MEGHALAYA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
BUDGET SESSION
MONDAY, THE 16TH APRIL, 2007.
BULLETING NO. 14.


The House met at 10.00 am with the Hon’ble Deputy Speaker in the Chair. The day’s proceedings was devoted for the transaction of Government business.

QUESTIONS :

Starred Questions No 319 to 326 were disposed of.

CALLING ATTENTION NOTICE :

Under Rule 54 (1) of the rules of Proceedure and Conduct of Business of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Shri P.M. Syiem drew the attention of the Minister to the news item published in the Shillong Times dt. 21.03.07 under the Caption “Shillong Civil Hospital lacks man power, facilities”.


Initiating the discussion, the mover wanted to know who is responsible for this lack of man power to attend to the sick patients forcing them to seek treatment in private hospital. Although crores of rupees had been spent for the purchase of medicines the poor patients had to buy from outside. He, therefore, felt that the Government should look in this matter very seriously to mitigate the sufferings of the people who hailed from the rural areas. He also wanted to know the ratio of the doctor and felt that they should adhere strictly to the code of ethics. The doctors, before embarking on the treatment of the patient should be informed of the medical risks.


The Minister i/c Health informed that the number of Staff in the hospital are – General doctors – 35,
Specialists–29, para medical Staff–64 and Grade IV Staff–91.


The duties of the Staff are so arranged that it will cover 24 hours service to meet any exigencies. Defects have come to light in so far as blood transfusion is concerned when there are no relatives or attendants to collect the blood from the Blood Bank. The Minister stated that the Department had examined the matter thoroughly and necessary instructions were issued to deal with such eventualities in future.

DISCUSSION UNDER RULE 50 :

Under Rule 50 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Shri. Manas Chaudhuri raised a discussion to the news item published in “The Shillong Times” dt 2-4-2007 under the Caption “Subha yet to pay Rs.25 crores to State”.
Initiating the discussion, Shri. Manas Chaudhuri wanted:

  1. Why it was soft pedaling on the M/S Associates in regard to the payment of Rs.25 crores to the Government which could have been used for developmental activities. 
  2. File a criminal proceedings against the Firm. 
  3. Constitute a judicial enquiry to look into the matter. 
  4. Responsibility must be fixed on any erring officer. 
  5. Corrective measures should be taken. 


Shri. P. T. Sawkmie was of the view that the Govt. should explore ways and means to realize this amount of money to the tune of Rs.25 crores because with this amount, another district could have been created. He contended that something is wrong somewhere because the Department has not yet been able to come out with a reply on this issue. 

Shri. E. K. Sangma wanted to know the steps of the Government to get back Rs.25 crores. 

Shri. A. L. Hek felt that if the Firm could not pay back this amount, his collateral security should be forfeited because he is a defaulter. 

Shri. P. M. Syiem felt that this was a case of cheating and felt that the Government should not brook any delay to get back this amount, if necessary, approach the Court. 


Replying to this discussion, the Chief Minister stated that on 7th October, 2004, the M/S Associates requested the Government to review the terms of the Agreement and to fix the rate of Government revenue on the basis of percentage of the sales turnover instead of the agreed amount of Rs.30,000 per draw. The Distributor also requested for a reduction of the agreed amount from Rs.12 crores to Rs.6 crores per annum. On the 19th April 2005, M/S. Associates sent a legal notice that they have received information that Govt. was planning to ban all lotteries which would involve huge losses and as a result the Govt. would have to bear the losses. The additional solicitor general of India and the Additional Advocate General felt that the Govt. should negotiate settlement in order to gain maximum revenue. Based on this, the Govt. constituted a Negotiation Committee on 5th January, 2006 headed by the Secretary, ERTS Department with representatives from Law and Finance Departments. The Committee arrived at a decision and recommended that the calculation may be rationalized to a flat calculation of Rs.30,000 per draw X 14,936 draws thus bringing the total to Rs.44.808 crores instead of Rs.54.078 crores and the Distributor was intimated accordingly. The Chief Minister assured the House that the matter relating to payment of the pending dues by M/S Associate is an on going process. The Govt. in this regard, will spare no pain to ensure that the dues payable to and receivable by Govt. are realized in due course, even if it leads to litigation as a last and on avoidable resort. 

MOTIONS :

Shri. P. T. Sawkmie felt that industrialization should be opened up to create more employment opportunities for the educated unemployed youths and also to bring more revenue for the State exchequer. Simultaneously, poverty will come down considerably. The setting up of industries in the industrial areas, there has been no protest from the people whatsoever because they realized the importance of industries. EPIP is a failed industrial sector and, therefore, needs revamping . With the policy that the Govt. has declared, he hoped that Meghalaya will be one of the leading industries in the country provided there is security to the private investors. However, care should be taken that influx from outside the State does not occur. He was of the opinion that another EPIP should be set up at Mendipathar. Care should be taken that the setting up of industries should not affect the paddy fields and water sources. If at all land is acquired for the purpose, a rehabilitation package should be given. 

Shri. H. S. Lyngdoh also participated and spoke at length on agriculture.

Shri. Manas Chaudhuri – With the look East policy, the Govt. of India has embarked upon an ambitious plan to have a Trans – Asia road link up to Vietnam via Bangladesh and Myanmar. There is also a proposal of a road link from Delhi to Hanoi which will pass through Meghalaya and felt that the Govt. should prepare itself to open up trade with foreign countries. There is no doubt in his mind that tourism is a gold mine provided the Govt. knows how to tap it. Therefore, to bring revenue to the State through tourism, all departments of the State should work in tandem to have a holistic approach. With regard to Free Trade Agreement, is the Govt. of Meghalaya ready for this proposal since no agreement is required to do trade between two different countries. He felt that lorries coming to Meghalaya from different countries can be tapped to bring revenue to the State exchequer. The industry on garments could be set up to provide employment to the educated youths. He was of the considered opinion that the Govt. must do the following :

  1. Restore credibility of the apparatus called Govt. 
  2. The industrial policy which has been debated and accepted should be placed before the House. 
  3. Prevent the loss of brain drain from going outside the State by giving the boys and girls good opportunities.
  4. The Chief Minister should invite the tribals and non tribals NRIs to Meghalaya to invest in the State.


Shri. P. M. Syiem questioned the Govt. whether the State is ready for a full scale industrialization – be it major or minor industries. If it is set up, how many jobs can the industry provide to the local people and what is the amount that the State will get. As it is at present, the State is not getting any benefit from the industries because of subsidy and incentive which the Govt. is extending from time to time. He referred to a statistical handbook of 1989 and 1999 and wondered how many local youths have been deployed. If it is not looked from that angle, felt that the State is not yet ready for full scale industrialization. 


ADJOURNMENT :

The House rose at 2.00 p.m. to meet again at 10.00 a.m. on Tuesday, the 17th April, 2007.

Secretary,
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly