MARCH 19, 2003


Mr. Speaker,

    The Hon'ble Members of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

1.    At the very outset I extend my heartiest congratulation to all of you for having been elected as the representatives of the people of Meghalaya. I have full faith and confidence that you will up-hold the honour and dignity of this August House in its best tradition. I am also confident that you will discharge your duties and responsibilities as members of this August House successfully for the progress and development of the State and its people.    

2.    As you are all aware, the recently held Assembly Election saw the successful application of Electronic Voting Machines and the documented identification during voting which have been introduced in the State for the first time. The credit for this as well as the peaceful poll goes to the enlightened voters, to the State Election Machinery and to the Law and Order machinery of the State.

3.    I also take this opportunity to condole the sudden demise of (L) Shri Krishan Kant, Vice President of India, the death of Ms. Kalpana Chawla, the Indian born U.S. Astronaut and those security personnel and civilians who died at the hands of the militants in the State.

4.    During the last one year the law and order situation in the State was largely peaceful. The State remained calm and unaffected by communal incidents which took place in some other parts of the country. For this, I congratulate the people of the State who maintained peace and communal harmony. There is, however, no denying the fact that the militant organisations were active in different parts of the State during the year. Insurgency related crimes like armed robbery, dacoity, extortion, kidnapping for ransom and murder have been continuing in different parts of the State and such acts create a sense of fear and insecurity amongst the citizens and deserve condemnation by all.

5.    The State Government is firmly committed to maintain law and order and to tackle the problem posed by the banned militant outfits. The State Police Force will be further strengthened with better equipments, communication and training facilities under the scheme for modernisation of the State police force. The Central Government will be asked for deploying more Central Para Military Forces to assist the State Police in countering insurgency and restoring the confidence of the people in the affected areas.  The Government will, however, keep an open door for a dialogue with any group of people with a view to ventilating their genuine grievances and problems.

6.    In order to check infiltration of foreign nationals into the State, the Central Government will be moved to extend the scheme of Multi-purpose identity Cards to Meghalaya also. Steps will also be taken with the Government of India for proper deployment of B.S.F along the Indo-Bangladesh border to prevent infiltration and also to check cross-border movements of militants and terrorists.

7.    The Government will strive towards providing a clean transparent and efficient public service. There had been serious allegation of corruption in Government during the last few years. Concrete steps will be taken to strengthen the vigilance setup in the State to deal with such matters effectively.

8.    While the ongoing programme of construction and modernisation of jails in the State will continue, a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme for strengthening and improving the security system in the jails will be implemented. The Civil Defence and Home guards will be sensitised through proper training to maintain the required level of preparedness in meeting unforeseen natural calamities, etc.

9.    The approved outlay for the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-07) of Meghalaya is Rs.3009.00 crore. The approved outlay for the current year's Annual Plan 2002-03 which is the first year of the Tenth Plan is Rs.545.00 crore. The proposed outlay for the Annual Plan 2003-04 is Rs.605.00 crore. As against the target national growth rate of 8 percent of GDP during the Tenth Plan, the growth rate projected by the Planning Commission for the State of Meghalaya is 6.3 percent of GDP. While the priority areas of my Government during the current year will be Agriculture and Allied Services including Irrigation, Rural Development, Road Communication, Education, Health and Water Supply, the Power Sector and the Industries Sector will also receive special attention.     

10.    Agriculture plays a predominant role in the rural and agrarian economy of the State of Meghalaya. The agriculture sector has improved gradually with changes from large scale shifting cultivation (Jhumming) towards settled cultivation. The net sown area constitutes 9.74 percent of the total area of the State and double cropped areas constitute 20.35 percent of the net area sown. Only 19 percent of the total cropped area is under irrigation as per available estimates. Foodgrain production was 1.86 lakh tonnes during 1998-99 and 2.06 lakh tonnes during 1999-2000 as compared to 1.78 lakh tonnes during the terminal year of the Eight Plan (i.e. 1996-97). The gross cropped area during 2001-2002 was 2.90 lakh hectares while the net cropped area was 2.40 lakh hectares. A target of gross cropped area of 3.25 lakh hectares and net cropped area of 2.75 lakh hectares is proposed for the year 2003-2004 against the anticipated gross cropped area of 3.10 lakh hectares during 2002-2003.

    In order to realize the target of foodgrain production during 2003-2004, our agricultural strategy will be to further develop the existing rice fields with irrigation facilities for multiple cropping, raise the level of productivity per unit area through increased use of fertilizers, increasing the area covered by high yielding varieties, adequate need based plan protection measure and adoption of improved crop management technologies. Further, efforts will be made to popularise the cultivation of high yielding varieties of maize, wheat and pulses through demonstration and minikit programmes in the cultivator's field.

    Facilities for soil testing, seed production and certification, and marketing of agricultural surpluses will be upgraded and brought closer to the farmer's field. The State Government also attaches great importance to Horticulture and will increase the area coverage under Horticultural crops and also make available quality planting material and other inputs for the benefit of farmers by adoption of Modern Technology.

11.    The Government attaches utmost importance to eh Health Sector. Government will focus its attention to provide better health care services in the State with special emphasis on referral centres. Efforts to meet shortage of manpower will be made. In order to meet the shortage of doctors in the rural areas, the policy of 5 years compulsory services in rural areas will be strictly enforced. Government will view any dereliction of duty with seriousness and this would attract severe disciplinary action. To meet the shortage of doctors and other manpower, besides trying to get more seats in the under graduate and post graduate course, the Government will also attempt to appoint Doctors and other manpower required on deputation/contract basis. To meet the shortage of skilled medical manpower, the State Government shall endeavour to encourage setting up of Medical Colleges in the private/Joint Sector. 

    There will be vigilance and monitoring of quality inputs and services to optimise the resources productively. In the Health Sector, Government will make every efforts to bridge the gap of requirements for achieving health coverage in accordance with the National Health Policy 2002. The construction of additional 200 beds in Civil Hospital, Shillong has been started. The ICU has also been completed. This Hospital is targeted to be upgraded to that of a State Hospital. Modernization of Shillong, Jowai and Tura Civil Hospitals has been completed and Ganesh Das Hospital will also be improved. The construction for up-gradation of Tura Civil Hospital to 200 beds has been started. Up-gradation of CHC at Williamnagar, Nongstoin, Nongpoh, Baghmara, Sohra to 100 bedded hospitals have been taken up. Mairang 100 bedded hospital will be made functional.

    The State Government will also endeavour to strengthen maternal child health care in the State. The Indian System of Medicines & Homeopathy policy of Government of India would be implemented. Local practitioners of herbal medicines will be encouraged and towards this, the State Level Medicinal Plant Board may go a long way. For treatment of Malaria and T.B. all PHCs will be provided with laboratory services manned by technicians duly trained. The programme under Aids control and the national programme for control of Night Blindness will be given due thrust. All National Health Programmes will continue to be implemented. Modernisation of Food and Drug Laboratories will be taken up. To encourage NGO in providing Health Care System in the State, Schemes available with Government of India will be availed of. 

12.    Industrialisation in the State has been going apace since the declaration of the State's Industrial Policy in 1997 and the Central Government's Industrial Policy for the North Eastern Region in the same year. to date 136 industrial proposals have been approved by the Single Window Agency (SWA) set up under the Industrial Policy. Of these, 36 have been set up already and 57 are under implementation. The total estimated investment will be more than Rs.460 crore. In addition to these units, more than 4000 small scale industrial units have been registered till now. all in all, the industrial scene of the State is encouraging. The State Government has undertaken a number of programmes for enterpreneurship promotion, skill up-gradation and development of industrial infrastructure. The Prime Minister's Rozgar Yojana is being implemented for self-employment of local educated youth in the industrial and service sectors. The State Government provides incentives, equity participation and loans to entrepreneurs through the Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation. The Khadi & Village Industries Board is implementing the margin money scheme to generate employment in rural area. Special emphasis will be laid in the coming years on industries based on local resources, particularly mineral resources.

13.    The Government is committed to eradicating poverty in the rural areas of the State. Towards this end a number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, namely SGSY (Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarozgar  Yojana), SGSY (Sampoorna Gram Samridhi Yojana), IAY (Indira Awass Yojana) and NSAP (National Social Assistance Programme) are being implemented. A census of the BPL (Below Poverty Line) households in the rural areas is being conducted for targeting under the various poverty alleviation programmes. Government is also taking steps to provide rural roads connectivity by way of All-Weather Road to unconnected habitations through the PMGSY (Prime Minister's Gram Sadak Yojana). The State sponsored SRWP (Special Rural Works Programme), and CRRP (Construction of Rural Roads Programme), continue to play an important role in meeting the felt needs of the rural areas. Government has also sternthened the infrastructure of the delivery mechanism by creating 7 (seven) new C & RD Blocks.

14.    The Government continues to give a high priority to the Housing programmes for giving assistance to the Economically Weaker Sections and Low Income Groups particularly in the rural areas, for qualitative up-gradation of houses so that they are more durable and cheaper in the long run. The Rural Housing Scheme and PMGY (Gramin Awaas) are implemented to achieve these objectives.

15.    Animal Husbandry and Dairying plays an important role for the economic development of the people in the State. The objective of the Government is to increase the production of food of Animal Origin and also to create self-employment opportunities, especially in the rural areas. To improve animal Health care facilities, 2(two) new Veterinary Dispensary are proposed to be set up during the year. The existing feed mills at Tura and Umsning will be upgraded so as to enhance their capacity for production of mixed feed for supply to Government Farms and individual farmers. Similarly, the existing poultry, dairy, and pig farms will be further strengthened. In order to meet the future requirement of technical manpower in the State, students have been sponsored for undergoing studies in B.V. Sc. Course outside the State.

16.    The State has immense potential in the field of Sericulture & Weaving. It is necessary to make scientific and systematic plantation to increase the plantation coverage of Eri, Mulberry, Muga and Cocoon production from the present level, which shall create avenues of employment in rural areas. The Government will implement programmes for training to the Sericulture farmers, Reelers and Spinners and will take full advantage of the Catalytic Development Programmes of the Central Silk Board. 

17.    Fisheries Sector offers immense potential for the economic development of the State and for supplementing the livelihood of farmers in the State. The State faces a shortage in fish production and the gap between supply and demand is met by large scale import of fish from other states in the country. The Government will continue its programme by reduction of the gap by enhancing the fish production in the State. The implementation of the Fish Farmers Development Agency scheme seeks to provide technical and financial help to the fish farmers for construction and renovation of ponds for boosting fish production. To equip the local farmers with the latest methods and technology of fish farming for improving fish production, the Department has organized training of Fish Farmers in the State in consultation with the Central Fishery Agencies.

18.    The Government will encourage people's participation in both protection and regeneration of forests. To this end, Joint Forest Management Committees are proposed to be set up at the grass root level. The Department of Forests & Environment will function in close cooperation with the people through these Joint Forest Management Committees in order to preserve our forest wealth and to restock degraded forest areas. Government proposes to lay emphasis on the scientific management of forests all over the State. Technical Assistance will be made available to District Councils to promote scientific management in forests under their administrative control. Yet another thrust area is that of medicinal plants. It is proposed to put administrative infrastructure in place to ensure proper management of existing medicinal plant resources and to create additional plantations. This programme is expected to generate revenue and employment. For the generation of employment for the people the possibilities of bamboo as a resource are being studied by the Department. It is proposed to promote bamboo based economic activities amongst those sections of the population that have been traditionally dependent on forests for their livelihood. The Government will also promote eco-tourism as an economic activity. The existing network of National Parks, Sanctuaries and Biosphere Reserve will be maintained. Under Project Elephant special emphasis is proposed to be laid on improving wildlife habitat and preventing man-animal conflict.

19.    The conservation of the Soil and Water resource, their proper management and development continues to occupy a high priority for the Government. To educate farmers about the destructive practices of Jhum and Bun cultivation and to wean them away from such damaging methods of cultivation, the Government continues to implement the Watershed Development Project in Shifting Cultivation Areas (WDPSCA). Soil and water conservation schemes are also being implemented with financing from NABARD. Government is also encouraging the cultivation of Cash Crops as an alternative to jhumming.

20.    The Tourism potential of the State has been widely acknowledged. While its full potential has yet to be fully exploited, this sector is one of the most promising in terms of providing large scale employment and improving the economic conditions of the people. The State has a dual strategy for making the State an attractive Tourist destination. The first has been to improve and expand the Tourism infrastructure and secondly the attempt has been to market the State as a Tourism destination in India and abroad. The State Government will attempt to continually upgrade, improve and expand the infrastructural facilities to meet the increasing demand of the Tourism sector. At the same time the Government will also initiate major steps for undertaking the marketing and publicity of the state as a Tourist destination through large scale advertising in the electronic, print media and travel magazines etc. as well as through participation in national and international tourism and travel fairs. Attempts will also be made to harness the tourism potential of the State by establishing facilities for water sports, adventure tourism, rock climbing, parasailing, trekking, hang gliding etc. with private participation.    

21.    With the increase in the number of Industries in the State, the demand for power has increased to 235 Mega Watts against an installed Capacity of 185 Mega Watts.  The peak demand of the State is likely to reach 320 Mega Watts by the end of the Tenth Plan. Government has initiated short term and long term measures to bridge the gap. The 84 Mega Watts Myntdu Leshka Hydel Project has been approved and is likely to be commissioned by the end of the Tenth Plan. Survey and Investigation of Hydel Project are in progress. Construction of a 9 Km Transmission line from Sarusajai in Assam to Byrnihat is being taken up. This will enable the State to draw additional 80 Mega Watt of power. The North Eastern Council has approved the scheme for construction of a transmission line from Agia in Assam to Nangalbibra in South Garo Hills under the Tenth Plan. Proposals for construction of 2 Transmission lines from Kopili in Assam to Khliehriat in Jaintia Hills, and Misa in Assam to Byrnihat have also been submitted to the Department of Development of North Eastern Region for consideration. The Rural Electrification programme will be enhanced. The State Government has also signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Government of India for undertaking power sector reforms in the State. With the signing of the MOA, Government of India has approved the Accelerated Power Development Reform Programme of the State with an outlay of Rs.26.29 crore.

22.    The Government will continue its programme to provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in the rural and urban areas of the State. As on 1st April, 2002, out of a total of 8639 habitations, 346 habitations remained as Non Covered habitations, and 808 as Partially Covered habitations. During 2002-03, the target was to cover 200 Non Covered habitations and 180 Partially Covered habitations. In addition, 70 Lower Primary Schools are   also being covered with safe drinking water supply under the Rural Water Supply Programme. Two schemes for improvement of water supply in the urban areas of Tura and Jowai have been technically cleared by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. These schemes have been submitted to the Department of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) for sanction under the Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources.  

23.    Master Plan for all Urban areas including District Headquarters have been initiated and for major towns the same has been prepared. Efforts are on to provide basic civic amenities in the urban areas through Municipal Boards and to improve the living conditions. Government is also implementing Urban Poverty Alleviation Schemes, viz., Swarna Jayanti Sahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) and the National Slum Development Programme (NSDP). Parking lots are under construction with a view to ease traffic congestion on the roads. A Composting Plan for converting garbage into organic soil conditioner has been completed and is in operation at Mawiong, Shillong. It is proposed to set up VERMI Compost Plant at Tura. Solid Waste Management is being extended to other towns. Land acquisition for the new Shillong township is in progress.

24.    Essential commodities are being supplied through a vast network of Fair Price Shops. The Public Distribution System with an emphasis on the population under the BPL (Below Poverty Line) Category. Under Annapurna Scheme implemented in the State from January, 2002, rice is distributed free of cost to the indigent old age persons not covered under the National Old Age Pension Scheme. In persuance of the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, Consumer Courts have been set up in the State.

25.    The Government is giving priority to construction of roads, as it is the only means of communication in the State. Construction and improvement of roads and bridges are taken up on priority basis in order to connect more villages and increase the road network in the state. Efforts are being made to bring road network closer to the villages. Out of 5484 numbers of villages in the State 2824 are already connected by roads up to 2002. Steps will be taken to accelerate the development of road network in rural areas. Semi-permanent Roads are also gradually being converted to permanent ones. Stress is being laid on the improvement of the road from Shillong to Tura via Nongstoin including reconstruction of bridges. Efforts will be made to start the work on the Shillong Bye-pass during 2003-2004. In order to curb encroachment of roads and to protect view point, action shall be initiated to enact the Meghalaya Highways Act. As it is essential to maintain the assets created, efforts shall be made to build a corpus by collecting tolls on selected roads and bridges and by increasing the Agency charges. Action shall be initiated to draw up a Master plan for development of roads in the State under various programmes. Efforts to control floods in the State also will be made to reduce the loss during rainy seasons.

26.    The main function of the Transport department is to provide road communication for the interest and convenience and welfare of the public. Roads Transport is the only mode of Transport in the State in the absence of Rail and Air Transport. Therefore, the State Government is very concerned to provide Transport Service to all interior places of the State. By granting Road permits for running Transport Services by Private Operators all major villages are benefited. A 50 seater Indian Airlines between Umroi and Kolkata is expected to be operationalised very soon from Umroi Airport. Construction of Baljek Airport near Tura has been completed, except other formalities to be done before operations. Survey for construction of a new Railway Line from Azra in Assam to Byrnihat will be completed shortly by the North East Frontier Railway. As regards the Dudhnoi Railway Line, the matter is under consideration of the Government.

27.    Human Resources Development will continue to be a priority area for the Government. The State literacy rate is below the national average. Steps will be taken to further improve the literacy percentage through appropriate Governmental programmes.

        Universalization of Elementary Education is a long pending constitutional obligation. The various intervention under the scheme of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) will be rigorously implemented to ensure quality Elementary Education for all. The Government will also take full advantage of the resources available under PMGY and other schemes and also will implement the Midday Meal Scheme in Primary Schools to ensure immediate improvement in Elementary Education of the State. Steps will be taken to improve the school curriculum and syllabus to ensure that the Education imparted in the State is comparable to the National standard. Under Technical Education, steps will be taken to ensure that establishment of two new Polytechnics at Tura and Jowai under the World Bank Project can be taken up as per Schedule approved by the World Bank. The training facilities of different levels of school teachers will be strengthened appropriately to reduce further the back-log of untrained teachers.

28.    The development of the Youth, who are the future of the State, will be a priority area. Focused attention on developing the potential which exists among the youth, and programmes for youth festivals and other activities for Youth Welfare and development will be undertaken. A Sports Policy for the State will be finalised shortly. Development of sports infrastructure will continue in a planned and balanced manner.

29.    In the field of Cooperatives, Government will continue to function as a promotional, catalytic and regulatory agent. However, with the changing economic scenario Cooperatives have to reorient and adapt themselves to emerge as autonomous business enterprises to meet the fast changing situations in the market economy. Government is committed to its role as a promotional agency to ensure emergence of a strong and healthy Cooperative Movement in the State.

30.    Government accords utmost importance to the healthy development of Child and Women and the physically challenged people. In this field Non-Government Organisation have a major role to play and they should come up with clear plan and programmes for over all development of this sector. Government will continue its programmes for the welfare of the destitute, widows, aged and infirm women through voluntary organisations. Scholarships and stipends will be extended to the physically challenged students for undergoing studies upto University level. Integrated Women Empowerment Programme is being implemented in the State. The State Government is also going to establish a Women Technology Park in Meghalaya in collaboration with the N.G.O to enable the local self-help group of women for income generating activities. A pilot project is being implemented with the help of Government of India for the adolescent girls, expectant and nursing mothers belonging to the Below Poverty Line families and the under nourished. Government will implement nutrition surveillance system to identify the extent of malnutrition among the women and children.

31.    To exploit the rice mineral resources of the State in a sustainable manner, the Department of Mining & Geology will lay emphasis on scientific mining. Mining of minerals accounts for substantial proportion of the State's GDP from primary economic activities. A significant percentage of the population in some districts depends on mining activities for their livelihood. Hence the emphasis on efficient mining practices. The State's Mineral wealth is also the foundation of a flourishing manufacturing sector. The Government proposes to undertake an ambitious programme of mineral exploration to meet the needs of industries in the State. Since royalty and taxes on minerals are a major source of revenue for the State Government, the Government proposes to strengthen and streamline the administrative and other infrastructure for enforcing the law and preventing the leakage of Government revenue.

32.    Attempts will continue to be made to recover under unutilised Defence land in and around Shillong. Cadastral survey works covering the Government land in Shillong and also in Garo Hills are continuing. the active participation of the public is required for Cadastral Survey operations to be undertaken and awareness programmes will be launched for allaying the fear of the people and making them aware of the need and benefits of the cadastral survey, so that this can be undertaken through out the State in a phased manner.

33.    For the implementation of various development programmes grants-in-aid are sanctioned to give support to the District Councils, Annual outlay of Rs.500.00 lakhs is earmarked for the development schemes of the three District Councils and Rs.652.40 lakhs from the 11th Finance Commission Award under Non-Plan during the current Financial Year 2002-2003 is earmarked for up-gradation of the standard of Administration and infrastructure of the District Councils. The State Government will continue to follow its policy of working jointly with the District Councils especially in the areas of protection of the laws and customs of the Tribals in the State.

34.    The Department of Information Technology is a nascent Department having immense potential with particular reference to our State. It can provide immense opportunity of employment to unemployed educated youth having basic skill and understanding in IT. The IT policy in the State will be brought out soon to attract investments in the IT Park in the State. The Scope and content of the community Information Centre will require to be fully tapped. This would call for people's and entrepreneur's participation in order to feed ad-value information to the rural masses.

35.    Government is fully aware of the accommodation problem relating to Government offices and the officers and staff in the State. Government is contemplating to provide residential accommodation to the officers and Staff of the Government within Shillong town and also in the district headquarters. It will be the earnest endeavour of Government to ease the accommodation problem and to provide facilities to some places outside the State also. The Circuit House at Mawkyrwat will be made functional within a very short time. Further, steps to resolve the controversy relating to Meghalaya House at 9 & 10 Russel Street, Kolkata will depend on the outcome of on going Court cases and judicial process relating to the matter.

36.    The State government will also try its best to preserve its rich culture and tradition of the State. The Scheme of intensive Arts & Culture Development Programme in the rural and Urban areas through the local MLA will be continued with a view to encourage the people in preservation, protection and promotion of their dying cultural heritage and identity. The scheme for "the development of traditional folk music", "Living heritage" will be continued. Heritage protection and the strengthening and up gradation of Public Libraries in the State are also being implemented under the Eleventh Finance Commission Award. Schemes entitled "promotion and strengthening of Regional & Local museums for renovation/extension/modernization of Galleries" are also under consideration. The scheme for computerization of State Central Library, Shillong, digitization of Museums objects at Williamson Sangma Museums, Shillong will be continued.

37.    The revision of the minimum wages is under consideration of the Government for the benefit of the daily wage workers. A new Scheme of sending students for studies indifferent technical field in various ITIs of the country is under implementation. A number of local youths have availed of this opportunity and more seats are being sought for from the Central Government for technical training of our youth outside the State. Some State ITIs have also received central assistance for expansion and renovation work which will be taken up shortly.     

38.    During 2002-2003 action has already been taken to procure Modern Machineries for the Government Press. A detail year-wise Action Plan and Target have been drawn up to equip the Press with the latest system of printing.

39.    The State Government along with the rest of the country is preparing to adopt the Value Added Tax (VAT) which will replace the existing Sales Tax Laws from the next financial year. Introduction of Value Added TAX would mark a paradigm shift in the fiscal reforms at the State Level. Implementation of Value Added Tax will help promote growth, efficiency and equity in the entire economy. It will improve competitiveness of the Indian Industries in the global market and will benefit the consumers as the tax has no cascading effect. The Government of India has assured to compensate the State Government for Revenue loses, if any, during the initial three years.

40.    The Meghalaya Administrative Training Institute will continue to conduct training programmes to improved the efficiency and standard of working in the State Administration by imparting basic knowledge in office management, Planning, Financial Management and Computer awareness.

41.    Finances of the State will have to be monitored. It calls for increased productivity, tapping additional resources and cutting wasteful expenditure, beside showing fiscal responsibility by all concerned. The State has embarked upon fiscal reforms programme. Efforts would be made to streamline procedures towards delegation and accountability. Observation and suggestions of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India will have to be taken with all seriousness and steps taken in right earnest. There is need for reorientation in planning process and making realistic plan size as part of developmental efforts. Every efforts will be made to enhance productivity and efficiency in the fiscal management of the State.

42.    The Government organizes participation of the State Departments in various national and state level trade fairs. The Government will continue to strengthen its publicity wing for dissemination of information to the public about the various governmental activities.

43.    Three Fast Track Courts have been established at Tura, Jowai and Shillong with powers for trial of session cases. The main policy behind setting of these Fast Tract Courts is for speedy trial and disposal of pending cases of more than two years. The construction of new and permanent High Court Building for Shillong Bench at Shillong (Hermitage compound) is expected to start shortly. An amount of Rs.300 lakh as Additional Central Assistance has been provided for the purpose.

44.    The Government will protect the interests of the consumer by paying special attention to the proper enforcement of the law and rules governing weights, measures and packaged commodities. A part from normal checks carried out by the weights & measures personnel, surprise checks in response to public complaints will be conducted. The enforcement machinery will be strengthened by way of modernization.

45.    Government is committed to provide intensified development in the border areas to improve the socio economic condition of the people. Various Centrally Sponsored schemes under the Border Areas Development Programme which are being implemented will continue.

            Hon'ble Members, during this session you will be considering several business of the Government. You have a sacred duty and a challenging task ahead of you. I wish your deliberations all success.