Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up Questions. Before I take up Starred Question No.3, I want to inform the House that yesterday, Mr. Dlosing Lyngdoh has said that he did not put Question No.54, but after checking it was found that it was a Question put by Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh. It was a question of printing mistake. So the serial No. stands as it is. Let us take up Starred Question No.3.
(To which oral replies were given)
Shri. Jor Manik Syiem asked :-
*3. Will the Minister-in-charge of Agriculture be pleased to State -
(a) Whether there is apprehension of fertilizers being in short supply for the year 1974 ?
(b) Whether Government have taken steps to make adequate quantity of fertilizers available to the cultivators in the State ?
(c) Whether distributors have been appointed to cater fertilizers to the cultivators in different areas of the Khasi Hills ?
(d) If so, what will be the mode of distribution to the consumers.
Shri. Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) replied :-
(a) - Allotment of fertilizer for 1974 has not yet been finalised by the Government of India. As such, it is not possible to ascertain the position. The Government however, feel there may not be any short supply.
(b) - Yes.
(c) - Yes.
(d) - Mode of distribution will be through registered retail dealers ?
Mr. Speaker :- Any Supplementary Question ?
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- In reply to 3.(c) - Whether among the distributors today, M/s Shillong Marketing Co-operative Society is also a dealer ?
Shri. E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- As it stands today, it is still a dealer.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Has this Co-operative Society renewed its licence or not as a dealer ?
Shri. E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- I want notice for this question , Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us passed on to Unstarred Question No.59.
(Replies to which were placed on the Table)
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
59. Will the Minister-in-charge of Finance be pleased to refer to the statement made by the Governor in his Budget Session for 1973-74, page 5, paragraph 2 and State -
(a) The measures proposed to be taken by the Government ?
(b) The measures which Government have already taken ?
Shri. Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister-in-charge of Planning) replied :-
59. (a) & (b) - An enquiry has been completed and an interim report received regarding sections of population likely to be affected by the shifting of the Assam Government's Capital and extent of the adverse impact. The measures are under formulation and will be finalised in due course.
Shri. Rowell Lyngdoh asked :-
60. Will the Minister-in-charge of Animal Husbandry be pleased to state-
(a) The number of artificial insemination centres in the State with their location ?
(b) The number of Cross-breed Cows so far bred by artificial insemination ?
(c) Number of Veterinary Dispensaries and Stockman Centres, Mobile Veterinary Dispensaries and Vehicles in operation in the State ?
(d) Number of cases attended to by such dispensaries and vehicles from 1970-71 till date, district-wise ?
(e) Whether it is a fact that a chilling plant meant for Jowai is being used by the Government of Assam at Jagi Road ?
(f) Whether it is a fact that a Milk Tanker of Shillong Town Milk Supply Scheme was being taken to Assam ?
(g) If the answer to (e) & (f) are in the affirmative, the steps taken by the Government to obtain or replace them?
(h) The cost of each of such Machines ?
Shri. Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Animal Husbandry) replied :-
60. (a) - There is one artificial insemination Centre at Upper Shillong with 7 (seven) sub-centres at Naya-bungalow, Umling, Mawngap, Umroi, Umbir, Marngar and Lalcharai.
(b) - One hundred and twenty-five cross-bred calves in 1972-73 and 103 cross-bred calves 1973-74 are so far bred by artificial insemination.
(c) - There are 40 Veterinary Dispensaries (23 Block Veterinary Dispensaries , 5 Mobile Veterinary Dispensaries with 5 vehicles) and 12 numbers State Veterinary Dispensaries, 28, Stockman Centres in the State.
(d) - Number of cases attended by such dispensaries and vehicles from 1970-71 till date, District-wise is furnished below. :-
Particulars of work
No. of cases treated
No. of castration done
No. of Vaccination done
(e) - The matter is being enquired into.
(f) - Yes, Milk Tanker is taken for transportation milk.
(g) - Government of Assam is being requested to return the Milk Tanker.
(h) - Approximately rupees one lakh forty thousand.
Shri. Raisen Mawsor asked :-
61. Will the Minister-in-charge of Public Health be pleased to State -
(a) Whether Government propose to establish any State dispensary / dispensaries in Lyngngam area ?
(b) If so, where ?
Shri. Sandford K. Marak (Minister-in-charge of Health) replied :-
61. (a) - No.
(b) - Does not arise in view of (a) above.
Shri. G. Mylliemngap asked :
62.Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to State -
(a) Whether there is any State Hospital in Meghalaya ?
(b) If so, where ?
(c) The existing Wards, i.e. Male, Female and Children and their respective capacity ?
(d) The number of patients registered in each Ward as on 30th November, 1973 ?
Shri. Sandford K. Marak (Minister-in-charge of Health) replied :-
62. (a) - No.
(b), (c) & (d) - Do not arise.
Shri. Dlosing Lyngdoh asked :-
63. Will the Minister-in-charge of P.W.D. be pleased to State -
(a) Whether the Barapani U.C.C. - Mawlyndep road falls under the Shillong South Division ?
(b) Whether it is a fact that this road was not properly constructed ?
(c) The amount the Government already spent for the construction of this road and under whose supervision ?
(d) Whether it is a fact that the said road is the only link to the vast potato growing region of Mawmih area ?
(e) If so, whether the Government are considering to repair and improve this road ?
(f) The reasons for not maintaining the road properly for the last many years ?
Shri. Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D) replied :-
63. (a) - Yes.
(b) & (c) - The portion of the road, viz. the Barapani Union Christian College Board only was constructed by the Assam State Electricity Board. The quality of the work as done by them in constructing this road is being scrutinised by this Department after taking over of the same from them. An amount of Rs.3,21,000.00 p was spent on this road by the A.S.E.B. according to the statement submitted by the Executive Engineer, Umiam Division of the A.S.E.B. under whose supervision the construction of the road was carried out.
(d) - Yes.
(e) - Yes.
(f) - General maintenance on Union Christian College Road was being done since taking over of the same from the Assam State Electricity Board. The other road from Mawlyndep to Mawmih has not been handed over to this Department by the Civil authorities as yet.
Shri. Dlosing Lyngdoh :- Regarding 63 (f) - What is the condition of the road at present ?
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- The condition of the road is very bad.
Shri. Dlosing Lyngdoh :- Whether the work was for the last few years done by the Muster Roll or contractors ?
Mr. Speaker :- Maintenance of the road was entrusted to Muster Roll alone or to contractors.
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.):- The work was entrusted to both.
Shri. H. Hadem :- What amount of the expenditure was incurred during 1973-74 for the maintenance of the road leading to the Union Christian College ?
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- I require notice.
Shri. B.B. Shallam :- Whether the Government propose to improve the bad condition of the said road ?
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- Yes, Sir.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- When was the last repair made on this road ?
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- I require notice for that.
Shri. Edward Kurbah asked :-
64. Will the Minister-in-charge of Community Development be pleased to State -
(a) The amount incurred on the projects taken up by Mawphlang Block during 1972-73 and 1973-74 under Crash Programme employment in either roads or bridges ?
(b) The amount sanctioned for each project ?
(c) The amount sanctioned for soling Krang Road in 1972-73 and the names of the contractors ?
(d) The amount sanctioned for the construction of Krang - Mawlaiteng Road during 1972-73 and the names of the contractors ?
(e) Whether it is a fact that the Projects in (c) and (d) were completed ?
Shri. Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Community Development, etc.) replied :-
64. (a) - The projects taken up by the Mawphlang Development Block during 1972-73 are -
1. Construction of Thank Thongroh Lyngdoh Phanblang Road earth formation
Phase - I
Phase - II
Phase - III
2. Soling and Metalling of Krang Mawlaiteng Road
Part I from 0 to 1.6 K.M.
Part II from 1.6 to 2.6 K.M.
3. Construction of Krang-Mawlaiteng Road - earth formation - from 2.6 K.M. to 3.8 K.M. - Rs.11,700.00
The Crash Scheme for Rural Employment Projects for 1973-74 is yet to be taken up.
(c) - Rs.41,850.00 was sanctioned. No contractors were engaged for this purpose.
(d) - Rs.11,700.00 was sanctioned. No contractors were engaged for this purpose.
(e) - No, the project has not yet been completed.
Shri. E. Kurbah :- Regarding 64 (c) - Whether the Government is aware that the road is unsatisfactory ?
Mr. Speaker :- Whether Government is aware that the works done in that road are unsatisfactory ?
Shri. E. Bareh (Minister, Community Development) :- The Government is not aware of that Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri. E. Kurbah :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in reply to 64 (c) - No contractors were engaged for this purpose, then who was in-charge of the said work ?
Shri. E. Bareh (Minister; Community Development) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a Crash Programme which will give employment to the rural people, therefore, it was done by the rural people under the supervision of the B.D.O.
Shri. E. Kurbah :- But there should be one.
Mr. Speaker :- Unstarred Question No.65.
Shri. Stalington David Khongwir asked :-
65. Will the Minister-in-charge of P.W.D. be pleased to State -
(a) Whether it is a fact that speed-breakers have been constructed on the G.S. Road near the Bhoi Tribal Development Block Office ?
(b) If so, reasons may please be stated ?
Shri. Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State in-charge of P.W.D. (R. & B.) replied :-
65. (a) - Yes, Sir.
(b) - The speed-breakers are constructed temporarily as the bridges have to be renovated. The speed-breakers will be removed as soon as the works are completed.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in reply to 65 (b) - The speed breakers are constructed temporarily as the bridges have to be renovated. Whether they will only be renovated to widened also ?
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.):- They will be renovated.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- No widening.
Mr. Speaker :- Unstarred Question No.66.
Shri. Stalington David Khongwir asked :-
66. Will the Minister-in-charge of P.W.D. be pleased to State -
(a) Whether Government have received any representation for construction of speed-breakers on the G.S. Road at Mawlai ?
(b) If yes, what action Government proposes to take ?
Shri. Darwin D. Pugh [Minister of State, in-charge of P.W.D. (R. & B.)] replied :-
66. (a) - Yes, Sir.
(b) - No action could be taken on this as the Ministry of Shipping and Transport, Government of India as objecting to the construction of speed-breakers on National Highways.
Shri. Stalington David Khongwir asked :
67. Will the Minister-in-charge of Education be pleased to State -
(a) Whether Government propose to construct a stadium at Shillong ?
(b) If so, whether, a site for the construction of this stadium had been selected ?
(c) What steps are taken by the Government in the construction ?
Shri. Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State in-charge of Education) replied :-
67. (a) - Yes, Sir.
(b) & (c) - Government are anxious to get the Garrison Ground for the purpose. A reference was made to the Army Authority to make available the Garrison Ground but a reply has been received of late, that they cannot hand over the same as they need it for their own purposes.
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- In reply to 67 (b) & (c) what does it mean by a reference was made to the Army Authority, referred here ?
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) :- The Chief Minister himself look up the question with the G.O.C. of this area.
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- Cannot the State Government take up this matter with the higher authority ?
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) :- That will be considered.
Shri. P.R. Kyndiah :- Has the Government taken any alternative sites ?
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) :- That also will be taken into consideration.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, if this Supplementary Question is ...
Mr. Speaker :- Prof. Majaw, the Question hour is not yet over. I have received notice from the Minister-in-charge of Transport that he intends to make a correction to the reply that he made on the 10th December, 1973 regarding Unstarred Question No.27.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries, Transport, etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I regret to have to correct a reply given by me on the 10th December, 1973 to Unstarred Question No.27 asked by Shri. Rowell Lyngdoh, M.L.A. The total number of vehicles registered in MLG. is 374 and not 417 as given earlier. This was due to the discovery that 43 Government of India's vehicles other than Government of Meghalaya's vehicles were wrongly registered in Garo Hills under MLG. The D.T.O. is taking steps immediately to rectify the mistake.
The break up of vehicles registered district wise is as follows :-
Khasi Hills - 234; Jaintia Hills - 15; Garo Hills - 125. The registration of MLG numbers is not done in serial order but is being done district wise and each district has been allotted the following blocks of Members :
Khasi Hills District - MLG 1 to 500
Garo Hills District - MLG 501 to 650
Jaintia Hills District - MLG 651 to 800
Mr. Speaker :- As usual, I am to inform the House that out of the 5 starred questions which were sent to the Government, three questions have been answered. So the percentage of replies is exactly 60 per cent, and out of 124 unstarred questions, 67 questions have been answered that is a little over 54 per cent.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Sir, on questions, may we appeal to you for replies not only to the questions which were tabled this time but there are even questions which are pending since the first session of this Assembly which have not been replied to.
Mr. Speaker :- So far as the questions which were asked in the earlier sessions are concerned, I cannot ask the Government to reply now, because they have already lapsed. I know the difficulties on the part of the Government that there are certain questions which really need time to collect proper information. I also know that the duty of the Government is to supply such information to this House as far as possible for the smooth functioning of the Government and of this House which is supreme. But I will advise the Government that as many questions as possible asked by the hon. Members should be replied to.
Before we proceed further, I would like to inform the House that I have received notice from Prof. M.N. Majaw intending to withdraw his Motion of breach of privilege against the Chief Minister.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, after carefully going through the proceedings of the 11th December 1973, I find two salient points, viz. (1) that the Chief Minister has categorically stated tat he had no intention to deliberately mislead the House - there was no deliberateness in it. Secondly, he also expressed regret regarding the inadvertent inclusion of words. Now, having considered the matter at this juncture, I feel that since it is human to err and divine to forgive (laughter). I request the House to allow me to withdraw the Motion of breach of privilege against the Chief Minister.
Mr. Speaker :- Is it the sense of the House that the Motion of breach of privilege moved by Prof. Majaw on the 11th December, 1973 against the Chief Minister be dropped ? (Voices - Yes, yes).
Shri. H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I refer to Rule 173 of the Assembly Rules in this connection. Since it has been admitted by the hon. Mover who moved this privilege Motion that there is no case, I request that Rule 173 be considered at this State. Rule 173 reads as follows : In case the House finds a charge of breach of privilege groundless, it may order the payment of an amount not exceeding Rs.500 as cost to the party charged by the party complaining.
Mr. Speaker :- I could consider that had the Chief Minister demanded so. But when the Chief Minister had told the House that he had no deliberate intention to mislead the House, it was on that ground that the mover has requested that the matter be dropped.
I have another announcement to make. The House may recall that on 10th December last, hon. Member, Shri. Hoover Hynniewta brought a complaint of breach of privilege and contempt of the House by Shri. Upstar Kharbuli, a Member of this House, Professor G.G. Swell, M.P. and others. I reserved my ruling to the effect whether there has been a prima facie case of breach of privilege. The House may also recollect that I had earlier referred two complaints involving prima facie cases of breach of privilege alleged to have been committed by Prof. Swell and others on more or less the same issue. Hon. Members are aware that many factors are involved in deciding this issue and hence I reserve my ruling on this matter till the next session of the Assembly. I shall also give the necessary directive to the Privileges Committee to regulate the procedure for handling the privilege case already referred to it.
Now let us pass on to the next item - further discussion of the No-Confidence Motion.
*Shri. Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, yesterday in the discussion on the No-confidence Motion, the hon. Member from Jaiaw has passed certain remarks with regard to the stand taken by the Congress Party. He had referred that we have always been friendly with the Opposition Members inside the House and also with the ruling party in the District Council. He had stated that we follow a different line of action. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would submit that we still continue to be friends in spite of the no-confidence Motion. Let the hon. Member from Jaiaw be not mistaken that we continue to be friends even inspite of this no-confidence Motion. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we become greater friends and not flatterers. We cannot but point out the misdeeds of the part in power. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we continue to give our constructive criticisms and we will continue to offer constructive suggestions. But one thing, I must say that we cannot be idle spectators of the misdeeds and corruption that have been committed by the party in power.
Shri. P.R. Kyndiah :- Sir, what does the hon. Member mean by party in power, I would like to know ? Does he mean the Government in power ?
Mr. Speaker :- The meaning in more or less the same. The no-confidence Motion is against the Government run by the party. India is committed to parliamentary democracy and a party commanding the majority in the House forms the Government.
Jormanick Syiem :- Sir, the word 'corruption' has been mentioned !
Mr. Speaker :- Please do not interrupt. If the Government is charged of corruption, the Member has to substantiate it. Of course if they cannot substantiate that is a different matter.
Shri. Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I must submit in the most clear and unequivocal terms that even in the District Council if we find that any party has committed and misdeeds, then Mr. Speaker, Sir, there also we will condemn in a most severe manner. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are all out against corruption and misdeed. Now, so far as our party is concerned we are for building a Socialistic State with a just social order in the society. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, my time is only for 10 minutes more.
Mr. Speaker :- You can go on. It all depends on whether you can cajole me or not. (laughter) Go on.
Shri. Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, yesterday a few instances of misdeeds and corruption in the administration of the Government had been pointed out by some of the Members. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will also place before the House more instances of corrupt practices in the administration. I must also mention here that it is very unfortunate that yesterday also the name of the persons was given. Now I will also take the name of one dead man. Of course , the case is different. Yesterday the case was that of a dead man who came out of his grave and drew a bill of Rs.35,000. But in this case - of course it is a case of a person or rather a contractor who had drawn a bill and of course I have nothing against him, but that ....
Mr. Speaker :- You mean that he drew the amount after his death ?
Shri. Maham Singh :- The amount that he drew was Rs.35,000 after his death. But this time I will refer to a case of a contractor, and I will cite only a few cases Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I understand that we do not have much time. In the construction of the Sohiong - Pariong Road, that is, on the first kilometre, the tender value was only Rs.35,000; there was no revision of the tender and no fresh call for tenders. But he drew a running bill of Rs.50,064 that means, he drew a running bill which exceeds by more than Rs.15,000. Now in the construction of the Mawkneng - Nongspung Road - of the first kilometer - the tender value was only Rs.32,420 whereas he drew a running bill of Rs.36,659, i.e. more than the tender value and that was without revision of the tender value and also without calling the fresh tenders. Now, Sir, the third case is more grave and more serious. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the widening of the Shillong - Nongstoin road - the portion from Mawngap to Mawkneng in the 3rd kilometre i.e. for only one kilometer, only for the widening of the road, the value was Rs.35,250, he knew a running bill of Rs.1,66,529.
(Voices - 'Shame' 'Shame')
i.e. nearly 5 times the tender value. And then again...
(Voices - Same man?)
Yes, the same man. Now in the construction of the Mairang-Laitdom Road, one Shri. Kin Passah, in the 5th kilometer...
Mr. Speaker :- You just say one contractor instead of giving the name.
Shri. Maham Singh :- Yes, Sir. One contractor, for a tender value of Rs.11,915, he was paid a running bill of Rs.16,522 and then in the construction of the second half of the 5th Kilometer the tender value was only Rs.16,433 whereas the running bill drawn was for Rs.22,112. Again, in the construction of the Mawkneng - Nongspung Road, i.e., another contractor, and I will not give the name, on the 4th kilometer the tender value was Rs.16,000 but he was paid a running bill of Rs.17,200. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have read these out very carefully and I must submit Mr. Speaker, Sir, that, as has been stated by my friends earlier, all these amounts were drawn before the election.
Mr. Speaker :- You mean before 1972 ?
Shri. Maham Singh :- Yes, Sir. Just before the elections in 1972.
Mr. Speaker :- Then why should these questions come up as late as 1973 ?
Shri. Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- But we have asked Sir.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- But one answer was given when it was raised by the hon. Member from Nongstoin and the Minister did give a list - a long list of the contractors who received payment.
Shri. Maham Singh :- Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I must submit also that in this year the Nongstoin Block had paid to the Upper Shillong Farm Rs.500 for one boar, Rs.50 for pigs; Rs.800 for two bulls and Rs.1,500 for transport. And the total comes to Rs.2,850. But up till now, these pigs, and these bulls, and this boar have never been delivered, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Then another fact (Bell rang).
Mr. Speaker :- Time is running short. I have given you 5 minutes more.
Shri. Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, another fact that I want to bring to the notice of this House is that the Government is not governing the State according to one of the most fundamental and most vital principles of law, that, the rule of law - that all are equal in the eye of law, that law is no respecter of persons. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would submit that during the last few days when there was scarcity of rice in Shillong and the price of rice went up to Rs.5 who had been punished during that particular period of time ? It is the petty vendors in the Bara bazar. They have been prosecuted; they have been punished but not the big hoarders and black-marketers . Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would submit that the rice that has been been sold in the market by the vendors is the very same rice that was supplied by the Government to the Fair Price Shops, it is the same ration rice. But the people in the administration did not take the trouble to find out the source of supply. This is because there has always been a discrimination in administration of law that when a poor man commits an offence, he is immediately taken in as an offender, he is immediately arrested and punished. But when a big person commits an offence, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we find that he is rather to some extend protected and no action is taken against him. In this connection, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would submit that even at Laban, there was a man whose account book has been wrongly entered in the register for 300 grams of sugar. There was no entry in his account book for that quantity of sugar, while there was entry in his permit for this. But Sir, the offender had also admitted that he later on had received sugar but it was through-over-sight that no entry had been entered in his account book. For this, he was fined and his stock was forfeited. So I would submit that in the recent case, the head of administration in the District had caught the offender red-handed but up till now they have not been able to fix the responsibility and find out who is the real accused in the case and no one has been arrested so far. Mr. Speaker, Sir, now in this case, I would submit that the Deputy Commissioner himself, the Agricultural Officers themselves and some witnesses had caught redhanded the person found mixing fertilizer with sand. But no action has been taken, no one has been arrested up till now. Rather the fertilizer has been sent for chemical examination. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I know the reasons behind all this. The person should have been arrested first and then sent for chemical examination. But the Government have seized the goods only but they have not seized the man concerned. As I said the man was caught red-handed but he was not arrested while the goods have been sent for chemical examination. Well Mr. Speaker, the same thing would happen with the case of a murdered who had been caught red-handed. No arrest would be made (bell rang).
Mr. Speaker :- I have already given you 10 minutes time.
Shri. Maham Singh :- I will try to bring out some more points. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there has been discrimination from persons to persons in the administration of justice. They first see whether the person is of an outstanding position or a poor man. Mr. Speaker, Sir, should not justice be done equally to all citizens of the State ? Sir, justice has not been carried on in a right manner by this Government. Then another point, Sir, the holding of Municipal election which was due many years ago. But up till now, they have not been able to hold the election whereas an officer has been appointed to administer the Municipality. Up till now, Sir, they have not prepared the electoral roll and delimitated the wards.
Mr. Speaker :- I think your time is up. May I ask Mr. Bareh to participate ?
Shri. E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will not take much time. We have heard that to most of the points raised have been replied in the past. But I would like only to inform the hon. Member who had raised a point on Crash Programme and unemployment in the rural areas. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as far as Cash Programme schemes are concerned for rural employment in the year 1971-72 an amount spent was Rs.23,83,947.72 and the man-days generated was Rs.5,77,683 and in 1972-73 the amount spent was Rs.34,33,911 and Rs.5,77,683 and in 1972-73 the amount spent was Rs.34,33,911 and the man-days generated was 7,42,748 and for the current year 1973-74 the amount is 22 lakhs and the schemes are under implementation. Certain mention has also been made that one outsider has been appointed in the Horticulture Department and that is Shri. A.R. Thapar. he was appointed as Adviser in the Horticulture Department on contract basis only for one year in consultation, with the Government of India. Subsequently, he was given extension by another one year and now he is no longer with the Government.
Mr. Speaker :- I think it is better to say a non-resident of Meghalaya.
Shri. E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- The word expressed yesterday, was outsider. He was a man of long experience in the field. Since, we have no such persons for the Horticulture Department, our Government considers it wise to appoint him as Adviser for further development of horticulture in the State. And then Mr. Speaker, Sir, a point was raised on a telegram sent by somebody. It is a fact that such telegram was received but no confirmation copy of the same was received with the initial and identity of Shri. Ahmed who is supposed to have sent the telegram.
Mr. Speaker :- Yes, I have told you that I have received such telegram.
Shri. E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- It may be added Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Department received earlier a copy of the letter from the F.C.I. addressed to the Shillong Co-operative Society, stating that the Rallis was diverted some of the fertilizer to other places and as such a detailed enquiry is to be made. It was ascertained by the Department that the Rallis have actually delivered the quota meant for Meghalaya. Out of 105 metric tons meant for Meghalaya, 100 metric tons were delivered to the farmers of Mawryngkneng, and 5 tons were sold from their Shillong godown. So, what ever quota allotted by the Government of India for the State of Meghalaya, we received that in full. There is no diversion from the quota allotted to the Government of Meghalaya. Another point has been raised regarding adulteration of fertilizer . I said it very clearly that the matter is under investigation and I will not interrupt the investigation which is going on.
Mr. Speaker :- What about the adulteration of sand ?
Shri. E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- I cannot say, as I have not conducted the case. As regards trade on potato, jute an cotton Mr. Speaker, Sir, the State Government have been seriously thinking about the difficulties of the growers in marketing the potato to produce in the State. But it has been felt that neither the State Trading Cooperative Society nor the Government should fix the floor price. Instead it is felt that the development of the growers could only be done through the Marketing Cooperative Society and this will be more helpful. In fact, such a Society and has already been formed on October, 1972 at Mawryngkneng Block. Government have also decided to form the Meghalaya Marketing Federation to take up this problem of marketing. The agricultural produces including jute, cotton and potato. For the jute the floor price, is fixed every year by the Government of India. For this year the floor price has been fixed at Rs.117 per quintal. The Jute Corporation of India has already started its regional office at Gauhati through which the Government of India is expected to purchase jute from the Market, specially when the price tends to fall below the support price.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- On a point of clarification Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- In a no confidence, it is up to the Government to reply and if you are not satisfied, you can stick to the Motion and if you are satisfied you can withdraw.
*Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as the Leader of the House has a prerogative to reply, I do not want to admit today the impossible, that is I do not want to reply to each and every point raised by the mover of the Motion. I say it is impossible because of the very limited time allotted to me. I shall however take another line of approach in opposing the Motion. Before I oppose the Motion, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to make a statement on the point raise by the hon. Member from Pariong relating to the alleged payment of the dead contractors bill. The statement that he made yesterday concerned Shri. Iang Swer to whom the work for widening the Shillong Tura road at a portion between Mawngap - Nongstoin for a length of 10 kilometres, have been allotted by the Superintending Engineer of the Shillong Circle. This was the only work where he got in the Nongstoin Division. The Executive Engineer, Nongstoin who is known to the said contractor personally said that Shri. Iang Swer who is well known to him had expired. Hence, the outstanding bill amounting to Rs.4,975.33 p was paid to the contractor in good faith on 31st March, 1973.
Mr. Speaker :- You mentioned that the money was paid to the wrong person ?
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State P.W.D.) :- Yes.
Mr. Speaker :- Has Government taken any steps ?
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- I am coming to that the money was paid to the contractor who was identified and witnesses by Shri. Shai Phawa a well-known Registered Class II Contractor under Shillong Circle and also who is well-known to the Executive Engineer, Nongstoin Division. Now subsequently, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have found that this Shai hawa is the son of late Iang Swer. Now this are the facts of the case. The Hon. Member from Mawprem has also raised the matter connected with another alleged payment to a dead-man. This matter as well as the other points raised by the hon. Members are being investigated into. I would also like to take this opportunity to State here that I am surprised that the matter connected with the functioning of the P.W.D. was raised again yesterday. As you may recall Mr Speaker, Sir, all the matters raised by the hon. Members yesterday I respect of the functioning of the P.W.D. were very fully replied during my reply to the Motion which has been tabled by the hon. Member from Mawprem. I am now referring to Motion No.6. I am surprised to note how very very short a memory of the hon. Member seems to be. I would only suggest Mr. Speaker, Sir, for the benefit of the Member that he would kindly go through the proceedings of the House and the entire reply will be found therein. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to submit that I want to get a very clear line of the thinking and the quality of mind of the hon. Member. For example, if we turn to Resolution No.5, which was sought to be moved by the hon. Member from Nongkhlaw, you will clearly see, here is a man though in the Opposition is truly capable of appreciation of something that is right and something that is good...
The author of this resolution Mr. Speaker, Sir, as we see, is a man of moral courage despite being in the Opposition. In like manner Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to draw your attention to resolution No.9 which reads as follows - "This Assembly is of the opinion that the Government of Meghalaya is to take over lower primary education of the State". It is evident even from one single reading of this resolution that the hon. Member from Mendipathar is apparently ignorant of the constitutional provisions and he does not seem to know that under Paragraph 6 the primary education falls within the jurisdiction of the District Councils. He does not also seem to realise that passing of a resolution however strongly worded is not going to change the constitutional provisions. Now as some hon. Members had the occasion to be critical about many other things as the performance of the Government in the field of education.... I would only say Mr. Speaker, Sir, that it is my submission that we as a State of Meghalaya are indeed very fortunate that this particular Member has got nothing to do with education either in the formulation of policy or implementation of the schemes. Now, the hon. Member from Mawhati was also very critical of the Government in respect of the constitution of the Board of School Education. His speech, Mr. Speaker, Sir, shows very definitely that he has a limited vision. It seems he is interested only for one institutions and interested for one town in the State of Meghalaya. But section 4 of the Act prescribes the manner in which the Board has to be constituted. Section 4 leaves scope whatsoever for any choice on the part of the Government to nominate Members because as you know very well that each person under this sub-section, is nominated by virtue of his office he holds. The scope which is left with the Government in relation to Section 4 under (a) to (d) is limited. So the Government expected really to exercise these prerogatives in relation to Section 4 and 6 (a). Lest Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would be misunderstood, misrepresented and misquoted in the future I would not hesitate to add that in nominating each and every category of the Members prescribed in the entire section 4, it shall always continue to be a prerogative of the Government to take a final decision. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to submit that in exercising this power vested upon the Government for nomination of the Members we are doing it in a most democratic manner in consultation with the Ministers and other officers of the Department even though it is not mandatory. It is true, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we could not accept all the recommendations but nevertheless the fact remains that we accept most of the recommendations that we received. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member from Mawhati yesterday very clearly stated that we was unhappy because there was no representative from the Don Bosco Technical School. Mr. Speaker, Sir, everyone present in this House I believe, is fully aware of the fact that although this institutions had been rendering immense service to the State, this institution has not yet, I would like to stress the word 'yet' - been recognised by the All India Council of Technical Education. Therefore, we as a Government were left with no scope to nominate a Member from an institution which has not yet been recognised. However, we are doing everything to help the institution to get recognition of the All India Council of Technical Education. Then Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government is fully aware that there are hundreds of M.E. Schools and High Schools and colleges in the State, excepting two, having representatives in the Board. But it is not possible to have representatives from each and every institution of the State. In fact, I would like to submit, that it is not the intention of the Act to give representation of each and every institution. Otherwise I would submit, the Government would have been authorised to nominate much more than only 5 Members under this Sub-section that I have referred to earlier. Under this Act, emphasis has been laid on giving representatives to the Board either village-wise, town-wise or District-wise. Therefore, I would like to State that the Government is taking a decision, considered the interest of all sections within the limited scope under the provision of the Act. Yesterday, it has also been stated that the Government had done nothing to solve the problem of unemployment. May I say Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Government has done quite a lot. The Education Department alone during 1973-74 under 'half a million-jobs-programme' advertised for 275 M.E. Schools teachers, 110 for Garo Hills, 110 for Khasi Hills and 55 for Jaintia Hills Districts. But it is very unfortunate that we have been able to appoint only 198 out of 275 under the State Plan. During the year 1972-73 we have appointed 199 M.E. School teachers, in Khasi Hills, 160 - in Garo Hills, 104 bringing a total of 452. For employment of the educated unemployed, during 1972-73 we have sanctioned necessary funds to the District Council to appoint three hundred additional teachers. Now as the House is fully aware of the fact that we have passed the Civil Task Force Bill and the intention of this Bill is to provide jobs for about 1500 youths. In brief Mr Speaker, Sir, I would submit that the no-confidence Motion has been moved and supported by persons who are ill-informed and who are ignorant of the constitutional provisions and have a limited vision and who are even in fact not sure of their facts. I would also submit Mr. Speaker, Sir, that it appears it is very very evident that they do not even seem to be convinced of the rightness of their action and this is the only possible solution of the fact that the Motion was moved and supported so very feebly so half-heartedly without conviction and devoid of fact and conviction. I hope Mr. Speaker, Sir, that I have succeeded in convincing that it would be best for the hon. Mover of the Motion to withdraw the no-confidence Motion in view of the replies and clarification given.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. S.K. Marak.
Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, District Council Affairs etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, after hearing the discussions yesterday and today on the "No-Confidence Motion", I think I would press for another confidence so that we will gain another confidence. As has been rightly pointed out by my colleague, Mr. D.D. Pugh, that when the mover is not very sure of the fact to substantiate all this and when it was supported very very feebly by the supporters, I think it is a very good encounter. Spectators from outside were full yesterday and today as well.
Mr. Speaker :- You should not give any reference to outsiders.
Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, District Council Affairs, etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I withdraw. It is of no use to give the same reply again. But here and there mention has been made about my Department also. Mr. H.S. Lyngdoh from Pariong raised one point regarding entrustment of more works to be District Councils. He said that promises had been made on the floor of the House that more and more works would be entrusted to the District Councils. I would like to say that the question of of entrusting more functions to the District Councils in pursuance of Paragraph 6(2) of the Sixth Schedule as amended has not been left unattended to by the Government. In fact, since the matter is a very important one and affects all Departments of the State and also involves, administrative and financial arrangements of a very complicated nature the Government are still working on it and the concerning development Departments as indicated in the paragraph referred to earlier, are being consulted to work out the nature and extent of the functions to be entrusted to the District Councils including all the administrative and financing arrangements connected therewith. As these measures have to be take with the consent of the District Councils, concerned, it would also be necessary to consult all the District Councils on the nature and extent of the functions which might be entrusted to them under such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon, before the final entrustment could be effected by the Government. The District Councils would be consulted only after the details enumerated earlier have been finally worked out by the Government. It is very clear Mr. Speaker, Sir, that much of the works would have to be entrusted to the District Council. Our District Councils have their own schemes to be implemented by them through the various agencies. The departments of the Government would have to be consulted and details would have to be worked out. Unless this is done there work be duplication of work. We have seen in the past that certain works taken up by the District Councils were taken up again by the State Government. Such duplications would have to be avoided and hence time is required to find out the exact works to be entrusted to the District Councils.
Another thing which my colleague has rightly pointed out just now is that it is not only 150 people that we are going to constitute the Civil Task Force. For one battalion it would be about 1500 people. That means each district will be having about 500 people. As we know our labour force in the State is seasonal, mostly during the harvest. Only when the labour force are free from work, they can go to the roads and do the work for the Government but for the rest of the year, they have to concentrate their minds and activities on jhum cultivation and other works connected with agriculture. With a view to avoid this sort of labour supply, we have just passed a Bill known as the Meghalaya Civil Task Force Bill. It is going to give employment opportunities to about 1500 people most of them ranging from the age of 18 to 40 according to the physical capability of the person. But this will be implemented by the Government when the rules are framed. I believe that the replies given by my friends from the Treasury Benches must have convinced the friends in the Opposition Bench and I also support the views expressed by my colleague that if they withdraw, it would be better I should say, it would be the best.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. B.B Lyngdoh.
*Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I did welcome the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition that as in the past, so at present and also in future they will continue to be a friendly opposition. However, Sir, a friendly opposition would mean constructive criticisms, constructive suggestions and constructive approach. However, with this no-confidence Motion, let me believe that they are merely mistaken in the sense of a friendly opposition and let me believe further that it is that friendly opposition, Sir, that has been made them to move this Motion and the support was very feeble-completely feeble - that has caused surprise to all of us in the other side and perhaps to many others on this side very very feeble indeed. In fact, the hon. Member from Mawhati had been stated very clearly that he had a full confidence on this and wanted it to continue the administration and merely he is suggestion there shuffling of the Ministers.
There is also one factor that had made it very suspicious in this Motion and also that had created a sense of sympathy within me for the hon. Member from Malki who moved this Motion. It is very very apparent Mr. Speaker, Sir, that he has moved this Motion after having laboured under a very heavy burden of a certain individual - yes Sir, labouring under a very very heavy burden of certain individual very very over-bearing individual - and very extremely selfish individual. Sir, it might not be parliamentary to mention the name of that individual, but I think it is very very clear that how this Motion started from the 8th of September, 1973 when that certain individual arrived in Shillong and the movement and campaign reached its climax in the rally of the 3rd November, 1973 and the resolution of the 3rd November, 1973. It was a very very feeble voice of the 3rd November - rally, because we say that there was complete slackness even in the voice and also there was lack of conviction as well.
Sir, I would also reply to some specific points raised by the hon. Mover - i.e. (i) about the Agricultural Income Tax Act. In the beginning I have full sympathy with the ignorance and innocence of the hon. Member who published this pamphlet - "No New Taxes". This pamphlet was published by Shri. U. Kharbuli, M.L.A. and Shri. E.K. Mawlong, who is the Chairman of the People's Demand Implementation Committee, Shillong. I think it was published in September or October - I do not remember exactly. I have full sympathy with the ignorance of the hon. mover because as a lay-man reading this Finance Act he has translated and quoted the law and published that the Agricultural Income Tax Act has been imposed on the farmers of this district and it appears from the Act under the Schedule given there are tax levied is 62 paise per rupee. Therefore, I have full sympathy with the hon. mover for his ignorance and innocence for publishing such kind of pamphlet. And after this, promptly, the Government, to remove the misunderstanding, created by this pamphlet of the hon. Member and the other Members of the public issued a press note to clarify the words - "No New Taxes". In the classification it has been fully explained about this Agricultural Income Tax and also that it has been affected a single farmer of this district and the local people and it will never affect in view of the fact that we do not have any agricultural land in this district that belongs to the Government.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member when he issued the pamphlet, showing the people that the poor farmers are being taxed - healthy taxed, it seems that he did not read or did not at all see Section 2 of the Finance Act which was published by himself in Khasi. The Finance Act reads as follows : "The rate of Agricultural Income Tax for the year 1972 was for the purpose of Sections 3 and 6 of the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act and the Meghalaya Agricultural Income Tax". Well Sir, this pamphlet was published - well I don't remember the exact date of publication. Will the hon. mover give the date of publication because it will help me to clarify the position very clearly? Because if he had published it with full eyes, then he would have read these very word - "Agricultural Income Tax Act, 1939" and he would read Section 37 of that Act and understand that the Finance Act that this House passed in 1973 is merely a schedule to the main Agricultural Income Tax Act of 1939 i.e., the Act of 44 years ago. Therefore, when the hon. Mover charged this Government yesterday, I am sorry Sir, that he has charged either through total ignorance or through that nertia of the pressure of certain individual. Sir, because this Act is not the Act passed by this House, newly legislated by this House. It was the Act that was operating in Assam, part of the Garo Hills, part of Jaintia Hills since 1939, this is since the British days. It is not this House that imposes this Act. It is not this Government that has imposed this Act. And then by reading this Act carefully, we will find that it was done b the British in 1939 and certainly not this Government that had imposed this tax in Khasi Hills. We cannot understand that charge how this Government has through legislation imposed this tax on the petty farmers, on the poor cultivators. This is very strange. Indeed it is. I simply wonder how hon. Members of this House will be so blind as to the simple provision of this Acts. or may be so callous or indifferent to the truth and just say anything that may catch the ears of the people inside or outside. This I think is a very very irresponsible approach, irresponsible statement which was made only to get sympathy from inside and outside, I do not know. We have certain. (Interruption) I said clearly that it was made applicable to those Districts by the British in 1939 and it was made applicable to parts of this District by the Assam Government by notification of 1952. But then as I have stated this Act has not affected the people of this District because under Section 2 of that Act, it is very clear that the Agricultural Income Tax Act will not affect them at all. Why this complaint against this Act then ? All that the hon. Members have said might have been through mistakes, but then it became very plain during the last few months when I have received a complaint from some people of Sohryngkham about what happened when certain individuals told them that according to the Act they will have to pay tax for the cabbages, potatoes they produce. Is it true ? Is what these individuals said true ? But according to them, they said it is true. These persons simply show their ignorance when they told the people that they would have to pay the tax, that the cultivators would be liable to pay the tax. But they did not go into the true meaning and full implication of the Act. But they did not disclose that this Act is meant only
(At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and Mr. G. Mylliemngap, Chairman took the Chair)
for the people who are liable to pay tax under the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act. Therefore, Sir, I have sympathy for certain individuals because of the climax of the meeting which was held on the 3rd of November. The hon. Member from Mawhati many times murmured "We shall see in 1977"....
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Not murmured, but loudly.
Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Therefore, I have sympathy for the dishonest words and lies that he had to tell the people.
Mr. Chairman :- The word 'lies' is unparliamentary.
Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Finance, Minister) :- I stand corrected. Mr. Chairman. But how can I describe the incorrectness and to withdraw the word 'lies' when the hon. Member while bringing the Motion in this House made a very very incorrect statement, the very very incorrect charge regarding this Act which according to him has completely unnerved the Khasi cultivators. The pamphlets published and also the speeches made in this House will show all that. And then he used the words poor cultivators. I have no doubt, Sir, that he used the word .....
Mr. Chairman :- Was the word 'poor' used by the mover ?
Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Finance, Minister) :- Yes, by the mover. What is the rate of tax Act under this ? If you look at the Finance Act what is the rate that a man who cultivates Government land has to pay, the revenue he has to pay on that land and if, 'if' is the word, his net income from that land is beyond 5,000 rupees. I would ask the hon. Member if he can give any information to this House of any cultivator in this District who pays for cultivating Government land or pays land revenue to the Government; if he can cite an instance then I shall yield to him, to his Motion. Apart from that if he can cite certain individuals whose produce from certain piece of land is above 5,000 rupees. No man who cultivates a land and spends his labour has been impoverished... (interruption) It is a matter of interpretation (interruption). To say that a farmer who earns a profit of 5,000 rupees from a piece of land, that he is poor is an exaggeration beyond imagination. Let me assure this House again that this Agricultural Income Tax Act is not an Act passed by the Legislature of this State, but it was passed in 1939 by the then Legislature. (Voices) But the date from which this Act was to be in force has been clearly fixed. This is a very clear statement and therefore, let me say that I do not want to hear any more of this Agricultural Income Tax Act in this House because it is not in existence at all in this District.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- How can the Minister order this ?
Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Finance, Minister) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I suggest that all Members of this House must have more sense of integrity and responsibility by not quoting certain things which are not at all correct. I would advise them not to harbour this inferiority complex to befool the public by false statement. If we have no conviction in ourselves, we cannot convince the people. First of all we should convince ourselves that this is correct and not false. Therefore, Sir, this is all I have to say on the subjects. I hope I have succeeded in stopping this talk on this subject against the Government and from now onwards, I do not like to hear it again because it pains me so much. The hon. Member from Parking had very clearly explained the condition of the people living in Mawtamur and Nongwah yesterday. he had spoken earlier also on this score on the previous occasion. I fully agree with the hon. Member from Pariong that our own people who happened to be living in those border areas are not certain neither are they sure as to whether they themselves belong to this District or are within the Kamrup District. So far as Nongwah is concerned, I may inform the hon. Members of this House that as per Notification No. 1430 of 1876, I would not very categorically State at this juncture that this area appeared to be in the district of Kamrup. However, Sir, this Government will closely examine and study all the relevant papers, documents, legality or otherwise of all these papers, and at some future date we will be able to tell firmly of the position of this area.
Shri. Maham Singh :- I feel that the Minister with the help of those papers tell us now about the position of this area because the villagers do not know themselves where do they belong to since the last election.
Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Finance, Minister) :- I said, Sir, I would not State very categorically at this moment but so far as the Notification of 1876 is concerned, it appears that the Mawtampur and Nongwah villages fall within the Kamrup District. However, Sir, I have also stated that Government are closely studying the legality of this Notification No.1876 about the correctness of the documents and papers about these two areas. At some future time etc. very soon I will be able to make a very definite statement.
Mr. Chairman :- I think that is the point at issue.
Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Finance, Minister) :- I would not like to mislead the House by giving any false statement at this stage but the Notification of 1876 clearly indicated that those areas fall under the Kamrup district.
Mr. Chairman :- Regarding the point at issue the Minister has clearly stated. I will not allow any clarification now.
Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Finance, Minister) :- Regarding Pilangkata the hon. Member has spoken yesterday very strongly. But I will remind the hon. Member concerned that only 3 days ago I have made a full statement on Pilangkata.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- On a point of clarification.
(Voices : No Clarification)
Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Finance, Minister) :- So Sir, these are the points that I have to reply in so far as this No-Confidence Motion is concerned.
Shri. Maham Singh :- On a point of clarification. Mr. Chairman, Sir .....
Mr. Chairman :- No clarification is allowed at this stage. In so far as this question of Mawtamur is concerned, I will not allow any more clarification because the Minister has very clearly stated that it falls within the Kamrup district. However, he will give a specific reply to this statement in future.
Mr. Maham Singh :- On a point of clarification Mr. Chairman, Sir, may I. .. ... (Interruption)
Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- On a point of order, Sir, this is not a Motion, this is not a Resolution, this is a No-Confidence Motion, there is no scope for clarification here.
Shri. Maham Singh:- But Sir, we are very much concerned when all the land possessed by those villagers in the Mawtamur area had been claimed by the Government of Assam and this Government is shirking the responsibility.
Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- The Government is trying hard to settle the issue with great sense of responsibility.
Mr. Chairman :- Order, Order, Shri. Stanley D.D. Nichols-Roy Minister of Industries now to reply.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would now reply to some of the remarks made by the Mover of this No-Confidence Motion. Before I answer to certain specific charges or remarks made by others who participate in the No-Confidence Motion, I would like to say that I am falling in line with my colleague, the Minister-in-charge of Finance and Revenue. I will take a cue in making a reply to certain remarks made by the hon. Member from Mawhati when he stated that the No-Confidence Motion gives an opportunity for the Members of to refer to certain points for the attention of the Government and try to correct certain mistakes. I do not accept however, the charge of corruption against myself as a Minister or any responsible officer of our Government because such a charge should be proved in this House. I do not think corruption is merely a mistake. If any case of corruption is brought to the notice of our Government we shall certainly take drastic action. Now, I will inform the Hon. Member in spite of the mistakes having been pointed out by the Members from this side or some other remarks and charges, not having been proved.
I would like to deal with the first point which concerns the Department which is under my control, that is, employment policy. The Mover has stated that Government had failed to provide employment and to create jobs opportunity. He also stated that all responsible posts were being filled up by people from outside the State. I am not quoting verbatim but from the note which I took down while he has stated that nothing has been done for employment through Crash Programme. All these three statements of the Mover in regard to the employment policy, I state are incorrect so far as the Department of Industries is concerned. We have done a great deal in the last few years for preparing and encouraging the establishment of industries which are creating job opportunities. I am not going to give the details, but at any time if any Members would like to find out the number of units that have been established, the number of people that have been employed, the number of people that are going to be employed in the next few months, or a year or two. I am ready to give all that information to any person who comes asking about it.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Nichols-Roy, try to be brief.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- The mover has also stated that all responsible posts are filled up by people from outside the State and he even went on to say that even for the post of General Manager of Assam Cements, the Minister, Industries had gone out of the State to interview that particular gentleman for this post. If the Minister of Industries had gone out of the State to conduct interview that is wrongly stated. But as a matter of fact the Minister, Industries did not interview this gentleman at the time of appointment, whether before or during the appointment. It was only when he was appointed by the Board of Directors that I called him to meet me to discuss about the working in Assam Cements. However, the Mover raised the point that all responsible posts are not being filled up by our own people. I would like to state that I have gone out of my way to try to find people from this State with requisite qualifications and bring them to take up responsible posts. I will cite only two examples. The Director of Mineral Resources who happened to be from this State and a Member of the Scheduled Tribes was working in an important position under the Government of India and we went out of our way to go and bring him for filling up a responsible post. He is now occupying this post. We also had for many months been trying to get another responsible person for Automobile Engineering Works who is now working in another State. Fortunately, yesterday I have been informed over phone that permission has been granted for his release. There are other instances but I am giving only these two examples. To say that all responsible posts are being filled up by more from outside the State, is wrongly stated. We are trying to find out our own people to take up the responsible posts, and we have created training facilities asking people from our own State to come and take these training facilities. It is not easy to take people for certain posts which require requisite qualifications and experience. For instance, for the post of General Manager, Assam Cements, Secretary etc. the Board of Directors of Assam Cements requested the National Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. a Government o India Consultancy Organisation to recruit for them a Managing Director, etc. They invited applications on all India basis. The present incumbent was selected by an expert committee which included cement specialists. The recommendation of this Committee was accepted. The selected General Manager has about 10 years' experience in cement and cement machinery industries in plant operation, project planning and engineering etc.
I do not want to take the time of the House. If any hon. Member would like to see the experience and training received by him, he was not a mere sales assistant as suggested by the Members, they are welcome to see the bio-data of the person concerned.
Now, so far as Transport Undertaking is concerned, the Government of Meghalaya is continuing to expand this undertaking and a number of persons are being employed. By expanding this undertaking, there are employment potentialities either by absorbing the already employed persons or by direct recruiting. Now to come to another specific charge that Government have not protected the small coal mines when the question of nationalisation was taken up by the Government of India, the position has already been clearly pointed out by the hon. Member from Cherrapunjee. I would like to make it very clear as to the actual position. Our Government have issued clarifications thereon from time to time. The position is that we received a copy of the Coal Mines (Taking over of Management) Bill, 1973 sometime in April 1973. On examination of the Bill it was found that only one coal mine in Pynursla had been included. The matter was taken up with later Shri. Kumaramangalam, Union Minister for Steel and Mines by me. I requested him that in view of the customary rights in coal mines of the tribals and other factors peculiar to Meghalaya, the Central Government should take us into confidence before considering taking over the small coal mines. The late Union Minister replied on 1st April, 1973 that he would certainly keep the Government of Meghalaya informed if the Central Government decide to nationalise the coal mines. Unfortunately, the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 has included some small cottage scale mines. As soon as the matter came to the notice of the Government of Meghalaya, the matter was taken up with the Central Government for exclusion of these mines and also for consulting the State Government. The Chief Minister has taken up the matter personally with the Prime Minister for her intervention. At present no coal mines have been physically taken over in pursuance of the Nationalisation Act. I have recently informed by the Union Minister for Steel and Mines that the matter is under their active consideration.
Now, Mr. Chairman, Sir on another matter dealing with industries and mineral resources, it has been stated by the hon. Member from Mawhati that we are squandering away money on consultants like the Development Consultants Pvt. Ltd. They are Consultants to the Komorrah Project and the Garo Hills Clinker Project. They have also been appointed by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India to make a techno-economic study on mining and cement clinker projects in Bangladesh and Meghalaya. it is not correct to say that the Ministry or the Planning Commission prepares project reports as these are prepared by experts. For the Komorrah Project, the D.C.P.L had been paid Rs.2 lakhs, and for the Garo Hills Projects Rs.1.5 lakhs. According to the report of the Ministry of External Affairs these fees are reasonable as the D.C.P.L. consultants are of the top consultants in the country who have ample experience in cement. They are, in fact, supervising some other cement factories in India and abroad. It is not possible to get the approval of the Planning Commission and other Ministries of the Government of India without the proper project reports, and finance is also not made available. Therefore, there is no question of wasting public money on project reports. The hon. Member from Mawhati made a remark about the Umiam - Umkhen Project especially on the flooding of the areas in the proposed project. A study made from the topographical maps not by detailed surveys, in regard to the Umiam - Umkhen Project indicates that 4½ square miles in the Khasi Hills will be submerged and 1 square miles in the Jaintia Hills will be submerged. It is only assumed but it is only after a detailed investigation that we shall know the exact area to be submerged. It is not likely to exceed considerably as made out by the hon. Member from Mawhati. Then remarks were made about transport....
Mr. Chairman :- Try to be brief. Time is running out.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries, etc.) :- Yes, Sir. The remark about the fining of the trucks by the State Transport, Manager was made, I think, on the previous day by the hon. Member from Mawhati and he may repeat it today. Therefore, I presume that I will answer them in the No-Confidence Motion. There are a number of trucks operating in the Gauhati-Shillong Road which, to our information in the House, were being fined by the General Manager of the State Transport Corporation and not by the Court. We had enquired into this and on a telephone call made yesterday, the Deputy General Manager was asked about the circumstances under which these trucks plying on the Gauhati Shillong Road were fined upto to Rs.2,000. The Deputy General Manager, told our officer that the same was collected as compensation for loss of operations and that the parties had paid the same willingly. That was what he said. We, in the Department, have not received a single case of complaint, in writing, of these actions. A telegram was sent to the General Manager of the State Transport Corporation reporting about this and we are still to get a reply.
Now, a charge was made that a number of trucks had left Shillong, that these were being registered in other parts in Gauhati or other places, and, therefore, there was a big loss to the State exchequer. Mr. Chairman, Sir, on studying the revenue collected under taxes on vehicles, it does not bear out that the statement made by the Member in the year 1971-72 on motor vehicles tax was Rs.14,00,923. (At this stage the Speaker occupied the Chairs)
Mr. Speaker :- This is not the question hour, Mr. Nichols-Roy. You have to reply only to the basic points. The right to reply goes only to the Chief Minister.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries, etc.) :- Yes, Sir, the basic points. A charge was made that the Government are charging taxes so high that the vehicles left Shillong and that the State is losing revenue. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, according to the figures there has been no loss in the years 1971-72 and 1972-73. According to our information there are 12 vehicles that have left - 13 trucks and 12 tourist taxis. But these belong to people who have addresses in Gauhati and Silchar and that these are in the normal case of transfer. However, so far as the surcharge and other taxes are concerned, I am calling a committee to examine the whole question on motor vehicle tax in consultation with the Finance Department. The question of surcharge and other allied matters is also going to be looked into in the very near future and I shall welcome the Members from all sides of the House to consult on this question of taxation.
Mr. Speaker :- Actually the whole Ministry is in the process of going out of remaining in office. You cannot suggest now. This is not the time.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries, etc.) :- Yes, Sir. Now so far as the supply position is concerned the Member from Mawprem had said about prosecution of small traders as compared with big traders and so on. The fines and punishment are done by the Courts and one big trader was also prosecuted and detained.
Mr. Speaker :- The question does not lie with the Supply Department. It lies with the Administration of Justice. That is up to the Chief Minister to reply because the hon. Member from Mawprem raised a question on the Rule of Law.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries, etc.) :- Then, Sir, a remark was made that the Government is shirking its responsibility and is trying to shift it to the Food Corporation of India. The Government has not shirked its responsibility and has not tried to shift it to the Food Corporation of India. We have stated on the floor of this House and also in the Press Notes that it is not the responsibility of the Food Corporation of India as they are only the agents of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture who makes the allocation of the distribution of the essential commodities so far as rice, wheat and sugar are concerned and we have been continually taking up with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture Government of India, on the question of adequate supply to the State. The hon. Member from Mawhati had mentioned about a proposal to manufacture Road-Rollers and had charged that the Government in the Industries Department was very slack on this, but he did not inform me as to what extend this charge was correct. But part of that charge was incorrect.
Mr. Speaker :- You mean to say that you did not know what action was taken by the office. Then that office should have been taken in task.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries, etc.) :- Now Sir, on this matter we have received a letter from the Ministry of Industrial Development on 24th July, 1972 requesting us to publicise a press not indicating the Government's intention to augment the existing capacity for manufacture of road-rollers. This was sent for publication in the local news-papers on 7th August 1972 inviting proposals by 20th August 1972. The last date for receipt of applications by the Central Government was 31st August 1972. This was published in the local news-papers on 12th August 1972; 15th August 1972 and 18th August 1972. One party applied directly to the Ministry for an industrial license. As the project was below Rs.1 crore, their applications was registered...
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Nichols-Roy, may I remind you and the House once again that the hon. Member from Mawhati, Prof. Majaw, said that the Government took a partisan attitude and whether it is a fact or not that the Government took a partisan attitude.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries, etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we did not take a partisan attitude and it is not correct to say so. It is not correct that any assistance was to be made available either from the Central Government or the State Government for this project except under the general schemes of incentives. Mr. Speaker, Sir, whatever assistance that we got was referred to the Committee and the Minister is not kept informed of ever single thing that the Department does. The party who had registered had approached the Central Government.
Mr. Speaker :- I think I will give more to the Chief Minister. (Bell rang).
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries, etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think, I have answered to most of the specific charges in so far as the Departments under my control are concerned and I would request therefore, that the hon. Mover withdraw his No-confidence Motion.
Mr. Speaker :- Well now the Chief Minister.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the first instance, I was taken by surprise when I got the information that a No-confidence Motion is being moved by the hon. Member belonging to the Congress Party against the Government headed by me. I wish to say that we have, in fact, established good understanding between the Congress and the APHLC since the last General Election. Discussions took place on this issue on a number of occasions and ultimately it was agreed that we should have some electoral adjustment. The then General Secretary of All India Congress Committee, who is now the President, has made it very clear to me and my party through me, that as a result of this electoral adjustment, the Congress Members who have been elected to the State Legislature should extend their support to me and my party. Mr. Speaker, Sir, just a few days ago, I have had the occasion to proceed to New Delhi in connection with the meeting of the National Development Council and there I have had the occasion to meet the Central leaders including the Congress President. I was never given an indication there that their assurance of giving support would now cease. This is why I have been taken by surprise when this No-Confidence Motion against the Government headed by me has been sponsored by one of the hon. Members of the Congress Group. It may be because he might not have been told about the background of understanding that was arrived at between the Congress and the APHLC, as he joined the Congress Party only recently. We must not expect him to be told about the background of our understanding to my colleagues either. But now they have sponsored this No-Confidence Motion. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it pains me to know that this very action of some of the hon. Members of the Opposition, as already explained by other Speakers, is supported by them only half-heartedly or with hesitation. I have observed this among the hon. Members from the Congress Party itself. This is not because of any other reason, but because of misunderstanding. During my last visit to Delhi, I got an indication that the Government of India, which is run by the Congress Party, has still full confidence in this Government.
Mr. Speaker :- I think that question does not arise.
Shri. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have had occasion to meet, as I said, the Congress President also and you may recall Mr. Speaker, Sir, that a question of merger of my party with the Congress was initiated by the Centre . This shows that there is not much difference between our plan and Programme and the plan and programme chalked out by the Congress. But it will not be possible to have a complete identity...
Mr. Speaker :- To have complete ideology.
Shri. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I mean complete ideology because of certain local conditions and local customs and traditions. This is an admitted fact Mr. Speaker, Sir, and that is why the initiative was taken for merger of my party with that of the Congress. It was however later on realised by us that this should not be done. But even then, when this question was discussed and placed before my party we had to realise and be guided by an understanding which we had arrived at before the General Election. We continue to serve the people of the State and will continue to play our role for the national integrity and unity of the country. The APHLC continued to make all efforts for maintaining good relationship, at all levels with the Prime Minister. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have made ourselves very clear on this. We have not only passed resolutions but we are sincere at out it and we have even communicated it to the President of the Congress Party. Here we are sincere and we would certainly like to work together. It has been stated by the Leader of the Opposition, who happens to be the State Congress President, while replying to a few observations made by the Member from Jaiaw that he will continue to maintain friendly relation with other opposition groups and also with our group. But some criticism has been made by the hon. Member. I agree that the hon. Members can point out my defects and shortcomings. But there is a method of doing it. There is a certain procedure to be followed. In the course of his speech, he brought certain charges of corruption and pointed out certain anomalies or alleged corruption. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I can discuss that at any time at a proper forum., Now, as the Leader of the friendly opposition he is expected to help the administration. As the responsible Members of the friendly opposition, if there is any omission and commission, they should bring it to the notice of the Government and to me personally so that we can take immediate steps to correct it. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have had an occasion in the past to invite the hon. Members to offer their friendly advice to myself and to my colleagues. We know that we are in a small State and we cannot afford to quarrel with one another. We cannot afford to drag on like this. If we are convinced that something is going wrong with the administration of the Government, I would expect from both sides of the House to take the earliest opportunity to sit together and discuss together as representatives of the people for whose services we have been sent to this august House. It may be possible in the bigger States to play politics but there are certain procedures and methods for a small State like ours. I have had the occasion, as pointed out by the hon. Members from Mawhati, to work together for the achievement of Statehood. I think it is desirable to follow the the procedure by which we will be able to deliver the goods to the people. I admit that in a democratic system of administration, there must be an opposition, a very strong, effective and constructive opposition and that opposition, should try to bring home the various difficulties and short-comings of the administration and also to examine the policies of the Government as to what extend the policy and programmes of the Government will really help the people. They must also point out alternative plans and policy. They must always examine whether a particular policy and programme will really help the people in the all-round development of the State. They must, as Members of the Assembly, exercise their power and they must be prepared to take steps with the Government at any moment when opportunities come to them. They must come forward with definite plans and programmes which, according to them, I would be the best programmes to serve the people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have listened to the discussion carefully in my room. I have listened and heard the observations and I points raised by the hon. Member I am sorry, I do not know to which Constituency he belongs (Voices : from Mynso-Raliang). It appears to me that the same changes which have been leveled against the Government in the past with regard to the defects in the Government machinery have again now been repeated.
Shri M.N. Majaw :- Not corrected.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- As you know Mr. Speaker, Sir, sometimes the same song is sung from the hymn book in the church. We pass from one hymn to another hymn and we also use the hymn or song benefiting an occasion.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- So it will come back with the same.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I would like my colleagues in the opposite not to misunderstand. If I myself am convinced that the Government headed by me and backed by the Party have failed to do service to the people, nobody need asked me to resign. I will be the first man to resign. It is not by reshuffling the Cabinet that the problem will be solved but by united efforts. I am to work with the Party and implement whatever plan and programme is chalked out.
But here also, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there was no occasion, if my colleagues in the Congress group exercise their minds, to get themselves involved in this no-confidence Motion. There is another way out also. Naturally if the Government fail to run the administration, as maintained by the Leader of the Opposition, as a friendly Opposition it is their duty to point out certain defects in the form of a Motion of a different nature. For example "This House now discuss the acts of omission and commission of the Government". This could have given them a full scope for discussion. I am still grateful to my colleagues in the Congress and HSPDP for giving us an opportunity to reply to the various charges and also to learn a lesson from them. I never claimed that my administration is perfect. We have come into existence recently and every Member knows that we had to start from a scratch. I think it will not be correct to come to a conclusion that two years' period is too long a period to do something very definite and tangible. The process or organisation takes a long time. We have to shape our Government machinery, Government Department, through which various programmes of the Government could be implemented for the benefit of the people. We are still in the process. When we talk about development, we must also think of necessary infra-structure, without which no programme can be implemented. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the mover of the Motion who leveled charges of acts of omission and commission, has not been able to firmly convince me and the House as to what were the acts of omissions and commissions. I expected that specific charges would be stated so that we would have an opportunity to look into those charges. Reply here is one thing and acting is another thing. It may not be possible for me. Within this short time at my disposal, to reply to all the points. But the practice is this; we have the proceedings of the House; the Ministers and their Secretariat note down the important points. If possible, we take note of the suggestions and try to fall in line with those suggestions.
Now, the mover of the Motion referred to certain legislation. I am not going into the details because my colleague, the Minister for Finance, has cleared all the points. Recently, I had the occasion, as I told you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to attend the meeting of the National Development Council which was attended by all the Chief Ministers. We had occasion to discuss about mobilisation of resources. The Union Finance Minister, who happens to be a Minister from the Congress, gave suggestion to all the Chief Ministers that the State Government should raise extra resources from agriculture. But here is a gentleman belonging to the same party who opposed the agricultural income tax (laughter).
It was also observed that in all successive Plans, we have invested more in the agricultural sector and as such it is the interest of the Government to receive something from those who are capable and who have been deriving benefits from that heavy investment. I am talking about the principles; I am not going into details. It has rightly been pointed out by my colleague that this would not touch the pockets of the small and poor farmers. The State's Plan allocation under agriculture, if my figure is correct, is Rs.2,75,00,000 and for minor irrigation, if my figure is correct, is Rs.2,75,00,000 and for minor irrigation Rs.1,11,00,000. Therefore, we have to see in what way the resources for financing the Fifth Plan can be mobilised. I am sure, Mr. Speaker, Sir, nobody will dispute the fact that no development activities can proceed without resources.
I think all my friends in the Opposition joined hands together in fighting for a separate State of Meghalaya for the hills of the composite State of Assam. Without understanding the implications, we cannot simply beg from somebody to run the State. We must think seriously. I am not a person to ask for separate administration if I am always to ask money from the Central Government or from somebody. What will be the position of a State if it is not economically viable ? For that purpose, we must be able to tap all the resources made available to us by the gift of nature. We must be able to think and sort out what resources can be tapped and what taxes can be imposed. If we are not prepared to talk about taxation, I may avoid the word taxation. But then, now the State of ours can exist. I would, therefore, appeal to my friends on the other side t come and occupy this side of the House and take my place and think about all these factors. We talk about increase in pay, extra, allowances, this and that but at the same time without agreeing in principle as to how the resources can be mobilised both for the administration and for the development. There was a discussion on dearness allowance. Whatever allowances the Central Government decided to give, for that they have got additional resources. If we have to follow suit, then what shall we do. These are the realities I would request the Members in the Opposition to realise this and think how to run the administration. It has been observed by the hon. Member from Mendipathar on the statement I made about the three great enemies - poverty, ignorance and disease. He wanted to know what programme has been taken up in this direction. This is not the programme announced to me alone. This is the programme announced by the nation as a whole and the Fifth Five Year Plan is based on this. The Plan document is based on two main objectives - (1) eradication of poverty and (2) the attainment of self-reliance. Our proposal for the Fifth Five Year Plan has been processed in that way. It has been gone through and examined by the Planning Commission. So my reply is short; we have taken steps according to these objectives. But the question is how to implement, how to proceed and at the same time, how shall we be in a position to contribute our share in financing the Fifth Five year Plan. We talk about poverty. But how long can we go on? There are limitations for implementing this programme. So there is a demand from the Chief Ministers that there should be no limitations. Maximum should not be fixed on the State. A State should be allowed to decide and work out according to their needs. Therefore, it will be important for us to find out our own resources and how to mobilise our resources. Therefore, one should not contemplate wrongly. One must be realistic.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as usual, the policy of the Government on employment has been criticised. I have had occasions in the past to tell this august House through you, Sir, what is the specific policy of the Government in pursuance of the national policy. We have reserved posts for the scheduled tribes of the State and also for the scheduled castes and the rest may be made open to all. According to the population, 80 percent of the posts have been reserved for the scheduled tribes of Meghalaya that is, 40 percent for the Garos and 40 percent for Khasis and Jaintias Hills. I do not know whether there is any more scope here to criticise the Government. I would have expected that more scope from the other side and not from this side. But this has been done in the context of the national policy. It is also stated that due to lack of proper policy on employment, it has not been possible to absorb our Meghalayans still serving in Assam. It is absolutely incorrect to say that this Government have not been able to accommodate them. We have requisitioned their services according to the requirements. We cannot create posts only for the sake of absorbing people serving under the State of Assam or the educated unemployed people. Creation of posts should be according to the requirement of the administration. I am not going to give full details about it. But in this connection, I would also like to make an appeal to the hon. Members through you, Sir, to be realistic. We are finding difficulties in getting necessary personnel for the technical departments for implementation of various schemes of the next Fifth Five Year Plan. We have to entertain a lot of engineers. I was told that the total number would be about 75 engineers to carry out programmes in the Public Works Department. According to them allocation for building of roads has been rupees twenty five crores, including rupees two crores for the minimum needs programmes. We have to entertain quite a large number of engineers. I have ascertained as to how many Meghalayans are going to be entertained. The figure is very very nominal. If I am correct, only five or say not more than five as against the requirement of 75. The same thing is applicable to other technical departments - like Industries,. Agriculture, Transport, etc. Therefore, let us be realistic. I feel that these things should not have come up for no-confidence Motion. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it was also contended that because of the introduction of the single file system the employment opportunities have been reduced. Sir, it is totally incorrect. I do not know how it could be a ground for a no-confidence Motion. Sir, it was also charged that because of the system there is a top heavy expenditure. We have examined it and we have adopted this system as recommended by the Home Ministry before Meghalaya came into existence.
Sir, it is also alleged that we prefer to patronise contractors from outside even for the supply of furniture to the Secretariat. I do not know, Sir, how this thing has come in the no-confidence Motion. In 1970 some furniture were brought from Gauhati and Dibrugarh. But later on we have been encouraging our own local furniture-makers.
Sir, regarding the possession of land it was also contended by the hon. Member from Mendipathar that the system introduced by the Government is not suitable. But, Sir, in this connection, I would like to say that only yesterday, Mr. Shinde in the course of the reply to a question stated that he is going to ask all the State Government to make a law for the transfer and sale of land from non-tribals to tribals. I have got a teleprinter message here about it. That shows the Government's policy and it is rather by the Congress Government.
Sir, the hon. Member from Mendipathar has also contended that the residents of Meghalaya, other than tribals, have to obtain a certificate of suitability from the Deputy Commissioner. Yes, Sir, there is of course a practice in the case of non-tribals who have to obtain a certificate of suitability from the Deputy Commissioner. In 1957, when the District Council came into being, I was the Chief Executive Member and we had instructions from the State Government of Assam saying that these areas being in the border of foreign country. It might be desirable not to allow the non-natives to own a land without obtaining a certificate of suitability from the Deputy Commissioner. It was from the security point of view that those instructions were given and they were carried out.
Sir, it was also pointed out by the same Member that our programme is not directed to the removal of ignorance. He cited an instruction without knowing that the primary education is well within the purview of the District Council. But Sir, here also, in fact, I am fighting with the Government of India to place adequate fund at our disposal. In Garo Hills, for a population of our lakhs, we have got more than 2,500 villages and I have made some assessment and found that no less than 600 villages which consist of 2 or 23 houses only. Therefore, Sir, to remove the illiteracy, would it be possible for us to provide schools for each village where each family, at most, produces three school going children only.
Sir, so far as water supply is concerned, I mean, the supply of pure drinking water, we may have to spend lakhs of rupees. Moreover, Sir, rules provides that a village should consist of least of 3,000 population to have one water supply scheme. But Sir, we do not have such villages - we have very few villages consisting of 3,000 population. We do not have villages with large population. We have in Meghalaya all classes of villages. Few villages only have even 1500 population. So it is really very difficult to find villages which quality for this scheme. Therefore, my request is that since this is a big problem for us in Meghalaya, we must take it up with the Government of India and request the Government of India to come forward to give us adequate fund to enable us to group these villages so that they will qualify for the scheme. By that, we will have sizeable villages to be qualified for various schemes of development.
Shri. Hopingstone Lyngdoh has alleged that the State Government has failed to maintain internal security, and in that connection, he made reference to a particular instance. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not going to refer to that case because in the discussion that took place in the House my colleague, the Minister for Finance, had the occasion to reply to this point and I think that the hon. Members of the House have been satisfied with the reply. But in this connection, I would simply say that the Government machinery has not failed to maintain internal security. My colleague has mentioned about the treatment that this Government has meted out to the District Councils. My colleague incharge of the Department concerned has already replied on this. The Government in its policy are anxious to allow the District Councils to take more responsibilities, but at the same time, as has been pointed out by my colleague, we must examine whether the District Councils have got the machinery to take up such responsibilities. We are to examine all this, and provided they have the machinery, they can be entrusted to deal with many responsibilities. We have given certain responsibilities to the District Councils at Jowai and Garo Hills, but this has been on the consideration of available personnel like engineers to take up the responsibility. In the same way, in other fields also in accepting proposals of the District Councils, we have to consider whether they have got the machinery to carry out the programmes. When we are satisfied that they have the machinery, then those proposals are considered. We consider the District Councils as our own agencies and through them. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I have said earlier it may be that I may have missed some points in the course of my reply.
Mr. Speaker :- It appears that the House wants clarification from you on the matter already explained by the Minister-in-charge of Revenue, on the stand taken by the Government and the ruling Party regarding the areas which had already been mentioned by some hon. Members.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- It is a fact that we have certain boundary disputes with the neighbouring State, that is, Assam, I am not going into the details but the Government are really anxious to have these boundary disputes settled as quickly as possible. I would like to make it very clear that if it is found that the areas which were in the past under the State of Meghalaya, and are now under dispute with the neighboring State of Assam and the Government find that the areas should really have been inside our State, we shall not leave any stone unturned to get back all these areas. Not only that, I know that our people in Kamrup, and Goalpara Districts who have been excluded from our State, desire to be included in our State of Meghalaya for various reasons. I shall endeavour that our Government do everything possible to given them help. I took up this matter with the Government of India and the Government of Assam. But we should not be led by emotion. Everything has got to be decided in time. Unfortunately, we have to depend on records, as far as the boundary is concerned. After going into the documents and papers and after investigations of such matter, if it is found that a particular area was once with the State of Meghalaya, the Government of Meghalaya will take very possible step to bring it back to our State. Even if unfortunately for any reason, it has been transferred, well, there is no prevention that we can take up this matter with the concerned Government. It will be entirely incorrect to say, as observed by Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh, an hon. Member from Pariong, that we have failed to assume our responsibility and that we have not been able to take over the entire Meghalaya territory. I would not agree to that statement. This is not only in the case of the State of Meghalaya. Let us talk about the new States created by bifurcation like Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Mysore, Andhra and many other States. There is dispute always about the boundary and there is a claim and counter claim that this or that area should be included in this State of that State. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is a provision for that in Article 4 of the Constitution. It is incorrect to say that though Meghalaya came into existence and for that matter the APHLC, it has not taken up this very important issue. Here I can say that not only the Government but my APHLC Party as well as eagerly anxious to have these areas included in our State. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not want to take much time of the House and I do not want to repeat what my colleagues have stated, but I would request the Mover of the No-Confidence Motion to withdraw his Motion. I will leave it to his good sense because I know that I cannot impose my understanding or my approach on others. Before I take my seat. I can only tell, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have full conviction that my Government is moving towards its right direction day by day backed by my Party for the service of the people. It is up to the hon. Members in the Opposition to fall in line with me or not. But as I said earlier, the moment I realise that I have moved in a wrong direction and my Government and my Party will not be able to serve the people, well, nobody should ask me. I shall myself take the initiative. With these few words, Sir, I would like to offer my gratitude to the Members of the Opposition for bringing in this very important Motion and for giving me an opportunity to place before this august House, through you, Sir, programmes that we are taking up in the service of the people. The second charge, which is about corruption, will receive my serious attention and I shall pursue the matter vigorously. But it should be remembered whoever may be in the administration - whether today I, along with my colleagues, or somebody else at other times - omissions and commissions will always be there. There may be, through mistake, non-payment of outstanding bill but that cannot be taken for granted that the officers had mis-utilised the amount. It might be a genuine mistake. It is not a fact that simply by becoming a Chief Minister, I can choose my colleagues to man the cabinet who can guarantee that such things will not happen. After all, Sir, we are human beings. But we must be able to take the earliest possible opportunity to correct our society. There was an occasion Mr. Speaker, Sir, when there was a demand that my Government should declare publicly its policy for clean and efficient administration. I said, I am looking forward to it but administration would be clean only if we have a clean society, only if the society whom we serve is clean. The administration would be clean if we know how to serve our fellow brothers and sisters. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would make an appeal through you, to all the Members of this House to set an example by not quarrelling with each other but to serve the people with all our ability, good-will and sincerity. Let us work for their cause and with this objective in view, let us endeavour to be of service to our own people, to the entire State.
*Shri. Upstar Kharbuli :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me first deal with the replies given by the hon. Members who had been for some time on this side of this House and who have since joined the APHLC. I found it very difficult to say that we should accept what we said at this time and what they have said in the last one year. So far, it seems that they have resorted to a different types of approach.
Mr. Speaker :- Because you have also joined the Opposition.
(Voices - You are in the Opposition)
Shri. Upstar Kharbuli :- Let me compare the part and the present, I don't know what will come up in future with all these replies given by the Government or the Ministers and the hon. Members from the Treasury Benches which do not carry any sense of conviction to me. You see, Sir, any Government has got to do something or little work otherwise they would have been overthrown from power by some other greater power.
Mr. Speaker :- How is that possible ? Mr. Kharbuli I think your remark is unparliamentary. How can the Government of India overthrow any State Government unconstitutionally ? It casts reflection on the Constitution of India, and the Government of India as a whole. It must be expunged from the proceedings of the House.
Shri. Upstar Kharbuli :- When the people are so much unsatisfied with the policies of the Government and for that reason, I take strong exception to the remarks of the Minister of Revenue when he said that I am labouring under somebody's pressure. But here Sir, I would like to say that I am not subordinate to any one and what I did is always with my own conviction. Therefore, Sir, this influence as mentioned by the Minister Revenue I feel is a gross contempt to malign me. Another thing which I would like to say is that as a Member from the Congress Party has stated that we are having also a merger proposal here. But for the information of the House I would like to point out that this merger proposal never comes from the Congress Party. I have joined the Congress even before we adopted the resolution.
Mr. Speaker :- But I would like to inform the Hon. Members not to indulge in the premises of a political party. There should be no exchange of words and I would like all hon. Members not to indulge in the problem of political parties but they should come to the problem which is before the House.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- But the Chief Minister had said that Congress should support them always.
Mr. Speaker :- The Chief Minister did not say that, he said friendly opposition.
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the ruling party cannot expect that the Congress Party can always support them in their corrupt practices ?
Mr. Speaker :- What charge of corruption ?
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- So many as has been pointed out.
Mr. Speaker :- You cannot bring a charge without substantiating it and who are actually involved in the corruption.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- The Minister himself has admitted that there was a wrong payment to a person who turned up to get the money.
Mr. Speaker :- The 'word corruption' is very serious.
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- I would like to point out here from the statement made by the Minister-in-charge of Revenue.
Mr. Speaker :- May I point out t the Hon. Member and to all participants in the debate that the procedure is that when the Chief Minister has replied, their duty is to reply to the Chief Minister.
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- I am replying to the Chief Minister.
Mr. Speaker :- Reply to the basic points raised by the Chief Minister.
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, just the other day, the Minister, Finance, gave a statement in the House and in the statement it has been clearly stated that the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act, 1939 has been adopted by Meghalaya Government and on further scrutiny even the Assam Agricultural Income Tax (Amendment) Act, 1950 was extended to the tribal areas of Meghalaya as specified in para 'A" excluding the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, as is known as Khasi Hills District, before the amendment of the Constitution. But this Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act, 1939, was adopted by the Autonomous State of Meghalaya under the Meghalaya Adoption of Laws Act, 1971. Thus this Act was extended to the whole of Meghalaya except to the 9 Wards of Shillong Municipality which do not form part before the coming into being of a Statehood.
Mr. Speaker :- Another five minutes.
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- So, once adopted by this House then it will be extended to the whole of Khasi Hills, by adopting and applying this Act, it will adversely affect the people.
Mr. Speaker :- Are you criticising the action taken by this House ?
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- No, Mr. Speaker, Sir, not the action taken by this House but by the Government where it was trying to bring the amendment of the Bill and seek the cooperation o the people but it was rejected and in spite of that, the Bill was brought before the House for amendment. Sir, we are not satisfied with the reply of the Government to the effect that the bill has been encashed in the name of a dead man. The Government have stated that ....
Mr. Speaker :- It is a repetition of the same thing. Please do not repeat.
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- The Government is not supposed to make payment of the bill merely in good faith and it is also very surprising to say that the Executive Engineer at that time did not know the contractor whom we learn from reliable source, is related to him. But one thing Sir, if I am to be convinced by the reply given by the Law Minister about this particular Mawtamur that it is not within our State but in the Kamrup District, how can we just shirk our responsibility to the people who are our own flesh and blood.
Mr. Speaker :- You did not listen to the reply of the Chief Minister.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- According to the Notification, it was not inside Khasi Hills and the Chief Minister has said that it will be the endeavour of the Government and his party to get it back.
Shri. U. Kharbuli :- Here again Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is very difficult for me to accept the word of the Chief Minister. I remember to have read somewhere in the Gazette.
Mr. Speaker :- So it appears the Mover is not convinced with the explanation given by the Chief Minister. Then I have to put the question before the House.
The question is that "This House expressed its want of confidence in the present Ministry of the Government of Meghalaya headed by Captain Williamson A. Sangma."
(The Motion was lost by voice votes).
Let us pass on to the next item Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh to call the attention of the Minister, Supply, under Rule 54.
Shri. Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to call the attention of the Minister, Supply, under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Assembly to a news-item published in Assam Tribune of 21st August, 1973, under the caption "Rice Scarcity in Shillong may continue". Sir, in drawing the attention of the Minister, I would refer only to a particular portion of that news-item which refers to the use of rice of about 20,000 tonnes per annum.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Lyngdoh, let us first hear the statement of the Minister. Then if there are certain points which you are not satisfied you can seek clarification. Will the Minister make a statement.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply, etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, referring to this news-item of August 21st, 1973, regarding the rice scarcity in Shillong at that time, I believe the hon. Member who has raised this call attention Motion will recognise the it is now of date in that the rice position in Shillong has improved as of now. The reference to the amount of rice annually used for making rice beer was a reference to the Newspaper Reporter and it is stated that the figures were given by the Deputy Commissioner at the Press Conference. A Motion on the supply situation was moved the other day and it was discussed and reference was also made to the steps that the Government had taken to try to control the use of rice in illicit distillation. The scarcity position, at that time, was due to the Government of Assam imposing severe restrictions on the flow of rice particularly from the Plains Districts to Shillong and as a result, the open market for rice in Shillong dried up to a large extent. Regarding the statement on Ghost Cards in the Newspaper article, we propose to start remuneration immediately. Since the Motion on the food supply position was answered to just a few days ago, I do not think I need to make any further statement regarding that news item of 21st August, 1973.
Shri. Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, my point is only about one particular reference, i.e., use of rice for making rice beer in the face of low supply of rice and the Excise Act is already in force in this part of the District. But, then, Sir, it is allowed to be used upto 20,000 tonnes per annum. To this only the attention of the Minister is called.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, what the House wants to know is whether the Government is taking steps against the use of rice for distillation of rice beer and other alcoholic drinks.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply, etc.) :- Yes, Sir, the Government has definitely taken steps and we have also made a statement on this and figure were given on cases having been detected and this process is still going on.
Mr. Speaker :- Now the Minister-in-charge, Health will lay a statement to a Call Attention notice by Mr. P.N. Choudhury.
Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- Regarding the calling attention Motion given notice of by Shri. P.N. Choudhury, M.L.A., relating to the News Item published in "Shillong Times" of 24th November, 1973, I wish to give my reply and facts of the case as follows:-
That an enquiry was caused to be made on this incident by an officer of the Health Department, who has reported back that there was no requisition for blood from the Blood Bank situated at the Pasteur Institute, Shillong, on the night of November 19th at 10 P.M., as stated in the report. The Doctor-in-charge of the Blood Bank and also his helper stated categorically that, they did not go to the Blood Bank at 11.50 P.M. on that day, as stated in the report.
Regarding this patient mentioned in the report, she was admitted into the Civil Hospital, Shillong, on 19th October, 1973, with high fever and anaemia. She was also admitted earlier in the hospital for fever blood vomiting and blood in stool. She was under the care of the Medical Specialist of the Civil Hospital, Shillong, who, on investigation, found that it was a case of Aplastic Anaemia - a disease of the Bone Marrow, which can no longer produce blood cells which is the normal function of the bone marrow. That it was a case of Aplastic Anaemia was confirmed by Bone Marrow Study.
The patient was given treatment with repeated blood transfusions at intervals of 2 to 3 weeks. Other medicines like "Anti-Biotics" and a new drug "Adryod" were also given. Dextrose Saline transfusion was given on 19th November, 1973, first at 9 A.M. and then at 12.10 P.M. before transfusion of blood was given at 1.20 P.M.
According to the Medical Specialist, the patient developed heart attack, which was confirmed by immediate E.C.G. and died at 2.20 P.M. on 19th November, 1973.
According to the records in the Blood Bank, this particular patient, Smti. Asha Chakravarty, had received five (5) series of blood at different intervals, by blood from the donors brought by the party, and sometimes on loan from the Blood Bank, later replaced by the blood from their own donors.
The patient received the first series of blood on 3rd September, 1973, at 11.30 A.M., the second series was taken on 11th September, 1973, at 12 noon; the third series was taken on 19th October 1973, at 2.15 P.M.; the fourth series were taken on 29th October 1973, at 1.30 P.M. and fifth series was taken on 19th November, 1973, at 11.30 A.M. In all these series cross-matching cross of blood was done in order to eliminate any incompatibility. The blood group of the patient was "B".
It will thus be seen that the Blood Bank had supplied blood to this patient five times as per requisitioned made from the Civil Hospital, Shillong. The blood requisitioned on the morning of 19th November, 1973, was also supplied.
According to the records at the Civil Hospital, Shillong, the patient expired at 2.20 P.M. on 19th November, 1973 and hence the report about any incident in the Blood Bank at11.50 P.M. on that day when the relatives were said to have gone for blood for the patient is not correct.
In this connection, it may be pointed out that requisition of blood by two or three parties may come at the same time and it is left to the Doctor-in-charge to decide priority of drawing of blood from the donors.
On the morning of 19th November, 1974, besides the requisition of blood for this patient, there was another request for blood from the Civil Hospital for another case of blood loss by a small girl in the Civil Hospital named Sangita Khyriem - diagnosed as "Haemetemesis" (Vomiting of blood with extreme anaemia). As this was a fresh case, the Medical Officer-incharge of Blood Bank wanted to dispose of the girl's donors first. One Shri. Khyriem, a donor for Sangita was put on the table for tapping or drawing blood. But the party of the deceased (late Asha Chakravarty) insisted that there should be done first and so the Doctor had to concede to their request and drew blood from their donors first. In any case, both the parties were supplied with necessary blood and used for their patients.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to Item No.5, Minister, Transport, to move for consideration of the Motor Vehicles (Meghalaya Amendment) Bill, 1973.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport, etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the Motor Vehicles (Meghalaya Amendment) Bill, 1973, be taken into consideration.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved and now I put the question before the House. The questions is that the Motor Vehicles (Meghalaya Amendment) Bill, 1973 be taken into consideration.
(The Motion was adopted)
Since I have received no amendment to the Bill, may I ask the Minister to move that the Bill be passed.
Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Transport, etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the Motor Vehicles (Meghalaya Amendment) Bill, 1973, be passed.)
(The Motion was carried and the Bill was passed)
Let us pass on to the next item, i.e., Item No.6. The Chief Minister to move for consideration of the Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill, 1973.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill, 1973, be taken into consideration.
Shri. Sibendra Narayan Koch :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to raise a point of order.
Mr. Speaker :- What point of order ?
Shri. S.N. Koch :- Whether this Legislature is competent to pass this Bill ?
Mr. Speaker :- That is not a point of order. That will come at the time when the amendments are taken up. The point of order is ruled out.
Now, Motion moved. But I have received a number of amendments. The first amendments stands in the name of Shri. D.N. Joshi, Shri. S.N. Koch, Shri P.N. Choudhury, Shir Upstar Kharbhuli, Shir Jagabandhu Burman, Shri. E. Kurbah, Shri. L. Bareh and Shri. Maham Singh. They have given notice that they have the intention of moving that the Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill, 1973, be circulated for the purpose of eliciting public opinion. Will any of them move ?
Shri. Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill, 1973, be circulated for the purpose of eliciting public opinion thereon and report of the House by 31st March, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved but we have now only half-an-hour for discussion of the Bill. However, I will give Mr. Maham Singh a chance to speak and thereafter we will decided on what we should do for want of time.
*Shri. Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that this is a very important Bill. It is a Bill which actually seeks to protect the economic interest of the scheduled tribes in Meghalaya. However, it is a Bill which is very new and we feel that it will affect not only the Scheduled Tribes but also all sections of the people of Meghalaya. Now; in this State of ours, there are scheduled tribes, there are also others tribes and also the non-tribals living in this State of ours and many of them have lived here for generations together and they have now acquired properties in our State of Meghalaya. Many of them have owned property because they have lived in this State for generations together. They have become permanent residents of this State. Mr. Speaker, Sir. After coming into being of our State, there had been assurances that the State of Meghalaya would primarily serve the interest of the scheduled tribes living in the State and there had been also an assurance that everyone who is a permanent resident in this State would be protected. Mr Speaker, Sir, we should not expect that protection would be given to al inhabitants of Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in introducing the Bill, we do not have any difference of opinion but we want that the Bill be introduced in that it will really serve the interest of the tribals living here and not only to protect them but also to promote their economic interest. Particularly, we want that the scheduled tribes of this State should be protected. The aims and objects of the Government of Meghalaya is to safeguard the interest of the scheduled tribes. These are not only the aims and objects of the Government of Meghalaya. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, we want to know the qualification of this Bill. We want to study it further because we feel it would affect many people living in the State. We want that the public also should give their opinion on this Bill and therefore, we want that it should be circulated for eliciting public opinion and to be returned to this House before the 31st March, 1974 so that it may be passed in the next Budget Session. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we feel that this Bill, as it is at present, may affect not only the tribals but also the non-tribals living here. Mr. Speaker, Sir, according to the Constitution, the Garos living in Kamrup are not tribals, Garos living in Haflong are the tribals. The Mizos living outside are not tribals according to the Constitution, Mr. Speaker, Sir. It is only when they return over here that they become tribals and become permanent residents.
Mr. Speaker :- According to the Constitution or according to the President's order ?
Shri. Maham Singh :- According to the President's order Mr. Speaker, Sir, and also according to Article 342 of the Constitution, the Khasis living in other States are not tribals.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Maham Singh, will you please read out from the Constitution ?
Shri. Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, Article 342 reads like this : "The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or Union Territory, as the case may be".
Mr. Speaker :- That is according to the President's order.
Shri. Maham Singh :- Then again, Sir, in the President's order it is mentioned that certain tribals within the State of Meghalaya re to be classed as tribals. According to the Constitution as well as the President's order, was the Khasis living in this State are tribal but Khasis living in other places outside the State of Meghalaya are not tribals.
Mr. Speaker :- You mean he is not a tribal or not a Member of the schedule tribe.
Shri. Maham Singh :- I mean he is not a Member of the scheduled tribe. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, they will also be affected by this Bill. As permanent resident means a person who has got a permanent home in the State for not less than 12 years immediately before the commencement of this Act. So the scheduled tribes will be affected because they will have to stay for 12 years to become permanent residents of the State. I would submit that there may be other draw-backs also in this Bill. I would, therefore, submit that public opinion should be obtained with regard to this Bill. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are not against the aims and objects of this Bill but we do not know what will happen if there is influx of people from outside. When there is influx of people from outside into our State, the economic condition of our own people will be seriously affected. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, those living in Mizos Hills, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have become permanent residents and they will not at all be affected in their own States. It is only with regard to those who come over to this State that this Bill will affect them. Our duty, Sir, is to check entry of people coming from outside the State like Arunachal Pradesh, Mizo Hills and Nagaland. However, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would submit that in any case, this Bill be circulated to elicit public opinion.
Mr. Speaker :- Before I call upon some other Members to participates I must point out that this is a very important Bill which needs thorough debate and discussion. But we have only 20 minutes more. If we extend upto 1.30 P.M. also it will not serve the purpose.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I agree that this is a very important Bill. But at the same time I am afraid it is a complicated Bill. I would, therefore, suggest to give a fair chance to all the Members of both sides. So I suggest that we adjourn the House now and sit again from 3.00 P.M.
Mr. Speaker :- It is the sense of the House that we adjourn the House now and resume the sitting again at 3.00 P.M. (Voices : - yes)
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, though we sit here in the Opposition and I have had the occasion to participate in the no-confidence Motion a few minutes ago, every case must be decided on merit. As stated by the Member who spoke before me the question before us is whether this Bill should be circulated or not to elicit public opinion. I would submit in the first place, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this Bill has been long over-due. The subject or principle in this Bill has been the subject matter of several discussions in the past, raised by us in the Opposition, in previous Sessions of this Assembly, and I remember that there was an assurance from the Treasury Bench that there would be some form of legislation to meet the needs of the situation. It is for this that this Bill has come forward, I think, and for which our friends have moved a Motion for eliciting public opinion. I will be the last person to talk about racial and communal distinctions. The crux of the matter is how are we to develop economically. We are still to be developed economically to the level of the other States in India. But it is precisely because we are so backward economically that the need has arisen to protect the economic interest of the people of this State. From the point of view of exploitation by persons who are more powerful who have greater economic means and are therefore able to exploit our people economically it is essential to have this Bill passed. It is not on racial grounds or communal grounds, but on economic grounds, to protect the economic interests of our people. Of course, at the same time, a point has been raised by the hon. Members in the Opposition about the persons coming from outside the State who are Members scheduled tribes. Here also it is not racial or communal. This is a matter of economic interests. Supposing a Khasi resides in Kamrup District and the adjoining areas in which he lives are tagged on to Meghalaya, he can claim the rights of a Member of a scheduled tribe if he is a citizen there.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- May I clarify Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether he is a Khasi or a Garo or a non -Tribal, there is a process of giving permit. I do not know how that will affect the right of the individual because if he happens to be a Member of the scheduled tribe thereby he will be pout on the same footing. Permit from a competent authority will be issued for a specified period so that it can be checked up if there is any distinction.
Mr. Speaker :- I just want to point out that the issue of permanent residence of Meghalaya and Members of the scheduled tribe are two different issues.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I may also point out that it is not possible to bring in any type of legislation which covers all possible exceptions. This is a Government by democracy and while this legislation has been brought to this House for the good of the people, it must satisfy the needs of the majority of the people in the State. Those who are outside the State are not Members of this State whether they are tribals or non-tribals. There are no racial issues or discrimination whatsoever here. So, I feel that since this Bill is for the people of the State, irrespective of caste or creed, and since it has as its primary aim the economic interests of the people of this State it must be supported. Of course there is Clause 5 to which we have moved an amendment.
Mr. Speaker :- Kindly move the amendments.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- We approve the principle of the Bill because it has been long over-due, for the protection of the economic interests of the people. Section 5, specifically states the economic interests of the people. There is no proviso to state that permission will be given only to tribals and not to non-tribals. Outsiders will get permission to reside in the State after staying for 12 years, and 12 years, is not a long period of time. It will prove the bonafides of the applicant. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we should now decide that the Bill which is long over-due be taken into consideration and let us have a decision in the matter.
Shri. P.N. Choudhuri :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill made by the Mover, it has been stated that this Bill is necessary for good administration of the area and also for the protection of the economic interest of the scheduled tribes in Meghalaya. It has been stated that this is necessary for peace and good administration and also for the economic good of the scheduled tribes in Meghalaya. The economic interest of the tribal people should be protected. The Congress Party to which I have the privilege to belong always looks after the interest of the weaker sections of the community particularly of the scheduled tribes and backward community. The Congress does not want that there should be exploitation in any form. Therefore, Sir, we are against exploitation in any form, whether form within or from outside. We do not want that our tribal brethren should be exploited. Sir, I do not see any urgency or justification of bringing this Bill at least immediately at any rate I do not see any immediate urgency as the peace and good administration can be maintained through normal law. The Government has enough power under IPC/MISA and D.I. Rules to deal with such situation.
Mr. Speaker :- Are MISA and D.I. Rules different from the existing laws ?
Shri. P.N. Choudhuri :- If a person is found to be an undesirable person, he can be expelled from the State, under these existing laws.
Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- Are we protecting the criminals or are we to be protected ?
Shri. P.N. Choudhuri :- We are protecting the scheduled tribes. There is already a law under the Sixth Schedule that in the autonomous areas, a non-tribal cannot carry on any trade or business without licence from the District Council. They also cannot buy land. The economic interest of the tribals is safeguarded by those laws. The District Council has got power to make laws to adequately safeguard and economic interest of the scheduled tribes.
Sir, the non-tribals of Meghalaya will be affected by this Bill if passed as it is by this House and it is apprehended that the present Bill may also create misunderstanding between various sections of the people of the State.
Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- There was no Act passed by this House.
Shri. H. Hadem :- This Act is applicable both for tribal and non-tribal.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Hadem, you will have your time afterwards.
Shri. P.N. Choudhuri :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in view of all these I feel instead of passing this Bill hurriedly, we should elicit public opinion. We are in complete agreement with the mover of the Bill that the interest, the economic interest of the scheduled tribes should be protected. Sir, there are some clauses in the Bill which are capable of creating adverse effect. In the definition of the permanent resident it has been stated in the qualifying clause that one should be a continuous resident of Meghalaya for 12 years. Sir, under this particular clause a person will be debarred from being a permanent resident even if he has completed 11 years 11 months 29 days. Moreover, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are some colonies set up with the Central assistance like Umpling and other areas. There might be some people who have not yet completed 12 years but have their homesteads. What will be their fate ? Overnight they would no more be the permanent residents of the State although they have been living here for so many years. Sir, I support the Motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition that this Bill should be circulated for eliciting public opinion so that various aspects of the Bill could be properly considered. In this connection, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to refer to the speech made by the Governor in this august House during March - April Session in that he assured that the legitimate interest of the non-tribals of the State will be fully safeguarded. This same assurance has been given from time to time by the Chief Minister in this august House. The legitimate interest of the non-tribals who have made this State as their home should also be safeguarded. There is a difference between the assurance given earlier and the Bill presented now. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel this is a departure from the declared policy of the Government. Therefore, I request you Sir, that instead of considering the Bill now let it be circulated for eliciting public opinion thereon.
Mr. Speaker :- Now Mr. Joshi. From now on I shall give 7 minutes to each Member.
Shri. D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I fully associate myself with the Leader of the Opposition that the Bill should be circulated for eliciting public opinion since this Bill seeks to bring about certain restrictions and embarrassment to the people who have adopted Meghalaya as their home. When this State of Meghalaya was created, the people who had already been residing in this State would protect their rights and privileges as Meghalayans, as per assurances given by the Leader of the House and also from speeches made by the Governor of Meghalaya, Assam, etc. in this House were that the rights and privileges of non-tribal residents of Meghalaya will be fully protected. But now this Bill which was introduced today seeks to bring about some apprehension in the minds of the non-tribals living here since 11 years to 10 years ago.
Mr. Speaker :- You will resume your speech after lunch. Now the House stands adjourned till 3 P.M.
The Assembly met at 3 P.M. with the Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Joshi, another 5 minutes.
Shri. D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while continuing in the debate of this Bill, I have stated that the State of Meghalaya has not come out of the provisions of the Sixth Schedule. At the time of the creation of the State of Meghalaya, the people irrespective of their castes and communities, have adopted this land as their homestead, because they are sure that their securities and privileges are safeguarded. But this Bill is brought in to drive way the non-tribals living in these areas for generations. We know that the non-tribals living in Meghalaya are not confined to the towns only but in the rural areas also. Uptil now no incident of such a nature that disturbed the peace and tranquility in the area has come to light and if certain cases were there, there are ample provisions at the hands of the Government to deal with the law and order situation. This Bill while seeking to protect the economic rights of the scheduled tribe purports to preserve peace and good administration of the area. In order to preserve peace and in order to see that good administration is not disturbed, Government has introduced this Bill for consideration. But I feel, Sir, there are provisions under the IPC and other Acts of the Government to deal with matters that disturb peace and tranquility. As my friend has stated - Mr. P.N. Choudhuri from Laban - I fully associate with him that the legitimate economic interest of the tribal people must be safeguarded. Under the provisions laid down, it has not and cannot preserve the legitimate economic interest of the tribals unless the State sees to the legitimate interest of non-tribals of this area also who have adopted this land as their homestead. Therefore, it is a matter of vital importance and we have to see that the future legitimate economic interests of both tribals and non-tribals are safeguarded. For any measures sought to be adopted, ample thought should be given and the confidence of the people should be won over. Therefore, it is in the fitness of things that (bell rang) - this Bill should be circulated for eliciting public opinion within 31st March, 1974. I do not see that the heavens will fall on Meghalaya within the next three months. We must have ample time to give our thought over the matter and evolve a concrete formula so that the legitimate economic interest of the tribals as well as non-tribal residents of Meghalaya is safeguarded.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Hadem.
*Shri. H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all I congratulate the Government for bringing this Bill which, as stated by the hon. Member from Mawhati, is long overdue. Sir, I do not see that there is anything in the Bill which is so complicated. The bill contains very simple provisions. It is not correct to say, as the hon. Mover of the amendment has said, to elicit public opinion because this Bill, Sir, was introduced long ago since the beginning of the Session. If there is anything against this Bill we would have seen adverse remarks in the newspapers. But there is nothing of the sort. Sir, the hon. Mover of the amendment has stated that this Bill is dangerous to the non-tribals. Sir, this Bill is applicable in general to all, whether he is a tribal or non-tribal or permanent resident of Meghalaya. It is clearly defined in sub-clause (b) of clause 2 of the Bill whether he is a Member of this Legislature or his brother or his mother or anybody but who settled continuously as a permanent resident somewhere outside the State will have to take the permission to stay in Meghalaya. If my relatives want to come to my village and if my village falls within the notified area I do not think that the whole of Meghalaya comes under the notified area - even then they shall have to get the residential permit to stay for four months. Sir, the Bill is so simple and I think that the amendment for eliciting public opinion is not necessary at this State. So I would request the hon. Members from the other side not to be biased. They said that before the creation of a separate State, the assurance has been given that the State will be for the interest of all the Meghalayans. Even if this Bill is enacted, the same assurance will continue. It means that the whole intention of the Bill is to deal with only two aspects as already pointed out by the hon. Members, for the clean and efficient administration as well as for the protection of their economic interest in the State. So Sir, since there is no time, I would like to specifically emphasise that this Bill, if enacted, will not cover the whole area of the whole State. According to my reading of the Bill it is only in some areas where necessity arises that the Government will have to consider the pros and cons of the question and after that they will notify the area even in the State of Meghalaya. After four months' stay the people can reside in the State without any permission. So, I do not see anywhere in the provisions of the Bill that it is harmful to anybody. As the time at my disposal is short, I would only request the hon. Mover of the amendment for eliciting public opinion thereon to kindly endorse that this Bill be passed and to withdraw the amendment.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Akrommozaman ?
*Shri. Akrommozaman :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was under the advice of the physician not to attend this session. But on last Saturday night there was so much hue and cry after the publication of this Bill and after going through the contents of the Bill there was apprehension in the minds of the people of my area particularly in as much as they fell that the interests of the minority community of this State of Meghalaya are not going to be safeguarded. To this contention I would say that when the autonomous State of Meghalaya came into being or even when the full State came into being there was no Act whereby the non-tribal citizens of Meghalaya shall have to be defined as permanent resident or non-permanent resident. On the same ground the Leader of the House has assured that the interests of the minorities shall be safeguarded. Sir, I have no objection to this Bill had there been no classification between the tribal and non-tribal residents of this State of Meghalaya. It may also happen that a non-tribal is a permanent resident but by virtue of this Bill this particular expression 'permanent resident' which is borrowed from the Assam Autonomous District Council Rules, will affect the non-tribal residents of the State. Sir, may I be permitted to speak while sitting ? Again, I find some difficulty to stand.
Mr. Speaker :- Yes, you can.
Shri. Akrommozaman :- Sir, in the District Council Rules there is a provision that those who are non resident in the district for more than 12 years shall not be eligible to vote and not eligible to contest in the elections. So, by virtue of this Bill, the burden of proof will fall on the residents of the State. Generally we have seen that in the process of law, when there is prosecution, the burden of proof is there. But under this Bill, the burden falls on the person to prove whether he is a permanent resident or not. When this Bill comes into operation it will be the duty of the Police Department (Bell rang) to prove. Just a few minutes more, Sir. Sir, I had the occasion to know that there is a registration gong on to be maintained by the Police Department and they are going from door to door to register the names. So, when this Bill was introduced the facts came to light, our suspicion came true. When the burden of proof will be given to the people, it will be more disastrous on the poor people and it will be very difficult for them to prove. If a person from the Police Department comes to enquire whether a person is a resident or not, it will be difficult for the people to prove whether he is a permanent resident or not. I am a resident of this State of Meghalaya more than 12 years. But the question arises whether I am a resident for more than 12 years or not. So, this question of burden of proof will fall on me. So, this measure is most dangerous for the people. The only benefit will go to the Police Department.
I believe up to this day, this is the impression of the people and that impression has not been changed. Now, the question is whether this Bill is going to safeguard the interests of the scheduled tribes. This question is also exercising my mind. There is an apprehension, that a person can come here and reside for four months and four months time is sufficient for him to exploit anybody. So, in future, I believe that by bringing this legislation, the interests of the scheduled tribes, will not be safeguarded. This Bill has only brought about the distinction between the tribal residents and the non-tribal residents of Meghalaya. I am not going into the legal aspects of the Bill. But the only only thing I want to emphasize that the interests of the people of Meghalaya should be safeguarded. (Bell rang). Two minutes only I am just going to say that this will go long way in as much as it will affect the joint family by bifurcating it if this Bill becomes an Act. It will disturb the peace of the family.
Mr. Speaker :- You mean it will affect the family bond.
Shri. Akrommozaman :- It is a question of the children and the husband and wife where a joint family the brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers are all living together in the same house. So the bond of the family is going to be destroyed by his Act.
Mr. Speaker :- You mean you oppose the Bill itself, not only a certain provisions. Your time is up. There is no more time. I cannot give anybody extra time.
Shri. Akrommozaman :- I would have been glad if the persons who are connected with the press could be exempted because the press is vitally necessary for the healthy democratic growth of the State. Sir, as I said this Bill is fraught with many dangers. So, I believe the people will be in a better position to give their opinion to the Government in a proper time. I therefore support the mover of the amendment that the Bill be circulated for eliciting public opinion thereon. I hope that will be a good gesture on the part of the Government to accept the amendment.
Mr. Speaker :- The whole problem is that most of the parties do not understand the importance of time. They will submit a long list of names. When each and everyone speaks he will speak at length. Actually they should submit a few names and give the points to those few persons. Now, Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh.
Shri. H. Lyngdoh :- I am glad to have a chance to take part in the discussion for consideration of this Bill by the House. In fact, Sir, this Bill should have come to this House long ago or even immediately after the creation of the State (laughter). Really, Sir, since we have been functioning...
Mr. Speaker :- Before the State came into being ? In principle, you accept the Bill ?
Shri. H. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Members who propose for eliciting public opinion on the Bill may be requested to withdraw. Think, Sir, it is high time that this Bill be considered and passed. There is nothing, Sir, here which specifically mentions that residential permit is necessary for non-tribals who are the residents of the State. This State is a Scheduled Tribe State, and any outsider who is not a resident of the State will need this residential permit. So, Sir, I do not see that more discussion is needed. It is very clear from this Bill that it has been brought in the spirit of the Constitution, Article 19, Sub-clause (5) which the Constituent Assembly then has considered and provided that the interest of the tribal people in the country should be protected. So, Sir, what I mean to say is that our State is a backward State..
Mr. Speaker :- Economically backward State.
Shri. H. Lyngdoh :- Economically backward, Sir. At the same time also, Sir, it is said that the majority of the citizens are tribal people. But I do not mean to say that because it is a tribal State, the non-tribals should be driven out from the State, since they have been citizens of the State they are part and parcel of this tribal State. But, Sir, the purpose of this Bill is to bring about protection from various forms of exploitation of the outsiders. As the hon. Member has spoken, they have given an amendment to the Bill. Whether the House will accept it or not it is ....
Mr. Speaker :- At present, we are discussing only about the spirit of the Bill, the principle of the Bill.
Shri. H. Lyngdoh :- Yes, Sir, the Bill is particularly to protect our State from the outsiders, the stronger people from outside the business community, the people with more money and strength. So, Sir, it is high time for the House to consider the Bill and pas it. With these few words, Sir, I support the Bill and congratulate the Government on this score.
*Shri. P. Marak :- I rise to support the Bill. This is meant to safeguard the interest of the tribals and also to ensure good administration and preserve the fundamental rights of our State and so also the citizens of India who have settled in any part of the country. From the statement of objects and reasons of this Bill is enacted : (1) For peace and good administration of the State, and (2) to protect the economic interests of the Scheduled Tribes of Meghalaya. The second objective of the Bill is the most important because it means protection of the economic interests of the people of Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this extends to the whole State of Meghalaya, excluding the Municipal and Cantonment areas of the town of Shillong. It will not operate in the whole State of Meghalaya all at once. It will be operative only in certain selected areas which will be called the notified areas. This area may be extended by notification. Therefore, since this Bill is going to be operative in the whole State of Meghalaya no person, coming from outside the State will have the opportunity to stay in any area declared as notified area. From this it is evident that it is not a discrimination against the citizens of India is any part of the State except this area which will be known as notified area Clause (4) of the Bill says "no persons shall be permitted except scheduled tribe residents, to stay for more than 4 months without previous permission or the authority". Now this Bill is not only applicable to non-tribal outsiders, but it is also applicable to the tribal outsiders. Therefore, if the intention of the Bill is to protect the economic interests from being exploited by outsiders, it is not meant for non-tribals but also for tribals. It means for a person from Goalpara and Kamrup. He cannot come to the notified area for business. So you see, there is no discrimination. This law is applicable both to tribals and non-tribals. Therefore, Sir, I do not find any discrimination against any section of the people. It is applicable to both tribal and non-tribal. Therefore, with all sincerity I support this Bill with the request that this amendment for eliciting public opinion be withdrawn.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr Koch.
*Shri. S.N. Koch :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as the hon. Member has spoken and as this is a very important Bill, we consider that the time allotted for it is very limited. I would like to point out, Sir, while supporting this Bill, that the Bill deals with a very important matter as it appears from the statement of objects and reasons. The intention of the Bill is practically to bar certain type of persons who come from outside to the State of ours. We are here today to enact, to legislate, to consider the a Bill on the persons who are not under our control. These things were considered by the Constituent Assembly of India just after Independence.
Mr. Speaker :- Please quote the Article of the Constitutions.
Shri. S.N. Koch :- Sir, there are three list in the Article.
Mr. Speaker :- Are all the three lists included in the 7th Schedule ?
Shri. S.N. Koch :- Yes, Sir. In any case let me refer to Article 246, Clause (2) of the Seventh Schedule. It says "Notwithstanding anything in Clause (3) Parliament and, subject to Clause (1), the Legislature of any State also has the power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List III in the Seventh Schedule. Then I come to Clause (3) where it is stated "Subject to Clause (I) and (2) the Legislature of any State has exclusive power to make laws for such State or any part thereof with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List II in the Seventh Schedule". Again Sir, under Article 249-250 of the Constitution, on Clause (1) it is stated "Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Chapter , if the Councils or States have declared by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the Members present and voting that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest that Parliament should make laws with respect to any matter enumerated in the State List specified in the resolution, it shall be lawful for Parliament to make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India with respect to that matter while the resolution remains in force." But Sir, there is no such enabling provision in the Constitution in which this House can by-pass these constitutional provisions by which we can bring in a legislation which is a subject matter of the Bill. Then again, Sir, I have already stated we have a piece of legislation for our consideration, a legislation which we are going to impose upon our people who are not within our control. So, Sir, the hon. Member who spoke earlier has questioned why the Congress Party brought this amendment to the Bill for eliciting public opinion. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Bill may apparently look simple but it is a very dangerous one in the sense that I apprehend the people living outside the boundary of this State may not understand the outcome if we hasten to pass this legislation at this time. Therefore, the amendment which the Leader of the Opposition Group has moved is to justify the stand on the Government on this particular issue and to get this Bill circulated for eliciting public opinion thereon.
Mr. Speaker :- If it involves the constitutional provisions as you have stated, how can it be referred for eliciting public opinion ?
Shri. Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, before also, we used to do that.
Mr. Speaker :- He should say that the Bill should be referred to the Select Committee for proper study by the experts. But if you say that to elicit public opinion, the public cannot give information on the principles of the Bill.
Shri. Maham Singh :- Other Bills also have been circulated for eliciting public opinion ?
Mr. Speaker :- I do not say that what you moved is wrong but when the contention of Mr. Koch is that the Bill attracts some important constitutional issues, it should have been moved that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee.
Shri. S.N. Koch :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, moreover, as it appeared in the introduction stage, the definition requires clarification. It is stated that a permanent resident means a permanent inhabitant in the State ....
Mr. Speaker :- You oppose to the very simple aspect of this Bill, i.e. definition of the Bill. But I am to remind the hon. Member we come to the relevant clause of the Seventh Schedule.
Shri. S.N. Koch :- But Sir, I need not go into the clauses of the Seventh Schedule but only in the context of my observation I would like to refer t this. Apart from the constitutional provisions involved this Bill was drafted in such a way that the permanent resident means an inhabitant who has stayed in this State for many years. Here, Sir, I do not understand that definition of the Bill. I would like to seek further clarification. (Bell rang). Kindly give me another 2 minutes, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- No, I cannot give you any more time. Actually I have given you more time than what I have originally allotted. Mr. Warjri.
*Shri. A. Warjri :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I stand to oppose to oppose this amendment that the Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill be circulated for the purpose of eliciting public opinion. Sir, I think many hon. Members who have spoken on this Bill have got no deep insight as to the principles and meaning of this Bill. I do not see that this Bill is complicated but we find that the Bill is as simple as can be described and it is not therefore necessary to be circulated to the public for eliciting their opinion. I myself in the course of the last few days, have met a few tribals as well as non-tribals and after explaining to them the definition and the scope of the Bill, they both had congratulated the Government in bringing about this piece of legislation. Also, not only from the side of those who belongs to the scheduled Tribes but also from those who do not belong to the scheduled tribes and who are non-tribals. First of all looking through this Bill carefully, I do not find anything nor any provision in this Bill which is so complicated that in its implementation, we have to elicit public opinion. Both the tribals and non-tribals may be the permanent residents of this State because they have joined hands with us in the struggle for a Hill State; some have joined us directly and some others indirectly. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we must remember one thing that we have fought for our separate Hill State so as to free the Hill people from the step-motherly treatment that we received from the Assam Government which had denied us many facilities and to find out ourselves a place in these hills which are inhabited by the so called backward tribes and to preserve the identity of the people and also to further our own social, political, economic and cultural life and so on. These are some of the reasons why we have fought for a separate Hills State and when we appeal to the people, both tribals and non-tribals, especially to non-tribals, we never address them as people belonging to a different race, we addressed them as fellow hillmen and they have supported us. But at the same time we must remember that this State has been formed to protect also the interests of the non-tribals who live in these hill areas and are the citizens of Meghalaya. This new State is to develop itself like other States and for the progress and development, the people of our own State are to support it. As it is with a new -born baby hardly two years old, it is the duty of the Government to see that everyone who calls himself a Meghalayan tribal or non-tribal receives the care and protection against any exploitation from outside. Mr. Speaker, Sir, any outsider is welcome to Meghalaya and we have seen the policy of the Government, especially for its economic development, in bringing industrialist to the State. They should come with a purpose to help in developing this new State and anyone is given a chance according to the Bill here to prove his worth within 4 months and it is the duty and right of every Meghalayan to watch and be alert about the activities of these persons who come from outside. This Bill seeks to empower Government to issue residential permit to such persons who qualify themselves as law abiding citizens and person who will advance the economic life of the State. A feeling of uneasiness has crept into the minds of the people especially among those Meghalayans who are non-tribals, a few of whom I had met, have expressed about this Bill. They said that if this Bill is introduced every 'U Dkhar' would be given away from here. But according to the provision of the Bill it is not so. If he is a resident of the State he should abide by this Bill and every tribal and non-tribal has a duty to protect this new born State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, even for those who come from outside I do not see that they should have any apprehension unless the it aims, and motives in coming to the State are the exploitation and such persons are not wanted under the provisions of the Bill and they should be expelled at once. With these few words, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would request the Mover to withdraw the amendment.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Kharbuli.
*Shri. U. Kharbuli :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in rising to support the amendment moved by the leader of our group, I would like to say, after going through the Bill, that in spite of the fact that we are all sincere for the State as a whole, that all the people who have been staying here in Meghalaya for years deserve equal protection from the economic exploitation of the people coming from outside the State, I found that the delicate area liable to such exploitation is the capital of the State itself which has been left unprotected. Besides there are so many questions which are open to being misused and might create scope for harassing the people of this State itself, both tribals and non-tribals. So rather than hurriedly pass this Bill on this very day itself. I feel that it would be best if this Bill is circulated for eliciting public opinion thereon because even if public opinion is sought it would not take more than four months or so.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Khongwir.
*Shri. S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, I must offer my gratitude to the holy deed which we have conceived about this Bill although belatedly they have brought out this particular enactment. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to stress on what my leader has already informed that we also, from our side, have suggested through Motions and resolutions for this kind of legislation or rather to be discussed on the spirit of this Bill here on the floor of this Assembly. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would hasten to agree with the hon. Member from Mawhati that this is a long-standing matter because it should have come out only immediately after we attained our State, not after we have attained a full-fledged State, but I would hasten to say, at this juncture, that immediately after 1950 such a Bill should have been brought immediately after 1950, after the commencement of the Constitution of India itself because, Mr. Speaker, Sir, these last few days I had been reading the debates of the Constituent Assembly and I have found a portion of the report by the Sub-Committee on the "North-eastern Frontier Tribals and Excluded Areas" and the Hon. Chairman happens to be the Late G.N. Bordoloi. In the wordings of this Sub-Committee, it is shown here, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that in view of the special position of the scheduled Tribes of these hill areas, they have recommended to the Constituent Assembly that special protection measures should have to be taken specially for the economic interest of these persons. And out of this conception, out of these debates, that went on in the Constituent Assembly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have since the 26th January, 1950, a Schedule - the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India. But if we care to study and look at the provisions of the Sixth Schedule Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am afraid there are many many loopholes in those provisions of the Sixth Schedule. One of the hon. Members was spoke about this had said that since the District Council the Sixth Schedule - is there to protect the interest of the scheduled tribes, why 'this Bill" But, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I have said earlier that the provisions of the Sixth Schedule are not adequate to safeguard the economic interest of the schedule tribes of these areas, especially with the addition of paragraph 12 (a) in the Sixth Schedule, the powers and functions of the District Councils have gradually and gradually dwindled. Since I have got only 7 minutes at my disposal, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to be very brief and, of course, I will speak again when I move my amendment to this Bill. I would like to point out to my hon. friends and the mover of this amendment to have this Bill circulated for eliciting public opinion thereon, and I have already answered to that question, I state now: Why should we do it ? Why elicit public opinion when this Bill should have come to us 23 years ago ? Why at this stage ? This Bill was introduced on the 5th of this month and now it is 7 or 8 days ; it has gone to the public to elicit public opinion through their representatives in this august House. If the hon. Members from the Congress side have taken the initiative to meet their people, ask them and discuss with them about the provisions of this Bill. I think it would be no longer necessary to against throw this Bill to the public for getting their opinion because in a democracy all the people who have supported us, cannot come to this august House, to this Chamber and express their opinion. It is our duty to go to them and get the opinion for them. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have been given this opportunity 8 days ago, the opportunity to get that opinion from our people and if our people have expressed any opinion, it is for us the representatives to bring it here for discussion. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as to the spirit of this Bill I would like to point out one aspect the beauty of this Bill lies in the fact that it does not draw an distinction between a tribal and non-tribal (bell-rang).
Can I finish my sentence ? (laughter).
Mr. Speaker :- Yes.
Shri. S.D. Khongwir :- Mr Speaker, Sir, as I was saying there is no distinction. This Bill seeks only to preclude the people to come from outside the State, those non-residents of Meghalaya, irrespective of the fact whether they are tribals or non-tribals, to come and reside within the boundaries of this State or if their intention to come and reside in the State will be detrimental to the economic interest of the scheduled tribes,.
Shri. Jormanick Syiem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I congratulate the Government for having brought this Bill for consideration by this House. The bill seeks to safeguard the economic interest of the scheduled tribes. It will operate only in such areas as will be notified. But it will not operate in the Shillong Municipality or Cantonment area. Mr. Speaker, Sir, our friends from outside can come and I live within the limits of the Municipality and Cantonment.
Shri. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- You speak on the subject... I am sorry Mr. Speaker, Sir, (loud laughter).
Shri. Jormanik Syiem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I tried to emphasise the fact that only in the Municipal area the people from outside can stay. Because Sir, people in the rural areas of Meghalaya are very simple and are still very backward. It is with that end in view that this Bill has been brought here. But the framers of the Constitutions also in their wisdom have given provisions that the State Legislatures can enact a law under clause (5) of Article 19 of the Constitution. They knew from the beginning that the scheduled tribe people cannot complete with the more advanced sections of people of the rest of India. Therefore, provisions have been made in the Constitution that the State Legislature can bring such an act. (At this stage the Speaker left the Chamber and Shri. Gross well Mylliemngap, Chairman took the Chair)
Mr. Chairman, Sir, as I said, people in the rural areas are very simple and so with the opening of new roads they are likely to be tempted by some economic temptations. They live to purchase trucks and jeeps in order to enrich themselves as quickly as possible. But Sir, unless they are safeguarded, it may so happen that they may even exchange their lands for the sake of getting these luxuries. Therefore, the spirit and intention of the Bill is to safeguard as far as practicable the interest of the scheduled tribes in our State. The passing of the Bill is too late as other hon. Members have already stated. Now the present Government after realising that the people in the rural areas are backward, have brought forward this Bill to be considered and passed by this august House. Public opinion has been reflected through the Members of this august House. So there is no use, no need for further eliciting public opinion when the Members who are the representatives of the people have expressed their own opinion here. They have already heard and got this Bill for about one week. So it is high time now for passing this Bill and I feel that there is no use for sending out this Bill anywhere in the State of Meghalaya for seeking public opinion. Now it is for us here to consider and decide whether this Bill will serve the interest and the general welfare of the scheduled tribes staying in our State especially in the rural areas as may be notified from time to time. So Mr. Chairman, Sir, I congratulate the Government for bringing this Bill in this Session. Even here in Shillong we find that people who have got no business acumen cannot compete with people who are more advanced. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, our people in the rural areas should be well protected so that they will not be exploited by more advanced people from outside.
*Shri. Dlosing Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support this Bill. The Bill seeks to achieve only two important things. The Bill is so simple and I think it is for the interest of all. But the most important thing that the Bill wants to implement is to protect the economic interest of the Meghalayans in general and of the scheduled tribes in particular. Secondly, the Bill seeks to maintain public order in the notified areas of the State. Mr. Chairman, Sir, by nature, Meghalaya is a patch of beauty and grace with abundant resources with beautiful natural scenery and beautiful spots. Therefore, there is every reason that in view of all these things, our State will invite more and more industrialists from outside to come to our State and may exploit the economic interest of our people. So Sir, in order to prevent economic exploitation by those people, I mean richer sections of the people and also to maintain public order in the notified areas, I felt that this Bill is quite practicable and essential to be passed this time. Mr. Chairman, Sir, while joining hands with my hon. friends who have already spoken before me, I feel also that the Bill is long overdue. Therefore, I think there is no time to waste and delay in passing this Bill. In my humble opinion, Sir, I think this Bill will not affect the fundamental rights enjoyed by the citizens of our country. But it may promote that interest in their economic approach. So sending this Bill for eliciting public opinion, also means wasting time. So I appeal to all citizens to consider the backwardness of the rural people of Meghalaya in general and of the scheduled tribe in particular, so that they can grow and develop their economic positions and that they can march hand in hand with the rest of the country.
Shri. Winstone Syiemiong :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, how much time do you give me ?
Mr. Chairman :- I will give you seven minutes.
*Shri. Winstone Syiemiong :- Alright, Sir, but I will take only four minutes. Mr. Chairman, Sir, at the outset I would like to say that the introduction of this Bill in this august House is really a very timely one. Some of my friends have said that this Bill is a belated one, but still I consider it to be quite timely at this stage. To me Sir, achieving of a full-Statehood does not carry any meaning unless it is corroborated and supported by the peoples in general. Since our State is still a backward State and the economic condition of our people is poor. I feel that there should be no delay in passing the Bill in order to protect our people. Mr. Chairman, Sir, if we read newspapers which were published a few days back, we would find under some news item that even the Government of India was put to a very critical condition for the rising prices of petrol. We all are quite aware of the fact that the price of petrol is high, but we did not find that the Government of India would elicit public opinion for reducing the price of petrol. We also know very well that oil is one of the most important factors for the welfare of the country. But I don't think it is necessary to get the opinion of the public only for reducing its price. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I also feel that there should be no two opinions on this Bill. It is high time to pass it now. I am afraid Mr. Chairman, Sir, if we delay the enactment of this legislation, it will go against the economic interest of our Meghalayan tribals and the people will be neglected that in course of time they will just disappear from the surface of the earth. We remember very well Sir, about the economic interest of England that had suggested our country to slavery for more than 200 years. It was for this selfish interest that one particular country has become a slave. Now you take the case of China. China is very very scrupulous in maintaining its integrity and yet had allowed to remain a British Territory because of its economic interest and no other reasons. So Mr. Chairman, I feel therefore that we also should protect the economic interest of the people. It is not a permanent feature that it will be there. I feel that protection should be given to our infant industries. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I therefore feel that the mover of this amendment who advocated for eliciting public opinion is not justified because this is a very important and vital matter. We are fully conscious of our responsibilities and as representative of the people we are to justify this measure. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Shri. P.R. Kyndiah :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, this is a legislative measure and it has met the long awaited aspirations of the people. Now, Mr. Chairman, Sir, at the outset I would like to say that this Bill simple as it is documented as it reflects the simplicity of the Meghalayan people as a whole. Now at the back of my mind I am exercised by the statement of some of the other hon. Members from the Congress side who have advocated that this Bill will drive a wedge between the feeling of the tribals and non-tribals. I am unhappy that this statement should come from the hon. Member who had at one time advocated in the Motion of this nature of a united need of facing problem. Now, I would state very clearly that it is not the policy of this Government in power to draw a wedge between the tribals and the non-tribals. On two instances in the matter of Government policy, it is clearly shown that this Government is giving reservation of 15 percent to non-tribals. That cannot be the attitude of driving a wedge of feeling between the tribals and the non-tribals. Even in the last Session we have ratified the Bill for dereservation of the Assembly and the Lok Sabha seats when all the non-tribals can stand for election. I like to disabuse the mind of my friend that the interest of the party in power here is to see how best we can serve the interest of the people of the whole State. The basic policy of this Government which has best followed by many instances, some I have just quoted now, is to serve the people irrespective of communities. The previous Speaker had mentioned about the absence of instances which affects the peace and tranquility. Now on this point, I would like to present certain point that may be contrary to what is behind the statement. I submit Mr. Chairman, Sir, that due to economic exploitation there have been instances of disturbances. The tribal people are the people who love peace yet disturbances do occur although not much publicity is given to them. I would like to present before the House a typical case of economic exploitation that has been going on for the last 20 years, I may give a case study. One person from outside the State came to the village. The villagers there call him Mama. They respect him. They talk to him and mix with him. In that initial state, he started business when the villagers get 75 percent and he gets 25 percent. Gradually this process went on. Gradually this Mama becomes a money lender, he becomes a grazier taking the land of the villagers affecting the cultivators. Then he becomes a trader and a capitalist. This is a case study which I would like to cite as an example the economic exploitation that happens now and then. The other day, the hon. friend from the Opposition quoted the instance of exploitation. I happen to have a person knowledge about this case and I have gone a little deep into this, although I did not talk. It is true that this has become a source of economic exploitation. But as responsible leaders, irrespective of tribal or non-tribal, we should see that the interest of the weaker section of the people is upheld. You cannot run a State, you cannot run an administration, when 80 percent, 70 percent or 60 percent of the people are weak and backward and the rest of the people are forward. We must bridge this gap; this gulf of difference. Now Mr. Chairman, Sir, this Government has been accused of being prisoner of indecision and inaction. Waiting for three months, as I told you, may not be too a long a period but for the people who are down-trodden and economically exploited, ninety days, delay is a great loss. We shall have consider this fact in respect of this timely measure. It is not only in line with the provision of the Constitution wherein as many as nineteen instances have been mentioned about scheduled tribes, it is also in line with the policies of the Government from time to time. The other day I have gone through the speeches of Jawaharlal Nehru who was a man of great vision and who had a great love for the tribal people.
Mr. Chairman :- Which book you are referring to ?
Shri. P.R. Kyndiah :- I am referring to Jawaharlal Nehru's speeches, Volume - II, page 576 under the caption "The Tribal Folk" which he delivered at the opening session of the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes' Conference, New Delhi, June 7, 1952, I shall read out very interesting paragraph from this speech which reads as follows : "I find that so far we have approached the tribal people in one or two ways. One might be called the anthropological approach in which we treat them as museum specimen to be observed and written about. To treat them as specimen for anthropological examination and analysis - except in the sense that everybody is more or less an anthropological specimen - is to insult them. We do not conceive of them as living human beings with whom it is possible to work and play. The other approach is one of ignoring the fact that they are something different requiring special treatment and attempting forcibly to absorb them into the normal pattern of social life. The way of forcible assimilation or of assimilation through the operation of normal factors would be equally wrong. In fact, I have no doubt that if normal factors would be equally wrong. In fact, I have no doubt that if normal factors were allowed to operate unscrupulous people from outside would take possession of tribal lands. They would take possession of the forest and interfere with the life of the tribal people. We must give them a measure of protection in their areas so that no outsider can take possession of their lands or forests or interfere with them in any way except with their consent and good-will. One must always remember, however, that we do not mean to interfere with their way of life, but want to help them live it". In this connection Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to refer to the Ninth Report of the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for the year 1959-60 by L.M. Shrikant, page 173 para 25 which reads like this - "the indebtedness of the Scheduled Tribes is a chronic disease which cannot end by only wiping out the debts of the past years. Economic advancement of the Scheduled Tribes living in the forest and inaccessible areas cannot be contemplated without putting a complete areas cannot be contemplated without putting a complete drop to various types of exploitation by money lenders, forest contractors and petty officers." Then again I shall refer to page 174 - "I entirely agree with Dr. V. Elwin when he says that "we agree that we should hasten, slowly advance with caution, give the tribes a breathing space to adopt themselves to the new world"..... It is just possible that, in our enthusiasm for doing good, we may overshot the mark and do evil instead." It has often happened in other areas of the word that such contact has been disastrous to the primitive culture and gradually the primitive people thus affected die out" ...... "The first of the Prime Minister's principles has become the basis of the Government of India's policy for the tribes everywhere applauded but little followed. We are to impose nothing and to allow the people to develop along the lines of their own genius and tradition. And there is imposition by over-persuasion." (bell rang).
Mr. Chairman :- Sir, since this is a very important subject I would take a little more time to say half a minute. Now the struggle for existence in the interior calls for immediate stoppage of all types of exploitation. Unless this is stopped, there will be a cum Motion a disorder that we cannot imagine because with the emergence of the separate State-hood people have been expecting something to be materially done for the amelioration of their economic condition. Because it is the economic factor which give rise to many undesirable political off-shorts, I therefore welcome this step taken by the Government.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Hoover Hynniewta.
*Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- I have been listening with rapt attention to the speeches made by our friends who have moved for circulation of the Bill for eliciting public opinion and to be shocked only in realising that it was only to oppose the very principle of this Bill. Therefore, in a sense it may be said that they have contradicted themselves. Sir, I find myself in great difficulty to subscribe to the views which they have canvassed for support in this august House. Sir, we have expected in the beginning that speeches here will be impugned that there will be no feeling of tribals or non-tribals on the approach to this question which is so vital for the peace and tranquility of our State. Therefore, when I rise to speak, Sir, I speak with a heavy heart because it appears to me that we are standing now at this very hour in the threshold of a crucial and turning point in the history of our new born State and the people of Meghalaya - tribals and non-tribals will either bring into the surface a deep-seated and smouldering, if not simmering, under current of a sense of cleavage existing between the tribal and non-tribal residents of our State or put a seal of finality to that feeling of oneness, a feeling of common suffering and a feeling of a common struggle for our emancipation and the desire to fight shoulder to shoulder in order to lay the foundation of progress on principle of peace and friendship.
Sir, although our origin is shrouded in the nebulous ancient past one fact stands in bold outline and that is the fact that the tribal people for centuries and centuries together, had been wandering from place to place seeking for a homeland where they could live in peace and in security and practices the ways of life without any threat from any quarters. Sir, providence had ordained at long last that we should come to these hills - for our Garo friends to go to Garo Hills, for the Khasi and Jaintia people, to live in these hills and we have been living in these hills for centuries together without any threat from any quarters. When about 200 years ago, Sir, the British came and subjugated our people thereby curtailed an unlimited freedom in which we were living and along with the British, Sir, large number of non-tribals came and lived among us. I do not see that this was wrong. Perhaps it was meant to raise a level of our political consciousness and our commercial sense of enterprise. Our fore-fathers had opened the flood-gates of these beautiful hills and many non-tribals brethren came and established themselves as permanent residents of these hills. So, Sir, when at the time we attained our Independence, we came under the majority rule of our Assamese friends. I may remind the House that it was a proud privilege of the tribal people to oppose the attempt when the British made a move to turn these beautiful hills into a British crown colony. We opposed it almost to a man because we wanted to be in a broad ocean of Indian nation hood. Thirdly, Sir, as I have said earlier, the Assamese friends imposed upon us an administration where they have made us suffer from real sense of insecurity and that if allowed unprotected, may lead towards racial and linguistic annihilation. Sir, may I remind in all humanity that although pour non-tribal friends constitute at present only 19.5 percent of the total population of the State, yet they had in the past been able to live in peace and security despite linguistic upheavals to which the State of Assam and the country had been exposed from time to time. They had been able to hold their heads high and their women-folk could walk in the streets of Shillong or in any part of these hills unmolested and without any fear whatsoever. I beg of our non-tribal brethren to consider this important fact when they expressed their opinion about the necessity of enacting this piece of legislation.
Sir, it is not the tribal people who disturbed the existing constitutional position. It was our friends in New Delhi, the non-tribals who constituted the overwhelming majority in both Houses of Parliament who disturbed the constitutional position by bringing the 31st amendment to the Constitution of India. Nobody has raised a Protest. I am not aware of any protest by our non-tribal friends in this House. It was only the hon. Member from Mawhati who protested. Therefore, Sir, when this constitutional position was disturbed, we are entitled to bring about, and to think of, a devise by which we can strike an economic balance and bring about racial equilibrium. Therefore, Sir, this Bill has become irresistible. Some Members contended that this Bill does not bring any racial discrimination to make it necessary for a non-tribal to reside continuously for 12 years in order to become a permanent citizen of the State of Meghalaya. Racial discrimination in germane in the very constitution of our national population and according to the provisions of the Constitution, discrimination against the non-tribal population of our country had been incorporated and authorised. There are so many provisions in the Constitution which are aimed at safeguarding the interests of the tribal people and to enable the Government at the Centre or at the States to devise measures for protecting the economic interests of the tribals. It has also to be borne in mine that a State of our own given to us was for the sole purpose of protecting the interests of the tribal people. The incorporation of special provisions in the Constitution and the granting of the State of Meghalaya were deliberate acts of compassion on the part of the great and broad-minded non-tribal brethren who constitute the overwhelming majority of the national population. May I humbly request our non-tribal brethren who had suffered together with us to be worthy of this great act of compassion and understanding shown to us by their counterparts in the rest of country. One more point, Sir, if you allow me to refer to. The hon. Member from Laban referred to the promise made by the Governor for protecting the legitimate interests of the non-tribals. Whatever the legitimate interests of the non-tribals are, I feel we should also bear in mind the legitimate interests of the tribals. Sir, the legitimate interests of the tribals and non-tribals should have a golden mean which will be complimentary to their respective economic interests. It should be our duty to see what is good for the tribals may be good also for the tribals and what is good for the tribals may also be good for the non-tribals. Therefore, Sir, in that spirit, I humbly appeal to them to accept the Bill. (Mr. Speaker in the Chair).
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the first instance I would like to thank the hon. Members of this august House for accepting the principle of the Bill. I appreciate our friends in the Congress Group who without hesitation , have expressed that they agree with the principle of the Bill and as far as the view of the hon. Members of other Parties of the House are concerned, I am happy to learn from the Leader of the Opposition that they too have no objection to the principle of the Bill. Having agreed to the principle of the Bill by the whole House, let us now examine the desirability or otherwise of eliciting public opinion. Once the whole House accepts the principle of the Bill, it means that there is no controversy about it nor there is any reservation with regard to the principle of the Bill. With this opinion of he House, I do not know why the Bill. should be circulated for eliciting public opinion. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not conversant with the procedure and practice in other Houses, but in my view, the Bill should be circulated for eliciting public opinion only when there is division of opinion regarding a Bill. Now, in this particular case, the Bill is in the interest of the people and as there is no division of opinion in the House, there can be no occasion to seek permission for circulating the Bill to elicit public opinion.
Now, with regard to certain apprehension, expressed by some Members of the House, I would like to reply very briefly that I and my Government and the party behind my Government are all for national integration. But the question is how to achieve this national integrated? We talk about emotional integration and we talk about national integration of the integration of the whole country. It does not mean integration of the Hills alone. Today when we have been able to put our heads together as to how to achieve this goal, let us not talk about Meghalaya alone but let us thing of what had happened in different parts of the country and what had happened in the world. The State has a role to ply and a responsibility to bear. Whether it is at the provincial or national level, we should strive to see that all people in every part of the country feel that they are protected and they are allowed to grow and develop without any external interference. If you go through the Bill, Mr. Speaker, Sir, you will find that there is no discrimination, as has been apprehended by the hon. Members. Some hon. Members have proposed that the Bill be circulated for public opinion. We do not want unreasonable restriction on the exercise of fundamental rights as guaranteed under Article 9. Through the Bill we only want to confer power on the State Government to exercise certain jurisdiction of residential restriction with-in the State of Meghalaya. We have the right, as conferred Under Article 19 clauses (d) and (e), to move freely through out India and to settle within the States of the Union of India. Everybody can come to Meghalaya, it is only the question of residing and settlement which need to be looked into whether a person who comes into Meghalaya should be considered for permanent settlement and whether he should be allowed to settle within Meghalaya. It is only in this context that we want to exercise power and that also on two reasons, viz (1) if a person is injurious to the good and peaceful administration and (2) if a person is found to be against the economic interests of the scheduled tribes, the residents of the State of Meghalaya. On the basis of these two reasons, permit to stay in Meghalaya may be refused. This is very much in accordance with clause (5) of Article, 19. Now it has been pointed out by some of the hon. Members from the Congress side as to what will happen to a person who has not completed 12 years continuous residence. While the question is that he should complete the time limit, even a new comer can come and reside within the specified area for a period of 4 months and then he should apply for permission from the authority for a further period. Then the question, as has brought out by the hon. Member, is that whether a person who has completed 11 years, 364 days, that is, less by one day has to apply for a permit. When they are continuously residing in this State, they should not resort to certain activities which will hamper the economic interest of the scheduled tribes or the tribals or for that matter, injurious to the good and peaceful administration of the State. These people should apply for a permit within four months to the Government and the residential permit can be issued to them subject to certain conditions. Another fact which I would like to clarify is that though they have not been residing here in this State or have not continuously stayed in their home for a long time, the grant of residential permit to them cannot be refused if they are not injurious to the good and peaceful administration of this State. The hon. mover has rightly pointed out that even these people should be given due protection in this State except in the case of such persons whose activities are against the economic interest of the tribal people. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, the implementation of these provisions of the Act will have to be further provided in the Rules and I think in doing so this matter should be looked into carefully. It was also argued that without resorting to this Bill, the complications, problems and other matters can be looked after the IPC and C.R.P.C. and so on and so forth. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am afraid it cannot cover this particular aspect of the matter. Then again, Sir, it was also pointed out by some hon. Members about the definition of this Bill. What is going to happen to the joint families, as stated by the hon. Member from Phulbari, if this Bill is implemented. But I want to clarify the hon. Member that if we go into the Bill a little deeper we shall find that the explanation of "Joint Families", according to the Bill, includes even the area, notified area, his or her spouse and dependent children. A person may have a joint family, it may be that one of the Members of his family is residing outside the State of Meghalaya and the others within this State of Meghalaya. If he wants to join his family living within the State of Meghalaya I do not think there is the necessity for him to apply for permit unless there is sufficient grounds to convince that his presence in this State will be injurious to the good and peaceful administration of the area. In this particular case, I remember I had made it very clear that it is not the intention of the Government that the scheduled tribes people of Meghalaya over-ride and suppress the interest and privileges of the minorities in this State. I had made it very clear that their rights and interests will be properly safeguarded and the proviso of the Act will be utilised in such a way that it serves the interest of both the tribals and non-tribals of the State of Meghalaya. Even if the implementation of those provisions goes beyond certain jurisdiction, this question can be challenged in the court of law. I do not see any scope for being apprehensive about it. Now, Sir, there is another question as to what will happen to the Garos and Khasis who are living outside the State of of Meghalaya if they want to come and settle down in our State. I don't think that just for the reason of their being the tribals, the question of taking a residential permit to them would not arise. They should also apply for permit to them would not arise. They should also apply for permit and follow the same procedure required to be observed by the non-tribals who want to reside in this State. Otherwise this will amount to discrimination. He may be a scheduled tribe or any person, but if he desires to continue to reside or wants to reside in this State beyond a period of four months, he would have to take a permit. But nevertheless, a permit can not be granted to him if his stay goes against the economic interest of the State as a whole. Therefore, I would like to appeal to all the hon. Members of this august body to really have a second thought on the matter and to agree to the various principles of the Bill. If they are doubtful about the principles of the Bill, they should study them carefully. But nobody can deny the fact that in the course of discussion, many of the hon. Members from the Opposition, have made it clear that they agree in principle to the Bill. There is no controversy at all about it though some of them have stated that the Bill may be circulated to elicit public opinion. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also welcome if they have some doubts the implementation of the provisions, any suggestion to the Bill to a Select Committee where it could be thoroughly and carefully examined. I have started this to clarify the point raised by the hon. Member from Phulbari who has fallen in line with the views of his Group that the Bill should be circulated to elicit public opinion.
Shri. S.N. Koch :- With the permission of the Chair, may I seek one clarification ?
Mr. Speaker :- I have stated earlier that the Motion is for circulation of the Bill to elicit public opinion. This is not a place or a forum where you can challenge this Bill when it has reached the consideration stage. I think if the hon. Member wanted to raise any objection to the Bill he should have done that at the time of introduction and not now.
Shri. S.N. Koch :- Because, Sir, we are not aware that this Bill is to be taken up for consideration today. I have seen the Bill in my table just after entering the room.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Koch, I think I should remind you that even yesterday, the Chief Minister had occasion to make a statement on the floor of the House to refuse a news-item appearing in certain quarters of the Press.
Shri. S. Koch :- But Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I have already stated I want to get one more clarification from the Chief Minister about the principles of the Bill.
Mr. Speaker :- Even the Leader of Opposition himself stated that there is the necessity of such a Bill. The question before the House is whether there is any need for circulation of the Bill to elicit public opinion. The Leader of Opposition, of course, went to the extent to suggest that perhaps our land regulations would be better. He did not say it is better to elicit public opinion. In other words, he has accepted the principles of the Bill.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, if I heard correctly, the Leader of the Opposition as well as the other Members have agreed to the Bill in principle and they have gone even to the extend of saying that the Bill ensures the interest of the weaker sections of the people. In their talk, Mr. Speaker, Sir, they agreed to the very principle of the Bill and therefore there is no need to circulate it for eliciting public opinion. But there are traces of doubt in the observations made by the hon. Members. However, before I resume my seat, I again make it very clear that this Bill is enacted to safeguard the interest of the State of Meghalaya as a whole and it is also enacted to promoter national integration. In a sense it means that if any section of the people in any part of the country feels that if any section of the people in any part of the country feels that their interest is exploited, it is the duty of the Government to prevent and safeguard that interest. There are demands in several parts of the country for secession because the interests of the people are not being protected and safeguarded. But as Members of families should live with honour and dignity without any interference we want that an atmosphere should be created for it. This should not be misunderstood. There is no purpose or intention to neglect the safety or people other than tribals. I would make it very clear again. I personally believe what is envisaged under Clause (5) of Article 19 and if certain reassurances is sought to that end, I can say that it will be made available in the State of Meghalaya for reasons of good and peaceful administration and protection of the economic interests of the scheduled tribes which will go a long way in our contribution towards national integration.
There is a saying that without vision many cannot survive. We must have a vision, we must have to see in what way we shall be able to help ourselves and also contribute to national effort. Therefore, I appeal to the mover of this particular Motion for eliciting public opinion to kindly see reason and withdraw it.
Mr. Speaker :- Has the Leader of the Opposition anything to say ?
*Shri. Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as has been stated by the Leader of this House, we too accept the principle of the Bill. We agreed that the Bill should be passed in order to protect the interest of all sections of the people in Meghalaya. However, the aim of the Bill should be to promote the welfare in the best interest of the tribal people living in Meghalaya. We have expressed, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this Bill which has been introduced hurriedly may not meet the main objectives.
Mr. Speaker :- Some hon. Members made a remark that the Bill was introduced hurriedly. I would like to made it clear that no Government would go ahead with any piece of legislation unless they have studied it very carefully.
Shri. Maham Singh :- In any case Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have given a very short time for eliciting public opinion. We want three months time for eliciting public opinion so that the same Bill be passed in the next Budget Session. I am very sorry Mr. Speaker, Sir, that our request has been turned down. Three months time is not a very long time, at least many hon. Members have mentioned that this Bill is long overdue and to give another three months" time for eliciting public opinion cannot be agreed to Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- The two sides of the House appear to have agreed in principle but the Leader of the Opposition seems to be not inclined to withdraw his amendment. I may have to put the amendment before the House. The question is that the Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill be circulated for the purpose of eliciting public opinion thereon and report to the House by 31st March, 1974.
(The amendment was lot by voice votes)
(The Congress Members walked out of the House in protest)
But the Congress Members have already participated in the voting before they walked out of the House.
Let us come now to the different Clauses of the Bill. In so far as Clause I is concerned, I have received an amendment to be moved by Mr. Khongwir. But let me request all the hon. Members of the House to cooperate also with my staff as they are very tired and to be brief and specific I request the Government to reply briefly and specifically.
Shri. S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that in sub-clause (2) of Clause I, of the Bill, the words" excluding the areas for the time being comprised within the Cantonment and Municipality of Shillong" appearing in first, second and third lines shall be deleted and the "(.)" full stop shall be inserted just after the word "Meghalaya" in second line.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved.
Shri. S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would be very brief in this amendment as the second amendment is also identical.
Mr. Speaker :- No you cannot move both clauses.
*Shri. S.D. Khongwir :- I will be very brief Mr. Speaker, Sir. Just a little while ago, I have had the occasion to thank the Government for this Bill and also to express my opinion on the beauty of this Bill, because as I said earlier, it has not drawn any distinction between the different communities either here in Meghalaya or outside and from the exposition and the advocacy of the Hon'ble Chief Minister our interest should be for all sections of the population here in Meghalaya. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, while proposing this amendment. I have seen that in this sub-clause (2) of Clause 1 there is discrimination, discrimination of areas. Here is sought to exclude the areas "for the time being comprised within the Cantonment and the Municipality of Shillong". For this matter, Jaiaw and Mawkhar are within the Municipality and I do not see any difference between these areas, say, between Jaiaw and Nongthymmai. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, why should we inculcate this spirit of difference between these areas and, at the same time, why should we inculcate this spirit of a feeling of difference among the tribal friends who happen to reside within the Shillong Municipality. Sir, by this provision, in this particular clause, our non-tribal friends, who happen to reside here within the bounds of Shillong Municipality, will feel that they are somebody who are different from the tribal people as has already been stated by the Hon'ble Chief Minister. We do not want that the other sections, especially the non-tribals, who happen to reside here in Meghalaya to feel this difference. But here and there, by this provision in the Bill, we do create this difference. Another point, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that I would like to bring out is on the statement of objects and reasons as most of the hon. Members have already taken part and spoken every well on the economic interest of the scheduled tribes. Here, within the areas of the Shillong Municipality, we have many many people belonging to the Scheduled Tribes and it is for their interest also that we have look into. So, with these few words, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move and as has already been suggested earlier that we should be brief since the staff are tired and, also that tea time is approaching my amendment that the words 'excluding the areas for the time being comprised within the Cantonment and Municipality of Shillong" be deleted, and as such, sub-clause (2) of Clause 1 shall be extended to the whole of Meghalaya.
Mr. Speaker :- It appears that the Government also has the intention to do so because it is the question of for the time being". I would request the Chief Minister to clarify only that point, "for the time being".
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think it will not be complete if I simply explain it.
Mr. Speaker :- But that is the theme.
*Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- The expression "For the time being" here applies to the size of the Shillong Municipality and the Cantonment area. There may be a time when this Shillong Municipality and the Cantonment areas will be extended. I must be frank about it that is the definition, but why do we want Shillong ? Shillong is not only the capital of the State of Meghalaya but is also a very important territory of the whole country. It is also the Headquarters of the North Eastern Council. We would like Shillong.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we ask that the Chief Minister replies later.
Mr. Speaker :- Do you want a full discussion on each and every amendment ?
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- In the first place Mr Speaker, Sir, may I point out that in this Booklet itself (I think it has already been distributed) it is written that "Shillong echoes the heartthrob of the people of Meghalaya" and to exclude Shillong Mr. Speaker, Sir, is like separating the heart from the body. And if the heart is taken away that would be like killing the body. Now, Mr Speaker, Sir, the Census Operations ended on the 4th of April, 1971 and on the 11th of April, 1971, i.e., 7 days later, we had a huge influx from outside. The Census figures that we have today do not indicate the presence or absence or otherwise of persons from outside and this is a matter which was often discussed in the House. To our knowledge (subject to correction) a large part of this influx is still with in Shillong. We are, however, happy that this Bill has been brought forward and we feel that the solution may be found by extending this Bill to all parts of Meghalaya to the limbs of the body and the heart as well so that no part is excluded. According to the explanation of the Chief Minister the exclusion of Shillong is only for the time being, it means also that later on other areas outside may also be excluded from the purview of this Act. When they come under the Shillong Municipality, they may later on be excluded from the purview of this Act. So I strongly support this amendment, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do agree with the hon. Member that Shillong is the heart and soul of the State. I also agree that most of the economic activities are confined to the rural areas. So unless we protect the economic interest of the rural people, I don't think mere restrictions in Shillong will help. Sir, Shillong is only the capital of the State, but it is also one of the most important cities in the country as a whole. There are some Central Government offices located here in Shillong and a number of schemes for its development will be taken up because Shillong is not only the capital of Meghalaya, but it is also going to be the headquarters of a number of important establishment for the entire North Eastern region.
Mr. Speaker :- Is it not a fact that the Hill University is going to be set up here ?
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I think not only the Hills University but the Regional Research Centre, the Survey of India and also the regional office of the Ministry of Broad - casting and Information are going to be set up here in Shillong. So, Sir, Shillong is going to be not only the capital of Meghalaya, but also the centre of all activities of different Government institutions of the country. As such, we thought it will not be good to have this area restricted. I am also of the opinion that we can look after the Shillong Municipality and Cantonment area. But what is most important is to look after the Shillong Municipality and Cantonment area. But what is most important is to look after the economic interest of the people and to maintain peace and good administration throughout the State. The first and foremost consideration of the Government is to promote the economic interest of the rural people. It is in that context that we thought it will not be desirable to have this area under the purview of this Bill.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Khongwir, in the light of the explanations given by the Chief Minister, what is your stand ?
Shri. S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, although we have seen that there are so many millionaires, many business men from outside the State who are operating their business activities here in the heart of Shillong, I feel that in view of the explanation of the Chief Minister, I should withdraw the amendment.
Mr. Speaker :- Has the hon. Member leave of the House to withdraw his amendment ?
(Voices - yes, yes). The amendment with leave of the House is withdrawn.
Do I have the leave of the House that Clause 1 of the Bill do form part of the Bill ? (voices : Yes, yes). The Motion is carried. Clause I of the Bill do part of the Bill. In so far as Clause 2 is concerned, I have received n amendment. Do I have the leave of the House that Clause 2 form part of the Bill ? (Voices : yes, yes) The Motion is carried. Clause do form part of the Bill. And in so far as Clause 3 is concerned I have received one amendment to be moved by Mr. Khongwir.
Shri. S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will not move.
Mr. Speaker :- Do I have leave of the House that Clause 3 of the Bill form part of the Bill (Voices : Yes, yes) The Motion is carried. Clause 3 do form part of the Bill. In so far as clause 4 is concerned, I have received the amendment to be moved by Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh.
Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that in Clause 4 of the Bill; the words "for a period of more than four months" appearing in third and fourth lines shall be deleted.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can explain.
Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the whole Clause reads like this ; "No person who is not a permanent resident or Member of Scheduled Tribes resident in Meghalaya shall reside in a notified area for a period of more than four months without the previous permission of the competent authority". Mr. Speaker, Sir, the question of allowing an outsider to reside in Meghalaya, for a period of one or two or three or four months defeats the purpose of the Bill itself. According to the Bill, an outsider needs a residential permit. But by putting the words "more than 4 months" it may mean grating a temporary permit for an outsider to stay here in our State for four months before he gets the permanent resident permit. Then, another aspect of the matter, Sir, is that if we allow an outsider to stay here in our State freely it will affect the economic interest of our own people. It will also affect the maintenance of peace and good administration among our people especially in the interior of the State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, since you have warned the hon. Members not to call any person by name here inside the House, I will only cite the example of one lady staying at Laitumkhrah, Sir, during the Bangladesh trouble, some outsider either from Dacca or from the extreme corner of the country came to Shillong and got himself registered as one of the contractors and took some money from that lady to the tune of Rs.7,000. That poor lady gave the money with the expectation of getting it back. But Sir, only within one month of his stay that poor lady was cheated. That outsider came here only to cheat the lady and up till now she did not get back all the amount. This happened only within a period of one month. Mr. Speaker, Sir. It had affected the economic interest of that poor lady at Laitumkhrah, who is a permanent resident of this State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, if an outsider comes and stays anywhere in Shillong even for two months he may go to my place at Pariong and then stay there for two months to exploit my local people and then come back to Shillong. Then he may go to Bhoi area the place of Mr. D. Lyngdoh and stay there for another three months and then he may come back to the capital of the State. But Shillong being a notified area he cannot stay for a long time, he may then go to the constituency of an hon. Member at Sohryngkham, stay there for three months and exploit the local people there, may be in fertilizer and some other trade. And then, Sir, the economic interest of those people may be affected. I will also quote an instance Sir, because I cannot avoid to give instances. There were two persons who have just come out of Military service, came to our place, stayed there for one month and created a big golmal in the locality. After chasing by Police one of them was missing the other fled away to Garo Hills District. I do not know how he has exploited and created trouble in the area of Garo Hills, but what I know is that he had burnt down houses. So Sir, these words in the section "for a period of four months" may be deleted. It will be a very good thing if we delete these words. It will not give scope to anybody to reside in the notified areas without previous permission of the competent authority.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- It is very simple. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think my friend, Mr. Lyngdoh, has agreed in principle to this Bill. This Bill does not intend to restrict entry to anyone.
Mr. Speaker :- Except in the notified areas.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I am coming to that Mr. Speaker, Sir,. In the notified areas and in any part of Meghalaya, if a permit of entry is required, no person who is not a permanent resident can reside in the notified area without previous permission from the competent authority. He will at the same time, be governed by Clause (5) of Article 19. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to make it very clear that reasonable restriction will have to be imposed. This is the purpose of the Bill. Permits will be given only after the competent authority is satisfied or has watched the activities of the person who desires to reside in the notified area after the expiry of 4 months. Now, supposing, after habituating in the notified area for one week one is found to be an undesirable person for misconduct or found to be trying to exploit the economic interest of the people, he can be expelled under the provision of the Bill. It is only in that context that we have specified the purpose is dealing with it. Then, there has been an apprehension that even if a man is removed from one notified area, he can go and stay in another notified area. Here, I would say that there should be no such fear and I assure that such a thing will not be allowed to happen. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I may cite a case for example. There was a gentleman in Garo Hills who was not a permanent resident of the area. He was a man whose activities were injurious to peace and good administration and he was found to be exploiting the economic interest of the people. The matter was reported to the Deputy Commissioner who found that the man had no permit and so we was expelled from the District. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the local authorities have been empowered to take action and to investigate into cases of complaint against anybody who may try to cause injury to the peace and good administration of the State. I would, therefore, request the hon. Mover of the amendment to be reasonable, because if a person asks for a permit but is found to be not a desirable person, no permit will be granted to him.
*Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of clarification. I would like to be told by the Chief Minister as to how we are going to find out or to determine a permit for a period of 4 months since you do not know the entry in the notified area or how are we to know that a person had stayed there for more than 4 months. After a person registered himself for 4 months stay in the modified areas then how can we find out whether he had entered the area from that period and that he is not over-stayed, supposing a person entered the notified area and stayed there for 3 months and after this period he requires to draw some money from the Bank in Shillong and the next day he goes back to that same area. How are we to determine the period that he had stayed for more than 4 months. But in view of the reasonable grounds as given by the Chief Minister, I am fully convinced as to how as to how we can determine this period 4 months.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Such cases will be governed by the rules. Now in Garo Hills we have equal rights. But according to the regulation, they can expel the non-permanent resident of the district. The District Council also looks after this matter.
It so happens that labourers from outside the State who are engaged by the contractors stay for a period of six months and enjoy all the facilities without paying any taxes while a poor villager in Garo Hills has to pay taxes indirectly. That is why a provision has been made that either a contractor must employ local labourers or if he is to bring labourers from outside, he is to take up the matter with the authority for registration. Every new person must be reported to the authority by the Chairman of each Vigilance Committee of the village in Garo Hills. That very person should get a residential permit for a period of his stay and at the same time he has to pay a duty if he stays for 12 months. Of course this is restricted. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, this may be provided for in the rules.
Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, another point I would like to raise.
Mr. Speaker :- I think all your points have been covered by the Chief Minister's reply.
Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have not yet completed my speech.
Mr. Speaker :- I thought you had completed since you were citing only examples.
Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh :- So, Sir, there is another example, I would like to cite. There is one gentleman who is a citizen of India probably from Khybar Pass who came to Balat areas and established a very big house spending a lot of money and the same time he has been exploited the local traders. He has not been staying for one year, two years or for twelve years, but he has done all these within only three months. On the other hand when the Bill is passed or enacted that fellow Indian will be expel -and his house will be dismantled consequently it will be a harassment to led that fellow Indian merely because he did not care to take permission before he built the House three months before the lapses of 4 months. Therefore, Sir, there is no clause in this respect to know when the outsiders has entered into the State. Unless there is some provision and unless there is some restriction for the outsiders before entering into the State, I think the very purpose of this Bill will be defeated.
Mr. Speaker :- The Chief Minister has already replied to it. And he has also assured that when the rules would be framed, the hon. Members might suggest to the Government as to what type of rules to be framed in consonance with the support of the public.
Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, no specific assurance has been given by the Chief Minister that there will be registration at the time of entry.
Mr. Speaker :- That is beside the point.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- May I reply to that ? Sir, if we are to implement the provisions of the Act, we must have a machinery there must be some agency to know about the entry of the persons who are not the permanent residents of the State. This is in relation to those who have entered into the notified areas without taking prior permission. It is intended that such persons within the period of four months, if they intend to reside within the notified areas, should take permission from the competent authority. Naturally, there must be some machinery, that is understandable. Now, another point raised by Mr. H.S. Lyngdoh while giving example that some loan was given to a foreigner by a local-lady. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is our responsibility - it is up to me up-to you, to decide to whom loan can be given. I cannot check such activities through this Act.
Mr. Speaker :- In view of the explanation of the Chief Minister, what about Mr. Lyngdoh ?
Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not very convinced. I am very sorry at the Chief Minister has not promised that there will be registration at the time of entry.
Mr. Speaker :- Rules would be framed afterwards.
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Sir, I must make it very clear. Well, these will be looked after. All these will be covered by the rules. Unless we have some record of the entry of the people how can we pursue ?
Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh :- After all, record of registration whatever it is, there will be some provision under the rules. So I withdraw my amendment.
Mr. Speaker :- Has the hon. Member leave of the House to withdraw his amendment ?
(Voices - Yes, Yes). The amendment with leave of the House is withdrawn. Do I have the leave of the house that clause 4 do form a part of the Bill ?
(Voices - Yes, yes,). The Motion is carried. Clause 4 forms part of the Bill.
Now I come to clause 5 and I have received one amendment to be moved by Prof. M.N. Majaw.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, my argument will be on the basis of mathematics. My knowledge of mathematics says that minus into minus is equal to plus. Under sub clause (1) of clause 5 it has been stated that "the competent authority shall not refuse permission except on the following grounds namely I think the words "competent authority shall not refuse" should be deleted. I feel there are two negatives as it stands now, that is "the competent authority shall not refuse permission except on." I would request he House that since we have withdrawn almost all the amendments at least they should accept this amendment. If we are to solve problems we must be very specific and I would suggest that these words should be replaced by "the competent authority shall refuse permission on the following grounds". Originally, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I thought of proposing that the whole clause of deleted. But on further consideration I realised that there must be certain grounds. Therefore, I suggest that instead of putting double negatives it should be the competent authority shall refused". Mr. Speaker, Sir, under clause 2 provisions have already been made for granting permission, and to make them stronger I think we should delete the double negatives by making it positive. Once again may I point out to the Government that since we were so co-operative in withdrawing our amendments at least I would request them to be gracious enough to accept this one amendment (laughter).
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, before I explain I would request the hon. Members, that since they were so co-operative in withdrawing the amendments, they will also co-operative with us in this final clause. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, I must be very clear and our law should appear very clear. There should not be any camouflage. We must be convinced in legislation regarding fundamental rights, the laws must be reasonable. So it must be very specific as to under what grounds the competent authority can refuse. Regarding registration, that is a different thing. But the law itself should show to the world that it is reasonable. Whether we use these words or not, why you refuse the permission you must give the reasons. We draw this authority from two entries. It becomes a point of order. If it is not injurious to peaceful administration, under no ground his permit can be refused. That comes under public order. Another thing is about economic interest. It comes under social economic planning. it is only no two grounds that we can, through a legislation, impose restriction. So unless we are specific about it will not look reasonable. We have thought about it. The Bill has been drafted the redrafted and we have consulted legal experts to meet our purpose and to make it clear that it is reasonable. So with that consideration, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have used the word in a geometric term, that is, minus into minus is plus (Laughter).
Let us be factual, let us be realistic, let us be firm and realistic. It is only on that consideration, we have made the wordings as such I hope the purpose is the same.
Mr. Speaker :- The meaning is the same.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- So why not concede our amendment ?
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) ;- It must be reasonable and it must appear in the face to be reasonable. So I would request the hon. Member from Mawhati to withdraw the amendment.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- I cannot but acede to such a strong appeal (laughter) and I withdraw my amendments.
Mr. Speaker :- Has the hon. Member leave of the House to withdraw his amendment ?
(Voices - Yes, Yes)
So the amendment with leave of the House is withdrawn. Now I put the question before the House. The question is that clause 5 do stand part of the Bill.
The Motion is carried. Clause 5 do form part of the Bill.
As I have received no amendment to Clauses 6, 7, and 8.
I put the question that the clauses 6, 7 and 8 do form part of the Bill.
The Motion is carried. Clauses 6, 7 and 8 do form part of the Bill.
Now I put the question that the Preamble, Enacting Formula and the Title of the Bill do form part of the Bill.
The Motion is carried. Preamble, Enacting Formula and Title of the Bill do form part of the Bill.
May I ask the Chief Minister to move that the Bill be passed ?
Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill, 1973 be passed.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that the Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill, 1973 be passed.
The Motion is carried. The Bill is passed.
Item No.7. Mr. D.D. Pugh, to move.
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D. etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this Assembly agrees to the extension of time for submission of the report of the Privilege Committee till 28th February, 1974 on the privilege matter moved by Shri. H. Hadem MLA, against the Editor, Printer and Publisher of the Implanter for publishing news item under the caption "In Jaintia Hills Politicians prepare for Election."
Mr. Speaker :- Is it the sense of the House that extension of time be given ?
(Voices - Yes, Yes.) (The Motion was carried).
Item No.8 - Mr. D.D. Pugh to move.
Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D. etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this Assembly agreed to the extension of time for submission of the report of the Privilege Committee till 18th February, 1974 on the privilege matter moved by Prof. M.N. Majaw, M.L.A. against the Editor, Printer and Publisher of this Implanter for publishing a news-item under the caption "Will MISA be invoked in Meghalaya ?
Mr. Speaker :- Is it the sense of the House to grant extension of time to the Privilege Committee to complete the work ?
(Voices - Yes, yes). (The Motion was carried).
Shri. H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, before you adjourn the House, may I make a statement
I would like to remind the House, Sir that the annual financial statement for 1973-74 of the Assam State Electricity Board was placed before the House and you have passed an order that this discussion will be continued in the next session.
Mr. Speaker :- Yes. There are many other things which have not been brought up during this session which will be taken up in the next session. These businesses could not be accommodated in view of the fact that some other issues came up during this session.
I must express my thankfulness to all of you for unstinted effort to maintain the decorum and prestige of the House as well as to maintain the rights of the Legislature. I do believe that throughout the whole session, each and every one of you have so conducted yourself in a manner befitting a seasoned legislature. I must be thankful to all of you for the trust you have reposed and the confidence you have shown in me at all times. I know there were times when I had to censure some of you, there were time when I had to cajole some of you, there were times when I had to persuade and also there were times when I had to utter words which some hon. Members might have misunderstood. My sole intention in doing so was to maintain the prestige and dignity of the House. It will always be my endeavour to generate an opinion, not only within this House but outside as well, that our Legislature is really worth its dignity and it will also be my endeavour to try to make manifest to the outside world that we are a matured Legislature. I will try to uphold the prestige and dignity of the House both inside and outside.
Shri. E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think this will be the last session that we shall be having in this very hall. Should we not put something on record ?
Mr. Speaker :- I do not know yet. But perhaps we will be able to shift to a bigger House and in the next session, we may have a get-together of all the Members here in case we hold the session there.
So the House stands adjourned SINE DIE.
the 13th December, 1973.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.