Proceedings of the Fourth Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held on the 17th June, 1971 in Assembly Chamber, Shillong.
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Mr. Speaker :- According to today's list of business, there are no starred questions, but there are three unstarred questions. Is there any supplementary question to unstarred questions No. 1 ?
(To which replies were laid on the Table)
Construction of Gimmimilgiri - Pabamari Road.
Shri NURUL ISLAM asked :
1. Will the Minister, P.W.D (R and B) be pleased to state :-
(a) Whether it is a fact that the construction of the Gimmilgiri - Pabamari (new) Road has been abandoned by the Government ?
(b) If so, why ?
(c) If not, when the construction of the road will be taken up ?
Shri EDWINGSON BAREH (Minister, P.W.D. (R & B) etc] : replied :
1. (a) & (b) - There is no proposal to construction a road from Gimmilgiri to Pabamari during the Fourth Five Year Plan owing to paucity of funds
(c) - Does not arise.
Shri NURUL ISLAM :- Sir, may I know whether there was any memorandum from the public for taking up construction of Gimmilgiri - Pabamari road ?
Shri EDWNGSON BAREH (Minister, P.W.D) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, there was.
Shri ALWOT BERRY DIENGDOH :- In reply to (a) and (b), it is mentioned that there is no proposal for construction of this road during the Fourth Five Year Plan. May I know whether Government have taken any notice that the road should be taken up during the next current financial year ?
Mr. SPEAKER :- There is no proposal for construction of this road in the Fourth Five Year Plan. So there is no question of taking it up, in the current financial year.
Shramik Bahinis in Garo Hills
Shri GROHONSING MARAK asked :
2. Will the Minister . P.W.D (R.& B) be pleased to state -
(a) Whether Government is aware that Shramik Bahinis are not actually functioning in Garo Hills ?
(b) If so, the what measures Government propose to take ?
Shri EDWINGSON BAREH (Minister, P.W.D (R. and B.) etc :- replied :
2. (a) - No
(b) - Does not arise in view of the reply given at (a) above.
Shri GROHONSING MARAK :- May I know from the Hon'ble Minister whether it is a fact that in some of the Shramik Bahanis the names of the Members are Garos but the workers actually are Biharis ?
Shri EDWNGSON BAREH (Minister, P.W.D) :- It is not to my knowledge, Sir.
Shri GROHONSING MARAK :- May I know from the Hon'ble P.W.D Minister whether the Government have any provision for spot - checking ?
Shri EDWNGSON BAREH (Minister, P.W.D) :- We are doing it.
Collection of Royalties from P.W.D Contractors.
Shri GROHONSING MARAK asked :
3. Will the Minister, P.W.D, (R and B) be pleased to state -
(a) Whether it is a fact that Government has collected the Royalties of Stones and Gravels from the P.W.D contractors ?
(b) If so, the reason thereof ?
(c) The amount collected during the last financial year ?
Shri EDWNGSON BAREH (Minister, P.W.D) :- replied :
3. (a) - yes.
(b) - As per existing policy of Government.
(c) - The information is given below Division wise :-
Name of the Division
Amount of the Royalties collected during the last financial year.
1. Tura South Division .. ... . ..
2. Tura North Division .. .. .. ..
3. Barengpara Division .. .. .. ..
4. Shillong South Division .. .. .. ..
5. Jowai Division .. .. .. ..
6. Nongstoin Division .. .. .. ..
7. Mawsynram Division .. .. .. ..
(Rupees eight lakhs ten thousand eight hundred eighty - nine and Paise eighty - eight) only.
Shri Grohonsing Marak :- May I know from the Hon'ble Minister fort what purpose Government are spending huge amount of money in collection of stones and gravels ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (P.W.D, Minister) :- This is according to the provision of the Sixth Schedule. A part of it will go to the District Council and a part of the Government.
Mr. Speaker :- Actually the amount collected is shown as income.
Shri Grohonsing Marak .- May I know from the Hon'ble Minister whether some amount will go to the Akhing Nokma concerned.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (P.W.D, Minister) :- That depends on the District Council concerned.
Shri Grohonsing Marak :- Whether there is any share out of the reality for the District Council ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (P.W.D, Minister) :- Yes, Sir.
Shri Grohonsing Marak :- What is the proportion ?
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Finance Minister) :- 60 per cent to the District Council and 40 per cent to the Government.
Shri Grohonsing Marak :- Whether the collected royalty last year has been handed over to the District Council ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (P.W.D, Minister) :- All these amount are not with the P.W.D but with the Forest Department.
Mr. Speaker :- The question hour is over.
Shri Johndeng Pohrmen :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I be allowed to raise a discussion on the questions which have not been replied in the last Session and whether it is a fact that some Departments concerned have sent reply direct to the questioners themselves and if so, may we know the Departments which have sent the replied direct to the questioners?
Mr. Speaker :- Actually that is a new motion altogether. According to Rule 35, second paragraph, when a question is not answered during the Session in which it is put it will lapse under Rule 263. But it all depends on the Minister concerned, if he is willing to send the answer directly to the questioner, in the public interest,. I do not know whether we can take up the matter now. If the hon. Member wants to have a more elaborate discussion on this subject he can send a notice in a regular form of motion and I may fix a day, perhaps during the day when we take up Private Members Business. So if you are interested in it, you can send a notice to the Secretary.
Shri Johndeng Pohrmen :- Sir, it would be in the interest of public if the other Departments also send the replies directly to the questioners like wise.
Mr. Speaker :- The Finance Minister and other Ministers concerned must have sufficient time to collect the date ; otherwise it will be difficult for them to reply just now. So, I would request the hon. Members concerned to send a notice in writing to the Secretary.
The next item of today's list of business is resumption of general discussion of the budget.
GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE BUDGET
Shri Grohonsing Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am glad to have the opportunity today to participate in the general discussion of the Budget for the year 1971-72. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I also thank the Finance Minister who has taken the trouble in collecting all the materials from the lowest level to the highest and who has tried his level best to accommodate all the demands to fulfill the desire of the people of the entire State of Meghalaya I am not an expert in budgeting and I do not know how the Government of Meghalaya has placed its Budget with a deficit of over 2 crores of rupees. One thing Sir, this, I know that the Meghalaya State is neither a Sub State not a Full-fledged State. This Budget is entirely dependent on the Government of India. Of course the needs of the people area shown in the expenditure side. I have gone through during these two day in the items on the expenditure side. Of course, Sir, I am satisfied for myself. Finance Minister has placed the Budget in such a way that all the demands of the people have been tried to be accommodated in the Budget. But Sir, this is a State where at present we cannot expect much from the receipt side, e.g. taxes, revenue, land revenue and other income so that sooner or later it can stand on its own feet and will be a self-sufficient State. Now Sir, according to the Budget, the deficit is more than 2 crores. It is double the amount of the State's receipts from its share. It is almost double the amount which the State Government is expecting to receive from taxes and other incomes, I do not know but perhaps, the Government has some expectation that rescue will come. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will only touch some of the few items in the Budget which are very urgent and prevailing in my District, Garo Hills, which is more important at this juncture of the State's condition. Sir, one thing I feel that this Budget is little dangerous if the Finance Commission of the Government deficit, which has been shown in the Budget at over two crores or rupees the Government of Meghalaya, cannot convince the Government of India and the Finance Commission, what the Government of Meghalaya is going to do. There are some important road, to the be constructed, and there are also important bridges to be constructed there are some schemes to be taken up industries are going to be set up all these important things will have to be curtailed. But I do not know exactly Sir, I learned that in the year 1970-71 some of the Departments had to surrender huge amount of money. They could not implement. They could not execute the work in time and so they had to surrender the money. Whether in this way Government of Meghalaya can convince the Finance Commission that we want more money so that our State also can progress.
Mr. Speaker :- You mean the Planning Commission ?
Shri Grohonsing Marak :- Yes, the Planning Commission. I have full confidence in the cabinet and the machinery which is going to implement to work during this current financial year. From the very start, thing that we intend to do. It is the desire of the people of Meghalaya to do the important things first for their future destiny and that the schemes for these works should be placed before the Planning Commission or the Finance Commission and we should convince them that we want more money to execute those works. Sir, sometimes, I do not know , but the Finance Minister suggested in his Budget Speech, saying that, if I may be permitted to quote "I am not happy to present a Budget with this over after knowing that with the deficit of over 2 crores the Government of Meghalaya is trying to do something for the people of Meghalaya. I do not know why the Finance Minister felt not happy over this Budget. I hope, as Mr. Speaker, Sir, has made a remark "It is a sign of progress".. ... .. ... ... .(Laughter). Sometimes I feel why not 2½ crores. Sir, I hope the Government of Meghalaya will be able to convince the Government of India so that our State which is the youngest and smallest State and also most backward State can march hand in hand with other more advanced States. Sir, the hon. Members of this august House understand that the State's economy is based on industries. Without industries in this rocket age .. .. .. .. .. .
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D) :- Why not sputnik ?
Shri Grohonsing Marak :- We cannot progress and cannot help the economic condition of the people in all respects. Therefore, Sir, I would like to know regarding the industries which are now coming up. I realise Sir, Meghalaya Hydel Power is one of the richest in India. We have various aspects that we could hydro power in our State. Now when I emphasise this hydro power, I would like to refer to Nagalbibra Thermal Project when this project was first started the entire people of Garo Hills expected that it would be a great benefit to the district and the State of Meghalaya as a whole. But up till now for the last responsibility of the Government of Meghalaya since power is the joint responsibility of the Government of Assam and the Government of Meghalaya. But up till now nothing has been done.
Mr. Speaker :- Sir, establishment of industry here is imperative. Therefore, I feel that because of misunderstanding between the Ministry of Power or because of disunity in the Ministry of Power, Government of India and the Government of Assam and also the Government of Meghalaya or because of something like non - cooperation between the Public Work Department, the Nangalbibra Thermal Project should be stopped I do not know. Up till now, Sir, in the Thermal Power at Nangalbibra nothing has come up and nothing has been done, although we have spent crores of rupees. We have been told by the experts and and geologists of India that in Meghalaya and also in the Garo Hills, we have potential of minerals lying underground which God has blessed us. It is for the Government of Meghalaya to explore them, and expedite it to be used for the welfare of the people of the district and the State of Meghalaya as a whole. But without power it is impossible to start any industries. We are told that the Assam Public Accounts Committee or something like that have constructed teams to visit the site. I understand these teams have strongly recommended to implement it immediately.
Mr. Speaker Sir, recently I have had an opportunity of visiting Nagalbinra. I do not know whether this work may continue for 10 to 20 years to complete. If so, then what would be our fate. I do not know. We cannot expect grants in huge amounts from the Government of India alone. It is our responsibility and duty to try to stand on our economic resources and by out own produce so that our state also becomes one day one of the strongest States with the sister States of India. I also like to say that one day I have contacted some of the officers in charge like the Engineer of Nagalbibra. But it seems to me, Sir, that he does not take any interest in the progress of the work there. He never consulted with anybody on any problem which are prevailing in the district or with any public leader and with any of the agency. Therefore Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel there is something in this this point that is going on. I would like to draw the attention of the Minister in charge of Power and Industries to take up this matter up very urgently.
Now, I would like to mention some few things which we are going on in my district. More than two years ago, Tura Town Committee has applied for an increase of street lights in the Tura Town and requested a number of times, giving pressure to the Executive Engineers to look after this but up till now nothing has been done. It is because of that demand the assessment of taxes for street lights from the like to say for Tura Town comes to Rs. 6000 monthly. But I would like to say for Tura Town comes to Rs. 6000 monthly. But I would like to say the for information of the House that street lights are being provided only to a few streets, i.e., main streets, of course, we are hill men, Sir, and we have to climb up through the small lanes, in order to reach the main road. Because of absence of the street lights people now are reluctant and they refuse to pay tames. Now they are realising taxes. Now they are realising taxes only Rs. 200/- per month while the demand is Rs. 6,000/- . I do not know what is the kilowatt of the street lights. Even then they have to pay Rs. 700/- per month and the balance of Rs.500 /- they have to make up from this way or that way and they have to cancel other programmes which have to be done in the town itself. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very sorry that I myself tried to contact the Engineer but he never turned up. I have contacted the Sub- Divisional Officer and he also begged that the Minister in charge of Industries and Power will take immediate action in this matter.
Sir, now I would like to say something again about the power in Garo Hills. Sir, whatever flat lands are available, it seems almost now nil. We are still expecting if power is available it can be used for lift irrigation. Then these little high lands lying on the banks of different big river can be cultivated with lift irrigation. As we all know that I had the opportunity recently to travel by road from Meghalaya to Delhi with some of my college agues. We found on the way that most of the States are now having in lifting irrigation and we are happy that we could talk to some of the staff in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and we asked how these thing could be utilised. So, Sir, if we have the electric power, then there is scope of lift irrigation in many places in the District of Garo Hills. I would like to come again to the subject of village electrification. Sir, Regarding rural electrification two years ago in about 5 or 6 villages have been installed street light by the side of the street in those villages. In the beginning of course 5/6 bulbs have been fixed there but after two months. These 6 numbers were reduced to 2 only. For example in the villages Rongjeng which is one of the biggest villages in the Garo Hills, only 3 bulbs are there to illumine the dark street., In the village of Simsanggiri 2 or 3 lights posts have been fixed about two or 3 years ago, but till today no light is there., although this place is going to be declared as Sub divisional Headquarters. See these things are going on in my District today. Therefore, I would request the Minister in charge to see into it and take these things into consideration in the interest of the people.
Sir, now I would like to touch some of the socio cultural programmes especially Education. Education is the most important item as we understand. According to the last Census, we are very sorry to learn that in Garo Hills District, the percentage of literacy is the lowest in the North East India. It is because of whose fault ? It is because of what reason, we do not know. But I would like to come back to the Primary Education In India, I believe, there are Sub - Inspectors and Inspectors of Schools and so on. If no Inspectors of Schools inspect the schools, the teachers working there will feel free. They will go as they like . I was always insisting, when I was a Member of the Assam Legislative Assembly, on this point and I asked the Government of Assam to hand over the services of the Sub- Inspectors of Schools to the control of the District Council. Unless they are brought under the control and the management of the District Council. The position can never be improved. I was also in charge of Primary Education and what I learnt was Sir, that the Lower Primary School Teacher who have been appointed by the District Council they have some feelings about the Sub - Inspectors of Schools and they realised that means the Sub - Inspectors of School cannot do any harm to them, e.g. they have no power to transfer them from one place to another, not they cannot give any appointment except District Council. Similarly the Sub - Inspectors of Schools also think that since they are not under the control of the District Council, they can go as they like. So, Sir, in the Garo Hills District and especially in the interior there are some schools which have not been inspected when within 10 or 15 years by any Sub- Inspectors of Schools. Obviously, the teachers and the students are going on as they like That is why for the last 10 or 15 years, no students could pass even the class III standard. So, in the interest of education, the service of the Sub - Inspectors of Schools would be placed at the disposal of the district Council immediately as far as possible. Otherwise, I doubt in 1982 Census the percentage of literacy in the Garo Hills may increase by 1 Per cent only which will be 29 per cent.
Now I do not see clearly may be because of my misunderstanding or lack of understanding about the stopping of jhumming. It is known to all, specially in the district of Garo Hills that 75 per cent of the population are living on the jhumming system of cultivation. This august House and the hon. members will realise what difficulty the people of the district of the Garo Hills, who are dependent only on jhumming cultivation, are facing more and more. After three months I do not know what will happen to these people, because every year jhumming crops are deteriorating very badly owing to lack of soil ; top soils being eroded by very quick jhumming cycles and also by the buffalo glaziers, the Bathans, I would like to say, Sir, we know that in the Garo Hills more that 600 glaziers - Bathans or Khutis are there, I was thinking and calculating that one bathan consists of 2 to 3 hundred buffaloes and if one bathan can destroy one sq. mile in a year then very year 600 Khutis will destroy automatically 600 sq miles and nothing will be left. There is not other alternative but the people are compelled to do jhumming even though there is no soil. If one visits the interiors of Garo Hills he will find how these people are living I would like to refer, Sir, to one find how these people are living I would like to refer, Sir, to one of the hon. Members of the Planning Commission, Government of the India visited the Garo Hills three years ago. . he entered the house of one Nokma - one of the head - man of the village. He a asked that man, "Where is your food stuff" ? The man brought half a basket of paddy which was kept as seeds for the next cultivation. The Member then asked "How are you living and how are you maintaining your family ?" The man replied pathetically "We are living on roots and herbs and some fruits." So, these are the things which are gong on even now, Sir. Therefore, Government must take serious steps, so that we can give them two meals a day, so that they can get cloth to cover their bodies and can warm themselves during the winter.
Another thing, Sir, though I am reluctant to speak on this yet circumstances and conditions prevailing in my District Compel me to speak out before this august house. Sir, when I was a Member of speak out before this august House. Sir, when I was a Member of the Assam Legislative Assembly, I had strongly appealed to that Government to do something about the elephant problem in the district of Garo Hills. No doubt, we must preserve the wild animals and birds. It is good for the tourists, it is good for the rich people to enjoy, it is also good because we can earn some foreign exchange. at the cost of run people. But there are certain cases which are very intolerable. There are cases in the Court now and people are being arrested because of killing wild elephants. Suppose now, if somebody kills a wild elephant because of the destruction of his crops, then he will receive harassment by the Department, by the Government and officials. It is natural that Government officials must go according to the law of the land. But another thing when a man is killed by a wild elephant, the report will go to the court simply that finished there . But when an elephant is shot by a man, the entire villages will be in hulla kulla. So, Government should take very serious steps in such matter. I would suggest that the elephant is not may be preserved. in separate sanctuary where jhum cultivation is not done. Last year, the devastation and destruction of crops by wild elephant was considerable and the District Council received a large number of applications stating that some compensation must be given to them because of the depredation cased by the wild elephants to their crops. The Council provided Rs. 50 But for that Rs. 50 they have to go from 50 to 60 miles to receive that amount. They have to spent 2 to 3 days on their way remaining in hotels and houses of village people and this costs them much money and when they received the amount, I think the balance that remains is only Rs.5. Therefore, I would like to appeal, through you, Sir, to the Government to take very serious steps regarding this matter.
Now I do not like to enter in to Department by Department. So, at last I would like only like to tough upon one very important point before I conclude. I would like to touch upon the Public Health Engineering Department. There is a signboard near Rongkhon and you will find, Sir, at Tura the Water Supply work of the Department. There are signboard all along the road upto Tura Town written "Water Supply Work in Progress". The pipelines is there laid all along the road upto Tura Town written "Water Supply Works in Progress". The pipeline is there land all along the road but it is difficult to know whether this water supply work is actually progressing or not. I myself once went to the spot from where the water is supposed to come. I have gone there walking for about two miles from Rongkhon. But I found that nothing has been done. Even at the intake from which the water will come, nothing has been done but the Tura Water Supply works are in progress, according to the Department. I have the intake points have not been constructed and there no pipelines have been laid. Such things are going on. Simply by putting up the signboards will not do and will not be helpful. So something must be done.
Now, I will come to the last item which is very very important. I am very happy to note, a big sum on the expenditure side which is going to be spent during this financial year. But I am sorry for one thing to note - may be I have an eye trouble or what I do not know. I could not find out one programme here and that is the bridge over Jinjiram river at Gokolgiri village. It is now more than 12 years and it s a long standing demand of the people.
Shri Williamson A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- It is under investigation.
Shri Grohonsing Marak :- In his recent visit to also the Chief Minister said that there will be a bridge over the Jinjioram river at Gokgolgiri.
Shri Williamson A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I promised and it had already been taken up.
Shri Grohonsing Marak :- I hope that it will be done during this financial year. So it is being investigated. But I do not know why it should take so much time. It is not a very big river. Anyhow, I hope that this also will be considered during this financial year and necessary.. ... ... ... . .
Shri Williamson A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- The hon. Member would have done well if he would have consulted us before raising this point.
Shri Grohonsing Marak :- Since the assurance is here. I am happy and with these few words I conclude my speech and resume my seat.
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I intervene a little here for clarification. I appreciate the interest shown in the House yesterday evening and this morning concerning the deficit of 2 crores. I would simply like to say that though it is enormous in so far as the expenditure is concerned, but it will not affect expenditure on plan schemes. This is the only clarification I want to make to the House.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Kyndiah.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- I will try to be brief. I am happy to participate in the discussion on the Budget but at the same time I fully share the unhappiness with the Finance Minister in expressing about the deficit of more than 2 crores.
Shri Williamson A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- More than 2 crores ?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- I can agree with him that this is unavoidable and in a developing economy like ours, we cannot really go beyond the pattern of deficit financing. My only worry is that the deficit has increased by three times more that the one we had last year. It should be the endeavour of the Government nevertheless to see that the deficit is bridges in one form or the other. I realise that in the a State like ours, as has been rightly put by colleague, which is neither a sub - State nor a full fledged State, things of this nature are bound to happen., But then we have to take stock and also try to find various ways and means to see that the gap is reduced. One way is by trying to have additional yield. The other way is to exercise certain economy in the expenditure side. So far as the latter part is concerned, I think the house will agree with me that we need to create an impact on the people and that can be done by resorting to expenditure in the interest of the development of our State, although incidentally I would like to add that it is a matter, which is not very incidentally I would like to add that it is a matter, which is not ever very happy, that by comparing the budget estimate of 1970 - 71 and the revised estimates of 1970-71 we found that there is a short fall of expenditure by crore and twelve lakhs. I do not know what will the Finance Minister say about it. He may attribute his to economic saving that should but it is a very dangerous trend. I do not wish that our Government should be critised for not being able to spend. This is indeed a very dangerous trend. Now, as I said to exercise economy in the Administration is not at all desirable As we see today, our administrative set up has to get an impetus in many more ways than one in order to achieve maximum efficiency. Now, in the field of additional yield , the present standard of taxation, as it exists in the hills does not allow much room to go for fresh taxation. I agree with it. But then there is a very pertinent point about the need to obtain a substantial award from the Finance Commission. I am not happy to note that we are getting only one crore and fifty one lakhs and six thousand rupees only. I feel that we have enough grounds to ask for more funds on this account. I do not know why it has not been possible for the Government to present a very good case to augment our income on this head. The share from the Finance Commission Award .. .... ... .. ... ... ... .. .. .. .. ..
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Kyndiah, I think you have misquoted the figure of statutory grant under the Finance Commission Award of Rs. 2,97 lakhs.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- No, on this point I would like to say that the case has to be presented to the Finance Commission on a strong, viable basis. For all practical purpose Meghalaya is a State, a full-fledged State. Therefore, the question of treating this State on the basis of two District, the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills and the Garo Hills is not at all right. We should make it a case that the needs of the State of Meghalaya's one unit is certainly different from the need of the two districts It is natural things for us to understand. For a family having two establishment, it will have definitely more expenditure than a family with one establishment. Now this point has to be examined in the context of the administrative machinery which has to be reinforced in the Secretariat level, directorate level and other spheres of administrative action. Therefore, this point has to be reinforced with facts and figures. No.2 Meghalaya has been born only the other day. Therefore, the resources, the financial resources have not yet been tapped to the extent that may be possible. Therefore, we should take all necessary steps to emphasise the fact that this is a State which was born only the other day. Therefore, special consideration has to be attached to it in that context. Point No. 3 - I would like to suggest that that share has to be increased because of the admitted fact that the Meghalaya is an economically backward State. It is no the back log of the development. Even when Mr. Tarlok Singh. It is in the State of ours some time back, he had made very significant remarks, saying that the development in the State of Meghalaya has not been done even at the minimum expectation. It has touched only the fringe of the problem. Therefore, we have to make use.. ... .... ... ....
Shri Williamson A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Meghalaya has started from the scratch.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Alright it is the same idea. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that apart from the need to present a good case to the Finance commission, I would also suggest that the Government should take steps to organise other activities which will bring economic boosting to the State. Say, for instance, we could go for the Road Transport Organisation which is the long felt need and which will certainly bring good resources of income or we could go for dynamic Industrialisation of the State. Now this matter has to be taken up. I feel that there is need for the Government to take all necessary steps for the development of the State in order to take it off from the present level of backwardness i.e, economic backwardness. But in doing so to the extent I may use another, word, and investment has to be made. In that way we will be able to generate a self - generating economy. So far as this point is concerned I have to say that I appreciated the speech of the Finance Minister and I have been struck by consistency for thought and clarity. I found to my pleasant surprise that the present budget speech consists of 22 pages and the last budget speech also consisted of 22 pages (laughter). But I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that there is a slight inconsistency and I will quote Mr. Speaker, Sir, what the Finance Minister has mentioned in para 2 "Unfortunately however our State and the entire nation for that matter are passing through very great stress and strain on account of the happening across the borders in East Bengal." Then the war between the organised army and the unarmed civil population in East Pakistan has cast a very dark shadow for the entire sub - continent, whether the name East Bengal or East Pakistan, I do not know where is the consistency. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, the question or rather the situation arising out of influx of refugees is a matter which has drawn all the national resources in men, materials and thinking power. This kind of inconsistency though trivial in nature may be constructed in different lines. Now we call East Bengal we call East Pakistan, we call lovingly BanglaDesh but at the same time, as you know the name itself has attracted all kinds of international reactions. Even Pakistan Radio is accusing India on the use of the word East Bengal," they are objecting the use of the word East Bengal or Bangla Desh but nevertheless the Government of India is using via media word East Bengal. I think the would be right. Coming to this inconsistency I met and evacuee who has been given the declaration for allowing to stay in India. Here I find a very interesting inconsistency. This copy in hand is the Government of Meghalaya declaration to be made by any foreigner who enters or has entered in to India from East Bengal, it is certainly East Bengal, it is certainly East Bengal but the Officer on duty filled up the forms he has written again here East Pakistan. Here is again an inconsistency. This is matter which must be looked in to and put in right perspective. This I leave to the interrligence of our Finance Minister, I am very happy that the Finance Minister has mentioned and dealt with at length on the question of the influx of refugees or I may say influx of evacuees. The whole nation is passing through a serious crisis as a result of this exodus of millions of people from East Bengal, a vast mass of humanity crossing into the border. This has posed a problems of grave dimension. It has taken the whole nation, not only by surprise but as days go by we are appreciating the depth and degree of the problem. While we all agree that this is a humanitarian question for which the Government of India has a primary duty to give shelter, relief and medical aid to the evacuees, at the same time it has also upset and dislocated the socio - economic life of the people. Six millions evacuees are now in India and I suppose in my calculation it is correct say that the Government of India have to spend about 2½ (two and a half) crores of rupees a day on the evacuees directly or indirectly. It has been said that President Yahya Khan has been successful in this matter since he is spending only 1 crore in maintaining his army in East Bengal he has made Government of India to spend 2½ crores on the evacuees. This problem is a gigantic one. We do not know what is going to happen in the next few days. But whispers in the highest political circles are the that Government will take very strong action after some time. But in any case, the political solution of the problem of East Bengal, it appears to us will not be easy. Therefore, here we are with this problem. This problem has come to us not because we seek, not that we want it, but it is a natural outcome of civil strife and civil war of East Bengal, and situated in the border as we are, we have to discharge our responsibility and duties to millions of men, women and children trekking into India. I have been to the border areas and I have seen swarms of people like ants coming to the border area in Baghmara. Its population is about three thousand which is now increased by about 40 to 45 thousand of evacuees. Our people are simply shocked. Now I do not like to dwell much on this question because we know we will be getting an opportunity to discuss this matter through a motion which is coming up on the 26th. Therefore, I will place my views on that day. But along with this question, which is exercising the minds of the highest, I have also noted a wonderful encouraging, element in the minds of those who man the Government of India. The other day, Mrs, Indira Gandhi Prime Minister, visited Assam and Meghalaya, she flew from Silchar via Gauhati to Tura along with the Chief Minister, Captain, Sangma and to Jogopara. I must congratulate the Prime Minister for her remarkable patience, despite this big gigantic problem of humanity which is being crushed on us by the military rulers of Pakistan. Despite all these, she has been able to posses the alertness, energy and capacity to think over other problems. Therefore, when she made a statement at a public meeting at Tura about the future of our State, I felt here is a leader who is not only capable but who is doing things in the right direction because in the Hills the question of final fulfillment of political aspiration is yet to culminate. Now, that the Prime Minister, Mrs, Indira Gandhi has given a statement, which clearly indicated that in a few months time the full fledged statehood Bill will be introduced in Parliament., I am now happy that his matter of our political aspiration has not gone by default.
Speaking a little bit or the question of border on which we had been talking in the past , the problem of the border people on which myself and other hon. members of the House have had the opportunity to place our views. I feel for the moment not in a position to say anything. When I consider the problem of our people in the border areas in Meghalaya, of the border area extending 264 miles with East Bengal having a population of 1 lakh 75 thousand and now that population of evacuees has come up to 2½ lakhs, it seems to me it is something that is situation has been created which I do not have words to explain. The problem is so big. What are we to do for our own people there ? This is the question.
I am happy to see from the statement of the Finance Minister who had said something about the needs about doing something exodus. There are have been a lot of discussions and mental exercise on this question and some of the leading men of Shillong and the suburbs have met the Chief Minister only the other day. They apprised him of the problem and had suggested that special schemes had to be designed to give relief to our own border people who have now been displaced as a result of the exodus. So this is a very important question and has to get the full attention of the Government. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the last Budget Session, I had the privilege to express myself very strongly on the working of certain Department. I had been rather a aggressive in putting my views about the working of the Information and the Public Relations Department. I would like to draw the attention of the Chief Minister who is incharge of the Department that despite the assurance that he gave me and the Members of the House, nothing tangible has come out, nothing encouraging has comer out. I must say that all along during the short periods of our existence, the Press has been very sympathetic in trying to cover the various activities of the State Government and the proceedings of the House. But of late, there has been a trend and it is good trend and right to speak critically of certain departments of Meghalaya. Here in my note, a copy of the Amrita Bazar Patrika issued on Thursday the 10th June, there is a news item in the front page "Shillong Bandh over the refugee influx". Now here there is a mention, I will quote, "The belated Press Note, one of the very few issues of the Government of Meghalaya" Anyway, it runs like this - I do not get the page - but what strikes me is this, the Department of Information and Public Relation have rarely come out with Press - Note. Often time it is only after the deed is done that the Department comes out with Press Note. The Department is not working in a manner that I can say effective. I came to know they do not have a dark room, Reporters, they do not have vehicle, they do not have this and that, they have become completely ineffective I feel that if it does not run or functions properly, it is better to close it down. I will appeal to the Press to cover much as possible. This is a very unhappy state of affairs because I believe that most of the problems that we have to face recently could have been avoided if there would have been an issue of press note and the people would have been able to know the views of the Government. I feel, Sir, very unhappy that this Department which is a very vital and key department to project the activities thoughts and views of the Government has not worked satisfactorily. They have not been able to do anything tangible. I would appeal, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to the Chief Minister to reorganise this Department as I have used to word last time and if necessary get men from open market, if necessary to do something even on the war footing to get this department in order. The People will not know what the Government thinks and does. There should not be a gap otherwise the gap will be filled by other agencies. It will not be helpful to the Government and the State, so that is what I feel, Mr. Speaker, Sir,
Now I have just to add a little note on this. I have come across a certain publication under the name and style of "Meghalaya Year Book, 1971". Here also there has been a mention which is not at all helpful and very critical of this Departments, activities. Here I may quote from the excerpt of the Book, "that except from the year Text of the Prime Minister's announcement on 10th November, 1970, where Government of India's decision to make Meghalaya a full - fledged State no other publications are available from the Directorate'. So, that is another brick - bat. The bouquets will be there, the brick bat will be there also, both will have to be in the right proportion. Now I will like to touch on another very important vital problem that we are facing. The un - employment problem. It has been stated in the speech of the Finance Minister I will quote. The un employment problem continued to deteriorate and in certain Parts of the country it seemed to be coming near explosion point. Government of India is fully alive to the problem and whether the Government of Meghalaya is fully alive to the problem ? Now in so far as Government of India is concerned, thank to the dynamic leadership of the Government of India, they have embarked on a scheme which is called "Crash Programme of the Rural Employment and in the whole of India, an amount of Rs. 50 crores has been allocated to create 44 lakhs additional jobs in the rural areas. For Meghalaya we are getting an allocation of 25 lakhs which means the creation of additional two thousand jobs. I understand the departments concerned who took up this matter are drawing a scheme mostly on the basis of giving employment to the people in the villages during the gap of the cultivation period and such jobs will be given that it will become a self - generating economic productive development. This is a good thing. So this may be in the form of making roads, link roads, lanes between villages or it may be also in the form of afforestation which is a great need of day or even buildings, play grounds and cultural club houses , I do not know what the Department is doing. I feel that this job should be engaged through people who will do some productive jobs in a diversified manner not only on the roads and lanes, but it should be comprehensive , extensive so that it will be have an impact on the minds of the people. So this is my humble submission.
As I said, the question is what our Government is thinking on this. I feel now especially after the compilation of the Census Book of 1971 we are now in the position to claim that we have a few urban towns, urban areas like Shillong, Tura, then Jowai, Nongthymmai and Mawlai. These are the main towns we have in the State and in these towns I know for the sure that there is an unemployment among the educated youths. How to deal with this problem ?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the last section I had made a suggestion which I think, if implemented, would go a long way towards solving the problem of unemployment of educated youths. I know that the Government offices cannot accommodate thousands of educated youths. I know also that though much as we want in setting up of industries in the State this will take some time. Even the Meter Factory which was about to be taken over by the Government of Meghalaya could not be done. So it will take some time for the industries to come up, as the matter is today. So I suggested, in view of this difficulty a Youth Service Programme should be designed or formulated. My idea was that educated youth should be given certain jobs after under going small orientation programme in various fields and send them to rural areas to work in the community for the benefit of the people there whether in the field of education as teachers, whether in the field of community work or social work, hygiene and sanitation and all that. I have found that our youths are not disinclined to serve in the rural areas. Recently, it is a good thing to note, that a number of Garo youths from Tura, are doing good work in the evacuees' camps, for which they are paid a small amount. Even then they do the work with enthusiasm. Therefore, if we formulate Youths Service Programme something in that line I believe it will work. It just now strikes me, Sir, during the time of the Late President Kennedy, Peace Corps were organised in which youths were given training in various fields to go to various parts of the world to solve the various problems of the people there. Here also I feel that our educated youths whether in Tura, Shillong . Nongthymmai , Mawlai and Jowai should be given an opportunity to do some service. Let them get a chance to bend their feeling let them get a chance to get their talents translated into action. This programme is a good programme and it can work.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, here we have a tendency to go too much by the pattern that is being done in India and other States. Let us try new thing which are good. If we think that this serves for us, let new things which are good. If we think that this serves for us, let us do it. This is my humble suggestion. In fact, we want to have a lot of thinking. We have to think, therefore, sometime of ago I remember there was a scheme formulated by the Government of India in which they were giving some sort of Pension Scheme for the old - age people beyond 70 years at the rate of Rs. 17 per months Of course this has not been put in to shape because Meghalaya is a new born State. But let us tackle the problems that the State is facing. This educated Youth Programme is a very good programme, sometimes I feel I have my sympathy for the Government, the Chief Minister, Cabinet Ministers who are involved in tackling the problems of the state. They are too busy with the Pakistani evacuees and they do not have time to think.
Capt. W.A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Perhaps Minister in charge of Thinking Laughter.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Now it reminds me, Sir, the other day I happened to meet a group of educated unemployed youths of Shillong. They said that it is good we are having a Relief and Rehabilitation Minister but why not go for an Employment Minister also. So this also needs thinking and I leave it to the thinking to he Chief Minister and his Colleagues.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to deal with another question, i.e agriculture, Of late, I have to deal to a lot of with the co - operative movement I have been getting myself involved in one way or the other with the agriculture programme of the State. As you know, sir, agriculture is the mainstay of the State. The majority of the people are agriculturists. Recently, the Government of India, I think, has introduced a Small Farmer's Development Agency. It is a very good thing. We have got four types of farmers, large scale farmer ; small scale farmer and the economically weak farmer. This small Farmers Development Agency is keen to cater to the needs of the small farmer having lands of 5 acres or so. It is called a good thing, because ultimately even small farmers when getting help in the way of fertilizers, accessories and marketing facilities, they become progressive farmers. I now realise that small farmers are full of energy. I do not speak of big farmers because they already have the necessary capital to implement in a big way like farmers in the others parts of the country. But if this small farmers Development Agency is implemented in our State, I hope that our small farmers will become progressive farmers.
Sir, that has happened in other parts of India, the small farmers have become progressive farmers. But they have channelised this small farmer' Agency to work through the co - operative sector. The Societies will identify the farmers and give all the necessary help. This is a very good thing and I feel that the Government should take full advantage of it. But I am very sorry to tell, you, Sir, as per the latest information that I got, and what the Finance Minister had stated to the effect that the Government of India have since set up two such Agencies in the composite State of U .K & J, Hills and Garo Hills : upto this day the Government has not even submitted the project report. I will tell you,. Sir, that if the project report is not submitted within a certain period of time., we will lose this amount of money, as we have lost others in the past. So, I appeal to the Minister in charge through you to take up this matter very vigour, other wise this money will be lapsed. That is what I intend to say about agriculture.
As I have already mentioned, I am very much keen about co- operation. Because, I believe that in a poor country like India having large mass of agriculturists, there is no, other way out than to take recourse to co - operative movement. because co - operation is not only a philosophy but it is an idea of working together, the idea of sharing together, the idea of thinking together, I have the conviction that in the Hills, the people have a talent of co - operative work. But unfortunately, in the past few years the supervisory machinery has not been effective. That is the finding I have gathered. Now, co - operation is an instruments of powerful potentiality in the field of social progress. It helps people to help themselves. It is an idea that people should work as if their own and the Government should only patronise without supplying the initiative and individuality of the persons and I hope that this idea is in the line of the socialist economy. It is a way of avoiding economic concentration or economic power to the few. It looks to the need of the small people. The capitalist have not place here. Of course, some time past I have had the experience of some of the Co - operative Societies which have become just like exclusive clubs. One or two families are running the co - operative societies and getting subsidies, etc. That is what we have got, But if a village or a group of villages form a society with the sincerity and keenness, it is bound to thrive. Now, there is also another point which I want to bring, to the notice of the House. In Japan, and Denmark, this co-operative movement is very strong. It has got close relationship with the agriculture development. Even in India it has brought about the wheat revolution in Punjab, and sugarcane, revolution in Maharashtra. Therefore, Sir, we should take all the necessary steps to see that the co - operative movement is made strong. I must express my satisfaction that the Government of Meghalaya have taken all necessary steps for the establishment of the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank of which I am the Chairman. For quit some time I was the Vice - Chairman of the Assam Co-operative Apex Bank. So I have close touch with the functioning of Co - operative banks. I hope this will receive keen attention for similarly with all the states who have their State Co - operative Banks we now also have one. This Bank has got many functions to do the interest and needs of the agriculturists through the co - operative societies. They do not finance the individuals. Now in the our State, we have to take care that we should not fall into a trap of the liberal financing. Of course, we know that the Reserve Bank of India, which is very much concerned about the development of the co - operative are also keen that financing of Co - operative Societies should be on the right banking lines. It is experience that sometimes loans given by the Bank to the agriculturists, do not come back. Therefore, we have to do something, i.e the State Government should revitalise the existing Co-operative societies. wherever they are they should re - organise it and make it viable so that they will be able to have the financing from the Bank. A farmer is getting Rs. 500.00 with out any security They could get even Rs.1,000 or 2,000 against the security of a plot of land. So co - operation has a great duty to perform, But you will admit Sir, that unless a Society is formed with a big unit comprising one village or a group of villages, it will not be viable. So, I feel that the Government of Meghalaya should take steps to see that in order to revitalise the societies they should be equipped with at least one full time Secretary. Then the Society becomes responsible and active. This is a very important thing. I had the opportunity to attend a sort of small seminar at Phulbari in which two or our colleagues Mr. Zaman and Mr. Nural Islam were there. I must say that I was very much struck by the co - operative that they put together for the Development Co - operative idea efforts and I could see that the co - operative movement in Garo Hills is potentially strong and I am sure that, given a full up by the Government and finance by the Banks they will do very very good work indeed, which means in fact, that the agricultural development will be very much improved in all respects. Now, here I would like to make a mention of improved in all respects. Now, here I would like to make a mention of the need to formulate a scheme by which certain farmers could be given a medium and long term loan . There are many lands which need reclamation and improvement and they require enough funds for that purpose. But they cannot repay that fund in course of season. It has to be 3/5 years. Here the small farmer's agencies come in and the Government of Meghalaya can also draw up a scheme to help these small farms. Otherwise, if it is just for the season, what the Meghalaya Co - operative Bank, if doing will not be really helpful to them. So long term operation of financing has to be considered by the Government of Meghalaya.
Now, in the last session I was taking a keen interest in the matter of Tourism and I was very happy to note that the Government was planning a number of things in the interest of tourism. Now, in the present budget speech, apart from making a statement of identification of a few places of tourist interest, nothing much has been said, Somehow I feel that it has been diluted to large extent compared to what was stated that last year. There was a mention about a Corporation - a Tourist Development Corporation. I do not know what had happened to that. Now it has come down to Council.
Capt. W.A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Tourist Development council is for the Government of India.
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- In the last session there was a definite mention of the Corporation but it seems to be just disappearing now. I would like to mention here that certain places of tourist interests are there in the State of Meghalaya. Whether you take Shillong, whether you take Cherrapunji, whether you take Tura or whether you take the place near Baghmara.
Capt. W.A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Or Siju.
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- That is a very famous place.
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D) :- And Jowai.
Shri P Ripple Kyndiah :- You are all here to remind me. I really do not understand why some more steps are not taken. We really do not know that the Department exists. We do not have this that and many things. There is not tourist bungalow and nothing of the sort. But apart from that, I feel that speaking of Shillong, of which I know more because of the fact that I am the Chairman of the Shillong Municipality. I know that even Shillong with its present state of sanitation or insanitation despite all that, it still attracts people. It has salubrious climate, it has still the water falls, it has a beautiful golf place. In the field of educational institutions, we there are some private institutions here which attract people to see their children to study. Speaking of hospitals there are certain hospitals which are so well managed that they attract patients from various parts of India. These are all of tourist importance. We have plenty of things here. But I really do not know what the Tourism Department s thinking and doing.
Now I would like to refer to page 16 of the Speech of the Finance Minister in the last session, that is, 1970-71 where there is a reference to the creation of a Corporation. The Government proposed to set up a Corporation which would take up development programmes of tourism. Here in a dilution.
Now, I am very happy to note that the Meghalaya Subsidiary Force is coming into being. This is another great achievement of the Government and I think they are justified in feeling proud of it. Of course, it has come because of necessity. It is good because there are are things to be done. But more than that what has struck me as very very significant and re assuring is the way that the duties and functions which the Forces are expected to discharge. Well, the first function is to assists and aid the Police to maintain law and order. Secondly, to maintain order an discipline in the relief camps Thirdly, to do such social work as may be entrusted by the competent authority. It is a good thing and it is full of imagination. Now the Police Force despite all the good work that it has done throughout the country and in our State, it has come to associate with Lal Tupi The Lal Tupi is the sign of British Imperialist. Now it needs a change, somehow the Police men do not get the respect from the community that they deserve. There are good reasons for his on which I do not like to dwell here. But Police men being the guardians of law and order and in fact, they should be our friends, guides and philosophers. It reminds me of a London Police man who does carry a gun, but just a baton with which he can control a crown easily with his personality and tact. Now, that is one aspect of it. Now, the personnel that will be recruited to the Force, apart from doing the police duty to maintain law and order in the relief camps, I am happy that they will have the opportunity to do social work. Whether they work in Police or in Army a man is not divisible. He is a whole ; he is a complete whole. We cannot divide him. Therefore, entrusting the welfare work to the Force is a very good thing. In a State like ours which has many problem the personnel which will be recruited here must be associated with the social well being and social welfare of the people. There they will get respect and they will be completely identified with the community and then they will become; effective and friends to the people because they will be involved in the affairs of the state which will make them enthusiastic and effective. Now, by giving this functions or social work to the Force the Government has done a very good thing. I must congratulate Government for taking this into consideration. Now I would like to dwell in the mater in which I have also personal acquaintances and personal interest. That is in the social welfare service. It is unfortunately that while on the one hand, the services, of the Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies are associated, on the other hand, nothing much has been done to them. I refer to page 16 of the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister in which some good words, have been stated about the Voluntary Agencies, he has said that "Some Voluntary Agencies from this State are doing good work in the camp," It could have been more because I know that many welfare organisations have filled the gap in the initial stage before Government came into being. But what has happened, may I say than as revealed from the Budget - I refer to pages 58 and 59 of volume III of detailed estimate of the Fourth Five Year Plan Schemes. While there has been a mention in Budget Estimate, 1970 -71 under the Head Centrally Sponsored Scheme "Aid to Voluntary Organisation" Rs. 2,50,000,00 has been estimated for 19771 which will go as aid to some institutions.; But no amount was given to them despite the budget provision. This is something which I do not understand. I feel this is a very important matter. Worse than that is that in the present estimate no provision has at all been, made. It is nowhere done in the other State. This is a single instance in Meghalaya. So , I would request the Minister concerned to see and request the Finance Minister to consider this matter in the light of my observations.
Now, I refer to the Speech of the Finance Minister, page 9, first paragraph, wherein it is stated "Besides, the centrally assisted scheme of Applied Nutrition Programme and the centrally sponsored scheme of Pilot Research Project in Growth Centre will be implemented". Now, these Applied Nutrition Programme which I have the privilege of knowing more, is a Programme of feeding the poor children below 3 years of age and it is applicable to the tribal areas and slum areas in the plains. It sensation to the Department concerned, but somehow, nothing has been done and the money was allowed to lapse. 18 paise per head per day to our young tiny tots to build their physical base is a good thing because some quantity of milk and bananas etc may be given to them. As a matter of fact, is a very good programme, but somehow we have not been able to take advantage of that very very important programme and it is allowed to lapse. I do no know what is going to happen is the present current financial year. In the same manner, I am not happy with the proposal of not having a blood bank in the State of Meghalaya. I refer to page 138 of the detailed estimate for the year 1970-71, Volume II, there was a provision of 28 thousand in the revised estimate of the Budget. But these is no provision in the present budget estimate. As we know, the blood bank has a very important function to assist and help the patients who need blood. In Shillong, we have a Shillong Blood Donors Association which is now under the control of the Indian Red Cross Society. I think Government should start one blood bank in Shillong or in the suborn of Shillong now falls under the full control of Meghalaya.
Last time, I remember, a mention has been made of having Pharmacies schools. Pharmacies school is very important ; it trains up many of our boys and girls, in pharmacy work and thus enables them to get employment. Though we are in great need of pharmacies in the State yet in the budget speech of the Finance Minister at page 14, I find to my utter surprise and I was completely taken aback that in the detailed estimates of the 4th Five Year Plan Schemes - Volume 3 there is provision for pharmacies school with an amount of Rs. 25, 000 in the budget for 1970-71 but not in the revised budget for 1971-72.
Shri E. Bareh (Minister P.W.D) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I draw the attention of the hon. Member ? If the hon. Member looks at the detailed estimates and revenue expenditure for 1971-72 under Roads and Bridges at Page 21 , he will find that a provision of Rs. 75,000 has been provided for the pharmacies school. The Public Works Department has to do the work as the matter has been transferred to the Public Works Department.
Shri P. R. Kyndiah :- Anyway, there is a provision. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, my point is this, alright the Public Works Department does the work but I do not understand what about the paraphernalia of setting up this pharmacies school. It will take time upto 1972-73. I may not come in 1971-72. This is my point. At least a token provision should be there. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not think I have much to say now. The only observation that I would like to make is that despite this problem we are finding the ship of the State has moved in the direction in which I think is right. The problems we have today are not new for the infant State like ours, they are quite big. The problems are quite big for us but at the same time, let us accept it as a challenge. I am sure that with these problem that we are facing, we will gain more experiences and the Government will be able to do away with many pitfalls we have. I can only add as a matter of fact that we should not forgot the main objectives for which the State has been brought about i.e to see that the people of the State at large are given, as it has been stated, two square meals a day, some clothes to put on. These are the basic needs that the citizens of the State expect to get. The State of Meghalaya has come in to existence of 1½ years but there are still people who are to depend for their livelihood on roots or fruits and the like. IT should be our endeavour that wherever machinery that we have , we should see that the common man is given a due share that he deserves. I have also noted that despite all those problems of administration, political problems of trying to get a full fledged State somehow, we have been able to go into the right direction, I have said earlier that the climate of confidence does exists Mr. Speaker, Sir, I remember, a quotation that struck my mind forcibly i.e about two men in prison. It runs like this, of the two men staying behind the bars one sees the mud and the other sees the stars. If your attitude if for a right direction we should see the stars and not the mud . This is what I have to say and with these few words, I conclude my speech..
(The Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the chair).
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Now Mr. Nimosh Sangma will speak.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I stand here to participate in this budget discussion. First, of all I want to thank the Finance Minister who took so much trouble and care to prepare the Meghalaya budget estimate for the year 1971-72. I think it is really a wonderful thing that he has prepared the budget in a clear cut way to present to the House for which I appreciate him again. Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to make some observations and suggestions on some of the points that have been given in the budget speech. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, first of all I want to draw the attention of the Hon'ble Minister in charge of P.W.D through you that since the State of Meghalaya has come into being there is a general feeling in the mind of the public that Shillong and Tura should be closely connected by road and one road a direct road should be started immediately but I am sorry to say that it is more than one year now.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- It is connected via Dalu.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- Whatever it may be it is not for the use of the public. The road can be used only private cars. All people are not fortunate enough to have cars of their own, so the roads which goes through the Shillong - Nongstoin to Tura, in my opinion should be taken as first priority and it must be made motorable and serviceable for the public otherwise those public who does not have cars and jeeps only know how much trouble they are facing. When we came from Tura to Shillong sometimes we are to remain stranded at Gauhati or in some other places. At Gauhati also it is difficult to get accommodation and actually all the hon. members can feel that troubles are there. So I request through, you, Sir, that the Public Works Department Minister will take up this matter and treat it on the top most priority. Another thing, if that road takes a long time to complete then I would request the Government to make some arrangements to grant permit to private to firms so that they can run bus service direct from Shillong to Tura and back from Tura to Shillong. I think it will be possible, if the Government want to do it, it will take only a very short time. While looking into the budget speech regarding construction of roads, I am not very happy because important roads at Tura in Garo Hills, are being left out. During the visit of the Chief Minister, Finance Minister and P.W.D Minister several memoranda have been submitted to them and representatives have also met them. But up till now no scheme has been taken up in the in current Financial Year's budget and there are some existing roads which we get feel they are very much neglected. One is from Tura to Mahendraganj. The road itself is not very sage even.. .. ... ... .. .. . ..
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Border roads.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- The Border roads.. .. ... ... ... ... .. The Government should take necessary action to improve that road as early as possible because in the rainy time it is impossible to go by truck or by bus, of course jeep can go somehow and another road is taken from and improvement is going on but progress seems to be very slow.
Regarding Water - supply, I see that some schemes have been completed in Khasi and Jaintia Hills, but I am sorry to say, that no adequate schemes for water supply in Garo Hills, have been taken up the Government up till now. As the hon'ble Deputy Speaker, Sir, has already said that water supply in Garo Hills, that in Tura itself, is very much discouraging, They will put up a good notice board or signboard saying that water supply work is in progress, but actually I have seen that the work is not properly done and I do not know how many years more it will take to be completed. So I request the Government to look into the matter and try to expedite the work not only at Tura, but in other places also. We require more water supply schemes in other parts of Garo Hills also. We have been submitting representation to the Ministers during their tours to these places that we want water supply at Tura, Sibbari and Baghmara, but up till now I think no scheme has been taken up except up at Baghmara. Not only in these places but it other places also there is acute shortage of Water Supply. They also urgently require the schemes for supply of water. So in this respect also I would request the Government of to look into the matter and take some more water supply schemes is Garo Hills , and moreover, what I have been seeing in Garo Hills, the Public Health Engineering department seemed to be very much in active. I have met some officers to supply water to 6 or 7 refugee camps in the presence of the Chief Minister and to take immediate action to supply water to these camps but this Department does not pay any be head at all. I do not know whose fault it is .
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- The hon. Member can continue in the afternoon Session. So the House stands adjourned till 2. p.m
The Assembly met at 2 p.m with the speaker in the Chair.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, this morning's session I discussed about the irregularity on the part of the Public Health Engineering Department because it was found that water supply work is to be expedited in the town, I am sorry to know that the Engineer in charge seem to be very much inattentive and very much slow in action. I would also like to request the Government to see to this. And I would also like to request the camps as early as possible. As regards agriculture in Garo Hills I would like to say that the majority of the people in Garo Hills are agriculturists and agriculture is the main source of livelihood. So agriculture is the most important subject in Garo Hills. In the previous session I urged upon the Government to start some demonstration farms so that they people there may get the knowledge how to work and cultivate in better ways by using modern implements and tools but up till now I do not know what Government has done. I have requested the Government to start demonstration farms and also seed farms in Garo Hills. Seeds received from other places are not sufficient and they also arrived very later perhaps, it may be due to bad communication or some other reasons also. Any way we would like to get these things in time in order that the people may use them and also in sufficient quantity. I request the Government to start the seed farms one in the northern side of Garo Hills and another in the Southern side of Garo Hills. One thing I would like to point out to Government is about horticulture and fruit gardens in Garo Hills. It needs much encouragement by Government because in the hill areas most of the people will take in to this cultivation, and leave the jhumming, system. Horticulture and gardening should be introduced as risk taking scheme in hill areas and Government should help the villagers by advancing loans on a long term basis so that the villagers may take to horticulture and gardening and thereby wean away the people from jhumming cultivation and take to other trade. In Garo Hills we have got some Co operative Societies in each Block, and there are eleven Community Development Blocks in Garo Hills,. In these blocks there are many officers who do not know local languages , and it hampers development works in interiors villages, where the villagers do not know any other languages than local language, In Blocks where Block Development Officers, Accountants, head Assistants are not Garos, no proper help and advice van be given to the villagers. So I would like to request the Government if possible to try to replace these people by our own men because these people, not knowing the local language could not help the people and some of these people do not even try to learn the local language. If officers do not know the local language how will they help the local people ? So in my opinion in the Community Development Block, some local persons should be posted.
Mr. Speaker :- In case there is no qualified candidate from among the local people, what do you suggest ?
Mr. Nimosh Sangma :- I think they should learn the language.
Regarding the insecurity of service in the C.D. I do not know what is the condition of service in C.D but many of the Gram Sevaks and some of the clerks and workers used to come to me complaining that their service is very much insecure. We have seen that some of the Gram Sevaks already retired from service have not got their pension and gratuity, etc. I do not know what is the policy of the Government in these matters ?
Mr. Speaker :- You are expected to know the policy of the Government.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- I think some of the Gram Sevaks have not got any help I do not know what help, what kind of help they want pension or some gratuity from Government.
Mr. Speaker :- I must remind that the hon. Member that he should address the Chair and not individual member.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- Now, coming to general education in Garo Hills, I am very sorry that the standard of education in Garo Hills has been deteriorating day by day. I do not know what is the best way of to improve the condition. Right from the Lower Primary Schools upto the Metric Standard. I have seen many of students getting plucked in their final examinations.
Mr. Speaker :- The Minister, Finance, has already stated in his Budget Speech that a Strong Committee will be set up to improve the standard of education.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- How this Committee will be formed that and who will be the Members ?
Mr. Speaker :- That is up to the Government
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- If it is done, it will serve the purpose. Again you know that we have only one Government college at Tura, and that is also not fully equipped, I am glad to see that some Honour classes and Science classes will be started very soon and for that necessary funds have already been allotted. But for the whole district only one college is not sufficient. We want more colleges in some other part of Garo Hills District.
Mr. Speaker :- There should be requisite number of students, specially when when new college is taken over by Government grant help. Top set up a college requires many pre - requisites.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- Wherever any college is started, it requires help from the Government. But if there is no provision from where we will get help.
Mr. Speaker :- By Supplementary Demand.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- Thank you Sir, I am sorry to know that in the Border areas, I think you all know, there are various difficulties and many of my friends and the people are complaining that we should get full support in the matter of getting full - fledged Government schools in the border in areas and then alone we will be able to maintain our schools. But even if we pull on, we will not get much improvement. When I say schools by that, I mean good schools, promising schools and if Government desires Government may provincialise the schools, like High Schools and Middle English Schools or Government may enhance the rant - in aid to these schools, to that they may have sufficient money to run the schools properly.
Once I had put a question to the Education Minister regarding one matter, that is, about two Boards of Examination in the Garo Hills. One is Middle School English Scholarship Examination Board and the other is Middle Schools Leaving Certificate Examination Board. The name is a bit different, although they conduct the same kind of examination I do not see the necessity of having two Boards, for the same standard one to amalgamate both. But up till now I do not know what Government has done in the regard.
Regarding industries in the Garo Hills it is really very very unfortunate for me and for my people because no one has the initiative for starting any kind of industries. Of course, some industries are now coming up. But even those industries are not directly sponsored by our own people. I am very sorry for that. So, in this respect, I want to point out to the Government that by way of encouraging the local people and the local youths, one cottage industry at Dalu has already been started under the border scheme and this cottage industry scheme seems to be very unsuccessful. It requires improvement and extension to meet the demand of the local people.
Mr. Speaker :- What type of Industry ?
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- It is a production centre, Sir,
Mr. Speaker :- Production of what ?
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- They are doing blacksmith and carpentry works that is, composite industry. It has been started long ago but no work is done. Government spent about Rs. 1,50,000 in purchasing machineries, but these machineries have not got rusted and some cannot be used again at all.
Mr. Speaker :- What is your suggestion ?
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- I would suggest that Government should examine this mater and try to revive this cottage industry, so that the local people may get benefit out of it. At present no benefit is derives by the people, excepting but the manager peons and chowkidar. Also there is a big building, big machineries, but they are not functioning at all.
Another thing is Rural Electrification. As the Hon'ble Deputy Speaker, Mr. Marak has already pointed out, in Garo Hills, not to speak of other places, even at Tura we are not getting electricity electric lights properly. There are many villages also big and small which want to use electricity, But to our utter sorrow and dissatisfaction, even though we have been complaining and requesting Government on that matter, uptil now we do not find any action being taken by Government to supply electricity to the rural villages also. Because I have seen in some of the Block headquarters, electricity has been installed only one or two bulbs, just for show and not for public utility. People want electricity for domestic use, lighting the streets, office use and for industries, and if possible, as our Deputy Speaker ahs said, for lift - irrigation. Lift - irrigation would have been very much helpful to us, because most of the place in the hill areas, water cannot be drawn to high places and if there is lift - irrigation, people could have cultivated those lands properly. So, I would like to urge upon the Government to take necessary steps for adequate power supply and rural electrification with special reference to Garo Hills.
Now, as regards the budget for 1971-72 as presented by the Finance Minister, I would like to say a few words, of course, in the budget we have been told that the Meghalaya Budget, estimate for 1971-72 shows a deficit of more than 2 crores which I think is not an alarming sign as Meghalaya is a new born State and also that the State is also one of the most backward States in India. Therefore, in order to fulfill the aspirations of the people living in the Hills, Meghalaya Government will have to stand boldly and take up many new projects in order to develop the State as a whole. Now it is up to the Government to find out ways and means and new resources to make up the deficit either by approaching the Central Government for giving more financial assistance or if possible, by introducing new taxes.
Now, Sir, before I conclude.
Mr. Speaker :- Do you mean to say either by approaching the Central Government for financial assistance are by introducing new taxes or by both.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- Yes, Sir, I mean by both. Mr. Speaker, Sir, before I conclude my speech I have something to say about the recent happening at Dalu on the 25th of last month, with your permission, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- No this is not permissible. You have to give notice to me first to discuss any matter of public urgency, as this is a separate issue altogether.
Shri Nurul Islam :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I be permitted to speak in Bengali ?
Mr. Speaker :- Yes. You can speak, if you can give a written copy of the speech.
Mr. Nurul Islam :- Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I shall submit it later on.
Mr. Speaker :- What is the purpose of your proposal that Government should show the receipts and expenditure district wise separately what is the purpose ? As you know , the revenue in come and expenditure should cover the entire State as a whole whether it is at district wise level. I must draw the attention of the hon. Member that whatever income that is derived from the whole State. It is not possible to prepare separately for the district revenue as there is no form to prepare the budget in that way also. Besides the Budget Department had to work according to the preformed which is already accepted and followed in the State.
Mr. Speaker :- For the information of the hon. Member, I would like to say that the refugees are not the financial burden of the State Government though it has involved physical strain on the part of the office. All the financial expenditure involved will be borne by the Government of India. So far as the refugees are concerned, I have already received notice from the hon. . members and this subject will be discussed on the 22nd June, 1971. So you may not touch this subject now.
Shri Brojendra Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very glad to join today's discussion on the Budget estimate for 1971-72. Our hon'ble finance Minister has clearly mentioned in his speech that an amount of more than 2 crores is deficit in eh budget for the year 1971-72. It is, limited knowledge on my part to suggest to Government to find out ways and means. However, we must try at any cost to find out ways and means to make up the deficit. I am sure that the central Government may be kind enough to assist up to make up the deficit amount of the budget. If we try to approach the Planning Commission with our sincere co-operation and honesty, I think we may get help in this regard.
Mr. Speaker :- The Government of Meghalaya will have on to approach the Finance Commission to increase aid and not the planning Commission. The Planning Commission is concerned with developmental work.
Shri Brojendra Sangma :- Time is also limited on my part to go into the details of the voluminous Budget estimates. But I have nothing more to say about the budget estimates because our Finance Minister hash provided for all the needs of the State for present development. It only needs our sincerity honesty and full co - operation, to the administrative machinery and to the local people in times of actual execution of the work. Besides, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to mention some important points in my observation. First of all, I would like to touch on the general education. Last year in 1970-71 big amount of money had been spent for general education and sanction had been made as non - recurring grant - in aid to the non - government schools such as construction of school building, furniture library improvement,. playground improvement, hostels construction of teacher's quarter etc. But I am very sorry that some of the Government - aided M.E Schools could not enjoy a single out or this amount. The are Mahadeo, Mindigiri etc. Government Aided M.E School. Through, these schools are situated in the border areas and the people of this area are facing much difficulties for want of education. The people of this area really are deprived economically and financially since the partition of India and Pakistan and there is no means of livelihood at all for them, and also to send their children to different school. So it is my sincere request to the Hon'ble Minister -in charge of Education kindly to consider the matter, specially of those schools in future.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, secondly I come to the Community Development Block. Almost all the people of Dambuk - Aga Block have made many complaint time and again against the Block Developments Officer of the said Block and transfer order has been issued to him, so far as I know, since the last Year.
Mr. Speaker :- I cannot understand. Have many allegations been levelled against him ?
Shri Borjendra Sangma :- Yes, May complaints have been made by the people against him. Again, the Secretary in charge of the community development Block went to Baghmara personally, on 9th April 1971, and ordered him to hand over the charge to the senior Extension Officer 10th April, 1971. But I come to know that he had not handed over the charge to anyone up till now, though he is not serving as an Officer of the said Block.
Mr. Speaker :- So the Block has no Officer - Block Development officers is not there and he has not handed over the charge. Did you try to take up the matter with the Department concerned ?
Shri Brojendra Snagma :- I have taken up the matter with the Department concerned time and again. The staff of the said Block have not got their pay for the last two months, not only the staff but many of the local people are not getting payment for reclamation construction of the roads and bridges, etc. I could not understand, Mr. Speaker, Sir, why the Government failed to take any action against him. I, therefore, request the Minister in charge though, you Sir, that action may kindly be taken with immediate effect in the interest of the local people.
Mr. Speaker :- I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Member that in order to take action against the officer, it is not the duty of the House. It is the duty of the Department concerned. It is only when the Department fails to proceed according to the procedure, that the matter can be brought to the floor of ht house and I would ask the hon. Members including to the floor of the House, and I would ask the hon. members including the responsible M.L.A from that side to take up the matter with the Department concerned.
Shri Brojendra Sangma :- Yes, I tried and approached personally time and again but no action has been taken up till now. Not only myself but many local people also approached the Hon'ble Minister Secretary and so on.
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- May I give the information to the House ? The Officer concerned is due for promotion and he is the being transferred on promotion.
Mr. Speaker :- As S.D.P.O ?
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) ;- Yes.
Mr. Speaker :- So in the case, in other words, the department is satisfied with his work and he has been promoted. (Laughter)
Shri Brojendra Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, all along the border from Baghmara to Balat the distance is 115 miles and there is no regular communication there. The road has already been constructed along the border since the a long time. But it is not being improved for regular communication and the people of the said areas had no other means of communication to transport the essential commodities.
On the other hand, the said area is quite unsafe from the security point of view. Not in some places, the incidents are taking place and heavy shelling and firing is going on. I, therefore, request the Hon'ble Minister in charge. Public Works Department kindly to give special attention to improve the road in this financial year.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, more that one year has passed out Meghalaya Government has not Legislative Assembly building of its own.
Mr. Speaker :- This is the building, but we have occupied only part of it.
Shri Brojendra Sangma :- We are having our Assembly Session in this congested small room having no sufficient rooms for all purposes . Our Hon'ble Deputy Speaker, is doing his office work in the a small room which can accommodate only one table and not more than two chairs. On the other hand, I think that the question of shifting the capital of Assam may take years together. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this respect, I request our Government to come for ward to construct our own Assembly building and find our ways and means to construct the same. Lastly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to mention about the construction of members Hostel at Shillong., because we the Members who come from distant places are rally facing much difficulties for want of accommodation in time of Session. Since last year, we came to Shillong not only to attend the Session, but sometimes we come for our private matters also.. I therefore request the Government to look into this matters also and special interest may kindly be taken to construct the hostel building as early as possible. With these few words, I conclude my speech and I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Is there any other hon. member who would like to participate today instead of any other day ?
(After a pause)
Since there is no other hon. Member who would like to participate today the House stands adjourned till 9 a.m on Friday, that is tomorrow, the 18th June, 1971.
(The House was adjourned at 3.25 p.m)
Dated Shillong ,
The 17th June 1971.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.