarred. Can we not do so with other traders who resort to such undesirable practices. With these few words Sir, I resume my seat. 

Shri P.N. Choudhury :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, the unprecedented rise in prices of essential commodities and the scarcity of food-grains an essential commodities in our State had hit hard pur people in general and wage earners and low income groups of people in particular. The food situation in the State particularly in this District became very critical and worse from the middle of October last. Mr. Chairman, Sir, on 23rd of October, five hundred grams of rice per head week was supplied through the Consumers Fair Price Shops. Since then for the two weeks, there was no supply of rice in the shops. The last supply come on 9th November last. Rice continues to be the staple food of your people had to procure, rice from anywhere they get and that too at any price. Taking this opportunity of no rice in the fair price shops people like anything. The FCI which is mainly responsible for supply of rice to the State has miserably failed in their duty. Mr .Chairman, Sir, I remember last year, the Khasi Hills Supply Advisory Board made a suggestion that the FCI should maintain a buffer stock for three months. Unfortunately, not to speak o maintaining any buffer stock, they have failed to supply the monthly requirement. That happened during the months of October to November 9th. Mr. Chairman, Sir, with the steep rise of price of rice which at that time went up to Rs.5 per k.g., simultaneously the price of other essential commodities also soared up and untold sufferings wee caused to the people specially poorer section. The condition of the people living in the rural areas was worse. Rice that is meant fro fair price shops in the rural areas seldom reached those areas. Most of the rice was sold at Shillong and that too went to the godowns of the profiteers who sold it at higher price and the people had to purchase at a higher price and the people had to purchase at a higher rate. That was the actual picture obtaining in this Capital city. Sir, the hoarding and profiteering is going on unchecked. The Government has MISA and DI Rules to deal with these anti-social elements but I do not understand why the Government is reluctant to use these weapons against these black-marketers, hoarders and profiteers. It is strange that the Government has not been able to spot these mis-chief mongers whose number I presume is no very large, and their names must be known to the Government too. Mr. Chairman, Sir, there is a large number of ghost cards in Shillong and these are mainly in the hands of trader. I wonder how these could enter into the traders' shops, unless the men in the Supply Department are hand in glove with the traders, only 1000 ghost cards were surrendered to the Deputy Commissioner, Khasi Hills by these traders. There are yet a large numbers of ghost cards in the hands of those traders. I wonder why Government cannot take stricter measures to find out where are those ghost cards lying and take drastic action against those traders who are making unofficial deal with those ghost cards lying with them. Sir, now coming to potato trade the  price of potato in Shillong went upto Rs.2.50 paise per k.g,. Sir, I would not have minded so much if the profit would have gone to the pockets of the potato growers. But I know that the potato growers were not benefited by this rise of price of potato. The hoarders and profiteers made a hey-day out of the situation. But there was also no check and they were allowed to continue their nefarious acts freely.

        Then Sir, I now refer to paper scarcity. The move of the motion has made a reference about the acute scar city of paper in the Sates. The students have been hit hard, local news papers, printing presses have also been in a very difficult position to run their paper and press. The local small papers cannot publish their news-papers cannot publish their news-papers regularly for want of paper prices of which have gone very high. Something must be done in this regard to help the small news papers and printing presses. I would request the Government through you, Sir, that something should be done to save these small printing presses and local news paper from this crisis. Government must act and come to their rescue.

        Then I come to fish. Mr. Chairman is smiling. We get some quantity of fish from Bangladesh through license. But the bulk of fish goes out of this State. That is why Sir, there is scarcity of fish in Shillong. No fish from out side the State particularly from Gauhati was allowed to come here. The Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup District did not allow any fish to come to Shillong. Why we also cannot take similar measures in respect of fish which we are getting from Bangladesh. Mr. Chairman, Sir, unless Government take stringent measures and tone up the Supply Department the situation will not improve. The situation demands firm and purposive action. Then Sir, about cloth. Some quantity of controlled cloth comes to our State. In Shillong, it is sold through the Shillong Wholesale Consumers Co-operative Society, but there are lots of complaints against this Co-operative Society in the matter of distribution of cloth. 

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think the hon. Member should not raise this question which is not in line with the Motion. Cloth is not an essential commodity. 

Shri P.N. Choudhury :- Man cannot go without cloth. It is within the purview of essential commodities. Mr. Chairman, Sir, as I said the re are lots of complaints about distribution of controlled cloth which is meant fro the low income group of people (.......Bell rang........) Mr. Chairman Sir, I require five minutes more, so that I may finish all my points. 

Mr. Chairman :- Some other Members also would like to speak. 

Shri P.N. Choudhury :- I noticed recently that people were in queue in front of this Co-operative Store for getting controlled cloth. Most of them were grumbling  because the distribution of controlled cloth has been abruptly stopped an they were told to come next day. I would request the Government, through you, to make a through enquiry into the affairs of this Co-operative Society, particularly about distribution of cloth. 

Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Supply) :- May I have the name of the Society. 

Shri P.N. Choudhury :- It is the Shillong Wholesale Consumers Co-operative Society. It is near the Kelvin Cinema. Sir, the time is very short. I would like to put forward some suggestions to the Government. I would like to put forward some suggestions to the Government. I would suggest that rigorous scrutiny and investigation be made to trace out the ghost cards if this is done this will reduce the monthly requirement to a great extent. Secondly, Government should set up a separate machinery to deal with the price situation. Strict measures should be taken against he hoarders and profiteers. 

        The next suggestions which I would like to make is to do away with the present system of appointment of whole-sellers. The Government should take over the procurement an distribution of essential commodities and distribute this Family Identity Card as ahs been alone and other States. particularly Government should select a few commodities like mustard oil, pulses etc. The next suggestion I like to put forward is that the FCI should be asked to maintain three months buffer stock of the food-stuff. In every District there should be a godown, that the food stuff can be reached to the affected  areas  speedily when the  situation demands so. Another suggestion which I like to make is that Government should take action to stop use of rice in illegal distillation. With these words I resume my seat.

*Shri S.N. Koch :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, the motion before the House is very important. The hon. Members has mentioned, among other things, various essential commodities. But the House  will wonder how the people of Garo Hills could live not to speak of rice of prices when these commodities are not at all available. So they  are concerned  more about the natural calamities before the harvest time lest the crops  are washed away by heavy flood. In the last  harvest due to late summer, jhum cultivation was not at all satisfactory and as a result, the people in the district have to face acute scarcity of food stuff. No doubt, the middle man traders are not facing such difficulties. In this connection. I would like to cite one example about the petition which  I sent to the Chief Minister and also to the Supply Minister. I do not know  what action has been taken on that petitions. It is  during the last part of October when people have to purchase whatever food staff reaching them. But it is to  my utter surprise to see that there is another Department under the Government which is known as a "put up department" (laughter). Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Chair). Whatever we approach  any Government offices to enquire about the petition, they will reply "it has not been put-up please come tomorrow". We will get the  same reply tomorrow and day after tomorrow- "the paper has not yet been put up" I do not know what is the intension of that "put up". Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I remember during the second week of November the people of  my constituency and the constituency of Mr. Zaman, when he was out on tour, came to me and said that they were starving for last two or three weeks. So I went to the Deputy Commissioner. Tura who requested  me to ask the Supply Minister also to "put up" the paper. Accordingly, I wrote a petition to the Deputy Commissioner, Tura with a copy to the Chief Minister and also to the Supply Minister. But uptil now I do not know  as to what action has been taken on that paper. However, in the  meantime after waiting for two weeks, people have started  harvesting  giving up any hope that rice will ever come to Tura. During this period many people might have died  out of starvation many might have suffered but the papers are yet to be "put up" I do not know whether the Chief Minister is aware or not that in the Supply Department paper does not move until somebody has paid at least one rupees  for each paper. I do not know if this is the State of affairs, what justice we can except from this Government which is committed to socialism  and democracy. For quite some time in the market there is no atta, no rice, no mustard oil, nothing of the sort.; The Government tried  to make arrangements for supply of these essential commodities, but their attempt totally failed. I do not know why the Government fights shy of taking action against drastic  action against the defaulting officers who are not co-operating with the Government (bell-rang)

        Nowadays Government is rationing everything even time also.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Here the Government is not allowing the time, it is the Chair.

Shri S.N. Koch :- Now Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, one thing I would like to say i.e., what has happened at Tikrikilla where the real culprits could not be apprehended  rather  the innocent people who wanted to buy rice were arrested and subjected people who wanted to buy rice were arrested  dragged to court  but unfortunately Government did not prosecute the person  who was involved  in smuggling  of 22 bags of atta. This clearly shows, in my humble opinion, that Government  appointed  agencies who are involved  in smuggling of food grains  from  our State to other States or other places. Rumour is also there that there is large scale smuggling  at Phulbari and also at Simsanggiri near Mankachar. But not a single  case was detected  by the Government. The  Deputy Commissioner has convened a meeting  of the M.L.A.s and M.D.C.s of the District and admitted that  there is smuggling  of rice  and sought their views as to how  food situation could be tackled. It is very  unfortunate  that when we are not having sufficient  food for Garo  Hills District  why Government has not taken any measure to check it, Sir, that there is smuggling  of rice, it clearly shows that the  Government is also aware of it.

        Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have come to know that Government has given a licence to the F.C.I. to procure rice (bell rang) .... and F.C.I. also appointed its agents or sub-agents like the local Marketing Co-operative Societies. In this respect, I would like to suggest and I am very much sure that if F.C.I. really undertakes the procurement, then the procurement agency should not only be given to the Co-operative Marketing Societies, but to the unemployed educated youths of Garo Hills District because the paddy procured by the F.C.I. is the paddy produced by the people of the District. This benefit which the F.C.I. is getting could also be given to the unemployed educated youths of the State or District as the case may be. With these few observations. Sir, I resume my seat.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Now I request the Minister-in-charge to reply.

Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Supply) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the motion which is before us on the spiraling rise of prices of essential commodities and the shortage and instability of supply of food grains in the State has been commented upon by a number of Members mostly from Khasi Hills District and one from Garo Hills District. I would like to take the opportunity to give a background of the whole position before I reply to some of the specific points raised by the Members. At this is a very important subject which has been exercising the minds of the people of the State, and an mentioned by one of the Members, the country and the world as a whole. Therefore, a note has been prepared on the food supply position in the State, As we all know, Meghalaya is a deficit state in food grains in the State. We are mainly rice-consuming State with a population of about 10 lakhs of people. The entire requirement of the State is met or is supposed to be met from the quota allotted from the Central pool allotted by the Government of India. We are, at present, receiving monthly quota of the following commodities for the public distribution system from the quota allotted from the Central pool :-

3000

tonnes

- Rice

2000

"

- Wheat

400

"

- Sugar

        Before the creation of Meghalaya, the Government of Assam allotted these commodities - rice, wheat and sugar at the following rates :-

3500

tonnes

- Rice

1000

"

- Wheat

625

"

- Sugar

        This was the amount received from the Central Government pool before Meghalaya came into operation. On the basis of 2 Kg of rice, I Kg of atta and 250 grammas of sugar per adult per week and half of this quota for minor, our actual monthly requirement for the total population is 6400 metric tonnes office, 1400 metric tonnes of wheat and 700 metric tonnes of sugar. The Shortfall in rice requirement even in the composite State of Assam was met from the open market which the traders can bring in sufficient quantity. but inter-district movement of rice was not imposed by the Government of Assam.. Now the Government of Assam has imposed rigorous restriction on the movement of rice from Assam to other States particularly to Meghalaya. The food problem has become very critical due to the restriction and rice distribution  from the open market could only Supplement a small quantity as local rice available bring insufficient  and the price range is high being Rs.2 or 2.50 per kg. The actual  quantity of rice received from the Central pool and issued through public distribution system is not sufficient. The actual issue in fact is not upto the standard laid down by the Government of India at 2 Kg. per head per week. Therefore, the additional requirement of the people is to come from the open market at the prevailing market price ranging from Rs.2  to Rs.2.50 per kg. Accordingly a bulk of the section of the people have not the purchasing capacity to buy from the open market. It is, therefore, imperative to the public distribution system to come up to the standard laid down by the Government of India for which allotment of rice from the Central pool should be to the extent of 6400 metric tonnes. As there is no procurement of local rice in the State, there is no scope to buy rice from the open market, from local resources, through the Food Corporation of India, in some of the surplus pockets of Garo Hills District. I met the Chief Minister of Assam at Gauhati on the 13th of October and the following  day in the presence of the Food Minister of India to discuss the rice situation and the supply of a thousand metric tones of rice monthly, on a State to State basis for the open market. The Chief Minister of Assam has not made any commitment but assured to consider our request. Even after the taking over of the wholesale  trade by the Government of Assam from the 1st of November, 1973, we have since written to the Government of Assam for allotment of a thousand tonnes of rice and to this request, we have not received a reply. As already informed to the public through statement issued in the Press, the Government had taken up with the Government of India for time to time the need to increase allotment of rice particularly after the Government of Assam had imposed restrictions on flow of rice outside their State. Unfortunately 1973 has been a bad year for the Government  of India and they cannot increase their allotment of what they had already given and unfortunately they reduced instead of increasing the amount sent to our State, which was normally the average amount they used to send. As already stated, the quantity of rice that we used to get was 3500 tonnes. It was reduced to 3000 tonnes and then in the letter part of 18973, it comes down to 2000 tonnes. We were making representations to the Government of India from time to time that this amount be increased. Telephone calls, personal visits telegrams and letters to the Minister and the officers of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture were made. However, it was found that none of our requests were considered except in November. As a matter of fact in November, instead of getting 2000 tonnes that were allotted we received only 300 tonnes. This indicate that were marginal supply position that we were faced; and because the Assam Government had restricted the movement of rice to Meghalaya and to other States, not only to Meghalaya, the open market was reduced and the people therefore, found very little food-grains in October and November had made reference to this, when the supply trains were held up which should have arrived at the end of October and had reached Gauhati till 7th or 8th of November and thus it was very very difficult for our people. Representations were made at that particular time about the difficulties faced by the people and we were fully aware of the difficulties faced by the people and we were that our people did face. As a matter of fact, a number that our people did face. As a matter of fact, number of delegations of our people students, office staff and others came to me and the officers of the Government including the Ministers, it was a continuous process. Almost every day we were meeting people to explain what we have done, what we are trying to do, and how we are trying to solve the problem. Now, it has been mentioned by my friend, Mr. W Syiemiong that there was no riot and to the credit of our people that they had not broken the law at that particular time. But if the Member would refer back to the newspaper about these difficulties months, he may not hold to his statement that the Government in other States were able to control the situation. I do not remember the particular in Mysore and other places as well. (Interruption) I shall refer to the actual incidents. I cannot reply to all the points, but on Monday, when I give a full reply to all the points, I shall find out the position regarding the other States in India. Now, we ask for full quota in November when the position was improving and the allotment was increased to 3000 tonnes as as a result of our further request, it was increased to 3500 tonnes. We have also asked for increased allocation of wheat about 1000 tonnes at least for the next 2 months, now to come to the present position, the rice position has improved considerably during the letter part of November and in particular in December. As I said earlier the Government of India has increased allotment of rice. 3500 tonnes in November and 3600 tonnes in December. In addition, our own people have started harvesting their paddy and to the extent that in the Garo Hills allotment of 1300 tonnes was made by the Department to the District, but they could take only 1000 tonnes. The price has also started falling.


ADJOURNMENT

        Mr. Deputy Speaker: Now the time is up. The Minister can continue his reply next day. The House stands adjourned till 9 A.M. on Monday, the10th December, 1973.

(The House then was adjourned.)

R. T. RYMBAI
Dated Shillong, Secretary,
The 8th December, 1973. Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

*****