PROCEEDINGS OF THE MEGHALAYA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
The 16th June, 1971.
The House met at 10 A.M. in the Assembly Chamber on Wednesday, the 16th June, 1971 with Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin with today's list of business with question No. 1 to be asked by Mr. Choronsing Sangma and to be replied by Minister, Community Development
STARRED QUESTION :-
Re : Transfer of Development Blocks to District Council
Shri CHORONSING SANGMA asked : N.1 will the Minister, Community Development be pleased to state whether Government proposed to transfer all the Development Blocks to the District Councils
Shri S.D.D NICHOLS ROY (Minister Community Development, etc.) to reply : No.
Shri S.D.D NICHOLS ROY (Minister Community Development, etc.) :- The reply to starred question No. 1 the answer is No. But it is proposed to entrust some of the functions of the community Development to the District Councils.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Any Supplementary Question ?
Mr. O. KHONGLAH:- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know what are those functions ?
Shri S.D.D NICHOLS ROY (Minister Community Development, etc.) :- If the Member could refer to the address of the Governor to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, 1971 at page 9, the functions have been outlined in respect of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Community Development., Co - operation. Some of these functions, are to be worked out in consultation with the District Councils at the proper time. So these are some of the functions. They are yet to be worked out in consultation with the District Councils which particular function are to be entrusted and at what time.
Mr. A.B DIENGDOH :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether the Community Development Blocks are equivalent to the District Councils or they are under the District Councils.
Mr. SPEAKER :- I think it has already been replied.
Mr. A.B. DIENGDOH :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether the Government propose to organise the Community Development Blocks ?
Mr. W.A SANGMA (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the reply is very clear. In the Community Development Blocks we have a number of functions and some of the functions overlap with the functions entrusted to the District Councils. It is the desire to of the Government that there is no duplication in the various activities of the District Councils and the Community Development. It is in this context that the details are yet to be worked out.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Any more Supplementary Question ? (No more questions). So le us pass on to the second item in today's list of business. The second item is obituary reference, on the demise of Mr. Punuhu Chakhesang, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Nagaland. May I request the Chief Minister ?
Mr. W.A SANGMA (Chief Minister) :- With your permission would like to make an obituary reference. It is with great sorrow that I refer to the unfortunate demise of Shri Punuhu Chakhesang, Deputy Minister to for Agriculture in Nagaland, at Kohima on the 11th instant a very young age. Shri Punuhu Chakhesang was born in 1942 and was educated at Kohima and Darjeeling. He was actively associated with Students movement and also served as a Headmaster in Aided High School, Chietheba for some time. He was keenly interested in social service and also in gardening and sports. He was elected as a Member of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly in the General Elections in 1969 as an independent candidate and later joined the Nagaland Nationalist Organisation and was appointed as a Deputy Minister. His death has cut short a very promising career. Our heartfelt condolence to to the members to the bereaved family.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Is there any other honourable Members who would like to express something ? (There was no other Members to pay tribute)
I also join my sympathy and feelings with what the Chef Minister has expressed. The death of Mr. Punulu Chakhesang, has robbed away one of the most promising leader of Nagaland and as such it has also robbed away one of the promising leaders of the whole of North-East India. I met Mr. Chakkhesang only once and I was very impressed by his scholarly attitude and I had a great hope at that time that such a distinguished student who had a brilliant academic career with Honors in Political Science would be of useful service to shape the destiny of the Nagaland Politics in future. I was extremely shocked when I read the news item in the newspaper that the age of 29 death took him away and I was more shocked that at such an age how a young man can suffer from heart attack. But it appear to me that death spare no one; when it comes it will come to anyone, at any time. I also hope that the whole House will agree with me that we should express our condolences or the death of this young leader to the people of Nagaland and our condolences go also to the members of the bereaved family. As a mark of respect to the departed soul, may I request the House to stand in silence for one minute.
............................ (The House stood in silence for one minute.)
We now come to the third item in today's list of business - General discussion on the Budget. May I request Mr. Khonglah to initiate the discussion.
Shri OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all I must congratulate the Finance Minister for giving us the Budget Speech which is very systematic in form and every informative and narrative in character. In his speech, the Finance minister has acquainted the House with the various problems of our State is facing, both politically and economically and before going into the budgetary position of the State, he gives us a brief account on the activities and development of various departments of the Government. I am sure the speech as a whole, Mr. Speaker, Sir, must have cleared many doubts and apprehensions that might have been in the minds of the hon. members.
Now, coming to the details of the speech, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to make certain observations, comments and suggestions on certain aspects that have been dealt with in the speech. First of all Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Finance Minister in his speech has acquainted the House with the problems our State is facing politically and that is with reference to the short comings and the anomalies, that are inherent from the autonomous Hill State Plan. He clearly state in the speech that the declaration of the Prime Minister on the 10th of November, 1970 to lift the status of our State to that of a full fledged, State has been received with great joy and enthusiasm by our people here in Meghalaya. I join hands with him, Mr. Speaker, Sir, on this and I join hands with him in requesting the Government of India to expedite the passing of the Bill in this regard in the current session of Parliament in the order to remove all the short comings and anomalies that stand on the way of development and progress of our State. Very unfortunately Mr., Speaker Sir, we are not at a time when we are facing with the problems of the influx of the refugees from East Pakistan. I am afraid that this may stand on the way of the fulfillment of the political aspiration of our people. The Government of India may take it, that in view of the circumstances prevailing all over the country, expeditious implementation of the declaration on the 10th November, 1970 will not be possible I would therefore, appeal to our Government to take up this matter with the Government of India and to see that under no circumstances, this influx of refugees into our country should stand on the way for the fulfillment of our political aspiration. I am also very happy to note the decision of our Government to create a full fledged District for Jaintia Hills and two more Civil Sub - divisions, one at Nongstoin in Khasi Hills and the other at Simsanggiri in Garo Hills. I am sure , Mr. Speaker, Sir, that decision of this sort will be received buy the people of those areas with joy and enthusiasm, because with the coming of the a full - fledged district in Jaintia Hills and the two Sub - divisions in Khasi Hills and Garo Hills the people of those areas will now understand that their problems economic problems and other problems, will be well attended to. In the case of Jaintia Hills, the coming of a full fledged district, will be undoubtedly a blessing to our people here. With the coming of the Civil District, various offices will crop up in the district and the problems of the people will be attended to by these various offices in a more definite and proper form. So, in the line with this decision of the Government. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like also to propose here for creation of another sub - division in Jaintia Hills, so that the problems of a certain section of the people in that area can also be well attended to. That is the creation of a Civil Sub - division for the people of the border areas in Jaintia Hills, I am giving this proposal and I hope and appeal to the Government to kindly consider this proposal in whatever way the Government deems fir and proper.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Then how many Sub-divisions in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills ?
SHRI OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- That depends on the Members of the House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, now in the speech mentions has also been made regarding a special programme relating to the regrouping of ht villages rehabilitation of the border economy roads, of economic and strategic importance, etc., etc. It stated that the Government have drawn up, special programme for these outside the plan in order to meet the deficiency in the Meghalaya's share from the total outlay of integrated hill plain of Assam. On this Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that this House will be greatly benefited if it can be enlightened as to the details of these programmes and we will also be in a position to contribute more fully and in a more concrete form if this opportunity can be given to us.
Now, I am going, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to the next phase of the speech, i.e. on the brief account of the important activities and development of some of the Departments of the Government. Here the Finance Minister, Mr. Speaker, Sir, has dealt with the various activities and, development of some departments in connection with communication water supply, agriculture, animal husbandry and others. As regards communication, I see that mention is made here that Rs.325 lakhs have been allotted for this Department i.e. for the Public Works Department. On this, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would simply like to remind the Department of some proposal made previously regarding construction of the Amlarem Nongbareh Road and also regarding construction of Smit - Mawkynrew Amlarem Road. I remember last year, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Minister in charge of this Department had assured that some experts will be deputed to examine the feasibility or other wise of these proposal. I wish that this should have been done but unfortunately, to my knowledge, it has never been done.
I think at this point, the Minister in charge informed the House that survey had been conducted for he Amlarem - Nongbareh Road and that estimates had been prepared by this Department for construction of the same.
Mr. EDWINGSON BAREH (Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, for the information of the Hon'ble Member, I am sorry to Smit - Nongbareh Road even birds will find difficulty to fly (Laughter).
Mr. OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think there has been two different proposals one was Amlarem to Nongbareh Road and other was Smit Mawkynrew Amlarem Road I am speaking about the second proposal (i.e. Smit - Mawkynrew Amlarem Road).
Mr. EDWINGSON (Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have sent our experts and they reported that even birds will find difficulty to fly not to speak of my P.W.D Engineers (Laughter).
Mr. OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank the Minister in-charge through you for the reply he has just given us. But I am sorry to say that as far as this proposal is concerned, i.e. Smit - Mawkynrew to Amlarem Road even now there is a footpath going from Padu upto Smit and the people of Padu village whenever they came to Smit and other villages, they use to go through this footpath and they never find so much difficulty. (Laughter) I do not understand how the engineers find it difficult to go through that area.
Mr. Speaker :- Have you ever been there ?
Mr. OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have been there many times, As far as I can see from my lay man's points of view, road construction through this area is not at all difficult. Therefore, I would once again like to place this matter before the Hon'ble Members in-charge of this Department and request him to kindly.
Mr. EDWINGSON BAREH (Minister) :- Not Member -In- charge but Minister in charge.
Mr. OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- Yes I stand corrected Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to request the Minister in charge, to kindly ask the experts and engineers to take up the matter over again and if they find difficulty in going to that area, at least, they should this time take the help of the local people who are there and they can also approach me so that I can also render my help to them in whatever way possible.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would now come to water supply i.e. P.H.E Department. In this connection, I see that in the speech, mention is made that the Government propose to take up 40 new schemes, both in urban and rural areas in 1971-72 In this regard I would like to remind the Department some of the schemes in Jaintia Hills, one is the Thaujbuli - Jarian etc., water supply scheme. Regarding this scheme, a complete survey had been conducted and plan and estimates have already been prepared. But there is a certain change in the survey that is yet to be taken up and for that the Department will have to conduct to resurvey of the scheme to a little extent in order to incorporate the change with regard to one village. Otherwise the scheme is now ready in order to get the administrative approval and funds for its implementation. I would like therefore, to request the Minister in-charge of this Department to kindly see that this scheme is taken up during this year 1971-72. In addition, to that there are other schemes also at Nongbareh and Mawdymmai. Regarding these schemes, proposals have been sent to the Department concerned and the engineers have visited these places and have recommended certain sources. The remaining thing is to conduct a survey and prepare plan and estimates for this schemes. I would like to request the Government to see that these schemes are also taken up this year 1971-72 so that they get a place in the list of 40 new schemes that are proposed to be taken up.
Regarding agriculture, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I note with satisfaction the various schemes and various plans that Government propose to take up in agriculture. I note especially the two main objectives that are incorporated in the scheme, i.e. objectives, of creating conditions conducive to accelerating the pace of agricultural production and to enlist people's participation in the adoption of improved agricultural practices. This will be done by systematic efforts to extend the application of science and technology, creation of a more favourable economic environment, strengthening of the administrative and supervisory machinery, assuring adequate supply of inputs and other requirements and bringing more areas under minor irrigation wherever facilities therefore exists.
Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the question is how these things are to be done. As it is said in the speech. "This will be done by systematic efforts to extend the application of science and technology, creation of a more favourable economic environment strengthening of the administrative and supervisory machinery assuring adequate supply of inputs and other requirements and bringing more areas under minor irrigation wherever facilities therefore, exist". The question that appears to me at the moment is that how to make all these things practicable. The Government have been planning and putting forward various schemes and proposals for the benefit of the people but we have seen that the purpose of most of the schemes has been frustrated because of the wrong way of implementing the schemes. I think, the Government should take into consideration the question how the schemes are to be implemented; and how the proposals are to be made practical, so that the purpose of the schemes will be fulfilled and the people will really be benefited by those schemes. Take for example, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the small farmers in our State suffer economically. Their economic condition is not at all up to the mark. Therefore, the Government have taken up schemes to provide subsidised transport facilities to for bonemeal. In the last year, the Government had given enough sanction of transport subsidy for bone meal to facilitate transportation of bonemeal to interior areas. But what happened when the scheme was really implemented ? The bonemeal so supplied at subsidised rate was not at all good for agricultural purpose. It was a third class type of bonemeal; the smell of which was very irritating. It was an adulterated bonemeal. Whereas, other type of bonemeal which was very good and not at all given transport subsidy and therefore, the poor farmers, for the interest of their cultivation, poor though they are, had to rush for this kind of bonemeal. The rate of subsidy during the 1970-71 was fixed at Rs. 21.50 paise whereas the bonemeal which was not benefited under this subsidy was sold at Rs.25/- per maund, sometimes Rs.26/- per maund and sometimes at Rs.27/- or Rs.30. And the people had no alternative but to pay for that high rate. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the sanction of transport subsidy did not give any benefit to the people. I would like to urge upon the Government therefore to see that in every scheme or proposal ,which the Government is intending to take up for the benefit of our people, practicability of such schemes should be first considered.
Now I come to Community Development, Mr. Speaker, Sir. As I see it the Community Development programmes have always been a failure due to very little allocations of funds to the Blocks and also the due to lack of adequate technical supervision. There are various schemes under the Community Development, but they do not all at all serve the purpose for which they are intended. In the speech, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not mentioned that 'Steps will be taken to improve village roads to connect with roads as many villages as many be possible with the available resources." But what is the use to taking up such schemes when the fund is very limited. We are going to take up road communications from one village to another, may be, the distance of these feeder roads, would be 2 or 3 miles. Yet, the fund in regard to communication in the whole Block area is Rs.8,000 or 10,000. What can be done with such a meagre amount ? Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are so many schemes to be taken up and naturally Members from different parts of the District or Sub- division will try to see that the schemes in their area are taken up first in order to satisfy the people of that area. Therefore, even this amount of Rs.10,000 will be further split up in order to satisfy different areas and the Members concerned and ultimately for the construction of a road from one village to another, there will remain provision of Rs.500 or so. What can we expect from such a small amount ? Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring this to the notice of the Government so that fund should be allotted to the Community Development Blocks in such a way to enable them to implement the schemes properly.
Now, agricultural programmes are also being implemented through the Community Development Blocks and regarding this Mr. Speaker, Sir there are certain rules which the Blocks have to follow. Take for example, under the Minor irrigation scheme, the Blocks in fixing grant for Minor Irrigation schemes in any area, will have to base their calculation on certain rules which the Government had given to them.
The rule says that they will have to calculate the amount which a grantee is to receive either on the basis of acreage or on the basis of work done, whichever is less. If the calculation becomes less when the measurement of the work done is taken or if the calculation becomes less when it is made on the basis of acreage at the rate of Rs.120.00 per acre then the grantee will be paid that amount. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, suppose a man may have two acre of land. He constructs a dam somewhere in order to bring water to his paddy field and for that he has to spend Rs.2,000. Then when the measurement is made for the actual work done it comes to Rs.2,000/- but when it is calculated on the basis of acreage, only two acres will be benefited from that dam and therefore, ultimately he gets only Rs.240/- against has actual expenditure of Rs.2,000. Therefore here also the scheme does not work. The poor farmers and small farmers, when I say poor and small farmers. I mean those farmers who have got only a small plot of land her and there. It does not mean at all those farmers who have got big lands and thus become landlords. For them if they construct a dam at Rs.10,000, the land which will benefit from that dam will be 40/50 acres, so it will be something for them. But for the small farmers who have got only 4/5 acres, it will be of no use. So, in this way, the purpose of the scheme is defeated and thus the scheme fails.
Next, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to come to Co-operation. As regards the Co-operative Movement, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I fully agree with the Minister in charge of Finance that Co-operative Movement is a very very important movement. It has a tremendous role to play in the economic development of our State. But it is a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that our people in the State have not been educated as far as this movement is concerned. We still need to give proper education to the people. I have noted in the speech, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we have 21 Sub-area Marketing Societies in the State upto 1970-71 with about 400 affiliated Service Societies. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know about other Marketing Societies in other areas, but I know one Marketing Society, which is a Sub-area Marketing Society, which has been established in Jaintia Hills very recently. That is Amlarem Sub-Area Marketing Society. I think that one, out of these 21 Sub-Area Marketing Societies mentioned in the Speech, will be the Amlarem Sub - Area Marketing Society. But, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Amlarem Sub - Area Marketing Society, as I see it is not at all functioning. There are, of course, signboards, and a house which is rented. But there is no staff and nobody is there. Service Societies in the villages have been organised. Some officers have gone to the villages and organised those Service Societies. But there are certain set of rule and bye - laws which have been given to those Service Societies in the villages. Bye laws are written in English and they are of no one use to the villagers. They do not know the head or tail of it. It is simply a paper given to them and it ends there and uptil now none of the Service Societies in the villages is functioning. The people have been asking about it. They have been asking - What do we do with those Service Societies ? Some officers have come and organised and appointed Chairman and Secretaries. They have formed a Committee but then it ends there. They have organised, they have established a Sub- Area Marketing Society at Amlarem. We saw the signboard but we have seen no staff or men. There is nothing at all. We have to see to the practicability of the schemes. Schemes may be good, plans may be good but nothing seems to have been considered regarding the practicability of the schemes. The schemes are to be made practical and workable. These matters have not been taken into consideration properly. Therefore, I appeal o the Government kindly to see that these are also taken into consideration. When we establish a Service Society somewhere, when we establish a Sub - Area Marketing Society, we should see that Society actually functions. We should not simply establish a Society just for the sake of establishing it and only for the sake of incorporating it in the speech or report. We have established so many Societies, Sub Area Societies and Service Societies, but perhaps only few are functioning.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, next I will come to Soil Conservation. Regarding Soil Conservation, Mr. Speaker, Sir, mention is made here about the main programmes for implementation of these schemes. No.1 is the afforestation of eroded hill slopes and terracing in these regions. Then mention is made about terracing of hill slopes for settled cultivation, pasture development and cash crop development. I do not know much about these schemes. But regarding scheme No.2 Terracing of hill slopes for settled cultivation, I think that applies to Jaintia Hills also and regarding implementation of this scheme. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am sorry to say that this also is a failure. The schemes is good if we can make terraces for all the slopes for settled cultivation. It is quite good but by practice and by experience we have seen that people have been asked to construct terraces on the hill slopes just for the sake of getting grants. Once they get the grants for the work they leave the place and no work is done and no cultivation is carried out on the land. I have many instance, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to point out in this respect. Just recently I happened to go to Lumshnong village, which is in Narpuh. There my attention was drawn to one plot of land where I learnt that 11 persons are holding pattas.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Over the same area ?
Shri OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- No, it is a big area and it is divided into 11 parts. 11 persons are holding pattas for this purpose. Terracing has been made and certain dam has been constructed but the area has been left without cultivation for years together.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Does it matter so mush with the department concerned ?
Shri OHIWOT KHONGLAH. :- Many times we reported this matter but nothing happened. During the year 1970-71, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in Jaintia Hills, on Soil Conservation I think a large sum of money has been spent on giving grant to people of the border areas for contour bunding which also comes under the Soil Conservation as a substitution for his terracing; because in the border areas this type of terracing is not applicable. But then here also, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this speech we claim that 2,281 acres of land are under terracing for cultivation for the year 1970-71. How is this calculated is the main question ? I think it has been calculated like this. As it happens in Jaintia Hills that at the time of contour bunding the people have asked for grant, application have been sent to Soil Conservation Department. Then the Committee which sits, considering all applications, recommends all to get grants for the purpose.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Do you mean to say that there are such irresponsible officers that they do not even know how to survey the land properly ?
SHRI OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is not my point and I also do not know whether they are responsible or irresponsible. I am simply telling what has happened. I mean to say that the question of calculation is made for terracing and contour bunding of certain areas for cultivation and I wonder if it was not made like this. For one application this Soil Conservation Department will give only for one acre of land and this is fixed at the rate of 120 rupees. So, if a number of applications have been granted such grants, easily we can calculate how many acres of land must have been covered without going to the field. Sir, there is another thing also here. The people who do not have one acre of land, will not get even Rs.120 if a man has got only one bighas of land, then he will get only 40 rupees. Then what benefit will that give to the man concerned and at the same time what development is there ? There is no development at all and yet nothing has been done about this matter. No verification and nothing has been done. Some people have also got work orders and they have been paid and some people have got work orders but they have not been paid. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I say that such kind of anomalies should be avoided. Actually there are no such lands having 2,281 acres as was mentioned in the Budget Speech.
MR. SPEAKER :- May I ask the hon. Member that just because of the experience you have come across in Jaintia Hills, whether any one can generalise the whole of Meghalaya ? So, I request the hon. Members to be more careful about this matter before placing it before the House.
SHRI OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have told from the very beginning that I do not know anything about other areas. I am telling about Jaintia Hills only. Sir, if calculation is made in such a way as it appears, I do not know if the same does not also happen in the other areas. Therefore, I would like to draw the attention of the Government to this and request to kindly take up the matter and see in what way the calculation is made of this and how things should be done.
Then, next, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will come to Education Department. I am happy to know that the Government is going to set up a committee of Education Board. I am also happy to know that the Government have now taken up this matter to set up this committee very soon. But I would like to draw the attention of the Government to certain aspect of this matter. I think, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that education is a very very important department in the Government Actually as far as I am concerned I take education as the most important department in the Government. It is the most important department, Mr. Speaker, Sir, because the fate of our next generation depends on this. Our future depends on what type of education we impart to the people. Now, with the setting up of this Committee, Mr. Speaker, Sir, - it will be its responsibility as soon as it comes into being, to see that right type of education is imparted to the people of the State. But by experience Mr. Speaker, Sir, we see that many committees have been set up in the past for this purpose or that purpose but the more we have not such committees the more the thing fails. They always do not bring good results. There must be reasons for this Mr. Speaker, Sir, and I appeal to the Government to kindly examine the matter. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as far as education is concerned, I feel that the necessity of having a committee to look after the affairs is really very very imperative but I think in appointing such a committee it will be important for the Government to take into consideration certain principles. I am not very much interested simply in having a committee but I am more interested in having a committee of good quality. I am concerned with the quality of the committee and not simply with the committee itself. I feel it important therefore, that the appointing authority, in appointing or in constituting committees of this sort, should see that certain basic principles are evolved on which constitution of such committees is based. In order to get a good committee, we will have to see that people or men of good quality are appointed. I will not wonder if the Government or if the appointing authority goes in to the personal and private back ground and the family back ground of the members of this committee. Actually, as a matter of fact, I would like to see that the appointing authority takes into consideration all these matters as the basic principle for appointing or for constituting this committee because of the fact that if we expect good result from the works of this committee, we cannot have taken them unless we have the committee constituted by men and of good qualities. The failure or success of the Education Department always depends on the quality of the men we have in that Department. We may have introduced Honors Classes, we may have introduced Economics (Hons), Science and other Subjects in the Colleges but what will happen to all these unless we appoint good lecturers. Good lecturers are to be appointed so that we can get good education, proper education from a College. More is the need therefore for the Board that has to look after the affairs of education to consider and examine all factors that contribute to the failure of education or otherwise. We should see that men of good quality should be appointed in that committee so that no outside influence can interfere with its work.
Next, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I come to Health, here also I see that the Government propose to establish more hospitals and more dispensaries in the State during the current financial year 1971 - 72 and besides these the Government also will establish 3 Maternity and Child Welfare centres in the State during this financial year. In this regard, I would like to propose to the Government to kindly take into consideration also the establishment of one Maternity & Child Welfare Center at Amlarem in the Jaintia Hills. Amlarem is a very ideal place. I hope that for the development of that area, being the central place .. .. .. .
CAPTAIN W.A. SANGMA (Chief Minister) :- Everything is centered round Amlarem ! (laughter).
SHRI OHIWAT KHONGLAH :- If some sort of a hospital and child welfare centre can be established there, I think the people will greatly be benefited. Another thing is that, mention is made here about the construction of a 25 bedded hospital at Cherrapunjee, but I am surprised to see that nothing has been mentioned here regarding construction of the 10 bedded hospital at Nongtalang. We were told in the past that construction of this hospital had been taken up, but here it does not appear either in the proposal or in the accounts of the activities done in the past. So I wonder about this I would like to get some enlightenment about it.
Next Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to speak about Rural Electrification. In the Annual Plan of 1970-71, I think some schemes had been proposed to be taken up for electrification of some villages in the border area of Jaintia Hills. But uptil now nothing came up in this regard. I do not know whether this has occurred or not in the mind of the Planning Board. But it has always been like that. Some schemes appeared in the Annual Plan but nothing came up. There has been a long demand for electrification of the border areas of Jaintia Hills. But nothing, came up uptil now. If you go to Jowai, Mr. Speaker, Sir you will find most of the villages in the upper Jowai are being electrified whereas that section of the Sub - division i.e. the border area is completely neglected. There was no electrification at all in that side although actually the first demand was made from that side. I feel a bit reluctant Mr. Speaker, Sir, that I have always to refer to the border areas. You may think that I am only concerned about the border areas. Actually, I am concerned for the whole State. I think I have touched some subjects which deal with the State as a whole.
(Mr. Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair)
Now coming to the problems of the border areas though I have referred to the border areas in my speech a little here and there yet I am have not taken the problems of the border areas in specific form as it is now. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the border areas not only that of Jaintia Hills but also other district in Meghalaya, I think are now facing acute problems.
I think the same problem is prevailing in the whole border area of the State. The present crisis in East Bengal and the influx of refugees to our State have really increased the population of the border areas and at the same time, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the firings in the border areas have also disturbed the people very much and therefore, there is economic failure in the whole area. The border hats which have been opened for the benefit of the border people have now stopped functioning and actually, no market is now functioning in some parts of the border areas. Trade and commerce have gone down to a very great extent. On the other hand, prices of commodities have risen to a very great extent, especially essential commodities. The people are being hard hit economically. If you go to the villages in the border, you will find that the villages are being packed up. One house has to accommodate 20 or 30 people where it used to accommodate only 5 to 9 people. Many of the people heave got nothing now. Most of the people do not have anything for their day to day need. Our Government have been taking care of the refugees that came over from East Bengal and we all cooperate in that. We all share the sorrows and miseries of those who have come across the border and who are now facing this crisis in East Bengal. We have been cooperating in giving land for accommodation of refugees; we have been cooperating in giving shelter and other facilities to the refugees. But then, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, our villages are also in the same condition now. As it is now, our villages, local villages are in the same condition or they may every be in a more difficult condition that the refugees themselves. The refugees are being taken care of by the Government. They are getting free ration and they are getting everything they need. But for our local people, as it is now, nothing is being done towards them. I think in every village in the border areas, you will find there are two sections of people :- One section is that section which still has something with them and somehow, can pull on with the situation even in the face of the crisis; whereas the other section of those people who do not have anything at all and who have to depend on the village elders, and the village as a whole and live only on the contribution from the villagers themselves. I am sure, in one village of 100 houses you will find that 60 percent are those type of people who have got nothing. Only 40 percent of the people can afford to pull on with the present situation. Most of them are living on wild herbs, jack fruits and other jungle things. So Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is high time for the Government that they should come to the rescue of the people local people of the borders areas. The situation, as it is now, in the border areas seems to be still far from being normal. We do not know how long this crisis will continue and if it continues to be like this, the people of the border areas will have no place to live. I would, therefore, suggest some means by which the Government can help the people of the border area. As far as I can see help can be rendered to these people in two ways One will be temporary and another permanent relief. We have to give temporary relief and at the same time permanent relief. As far as temporary relief is concerned, as I have just now said, there are two sections of that sections of the people, in every village in the border areas - one section is that section which can still pull on in the present condition; whereas the other section is that section which is actually at their wit's end. The position of the 60 per cent of the inhabitants of the villages of the border is not better than that of the refugees that come from Pakistan. For the refugees, the Government is now spending Rs.1.10 per day per head. I do not know if the Government cannot do this for the local people. The local people are not refugees; they are the people of our own State. For the refugees the Government of India are taking the responsibility and are bearing all their expenses. But for the people of the State what do we do ? Do we have to depend only on Government of India or should we do our duty as a State ? I would appeal, therefore, to the Government to find ways and means and resources to give relief to the local people. We may ask help from the Government of India. But at the same time we must see that we do something from our State fund also. As far as temporary relief is concerned, on the ground of those two sections of the people in the border areas I would suggest that some sort of relief fair price shops centres be opened in the border areas. There are already Fair Price Shop Centres in the border areas where people can buy and get their ration at the subsidised rate. Besides this, I would suggest that we also open relief fair price shops for the sake of the 60 % people in the villages. We should open some sort of relief fair price shop through which we can render relief to the people as follows :-
For the sake of refugees the Government is giving 1.10 per day per head. If we can establish some sort of such relief shops we can give help to the people at 95p per day per head. I calculate it in this way. Per head per day, rice will be consumed by a man 400 grams that will be obtained at 0.58. 40p Mustard oil can be given @ 20 grams that will be about 0.10.58p ; Salt - 50 grams 0.02.48 ; Spices 2½ grams 0.02.05p, Sugar 50 grams - 50p : Tea Leaves 2½ grams - 2p ; Potato 20 grams - 0.05.,29p Onion 20 grams - 20 p Kerosene oil 25 litres that will be 3p. Altogether it will come to Rs.1.22p per day per head. Add to this, the retail profit margin for the fair price shop dealers of 0.3p. Altogether it will come to Rs.1.25 p per day per head. That will be the cost at the controlled rate for the supply of these essential commodities to the person per head per day. If out of this Rs.1.25 p, the Government pays 95p, the rest to be paid by a person will be 30p only. This will be a great help I do not know if the Government cannot do this. If for the refugees Government can spend Rs.1.10 per day per head I do not know why for the local people we cannot spend 95p per day per head. There was has been a proposal, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir - I do not know whether Government have accepted that or not, - but I learned from a certain source that there has been a proposal to set up relief camps of the local people where the Government can accommodate them and where they can get also the same benefits as the refugees. But that proposal I think will not work. The local people do not like to be treated as refugees and at the same time they do not like to live in camps. As a matter of fact it will be also more economical to open relief fair price shops than to establish relief camps. To establish relief camps somewhere for the local people will cost the Government a lot; cost of tarpaulins will be there, cost of establishment will be there and lot of things will crop up once we establish a camp. But establishment or opening of relief fair price shops will not entail so much expenses as for establishment of a camp. Besides this, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as a temporary relief for the border people, we can also sanction. Test Relief Schemes for the Border areas. Test Relief Schemes are sanctioned even at normal condition in the border areas because we all know that since the partition of the country, the Border people are suffering economically. Therefore, in view of the present crisis and economic distress in the border areas Test Relief Schemes become more imperative than before. But again on this point, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the past we have been helping the border areas by means of Test Relief Scheme and actually the intention or the purpose of the Test Relief Scheme.. ... ... ... .... .(Interruption).. .. .. .
MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER :- How long do you like to continue ?
SHRI OHIWOT KHONGLAH :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to conclude after one or two points.
Well, to shorten my speech, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would suggest that in regard to Test Relief Schemes, we have to see that fund is made available for on-the-spot payment. In the past we sanctioned Test Relief Schemes and work order were issued to the local people; they took up the work on road or foot-path then they would have to submit a muster roll to the Block Development Officer and it took him months and months together to pay the people. They work today but they get their daily wages after a year or six months. This is not helpful, it has rather put the people in suspense. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if we are to help them by means of Test Relief Scheme, we should see that fund is made available for on-the-spot payment. Now there is another way of helping the people, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. The people of the border areas need also permanent help. The people, as it is now, most of them are jobless, they have nothing else to do. They do not have forest or land to cultivate. They have been actually deprived of many things which belonged to them before. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for these people we will have to find out ways and means how to give them help permanently and for that, I would suggest that a portion of reserve forest somewhere be opened in order to give them forest and land to cultivate. These people used to live on cultivation of forest land and now if reserve forest is opened for them they can start their business again. But opening of reserve forest only may not serve the purpose as these people have been deprived of many things which belonged to them before and as such have been rendered in capable. There are some, of course who are rich, but some of them have got nothing. Therefore, I suggest that besides opening reserve forest in order to give employment to them, we will also have to see that some sort of a working capital be granted to them in order to enable them to start their cultivation afresh. With these few words, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.
Speech not corrected.
Dr. S.C. DEB :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while rising to offer my comments on the provision in the budget for 1971-72 presented by the Hon'ble Minister for Finance, I would like at the outset to draw the attention of the hon. Members to the fact that I feel that my observations will be inadequate to do justice to this very important subject. Firstly, it requires a lot of experience and practice to enable one to delve deeply into the intricacies of a budget and also a lot of study into the details of the administration of the Department under consideration. I, as a new comer to this business, have not had yet the time to acquire the experience and practice. Secondly, the budget was presented to the House only yesterday and therefore there has been hardly any time for us to study it in detail. For these reasons I shall be compelled to confine myself to the generalities today. But since we are at the threshold of our statehood and we are only beginning to lay the foundations of our administration in various departments. It is fir and proper that we consider the whole aspect in a general way and fix our targets for ultimate consummation and lay proper foundations for it.
There cannot be any two opinions about it that health along with education forms the cornerstone for building a prosperous and progressive society. It therefore, behaves us to give it a top priority in allocating finance for enlarging and improving the administration of this Department.
The difficulties in bringing medical and public health services to the entire population are many. It is not easy for the most organised administrations, in even developed countries. It is all the more difficult for us with our difficult terrain and lack of communications. It is no use having adequate medical services and equipments if they cannot be reached to the people in the rural areas. For this, proper communication is the first requirement. It is, therefore, in the fitness of things that the Government has given the absolute top priority to it.
The number of doctors and para - medical personnel will also have to be determined with special reference to the conditions obtaining in our State. In the Bhore Committee's Report, it has been laid down that our target for medical men should be one per two thousand population. This may be adequate for urban areas or even thickly populated rural areas in the plains. But in the hill where small villages are scattered over a large area, mostly to be covered on foot, it will be wholly inadequate. So we must aim to have one primary health centre for a far less number of population. As far as practicable, each primary health centre should also have provision for a few indoor beds, because it will be difficult to transport patients from the interior villages to hospitals in district headquarters.
Reluctance of qualified medical practitioners to go to the rural areas has been a headache with the authorities of almost all States in the country and ours is no exception. Today I do not intend to go into the details of all measures that can be taken to induce the doctors and para - medical personnel to go to villages. I shall only refer to the monetary inducement for which provision should be made in the budget. Some form of pecuniary benefits have been offered by all States but, by and large, the offers have been half - hearted and wholly inadequate. It is gratifying to note that the Hon'ble Minister is alive to this aspect and has mentioned it in his speech yesterday. I now request him to see that the inducement is really tempting. The Indian Medical Association had gone into the mater and had formulated a scheme which was forwarded to the Government of India. It may be well for us to adopt the proposals for inducting enough doctors for rural dispensaries.
Family planning is another burning question of the day. Fortunately, the pressure of population increase has not yet been as keenly felt in our State as elsewhere, but unless one looks ahead and takes appropriate measures from now, it is likely to pose a problem in the near future, With increased education and industrial development, unemployment will also increase and therefore, it is necessary to take steps in this regard in all earnestness from now. With this prospective in view, it appears that the allotment on this head is wholly inadequate. I take this opportunity to request the Hon'ble Minister in-charge of this Department to give this matter his earnest consideration and launch a programme to cover the whole State.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also would like to mention about water supply of Shillong Town. In the speech I find no mention about this whether water supply is the concern of Meghalaya or Assam Government I do not know what the Government is doing about this as most of the areas in the Town fall under the Meghalaya. With these few words Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.
SHRI JOHN DENG POHRMEN :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to take part in the debate on the budget of Meghalaya Government for 1971-72. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as the last speaker had actually mentioned, we got this big volume of the budget proposals just a day in the afternoon. You can very well understand, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that it is difficult to make a careful study of the proposals made in the budget. However, in my humble efforts to try to point out certain good things as well as certain defects I will try to be as brief as possible.
I begin, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, just the same thing that the last speaker, once again mentioned about municipal administration. I note that there is practically no provision made for municipal administration of Shillong. It is true that Shillong is under a joint administration of the Government of Assam and the Government of Meghalaya, and indeed it is a very discouraging thing to point out or to say that no provision has been made. The Hon. member had just now mentioned about the water supply improvement for the Shillong Town. I think more than that education and the like which perhaps are contemplated to be taken up by that joint administration of the two Governments. Perhaps the Government may have good reasons for not showing any provision made in connection with municipal administration and I shall be thankful to the Government if such clarification is made in the replies.
Now I come to the Cottage Industries. In this connection, as far as I remember, last year, there had been quite many schemes contemplated to be taken up under this head. For example, umbrella making, bee keeping, cabinet making etc. To speak the truth, last year, some of us have been very hopeful that perhaps very soon we would have umbrellas made by Meghalayans. But somehow, it appears that not even training centres have been set up for his purpose. I do not know they might have been set up but at least we, in the rural areas have not been informed where at all such centres have been set up. Also we heard that some individual entrepreneurs who would like to start some small scale industries under jurisdiction of the cottage industries head. In fact ,one or two of them casually discussed such matters even with me, but so far I know nothing of what has been done by way of encouraging them. So, I would request The Government to do really something this respect so that we should be true in our commitments to our people, so that people, may know that we mean well in saying that we want to encourage cottage industries in small scale form.
In the case of Tourist Organisation, the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech mentioned that perhaps the District Council would say that their proposals would not be considerer, as he has mentioned in the Budget speech yesterday and in fact I say that I am cent percent correct to say that many of our proposals coming in our emergent session when the District Budget given to us by the State Government has been discussed. We have made many proposals and among them there are proposals on Tourist Department. I tried to have a glance both on the consolidated budget as well as on the District wise, budget but even in the Plan Budget I failed to come across any provision made for development of tourism.
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
Coming to electrification, especially rural electrification, I would suggest in this connection that Jowai also may be included in the rural area. In fact, it is a regular feature in Jowai that whenever there is any theatrical show or variety show in the town of Jowai, the staff - in - charge of power take it up as game of fancy to somehow see that power fails to the great disappointment of the audience and to great disgust of the organiser. The people come to these shows for relaxation and hence become furious for his power failure. So power supply at Jowai town is really far from satisfactory. Now coming to the the rural electrification, though something has been done in that respect, but I must say, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that it is too little compared to the vast area of the Sub-division of Jowai. New schemes that have been decided in the Sub-divisional Development Board which we, after thread bare discussion, sent to the Government of implantation. But up to this date no action has been taken. I wonder in what way the State Government of Meghalaya has a hand in the A.S.E.B which is the autonomous body under the control of the Assam Government. So I would request the Government if something can be done in this respect to see that the supply of power in Jowai town is improved. And for the information of the House, Mr. Speaker, Sir, a resolution has been passed by the District Council with regard to this. But in spite of that no improvement has been noticed so far.
Coming to the Soil Conservation, I have noticed here that among 4 items, of programmes of soil conservation, we have cash crop development. I tried to have a glance at this big volume but I could not. In this nothing has been done for cash crop development although something has been done for afforestation etc. A mention has been made for development of cash crop in the plan budget.. . . ... .. But in the normal budget we do not find any provision with regard to crash crop development. For the information of the House, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to mention here that Soil Conservation Department had made survey of the places in the border areas in order to have coffee and black pepper plantation. They had made survey at Nongbareh and also at Nongtalang, After that no more activities are seen. I wonder whether the Department has forgotten about this. People have been made to understand that soon the Government would start the plantations, survey had been made through the local Headman and big publicity was also made that soon there would be plantation of coffee and black pepper in the villages has of Nongbareh and Nongtalang. But now for the last one year nothing has been done and I fail to see anything here in the Budget, though, of course, if I am not mistaken, there must be some mentioned in the plan budget.
SHRI W.A SANGMA (Chief Minister) :- What more do they expect ?
Shri JOHNDENG POHRMEN :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, people also expect something from the normal budget. There is a provision of Rs.50,000 under the Head of Road Transport. But one thing that I fail to understand how will Rs.50,000 be utilised when as far as we know that as yet we do not have any Transport Department. Of course the Government of Meghalaya, I would be thankful to clarify on this point, have not opened its Transport Department as yet and the people are looking forward to see the State Transport buses of Meghalaya Government. But so far nothing has been heard about this department and I do not know when this will be organised. Then again, I noticed in the case of Supply in which there is a provision of Rs. 4,10,000 in which there is a mention of free issue of ration to the Government servants. Thus I feel in what way free issue of ration is to be given to the Government servants. But one thing in the last year's Budget there was a mention of Rs.3 lakhs of transport subsidy but this has been reduced to Rs.1,10,000 Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to draw the attention of the House that even in the last year many of the Government retailers have not been able to get the payment of their transport subsidy given to them and the plea was that there was no fund. For this purpose, Rs.6 lakhs was inadequate to pay the retailers. So I wonder how it would be adequate now with Rs.1,10,000 to pay the transport subsidy to the retailers.
Then another point is about the displaced persons to be rehabilitate in our State and for this many of our people are not very much happy.
SHRI W.A SANGMA (Chief Minister) :- You are to go back to the history of 1964.
Shri JOHNDENG POHRMEN :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it appears as if we are going to rehabilitate our uninvited guests.
SHRI W.A SANGMA (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is for the information of the hon. Member that there are two kinds of evacuees here in our State. In 1964 large number of evacuees came from the border areas who were not eligible for rehabilitation and in Garo Hills there are still large numbers of people who are asking for rehabilitation. As far as the present evacuees are concerned, Government of India have made a compulsion to provide them relief and rehabilitation for the time being.
Shri JOHNDENG POHRMEN :- Thank you Sir, for the clarification.
SHRI W.A. SANGMA (Chief Minister) :- That is why I say that you will have to go back tot he history.
Shri JOHNDENG POHRMEN :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I come to agricultural loans. In this connection I would like to say that no proper steps have so far been taken in regard to the improvement of our cultivation by the Government by making publicity in a local vernacular. Because in the rural areas our people are still very much backward, and, therefore, it would be desirable that publicity should be made through local administrative heads so that people would be able to know about his. But there are certain things which are very difficult to understand i.e. the difference between an advance to the cultivators and the miscellaneous loans and advances. There are the two things that our laymen find it difficult to understand.
Coming to medical, which we are really very gratifying to know that the Government of Meghalaya is going to establish two more hospitals and six dispensaries in the State during the current year. But in this connection, Sir, I would like to remind that the Government themselves used to say that they are not going to establish more hospitals and dispensaries until and unless the existing dispensaries are first staffed with necessary doctors and pharmacists, etc.
But in this connection I believe that by now Government is having not only enough doctors for existing dispensaries but even surplus doctors to enable the Government to establish six more dispensaries, unless of course the Government mean, that dispensaries will be without doctors, and pharmacists as in the past. But then two more hospitals here one hospital at Cherrapunji is mentioned - as my hon. Member, Mr. Khonglah, has pointed out, the great name of Nongtalang, for which I had voiced many times for necessary completion of the construction of the lo-bedded hospital is missing.
Shri E. BAREH (Minister, P.W.D) :- Not Amlarem ?
Shri JOHNDENG POHRMEN :- Construction of which has been started some years ago. But everything is still lying unused uptil today waiting for her sister building to come up. I tried to glance through various volumes but I failed to see that.
SHRI W.A SANGMA (Chief Minister) :- That is only a provision We have not selected a site. But naturally it will be in the two new Sub - division .. .. ... .. ... .. .For is your information.
Shri JOHNDENG POHRMEN :- Nongtalang is sanctioned. It is only to be completed. It is only a to be implemented. It is not a question of sanction.
Shri E. BAREH (Minister, P.W.D) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member perhaps has not got the time to look into the P.W.D provisions. We have included it under the provisions for incomplete buildings.
Shri JOHNDENG POHRMEN :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, then I take it that Nongtalang Hospital would come under that incomplete buildings etc.
In agriculture, which I should have taken up, right from the start, but in a hurry, I am sorry, I left it out. There is a provision here for research of maize at upper Shillong, but I do not know why no provision is made for research of pan - leaf and for which it has been voiced many a time in and outside the House. It is the life and death for the border people of Jowai Subdivision. The life of these people depends solely on pan - leaf. If the business and plantation of pan- leaf succeed, their life also succeeds and if the pan leaf fails their life will also fail. In connection with the people in the border areas I would not like to touch now, since we are going to have a separate discussion on the refugee problem, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will touch it later on. For the time being I must say than the budget proposals on the whole are gratifying and I hope that the various budget proposals made here would be used and implemented and will not be allowed to lapse as it happened last year. We came to know that quite a big sum of money had lapsed last year for failure of implementation of the various schemes, and this is a thing that has to be discouraged in the interest of the over all development of the Meghalaya State. With these few words, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.
Shri ROKENDRA DKHAR :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will say just a few words on the general discussion of the budget. It is very difficult in a short time to go through the big volumes of the budget besides the voluminous budget speech of the Finance Minister. I am afraid, if I try to go through the pages of Budget, I may commit many mistakes because I have not enough time to try to understand the figures in the budget. I would only like to make some observation on the budget speech of the Finance Minister. We are very happy and gratifying that the Finance Minister could bring this voluminous budget and the nice figures therein and as has been said by my hon. friend, it is hoped that these figures and programmes will be translated into action for the welfare of our State. I am happy also and I join with the Finance Minister in urging the Government of India of implementing and introducing the Bill for Statehood in the current Session of Parliament. We are happy to note from the speech of the Prime Minister in Tura that Statehood found a place in her speech and I hope that during this Session the Bill will be brought forward and passed. But at the same time, I am feeling nervous as we have seen these days that the people who are against the aspirations of the hills people are trying to poison the minds of our people in Meghalaya especially the youth, to incite them to do anything that may hamper and block even the introduction of the Bill. For this I feel very very nervous But I still hope and appeal to the people of Meghalaya, specially the youth, not to be carried away and not to listen to the agent provocateurs and saboteurs and to maintain and uphold the discipline and the remarkable patience that we have shown all these years throughout our struggle.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, coming to Budget, we are really passing through very great stress and strain and our State which is the newest and the youngest with less experience to shoulder this heavy responsibility in looking after the two and a half lakhs refugees or may be 3 lakhs by now who are fleeing away from East Pakistan for their lives. At page 2, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is a mention of administrative machinery of the Government of Meghalaya that they are following the system as recommended by the Administrative Reforms Committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs. I am afraid, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that if we adopt this new system only because ours is a new State. I am afraid, things may not go right, I have heard than some Departments are tying to follow and issue directives to follow a single file system. Of course, in the last session, if I remember correctly, in the last Budget Session of the Government has denied that they have adopted that policy. Yet I think there is some truth that they are following this single file system, which is full of dangers and mistakes and it may also kill the spirit of hard work and enthusiasm amongst the staff. It is also gratifying to more that three flood control schemes are being initiated by our Government and this will really help our people who are always visited by floods.
I am very disappointed that I do not see anything about the scheme for Potato Seed Farm. I know Mr. Speaker, Sir, that huge sum of money is being spent by our Government but I should say it is a waste for buying potato seed from Simla Hills last year. We have seen that the production of potato has come down to about half to the production of the previous year. So if the Government does not apply its mind to open a few potato seed farms in our areas I am afraid the difficulties of the potato cultivators will be the same from year to year and a lot of money will be wasted in buying foreign potato seeds which have proved to be a failure. So I would like to urge upon the Government to examine this scheme and to do something to relieve the poor cultivators. About the communications and the working of the Public Works Department it is very gratifying to note that almost in al Divisions the work is in full swing. The progress is very very good.
Shri EDWINGSON BAREH (Minister P.W.D) :- Except in Mawsynram.
Shri ROKENDRO DKHAR :- .. .. I do not know about Mawsynram. About Shillong South Division, the work is very un - satisfactory. In the Third Plan, in the spill over the of the Third Plan, the Shillong - South Division only two words are completed and the rest of the works is only 5% ranging to 70% completed whereas in Jowai Division or in the Jowai District. The works of the spill - over of the 3rd Plan is 50% completed and the rest is almost to be completed. So the work in this Division is very very un - satisfactory.
Now, coming to the Community Development, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, last year some hon. Members and myself also, have said something about the works of this Department i.e. not satisfactory and today also it is the same thing. It is unfortunate that due to the influx of refugees many of the Block Development Officers are being engaged in the relief works. Even then the work of the Department is very un - satisfactory and I am afraid, that I cannot understand also the employment of the Executive Engineers in this Department. He was the Executive Engineer of Community Development and Panchayat Departments of the Assam Government and we know through the association with the Community Development Committee that practically there is no work for this Executive Engineer and yet we in Meghalaya, we are taking the same officer for this Department and I learnt also that this Executive Engineer has been rejected by the P.W.D and I do not know how and why the Government should take him in this Department. In the Cooperation, we see that there are 21 Sub - Area Marketing Societies and 400 affiliated Societies. We know that many of these societies are not working properly and some of them do not work at all. It may be that a few of them work very satisfactory to the benefit of the members of the areas that they serve. I would urge upon the Government if it is proper and correct to appoint a Committee to examine these Societies so that those Societies which do not do any work, are better abolished instead of spending money for them which will be a mere wastage. In corporation we have the Assam Hill Cooperative Development Corporation, where we have got one Executive Director who is also a joint Director of the Cooperative Societies of our State. It is so because in the bye law of the Cooperative Development Cooperation an Executive Officer should be of the rank of Joint Director and that the scale of pay also is a very big one. I want to suggest to the Government that the bye - laws of this Corporation be amended so that we can have an Executive Director not beyond the rank of the Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies and I understand in the Corporation in the Assam Plains like the Sugar Cooperative Mill they have an Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies as Executive Director and it is functioning very well. One difficulty Mr. Dy. Speaker, Sir, when the Executive Director is also the Joint Registrar of the Cooperative Societies, it is really very difficult of the Auditors who are inspectors and senior inspectors for the Cooperative Societies to give any objection note. During their inspection, I am afraid they may find some thing wrong in the working of the Corporation but even if they try to give some objection notes, the Joint Registrar might call them to his office, not the office of the Corporation, but the office of the Cooperative Societies and instruct them not to write or submit objection notes. The poor inspectors have no alternative but to take away whatever objections they have. In such a way the working of this Corporation instead of bringing benefit to the State as a whole is rather a loss to the State. I would suggest that as they are having in Assam, now, the Deputy Registrar of Audit to audit the accounts of the Societies. So also, it can be adopted that the Deputy Registrar of the Cooperative Department will go and check the accounts of the office of the Executive Director of this corporation. In this manner, we hope the Corporation can function in a manner that will be very fruitful to the State.
It is very gratifying to note that the Government has decided to set up a Committee to go to into the various aspects of educational system in Meghalaya. I would like to urge upon the Government to make haste because very soon the regional language will be the medium of instruction in all schools and colleges in Assam, and I am afraid, if we do not have our own University soon, we shall be in difficulty. I think it is high time for the Government to set up this Committee very soon, so that it can go into the various aspects of the educational system and in this connection I would urge upon the Government to take immediate action. As it is today, Education Department is also looking after sports and games in the State. Last year, I remember, the first year of our State we were having sport and games of the school children. But this year, upto this month of June I don't see that they are going to have such annual sports and games. It is already late for having such sports and games. But if the Government create a separate Directorate for sports and games, I think it will serve the purpose better especially for the interests of the youths. They can have better recreation and divert them from the bad habits that they are having today. I have great hope also in one of the sports lovers who is now in the Government. Last year he was very keen and was taking interest in moving the Government to improve the sports and games. Now, since he is in Government, he should pursue the matter with greater vigour to see that this Directorate is set up our State. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in connection with sports and games sometimes it is very very sad to see that in the Polo grounds thousands and thousand of foot ball lovers witness the games inspite of rains, sun and wind without any shelter. I remember two or three years ago, our Members of the then Assam Assembly had moved the Government of India and the Defence Ministry to allot the cricket field for contraction of a Stadium. But today after more than one year of having our own State, I do not even see in the Budget any provision for the construction of a Stadium. I would suggest, Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir let us not aim at the modern Stadium of other western countries or of the America States of the Southern States of America but let us have even a small stadium costing Rs.50.000/- or Rs.75,000/- which our State can easily afford from its own fund just to give encouragement to sportsmen and sport lovers. I do not know, it may be, that many of the important office bearers of Shillong Sports Association do not even go to the Polo ground even during the football and hockey seasons. If they can spare time and go there, they will see the condition of the field and how the people witness the game with great strain and inconvenience with out any shelter then they really appreciate the conditions that the sport lovers are experiencing.
Now, in the third paragraph of page 11 regarding recurring and non - recurring aid to Government Secondary Schools. I cannot under stand, I think it may be a printing mistake because I cannot imagine giving recurring and non - recurring grant - in aids to the Government Secondary Schools. I may be Government Aided Secondary Schools. I hope it is a printing mistake.
We have only two Government Colleges in our State, one at Jowai and one at Tura I would urge upon the Government to establish another one in the Khasi Hills District and I would suggest that if they establish one, it should not be in Shillong because Shillong is already crowded with schools and colleges but to go to Cherrapunjee where we have got 4 day High Schools and 1 - Night High School. I think opening of one Government College outside Shillong will stop the increase of the student population in Shillong which is already overcrowded today.
About Health. It is very gratifying to note that incentives to doctors have been given. I understand it ranges from Rs.100 /- to 200 /-. It is really a great incentive. I hope Government will give other incentives to other employees as well.
I know that Government servants are also getting some incentive in the shape of house rent which is 7½ per cent of their basic salaries. But if we translate this in term of money for the low paid Government servants, it is a pity that 7½ per cent comes to a very small amount with which it is not possible to get a part of a room even. Therefore, I would suggest that the Government need not change this 7½ per cent but at least to make it subject to a minimum of Rs.25 /- and also to go for the revision of pay scales of the low - paid staff and of the Government. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is surprising how can these low - paid Government employees manage to keep their families alive .. .. ... .. . (Bell rang).
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER :- Mr. Dkhar will continue after lunch. The House stand adjourned till 2 p.m.
The House reassembled at 2. p.m. with the Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Mr. Rokendro Dkhar, please continue.
Shri ROKENDRO DKHAR :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I said before, it is high time for the Government to revise the pay - scale of the low - paid employees of the Government. These are very hard day's. The price of everything has gone up from time to time and it is really difficult for the earner of the family to live with a small salary. As I said, about the price of rice say for a family of five even for the cheap variety of rice of Rs.50 a maund, it will consume 1½ (One and half mound) - rice alone will come to Rs.75 /- Only rice will not do. Mr. Speaker, Sir they need meat and if they consume a kilo of meat in every two days, it will require 15 kg. a month and at the rate of Rs.3.50 per kg. it will come to Rs.52.50 and to cook these, they will need wood fuel. It is also very costly. The cheapest one say at Rs.16 a month the total for these 3 items only will come to Rs.143.50. Only rice, meat and fuel not to say of oil, sugar, tea, milk. About clothing and the need of the children who will be going to schools, I am really surprised that they can pull on with their meagre pay. It is high time for the Government to set up a committee to revise the pay scale, especially of the low paid employees.
About Tourism, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is good to see that Government have an earnest desire to develop Tourism in the State. But up till today we have not seen any sign of development of the sites for the tourists. As I said in the case of stadium, let us not aim at Sky - scrapper tourists centre, but let us try to develop whatever we have in the State so that we can get some earning. If we are earnest to develop Tourism I think it will raise the income of the State to a certain extent. About supply, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I know, there is a skeleton staff in the Supply Department with one or two L.D. Assistants. But Supply Department as it is today, is not functioning as we expect it to function. I understand that payment to the staff in the Supply Department, now in Assam, is being borne by our Government. I fail to understand uptil today that they have not been able to organise the Supply Department and we impress upon the Government that especially in view of the great influx of the refugees and the price of essential commodities which is rising everyday, really our people in the whole District, especially in the border areas will find it very difficult and if the Government cannot set up or organise the Supply Department in a proper way, I am afraid we will find it very difficult to depend only on the employees working in the Assam Government. So I would urge upon the Government to organise this Department as early as possible.
About the Industries, I have not seen any improvement although I have seen the pamphlets about industries in Meghalaya, but I have seen no industries springing up in our districts. At Page 13, a team of local entrepreneurs and artisans was sent to various industrial centres in the country to familiarise it with modern methods and techniques of production. I am afraid, Mr. Speaker, Sir, not enough publicity is being given in this matter, and I am also afraid that our people do not know about this even today. Besides sending entrepreneurs and artisans to various industrial centres, I would request the Government also to create more incentive. So it is for the Department to find out ways and means to attract local entrepreneurs and artisans to take up these industries. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very happy to note that at page 15 the tax levied in the Assam Taxation Laws will be collected by the Government of Meghalaya within the Meghalaya areas. I hope this will augment the financial resources of the State but I also understand that the Drug Control Act has not been adopted, I would request the Government to adopt it. I understand that heaps of applications are lying for licence because the Government of Assam has not been given any more licence to the druggists even in Shillong town. So I hope the Government will realise the urgency of the matter that druggists cannot go on without license and I hope this will add to the income to the State and not only that, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the appointment of Drug Inspector or Drug Controller will fall under the Act. Until we adopt the Act we cannot appoint these persons.
About relief to the refugees, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have nothing much to say, but I would say that the activities of the State Government and the officers and staff in this matter are really commendable. They have worked and they have done duties day and night . Sometimes I feel sorry that they have to look after tens of thousands of these people without adequate staff. It is beyond the capacity of anybody and I would again mention here that our State is the youngest and newest and we have no experience cue of tackling such a gigantic task. There is another thing which I want to point out, that is, corruption that is going on in this Department .
Mr. SPEAKER :- In which Department ?
SHRI ROKENDRO DKHAR :- In the Relief Department. We know that articles and materials that are being needed for refugees and supply of which is being done in the a war footing. They can buy from the local market at the rage the prescribed by the Government and sometimes at any rate not prescribed and then also they make payment to the suppliers at midnight. And you know the payment made at night in darkness is not good, as the saying goes that "Bad things are better done in the dark". But I do not know it may be due to rush of work, but it is the talk of the town. And then also, Mr. Speaker, Sir, about the requisitioning of trucks, jeeps and cars. I am not very happy about the way the Police are doing their job in requisitioning trucks and cars. I hope Government will revise the way of requisitioning them. Instead of requisitioning, let them hire the trucks and cars. I would also point out here about the condition of those cars and trucks that are requisitioned. Some of them are very old and some are new. Yet, on the certificate of the M.V.I,. the workshops carry out repairing jobs. Sometimes even good cars are also sent for repair for making maximum profit, by oiling M.V.I who issues certificate that the car needs repair. I know that they buy olds parts - unserviceable parts from the market and the M.V.I. certifies that the car is repaired without repairing or replacing any parts. The car is on the road and these old parts brought from the second - hand market are kept to show that the cat is actually repaired. These things are going on day and night. So it is for the Government to see to this and devise ways and means. Of course, it is really difficult the for the Government to check this practice. But after this information - I think they have got information already from other sources - I would urge upon the Government to see that such things are minimised.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Should it be minimised or stopped ?
SHRI ROKENDRO DKHAR :- No, I mean to try to root, it out to the maximum extent possible.
Coming to the Budget as a whole it is really as what Finance Minister says that he was not happy to present a deficit budget. It is big a deficit amounting to Rs.2 crores. I do not know that what can I suggest to augment the resources, so that it can be balanced. Through this House, I would appeal that Government should press this matter with the Government of India and the Finance Commission to revise the Award, because as it was stated that the Award was made before the Meghalaya came into being. Now Meghalaya is in existence and we are facing this difficulty. Therefore, I press that we urge upon the Government of India and the Finance Commission to revise the Award. One thing I would suggest about the industrial undertaking of the State. I was at one time happy when my friends told me that there are some newspaper reports that the Government is going to take up distillery in the public sector and I was happy this might bring some revenue to the Government. But two or three days ago, there has been a contradiction by a press note that the Government have not thought of establishing such project. Anyhow, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not propagating or advocating for setting up any distillery of the people to drink more liquor. But it is for the benefits of the State. So I urge upon the Government to examine if this can be done.
Another matter, Sir, I saw somewhere something about Assam Sillimanite. I am sorry I have lost the paper where I saw it. According to the news, the Government of Meghalaya is nowhere in the picture and that the Central Government and the Assam Government were there and it is learnt that the Assam Sillimanite is going to be taken over by the another Company. But our own Government is nowhere there. The deposit of the Assam Sillimanite is one of the biggest in the world and I think the income also is very good. I would, therefore, request the Government to examine this matter so that it can bring more revenue to our State.
With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
SHRI S.P SWER :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the outset let me congratulate the Finance Minister for the fact that in the budget many of our suggestions, if not all, have found place. The suggestions from many of the hon., Members in the past sessions have been accommodated, listed and budgeted in the budget presented to the House. In his budget speech, he has said that Rs.325,00,000 have been allotted this year for communication. Thus it gives us a great hope in the construction of roads and bridges and for establishing other important communications in the State. In this regard Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to draw the attention of the Government to certain roads listed and budgeted. The road , if completed, will lead to areas where minerals deposits are there in huge quantity . The Mawkdok - Khrang Road, as far as I know, the distance is about 53 Km but it is budgeted only for about a little over Rs.8,00,000 and this amount will cover only a section of the road. This road, Mr. Speaker, Sir, if completed, will serve many villages and also will lead to an area where coal deposits are in large quantity.
Mr. SPEAKER :- I think road construction is a continuous process and from this Rs.8,00,000 it can be continued.
SHRI S.P SWER :- I hope, so, this is a start. For the information of the Government, this road will lead to an area called Khadar Shnong which is an area remaining in an isolated condition because of absence of road communication. A man from that area, unless he carries a load that will fetch a price of Rs. 30 /- will not to the bazar or market place.
Shri W.A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Is that the only area isolated in Meghalaya ?
MR. SPEAKER :- He wants to say one of the areas (Laughter).
SHRI S.P SWER :- If he is to come to the main road for selling his produces in the bazar, he will do so only when he can carry a load which can fetch a price of Rs.30 /- I mean to say that if a man comes to sell his produces in the bazar, it takes him 4 or 5 days. I feel that it is a good start towards completion of this road. But what I am afraid is that looking at the budget with an over-all deficit of over rupees two crores, this road will not be taken up at all. (Laughter). The reason is very clear and the Government will say that the work cannot be started because of lack of finance. There is also another road from Mawkdok to .. ... . .. . (Interruption .. . . . . .. )
Shri W.A SANGMA (Chief Minister) :- You enumerate the requirement of roads .. .. ... (Laughter.. . .. .)
SHRI S.P SWER :- There is another road also which is in the list, i.e. Mawbeh - Langhar Road. We know in that area some people have extracted coal and stocks of coal are already there. To transport coal (Interruption.. .. )
SHRI EDWINGSON BAREH (Minister, Agriculture) :- Whether it is coal or gold ? I wish it were gold.
SHRI S.P SWER :- It is coal not gold. But who knows in future it is going to be gold or black diamond. I hope this rod will be taken up. But as it is now, I find that one Department is trying to blame another Department in the execution of this road i.e. between the P.W.D and the Revenue Department over the question of compensation to land - owners. To me, Mr. Speaker, Sir, if a road is to serve the public in their economic development and in increasing their per capita income, I do not feel that the Government should try to avoid quick payment of compensation for the execution of the road. In that area of Mawbeh and other villages, the production of potato and other cash crops is not less that 10,000 maunds a year and the transport cost by head - load to the main road is about Rs.3 to Rs. 4 per maund. So the transport cost of the produce by head - load would come to the order of Rs.30,000 /- or Rs.40,000 /- If the road is completed that amount of Rs.30,000 /- or Rs.40.000/- will be of great help to the people and that will add to their income and also their manual labour can be diverted to more production.
Now, I will come to water supply, I just want to draw the attention of the House to the affairs of Cherrapunji Water Supply Scheme. I want to inform the House and the Government that while the construction work for water supply is still going on, the 400 gallon tanks which were fitted got rusted and water leaks out and practically there is no water. ... .
SHRI W.A SANGMA (Chief Minister) :- Can it be filled up with rain water ? (Laughter).
SHRI S.P SWER :- No, since it is covered, rain water can not get in.
Now, I come to agriculture. Here, in the speech, it has been nicely stated that "the Fourth Five Year Plan has been drawn up with the two main objectives of creating conditions conducive to accelerating the pace of agricultural production and to enlist people's participation in the adoption of improved agricultural practices," In this respect, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that until and unless these farmers or cultivators, whatever we may call, work together, as has been done in the Field Management Committee, then I say, it is very very difficult to make them adopt the improved agricultural practices. The Field Management Committees, everywhere in our District especially, were constituted for the purposed of getting grants and they are busy in presenting schemes which in fact, if you go and visit the area under their jurisdiction do not exists at all. That is, the Field Management Committees are interested only in getting grants .. . .
Mr. SPEAKER :- Is it for farmer or for themselves ?
SHRI S.P SWER :- Obviously it is not for farmers but for themselves, .. .. (laughter). So I would request the Government to look into this, and if necessary, to reorganise all these Field Management Committees so that the improved method of agricultural practices can be introduced. Now, we know that to boost up production and to be self - sufficient we are to depend much on agriculture and much on those people living in the rural areas through their cultivation.
With the coming up of this Block Department, we had hoped at the beginning that the development of the area will be quicker and it will come up year by year in production all our necessaries of life. But in fact I find in several Blocks there are village level workers or Gram Sevaks. Now we know that there are complaints from several Blocks that they are short of village level workers. But I find that in the Gram Sevak Training Centre at Upper Shillong that students are there for their practical course and many of them are those who have read up to Class VI or Class VII. I have tried to see the course and the syllabus and I find that the course is for a Matriculate. The course has also certain subject which is prescribed for P.U.C Science. Therefore, I feel that these students will not be able to come out successfully and that will involve loss of finance by way of stipends that we pay to the students and the shortage of Gram Sevaks can never be met in the near future.
Then, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to discussion also another point and that is fishery. In our Fourth Plan period the target of production as per Finance Minister's speech is to reach 100 tonnes and this year we have to produce about 200 tonnes which is also budgeted for financial assistance to be provided for individuals or cooperative societies who are pisiculturist. But from my practical experience I can say that many pisiculturist have received grants or financial assistance from the Government. But in the absence of any literature in our own dialect to help these farmers know the basic things.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Do you mean every dialect ?
SHRI S.P SWER :- I mean only in Garo and Khasi vernaculars. If some sort of guidelines are provided to the pisiculturist to help them grow or rear fish in the ponds so that fishes can grow, then I hope we can reach this figure of 200 tonnes within this year. I have found in many places that pisiculturist do not know how the fish gets its sustenance besides artificial feeding. We know that the soil products the food for the fish. But our pisiculturist dig out all the soil from the fish pond until they get right into the rock leaving no soil at all. They rear the fish there where the fingerlings supplied by the Government at the end of the year do not grow even two inches. Instead of growing a foot long they grow only about an inch. The what they say is that the fingerlings supplied by the Government are not good. As a matter of fact, they do not know how and from where the fish can get food and now to construct and make a fertile fishery so that the fish can grow. So I think if the Government can help these people by giving them information how to rare fish. I hope the production will be more.
Another point, Mr. Speaker, Sir, is industries. In this respect I want to bring to the information of the House and the Government that industries in our State - I mean the cottage, industries in spite of many facilities that we can avail, have not yet developed due to the lack of know how. Our people have not been able to do well and it sin not at all encouraging. They do not come forward to start industries. During the last month, to my surprise, I found that many of our people came to me for helping them to write applications to get a licence for manufacture of some candle-cum-soap until. Then when I enquired of them whether they know anything about candle making they said that they do not know anything but one mahajan asked them to get a licence for him and that as soon as they get a licence they would be given Rs.5,000/-. So I told them the we do not want such thing in Meghalaya. But I know that some licences were granted and two happened to be located at Cherrapunji. They were given to the people whom I do not know because they are not local people. So I think that this may have serious consequences in future and instead of looking forward towards getting more and more revenue from industries, we will be losing it and we will only encourage benami licences. On the further enquiry I found that the Government is to supply materials such as wax etc. I tried to enquire about the control price and the difference between the control price and the market price is about Rs.1,500 /-.
MR. SPEAKER :- Rs.1,500 /- per tonne or what ?
SHRI S.P SWER :- Yes, per tonne. So, if the Government supply ten tonnes, then the benefit will be Rs.15,000 /-. So I think that it is the duty of the Government to see that this should not occur at all.
MR. SPEAKER :- It is also the duty of responsible leaders and responsible M.L.As to supply such information to the Government.
SHRI S.P SWER :- Yes, that I can assure. As I said before, I congratulate the Finance Minister for taking many of our suggestion in different sessions of this House and they have found place in the budget. But I am as unhappy as the Finance Minister himself is unhappy to present a budget before the House because of the over-all deficit of more than rupees two crores. I think the Government should try to find out ways and means to reduce the deficit gap by starting some industries which can give a benefit within a year's time. That will bring revenue to the Government and also if Government can take up transport. .. ... ... .. ..
MR. SPEAKER :- May I draw the attention of the hon. Members that if the Government starts any enterprise such as transport or industries, it will incur huge amount of initial expenses and that will naturally widen the deficit gap. In other words the deficit budget also signifies progress.
( Laughter )
SHRI S.P SWER :- Naturally, it is for the Government to invest at the initial stage. In the course of time this will be made up. I think this can be done. But it is up to the Government to find out ways and means as to how to wipe out this deficit. What I feel is that with the budget with so much deficit, it will affect many of our development plans and projects and the Government will not be able to take them up within this year; and the object of quick upliftment of the economic condition of the people will not be achieved in near future. So I urge upon the Government to impress upon the Government of India for further financial assistance because of the fact that we have started the budget with a deficit of about rupees ninety eight lakhs. This debit balance of rupees ninety eight lakhs was inherited by us since we are in the composite State of Assam. We know that the Government of India or the Planning Commission has not taken Meghalaya into consideration as a separate entity. I feel that the Government of India should come to our help or otherwise in view of our limited resources it is difficult to raise any additional revenue by way of new taxation. I feel that it is not yet time for new taxation proposals. Therefore, the best and the simplest way is to press the Government of India to provide more financial assistance by taking in to consideration the autonomous State of Meghalaya separately. Now, that the Fourth Five Year Plan, has already been passed. With the existence of our new autonomous State a fresh look into the whole thing should be taken by the Government of India. Therefore, I feel that our Government should press the Planning Commission and also the Government of India to accommodate our requirements.
MR. SPEAKER :- And not the Finance Commission ?
SHRI S.P SWER :- Yes, the Planning Commission, Finance Commission and the Government of India - which ever are there in authority.
And lastly I want to refer to one point and that is the hospital at Cherrapunji. This is a long felt need of the people to have a hospital at Cherrapunji for years together and the construction of this hospital was very much felt in area for many years. But up to this date this hospital has not been completed. I am happy that the Finance Minister has said that it is likely to be completed within this year. In this respect, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to press the Government to take all necessary steps to complete this hospital. As far as I know the previous estimate of this hospital will not be sufficient today. If my information is correct, there will be deficit of more than a lakh of rupees.
The estimate was prepared for the construction of the hospital building with ekra walling. But ekra walling cannot stand at Cherrapunji. Therefore the estimate has to be reviewed and the construction of the hospital building with cemented blocs is being taken up. So the deficit gap of rupees one lakhs will be there. I have not seen anywhere in the budget whether that amount has already been provided by the Government or not. If not we will have to live on hope for the hospital at Cherrapunji. With these few words, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.
SHRI JUSTLY RYNSHON :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have nothing to say much in this budget of the Finance Minister but I would like to speak only on those points left by the hon. Member who spoke before me. I would like to suggest and point out something. Let me refer to agriculture. Now there are complaints everywhere about the destruction of crops either paddy or any kind of food crops by pests. It was pointed out to me yesterday when I was in the office of the District Agricultural Officer that hundreds of people are waiting for the distribution of medicines and sprayers. So I request the Government to look into this.
Mr. SPEAKER :- It should be the distribution of insecticides or pesticides.
SHRI JUSTLY RYNSHON :- I think pesticides. So to prevent famine, steps should be taken by the Government.
Then let me refer to Health. The provision for opening of dispensaries are there but there are two kinds of diseases which the Government need to take in to consideration i.e. leprosy and kala-azar prevailing in the State of Meghalaya in those areas side by side with the border of Assam. I would like to suggest to the Government that so far there are two Leprosy Centres one at Nongpoh run by the Catholic Mission and the other at Tura, may be run by the Government. I am a man who mixes with them in the bazar and other places. Due to the shortage of medicines and accommodation in the Leprosy colony at Nongpoh these people are free to move about in the bazars and other public places. It is really a very great risk to the healthy persons to mix with them. I would like to suggest to the Government in spite of the deficit budget, to look into this and make adequate provisions of grants to meet the cost of maintenance of this colony.
Then let me refer to the Land Revenue and Reforms. Most of the members who have spoken before me did not touch this point. This is very vital in our Khasi Hills District. The District Councils of Garo Hills and Jowai are free to exercise control over land but here in the Khasi Hills, there are hundreds of authorities who control over land. Whether the Government dare to reform the Assam Land & Revenue Regulation and reform the land. Now let us come to development. The people are hungering after development, they want improvement of agriculture, establishment of industries and they want to get land from the Government. But the Government will take immovable property i.e. land and buildings. So, when the people approach the Government for financial and the Government want security in the form of land. When the people of the District went to meet the District Council for a 'No Objection Certificate', the District Councils authority referred the matter to the respective Chief's and it ends there. So I request the Government to let the public have their right over the land; let the Government recognise the right of the individual over a plot of land by adopting the Assam Land & Revenue Regulations. So this is another step which can be taken in this connection.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Your intention is to convert the Raj Lands into private lands into private lands in order to bring them under the control of the District Council or the Government.
SHRI JUSTLY RYNSHON :- Yes, I mean under the control of the Government.
Mr. SPEAKER :- There is difficulty with the Sixth Schedule. Government will find it difficult as the District Council resumes control of the land. This is a very dispute point where the Syiem or the people of the Raj or the Syiem Raj or anybody are the owners of the land. Nobody knows, Your contention is the difficulty of ownership of the land in the Bhoi areas or any other areas.
SHRI JUSTLY RYNSHON :- It is in that sense. I would refer to particularly to the Bhoi areas where there are many masters over land, and especially also of the tyrannical rule of the Chiefs. It is a sad thing. We had made it clear long before that if the Meghalaya Government cannot come forward to help us in this, the other alternative left to us for meeting this problem is to find, another form of administration suitable to the Bhoi areas just to let us free from our grievances over the land.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, with these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. SPEAKER :- Since there are no other speakers the House stands adjourned till 10.A.M tomorrow the 17th June, 1971.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.