MEGHALAYA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
( Wednesday, the 4th April,2007 )
The House met at 10 a.m. with the Hon’ble Deputy Speaker in the Chair. The day was devoted for the transaction of Government Business.
1. QUESTIONS :
Starred Questions from 173 to 178 were disposed of while Starred Questions from 179 to 194 could not be disposed of for want of time.
2. CALLING ATTENTION NOTICE :
Under Rule 54 (1) of the Rules of procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Shri Manas Choudhuri drew the attention of the Minister to the news item published in the Shillong Times dated 19th and 20th February, 2007 under the Captions “ Militants all out against timber smuggling” and “Forest staff lack equipment to check timber felling”.
Initiating the discussion, the mover stated there had been rampant felling of tress in the State especially in Garo Hills and the militants have taken the task upon themselves to protect the forests. The Forest Department lacks the man power to protect forest and wild life.
Replying to the Calling Attention, the Chief Minister informed that on the 16.2.07, the militant organization LAEF circulated leaflets that it will protect the forest from smugglers. The Chief Minister stated that this is nothing but just to gain support for the organization. However, the Government is keeping a closed watch over the situation.
3. RESOLUTION :
Shri M. Rava moved that “This House do now resolve to allot atleast 1˝ (One and half) kothas of home estate land to the MLAs of rural areas who has no residence in the Shillong city, especially, the MLAs of Garo Hills, whoever applies for the purpose to the Government of Meghalaya”. Initiating the discussion, the mover stated that since Shillong is the hub of education, MLAs who hailed from Garo hills found it difficult to rent a house for their stay of their children because of their economic condition and, therefore, urged upon the Government to allot lands at minimal rate.
Shri Manas Choudhuri was aversed to the idea because of the land scarcity and, moreover, the MLAs would be housed at the new Assembly site.
Shri T. N. Marak was of the view that MLAs who have served the State for over 30 to 40 years, the Government could consider the proposal. He rather felt that MLAs representing the rural areas should be made comfortable while dealing with the public.
Shri Boldness Nongum opposed the resolution because it will look bad in the eyes of the public. The duties of the MLAs is to serve the downtrodden.
Shri A. L. Hek while supporting the Resolution favours that instead of giving 3000 Sq. Ft to the political party, it should given 30, 000 Sq. Ft so that the party can allot a plot of land to the MLA.
Shri Sengran R. Sangma agreed that MLAs were facing problems with regard to accommodation. However, he felt that as public representative, a supreme sacrifice should be made in order to serve the people.
Shri P. T. Sawkmie while opposing the resolution was of the view that MLAs should not think of themselves but the downtrodden people.
Shri E. K. Sangma in supporting the resolution prefers that quarters befitting the public representative should be given.
Shri P. M. Syiem opposed the resolution and was of the considered opinion that since land had become a scarce commodity should think very carefully before embarking upon any decision. Felt that the Government should help those people who really needs it.
Replying to the resolution, the Chief Minister informed the House that the High Power Committee was very much in favour to construct a cottage type house for every MLAs in the new Assembly Complex and requested them to have patience in this regard. He, however, stressed that the quarter of the losing MLA should be handed over to the new incumbent.
(The Resolution was withdrawn by leave of the House)
Since no member was willing to participate in the Motion moved by Shri P. T. Sawkmie on the working condition of the Civil Servants in the State, the Chief Minister was called upon to reply.
Replying to the motion, the Chief Minister said that the Government had been doing its best to improve the working condition and to uplift the standard of administration by sending officers and staff for training inside and outside the State to make them more effective. He also spoke at length on the need to maintain punctuality. The setting up of another Pay Commission is also on the anvil. He also wished that the State should not be a liability but an asset to the country as a whole.
Shri Manas Choudhury moved that "This House do now discuss the plight of teachers owing to mismanagement of private colleges in the State".
While initiating the discussion felt that the mushrooming of private colleges should be regulated in a proper manner not too hard and not to soft by the Government so that it would fill up all the criteria required for its setting.
Shri P. T. Sawkmie was of the opinion that private schools and colleges should be encouraged so that the local qualified youths can get employment.
Shri P. M. Syiem was also of the opinion that private schools and colleges should thrive. Big companies should also be allowed to set up schools and colleges in the State but felt that they should be regulated by the Government for the interest of the State and not to an individual.
The Minister in his replies to the motion stated that with all the constraints, there is need to have private colleges but should be regulated by the Government for the interest of the student in particular and the State in general. He informed the House that the Government is under the process of framing rules and regulations for the private institutions.
The House rose at 2.00 p.m. to meet again on Thursday, the 5th April, 2006 at 10.00 a.m.