(Wednesday, the 26th June, 2002)

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


        Starred Questions Nos.26 to 35 with Supplementaries thereto and No.36 without any Supplementary were disposed of.


        Quoting Rule 300 (1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Shri. T.H. Rangad, raised a point of order with regard to his Calling Attention Notice under Rule 54 (1) already submitted by him on 22.6.2002 on a matter of urgent public importance relating to the strike by Upper Primary School Teachers which is going on till today. The hon. Member desires to know why nobody from the Government side come forward for talk with the striking teachers on their Ten Charter of Demands. He called for an assurance from the Government to talk to them immediately. He also urged upon the Assembly Secretariat to see and place the issue accordingly.

        Clarifying the stand of the Government in this regard, Shri. D.D. Lapang, Deputy Chief Minister stated that Government was not informed that the Calling Attention Notice of the hon. Member from Laban has been fixed on 2.7.2002.

        The Deputy Chief Minister further refuted the allegation that the Government had refused to talk to the striking teachers and apprised the august House that the Government is taking step with all seriousness to call and meet them at the level of the Commissioner but out of twelve teachers invited to the meeting only eight of them turned up in his office Chamber to discuss the matter at 2.30 p.m. yesterday and that they would be meeting again at 3.30 p.m. today in the Chamber of the Chief Minister to discuss on the demands of the teachers.


        Grants Nos.1 and 2 were passed since there was no cut motion.

        Dr. F.A. Khonglam, Chief Minister, moved Grant No.3.

        Shri. T.H. Rangad, moved his cut motion against this grant. The mover expressed unhappiness on the huge expenditure of the large Council of Ministers and apprehended that the amount asked for now will not suffice and that Government may come again with another Supplementary demand before the close of the financial year. He stated that the present Government has gone from bad to worse in that it is giving equated ranks to the M.L.As as Chairman in the District level Committees which he said it is a wastage of public money. He suggested to curtail the size of the Council of Ministers within the coalition.

        Shri. C.R. Marak supported the cut motion.

        Replying to the points raised by the mover and the Member who supported the cut motion, Chief Minister, Dr. F.A. Khonglam stated that the present ministry comprises of 39 Ministers of Cabinet rank and six Ministers of State and that as regards the size, he mentioned that there is no provision in the Constitution and that the Government of India has not put any ban on this.

        On the question of frequent tourings by the Ministers outside the State, the Chief Minister replied that as per Government's circular, the Minister has to obtain the consent of the Chief Minister for every official tours and that for any unofficial tour they have to spend from their pockets. He also replied to the queries of the mover and assured that his points will be examined so that unnecessary expenditure by the Ministers is restricted as far as practicable.

        The cut motion was ultimately withdrawn by the mover with leave of the House and Grant No.3 was passed.

        Grant No.4 was passed since there was no cut motion.

        Shri. O.N. Shyrmang, moved Grant No.5.

        In the absence of the hon. Member who has submitted the cut motion, Shri. T.H. Rangad was permitted by the Chair to move the same on behalf of Shri. A.L. Hek. The hon. Mover stated that the EPIC was very much under process and the charge is Rs.25/- per duplicate copy which falls heavily on poor people in the rural areas. He suggested that the rate should be reduced to Rs.5/- per duplicate copy or should be made free of cost since these photographs are not intentionally destroyed but have become mutilated. He requested the Government to make budgetary allocation for the EPIC.

        Replying, Shri. O.N. Shyrmang, Minister incharge Elections informed the mover that the Government is seized of the problem faced by the people and have decided to give free of cost for the duplicate copies and assured that the point has been noted by the concerned department to see that people do not suffer.

        The cut motion was thereafter withdrawn by the mover with leave of the House and Grant No.5 was passed.

        Grant No.6 was passed since there was no cut motion.

        Shri. O.N. Shyrmang, moved Grant No.7.

        Shri. T.H. Rangad, moved his cut motion against Grant No.7. The hon. Mover of the cut motion discussed on the non-availability of non-judicial Stamps to the members of the public for posting tenders and filing of affidavits etc. Since these stamps are indented from the Central Security Press at Nasik and were not printed here. He proposed that the amount asked for should be enhanced so that these stamps are made available to the public.

        Shri. C.R. Marak supported the cut motion.

        Clarifying the position, Shri. O.N. Shyrmang, Minister incharge of Stamps and Registration replied that State Government has exhausted all possible efforts to obtain adequate quantity of court fee Stamps from the Central Security Press at Nasik but that the Press was not in a position to supply the requirement due to shortage in production of stamps of various categories. However, the Minister incharge told the House that Government is pursuing the matter with the Central Security Press, Nasik and that in the meantime has assured to ensure adequate supply of stamps within the next few weeks.

        The cut motion was afterwards withdrawn by the mover with the leave of the House and Grant No.7 was passed.

        Dr. F.A. Khonglam, Chief Minister moved Grant No.8.

        Shri. T.H. Rangad moved his cut motion against this Grant. Highlighting the influences of the illicit liquor manufactured by local people in the villages, the hon. Mover suggested the Government to legalise this item, to issue those people with licences and to open proper outlets or to be sold only in Licensed bars and to prohibit the sale of liquor to the minors.

        Shri. C.R. Marak, Shri. N.N. Simchang supported whereas Shri. T.N. Marak and Shri. K.C. Boro, opposed the cut motion.

        In reply, Dr. F.A. Khonglam, Chief Minister, Minister incharge of Excise, stated that as a matter of fact, the Government in the past had initiated ways and means to legalise country made or illicit liquor and that a meeting had been held between the District Council, the Syiems, the Sirdars and few Lyngdohs at one point of time on the question of legalizing illicit liquor. However, he pointed that the Government is in line with the suggestion but the problem now is that local brewery is the subject matter of the Autonomous District Councils to entrust the Hima or the Syiem for that matter with power to grant licences to local manufacturer of country spirit who are now sharing the royalty at 60 : 40 basis which process is continuing till now. He assured that Government will examine to see that the stuff is free of contamination to improve the quality and to earn more revenue.

        (The cut motion was withdrawn by the mover with the leave of the House and Grant No.8 was passed.)


        Before moving Grant No.9 as listed, Dr. Mukul Sangma, Minister incharge Taxation, quoting Rule 300 (1) raised a point of order under Rule 148 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business that for any cut motion, three days notice ahead of the grant to be move should be communicated to the concern department or to the Minister incharge. He expressed regret that he has received this only yesterday evening.

        Shri. C.R. Marak supported the point of order.

        Making his observation in this regard, the Chair ruled that the point has been noted.

        Dr. Mukul Sangma, moved Grant No.9.

        Shri. C.R. Marak moved his cut motion on this Grant. The hon. Mover discussed on the requirement for infrastructure by the tax officials as well as on the leakage of revenue to the State. He mentioned that tax officials are not sufficient to take up the task as a result of which, there has been leakage  of revenue. He suggested that more vehicles be provided including residential quarters and uniforms to the tax officials.

        Shri. N.N. Simchang, Shri. T.H. Rangad supported the cut motion.

        Shri. A.T. Mondal took part.

        In reply, Dr. Mukul Sangma, Minister incharge Taxation said that the Taxation Department it has been functioning under severe constraints in not having enough infrastructure and sufficient officials. However, he pointed out that notwithstanding these bottlenecks, the department is taking step to increase its efforts to enhance cells collection of revenue to the State. Presenting a comparative figures for the last three years, the Minister incharge gave a clearance picture of the achievements in this regard. He also told the House that Government is taking serious note on this to ensure that this department is equipped with enough man power at all levels and that presently, the department is making all out efforts to provide vehicles to the tax officials. He further told the House that it is not a fact that the department does not monitor the stock at various business houses and premises by the inspecting and enforcement staff who always visited premises of various dealers to verify the stocks and record the same on the book of returns submitted by each dealer. As regards additional resources mobilisation, he said that no stone shall be left unturned to tap areas in order to mobilise additional resources.

        Shri. T.H. Rangad sought more clarifications vis-a-vis State lottery and the agreement signed by the Government and the agency. However, due to shortage of time, his queries remain inconclusive, to be continued on the next day.


        The House rose at 2 p.m. and stood adjourned till 10 a.m. tomorrow the 27th June, 2002.

  Meghalaya Legislative Assembly