The House met at 10.00 a.m. with the Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair. The day was devoted for the transaction of Private Members' Business.
Starred questions Nos.207, 209, 210, 211, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217 with supplementaries thereto, replied. Starred question No.208 was disallowed by the Chair. Starred question No.212 lapsed since the Member was absent and starred questions Nos.218 to 224 without supplementary were disposed of.
Unstarred questions Nos.65 to 79 to which written replies were given, laid on the tables.
Under Rule 49(A) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Shri E.K. Mawlong raised a zero hour with regard to the plight of ginger growing farmers and the need to help them with the support price.
He wanted to know of the steps taken by the Government to give assistance to these poor farmers by way of a support price.
In reply to the zero hour, Shri L.A. Sangma, State Agriculture Minister, informed the hon. Member from Umroi that during the past two to three months, the whole-sale price of ginger went down to rupees three hundred from six hundred per quintal in Shillong and in the adjoining areas market due to decrease in the demand from outside the State and as a result of which, the cost of production of ginger comes to rupees 723/- per quintal with full package of practice which in fact, was not followed in practice by the farmers and hence the actual cost of production of ginger was quite low.
As regards the help to the ginger growers with the support price, he stated that the Agriculture Department was keeping a close watch on it and the Meghalaya State Agriculture Marketing Board has requested the NAFED and NERAMAC to come to the rescue of the ginger growers of the State and since the MECOFED was not in a position come forward in ginger marketing, the State Government as well as the Government of India will have to bear the loss, if any at 50:50 basis for which the State Government have to seek the permission from the Government of India in this matter.
Under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Shri C. Lyngdoh called the attention of the Minister incharge Revenue to the news item published in the Meghalaya Guardian dated March 13,1997 under the caption " Can an Engineer transact land deals ".
He called for clarifications from the Minister incharge as to whether the Engineer of the rank of Executive Engineer can handover the public property to any organisation, and whether the Government land could be transferred without exchange of documents or without the power of attorney. He suggested for the institution of an enquiry to go into the matter.
Replying to the calling attention, Shri J.D. Pohrmen, Minister incharge Revenue, apprised the hon. Member from Nongpoh that recently the Sein Raij of Jowai had apparently laid a claim over a certain parcel of land on the South East of the P.W.D. I.B's compound and that consequent on this claim being made by the Sein Raij, site inspection was held on 4th March, 1997 by the E.E, P.W.D. (Buildings) Jowai Division wherein the officer bearers of the Sein Raij was also present. However, he informed that contrary to what was indicated in the caption, no land deals were transacted by the Engineer concerned. He further stated that the D.C. Jowai had also been seized of the matter and he had instructed the E.E, Jowai building Division to ask the Sein Raij to produce their documents in support of their claim over the portion of the land and that the Revenue Department would also issue appropriate instructions to the P.W.D. and also the D.C. Jowai in this regard. With regard to the question whether an Engineer can transact land deals, he said that all cases of allotment etc of Government land can be made only by the D.C. concerned after the proposal for such allotment etc had been approved and granted by the Government in the Revenue department.
Shri H.D.R. Lyngdoh continued his discussion on Resolution No.2. He suggestion among other things, the filling up of the posts of teachers in the L.P. Schools by the concerned Managing Committee through advertisement and when the date of interviews and any recommendations to be made should be done in the presence of the officials deputed by the Government. He opposed the Resolution.
The following Members took part :-
Shri H.S. Lyngdoh, Dr. Donkupar Roy, Shri S.R. Moksha and Shri M. Suchiang supported whereas Shri Tonsingh N. Marak opposed the Resolution.
Shri C.B. Marak, Minister incharge Education gave a detailed reply reacting point wise to the various suggestions put forth by each participant. He also gave a categorical reply to the points raised by them and the mover of the resolution by dwelling at length on the policy matters and the conditionalities laid down by the Government for appointment of L.P. School teachers in the State.
He further replied to the clarifications sought by the mover and assured that they have been noted for examination by the department.
(The Resolution was withdrawn by the mover with the leave of the House).
Shri C. Lyngdoh moved the following Resolution (No.3) of the first batch) :-
" This House do now resolve to create a separate Department for irrigation".
He suggested complete bifurcation/separation of the irrigation Department from the Agriculture Department. Citing instances of the irregularities and technical problems faced by the Officers of the concerned departments as well as by the people, he was of the opinion that the post of Additional Chief Engineer in the irrigation department and other Field Officers should be filled up by qualified people.
(His discussion remains inconclusive-to be continued on the next day).
The House rose at 2.00 p.m. and stood adjourned till 10.00 a.m. on Wednesday the 2nd April, 1997.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.