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

        The Assembly met at the Assembly Chamber, Shillong at 10 A.m. on Monday the 20th April 1970.

PRESENT

        Prof. R.S. Lyngdoh, Speaker in the Chair, five Ministers and thirty two Members.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Hon'ble Members the first item in today's list of business in my duty to announce the names of (1) the Panel of Chairman; (2) Members of the Business Advisory Committee; (3) Members of the Rules Committee and (4) Members of the House Committee.


Panel of Chairman

Mr. SPEAKER :- I appoint the personnel of the Committee as below in so far as the Panel of Chairmen is concerned. This is accordance with Rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Assam Legislative Assembly as applicable to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly -

1.

Shri Rokendro Dhar, M.L.A.

2.

Shri Bronson Momin, M.L.A.

3.

Shri Khelaram Bormon, M.L.A.

4.

Shri Giffred Singh Giri, M.L.A.


Business Advisory Committee

Mr. SPEAKER :- The Members of the Business Advisory Committee under Rule 228 will be the following :-

1.

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh,

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs;

2.

Shri S.J. Duncan, M.L.A.

3.

Shri Ohiwot Khonglah, M.L.A.

4.

Shri Akramozzaman, M.L.A.

        The Speaker shall be the Chairman of this Committee. I request the members on the Business Advisory Committee to come to my room as soon as the day's business is over.


Rules Committee

Mr. SPEAKER :- The Members of the Rules Committee under rule 259 will be the following :-

1.

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh,

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs;

2.

Shri Darwin D. Pugh, M.L.A.

3.

Shri Singjan Sangma, M.L.A.

4.

Shri Grohonsing Marak, M.L.A.

        In this Committee the Speaker shall be the ex-officio, Chairman, according to the Rules.


House Committee

Mr. Speaker :- The Members of the House Committee under Rule 312 will be follows :-

1.

Shri Justman Swer, M.L.A.

2.

Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah, M.L.A.

3.

Shri Nimai Rava, M.L.A.

4.

Shri Johndeng, Pohrmen, M.L.A.

5.

Shri Nimosh Sangma, M.L.A.

        I appoint Shri Justman Swer to be the Chairman of this Committee.


Laying of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Members 

(Removal of Disqualification) Ordinance, 1970.

Mr. SPEAKER :- The Next item in today's list of business is laying out of Ordinance. I would request Capt. Williamson Sangma, Chief Minister, to lay out the said Ordinance.

Shri WILLIAMSON A. SANGMA :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to lay cut copies of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Members (Removal of Disqualifications) Ordinance 1970.


Government Resolution Re : Setting up a Central University

Mr. SPEAKER :- Now, I pass on the next item. I would request Shri Stanford K. Marak, Minister, Education, to move this resolution. 

Shri SANDFORD K. MARAK :- Mr. Speaker, I beg to move :

        "That, Whereas it is expedient that a Central University for the North Eastern Region of India should be established by the Union Government :

        And whereas it is necessary of the Parliament to pass necessary Legislation for establishing the aforesaid, Central University.

        And whereas the subject "Education including the University" falls within-entry 10 of Part 'A' of the Second Schedule to the Assam Re-organisation (Meghalaya) Act 1969;

        And whereas under Article 252(1) of the Constitution of India, it is necessary of pass a resolution desiring that the Parliament should legislate on the above subject.

        Now, therefore, this Assembly is of opinion that in the interest of the proposed Central University to be set up by the Union Government Parliament may pass the requisite Legislation.

Mr. SPEAKER :- The Resolution is moved before the House and discussion will take place tomorrow the 21st April, 1970.


Discussion on Governor's Address.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Now, we take up the last item of today's business. Mrs. War has already moved the motion of thanks on the 14th of April on the Governor's Address. May I ask the hon. Member to speak?

Shri MAYSALIN WAR :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I moved a motion of thanks on the Governor's Address on the 14th April, 1970 when this Assembly met for its inaugural Session at Tura in which the Governor was pleased to deliver his very illuminating address to the First Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya.

        Sir, I seek the indulgence of the House through you, to initiate a debate on the Governor's Address. I have no manner of doubt that the Address made by the Governor, though short, has touched upon all the important points and programmes which a new State Should take up for immediate implementation.

        Hon Members will agree with me that the Address of the Governor has underlined the policy of the Government in respect of agricultural and industrial development.

        The improvement of means of communication-such as the immediate need of the Airport at Shillong, the essentiality of the Shillong-Tura Road, the Damra-Baghmara Road and the Paiken-Tura Road, to name a few among many others and the extension of the railway line to Byrnihat will be very beneficial to the State.

        The judicious exploitation of our natural resources, both forest and mineral as well as the doing away with of Jhum Cultivation.

        Also the improvement of employment opportunities and the construction of houses and residence for the Ministers, Officers and employees of the new Government.

        The re-organisation of settlement such as the programme of re-grouping of villages in the Garo Hills in particular for the introduction of viable farming units.

        The south-western portion of the Khasi Hills known as the Lyngngam area for instance as well as all the other undeveloped villages within the State require special attention for provision of education, water supply and the setting up of primary Health Centres and Dispensaries with adequate number of doctors and staff to man them in order to form a base of the new State to usher in a new era in the Sphere of development. As we are wedded to a policy of the welfare for the people, this venture, I am confident, will go a long way in opening up avenues of employment for the talented young man and women of the State of Meghalaya in particular and other parts of this eastern region of the country in general.

        We are also grateful to the Governor that he has deemed it fit and proper to mention in his Address certain legislative measures such as a Bill for the removal of certain disqualifications for being chosen as and for being a member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and other Bills and the last but not the least in the resolution enabling the setting up of a Central University in the Shillong area. 

        Let us, there fore, put our heads together and march hand in hand to make the best use of the opportunities that are before to make this State of ours a place where there is peace, prosperity and happiness.

        In concluding, I request the Leader of the House as well as the other Members of the Cabinet to take up with the Government of India the questions of making available adequate financial subvention of this newly born State at the initial State, so that we can develop our own economy and resources through our own efforts on a sound and firm accelerate all round development.

        With these few words, Sir, I commend my motion for the acceptance of the House.

Mr. SPEAKER :- I request the hon. Member to pass on the copy of her speech to the official Reporters. May I remind the hon. Member that anything is quoted by them on the floor of the House should be immediately handed over to the Reporters.

        Well, is there any other hon. Member?

Shri GROHONSING MARAK :- Sir, I seconded the motion.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Are you not going to make a speech to clarify or make some observations?

Shri GROHONSING MARAK :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to second the motion by saying a few words on the Governor's Address. Sir, I find that the Address of the Governor was devoted mainly on the future policy of the Government of Meghalaya. In the Address of the Governor we find mention of improvement of communication, educational institution and establishment of industries, and I believe the implementation of these will be according to the policy laid down by the Meghalaya Government I have no other suggestion to make, So I resume my seat.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Is here any other Member who wishes to make observation?

Shri P. RIPPLE KYNDIAH :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, standing to speak for the motion on the Governor's Address moved by the charming lady Member of the House, my first reaction is of two types. Sir, I am quickly reminded of the fact that I including most of the hon. Members of this House belong to a matriarchal society which gives me a certain feeling that this Houses that this House is a unique assemblage of members.

        Now, as you know, Sir, the three autonomous districts comprising the State of Meghalaya - the Garo Hills, the Khasi Hills and the Jaintia Hills - are inhabited by the tribes following a social organisation of matriarchy. Somehow, today when I stand here in this House I have a sense of feeling of a magic, possibly because of the fact that we are meeting here for the first time and that this Session today will go down as a unique event in the history if the hills people. But as I have said, I am touched by the manner and the decorum which exist in the House. Perhaps it is the effect of the composition of members that we have here in this House. Perhaps it is the effect to the  composition of members that we have here in this House or perhaps it may be due to the result of a strong determination among the members to strike a new path in the transaction of the business of the House; possible it is so. Of course it is so,  But more than this momentary reaction which, I may say, is the reflection action; what very much touches me was by the way the Governor's Address has been prepared and presented. now, on the historic day that we are meeting here for the first time to discuss a very important document which has already highlighted and pinpointed the various important policy statement and thinking on the part of the Government of Meghalaya, I feel, therefore, that is it very important for us to appreciate the way the Government are trying to grapple with the problem also also the thinking of the Government as to the right attitude to tackle these various problems that are in hand. Now, I have noted with great satisfaction that in the first paragraph of the Governor's Address, there is a bold policy statement which reads as follows : If you allow me, Sir, I will quote-"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 consideration and will endeavour to work for the progress and prosperity of all the people of this State." I have but all the praise for this bold statement which often time has been taken for granted and that this kind of thinking, this kind of wish is already there. And I must express to the Government my deep sense of appreciation for this.

        Now, I would like, if you permit me, to dilate a little bit on those words such as 'class, creed or parochial'. Somehow it has been my experience that we have been using these words in our country without going into the deep meaning underlying them. As you know, Sir, parochialism is a local narrowness of view a petty provincialism. All along throughout the struggle for the Hill State we have been acting in a direction which tried to bring about an atmosphere where everybody in Meghalaya-whether he is a plains man or a hill man or whether he is a tribesman or a person belonging to any other community-feels a sense of belonging to it., That atmosphere has been created and rightly so. Now as has already been emphasized, I think and believe this will go a long way to allay any fear or apprehension that might be harboured in the minds of many people that Meghalaya is a State for only the tribal people. I am happy to say that to my mind Meghalaya is a State of all the people throughout the Meghalayan Hills irrespective of whether he is a tribal or non-tribal, whether he is a Hindu or Muslim; irrespective of whether he is Christian or Non-Christian. Therefore, I must congratulate the Government for having highlighted this very important policy statement. Now, apart from this matter which has struck my mind forcibly, I have also to say a few words on the administration policy as envisaged in the Governor's Address. Now, while going through the Address I have not really been able to pinpoint or to find a definite accommodation for Officers, for Ministers and for Members and also for getting the trained staff feeling that the Meghalaya Government will strike a new path in the matter of administration-there has been a lot of talks that the Secretariat administrative policy will be changed to a new system known as Single-file system. The present system is a 'Double-file' system which all the checks and balances. Now, my own opinion on this is that we have to move with caution. Any change which is revolutionary may lead us in trouble. Therefore, it is my earnest belief that this matter pertaining to administration policy should be decided by the Government after examining the whole system from various angles and I would system from various angles and I would recommend for a slow change. That is my opinion on this matter.

        Now if you permit me, Sir, I will touché on another very important point.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Before you touch that point, may I point out that there is no clear mention in the Governor's Address about the adoption of a 'Single-file' system.

Shri P. RIPPLE KYNDIAH :- I agree with you Sir, But I am only referring to the administration arrangements and making a suggestion. In fact I would like to forestall any hasty action.

        The next point which I would like to deal with is in regard to the determination of the Government to increase the tempo and pace of development in the State to ensure that the State catches up with the rest of the country as early as possible. I am aware, Sir, that this is a general observation. But at the same time it is my sincere desire that in stepping up the pace and tempo of development we should not lose sight of a very important point of which I have a person experience. I have seen, Sir, that in certain regions or in certain States where the Government and the people are keen to develop themselves and are trying to take all the steps to develop themselves and the State there is a tendency on the part of the State itself and the people to be too materialistic; losing sight of the very important factor-the human factor which I consider highly essential. It is also necessary that in any development scheme it is important to have a planned development. I remember, Mr. Speaker, Sir, if I am allowed to quote the word of our Hon'ble Deputy Speaker, Prof G.G. Swell, when he spoke on the floor of the Lok Sabha, he mentioned that he would like to see that this part of the country should be developed as to become "a patch of beauty and grace and a shining outpost of India." How I was touched by the sentence. Now, Sir, there is an important element here, of grace and beauty. But as you are also aware, Sir, it is a recognised fact that the hill people are the people full of joy, of life who like to sing songs-who like to dance. But at the same time having certain discipline in any work they perform. Now I believe that developmental activities should be so designed as not only to meet the physical need but should not also lose sight of the human factors also-the grace, beauty and joy.

        Now I would like to touch the matter mentioned in the Governor's Address about abundance of forests and mineral resources and that this should be tapped and industries based on forest and mineral raw materials be set up. Sir, for sometime past it has been my sad experience while touring in the interior part of our hill areas to see belts of beautiful green pine-trees replaced by rocky hills denuded for the trees were being destroyed. It is a very bad trend indeed. I do not know how the Government propose to arrest this state of affairs. But at the same time I quite realise that this is a gigantic task for them because, as it generally happens in the Khasi Hills, most of the forests belong to private individuals and then the Government find it difficult to control haphazard cutting of trees. However, I feel that with the enthusiasm and energy generated by the creation of Meghalaya State our people at large will be in a mood of co-operation with the Government to preserve this great forest wealth of our State. I feel Sir, that to check deforestation which is going on unhampered during the last few years throughout the hills, the Government should evolve a policy to stop this practice by taking the people into confidence to ensure their co-operation in the matter. Now, I need not dilate on this subject but it is sufficient to say that with a view to solve this problem, re-afforestation should be taken up with vigour and foresight.

        Now, Sir, I am happy to note that the Address had included a very important yet difficult programme concerning the people in the border areas. About two months' ago I have a personal experience. When some friends from the border areas came to see me and express to me the very acute problem faced by them as a result of dislocation of trade due to partition. It is true that the Government of India have taken some steps to establish some trade-centres; but in practice we find that in such trade centres not much benefit has been derived by the people, owning to lack of understanding between the people and the authorities concerned. There is a need for understanding and sympathy to ease the problem. Sir, I do not like to dilate upon this point, I would only request the Central Government to take vigorous steps to open more trade centres in the border areas.

        Now I will also touch on the problem on which I claim to have personal experience. That is with regard to the problem of unemployment. This problem of unemployment is linked up with various projects and scheme that the Government might contemplate to undertake. I have experience here in Shillong when as Chairman of the Municipality we wanted to appoint some tax Collectors. Naturally, applications were invited. We go hundreds of applications, and the qualifications required for a tax-Collector is under-matric having some practical experience. But you will be surprised to know Sir, that among the candidates who applied for this job were intermediates, graduates and there was also one Master of Arts. So this is the extend to which educated unemployment has gone up in our State. Now, the question  is :how to tackle this problem? Personally, I realise the difficulty of creating offices just for employment's sake and whatever we do we cannot escape the fact that education unemployment is a sinister problem we face and I feel that we have to tackle it now, we have to start doing things now. 

        Now Sir, I am happy to note that in the Address there has been mention that in the field of technical education our Government will have to evolved a scheme with a practical bias, keeping in view the way of life, aptitude and the economic condition of the people. I feel that in order to be able to give that small scale industries wherever we can should be established immediately so that there will be scope for employment. How to do it, I feel it will take long time for discussions and I do not like to take the time of the House but what I want to say is this, that the Government should take note of this very important problem.

        Now, Sir, I will come to a very important aspect of the discussion when I would like to place before the House. As I said, I have but al the praise for the manner in which the Governor's Address was prepared, and that it contains a clear policy statement of the Government. In effect if you take it in its totality, it has expressed the thinking of the Hill people at large. But then it appears that despite all the good intentions, there is an omission which I think, is not deliberate but might have been inadvertently done. That is with regard to the very vital matter which is facing us squarely in the fact even today. I had an experience. I remember there was a wedding in my place and I have invited everybody to the wedding. But when the wedding day came I forget my dearest and nearest neighbour. So also I think it is in regard to Shillong. We know Sir, Shillong is the brain and also the heart, if I may say so, of the people of Meghalaya. Yes, something has been mentioned here that the Meghalaya Government has already taken up with the Government of India the question of an Airport in Shillong so as to make our capital city more easily accessible. And that was rightly mentioned because we have taken up this matter with the Government of India and we have met the Union Minister of Civil Aviation and we have been given the understanding that the Government of India are keen and serious to take up this project having Shillong in the Air Map of India. This hardly needs any emphasis because we need air-lifting of produce in the whole of Meghalaya. Now, we do not have an Airport nor even a railway line. So for as the airport is concerned, it is beyond any shadow of doubt, that an Airport in Shillong will not only increase the tourist traffic but will also do away with a lost of waste of energy, money for carrying the passengers from Shillong to Gauhati which normally takes about three hours and sometimes we do not get a place. I do not want to dilate on this matter any further. But it is very important for us to pursue it with renewed vigour. If I am not mistaken Sir, permit me I am wrong sometimes ago, I have been told that the Government of India has made a statement to the effect that no resources are available for the establishment of an Airport. But I do not know how far it is true. But whatever it is I have taken it for granted that the Government of India is equally serious as we are in this matter, and I was given an impression that this will be taken up by them as early as possible, whatever the cost may be I feel that the Government of Meghalaya should take up this matter very very vigorously. As happened everywhere in India, if you start something and unless you vigour follow up nothing effective will come out and this happens with the Government of India also. Therefore, it is my earnest appeal to the Government to take up this question of having an Airport in Shillong on an emergency footing with the Government of India. It is very important and vital for us to have an Airport here. We have the headquarters of Assam, the headquarters of Meghalaya, the Headquarters of N.E.F.A. We have the headquarters of Air force we have the Army headquarters in Shillong. But Shillong is not linked up with the rest of India by air which does not strike me as right and my appeal is that this matter should be taken up immediately and I am sure all the goodwill that we command how we will be able to push this matter through. Now, coming to the main point of Shillong .........................

Mr. SPEAKER :- How many minutes more will you take?

Shri P. RIPPLE KYNDIAH :- Well, I do not know but I will require some time.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Alright. But try to be more precise.

Shri P. RIPPLE KYNDIAH :- I will crave the indulgence of the Chair and in that case of any diversion I may be pulled up.

Mr. SPEAKER :- The hon. Member must not misunderstand me, Up till now how many hon. Members will participate in this debate.

Shri P. RIPPLE KYNDIAH :- This Shillong question will take some more time it is a very important matter, as you know Sir.

Mr. SPEAKER :- First of all let us try to find out how many hon. Member will participate. Of course I have received a letter from Shri Singjan Sangma and Shri Akrmozzaman intimating that they will participate in this debate tomorrow. Those hon. Members who would like to participate will please raise their hands. (6 hon. members raised their hands). 

Shri P. RIPPLE KYNDIAH :- Sir, as I said earlier, Shillong is the brain and heart of the people of Meghalaya. At the same time it is the apex of the culture and political aspirations of the Government. Therefore, whatever development is contemplated by the Government to undertake. I am saying that on a point of practical necessity. Now, I will tell you a very important episode-my friends in the Treasury Benches are smiling at me-What happened? This morning at about 8.30 A.M. the Minister telephoned me saying "What is this? Now water to Shave? Now water to drink, no water to take bath?" After some time, the Hon'ble Chief Minister himself asked me-"Don't you want me to go to the Assembly to day? I said, "Why?''''''' He replied, "because there is no water." The problem has become very very important and it should be dealt with very effectively because if the facilities are wanting it will be difficult even for us to attend the Assembly. I for one has an experience that one day when I was shaving the water did not come. Now Sir...............

Shri EDWINGSON BAREH :- For this information, I shaved this morning with the water I brought  from Tura.

Mr. SPEAKER :- So, the Hon'ble Minister agrees with the hon. Member!

Shri P. RIPPLE KYNDIAH :- Not only agreeing but he has reinforced my argument.

        Now Sir, some of us have a confusion in the minds as to way I am bringing this very important matter of Shillong to the floor of the House. Sir, may I quote the Act, i.e., The Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act 1969. Section 63 of the Act says that this : "The Central Government may in consultation with the Government of Assam and Meghalaya, by an order constitute a Committee consisting of such number of persons as it may think fit for advising the two Government on matters of common interest with respect to Shillong in the field of education and water supply in particular and with respect to its development and administration in general.

        Now, Sir, it is very clean from this section that the Government of Meghalaya has a very very important role to play in the development of Shillong and if I sense the feeling of the House, hon. Member will agree with me that all of us would like to see that Shillong will again recover its lost glory and prestige. Shillong is used to be knows as the 'Scotland of the East and the Queen of the Hill Stations'. But now it is no longer so. But then development of Shillong is a gigantic problem. It is not a small problem. We have calculated that only in the Municipal area that population is about one lakhs not to speak of Greater Shillong which will be more than 1½ lakhs. Now, with this population in this area we see congestion, we see filth, we see unhygienic conditions, we see all around us unscientific and unsanitary arrangements excepts in some of the parts which are maintained by the Government. But as I said the development of Shillong should be a pre-requisite to any other development because we are meeting here very frequently and in that context, the solution of the water problem of Shillong is a pre-required to the other development projects and without water nothing can be developed. Let me give a graphic example. What is going on today? My friends have reinforced me about the difficulty of water. Now if you go to any part of Shillong you will see queues of population standing at water taps with containers buckets-you will find children, school children, women, office going men trying to get a trickle of water. Even in my house I find it difficult to have my bath not to speak of other requirements. Now, this problem is a big one. I went through Jaiaw Pdeng and I found hundreds of people waiting before the tank wagon to get a bucket of water. Often times there was apprehension of law and order situation but thanks to the durbar shnong and the headman and the local leaders who are always at the scene to help ease the problem. It is a matter of great disappointment to all the citizens of Shillong that they have to go without drinking water not to speak of other use for water. Now, why is it happening so? It is a fact that the Municipal Board is expected to supply adequate water to the people. But Sir, this is a problem which has been recognised by the Government of Assam that it is no longer a problem which can be solved by the small machinery of the Municipal Board. A few years ago the Public Health Engineering Department took up the matter to bring 10 lakhs gallon per day of additional water to Shillong to augment the water resources. But unfortunately the scheme was a flopped; and we could  get only very little additional water supply from the sources. Now, this problem has been in existence for last 4/5 years. It is getting more acute, the reasons being (1) as I said earlier, there is indiscriminate felling of trees on the slopes of Laitkor and Shillong ranges. You know Sir, that the water supply for Shillong is affected in a very interesting manner. We get our water supply from the perennial springs in existence in the slopes of Laitkor and water supply from the perennial springs in existence in the slopes of Laitkor and Shillong Range. Now, from these springs we draw the water to the tanks from the tanks the distribution lines start to go to various parts of the towns. Now, when the trees we cut the water dries up. Besides the water system we have today is a system meant for only a population of 24 to 25 thousand. Now, the same system is continuing even now. (2) It is a fact that due to increase of population which has arisen considerable in the last few years water supply could not be supplied adequately. Then there are other factors also like sanitary fittings etc. Previously there was not much of it but today in quite a number of house and buildings there are sanitary fittings  as a result there is more demand of water. The question is how to solve it? The Assam Government tried through its departments to bring water from sources in the Mylliem side but somehow it could not come through owing to certain difficulties. There is a thinking that it would be better to draw water from the Barapani lake by means of pumping set say 4 or 5 states or failing that to bring water from the Umiew stream in which a big dam can be constructed and from the lake so formed we can bring water from there by means of gravitation. In this matter Sir, I feel that it require the combined efforts of both the Assam and Meghalaya Government because the problem affects both these Governments. Here also the first consideration is co-operation and not confrontation. Somebody has written that Meghalaya State is "A State of goodwill;. How I love that statement 'a State of goodwill". I wish that that goodwill remains between this Government and the Assam Government and  both these Governments should take immediate steps to draw water from whatever sources we can get and get this problem solved. I am sure that if there is a scheme to bring adequate water from Shillong it will require combined efforts of all concerned and response will be available. Now Sir, sometime ago I received a letter from friend of mine who was questioning me as to how you have to face water problem when you are very near to the wettest spot on earth. He said that Cherrapunjee is only 10 to 15 miles as the crow flies and Shillong itself has a very heavy rainfall. It is really ironically and a paradox that Shillong with its heavy rainfall goes without during these lean months. Anyway it is up to the House to take initiative. I am giving my observations. I feel that this problem can be solved only by co-operation and not by confrontation. Confrontation in such matters should be avoided but co-operation is definitely required to tackle this water supply problem.

        Now Sir, I am not touching Education because I think we will get sometime later to discuss this subject; but on his point of water supply if the Government takes an initiative I feel the citizens of Shillong will raise their hats off to the Meghalaya Government. However Sir, I do not want problem to dwell more on this point which is obvious but I am sure that if this water problem is solved we will really be able to develop Shillong more beautifully and scientifically. Then, I would also like to say something in regard to development of Shillong in general. If water being adequate you can think of a beautiful Shillong. We have seen already how parts of this beautiful  town have a trend of congestion a trend of becoming slum areas. Now is the right time to arrest that trend and today what we require is to have a scientific town planning and if I may say so, if planning is to be effective we should have more spacious roads, beautiful parks and all that. There should be a Plan how to develop this town. My way of thinking is that we should attack the most affected areas first, i.e., the Bara Bazar area what is generally called 'Iew Duh'.

Mr. SPEAKER :- I think the hon. Member is visualizing to bi\build a new Shillong.......(Laughter)

Shri P. RIPPLE KYNDIAH :- Now Sir, Iew Duh is usually the pride of the Hills. It is a traditional market place. It is a place where tourists coming to Shillong will start right away to find out where Iew Duh is? Such is the attraction of Iew Duh to the tourists Sir. But I am sorry to say that today it is one of the spots which requires immediate sanitation action. I have nothing to criticise the Administration, I can just making a statement of fact. Now, if we attack this point, if we make Bara Bazar model market, if we start building three or four storied buildings with parking place, beautiful rows of shops big and small, then only I think it will have a psychological impact on the sanitation of the whole town. Therefore, I think if the Government of Meghalaya takes an initiative in this regard it will go a long way to make Shillong a beautiful planned city.

        Now, speaker about beauty I was very much impressed by a song about Shillong which sometime back we had from a show which is unique. We had a group of friends coming from all over the world-People from about 20 or 30 nations came to Shillong and gave us a show, with unprecedented show with unprecedented response. They gave us a song Shillong: and I am quoting:

SONG FOR SHILLONG

Where water are falling,

The hillside are calling

Shillong

Where cool air is crisper

The breezes all whisper

Shillong

For this is a city that's set on a hill,

And its light will shine out wider still,

To show men the way

To the future they long for,

Shillong.

Pine trees standing tall straight,

Rivers clear and pure,

Meeting-place of every race

Will this be a city of cure?

Point the world to unity,

Answers swift and sure

Hope to feed a world, in need,

This will be the city of cure.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Mr Kyndiah, all the Things which you quoted should be made available to the official Reporters. 

Shri P. RIPPLE KYNDIAH :- I am most affected by that song. The light is not a physical light. The light is presumably a different light-the light of beauty, of grace and joy. My friend is smiling-all smiles of integrity an character, if I may say so. Well, if we can do it, I think it will go a long way to initiate the approach for which we will not only do justice to ourselves but to the whole of the country. We have been always saying as leaders that we would like to make Meghalaya a model State. But how do we make this model? I think the most important part of it is that we take all the actions on the projects physically and morally to make it a beautiful State. Then it becomes a model State. Therefore, it is a way of our making it; it is not so much of what the others think about it. It is so much of what we think and of what we do and what we are called upon to do. I think this is a challenge to all the hon. Members of this House, Now, I am also happy that in the Governor's Address we find that 'one of the purposes for setting up of the State of Meghalaya is that the people of this area may be able to concentrate on their problems and find solution for them through their own representative institutions." It is a statement; strong and vigorous. I like the way it is put. But then there are also many other points. We have always been saying in our public speech that the State that the State will wipe out the tears from the downtrodden. Our State will bring joy and happiness; our State will be a State where every citizen will be proud of; our State where our personality will be projected. So, I believe in this purpose, although it could not possibly be provided as it is a bit idealistic, yet, I think a note on this aspect should have found place in this Address. If we can do that I think we can do justice to the aspirations of the hill people.

        With these words, Sir, I resume my seat.

Shri JUSTMAN SWER : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not going to take a long time because Meghalaya was born only 18 days back, and, 18 days in the life of the nation is a very very short time indeed. And during that time the Meghalaya Government has not had any chance to function. They have not settled down. The Ministers are homeless in their own homes, the officers have been released without chairs and tables left behind and in these circumstances we cannot expect in 18 days-with so short a time-that the Government can start to function in the manner worth the name. The Governor in his speech has only posed the various difficult problems that that the new Government will face. This Government has not had a chance to tackle those problems and they have not had a chance to show good works or to commit sins of omissions or commission for us to commend or criticise. In those circumstances it is very difficult for me personally to have anything to say in the matter. But if I have anything at all; it is only to say something on the policy statement of the Governor's Address, in one or two matters. The hon. member who spoke before me dwelt at great length on many points. I shall be dealing only with certain matters which he has not dealt with. In the first place, I should thank the Governor for a very important policy statement; a clear statement in respect of the relationship of the Meghalaya Government with their component units namely, the District Councils on the one hand and the local administrative units like the Siemship, the Lyngdohships, the Doloiships, the Nokmaships and so on on the other hand. After the announcement of the Centre on the 11th September 1968 that Assam will be craved for the creation of a new State comprising all the three hill districts, has been a general apprehension in Syiemship so far as the district of Khasi Hills is concerned. I do not know about other districts but so far as the Khasi Hills is concerned. I do not know about other districts but so far as the Khasi Hills district is concerned, there has been a general fear and apprehension that the old traditional institutions, the traditional customary rights, practices and usages may be done away with by the new State. We as Executive Committee of the District Council had to face with a lot of trouble to counteract against this fear and to explain to the people of the Syiemship and the heads of the other administrative units that it is not the intention of the new State to do away with these institutions units that it is not the intention of the new State to do away with these institutions. To some, the fear was allayed to a certain extent but it could not be said that it was effective enough to kill the fear altogether. When we tried to explain to them that it was not the intention of Meghalaya to do away with these old institutions, they refused to believe saying that it is only your personal opinion. But now, the Governor in his Address, has made a clear statement that these old institutions will be respected. To quote his words, if I may be permitted-"My Government will respect and support the traditional agencies and local institutions under the District Councils." I believe this will help remove that fear once, and for all. It may be appreciated that the smooth working of the Meghalaya Government and its success will very much depend on the Meghalaya Government and its success will very much depend on the co-operation and goodwill  that we receive from the component units of Meghalaya. If this good relationship could be established, I do hope that the administration of  Meghalaya  will, to a great extent, achieve its objectives in future.

        The Governor's Address has mentioned that the District Council will be entrusted with additional responsibilities in the matter of agriculture and animal husbandry, community projects, co-operation, village planning and social welfare. While it is well to get more powers for the District Councils, I must tell the House that the District Councils staff is not competent enough to tackle these extra subjects which will be entrusted to them, especially in matters requiring technical know-how for the simple reason that the District Councils has practically no officers competent enough to tackle these subjects. To that extent I would suggest the Government to consider the necessity of amalgamating the staff of the District Councils with the staff of the Meghalaya Government to enable interchange of officers and staff whenever occasion demands.

        Another point which the Governor has mentioned in his speech is in respect of the desirability of stopping jhumming. We all know jhumming is bad, jhumming is destructive, jhumming is not economic and it is not beneficial to the national interest. But we should not forget the fact that jhumming is the way of life of a hillman. The hillman must live as the plain man must live. The hillman  must raise his crop in the hills because his house is not in the plains where permanent cultivation is possible. It is the way of life and this way of life cannot be done away with just our wishes. It could only be done away with, if we provide an alternative way of life. As far as jhumming is concerned in the three districts I should particularly make a reference to (1) jhumming in the upper ridges and (2) jhumming in the lower slopes bordering Nowgong, Kamrup and Goalpara Districts. As far as jhumming in the upper reaches is concerned what can be suggested is to give the hillman cultivable lands by creating terraces irrigation. This responsibility devolves on the Agriculture Department, Soil Conservation and Irrigation Departments. As far as jhumming in the lower slopes is concerned while the same methods can be adopted there, another step is to straighten the boundaries of Meghalaya and the plain districts. If you look at the map, you will find that in certain areas between the districts of plains and hills which........

Mr. SPEAKER :- I think you are speaking about technical details I must point out that in the Governor's address it has been clearly stated that this Government is going to do way with jhumming cultivation. Are you going to subscribe to the Governor's Address or are you expressing you own views?

Shri JUSTMAN SWER :- Sir, I am giving some constructive suggestions towards the implementation of the scheme. I am suggesting the straightening of the boundaries because it requires a thorough examination and the Government of Assam may not like to part with some of their lands. On the other hand if consideration is given to the fact that damage by flood is the result of jhumming they may not hesitate to do so. I, therefore special appeal to Government to examine this suggestion.

        The third point is about roads. The Governor has mentioned about the necessity of developing communications in our State is an obvious thing-we need more roads and we need improvement of communications. In this connection I can only point out that in the past the practice has been to concentrate all our activities and schemes over very wide area with the result that no work was done in a proper way or work is half-done. I would suggest that in all our road projects we should set up priorities and spend a good  part of the allocated fund for the construction and completion of the work once and for all. We can afford to wait construction of feeder roads where we find that they could wait for two or three years more to give way for finalisation of more important roads like the Tura-Shillong Road and other roads mentioned in the Address of the Governor. Well, friends, I don't think I have anything more to add because.......

Mr. SPEAKER :- I would like to point out that the hon. Member should not speak as to 'friends' but to address the House.

Shri JUSTMAN SWER :- Thank you Sir. Now Sir, I resume my seat in the hope that as far as other details of the scheme and other matters are concerned like animal husbandry, hospitals, etc. I hope the Government will shortly form an Advisory Planning Board to whom detailed suggestions can be proposed so that work could be done in a proper, manner.

        With these few words, Sir, I associate myself in supporting the Motion of Thanks to the Governor for his Address.

Shri E. BREMLY LYNGDOH :- Mr. Speaker Sir, I feel that I do not have to add anything more to what the previous speakers have spoken before me. I remember in the Mendipathar meeting that one of the members while referring to Meghalaya remarked saying that the baby has come, yes it has come, but it depends on us to bring it up properly. As a young men I feel shy to say something, but sitting here and facing you as Chairman, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that I must say something as my contribution in the discussions on the Governor's Address. Sir, I really appreciate the Governor's Address : though short, it is quite clear and he has pointed out the most important problems and programmes that the Government of this newly born State through its representatives institutions will have to find out ways and means for immediate and effective implementation.

        Sir, I would like to emphasise on two points which have been pointed out in the Governor's Address and those are Forest development and Education. About Forest, Sir, it is really a wealth in our State which should be protected properly. We have seen green  hills with thick forests, but as the years rolled on it seems all the forests will be wiped out from our State. Valuable trees were cut at random, jhumming cultivation tend to destroy our forest wealth as has been pointed out in the Governor's Address. I would like to emphasize that for preservation of valuable trees and forest wealth that we have in our State of Meghalaya, strict measure will have to be taken up by the Government to do away with this destruction practice, namely random cutting and felling of valuable trees from our forests, then number (2) unscrupulous shooting of birds and wild animals out of season, number (3) selling of meat of wild animals in bazars, roadsides and elsewhere, number (4) unnecessary trapping of wild animal and number (5) indiscriminate use of chemicals like D.D.T. copper sulphate and other poisons for killing fishes in our river and streams.

        In the field of Education, Sir, it has been pointed out in the Government Address about technical education. In this connection I would like to emphasize for setting up of youth camps and physical training centre to high advancement of efficient education to counter act the fast growing evils rampant at the moment amongst our youths who are the future leaders of the State and the Nation. Secondly advancement and improvement of Sport and Games in our Schools and Colleges throughout the State. I hope the Government will take into consideration all these points that I have mentioned and find out ways and means for effective implementations.

        With these words, Sir, I resume my seat.

Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while expressing my satisfaction on the speech of the Governor, I would like to make also some observation I am really very happy with the policy statement of the Government. I hope that the implementation will be up to the mark. Sir, at page 4 of the Governor Address it is said that a certain amount of re-organisation of settlement appears necessary for the induction of modern methods of Agriculture.

        In this respect I would like to keep the Government informed of the fact that there are people and villages in our State of Meghalaya and I would like to refer to an area in Khasi Hills which is known as Khadarshnong area in the Cherra Syiemship and other adjoining areas also in the Khyrim Syiemship where the people are living not in their own lands but in somebody's lands. They have to start and live at the mercy of the land owners'. As a matter of fact, I would like that the Government should come forward with a firm statement of land and settlement for such people in the Meghalaya area.

        Now, in respect of mineral resources I feel very happy because the Government has come forward with a proposal that this wealth should be tapped and industries based on forest and minerals resources should be set up. But I would like also to keep the Government informed that extraction of certain minerals in the district, namely in Khasi and Jaintia Hills, is not at all in a way that will bring benefit to our State and to the people as a whole. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the field of technical education, the Government appears to be in a shy say. The polytechnic and Junior Technical Schools will have to be encouraged. I would like to say that the polytechnic and Junior technical schools are of great need to the people especially in the growing towns of the State. The technical institutions should not only be encouraged but should be set up since the Government is determined to make our State of Meghalaya an industrialised country. And the last point, Mr. Speaker, Sir,..........................

Mr. SPEAKER :- Let us hope that Meghalaya be a prosperous State.

Shri S.P. SWER :- Sir, it is said that the Governor's Address that the State Government will have to give us measures for the economic rehabilitation of those people living in the southern border with Pakistan. Now, we have seen many many years after independence that schemes and projects were made and implemented. But there is no solution. The economic condition of the people is growing worse day by day. I feel that the opening of more trade centres in the border areas is no doubt a great help. But the question is where to get good products or produce for trade because the soil cannot produce anything. I would like to appeal to the Government to see that some laboratories of soil analysis be set up, rotation or plantation be introduced in whose areas so that the people can be really economically rehabilitated. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat. 

Mr. SPEAKER :- Mr. Ohiwot Khonglah. Would you like to speak now?

Shri OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- Sir I will participate tomorrow.

Shri JOHNDENG POHRMEN :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to participate in the debate on the Governor's Address. At the outset, I must say that in general I am quite gratified with the policy statement given by the Government in that it has touched all important subjects relating to the administration of Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would not touch upon all the subject and I do not want to dilate much even on the subjects I am going to touch. Sir, in the past we used to criticise the administration of giving step-motherly treatment to the hills people, and things are always done haphazardly with the result that most of the scheme and projects ended in smoke of the great detriment of our people. But now, we have started governing ourselves and our people expect great and satisfactory result. Now, I feel we have to change the policy of running the administration, lock, stock and barrel, and plans, schemes, etc. Should come up as a result of the inspiration of the heart and the realism of the reason. The Government of Meghalaya deserves commendation that top priority is given to agriculture. Bold steps are being contemplated to check jhumming cultivation, and modern methods of mechanised farming are taken up with realistic approach and determination. But the only thing I would like to impress upon the House particularly the Treasury Bench is with regard to the border areas vis-a-vis agriculture. Most of the areas in the border areas are unfit for wet cultivation-with all its rocky and stony character, its topography is such that kinds of irrigation have to be taken up with regard to the border areas if we are really to improve agriculture in the border areas. With the characteristic important crops in those areas, if I may be permitted to say, specially the border areas in Jaintia Hills-is the pan leaf. This is the king of border crops in that areas. Then comes orange, that prince of tropical fruits. Then comes betel nut which is connected with the Indian culture. The pan leaves entering Pakistan annually is worth approximately Rs.25 lakhs. Of course, that is in the context of regular and good market. That was before the partition when the people of that area and plenty of food to eat and they lived a life of hospitality and good cheer. But in this connection I would like to inform the House that there is a peculiar disease call "Utram." That disease is so dreadful that once it attacks the pan leaf it is difficult for the particular garden of pan leaves to survive. Something has to be done in this regard. Some experts have to be consulted who can analyse and try to diagnose disease and then with the diagnosis they could also give some remedy. It is true the border trade has been opened three or fours years ago, but I would like to inform the House that the Government of India had to make a unilateral decision as the Government of Pakistan has always been adamant tot he idea of border trade. Therefore, this cannot be relied upon. It is only a temporary relief;  it all depends on the changing political temper of Pakistan I wish we could try to find out markets within India itself where we can market our cash crops specially pan leaf which is so perishable. I am told by some people that in the pan leaf there is a chemical which, if extracted can be commercially used in medicines and the like. I would appeal to the House through  you Sir, that if that question can be taken up, I think we can have a market  within India for our pan leaf. With regard to orange, the princely fruit it is painful to see that in recent years a terrible disease has come to the border areas with the result that thousands and thousands of orange trees died. Mr. Speaker, Sir, you can very well appreciate the difficulty of our people because at least for orange we have a market within India. Of course, not to the extent of Pakistan market. Even trees died in thousand and something should be done about this. Of course in the block level we discussed about this. But it seems that the block level is too small a forum to tackle this dreadful orange disease. The Blocks are helpless to tackle this, and therefore, I feel that on the State level serious thoughts should be given with regard to the arrest of this disease. With regard to oranges the main market in Calcutta. But, because of difficult communications it takes a long time for orange to reach Calcutta. I remember some years back if I may be permitted to mention Sir, the name of Prof. G.G. Swell, the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha how he moved heaven and earth to see that oranges reach Calcutta in time and in good condition. But alas even he could not achieve very satisfactory result in this regard. About half of the oranges perished on the way. What a loss to him and to the people whom he helped. Therefore, I feel if some industries like canning industry is set up in an around that areas where there is cultivation of oranges, that would help a lot. I am told even banana can be canned, and, therefore, I feel that both banana and oranges could have one factory where they can be canned and exported. I am told that banana is very rare thing in Europe and it fetches very high prices. I wonder if the Meghalaya Government can examine this question so that something can be done and that would provide new avenue of employment of our people. 

        Now, I come to health. I am really happy, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the new administration is very much alive with this subject, by making the services of doctors as attractive as possible by providing them, I understand with additional; financial benefits. We are told that in NEFA there is no vacancy at all though NEFA is far away. This is so because of the monetary benefit which is so great that all the vacancies have been filled up. But here in Meghalaya we find it difficult to attract doctors to go to the interior. Even in places, say 40 to 50 miles in the interior, just because there are difficulties from the financial point of view no doctors are available. Sir, I feel that not only additional benefit should be given to the doctors to attract them to come forward to take up their posts in the interior, but vehicles and transport should be provided for them. It is really funny to see that the veterinary doctors, I say, at least in the Jowai area, are provided with a fleet of vehicles. But for our doctors in the Hospital at Jowai and doctors in the interior they cannot even expect third-class jeeps. To me it appears that the administration seems to think that animals are more valuable than human beings I would appeal through you, Sir, to the new administration that this is a very important problem. We blame the doctors very often but we have also to see the difficulties they have to face ..................

Mr. SPEAKER :- May I tell the hon. Member that it is better not to make unpleasant remarks against any administration but rather to try to drive home his view points how to improve matters.

Shri JOHNDENG POHRMEN :- I will note that Sir. Mr. Speaker, Sir, before I come to the end of my maiden speech I would like to say something about industries. I do not pretend to be an industrialists nor an expert but I would prefer to listen to the advice of some friends who are in the know of thing. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I note that previous speakers who have spoken before that they advocate small scale industries. I also would like to advocate small scale industries. There is great scope for small scale industries in our Meghalaya State and these small scale industries should be more or less in the lime of Japan or Switzerland. Our young men should be sent to such countries to study the organisation of these small scale industries and experts from such countries should be invited to our State so that they can help us how to build such small scale industries not only to raise the economy of our people but it will also help to solve the unemployment problem.

        With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Any other hon. Member would like to speak now?

Shri S.J. Duncan :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have listened with great attention tot he exhaustive treatment given to the Governor's Address by some of the speakers before me. I do not see that there is any more ground left for anyone to cover. But all the same I may be have missed or I may have misread some portion of the Governor's Address on certain points; for example, a clean administration. We have seen in the papers, before the inauguration of Meghalaya, a statement which was attributed to some of our Minister that we propose to have a clean administration. I do not know whether that has been mentioned in the Governor's Address. As has been pointed out by one of the previous speakers it is true that we are only 19 days old and therefore nothing much can be expected in the sphere of administration. Sir, when we start something new we always say that we start with a blank site .................... (A voice-with a blank slate?...........) A blank slate in the sense that at least most of the Members of the House are unaware of the existence or rather the condition of our Finance. According to the Act it is said that as on the appointed day the cash balance in the Treasuries in Assam will be apportioned as between Assam and Meghalaya. I do not know Sir, whether we will have occasion on talk on this subject again during this session. We would have been more satisfied if there had been some mention of it in the Governor's Address just to show how we stand in the matter  of finance. We are small State-very small indeed and we have to be careful how we utilise our resources and I hope the Minister in-charge of Finance will enlighten us when his turn comes as to how we stand financially.

Mr. SPEAKER :- For the information of the hon. Member there is practically no item in the agenda during this session regarding the subject that you have raised. I hope the Finance Minister will give some clarification tomorrow. It is a very important point. The hon. Member can go ahead and enlighten something more.

Shri S.J. DUNCAN :- Thank you Sir. Now I come back to the subject which I tried to touch in the beginning. I mean the clean administration. I am happy to know that the Government of Meghalaya is trying to enforce a clean administration.

        Sir, I know, and we all know, the extent of corruption prevailing in Government offices. The task of tackling this subject matter is colossal and it calls for concerned efforts and strong determination. How far we succeed in eliminating corruption from the Government offices will depend entirely on the good faith and exertion of those on whose shoulders the administration of Meghalaya has been laid. It is very easy, of course, to point our finger at this or that particular person, but it is a fact that our people have reached more or less what I would call the danger point, - danger point in the sense that the people are beginning to become complacent-which means they do not seem to care very much now if they have to satisfy the desire of other people in order to get something done. We have reached that danger point now. It will take a long time, and it will mean a great deal of exertion on our part to retrace our steps and weed out all the corruption that prevails. Our people look up to us. Whether we like it or not, they look up to us as their leaders-as somebody who can do something for them. There is a saying, which we all know that example is always better than precept. In this respect it behaves us to carry on our work in such a way that there will be no chance for anyone to point a finger to us. I am not suggesting that our people have eyes which pry into the private lives of our. But it is true that they have eyes which see everything that goes on in public. They also have ears to hear. They are our people and after all they are our supporters. They have been with us through thick and thin and I can only say that whatever we do, let us not do any thing that will disappoint our own people. Let us carry ourselves let us acquire ourselves in such a manner that they will be proud of. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Is there any other hon. Member who would like to speak? (After a pause). There are two hon. Members namely, Shri Singjan Sangma and Shri Akramozzaman who would like to take part in the debate tomorrow. As there is no other hon. Member who would like to speak, I have consulted the Leader of the House that we will have to adjourn the House now and there will be no afternoon session today.

Shri OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- Sir, I have also informed you that I will speak tomorrow.

Mr. SPEAKER :- Tomorrow you will have a chance.


ADJOURNMENT

        The Assembly was adjourned till 10 A.M. on Tuesday, the 21st April 1970.

N.C. HANDIQUE
Dated Shillong Secretary
the 20th April 1970. Meghalaya Legislative Assembly

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