Proceedings of the First Session of the Provisional Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled under the provision of the Assam Reorganisation Meghalaya Act, 1969

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        The Assembly met at the District Council Half Tura at 8.30 A.M. on Tuesday, the 14th April, 1970.

PRESENT

        Shri Simon Jenkin Duncan (Acting Speaker) in the Chair, five Minister and thirty-two Members.

Shri SIMON JENKIN DUNCAN (Acting Speaker) :- Members of the first Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya, we are assembled here for certain business according to the list of business which, I hope, has been duly laid on the table of every member. The first item is (1) orders of the Governor appointing me as the Speaker for the purpose of conducting the business of the House this morning. I now call upon the Secretary to read out the orders.


        "ORDER No.1 from the Governor regarding appointment of a person to perform the duties of Speaker.

The Secretary to the Assembly :- The following order has been received from the Governor.

        "In Exercise of the power conferred by sub-section (3) of section 23 of the Assam Re-organisation (Meghalaya) Act, 1969, I, B.K. Nehru, Governor of Assam exercising my functions as Governor in relation to Meghalaya, hereby appoint Shri Simon Jenkin Duncan, a member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to perform the duties of the office of Speaker of the said Assembly until the Speaker is elected.

RAJ BHAVAN :
Shillong,

B.K. NEHRU.

The 6th April, 1970.

Governor of Assam.


        'ORDER No. 2 from the Governor regarding appointment of a person before whom the Members of the Meghalaya Assembly shall make and subscribe their oath/affirmation of allegiance.

        The Secretary to the Assembly :- The next order of the Governor runs as follows :-

        "In pursuance of section 26 of the Assam Re-organisation (Meghalaya) Act, 1969, I, B.K. Nehru, Governor of Assam exercising my functions as Governor in relation to Meghalaya, hereby appoint Shri Simon Jenkin Duncan, a Member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, as a person before whom the Members of the said Assembly shall make and subscribe their oath until a Speaker is elected.

        After the election of Speaker the oath shall be made and subscribed before the Speaker of the said Assembly and in his absence before the Deputy Speaker or when the Assembly is in session and both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are absent, before the person who may be presiding over the Assembly for the time being.

RAJ BHAVAN :
Shillong,

B.K. NEHRU.

The 6th April, 1970.

Governor of Assam.


Oath of affirmation of allegiance by new Members.

Shri SIMON JENKIN DUNCAN (Acting Speaker) :- Now, the next item is the oath or affirmation to be taken by the Members. The procedure is as follows :- The Secretary will all out the name of the Member beginning with the Treasury Benches, and after that, other Members will be called to come up one by one to take the oath or affirmation after which they will sign the register and shake hands with the Speaker and then return to their seats.

        (The Secretary to the Assembly then called out the names beginning from the Treasury Benches in the following order) -

Members sworn in :-

1.

Shri Williamson A. Sangma,
Chief Minister.

2.

Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy,
Minister.

3.

Shri Brington Bhuhai Lyngdoh,
Minister.

4.

Shri Edwingson Bareh, 
Minister.

5.

Shri Sandford Marak,
Minister.

6.

Shri Akramozzaman.

7.

Shri Alwot Berry Diengdoh.

8.

Shri Beryl Sutnga.

9.

Shri Brojendra Sangma.

10.

Shri Bronson Momin.

11.

Shri Choronsing Sangma.

12.

Shri Darwin D. Pugh.

13.

Shri E. Bremly Lyngdoh.

14.

Shri Gilfred Singh Giri.

15.

Shri Grohonsing Marak.

16.

Shri Humphrey Nongrum.

17.

Shri Johndeng Pohrmen.

18.

Smti. Josephine Momin.

19.

Shri Justly Rynshon.

20.

Shri Justman Swer.

21.

Shri Kalingstone Laloo.

22.

Shri Khelaram Barmon.

23.

Shri Lobendri Hujon.

24.

Shrimati Maysalin War.

25.

Shri Mody Marak.

26.

Shri Molendronath Swer.

27.

Shri Nimai Rava.

28.

Shri Nomosh Sangma.

29.

Shri Nural Islam.

30.

Shri Ohiwot Khonglah.

31.

Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah.

32.

Shri Radhon Singh Lyngdoh.

33.

Shri Rokendro Dhar.

34.

Shri S.P. Swer.

35.

Shri Samarendra Sangma.

36.

Shri Singjan Sangma.

37.

Shri Witherson Momin.

Shri SIMON JENKIN DUNCAN (Acting Speaker) :- According to the list of Members, all the Members, I hope, have come and taken their oath or solemnly affirmed. But in case there is any member whose name has been inadvertently omitted he will please come forward. (After a pause). There is none.


Election of Speaker

Shri SIMON JENKIN DUNCAN (Acting Speaker) :- Now, I take up the next item on the list and that is the Election of the Speaker. There are three nomination papers and I shall read out the particulars of all the nomination papers as required by the provision of sub-rule (4) of Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Assam Legislative Assembly as applicable to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

        All the nomination papers are in favour of Shri Radhon Singh Lyngdoh. The first nomination paper has been proposed by Shri Bronson Momin, MLA. and seconded by Shri Darwin D. Pugh, M.L.A. The second paper has been proposed by Shri Rokendro Dkhar, M.L.A. and seconded by Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah, M.L.A.. The third paper has been proposed by Shri John Deng Pohrmen, M.L.A. and seconded by Shri Ohiwot Khonglah, M.L.A. As I said, all the three nomination papers are in favour of one of the same candidate namely, Prof. Radhon Singh Lyngdoh. In the absence of any other name, I have great pleasure in announcing that Prof. Radhon Singh Lyngdoh has been duly elected Speaker of this House unopposed.

(Applause from both sides of the House)


Felicitations of the new Speaker

Shri SIMON JENKIN DUNCAN (Acting Speaker) :- Before I request the Speaker to come and occupy the Chair which rightly belongs to him. I may be permitted to say a few words in connection with the occasion. First of all, I will start from a personal angle. I visited Tura about 47 years ago probably before most of you were born. I was then a very junior member in the lowest rung of the Civil Services. I have seen a bit of the Garo Hills  and I have great pleasure in coming again for the second time as the Acting Speaker for the purpose of conducting the first Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya, the new State which has been carved out of the hills of Assam. This day will go down as one of the most momentous days in the History of Meghalaya. Firstly because there has been unanimity in the selection of Tura as the venue for this first meeting of the Meghalaya Assembly. And secondly, there has been absolute unanimity in the election of the Speaker. This augurs well, I am sure, for the future of our new State, and in the election of Prof. Radhon Singh Lyngdoh, the House, I believe, has made  a very good choice. Not only that he is one of our Public leaders serving the people but he is also well-known as a Professor in St. Anthony's College where he has served for a number of years. We know him for his profound knowledge of Constitutional history, an asset which will go well with him in the exercise of his duties as the Speaker of this House. The duties of the Speaker are as onerous as they are delicate. He has to use his wits; he has to use his wisdom at the right moment, he has to cajole and he has to rebuke, but all the time he will be the guiding spirit of this House whenever it meets. It will be within the four walls of the Assembly that the future and the destiny of the newly-born State will be shaped, and it will be in this House that each Member will contribute his on her part. There will be views and counter-suggestions and the Speaker has to watch and see the trend of discussion and guide finally to its happy conclusion. I am sure, Prof. Radhon Singh Lyngdoh, has all the qualities which a Speaker should posses. Human nature, of course, being what it is, we do not expect anyone to be perfect. But we are sure that he will do his utmost to guide the affairs of this House patiently and wisely in the days to come.

        I will now request the New Speaker to come and occupy the Chair.

(The Leader of the House and Shri Singjan Sangma from Opposition conducted the Speaker to the Chair).

Shri STANLEY D.D. NICHOLS ROY :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as the Chief Minister has had to leave the House to welcome the Governor and the Home Minister at the helipad, I have been requested by him to say a few words to felicitate the elected Speaker. I am sure that all of us in this House are very happy that you, Sir, have been elected unanimously by this House to occupy the first Chair of the Meghalaya Assembly. Perhaps all the Members may not know him, and I would like to inform them of the fact that we are very fortunate in having a Speaker whose academic career has been of the highest ever since he was in School and College. He had distinguished himself in the field of History-in the degree course in 1956 and he has been serving in various colleges since 1958 as professor of History and also of Political Science and Khasi Language. But in addition to that, Prof. Radhon Singh Lyngdoh has been serving in three other colleges in Shillong, namely, the Lady Keane College, St. Edmund's College and Shillong College from time to time in the past. He has also been an examiner and paper setting for the Gauhati University, the Dibrugarh University, the Calcutta University and the Cambridge University. We are, therefore, very fortunate that we have among the Members of this Assembly such a distinguished person and we are all happy that he is coming to occupy the Chair for the first Meghalaya Assembly. I was fortunate to come in contact with Prof. Lyngdoh about 8 or 9 years ago, and as a matter of fact, it was in July, 1960, on a historic occasion on July 6, when our party was formed-the A.P.H.L.C. Later on during the various campaigns, I had the good fortune of travelling together with him up and down the hills of the Cherra Constituency and various other parts of the Khasi Hills where we met the people and it was at that time that the knowledge of Prof. Lyngdoh in Khasi history and political science was made evident to me and the people at large, and his name was known throughout the length and breadth of the hills as somebody who knew how to explain truthfully and carefully the history background of the hills people. But more than just an academic career and a lecturer on academic subjects, what was evident to all who heard him was the way in which he adapted himself to the audience and was able to explain the various subjects in very beautiful language - and the language of the Khasis can be made extremely beautiful by those how known how to place it in poetic form. This aspect of Prof. Lyngdoh's capability was a new thing in the political life of the hills. We are, therefore, very fortunate to have somebody who knows poetry, who knows history and political science and the background of the hills people, more particularly, the Khasi people, to be as our distinguished Speaker. We are looking  forward to your guidance in the affairs of the Assembly of the new State of Meghalaya. I, therefore, on behalf of all the Members of this Assembly greet you as our first Speaker and welcome you to take up the duties of the Speaker. Thank you.

Shri SINGJAN SANGMA :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I take this opportunity to speak a few words to offer my heartiest congratulations to you on your having been elected the Speaker of this august House. Sir, from this day I believe you belong to all the Meghalaya of the House and through them to all the people of Meghalaya. We fervently hope that while discharging your duties you will be kind enough to uphold the rights and privileges of the Members, particularly in shaping the destiny of Meghalaya, and I hope under you able guidance and stewardship we shall be able to establish the Rule of Law based on human values.

        In conclusion, I on behalf to myself and the Congress Group, assure you that while discharging out duties, we shall be giving every co-operation particularly in shaping the destiny of this new State of Meghalaya.


Reply to the felicitations by the new Speaker

Mr. SPEAKER :- Mr. Stanley Nichols Roy, Mr. Singjan Sangma, Mr. S.J. Duncan and hon. Members of the House. At the outset I must thank all of you for having elected me to this dignified position with rare and exceptional unanimity. I hope this is a good indication of the tremendous support and co-operation that I expect from you in future. I know of my limitations and shortcomings, but, at the same time, I am also conscious of the heavy responsibility and especially the most important work to decide on points of order, to maintain the decorum and the sobriety of the House. I am deeply touched rather overwhelmed by the many sweet words that you have spoken about me. But I do not knot if I really deserve all the qualities that the hon. Members have mentioned. Though I may not deserve all what you said; but I have determination to endeavour to perform the functions of a real Speaker in the true British ideal. I hope the interest of all concerned in the House will be maintained. I assure the hon. Members that the deal of a democracy depends n impartiality which is expected of the Speaker. And it shall be my earnest and sincere endeavour to live up to that ideal. I remember the statement made by the famous Speaker of the British House of commons, Mr. Lowther when he explained the duties of the Speaker in these words :

        "You do not require rare or brilliant qualities; what you require is qualities of tact and judgment; you require the qualities of commonsense which are so rare, but you require a little good humour and the ability to understand the spirit of  Parliament".

        If I can have these qualities and if I can get the co-operation which I have already got and if we can really maintain the present trend in the House, I hope we can set up a healthy tradition for the Meghalaya Assembly. I am really grateful to all of you one again that you have given me this rare privilege of becoming the first Speaker of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. Thank you.

(Applause from both sides of the House)

        Now, I think we can omit item No.5. Since there is no other item before the Governor comes to address the House, I adjourn the session till 11.45 A.M. when the Governor will come to address the House. Till then we will have a tea break.

The Assembly was adjourned till 11.45 A.M.

(The House reassembled at 12.15. P.M.)

Mr. SPEAKER :- Hon. Member, I express a deep sense of regret that due to bad whether the Governor could not land in time and I have had to change the time from 11.45 A.M. to 12.15 P.M. May I take that this is the permission of the House? (Voices : Yes, yes) So, I take leave of the House to receive the Governor.

(Mr. Speaker then left the Chamber with the Secretary to receive the Governor)

(The Governor arrived in a procession)


Address by the Governor

Mr. SPEAKER :- Hon. Members we are very happy that the Governor is in the Assembly to-day with us. May I request the Governor to address the Assembly.

THE GOVERNOR

Mr. Speaker and Hon'ble Members,

        This is a great day for the new State of Meghalaya. The Provisional Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya is holding its first sitting to day. One of the purpose of setting up the State of Meghalaya is that the people of this area may be able to concentrate on their problems and find solutions for them through their own representative institutions. My Government will keep this basic objective in view and will discharge conscientiously the debt of responsibility and trust which the people of Meghalaya have reposed in it. The authority and resources of the new State will be held and used in trust for the benefit of the people of Meghalaya regardless of any consideration of class or creed. My Government will not permit any distinction on parochial considered and will endeavour to work for the progress and prosperity of all the people of this State.

        The formation of the new State is only the beginning. Before the Government lies hard and unremitting toil. The problems of the State in all their diversity will have to be studied and the availability of resources will have to assessed. Administrative agencies will have to be evolved and place on the sound footing for a bold development effort. In fact, the whole fabric of administration has to be built up, housed and made to function. It is no small task. Administrative machinery in a modern democracy State is fairly complicated. It relies on the smooth functioning to different authorities with clearly demarcated spheres through a sophisticated system of checks and balances. The task of the new Government is a stupendous one. The edifice of the new State has to be built up brick by brick. It will be necessary to work out departmental staff patterns and to find staff trained for various duties and responsibilities. At the moment we are making a beginning with the process of evolving Secretariat organisation. There are no nuclei around which departmental working organisations can be build up. Department hierarchies will have to be constructed from the lowest level. There is an acute scarcity of office and residential accommodation in Shillong. Recently, the Government of Assam has agreed to make some office buildings available to the Government of Meghalaya. Before these can be used it will be necessary to furnish and equip them. Residential accommodation in Shillong is also a very serious problem. The new Government is struggling with the problem of finding houses for its Ministers, officers and employees. Many months of patients and hard work will be needed before the wheels of machinery will start turning smoothly.

        As the Members are aware, an integrated Hill Plan was under implementation for the development of areas included in the autonomous districts of Assam. It is the earnest desire of my Government that with the creation of Meghalaya, the tempo and pace of development in the State will be stepped up and every effort be made to ensure the State catches up with the rest of the country as early as possible.

        The amendments which has been made in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution enable the District Councils to exercise functions on behalf of the State Government in respect of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry. Community Project, Co-operation. Village Planning and Social Welfare. My Government proposes to initiate action to entrust some to these functions to the District Councils on mutually agreed terms. The District Council have a great responsibility to maintain local customs and traditions and to promote and improve such democratic institutions as Syiems, Dollois, Nokmas, Laskars, Sirdars etc. Government propose to help the District Councils in every way in discharging  this responsibility. There is no ground for any apprehension that with the creation  of Meghalaya, the local customs, traditions and the above mentioned institutions under the District Councils would be adversely affected in any manner. My Government will respect and support the traditional agencies and local institutions under the District Councils.

        This State is largely populated by the Scheduled Tribes who are economically behind their brethren in other parts of the country. My Government intends to embark on a programme of development for a new State of Meghalaya. This programme will cover the development of Agriculture, improvement of means and communications, judicious exploitation of natural resources and improvement of employment opportunities. We would like to wean away the people from destructive exploitation of available resources such as the practice of jhuming which destroys our forest wealth. We have no demonstrate the advantage of setting modes of cultivation which help to conserve forest wealth and generally improve the face of the country side. Meghalaya is specially suitable for the development of animal husbandry, poultry farming, horticulture and fishing.

        A certain amount of re-organisation of settlements appears necessary for the introduction of modern methods of Agriculture. This would be particularly so if we have to mechanize our farming. In the Garo Hills in particular, there is an urgent need to re-group villages in order to introduce viable farming units, and for provision of Water Supply, Public Health, Education and other facilities. This programme of re-grouping will have to be undertaken after carefully considering the feasibilities and the interest of the local people concerned.

        Meghalaya has abundant forest and mineral resources. This wealth should be trapped and industries based on forest and mineral raw materials should be set up. A diversified economy and optimum use of resources will help to raise the standard of living of the people.  My Government will work for the creation of the necessary infrastructure so that industries are attracted to Meghalaya. To enable a proper plan of utilisation to be drawn up, it will be necessary undertake a comprehensive survey of the whole State with a view to locating deposits of minerals and the extent thereof. A Directorate of Mining and Geology will have to be organised to undertake this work if necessary in collaboration with the Geological Survey of India. We have extensive sal forests and vast tracts of bamboo and pine on the higher altitudes. The suitability of the area for raising plantations of fast-growing pulp wood species indicates potential for starting a paper  mill in Garo Hills and newsprint mill in Khasi Hills. The possibility of forest development and modern forestry practices in Meghalaya are enormous; with proper management there is no reason why we should not be able to attain standards of growth and judicious exploitation comparable with some of the most advanced countries in Europe.

        The people of the State especially those living near the southern border with Pakistan have been adversely affected by the disappearance of traditional  markets in East Pakistan. The State Government will have to examine measures for the economic rehabilitation of these people. We will have to take up with the Government of India for more centre for trade to be opened on the border. The problem of communications in the State is a crucial one. There is no railway in Meghalaya and the State is entirely dependent on road communication. In March 1969, Meghalaya area had less than 4 kilometres of surfaced roads for 100 kilometres of areas. The corresponding figures for other States are much higher. My Government has already taken up with the Government of India the question of an airport has already taken up with the Government of India the question of an airport at Shillong so as to make out capital city more easily accessible. Another step of immense benefit to Meghalaya will be the extension of the railway line from Gauhati to Byrnihat which would facilitate the transport of materials and goods into and out of the centres of production in Meghalaya. The Shillong Tura road, the Damra-Baghmara road and the Paikein-Tura road are very essential for the economic development of the new State.

        In the field of Public Health, also, much remain to be done. With the exception the Civil Hospital in Shillong in Shillong, all hospital in Shillong all hospitals in the State are ill-equipped and the full complement of qualified doctors and specialists is no available. In most cases the primary health centres and dispensaries are with out staff and the equipment provided is very inadequate. Measures will have to be solved to make services in the rural areas attractive to the doctors. It will be the endeavour of the Government to equip the existing hospitals and dispensaries up to the required standard and to man them with qualified doctors and staff.

        In the field of  Technical Education, Government will have to evolve of scheme with a practical bias, keeping in view the way of life, aptitude and the economic condition of the people. With this object in view, the growth of Polytechnics and Junior Technical Schools will have to be encouraged.

        My Government will place before you during the current session the following legislative measures :-

(1)

A Bill for the Removal of certain Disqualifications of being chosen as and for being a member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. An Ordinance Incorporating these provisions was issued on the 7th April, 1970.

(2)

Ministers' Salaries and Allowances Bill.

(3)

The Speaker's Deputy Speaker's and the Legislative Assembly Members' Salaries and Allowances Bill.

(4)

The contingency Fund of Meghalaya Bill.

(5)

A resolution enabling the setting up of a Central University in the Shillong area.

        The State of Meghalaya has just been born. There has been sympathy and understanding all around and this augers well for the new State. The members of the State Government its officers and agents will have to strive very hard to take stock of the problems, assess the requirement and to work for the betterment of the people. This is a sacred task for which, I am sure, everybody will work with determinations, sincerity and good will.

JAI HIND


The Governor left the Chamber

Motion of thanks on Governor Address.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Hon. Members, under sub-rule (2) of Rule 13 of the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business in  the Assam Legislative Assembly as application to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, I hereby report to the Assembly that the Governor has been pleased to make a speech-a copy of which has been laid on the table of each hon. Member.

        Now, I have received notice of motion of thanks on the Governor's Address from Shrimati Maysalin War. Now, I request the hon. Member to move the motion.

Shri MAYSALIN WAR :- Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that first Members of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled in this First Session are deeply grateful to the Governor for the Address which he has been pleased to deliver to this House to-day, the 14th April, 1970.

Shri GROHONSING MARAK :- 1 second the motion.

Mr. SPEAKER :- We have finished today's business. The House stands adjourned till 10 A.M. on 20th April, 1970 when it meets in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly House at Shillong.


ADJOURNMENT

        The Assembly was then adjourned at 13.15 P.M. to meet again at 10 A.M. on 20th April, 1970 in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Hall at Shillong.

N.C. HANDIQUE
Dated Shillong Secretary
14th April 1970 Meghalaya Legislative Assembly

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