(MONDAY, THE 2nd JULY, 2001).

        The House met at 10 a.m. with the Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair. The day was devoted for the transaction of Government Business.


        Starred questions Nos.227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 234, 236 with supplementaries thereto, Nos. 235, 237 upto 252 without supplementary, were disposed of.


        (1) Under Rule 49 (A) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Shri A.D. Marak raised a zero hour discussion to a matter of urgent public importance with regard to a news item published in the "Meghalaya Guardian" dated 24.06.2001 under the caption "Taxi Body Express Concern Over Petrol Hike".

        Moving his zero hour notice, the hon. Member, maintained that the proposed taxi of 10 % on petrol products, motor spirit and lubricants, may not bring revenue to the State and instead of getting more, revenue it may encourage black marketing of these items. He urged upon the government to review the proposal of this tax on petrol products etc.

        Replying to the zero hour, Shri S.S. Lyngdoh, Minster in-charge Taxation, apprised the hon. Member from Dadengiri that keeping in view the issues raised in this august House today,  Government propose to review the matter in so far as the proposal to increase the existing rate of Surcharge under the Meghalaya Sales of Petroleum Products including Motor Spirit & Lubricants Taxation Act from 2% to 10% is concerned.

        He stated that while the increase of rates of other taxes, or surcharge etc., proposed in the Budget Speech will be given immediate effect, the proposed increase in respect of rate of surcharge on Petroleum Products and the imposition of luxury tax on cigarettes and cigars will pend till the matter is further reviewed keeping in view the issues raised in this august House today and that a suitable decision will soon be taken after ascertaining and considering the factual position of all aspects thereof.

        (2) Under Rule 49(A) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Shri P.M. Syiem, raised a zero hour discussion with regard to a news item published in "U Nongsain Hima" dated 26.6.2001 under the caption "Pynrem  Jur ki Nongthoh Kot Khubor Ia ki Pulit (The Press condemned the Police").

        Quoting newspaper's report, the  hon. mover of the zero hour stated that the action of the police in this regard tantamount to infringement on the freedom of the Press. He asked why the law is applicable only here in Meghalaya and not in the whole country in so far as the Electronic media like the national news and private channels are showing the unlawful activities of certain individual groups, and organisations on the televisions so as to  focus on the affairs of such organisations and to keep the general public informed. He wanted to know the stand of the Government on this.

        Replying to the zero hour discussion, Shri T.H. Rangad, Minister in-charge Home (Police) informed the mover that considering that the activities on the part of the local Cable Network tantamount to assisting the banned militant outfit in promoting its aims and objectives besides creating a  fear psychosis among the general public, the District Administration of East Khasi Hills had asked the other Cable Network, viz., U Peitngor Cable News (PCN) and Ri Khasi Channel not to telecast the same through their Cable Network, on 24.6.2001, and that defying the request, the PCN and Ri Khasi Channel also telecast the same through their Cable Network in the night of 24th June, 2001. The Minster in-charge stated considering that such act on the part of the above Cable Network Operators tantamount to assisting the Unlawful Activities of the  banned militant Organisation by exhibiting their propaganda materials and thereby attracting the provision of Section 13 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 the District Administration has already registered the following cases against them.

        However, he told the House that on 25th of June, 2001, the members of the Press Corps of Shillong met the Chief Minister of Meghalaya and discussed the matter with him. During the discussion, it has been made clear that State Government has no intention to suppress or curtail the freedom of the Press, but at the same time the Government does not interfere with the District Administration in their exercise of duties enjoined by the law and any steps taken by them under the due process of law.


        (1) Shri K.C. Boro called the attention of the Minister in-charge Tourism under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business to the news item appearing in the Local Daily, "Shillong Times" dated 18th June, 2001 under the caption "Jinxed Crow Borough Hotel Project Court slaps Rs.2,23 crore award on inept MTDC".

        Quoting from the newspaper's report, the hon. Member referred to the reply of the Minister in-charge Tourism the other day to his supplementaries on Starred question pertaining to this subject and wanted to be cleared as to whether the newspaper report of the reply of the Minister in-charge on the floor of the Assembly was correct. He demanded that (1) responsibility should be fixed on whoever is responsible (2) that an Assembly Committee consisting of members from both sides of the House be constituted to enquire into the affairs of the Crow Borough Project (3) The total original project cost of the Crow Borough Hotel (4) what was the estimated cost of the project and how much have been paid so far our of this estimated cost including the amount of Rs.1.30 crore already paid to the Company ? (5) What is the percentage of work completed in the last fourteen years and how long will it take to complete the project?

        In reply to the above Calling Attention, Shri K.C. Momin, Tourism Minister, apprised the hon. mover that his suggestions will be looked into and necessary action will be taken on those who are responsible. With regard to the constitution of the Assembly Committee, he clarified that the case is still going on in the Court and hence, it is not an appropriate time to constitute such a Committee since disposal of any records at this point of time, may subsidise the Court. However, he informed the hon. Member from Rajabala that the original estimate of the project is 4.5. crore which was subsequently revised to 9.50 crore, and that the work completed so far is 60 percent including civil works and the amount that the MTDC has already paid for the work done including settlement of the Court case was Rs.8.35 crore. He assured that Government will try its best to see that this vexed problem with reference to the Crow Borough Hotel are resolved once for all.

        (2) Shri P.M. Syiem, called the attention of the Minster in-charge Home (Police) under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business to the news item appearing in Khasi Daily "Mawphor" dated 26th June, 2001 under the Caption "Lada kem ia ki trai Cable News, puk yn tur phah kem baroh ki nongthoh khubor".

(The Minister in-charge Home (Police) placed a statement on the table of the House.)


        Shri C.B. Marak, Chairman, Committee on Subordinate Legislation to present the Report of the Committee.


        Shri S.S. Lyngdoh, Minister in-charge, Taxation laid the following :-

( i )

The Meghalaya Industries (Sales Tax Exemption) Schemes, 2001.

( ii )

The Meghalaya Amusement and Betting Tax (Amendment) Rules, 2001.


        Shri H.S. Lyngdoh, Member, Rules Committee presented the Report of the Committee.


        The House rose at 12 noon and stood adjourned till 10 a.m. tomorrow, the 3rd July, 2001.


Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.