Address by Shri. A.A. RAHIM Governor of Meghalaya
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly
12th January, 1990
MR. SPEAKER AND HON'BLE MEMBERS,
I am happy to have this opportunity of meeting and addressing you in this august House today. First of all I would like to extend to all the Hon'ble Members my heartiest greetings for the New Year. I am sure that with the active involvement of all the members in the development of Meghalaya, 1990's will be a decade of remarkable progress for our State. This is the first time that I am addressing the House since my assumption of the office of the Governor of Meghalaya. It is also the first time that the Assembly is being addressed by a Governor who has been appointed exclusively for Meghalaya.
2. This session has been summoned to ratify the Constitution (Sixty-second Amendment) Bill, 1989 which has been passed by Parliament to extend the Constitutional provisions for reserving seats in the House of the People and the Legislative Assemblies for members of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Anglo-Indian Community by another ten years from 26th January of this year.
The Bill is of importance for the whole nation and assumes special significance for our State. As the Hon'ble Members are aware this House had very forcefully pleaded for reserving most of the seats in our Assembly to the members of Scheduled Tribes and the national leadership had recognised the validity of our stand. Parliament in 1987 had amended the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act so as to reserve 55 seats for the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya. It is, therefore, a matter of gratification for the people of our State that such special provision for the Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes as also for the Anglo-Indian community is sought to be extended for a further period of ten years.
3. I am addressing this House as this is the first session in the New Year. The Plan discussions for finalising the Annual Plan 1990-91 are being held this month and the Chief Minister will be meeting the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission after the official level discussions are completed. I shall have the privilege of addressing this august House again during the next session when I shall outline the policies and programmes of the Government.
4. I am sure that the deliberations in this House will continue to be constructive and that the Meghalaya Legislature will maintain its reputation of being a model Assembly.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly
March 20, 1990
Addressed by Shri. A.A. RAHIM Governor of Meghalaya
MR. SPEAKER AND HON'BLE MEMBERS
I am glad to have this opportunity once again to address you in this august House for the second time this year. In this address I would like to briefly outline the policies and programmes of the Government.
2. The recent General Elections to Lok Sabha have once again demonstrated that our country is a vibrant democracy. In our State, the elections passed off smoothly where the people participated enthusiastically, once again re-affirming the commitment to preserve and strengthen our democratic traditions.
These elections also had a special significance as with the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 years a large number of young men and women could exercise their franchise.
3. During the year, Meghalaya remained peaceful except for a few days around the middle of 1989. The situation was handled with firmness and tact. Government are obliged to the people of Meghalaya for the good sense and support they extended to maintain normalcy and to thwart attempts aimed at disruption of peace and tranquility.
4. Government are alive to the need to protect the distinct identity of the tribal people. At the same time just and fair treatment to all sections of the people living in the State will be ensured. During the year 1989 as many as 1945 infiltrators were detected of whom 869 were pushed back. Measures to prevent infiltration of foreigners will continue to be enforced. Patrolling will be intensified and a special squad for checking infiltration has been set up. The Central Scheme of construction of road-cum-fencing on the international border to check infiltration is in progress.
5. It has been the constant endeavour of the State to find amicable solution to the boundary problem with Assam. Unfortunately, however, there have been a few incidents on these borders and Government have to set up new administrative and police units so as to reassure the people living in these areas.
6. In order to bring about improvement in the performance of the police, steps have been taken to modernise its functioning by setting up a Computer Cell and a VHF Communication link and by providing other necessary equipments. Construction of administrative buildings and residential quarters for the police personnel in the Districts and Sub-divisions is progressing satisfactorily.
7. The year 1989-90 is the last year of the Seventh Plan and the Eight Plan is commencing from 1990-91. The Eighth Plan has, however, not yet been finalised in detail at the national level. The Annual Plan for 1990-91 has, therefore, been formulated in keeping with the likely broad framework of the Eighth Plan. The outlay for Meghalaya has been fixed at Rs.175 crores as against 150 crores for the current year. In the Annual Plan, emphasis is being laid on agricultural production including development of horticulture, protection, protection and creation of forests, socio-economic development of rural areas, poverty alleviation programmes and other social and economic services. Infrastructural development like roads and communication has also received due attention.
The Planning Commission have observed that financially Meghalaya is the best managed State in that it has always followed strict financial discipline and has not resorted to any overdrafts in the last ten years. While it is gratifying to receive such approbation, it also casts a special responsibility on all of us to ensure that this reputation is not only maintained but enhanced.
The Ninth Finance Commission have recently submitted their recommendations to President relating to the devolution of Central taxes and duties and grants to special category States. The recommendations have, however, not come up to the full expectations of Meghalaya. It is, however, fervently hoped that Government of India will continue to give sympathetic consideration to the needs of the special category States.
8. The total production of foodgrains is expected to reach 154 thousand metric tonnes during 1989-90. For 1990-91, the target is 184 tonnes metric tonnes. To achieve the target all necessary assistance to ensure availability of agricultural inputs to cultivators will be extended and more areas will be brought under improved cultivation. Demonstration, training and extension services will be further strengthened. Mechanised cultivation will be popularised. The regional centre for training and production of mushroom will be continued and further steps to increase mushroom production are contemplated. Two more research stations and laboratories will be established at Nongstoin and Williamnagar.
In the over-all strategy of agricultural development, horticulture will be given a greater role than was the case so far. The Credit-cum-Subsidy Scheme for horticulture introduced last year has received encouraging response from the people and it will be substantially expanded during the coming year. Other horticultural schemes to suit the agro-climatic conditions of the State are being drawn up. The existing fruit processing units are being strengthened. Schemes relating to encouragement of cultivation of tea and cash crops including cotton, oilseeds and spices will be continued and intensified. The first regulated market in Meghalaya at Garobadha is likely to start functioning by the end of 1990-91 while steps have been initiated to establish more such markets.
9. Various minor irrigation projects are being modernised a new projects undertaken. Steps for fuller utilisation of irrigation potential created are also under way. The Rongai Valley Irrigation Project which is the first-ever Medium Irrigation Scheme in Meghalaya has been approved and preliminary work has started. The foundation stone for the Project was laid by me on 7th December, 1989.
10. Live-stock and dairy farming can provide a major thrust to economic upliftment of the State and provide gainful employment to the people particularly in the rural areas. The Regional and District poultry breeding farms will be strengthened. New Veterinary aid centres in East Khasi and West Garo Hills Districts and a Mobile Veterinary Dispensary in Sohra Subdivision have been set up during the year. Establishment of Broiler Chick Production Farm and Duck Breeding Farm will be taken up. About 1,500 improved piglets have been produced in various piggery farms including the Regional Pig Breeding Centre at Kyrdemkulai which was set up in early 1989.
11. The fishery projects undertaken in recent past are expected to go into production by 1990-91. Pisciculturists will continue to be encouraged and financial assurance as well as extension training will be provided to them.
12. Co-operative movement is important and efforts are continued to instill the desired vitality at all levels of co-operative structures. The flow of credit through Co-operative Societies has been increasing. The ICDP in the East Khasi Hills District is making good progress. Steps to bring the West Garo Hills District under this programme have also been initiated. In the sphere of marketing, MECOFED has taken up procurement and marketing of potato in some pockets of East Khasi Hills by involving village level Co-operative and ensuring that farmers get remunerative prices for their produce. Over 2000 quintals of cotton have been procured in Garo Hills in collaboration with Cotton Corporation of India.
13. Forests constitute a valuable resource of the State. Rapid depletion of forests is a matter of serious concern calling for effective strategies to tackle the problem. Massive afforestation in Reserved Forests, true plantation in the depleted areas and creating more National Parks and Sanctuaries are the measures being undertaken in this regard. During 1990-91 Government propose to increase the Reserved Forest areas by 50 sq. Kms. In 1989-90 one park at Umiam and another at Tura have been created. Government have also brought out a policy on unified control of forests in line with the policy of the Government of India and in consultation with the Autonomous District Councils. For effective implementation of the policy Government will continue to have discussions with the authorities of the District Councils.
14. In order to combat jhuming, deforestation and practices harmful to ecology, necessary protective works in non-agricultural lands in both the abandoned jhum slopes and the mini-watersheds by way of reclothing them with cash crop, plantations of cash crops like rubber, cashew-nuts, coffee, etc., will be continued to be taken up during 1990-91.
15. The Rural Employment Programme of 'Jawahar Rozgar Yojana' where eighty per cent of the expenditure is to come from the Government of India is being implemented. For improving the economic condition of individual families in rural areas IRDP is progressing in all the Development Blocks in the State. For small and marginal farmers, land development, minor irrigation and scheme for supply of input are also under implementation for individual families and for the community as a whole. Block level Committees have been set up to identify programmes to be taken up in the villages to promote growth in rural economy. An instituted for training the officials and non-officials involved in the rural development programmes and for studies in rural development has been set up at Nongsder.
16. The need for improving the economic condition of the people in the border areas has always been receiving close attention. Measures to improve their quality of life will continue and a special study team has been set up to suggest a policy for faster socio-economic development.
17. The Stage-IV of the Umiam-Umtru Hydro Election project is expected to be commissioned by December, 1990. Detailed investigation works on Stage-I of the Myntdu-Lashka Hydro Electric Project and the Lakroh Micro Hydel Project have been completed. These projects when implemented will considerably benefit the rural sector. Steps are being taken to improve power supply in Shillong city and other towns.
18. Promotion of appropriate industrial activity in the State so as to open up new avenues for gainful employment and to enlarge the resource base of the State is an important programme of Government. Drawing up of a Master Plan for the Byrnihat Industrial Area has been completed and further work will be continued in the coming year to provide necessary infrastructural facilities. In spite of various problems, the Tantalum Capacitor plant, which is one of the few such plants in the country in the field of electronics, has gone into production and efforts are being made it to go into full production. A Growth Centre under a Central Government Scheme has been selected in Meghalaya and further preliminary work to develop it will be taken up.
19. Sericulture and Handloom Weaving play an important role in ameliorating the economic conditions of the people. The programmes in sericulture to be taken up next year include additional plantation of silkworm food plants, improvement of existing plantations and establishment of two mulberry nurseries, one Muga nursery, one Chowki rearing centre, one Eri Spinning Centre and one Muga germplasm bank. In the area of handlooms a modernised handloom production centre and a centre for handloom research and design will be established.
20. Mineral investigations numbering nine in different parts of the State have been taken up during the current field season. The investigations will help generate data for preparation of mining schemes for mineral based industries. The Central Government have allowed Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporation to export coal from the State direct to Bangladesh with effect from the 24th July, 1989.
21. The road length in the State at the beginning of the current year was 5494 Kms., giving the road density of 24.49Kms. per 100 square Kms. By the end of the next year it is expected that the road length will increase to 5714 Kms. and the road density to 25.65 Kms. per 100 Sq. Kms.
22. Road Transport is the principal mode of transportation in the State. It is, therefore, essential that the State has a wide spread system of road transport. Meghalaya Transport Corporation has at present a fleet strength of 164 buses operating on 53 routes which connect all the District and Sub-Divisional headquarters and also several districts of the nearby States of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura. In order to provide better transport facilities, the Railway authorities have been requested to make a survey and suggest a suitable railway point in Jaintia Hills which may be connected with the Lumding-Badarpur section. As for Garo Hills the Working Group on Railways have recommended a line from Dudnoi to Depa which will be connected with the Jagighopa-Gauhati, section. For providing wayside amenities along the National Highways a Working Group has been formed to work out a scheme during 1990-91. Land for construction of an airport in West Garo Hills District has already been handed over to the National Airport Authority. Feasibility studies for erection of ropeways between selected points are being initiated.
23. Science and Technology continues to receive attention of the Government. Under the Research and Development Scheme rain water harvesting has been implemented in Cherrapunjee. Development of an improved cotton seed separator and improved Chulha is also being undertaken. Work on installation of a Midget Hydel Power Station are also going on. Next year, schemes on setting up of a Remote Sensing Centre and a mechanical workshop for designing and fabricating of appropriate technology machineries and equipments will be undertaken. With a view to popularising Science and Technology a scheme called "Students Project" has been introduced.
24. The Meghalaya State Unit of the National Informatics Centre Net Work has been set up at Shillong. District Units will also be set up in Districts to facilitate availability of uniform State-wise data base and to serve as a direct communication between the Centre and the State and the Districts. A Computer Cell was also set up during the current year in order to speed up the creation of the State's Information system and for effective monitoring of development programmes. Installing of an 8-terminal Computer System in the Rilang Building is also in progress.
25. Effective steps have been taken to realise the objectives spelt out in the State's White Paper on Education. Construction of about 1000 Lower Primary School buildings has been completed and 600 more such buildings have been taken up. Over 1300 teachers were appointed during 1988-89 and 1989-90. During 1990-91 about 150 schools will be set up in school-less villages. The Secondary and Higher Secondary system of education is being restructured so that it falls in line with the national pattern. Vocational education in selected trades will also be introduced to provide scope to the youth for self-employment. During the current year, 26 High Schools and 38 Middle English Schools located mostly in rural areas have been brought under the salary deficit scheme and seven High Schools and Middle English Schools have been provincialised. Measure have been taken to improve the quality of College education. The emoluments of College teachers have been revised. Technical education is also receiving due attention of the Government.
Human resource development for meeting the current and future manpower needs of the State has received greater attention of the Government. In the absence of institutions of higher technical and professional learning in the State, the Government have taken effective steps to secure more seats for boys and girls of Meghalaya in institutions outside the State particularly in the Medical, Engineering, Agricultural and Architectural disciplines.
26. Keeping the national sports policy in view, Government have formulated programmes for the development of sports and youth welfare. Improvement of existing playgrounds, sponsoring of sports personnel and promising young boys and girls for training and coaching outside the State and granting financial assistance to voluntary organisations are some of the measures adopted for the purpose. Construction of a multi-purpose Indoor Sports Hall at Tura an estimated cost of Rs.15.20 lakhs is expected to be completed soon. The Meghalaya Junior Football Team had the proud achievement of becoming the winners of the 27th National Junior Football Championship in 1989 jointly with the Railways.
27. A proposal to restructure the Department of Art and Culture is being considered with a view to promote arts, preserve tribal forms of dance and music, project cultural heritage and encourage literature in local languages of the State. A District Museum at Tura has been set up.
28. Government have been making efforts to achieve the objective envisaged in the National Health Policy which aims at a radical change in health-care measures and improvement of the health status of people. Four more Primary Health Centres and 34 more Sub-Centres have been made functional during 1989-90. The number of such centres will be increased during 1990-91.
The Community Health Centres at Cherrapunjee has been expanded with additional facilities. Construction of the Community Health Centres at Baghmara, Resubelpara and Nongpoh are likely to be completed next year.
Proposal for setting up of a testing centre for Oral Polio Vaccine (OPVT) was approved by the Central Government and the same will be taken up during the Eighth Plan Period. An AIDS cell will also be set up to screen and test blood samples of donors. Pasteur Institute, Shillong has also succeeded in manufacturing of a more potent BPL Inactivated Rabies Vaccine. Cholera and Typhoid Vaccines manufactured at the Institute are regularly supplied to the States in the North Eastern Region and occasionally to other States as well.
29. Various water supply schemes, both in urban as well as in rural areas, under the State and Centrally Sponsored Schemes are under execution. At present 2844 villages have been covered under the Water supply scheme and 500 more are expected to be covered soon. During 1990-91, the target is to cover 750 more villages. Under the Rain Water Harvesting Scheme necessary infrastructure will be provided in the next year to ensure availability of water to about 80 villages having little or no water sources at all. Phase-I of the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme has been completed and at present about 90 lakhs litres of water are supplied daily to Shillong. The Tura Water Supply Scheme Phase-II was commissioned on 3rd March, 1990.
30. A policy on State Housing has been adopted with the objective of encouraging individuals and co-operative societies to build houses. Assistance in the form of subsidies and inputs will be provided by the Government. The Middle Income and Higher Income Groups Schemes will continue to be implemented through the State Housing Board in collaboration with HUDCO.
31. Social Services for the welfare of women, children, the physically handicapped, juvenile delinquents, the aged and the infirm will be strengthened. So far twenty Centrally Sponsored Integrated Child Development Services Schemes have been implemented. The two Training Centres for Anganwadi workers at Shillong and Tura are functioning with the capacity of 50 trainees in each batch of the training session. During the current year, 25 juvenile delinquents are being taken care of in the Children's Home and 309 physically handicapped persons have received training in bamboo and cane works, carpentry, knitting and book binding during the Seventh Plan Period.
32. Steps to promote tourism are being continued and the infrastructural facilities for the same are being augmented. A floating Restaurant at Umiam lake has been commissioned recently as also Lum Nehru Park put up by the Forest Department. The Restaurant-cum-Rest House at Cherrapunjee is also being completed and will be commissioned soon. New incentives are being worked out to establish the role tourism can play in promoting the economic well-being of the people of the State.
33. Government have constituted the Shillong Development Authority to promote and secure the development of Shillong according to the Master Plan and enforce various measures to control haphazard growth. The Master Plan for Shillong is in the final stage. Effective measures to tackle traffic congestion will also form a part of this Plan. The Master Plan for Tura is proposed to be finalised during 1990-91. The National Institute of Urban Affairs has prepared a broad urbanization policy for the North Eastern Region and an urbanization pattern for Meghalaya has also been suggested therein. The report is under examination. Government have also decided to amalgamate Urban Development and Municipal Administration Departments and a Department of Urban Affairs has been set up to achieve better co-ordination in implementation of urban development schemes and for effective management of urban centres in the State. Urban Development Department is also implementing Nehru Rozgar Rojana for the urban poor.
34. In spite of various constraints, supply lines to the State have been kept open and the price level has remained stable. Public Distribution System in the State is playing a vital role not only in bringing essential commodities within the reach of the people but also in controlling prices in the open market. Various steps to protect the interest of the consumers and to create consumer awareness have been taken. Redressal agencies as per law have been set up by constituting one State Commission for the State and a District Forum for each of the five Districts with high ranking judicial and legal personnel and prominent members of the public to hear complaints of the consumers and afford redress. The legal provisions relating to weights and measures are also being enforced.
35. The State continues to enjoy peaceful industrial relations. The minimum wages of skilled and unskilled labour are being revised.
36. To meet exigencies and help the administration in times of need, the Meghalaya Home Guards and Civil Defence Department continues to impart training in various fields to the volunteers both in rural and urban areas of the State. During the current year, 1166 volunteers have been trained.
37. Government are keen to improve the work culture at all levels of the administration. The Meghalaya Administrative Training Institute has started functioning and training programmes for various categories of officers and staff are being organised. Attention has also been given to streamlining personnel management and steps like finalisation of Service Rules for a number of Departments have been taken. Government are also alive to the needs of its employees and pensioners and have taken steps from time to time to improve the service conditions to meet their legitimate career expectations. Government are confident that the employees will strive to achieve the highest standard of efficiency and devotion to duty. Construction Programmes for office and residential buildings for the various departments have been undertaken. Government have decided to undertake reconstruction of buildings of the Meghalaya House at Calcutta for optimal utilisation of land and buildings and to generate additional resources for the State.
38. Jails will be modernised under the Government of India scheme. Printing technology is being upgraded, Government machinery will be strengthened for dissemination of public information.
39. Steps are being taken to have a permanent Bench of the High Court established at Shillong. The first Lok Adalat in the State was held at Shillong in 1989 where 87 Motor Accident Claims cases were settled and compensation of Rs.27.86 lakhs awarded to the claimants. Lok Adalat was also held at Tura on the 17th of this month. More Lok Adalats will be held at other places of the State in the near future so as to dispense justice expeditiously to the deserving section.
40. District Councils as Constitutional bodies will continue to receive assistance and co-operation from the Government for discharging their functions in the autonomous districts of the State.
41. Three State Awards in the fields of Social Service, Art and Literature and Sports instituted last year were given during the current year also and shall be continued.
42. In the Youth Parliament Quiz Contest which was organised by the Government of India in 1989 as part of Jawaharlal Nehru Centenary Celebrations, Meghalaya, represented by two students of Pinemount School, was one of the two State teams which qualified themselves from a group of 11 States of the Eastern Zone and which took part in the finals held in Bombay.
43. Additional measures have been introduced to increase excise revenue. There is also a marked increase in the collection of Sales Tax and other taxes. The Small Savings Scheme is being popularised in rural areas also. During 1989-90 the collection of small savings amounted to Rs.20.05 crores till December 1989 against the target of Rs.10 crores fixed for the whole year.
44. During the current session legislative items of the House will include consideration and passing of The Lepers (Meghalaya Repeal) Bill, 1990, the Meghalaya State Housing Board (Amendment) Bill, 1990 and the Meghalaya Arbitration (Extension and Amendment) Bill, 1990 besides the relevant Financial Bills.
45. I am confident that the Hon'ble Ministers will maintain the noble traditions for which the Meghalaya Legislature is justly famous and their sagacity and wisdom will continue to steer the State towards the common goal of social and economic development of the State and its people, a task to which all of us are committed. I wish you success in your deliberations.
J A I H I N D