Thursday, the 25th MARCH 1971
The House met at Ten O'clock
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair.)
Mr. Speaker :- The first item in today's list of business is questions. There is one starred question in the name of Shri. Nimosh Sangma.
STARRED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
(To which oral answers were given)
Re : Board of Examination.
Shri NIMOSH SANGMA asked :
Shri SANDFORD MARAK
Minister, Education, etc replied.
*1 Will the Minister-in-charge of Education be pleased to state -
(a) The necessity of Keeping two Boards of Examinations for the same standard of education in Garo Hills, namely, (1) The Middle School Leaving Certificate Examination Board ?
(a) to (c) - The matter is presently engaging the attention of Government. The matter is being examined with a view to evolve the best and the most economical system of examination to ensure uniform nation and higher standard of education.
(b) Whether this does not involve double expenditure to the Government?
(c) If so, whether Government propose to amalgamate the two Boards of Examination into one ?
DEBATE ON THE GOVERNOR'S ADDRESS
25th, March, 1971.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I put one supplementary question to the Minister in charge of Education? Whether the students who top the list of successful candidates in the Middle School Leaving Examination are eligible for the award of the competitive scholarship on the basis of merit?
Mr. Speaker :- That questions does not arise. It is new questions altogether. If there is not more supplementary questions, may I seek clarification from the Minister in regard to the last line of the reply to the question. Is it 'better standard' or 'higher standard' ? I think it should have been 'better standard' and not 'higher standard'.
Shri Sandford k. Marak (Minister Education) :- Yes, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- The second item in today's list of business is the debate on the Governor's Address. Mr. Man Bahadur Newar ?
*Shri Man Bahadur Newar :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I like to support the Motion of Thanks to the Governors Address with the following observation. It is true that the Government tried their utmost and have taken the initiative in order to expedite the pace of development in Meghalaya. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to draw the attention of the Government that nothing has been said about the Diary Farming in Meghalaya. In mentioning dairy farming here, I mean to say the individual buffalo and cow rearer of the Nepali community of Meghalaya engaged in producing vital milk and the milk products particularly in the urban area under Meghalaya. The Bathanwallas new are facing a critical time in regard to fodder. Generally the Nepali Bathanwallas graze their cattle population on the hill slopes that badly affected the jhumming land of the Garo people. On many occasions in spite of their best effort the cattle damaged the standing crops of the Jhumiers and thus disputes and mis understanding arise with the Nepali Bathanwallas. In order to avoid such things I would suggest Government to provide requisite provisions and necessary scheme for agriculture or growing of fodder grass of improved variety may kindly be introduced to the individual Nepali Bathanwallas.
This will, in the a great way, minimize fodder problem of the Bathanwallas and it will facilitate to minimize the crop damage and will help to retain the soil fertility in the Jhumming areas.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is most surprising that though the Nepali Bathanwallas are the main milk producing agents in this part of the State, nothing has yet been done in respect of upgrading their cattle. No financial assistance is ever given or any loans given to them for the construction of the standard cattle sheds. That is how the Bathanwallas are neglected and the rearing of their cattle is still of primitive nature. I urge the Government that scientific and modern method of Dairy farming facilities be given to the Bathanwallas, so that they can conduct their vocation on small scale industries basis. I fully understand that the management of the Bathans is under the purview of the District Council. But as the financial position of the District Council is very limited, until and unless the Government makes provision and takes up certain requisite measures with the technical know-how in this direction, nothing will be possible. Hence, I invite the attention of the Government to this matter.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in respect of education our now Government is doing their utmost and I believe this trend will continue until our goal in educational field is completely achieved. Sir, in Garo Hills, we have one Nepali M.E Schools and this is the only institution in our District in which the Nepali children are getting their education. At present the existing school building necessitates immediate extension as the building is very congested. So, I request the Government to make a provision of Rs. 20,000 Rupees twenty thousand for the extension of the said Nepal M.E School building at Tura.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in Meghalaya the Nepalis have been living for the generations together and have made this land their hearth and home and they have been doing their best for its development and progress. So in the matter of education, occupation and service they should be given equal chance and opportunity without any discrimination. With these few observations, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.
Shri Brojendro Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is my good privilege and honour to support the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address containing in 11 pages and which shows the actual pictures of the Government policies.
So, I think on our part we attach great importance to this House which affords unique opportunities to discuss the matter of common interest prevailing in this State to-day. Mr. Speaker, Sir, yesterday and the day before yesterday hon. Members have spoken on some points which are being executed by the Government during the year. First of all I would like to touch upon the industrial scope which is mentioned in page 9 in the Governor's Address. By and large our State is industrial backward when we compare with other States of the country. We find that some States have gone far ahead in building up their economy while some others are still in the process of development. No doubt, we have to start literally from the scratch in order to keep pace with them to bring Meghalaya in the industrial map of India. I feel it is yet to be made by Central allocation for small and big industries here. Mr. Speaker, Sir, agriculture is the main stay and of the State. More than 80% of the population earn their living by toiling the soil. Mr. Speaker, Sir I therefore, like to say that Government must take bold steps to apply scientific methods to improve viable industrial units and also silk, cotton and numerous small scale and cottage industries. Industrial units must be encouraged through out the State, specially cottage and craft industries should be encouraged by way of providing market facilities and advancing loans, etc.
Now, coming to paragraph 14 of the Governor's Address I find that Government have planned to stop wanton destruction of forests by jhumming, Sir, Government may make a legislation to stop jhumming But the plan will be a failure ultimately unless the actual means of living is provided for their livelihood.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very glad to learn that the Government has taken prompt action to rescue the flood affected people of western side of Garo Hills, but I find Sir, in the Governor's Address nothing has been mentioned about the people affected by wild elephants. Sir, Government may spend lots of money for development of economical condition especially for Garo Hills. But unless and until Government take concrete measures to prevent depredation by these wild animals, the people will continue to suffer heavy loss of life and property, in the years to come. I also like to say something on the subject of recruitment to different posts. Here in the Governor's Address it is clearly mentioned in page 2 paragraph 4, that "It is proposed to rationalise the system of recruitment to the different posts carrying pay scale of Rs. 501 per menses. But I could not understand why many Departments are not having adequate staff, even Lower Division Assistants in the Districts and in the State level. I donot know why Government could not enforce the provided rules effectively till now. I know that for having no adequate staff the Government could not release allotted money to the various Departments, and the development schemes could not be executed properly. For these reasons so many difficulties and problems are prevailing in the State. The provided rules should be given effect so that such conditions may not arise.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, lastly, I would like to say that the Deputy Inspectors of Schools may kindly be provided with a jeep to supervise the schools in the entire Districts effectively. At the present, such facilities are not given to the D.I of schools and they are facing great difficulty. I, therefore, request Government to take necessary steps in this regard. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I conclude my speech with these few words and support the motion of thanks on the Governor's Address. I now resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Mrs. Maysalin War.
Shrimati Maysalin War :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I strongly support the vote of thanks of on the Governor's Address delivered to the House on the 22nd instant.
While appreciating the sincere and competent efforts of our one year old new Government of Meghalaya to run its administration for the welfare of its people in spite of the stupendous problems facing its progress as conveyed in the Address, I seek the permission of the House to lay stress on certain matters not specifically mentioned in the speech.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the Governor's Address at para 3 of page 2 it is mentioned that the pattern of administrative machinery as recommended by the Administrative Reforms Committee of the Government of India is expected to bring forth the speedy disposal of the work. Yet, I see no justification for depending on such methods, if the old method we have been following is found to expedite disposal of work efficiently and effectively to suit local conditions and most of all to offer greater scope for solving unemployment problem.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Meghalaya being one among the most backward States of the Country as is well known and mentioned in the Address - I do agree with the objective of the Government to keep a watchful eye on the need for the the development of the relative backward areas and weaker sections of the State.
In this regard, I would like to mention "the Lyngngam area and" the areas of our State Bordering the Kamrup District on the western part of the District Khasi Hills" as an example of such relatively poorer sections of the State besides many others.
Educational, medical facilities and public health service need special and immediate attention for such areas i.e. a well equipped Hospital at Mawthengkut (Sonapahar) and rural health centres with sufficient qualified staff and medical supplies, at Nongdaju (Lyngnam area) Malangona or Mawsmai (Nonglang Sirdarship) and Arodona or Synghor (Jyrngam Sirdarship) are very much needed.
For giving immediate relief to the poverty stricken people living in around those areas, whose economic conditions cannot be expressed ; a mobile dispensary unit and an ambulance connecting the above centres are also necessary. Mr. Speaker, Sir, although Agriculture is the backbone of the State's economy as mentioned in the address, a large number of the cultivators are still relying on dry land cultivation through Jhumming which is in turn, leads not only to destruction of forest wealth but also to ever shifting and scattering of villages, which makes developmental work impossible. The scheme of re-grouping of villages in Garo Hills is to the be followed in the villages of Lyngngam area as well, for the over all development of the area.
Referring to the address at page-7 expressing the need of conservation of Forest Wealth through afforestation, forest reservation and farm forestry but without mentioning the wiled life in the forests.
I am sure the House will agree with me to entrust the Government to do away immediately with the unwarranted killing of wild animals for the purpose of earning by selling of their venison, which for the last few years has become a regular nuisance, and an ugly scene at our bazars-especially Shillong Bara Bazar, Nongpoh, Umpling Nongstoin and many other places. People of all walks of life and of all communities have made a common complaint in the matter, which the Government must have know by now.
Even the sports hunting by killing harmless animals during off-season, night poaching, trapping shooting at salt-licks and inside of reserve forest should be classified as a criminal offence.
The same goes with the mercilessly poisoning and dynamiting of fishes in our rivers for the same purpose.
I hope our Government will take drastic steps to enforce such prohibitions for protection and conservation of wild life, before it is too late.
In the Social Service Sector, besides the expansion and improvement of educational institutions, the setting of up of a Commission on Education Development is urgently required through which, introduction of technical education and modern methods of teaching, can be done and also the improvement of sports and games the and the general upliftment of our people, which will raise the standard of our State at par with the rest of the country.
In the industrial development, since the emphasis is on the effective exploitation of the industrial potential of the State, the setting up of a paper industry on the border of Khasi-Garo Hills on the proposed Nongstoin-Tura Road, is a very promising project. A sea of bamboos stretches for miles together along the said road and this will help the people of those areas to a great extent, to settle in the form of Industrial townships and estates. Then also, the opening of a Cottage Industry at Nongdaju (Lyngam area) is recommendable - as there is an abundant source of rich plastic clay in that area, which I have myself visited.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, another point is about Publicity through A.I. Radio by Confessional Receiver Sets at important Government Centres - more powerful transmitter is required to serve the purpose. As in 1947 while I was in Burma after the war. Government provide Receiver Sets to the villages for the purpose of publicity and Government has done a lot in the field of Publicity.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I request the Government to move the Posts & Telegraphs Department to open more Branch Post offices in the important centres in the interior. A letter from London will take 5 days to reach Shillong, but a letter from Shillong will take 10 days to reach each destination in K & J Hills owing to the small number of Post Offices.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I come to to implementation of the setting up of a Sub-division with the Headquarters at Nongstoin which has long been delayed which will enable to solve unemployment problem on one hand and to serve the people administratively on the other. Along with it, the rural electrification of the western villages of Khasi Hills is very much longed for.
Let us therefore, not be content with the Schemes and future plans, but to be practical there should be on the spot study of the different departments in their respective fields of development so that the natural resources of the State do not lie dormant for all time to come, also to make a head-way before we achieve the goal of a full fledged State.
Shri Khelaram Barmon :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I be permitted to speak in Bengalee, and I will supply a copy of my Speech.
Mr. Speaker, Sir.
*Shri Singjan Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, whenever a member from the opposition group rises to speak something on the floor of the House there is a tendency, I believe that the main role to be played by the Opposition Party both inside and outside the House is merely to criticise the policies pursued by the Government and all that. But I personally am contradictory to that idea, because of the fact, as is know to all, that State does not belong only to a particular group of people or a political party which is running the Government. But the State belongs to all the people residing therein and as such, I believe, that all the have got certain duties to contribute something towards the prosperity and happiness of the State. Because prosperity and happiness of the State are the prosperity and happiness of the people as a whole. So Sir, everybody's desire should be, I believe, to contribute something in any form or shape in what best way proper delivery of goods can be delivered to the people according to their cherished expectation.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this context, I would like to participate in the discussion on the Governor's Address, which I feel is the broad policy to be pursued by the Government in matters of implementing the various to development programmes and schemes which have been adopted by the Government. Sir, for the last two days I have been hearing with rapt attention of the various observations made by the hon. Members, particularly on the points raised by them which they feel that without implementation of these things the delivery of goods cannot be made to the people. I have also gone through the contents of the Governor's Address in order to get better information for myself and I find that the no mention has been made about setting up of Printing Press under the Government of Meghalaya which, I feel, is very important and vital with a view to giving better service to all concerned. It is a fact and I believe that hon. Members of this august House also will agree with me that it is only because of the absence of a Printing Press at the disposal of the Government of Meghalaya, the important proceedings of the last two sittings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly have not been yet been published and as a result of which we have not been able to receive those copies though we need them very badly. As we have not received the copies of the proceedings, we are not in position to know about the various assurance made by the Hon'ble Minister concerned to take necessary action on important the points raised by the Hon. Members. Now we do not know whether the assurances made by the Hon'ble Ministers concerned on the floor of the House have been implemented or not. So, Sir, considering the importance of the Printing Press from all points of view, my humble request to the Government will be that they should take immediate action for setting up of the printing press at the disposal of and Meghalaya Government. This will, I believe expedite the works in time and also remove the difficulties which stand in the way of proper implementation of works.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not find that any mention has has been made in Governor's Address for arrangement of sitting room for the hon. Members in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly building. It is only because of absence of a sitting room (recreation room), I feel, the hon. Members are experiencing difficulties even for discussion or sitting at leisure hours and as such, we are to spend our time loitering here and there like unwanted persons (laughter). So, my humble request to the Government is to look into the matter and that arrangement of a sitting room is made in future. We are very glad to learn from the Governor's Address that the Government of India had accepted that the two districts of Meghalaya viz ; United K & J Hills and Garo Hills are economically and industrially backward and as a result of this concession of institutional financing, outright grant or subsidy of the Government of India will be available to the business enterprises. In this respects, may I know from the Minister-in-charge of Industries whether the detailed schemes have been prepared by the Government of Meghalaya for this purpose ? If so, what type of industries are proposed to be set up in this State ? Mr. Speaker, Sir, from the contents of the Governor's Address at page 5, paragraph 7, it is heartening to know that the Government is quite aware of the border problems particularly of the insurmountable difficulties and hardships that are being to faced by the people living in the border areas in their day to day life which is mainly due to dislocation of trade after the partition of the country and as such it has miserably affected about 23 persons of the State's population. Not only that, but also this border region has remind open to heinous crimes like theft, cattle lifting etc which are still going on and hence, the economic condition of the people living in the border areas is the downward trend. Not only that their economic condition has been aggravated particularly on account of food in certain areas of Garo Hills largely on account of thefts of their cattle wealth. This is the reason why their agricultural activities are receiving a serious setback. We understand that the Government of Meghalaya in order to give facilities to dispose of the authorised agricultural product to the Pakistanis, the border markets have been opened in certain areas. This is, no doubt, a good and encouraging scheme but real success of the scheme will entirely depend upon the goodwill and cooperation of the two Governments. But apart from this, I would request the Government to devise a concrete measure with a concrete economic programme for the amelioration of the economic condition of the people. It is my firm conviction and I believe that hon. Members will agree with me that until and unless a bold step is taken by the Government with concrete economic programme the difficulties of the border people can never be removed. So, my appeal to the Government is that such a concrete economic programme may kindly be taken to up by the Government so that the people of K & J Hills and Garo Hills, living in border areas, find a place to live in the economic well-being and social security. We know that special stress is being made by the Meghalaya Government to improve the agricultural activities in order to increase the production so that not only the people living in the State but the State itself also will become self-sufficient. But in this respect, inspite of emphasis on this, it appears to me that agriculture is often considered a routine job and it is not working on a war footing. In this respect, I want to point out to the House that there are great demands from the people for the improvement of agricultural activities, i.e. for construction of bunds and dongs for irrigation facilities and also for land reclamation works. But inspite of that fact it is learnt I do not know how far it is true that some amount of money allotted for the execution of agricultural programmes is going to be surrendered by the Government. So my humble opinion is that unless and until agriculture is taken on a war footing I doubt that we shall be able to improve the economics conditions of the people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the immediate problems that we are facing now, as we all know, are the problem of economic developments, living standards of the people, removing the curse of poverty and unemployment. We know that inspite of the efforts being made by the Government, the unemployment problem has not yet been solved, not only in the State of Meghalaya but all over the country. In this respect, may I point our to the Government that a Government is creating a problem by its own policy because, as I have learnt, there are vacancies for the posts of the teachers in the Tura Government. Multipurpose High School but these vacancies have not yet been filled up uptil now. Moreover one Girls' High School has been taken over by the Meghalaya Government at Tura with effect from 1st April, 1970 but I am rather astonished to find that uptill now, through 11 months have elapsed since that school was taken over the by the Government, no appointment of teachers has been made uptill now. I cannot understand why Government is not in a position to make appointment of teachers for that institution ? Is is only because suitable local candidates are not available? In this way the Government, instead of trying to solve, the problem of unemployment, is creating a problem by its own policy. If things are going on in this way I really cannot understand how we can solve not only the problem of unemployment but also the educational problem. Moreover, it is learnt that advertisements were made by the Meghalaya Government for the posts of Peons and Lower Division Assistants both in the Secretariat and in Directorates in Meghalaya and necessary financial sanction has also been allotted in this regard. But so far my knowledge goes, no appointment has yet been made to these posts. So, in solving the unemployment problem my humble request to the Government is that these may be looked into so that the people may not be deprived of getting opportunities.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is known to all that Meghalaya is a small State which has been constituted comprising only two districts and with a population of about 7,68,380. It is, no doubt a poor State in one sense, but I am rather proud to say that our State, though small in size and area, happens to be a rich State in other sense. Because our State is potentially rich. But our real happiness and real satisfaction can be fulfilled in the true sense of the term if we can produce trained and skilled persons of our own, because these potentialities can be produced only by applying modern methods of science and technology and there is no other way of doing it. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in order to make our State rich both industrially and agriculturally, my humble appeal to the Government would be that the opportunities for imparting education in technology and science may kindly be made available so that our young people may get such opportunities and thereby build up the State as one of the richest State in the country. With these few words, I resume my seat.
(Mr. Deputy Speaker in the Chair)
*Shri Alwot Berry Diengdoh :- I rise to support to Motion of Thanks on the Address of the Governor delivered to this House on the 22nd last. While supporting it I take the opportunity of congratulating the Government of Meghalaya for its sincere and compete efforts to bring about an encouraging administration for the last 11 months. Going through the contents of the Address, I must say that it had covered all the points of the Government activities for the last one year. And while appreciating the Address, I beg to submit some of my observations for which Government is to take action and implement. The Address itself, as I said, through it covered all points, yet is also contains only a brief of theories and plans, and nothing positive and descriptive. It should, however be a little more informative particularly in matters concerning the prices of development programmes in the State. Considering all the difficulties and obstacles being faced by the Government, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is painful to note that while referring to page 2 of the Address, in regard to the administrative machinery, the Address does not give us any new information other than what was covered in the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister presented to this House in the last Session. I think the hon. Members of this House will agree with me that there has been a very slow progress in implementation of development programmes and many important programmes are yet to start. We do not know the reasons behind this, but if inadequacy of administrative machinery is the main factor for failures, this matter should have been settled with top-most priority. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I therefore, wish and hope that the next report to be presented before this House, should be free from all such excuses.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I thank the Government of India for its acceptance of the recommendation or proposal that Meghalaya is the most backward part of the country, as mentioned at page 4 of the Address. By virtue of its backwardness, it deserves therefore, special treatment in the matter of allocation of resources for Plan development. Without this, it is not possible to uplift the conditions of the people to the level already prevailing in developed areas. Narrowing of the margin of regional imbalances in development already in the national level, economy can be effected only through special programmes requiring special allocation of resources.
At page 5 of the Governor's Address, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am happy to see that the Government has taken steps for enlarging the border trade facilities. As regards co-ordinate development programmes only for the people of the border area, the Address covers a reference for future only. It is clear that no positive programmes have been taken up so far. I wish therefore that the Government should take immediate action and not confine only to proposals for the future.
Coming to page 6 of the Address, where Shillong is concerned, I am grateful to the Government of India for having constituted a committee of Shillong which will look after the interest of the people of the Capital in the field of education and water supply in particular roads development and others. Shillong is the Capital of both the Government of Meghalaya and Assam. Looking back, the development of Shillong is totally nil for the last one year. Neither the Government of Assam nor the Government of Meghalaya nor the Shillong Committee appointed by the Government of India, have done anything during the year in dealing with the basic problems of the city. Mr. Kyndiah yesterday had dwelt upon this points and I would like to draw the attention of this House to two basic facts. Firstly, the most critical problem of Shillong today is water supply. I am thankful to the Government of Meghalaya for taking interest in the matter during last few months. But this matter is still the immediate need of the people of Shillong. Secondly, road development in Shillong is very poor and most of them remained untouched for the last few days years. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, these problems cannot be left unattended.
Even in matters of administration of health and education, there have been confusions and dead-locks disturbing the smooth functioning and progress. The Government of Assam on the one hand is still having confusion about administration and jurisdiction over certain institutions though clearly located in the Municipal areas. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you allow me, I will bring out an information to the House, so that Government should take immediate necessary action. The Government of Assam paid grants to schools for a period upto 28.2.70. The Government of Meghalaya has been paying from 2.4.70. For the gap in between the institutions did not receive any grants and have been exposed to financial crisis. Stipendiaries and merit scholarship holders in different educational institutions with in and outside Municipal area have also been victims of the dead-lock and many of there are facing a critical situation.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have passed one year of experiment. Very important issues, as mentioned before, like water supply, health, education and development cannot be left as subjects of experiment. The only remedy is that, along with the granting of full State-hood to Meghalaya, the administrative control over Shillong should be fully transferred to the Government of Meghalaya. The Government of Assam may make annual contribution to the Government of Meghalaya on account of administration and development of Shillong till such time when the Capital of Assam is shifted from Shillong. I suggest, therefore, that the Government of Meghalaya should take up the matter immediately with the Government of India.
In the field of education and social welfare programmes of the State, the performance of the Government of Meghalaya is little far behind the expected standard. The proposal of setting up a Hill University, as some of the hon. Members have dwelt, has practically made no head-way. So also the much talked proposal for a Shillong Stadium appears to be kept in a cold storage. Our Government have been able to adopt a Bill on Archery or 'Thoh Team' due to the fact that the Government have seen the dangers or evils which may ruin our young people. While implementing it, the Government must also think of the other possible healthy aspects to which the minds of our young people can be diverted. Perhaps all of us are the aware of the facts that Shillong public are lover of sports and games. But sports and games cannot be improved unless and until the long awaited proposal for a Stadium is implemented.
More so, it has taken about a year's time to set up the State Social Welfare Board and the process is not yet complete. The Government of India's scheme for crash programmes of nutrition for all children in the age group upto 3 years could not be taken up. As a result many distressed people of the State have been deprived of relief and benefit.
When we are already convinced that many basic changes in the entire education system are urgently needed for making the education purposeful, modernised and suited to the requirements of the present day's life, we are still allowing more and more institutions of existing standard to grow. By doing so, we are draining our limited resources for the present with future programmes which are not considered to be meaningful. Once we are deeply involved in an unscientific process it will be difficult to come out of it. By the time when we decide to switch over to a new system, the staff already employed shall stand unfit for the changed programme, and this will pose a more serious problem. The Expert Committee to be appointed as referred to in the address, should be set up at once, and till adoption of a new policy on the basis of the Experts' recommendation, the growth of educational institutions in the present should be carefully locked into.
Yesterday some of the Members have stressed on the need to improve the transport facilities of the State. Some of them have referred to the Shillong-Dawki Road. With your permission, Sir, I may add that the worst route today where transport is very inadequate is the Shillong-Cherra Road. People of these areas find great difficulties in this respect, they had to jump in the trucks or any vehicles passing by so as to serve their purposes. It is clear and evident that arrangements for transport facilities in this area are very poor. I suggest, therefore, that Government should examine this matter carefully and immediately and necessary steps should be taken at the earliest.
As regards industrial development, the Address of the Governor does not present any hopeful sign to the House. The state of affairs stands where it was a year ago and we have moved very little towards any positive advancement. It should have been possible on our part by now to draw up standard schemes for development of small scale and cottage industries, designed for maximum possible employment of local labour and materials. Such schemes, starting the patterns of State assistance and prospects of marketing, should be made available to public to enable them to undertake projects. A Board should immediately be set up for the promotion of small scale and cottage industries.
In the employment front, the problem is very acute. Prospects of increasing employment in the field of Agriculture, Industries and Education have been highlighted in the Address. Yes, the main source of employment potential lies in the field of agriculture and industries. But are we moving with the desired speed for development of agriculture and industries to cope with the rate of growth of unemployment. Here also there is details and suggest specific programmes with prospects of immediate employment in the field of economic activities.
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
Lastly, the Governor has rightly referred to the administrative dead locks in the Assam Re-organisation Act, regarding provisions governing that distribution of powers between Assam and Meghalaya. It is clear that arrangements made cannot function well. The only remedy lies in the granting of full Statehood to Meghalaya without delay. This House may, therefore, adopt a resolution again, requesting the Central Government to expedite adoption of a bill in the Parliament granting full Statehood to Meghalaya.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am making these observations though I am aware of the fact that the task before the Government of Meghalaya is stupendous. It has to develop a backward State to uplift the conditions of the people from disappointing level and also to move ahead in achieving a minimum standard of living for its people. The Government of Meghalaya has been able to lay the foundation of progress. I wish to stress, therefore, that only through sincerity, hard work and speedy implementation that we can make up for the past to go ahead with the standard of developments now taking place all over the country. I am very sure that the Government of Meghalaya is capable of giving this leadership to the people of this State and with these few observations, I welcome and support the Motion of Thanks.
Shri E. Bremly Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in supporting the Motion of Thanks to the Governor's Address moved by the hon. Member the other day, first of all I fully appreciate the Governor for his commendable Address. Though the Address is short it has only eleven pages but he has been able to touch on all important subjects relating to our welfare State. While going through this Address, may attention was drawn to the first line of the first paragraph of this Address. That is about the existence of a welfare State. I hope Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, all the hon. Members are aware of the fact that the struggle of the Hill people for a Hill State has started since 1954. The general election of 1957 is a clear proof that the hill people really deserve a State of their own. In 1960 a new and an able leadership of the A.P.H.L.C was formed. This leadership has captured the confidence and faith of the Hill people. This leadership was known not only to the Hill people but to the leaders of different parties and to the people of India as a whole. This leadership had led the Hill people through an eventful period of about 10 years and it is still leading uptil today. The State of Meghalaya which is the wonderful achievement of this month. Mr Speaker, Sir, I would like to remind the House of the wonderful period of suspense in the course of our struggle. That is from the 15th of to 24th December 1959 when the Meghalaya Bill was passed. In those days the hill people were in the state of suspense and doubt. Our leaders who were in Delhi in those days were in great suspense and full of doubts. But as there is a sunshine behind the black cloud, there was also a good news after the uncertainty and doubts. The news was given by the Deputy Home Secy. to our leader through a telephone informing them what the Meghalaya Bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament. The news came rather late in the evening. The passing of the bill is indeed a miracle. Impossible thing has become possible. It was possible because of a tactful, decisive and able leadership of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the good will and friendship that developed between our leaders and the leaders of different parties of India and the continued and united efforts of our people under the leadership of this party. Therefore I feel that this State is a token of friendship and goodwill. I also feel that the State of Meghalaya came into being out of love, friendship, faith and hope.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I hope that within a few months of our anxiety and aspiration will be fulfilled - our goal will be achieved. But let us not forgot that we have a long journey to reach our destination. The achievement of a full Statehood will not be an end, but it will be a means to an end. A State being a welfare State will give us responsibility and heavy burden to shoulder. If a man is the maker of his own destiny. I feel that collectively we are the maker of the destiny of our State. We should, therefore, make all efforts to conserve and utilise the natural and human resources for the prosperity and welfare of the people of our State. Now, Sir, I would like to make some observations on Paragraph 3 of the Governor's Address, and, in this respect, while appreciating the task undertaken by our Government in organising the administrative machinery, I also realise the difficulties of different Departments for want of staff or other important equipments and facilities. I, therefore, earnestly appeal to the Government to give full equipment to all the departments so that the administrative machinery could be run smoothly and effectively. Mention has been made by the Government about the law and order situation in the East Pakistan Border as mentioned in para 5, pages 3. In this respect, I would like to remind the House that in November last year, there was report that East Pakistani Soldiers provoked our Border Security Force. Another report came that two married men from the Garo Hills. were kidnapped by the Pakistani soldiers, but in the spite of this provocation it was learned that our Forces held their peace and I do not know why ? Is it because of the limited strength or because they do not want to show strength unnecessarily ? Though the situation is quite as stated in the Governor's Address we must remember that our State is a territorial State which has a long border with East Pakistan. I feel that we must be always on the alert and keep a watchful eye on all the developments in the border, especially now when the border trade has been revived to some extent in order to reliever the deplorable conditions of the cultivators and traders in the border area. At present, 4 border markets are permitted on specified days and the Government of India have been moved for opening up of 12 more such markets as mentioned in para 7. In this respect I feel that when we think about the economic condition of our border people, we must also think about the security of the State as a whole. I, therefore, suggest that the Border Security Force should be strengthened the border.
Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will come again to paragraph 5 where mentioned has been made about Gambling on archery. But in this respect my attention was drawn to the archery ground which has not been mentioned in this address. This archery ground which is being turned into a dirty slum where all sorts of gambling are being run by the people living in that slum. It seems that it has turned in to a den of all anti-social elements. I also heard there is a secret gambling on archery and in what form I do not understand. While appreciating the Government for the effective steps taken to combat against these social evils, I also appeal to the Government to clear out the slum which I feel, is the advertisement of social evils and to find out that secret gambling and betting on archery and to root out those social evils. A saying goes that a spark neglected burnts the house. I am afraid if this social evil could not be rooted out, it may spread out again.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister Finance) :- Is it in the Municipal area of Shillong?
Shri E.B. Lyngdoh :- Yes, I would also like to make some observations on paragraph 6, portion 2. Mat I read out his portion - "My Government had moved the Government of India for declaring both the districts of Meghalaya as economically and industrially backward." In this connection, I have no doubt in saying that politically our people are now marching forward. But industrially and economically speaking we are yet to start, we will have to start right from the scratch. I appeal to the Government that attention should be paid to the economic and industrial development of the State. I feel that without economic and industrial development, undoubtedly in the near future we will face the problem and calamity which will result our of un-employment.
My attention has also been drawn to Para 11, page 6 of the Governor's Address, where mention has been made about agriculture. In this respect, I fully appreciate the Governor when he said in Para in 19 at page 10 that land tenure system in Meghalaya differs from place to place. This is really a stumbling block to all kind of development in the State. Land is the State's most valuable asset. But in our State there is some multi management and ownership over the land. I feel that no development is possible neglecting agriculture - the land base production. I feel that without land reform or change of present land system we cannot expect progressive economic development in our State. Agriculture gives employment to the bulk of people in the State and also the main source of our State's income. But agriculture production in Meghalaya depends to a large extent on the small farmers and through their hard work and efficiency, we can expect ultimate rise in the total output. I therefore, suggest that steps should be taken to modernise agriculture and to give it top priority to any scheme of economic development. I feel we must also remember that without good and planned market for the agricultural products there will be no incentive to work on the part of the farmers and agriculturists. In this respect we must also take into consideration the advantages of the village money lender over the poor farmers who charges exorbitant rates of interest ranging from 25 rupees to 100 rupees per cent per annum, which ultimately eats up all the gainful agricultural efforts and increased production by the farmers. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I hope that the Apex Co-operative Bank of Meghalaya will help to remove this prevailing difficulty. So far as the Meghalaya Co-operative Bank is concerned I fully appreciate Mr. P.R. Kyndiah who had undertaken the initiative for starting such an institution for the Government of Meghalaya. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to make my observation of Para 12 at page 7 of the Address which refers to forests in our State. The State of Meghalaya has an area of about 8763 square miles. I learn that the forest area is about 3778 square miles, that is excluding the private forest of Jaintia Hills where the process of registration is not is completed yet. In the Garo Hills I learn that there are two kinds of forests. The reserved forests which cover an area of 104 sq. miles and the unclassed State forests which cover an area of about 2700 sq. miles as per Working Plan. The total area of the forests in Garo Hills is 2804 sq. miles as per Working Plan. In Khasi and Jaintia Hills we have several kinds of forests. Those are the reserved forests, the unclassed State forests, the protected forests the private forests, the village forests, the Raj forests and the Green Block forests. The total area of these forests is 974 sq. miles excluding the private forests of Jaintia Hills. So, the percentage of forest in our State is approximately 4 to 3 per cent while the national standard of forests in the hill areas is 66.6 per cent. The protection of forests in our State is rather difficult because of the multi management over the forests. The Green Blocks which are supposed to be managed by the owners in accordance with the rules framed by the District Council and according to the District Council Act, the felling of trees in these Green Blocks is supposed to be done with the approval of the District Council. But as the law of the District Council regulating the felling of trees was very loose and as the District Council has very little right over the Green Block Forests, all the trees from the Green Block forests have been cut down and removed and sold by the Kharkongor clan. Protection of Green Blocks in the northern slopes of the Shillong Peak is very important as it has a great effect on the water supply of Shillong. I, therefore, appeal to the Government to take immediate steps to acquire these Green Blocks in the slopes of Shillong peak. So far as the forests in the Garo Hills, are concerned, they are as per Working Plan, and this Plan is due to expire in October, 1971. But I learn that a preliminary Plan is being taken up. But in Khasi and Jaintia Hills no Plan has ever been prepared for any of the reserved forests. Only for the pine forests of Shillong there is a Plan, but it has already expired since 1964 and no extension was given. I, therefore, appeal to the Government to prepare a Plan for the management and protection of forests. There should be uniformity in management of forests in our State.
Sir, I would also like to point that the old method of cultivation is still continuing in the villages of Our State. This is the enemy No.1 to the forests. I have seen in many of the villages the indiscriminate cutting and felling of trees for the sake of jhumming cultivation. This old method of cultivation which is still going on, will not only destroy the forests and forest and forest produce, but will also result in the soil erosion. The Government should, therefore, take immediate steps to stop this also and to educate and encourage the people to adopt the new method of cultivation.
Lastly, I will come to education Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, mention has been made about the expansion and improvement of educational institution. In this State, which has a population of about 9 8 lakhs - a percentage according to the Census of 1961 - it is 31.5 per cent in the Khasi Hills and 20 per cent in the Garo Hills. But in 1967, the percentage has come up to 37 %. So, looking into these figures, we really need encouragement and improvement of educational institution. But in this respect, I appeal to the Government that no commitment should be made or precedent created in response to our people's demand without proper examination and verification. Because by doing so, our educational institutions will be hampered. I hope that our Government will not like to increase or give more permission to the villages who demand more and more schools. Otherwise, the schools will be left without children or without students. Since 2nd April last year Government has taken up two colleges - one in Tura and one in Jowai and two multipurpose schools - one in Tura and the other in Jowai and 29 M.E schools. But our Government Colleges have to be fully developed. So far as technical education is concerned, our State has only one such institution, i.e. Shillong Polytechnic at Mawlai. But in this institution, there is no building for the staff and no hostel building for the students and no water supply. I also learned that the number of students is very poor. In this respect, I feel special attention should be paid to the technical institutions. So far as the management of the educational institutions is concerned, the Education Department is entitled to give permission and recognition only up to Class VIII, but for Classes IX & X, permission and recognition will be given will be given by the Board of Secondary Education on the recommendation of the Education Department of the State. In this respect, I feel that we must have our own representative in the Board of Secondary Education in Gauhati in order to plead for the cause of our High Schools in our State. Primary Schools are under the management of the District Council as it is at present. So there is a dual control in the administration, that is, between the State Government and the District Council. The D.I. of Schools who is responsible for the Education Department of the State is also the Secretary of Primary Education Board of District Council and all the bills in connection with eh Government grants extended to the District Council are to be countersigned by the D.I of Schools. But the management and control of the schools in case of payment are left to the District Council. Transfer and confirmation of teachers are done by the D.I. of schools, but service records are maintained by the District Council. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel that this dual control in the management is not an encouraging sign. Government should take step for the improvement and management of our educational institution and the management should be simple and uniform.
In para 13 of the Governor's Address mention has been made about the Hill University in Meghalaya. Since the last 6 or 7 years, there was talk and discussion about the Hills University. And that the Government of India has taken expeditious action, but there was no implementation so far. Now I am very happy to learn that our Government has constituted a Site Selection Committee to make recommendation for a suitable site for the Hill University. I also learnt that a Study Group will be formed which will consist of Members of the University Grants Commission, Ministry of Education and representatives from the State Government. I feel that the formation of this Group is very important, as it will be responsible for the project report. In this respect, therefore, we must send a representative who has full knowledge in educational line and who will be able in tackling the legal implications. Hundreds and thousands of students are now waiting for the coming of the Hill University. It will be a blessing if we think about the development and the standard in the educational side. But when we think about the question of unemployed, we find that there are hundreds and thousands of educated unemployed youths. I am really much concerned about this problem. The question before us is this. Are we content only in producing more and more educated unemployed ? This is a problem which is going on and it is increasing every year. In this respect, I appeal to the Government to take immediate and effective steps in agricultural, economic and industrial development and special attention and priority should be given to technical education. The education in the State should be more vocational.
Before I conclude my speech, I would like to touch a little on transport. I fully agree with the suggestion made by Mr. Kyndiah that in the meantime our Government should start our own transport cell. There have been lots of complaints from the passengers going from Shillong to Dawki, Shillong to Jowai, Shillong to Cherra and to other important centres of the State. The transport management in the different routes has become worse and worse. I, therefore, appeal to the Government to take immediate steps in this matter. With these few words, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I fully support the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address.
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
Shri Nurul Islam Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. Duncan.
Shri S.J. Duncan :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it was not my intention to speak but after the 22nd, certain informations have come to my notice, and I thought I would request for a chance to say a few words. I shall be very brief. My intention is not to criticise the Governor's Speech but rather to support the motion of thanks moved by one of my colleagues. I quite realise the handicaps faced by the Government in implementing the development schemes and others and also in running the administration Well, having granted all that, there are still some loopholes which people can poke at. Before I come to the points on which I would like to draw the attention of the House. I wish to say that I was pleased to notice by an indirect way the establishment of the Industrial Development Corporation for which a supplementary demand is being made. Other speakers have dwelled on the lack of industrial undertakings by the Government. I myself have not heard of any particular undertaking run by the Government, but if no such undertaking has been done I would consider that to be rather a cautious approach to the problem. After all, the help or loans which the Government would like to extend to the would-be-small scale industries and others should be examined very carefully so that the help or loans reach the right people who seek such help or loan from the Government. Another thing which drew my attention also indirectly, was the supplementary demand for the acquisition of Green Blocks. Sir, this, I think, is a very bold step on the part of the Government. I do not know whether acquisition proceedings have been started or whether they are yet to start. The way in which the supplementary demand has been made suggests that the acquisition proceedings are already on. When I said it was a very bold step on the part of the Government will prove beneficial particularly to the water supply of Shillong and will restore the scenic beauty of the town. On the other undertakings which the Governor has touched in his Address I do not like to dwell any further. It is only on points where implementation has bout been quite satisfactory that I would like to draw the attention of the Government. I refer to the drought of 1970 which destroyed the potato crop in quite a number of villages in the Khasi Hills. A question was asked by me in the September session of the Assembly about the steps which Government proposed to give relief to the affected people. I was informed that arrangements were being made to supply potato seeds and fertilizers. It is 7 months or 6 months now but people are still asking whether the Government is intending to give any relief to the people who have suffered. It is quite possible that the Minister-in-charge of Agriculture will call for a report from the officers concerned and it is quite likely that the officers will say that they have distributed potato seeds and fertilizers. I would like to ask the Minister to whom such distribution was made or whether the distribution was confined to only a very limited few. This is a very urgent problem and the people who used to cultivate 25 or 30 mounds of potato seeds are now reduced to cultivation at the most one or two maunds. So I request the Minister-in-charge of Agriculture to look in to this matter very carefully and to see that the relief meant for the people who suffered actually reaches the people concerned.
There is another point I which I like to touch very briefly. It concerns primary education which has been touched upon by a number of earlier speakers. Mr. Kyndiah had already said a great deal on this subject and even though I am not prepared to go the whole hog with him, I am prepared to go some distance with him, and criticise primary education as run by the District Councils. I am sorry to observe that the running of primary schools by the Khasi Hills District Council particularly has been very very poor, I am sorry the member who is also C.E.M of the District Council is not here. I do not propose to cast any reflection on the ability and efficiency of the other District Councils, and what I now want to say is about the role of the Khasi Hills District Council only is so far as primary education is concerned, which is very very pathetic. It seems that the Members-in-charge of Education depends entirely on the clerical staff. The District Council has one Sub-Inspector of Schools or many be more. There is one particular school which he has not visited for the last 3 or 4 years and yet it is not very far from Shillong. Well, this sort of things has been allowed to go on and if the progress of primary education is not as it should have been, the blame should lie fully at the door of the District Council.
There is another point, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to which I would like to draw the attention of the Government and this also is a point already touched by a member who referred to the Prevention of Gambling Act. The Act has been in force since December last year. Although gambling archery is prohibited, I believe it is still going on somewhere, and probably not very far from Shillong. There is also one place as reported to me by a reliable person.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- How long will the hon. member take to conclude ?
Shri S.J. Duncan :- I will take not more that two or three minutes.
There is a place I think 8 or 9 miles on the G.S. Road which seems to be a no-man's land. Sometimes people say this belong to the Assam Government and sometimes they say it belongs to the Meghalaya Government. Anyway gambling archery still exists in that place as well as in other places, and bookies are still carrying on their activities even here in Shillong though not openly. So I would request that more drastic implementation of the Act be undertaken by the Government to stamp out this evil. With these few words, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- The House stands adjourned till 2. p.m. today
(Mr. Speaker in the chair)
Mr. Speaker :- At the close of this morning session,. Mr. Duncan was on the floor. Mrs. Duncan, do you like to continue?
Shri S.J Duncan :- Well, I have finished.
Mr. Speaker :- Is there any other hon. Member who would like to make some observation ? Before I call upon the Chief Minister to reply, is there any other Hon'ble Minister who would like to reply ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, P.W.D) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the outset I would like to thank you for the opportunity you have given me to clarify certain observations made regarding my Department by the Hon. members of this House. Actually many hon. Members were surprised that they did not find any road project or water supply scheme been mentioned in the Governor's Address. Sir, as we all know, this is a policy statement which we cannot go into the details; we cannot give each and every scheme or project which the Government has taken in hand or planned to take up during this year. So, Sir, as far as my Department is concerned, we should not forget that there are three factors which stand in the way of the progress of our work. The first thing is money. As we know, my Department's allocation was only 12 crores during the Fourth Five Plan and out of this 12 crores, the spill-over scheme from the Third Five Year Plan amounted to 477 lakhs. That means we are left with a balance of only 723 lakhs for the new schemes for the whole of Fourth Five Year Plan. So, from this, the hon. Members will be able to understand that small projects which have not been included in the Fourth Five Year Plan may not be able to be taken up at the earliest. However, as mentioned in the Address the Government has taken up a special scheme with the Government of India and if we are lucky to get that extra money then more projects under the road communication can be taken up in the future.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there was also mention about the schemes water supply which cannot be taken up and in this also I should say that one of the problems is the problem of money. Out of the whole allotment for the Fourth Five Year Plan, it comes to 198 lakhs and the spill-over scheme from the Third Five Year Plan comes to 109.226 lakhs. That means the balance left with us for the schemes for the Fourth Five Year Plan is only 88.724 lakhs. So, as I have said from the very beginning, we are faced with so many factors and difficulties. The first factor is lack of money and the second one is want of personnel. We are still short of personnel in our Department, especially in the P.H.E Department. We have been requesting the Assam Government to give us more personnel, but I am sorry to say that up till now, we have got the release of only one engineer out of six engineers. Therefore, we were handicapped in implementing our schemes under the P.H.E Department. However, I would like to inform the House that in view of the non- availability of engineers from the Assam Government, only the other day, I have given appointment to about six Assistant Engineers for the P.H.E Department and I hope with the joining of these new entrants, we would be able to show some progress in this water supply scheme. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as far as the P.H.E is concerned, out of this allotment, I was allotted only 41 lakhs a year to cover up the urban requirement of 19.5 lakhs and rural requirement of 21.25 lakhs. So, many of our hon. Members who came from the interior will find that only 21.25 lakhs have been allotted for the whole of the interior area of Meghalaya. I do not know what to do whether to use the money because you cannot afford to take up any scheme with this little amount of money. Of course, we can implement a scheme of one lakh or two lakhs. But when it is a question of 7 or 8 lakhs, it really becomes a big headache.
Sir, there was also an observation regarding the water supply of Nongstoin. I may inform the House that preliminary investigation and survey have been done and we are waiting now for the driest season when we can test the volume of water and when we can prepare the final project report. The hon. Members have mentioned about so many roads not finding place in the Address. The reason is that we have given only a policy statement and not the details of the schemes. Hon. Members will have to occasion or the second chance to discuss the details when the budget is presented. Then at the time we can have more scope for discussion on the details of the schemes.
I would also like to give more clarification about one observation regarding the Housing Department. I may quote the very words which the hon. Member said in course of his observation. "Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not understand why no sanction has been coming from the Department for issue of housing loan and to the people." These, if I am not mistaken, were the actual words spoken by the hon. Members. And for the information of the hon. Members and the House I would like to mention that for this year - this current year - we have sanctioned 15 housing loans, 10 to low income group and 5 for the middle in come group and there was also mention of Inspectors of Housing who still belong to the Government of Assam. That is a fact. They are under the District establishment and they are with the D.C and at the moment they are being utilised for the purpose of Meghalaya. Here I have got a file, wherein, Government of Assam want us to contribute something towards pay and allowances of the employees who are utilised for our purpose. But we are thinking of taking over this Department soon. When this Department will be shifted to Gauhati or elsewhere, then only, the taking over of this Government will be considered. Till then everything can be done by the Deputy Commissioner with the officers placed under him who are borne under the District Council. So, I have nothing more to say in this behalf, Mr. Speaker, Sir, because as I have said in the beginning, we will have chances of discussing the details of the scheme in the Department.
One Hon. member has raised the questions of Shillong water supply. That is also a problem for us because we have small schemes to implement. He also a problem referred to one of the schemes viz Umkhen Water Supply Project. And why we could not take action so long. Because there is a dispute between the Army and the Government. But however, that dispute has been cleared and tender has been called in and work will be allotted soon. But I cannot assure the hon. Members whether that work can be completed before the monsoon sets in. However, we shall try our best to see that it is implemented soon. So far as the water supply and road projects are concerned I would request the hon. Members to bear in mind that due to small amount allotted for the P.W.D I cannot say that all the proposals put forward by the hon. Members can be implemented with in this Fourth Five Year Plan. As you may have seen, even during the current financial year, I was allotted only 1 crore 93 lakhs for road construction and I have to request for another supplementary amount of 90 lakhs to meet all the the expenditure we have incurred during the current financial year. Unless and until the Government of India sanction our special scheme, I doubt it very much that the we can take up this small road construction scheme. However, we have tried to accommodate the roads mentioned by the hon. Members in the special scheme and if that special scheme is approved and sanctioned by the Government of India, I think a major portion of the demands from the hon. Members can be met. With these few words.. .. .. .. . . . ... .. ... . .. . .
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I seek clarification on this point. I am referring to the water supply of Shillong. Now, I mentioned in my speech that there are two schemes meant for Shillong-Umkhen Water Supply Scheme which has been replied to by the Minister himself and another to be taken up by the Government of Assam and implemented by the Public Health Engineer, Meghalaya. Now I have the latest information and I would like to get the correct information from the Minister. The matter relating to water supply schemes concerning Shillong is of an interim nature. These schemes are to be taken up by the Government of Meghalaya. out of their own fund. The first falls under the scheme pending the sitting of the committee. Pending taking up of this schemes, interim measures are to be taken up by the Government of Meghalaya and adjustment will be made later. Mention has been made also by Mr. Agarwalla who came to Shillong. There were some division in that sitting to the effect that these schemes are to be taken up by the Government of Meghalaya. So I want to get a clarification on this point.
Capt W.A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr, Speaker, Sir, with regard to the Shillong programme, it was decided that works will be taken up by the Government of Meghalaya. But that is no acceptable to us. Because Shillong is under joint control and if it is a to be fitted in the Plan of Meghalaya, then we will be losing a great amount. Therefore, the intention of the Government is to draw up a special programme for Shillong, i.e., Shillong Municipality, including the suburb areas and greater Shillong including water supply, development of roads and link-ups. As the Government of India has agreed to take up some programme, we expect to receive Plan allocation both for Assam and Meghalaya which will finance the special development programme for Shillong.
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- Sir, I want this clarification because this matter has become very emergent in view of the latest information that the loan we are supposed to get from the Government of India for implementation of the development programmes of Shillong may reach us late. That is why this is a matter of urgency and that is why I am seeking the information as to whether the Government of Meghalaya can take up this matter costing 1.90 lakhs from the Government of India and make adjustment later with the Government of Assam.
Mr. Speaker :- From what source have you got the information ?
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- From the Government of Assam.
Capt W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- In regard to water supply plan in urban areas we are facing certain difficulties now. We have now plan for two towns-Tura and Jowai-fixed by the Government of India and the Planning Commission. Therefore taking all this into consideration we are all anxious to draw up special programme for Shillong. Not only for water supply but in respect of other development programmes also. Mr. Speaker, Sir, unfortunately the Committee for Shillong could not meet on the 13th of this month as scheduled because the Chief Minister of Assam was summoned to Delhi. So the meeting has been postponed. I would inform the House that for the programme of water supply for Shillong, plan and estimates have been prepared by the Government of Meghalaya. But we could meet the Government of India and the Planning Commission only once in this connection and they agreed to accommodate scheme for the water supply. At this stage it may not be possible to get additional amount for the plan and the Government has to take loans from the Life Insurance Corporation of India I cannot give more information than this at this stage. I would like to make it very clear that the Government of Meghalaya is quite responsible in respect of Shillong.
Shri Edwinson Bareh (Minister P.W.D) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, for the information of the House through you, as has been mentioned by our leader, the Chief Minister, the scheme for urban areas is 47.4 % and 52.6 % for the rural areas.
Mr. Speaker :- Would any hon. Member like to seek clarification ?
Shri Witherson Momin :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to speak something.
Mr. Speaker :- No, you cannot make a speech, if you want to seek clarification on some subjects.. .. .. .. .(interruption).
Mr. Speaker :- No, Mr. Kyndiah has already raised a point and he is satisfied. You see, this is not the question hour. Would any other Minister like to speak?
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to intervene in this debate on the Governor's Address and to reply to some of the points raised by some members, so far as they relate to the subjects under my charge. Mr. Kyndiah, who initiated the debate the other day, was appreciating the fact that there was a border area programme but he said that it will be judged from our action and not words, and I am sure we, who work in the Government, realize this and are trying to tackle this border programme in that context. He had also mentioned about some medium industries, particularly for the border areas for canning of fruits, honey and so on and so forth. We have already decided upon fruit preservation factory at Bahgmara which will be established during the next financial year. This will mean that any agricultural produces, including fruits and vegetables, of that area can be processed in the factory once it is set up. So far as bee keeping industry is concerned, the Khadi and Village Industry Board is being established. At the moment the Assam Khadi and Cottage Industries Board which was established before is still functioning. The Meghalaya Board will be established and will encourage production of honey and bee keeping industries. The suggestion for canning of honey, I may assure the House, has been noted and it will be examined in the context of the Industries Board and a special unit for this purpose may be established particularly in those areas where honey is in abundance. Mr. Kyndiah has mentioned about extraction of essential oil. He said the Government of Meghalaya have decided for setting up a unit for extraction of essential oil from tezpatta leaves. Feasibility report is being prepared and we hope to establish this project very soon and it will be under the control of the Industrial Development Corporation which will be registered probably next week. Now, Mr. S.P. Swer has mentioned about implementation of community development schemes and the need for overhauling of the various committees like the Block Development Committee, the Field Management Committee, the Local Committee and so on. This has definitely got the attention of the Government and we have already initiated certain steps to reorganise and to examine committees which need overhauling and reorganisation. We have already said, the philosophy that unless people have a hand at every stage in the development of the State, we will not be able to carry out the policies that the Government has for the development of the State. Mr. Swer has also mentioned about the need of better standard of education and two other hon. Members have mentioned the need for technical education in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery and also the need for having administrative centres in the rural areas. This is one of the programmes which our Government has already taken up and will be taken up in much more intensive manner in the coming year or years. As a mater of fact, some of our officers have been sent for further training to various parts of India and we will continue to send our people to other parts of India and outside for training in the field of agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery. We are also considering the need for training in the industrial development like bee-keeping industry, so that people may know how to process honey and so on. This will be one of the tasks of the Industries Department to train people in the best methods of small scale industries. We have officers who are now preparing projects reports and a plan for small scale industries throughout the State. The hon. Member has also mentioned about the Co-operative Apex Bank. The Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank was inaugurated a few week back. The bank will start its banking operation in the month of May or June. In the meantime, the Assam Co-operative Apex Bank is still functioning on our behalf in Shillong and Tura. We will take over their functions as soon as the banking operations of the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank are ready to start. Now, we should activise or liquidate the existing one. The Problem of cooperative societies is a very important question. I am sure that the member concerned and other members, if they have information about the co-operative societies in their respective Districts and areas, we would be very glad to associate them with the departmental officers in helping to activise the Co-operative Societies that have been organised in a proper manner or, if necessary, liquidate those which are not functioning.
Now, Mr. Witherson Momin stated that he was very disappointed that no word was mentioned in the Governor's Address on fishery. But it so happens that this subject is primarily the responsibility of the District Councils. Our Government has certain function and we will undertake to assists the District Councils and to prepare plans and programmes, so that fishery scheme will be properly implemented. Unfortunately, some of the officers that we had requisitioned for this Department have not yet joined and this Department has not yet been functioning during the past years. But in the coming years, we will certainly, with the co-operation of the District Councils undertake fishery scheme. Mrs. Momin suggested fish farm and this is one of the schemes which our Department has in its plan and programme, and it will be implemented in the coming year. She also mentioned about the expansion of rural electrification in the Garo Hills and we have, for 1971-72, recommended an amount of Rs. 38 lakhs for electrification in the State of Meghalaya and detailed schemes are under preparation. The various suggestions that have been made will certainly be kept in mind and any of the members, who, after learning about detailed schemes that are being taken up, have certain suggestions to make, I would welcome their information and the places that need rural electrification, particularly where I or other officers have not the opportunity to visit.
Now, Mr. Hujon had mentioned that he was happy that the Governor's Address contains the reference to re-grouping of villages in the Garo Hills. But he was disappointed for not having any such schemes for the Khasi and Jaintia Hills the scheme that will be taken up for the border people who are now re-located in the border areas of Khasi and Jaintia Hills. I know of the problem, Mr. Speaker, Sir, and as a matter of fact just last week from one village alone, there were 10 families who wanted to move into an area adjacent to Kamrup District. I know they are in considerable difficulties in maintaining their existence due to the fact that pan leaf cultivation has not been remunerative for the last few years because of trade restriction, and there is need to examine this question very carefully. I would certainly see to have this matter examined. Already in the last few weeks we have started the process of getting all the information from the Assam Government regarding the previous scheme of re-location of people of the border of the border to other places in the State. We shall examine whether this is needed at this particular time.
Shri Justly Rynshon mentioned one particular aspect of direct contact by the Government of officers with the people of the rural areas and I know personally many of our rural have not been taken care as of our officers who have been sitting in the offices in Shillong, in Tura or in the headquarters do not go in to the interiors. There is need for decentralisation of staff, and technical know-how. But due to limited technical help and staff, due to limitation of funds the decentralisation could not be effected. However, I had noted the complaints we hear from time to time that Agricultural Extension Officers and Gram Sevaks even do not visit their areas they are supposed to visit. And we are trying to tone up the administration and see that every person places and areas within his circle, particularly in the sphere of his responsibility.
Dr. Deb mentioned the importance of development of tourism and I quite agree with him. I am sure all of the members will agree that development of tourism is very important. But unfortunately, we have not done very much in the last year in the process of setting up the Department. We have paid more attention to some other spheres, but the plans are there. Some of the projects we have taken in hand are being started and in the coming year we hope to pay more attention to this important Department. As mentioned by one of the members about the international tourism and the need for establishing Rest Houses for the lower income group in various important places, these are going to be examined and will be in the Plan.
Mr. Rokendro Dkhar urged upon setting up of a Land Record Department. Our assistance to the District Council to determine who owns what piece of land and prepare identification of ownership is not enough according to him and a Land Record Department should be organised. This is recognised and it is being organised. But primarily, the responsibility for land administration vesus in the District Council.
Mr. Rokendro Dhkar mentioned the problem which I personally have to face a couple of months ago. The problem of medical officers going all the way from Nongstoin round Mawsynram, Maheshkhola, Balat because it so happened that the Blocks were organised on geographical basis and not on communication basis. I came to Maheshkhola travelling from Tura and Bagmara and learnt from the people that hardly any of the officers visit Moheshkola and when I discovered this fact it was revealed that it was really difficult for the Medical officers. Block Development Officer or Agricultural Officer to visit that area because there is no road communication. It is impracticable to expect the Block Development Officer to travel on foot from Nongstoin towards Maheshkhola. So this question of traveling by road is really a problem and perhaps I have already suggested to my Department to examine the possibility of re-aligning the Blocks in certain areas and to organise on communication basis rather than on geographical basis so that the border area of K & J Hills is taken care of by the Block Officers, Medical Officers. So far as the road communications are concerned, these are under active consideration and I hope within next few years we may able to improve the situation. The question of failure of potato crops last year in Khasi Hills and that they very little relief came, was raised by Mr. Rokendro Dkhar. As anticipated by Mr. Duncan, seed relief and fertilizer were given to the people and I shall ask my Department to prepare a list of persons and find out who have received the benefit. Although it was not up to the expectation of the people but some amount of relief was given in the form of potato seeds. I will collect the information and give it to the Members who have asked about this particular subject.
Mr. Swer mentioned about the forestry and as a forester he has got much authority on this subject and I do believe that he knows the problem which we face in the State. I am glad that importance has been attached to the matter of preservation. Mr. Speaker, Sir, contrary to the information of Shri E.B. Lyngdoh, we have very little reserved forest under Meghalaya. The total area under reserved forest in the State is 3.7 per cent. In the Garo Hills, 104 sq. miles, Khasi Hills48.8 sq. miles and Jowai, 168.2 sq. miles - 321 sq miles total for the State. It is 3.7 %. So far as the District Council reserved forests are concerned, we have no information. As a matter of fact, Mr. Swer has stated that the District Council of Khasi Hills do not have any reserved forest but they have taken up the programme initiated last year and we hope to under-take certain portion of reserved forests in this district in the coming year and also in the other district. So far as the forest areas are concerned, there are a lot of unclassified forests but the exact area of forest is still to be collected because the land survey team has not yet finished its survey. It will indicate the areas under forests in this State; whether under the Government Reserved Forest or under the control of the District Council and it is our intention to improve the situation.
Mr. Laloo appreciated the fact that there is a Research Station in our State and urging for setting up of Research Station for citrus, tezpata in the border areas because of the fact that it is almost impossible to grow rice on the very deep slope of the border areas. This is recognised and that we need to explore by research what type of crop can be grown on the slopes. This is a very very important problem and we are also taking up the matter. We have sent our officers to make a study and survey. But to set up a Research Station is something else. However, we are examining the whole problem in the context of assistance from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute and other Government of India's organisations so that a Research Institute is established in our State. Already, before Meghalaya came into existence, this question agitated some of us as public leader in the Assam Assembly and in other forums and certain amount of attention was paid to citrus research but it was started only very very recently. We are certainly aware of the problem and we have been able to get the services of senior officer through the help of the Government of India to devise a horticultural research and the problem dealing with the horticultural crops in this State and we will certainly take up something in the next financial year because it is a long term problem and needs to be very carefully looked in to and attended to.
Now, Mr. Kyndiah mentioned about confessional and institutional finance in the Governor's Address. He has welcomed the fact that both the districts of Meghalaya have been declared economically and industrially backward. But he is against grant to any individual entrepreneur. He has cited some experience of last few years. He maintained that such grant to individual cultivators are often being misused by them and it is wasted by going to picnic, cinema, etc instead of using it in proper manner. I would request him to dissociate this particular grant from those grants in the past made by the Assam Government because this is definitely a different scheme. This is initiated by the Government of India and it will be on a certain basis for industries that are to be set up in the State. After they are not set up a 10% grant on the basis of machinery will be available to the entrepreneur after he has set up the industry. Of course there will be certain terms and conditions. These are being studied by our Government on the basis of the scheme initiated by the Ministry of Industrial Development of the Government of India. There would be no chance for frittering away such grants on watches, cinema, etc. We may rest assured that this is a different type of scheme altogether and we welcome it because it is recognised by the Government of India and the people who are incharge. We are fortunate that we have at the head of the Ministry of Industrial Development a representative partly from Meghalaya and I am sure that with his help we will be able to advance in this field. This particular grant to industries is an important aspect because very few industries can be set up by our people. A certain amount of assistance is found necessary in this very back ward area where transport and other problems exists.
Mr. Kyndiah has mentioned about the Border Markets which are mentioned in the Governor's Address and requested us to follow up the question of alternative markets. This is certainly being done. But we also recognise that some of the produce that is being produced on to the border areas today, if it is transported beyond the borders of the State it becomes uneconomical. That is why I think at the initial stage with the blessing of the Government of India these border produces are being allowed to go to the nearest market across the border and we are grateful to the Government of India for allowing us the scheme that the produce from the people of the border areas is now going to East Pakistan; of course not to the extent that it could go but in a limited quantity. But alternative markets must be found and, as he said, alternative crops, so that these things can be grown which can be transported but still become an uneconomic return to the growers of the border areas. The suggestion made will be studied and examined carefully.
Mr. Kyndiah mentioned about the Meter Factory and the importance of taking this over to provide the employment and for economic and industrial development. He suggested that if the Assam Government is not willing to hand over the Factory we may start our own up Factory. This is not the approach because whatever exists in Meghalaya today will eventually come to Meghalaya. So the question of starting another one will not be needed at all. It is only a matter of coming to the proper terms and these terms are still under consideration. They have not yet been finalised but I am sure that in the final analysis we will be able to come to a settlement with the State Electricity Board and the Assam Government far taking over the Meter Factory and for making it an economic concern because we recognise the need of employment for our young people who are seeking employment at various levels and this is one of the important schemes that we have initiated many months age.
Now, Mr. Nimosh Sangma had suggested the setting up of a Paper Mill in the Garo Hills District in the public sector in collaboration with the Government of India. It is not such a simple thing to set up a Paper Pulp Mill. It involves an expenditure of about 25 crores of rupees and it will certainly have to be examined and we are examining it. I am taking the House into confidence that just a few days ago we had some discussion with some paper Experts Consulting Engineers on this matter and we have every hope that setting up a Pulp and Paper Mill in Meghalaya will be technically possible. A lot depends on financial arrangements and entrepreneurs who will run it. The fact is that we in our State do not have people who are trained at this stage. It is time to send persons for training and we will examine carefully the suggestion. But perhaps as suggested by the Expert whom I consulted a mixed scheme would be required in this backward area. A certain amount of backing from the Government of Meghalaya, the Government of India and some entrepreneurs from various parts of India or the world or the world who are prepared to put up the Paper Mill is necessary. A lot depends on resources. Whether we have one hundred thousand tonnes of bamboo is one of the factors. So far our information goes in the whole State based on information collected many years ago by the Assam Government we may have bamboo of the order so sixty thousand tonnes. But this is a wrong estimate. A proper survey will have to be made and project report prepared before we decide whether a Pulp Paper Mill can be established. And then we have to get the approval of the Government of India for such a large project a part of which will have to be in the form of foreign exchange and a part of it from the resources within the country. We will be able to get a full project report prepared and then we will be able to decide whether all the factors are suitable to set up this Pulp Paper Mill within our State. Mr. Nimosh Sangma also mentioned about the huge amount of money spent in the last past year and with very little improvement of I notice from some of other Members also the fact that in the agricultural sector very little improvement took place. He indicated the need of proper education to the farmers and this is definitely one of the things that we are taking up. We will continue this process of having Demonstrators Plots and educate the farmers on the modern techniques than have been discovered in the country. We know that this is one of the most important aspects of improved agriculture. Mr. Khonglah recognised that agricultural development was closely linked with the system of land tenure. Distribution of land holding programme depends on whether the system provides incentive for planned development. This is true in certain district, and in Garo Hills a scheme has been worked out. For Garo Hills there is a problem. I would inform the House that we are examining this question very carefully. Various Government loans to agricultural sector from institutional credit cannot be made easily available in industrial field, or agricultural field, because of the land tenure system prevailing in the Khasi Hills and partly Jaintia Hills. This fact is already known to Government. We have discussed the matter with the C.E.M of the District Councils, the Reserve Bank of India and the nationalised bank, and we are trying to find out ways and means to overcome this hurdle. This land tenure system, particularly in Khasi Hills, is mainly responsible for this difficulty and we know unless this problem is solved, progress in the filed of agriculture and industries will be delayed. The alternative form of mortgaging land is also being examined. But this is also a complicated problem as lands do not total fall under the control of Meghalaya. Because District Councils and Local institutions are also involved, we have to examine this properly and carefully.
Mr. E.B. Lyngdoh mentioned about the problem of jhumming which destroys forest product resulting in soil erosion. We have mentioned in a specific note to the Government of India that once allocations of fund are provided in the plan for Meghalaya, this will greatly help industry. Once it is established, we shall take up with the Government of India the question of Plan allocation of what had already been decided in the past. The fact of controlling jhumming is also associated with regrouping of villages in certain areas, particularly Garo Hills. We have seen that jhumming is still going on indiscriminately destroying forest and soil. But this is such a massive programme that cannot be taken up and tackled in one year. It is a long term programme. Adoption of alternative crops, alternative form of cultivation is associated with terracing, irrigation and so on and so forth. So this is something which the Government is alive, and we are taking up this matter very seriously.
Mr. E.B. Lyngdoh also mentioned the need of releasing farmers from the hands of village money lenders. This is exactly what Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank comes in, where the question of the formation of strong co-operative societies comes in, where the change of land tenure system or rather improvement of the land tenure system comes in. So eventually, the farmers will get out of the clutches of money lender who charge exorbitant rates of interest varying from Rs. 25 to Rs. 100 percent per annum. We know that this is quite an important problem and we have to take it up at various levels, even with the Government of India. We hope that the problem will be solved and it is again a long term problem.
Mr. Duncan appreciated the boldness of the Government for taking steps in the field of the industrial development with the setting up of the Meghalaya Co-operatives Apex Bank. We have decided to take obvert the Green Blocks and this year we have already submitted appropriation about this matter. I come to the felling of trees. They were supposed to the managed by owners in accordance with the rules framed by the British Government in old days and subsequently by the District Council and according to the Act of the District Council, felling of trees was supposed to the be done with the its approval. But these laws did not stand the test of the Law Courts. The regulations of the felling of the trees were very loose and the District Council have practically very little hold over these Green Blocks, because they were private lands. As a result of this, trees from Green Block II have been removed and sold by the clan owners. As I said, both the Blocks have been deforested and jhumming is going on indiscriminately. As a result, the flow of water to the streams and springs of Shillong Town was affected. This made the water supply position in Shillong Town very acute. A meeting was held with the Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner of Assam on 22.4.68 to discuss this problem, which was before the State of Meghalaya came into being and it was decided to acquire these Blocks for more effective control. Somehow or other no action could be taken by way of acquirement up to 1970. It is now proposed to acquired about 240 acres in Green Block II and about 450 acres in Green Block I. We have been able to provide Rs. 2.20 lakhs from savings from the Budget of the Forest Department and in addition, a supplementary demand of Rs. 5 2 lakhs has been moved.
Mr. Duncan questioned whether steps have been taken. I would like to inform him that notices for acquisition have also been sent for publication and we expect to finalise with in this week. This programme when started, will affect the beauty and water supply of Shillong Town.
Now, Mr. E.B. Lyngdoh stated about the Working Plan for Khasis/Jaintia Hills District . The Working Plan for Khasi Hills expired in 1964. He is quite correct. Thereafter exploitation of reserved forests has been done in accordance with the prescriptions, subject to necessary modifications made in the previous Working Plan. Steps have already been taken to complete the Working Plan for Khasi Hills as soon as possible.
He suggested the setting up of the a multi-management of forests. This question is being examined. The problem of private forests under the control of private owners and those forests under the control of district is being examined to achieve the level prevailing in other parts of the country, like Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Whether the same procedure can be extended in the K & J Hills. This problem will be taken up with the approval, concurrence and co-operation of the local authorities and the District Council will prepare some form of legislation which will be brought into this House to have this problem solved.
Mr. O. Khonglah and Mr. A.B. Diengdoh mentioned the problem of transport. This matter will be taken up with the Transport Cell. This is being examined. The management of transport which is to function in our State is expected in a very short period to achieve our own control with the help of the available financial assistance. The Motor Vehicle Act is also connected with improvement of transport so far as our State is concerned.
Regarding small scale and cottage industries, the subject has been referred to by Mr. Diengdoh for giving employment to local labour and the question of setting up of small and cottage industries has already engaged the attention of our Government. In the next few months we can take other steps for the progress of survey as mentioned last time, that is the general survey of the whole State. As we have no officers for undertaking survey, we shall have to take some sort of industrial officers in the next few months and details regarding finance and technical assistance for small scale industries will be taken up. In the last few new units have been registered and I hope we will be able, in a short period of time to give the industrial picture of our State. But to achieve that it will require the co-operation of our Members in this House to assist us to set up a Work Department for the development of industries.
As regards State Transport we have yet to decide for starting transport service of our own, as it was taken over by the State Transport Corporation from the Assam Government, including some of the routes and some of the assets and liabilities of the organisation. So far as the Government of Meghalaya is concerned this discussion will take place in the next few months, so that eventually it will be under the control of the transport programme of the whole State. This will have to be examined very carefully and only after we get the authority from the Government of India to implement the Motor Vehicle Act.
Mr. Sangma had mentioned about the declaration of the district as backward area. I would like to inform that a total package of incentive is being worked out for new industries. It is now only to get the assistance from the Government of India. All the details are still awaited from the Government of India. So far as our schemes are concerned a package of incentive is to be worked out by industrialists who wants to establish industries whether in the border areas or other areas of the State will give assistance - technical, financial and transport facilities. All this will have to be worked out so that these industries can be developed. But it will take some time to organise all this. The authorities who work out the details will have to give special consideration for our new State where our problem is different from many other States.
Now, one of the members said that the Agriculture Departments has not functioned at all and that it will be surrendering a large amount of money because it has not been able to do much. The fact is that it takes a considerable time to organise it due to lack of technical people and so we do take a long time to start functioning. The original allocation made for agriculture during 1970-71 is Rs. 111.70 lakhs. We are to spend another Rs. 94.53 lakhs less than the original allocation.
At question was asked by Mr. Darwin Pugh about the Industrial Corporation. I am glad to inform the House that this will be registered with in the next week and it will start functioning shortly thereafter.
Mr. Nurul Islam made a speech in Bengali. I could not understand it, I am sorry. But one of our colleagues was kind enough to translate some of the point that he made. The demonstration of modern method of agriculture I have already referred to earlier in my reply is very very important. He does not find any change in improvement that more irrigation facilities in Garo Hills are needed and we know this fact. But as I said earlier this thing takes time to organise. We are in the process of doing it during the last few months and in the next few months, we expect to do many things which are already in the process. However, the hon. Members should know that we have a backlog of 20 to 30 years to catch up and it takes time, in this field particularly, to make an impact in the field of agriculture. We have started, we have already made improvement of modern technique, of demonstration plot in many parts of the State. I am not sure exactly where. In Garo Hills I have visited certain areas and I am told they have taken up demonstration plot. In Khasi Hills I have visited one area where rice cultivation has been taken up. I found considerable success where 74 maunds of rice of the R18 variety has been grown where previously where preciously only 25 or 30 maunds were grown at an elevation of 2,000 ft. in a Nongpoh area. Many of our farmers are growing rice today to round about 1,000 to 2,000 elevation in the Hills, and I am sure that with much emphasis on this particular variety at that level, we can make an impact in the coming years. But it takes times to get adequate seed for cultivators, to give them training and proper irrigation facilities because without proper irrigation and without plan protection, I am sure that these new varieties are often subjected to damage by plan diseases. The advantage of this plan variety is that it is a short of paddy which would not be knocked off by rain or wind and the agriculture at this level is found to be very very successful., and we will be undertaking this programme for various places so that our farmers can learn this technique. The suggestion about various small industries that Mr. Nurul Islam has made will be properly examined by our department in those areas which he referred to. I do not know whether it is feasible to have a small jute mill in areas where jute grows in Garo Hills District and we would certainly examine it.
Shri Nurul Islam :- It is Jute mill.
Shri S.D.D. Nicholas-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Anyway jute is grown in Garo Hills where we can have a factory to utilise the jute and produce gunny and hessain. This will be examined by the expert and we will take up your suggestion and see whether it can be done. As far as I remember, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I touched on most of the points raised by the Members and we will welcome their active cooperation in the next coming months on some of the points which have been raised and others which will come to their attention so that the Government could get full cooperation of the representatives and the people themselves in the implementation of the programmes which we want and which we have decided to open and to bring the benefit of development to all sections of the people because this, as Mr. Kyndiah has mentioned in his introductory remark, is one of the thing which the people have been roused to expect and we are keen that this expectation be fulfilled.
Mr. Speaker :- What about the Education Minister ? Would you like to speak by way of intervention.?
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Education) :- Yes Sir, I want to intervene.
Mr. Speaker :- Only the Chief Minister can reply. You can intervene to clarify some of the points raised by the hon. Members.
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Education) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as the hon. Member of this House are aware, this Governor's Address covers only the broad of the Government. Anyway, some of the subjects which are directly under my charge have been touched by many of the hon. Members, to which I want to give some sort of replies. One of the most agitated questions is the delay in passing of the Bill for creating of the Hills University. I found not only the Members, even the public and students are very agitated. Why it should have been delayed so long in spite of the resolution passed by the both the Assam Assembly and the Meghalaya Assembly? I want to give a short history of the proposed Hill University. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in 1963 some M.Ps of the North-Eastern India approached the Prime Minister, Nehru, and underlined the need for a separate Central University for Hill areas as the existing University in the plains could not cater to the addition requirements of the hill areas. So we are all aware that a Committee was set up in the name of Wadia Commission.
Mr. Speaker :- It was not a Commission. It was a Committee.
Shri Sandford K. Marak :- A Committee was set up, and it visited many parts of Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and other hills areas. I remember when I was in Tura Colleges as Lecturer that the group came and our Chief Minister also had given recommendation as where it should be located.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, education including University education is a State subject and the Central Government can introduce University education only if the legislature of the State concerned passed a resolution authorising the Central Government to do so. The Government of Assam passed the enabling resolution on the 16th December, 1965 but as the Government of Nagaland did not do so, not much progress was made in that direction. The Government of Meghalaya passed this resolution on 21st April, 1970. That means last year, and a copy of the resolution has been sent to the Planning Commission on 23rd May, 1970. There is therefore no further constitutional or legal hindrance in setting up the proposed University. In the meetings with the Planning Commission held in September, 1970 and again in January-71 it was suggested that immediate step should be taken to set up a Study Group under the General supervision of the University Grants Commissions and the Ministry of Education which will go into the question and submit of project report. Sir, immediately after I assumed office, I along with my Secretary met Dr. Kothari, Chairman of the University Grants Commission and discussed with him twice on this subject. Thereafter we met the Education Minister, Dr. Rao also on two occasions and requested him to expedite the matter of setting up the Central University. He replied that a Study team would be set up and that group would take in some of the members from the Meghalaya Assembly. As I told the House last time in my speech that I requested them that at least some members should be taken so that the people of Meghalaya will have confidence in the so called Central University. I told the feelings and the sentiments of the people and both of the Union Minister and the Chairman of the University Grants Commission appreciated it very much. Accordingly a study team was to be set up as early as possible and it was to summit its report in October, 1970. In this connection, we have written several times to the Government of India also and then our Chief Secretary also had spoken to the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Education and requested him to expedite the matter. Thereafter, my Secretary also had written to the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Education who was looking after that question on 22nd September, 1970. But no reply has been received. Again the Additional Secretary was reminded on 12.2.71. That is about a month back. Last time during our visit to Delhi, the Industries Minister, Mr. Stanley Nichols-Roy and myself met them Minister of State for Education. Mr. Bhakat Darshan and the Additional Secretary Mr. Chairman was also with us. The Minister of State promised to take up the issue as early as possible. They promised to write to us asking us to nominate our members to Study Group. But unfortunately nothing has been done so far. Thereafter, I again met Dr. Rao and that was very recently. I think it must be in the first week of January this year. But unfortunately by that time the Parliament was already dissolved. He simply replied, "Well, Mr. Marak, I do not know, whether I will be Minister again or not." He said that in order to become Minister one must be first elected as M.P. Thereafter the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Bhakat Darshan came to Shillong and met both of us, the Chef Minister and myself in the Chief Minister's Chamber. Our Chief Minister mentioned about the University. But the Minister of State could not give any definite reply. He simply said that along with the attainment of full Statehood for Meghalaya, this question will be settled. He replied only that much and left. Unfortunately, now both the new Ministers are out and although I have had several discussions with them they have not been able to get an opportunity to continue as Ministers. I do not know about the new Minister who has come to power recently. Anyway we had put maximum efforts so far as this University is concerned. We have sent reminders after reminders and I have personally met the authorities concerned but nothing has been done. I do not know whether the new Parliament may take it up but I will make it a point to go to Delhi in this connection and see what can be done. I want to inform the House that in order to find out ways and means we have set up a Committee I do not know whether it is official or non-official committee. Anyway we have set up a Committee to select the site and recently they have submitted a report. I do not know the exact location of that site. I am told it is just before reaching Barapani. That site was recommended by the Site Selection Committee. The Site Selection Committee consists of the Deputy Commissioner, the C.E.M, Khasi Hills District Council, the Education Secretary, one Superintending Engineer and four other members. They have submitted their report. I think all of you will remember. I think all of you will remember this that immediately after making the preliminary selection, the site has been given to the 7 Assam Police Battalion. The plot of land is on way to Barapani and I was told by my Secretary that there is still vast tract of land in that area. I do not know how many acres of land will be required for setting up this University, I was telling some of my friends about two establishments coming up in the same locality. As we know the police headquarters is also established there and as such, as the University cannot exist there because there is always a clash between the uniformed groups and the students. So, I was very much worried because the Police Battalion is already located in the proposed site for the University. It is not going to be a good thing and something unpleasant may develop. But then I am not sure how far this is correct. Anyway so far as this University is concerned, I think we will have to push through somehow or other. As you know this is a big affair and it will definitely take time to establish the University. We can just recollect the chequered history of this University. The Commission had been set up in the 1963 but nothing has been done. Since the Government of Meghalaya came in to being we have at east done something. In this connection, we have met several times the members of the University Grants Commission and tried convince them about the urgent need of the establishing a Central University. Some of the hon. Members have spoken about primary education. Mr. Kyndiah questioned whether the District Councils are competent to manage or whether they have the requisite machinery to administer these L.P Schools. Well, I think, it is too early for Meghalaya to make any comment. For many years the District Councils had been managing or running these L.P Schools while they were under the Assam Government. It is only recently just after the second of April last year, that the management of these L.P Schools came under Meghalaya. So I think, it is too early to make any comment about their efficiency or inefficiency in running these L.P. Schools. Again one hon. Member who is also the C.E.M., and said that he is glad because the Government of Meghalaya is giving grants to the District Councils to meet the salary of the teachers. I donot know the how this problem will be solved, but so far as Garo Hills is concerned, the management of the L.P Schools is running well. The other day an officer came to me and I asked him if the L.P schools teachers are getting their pay monthly and the reply was in eh affirmative in-spite of some delay in getting bills and other things passed. At Jowai also the teachers are getting pay regularly, about Khasi Hill, I do not know.
Shri Samarandra Sangma :- For the information of the House, in Garo Hills, there are lots of teachers who do not get their pay.
Shri Sandford Marak (Minister, Education) :- I do not know. But these were the replies given by the office. Mr. Khonglah doubted whether the District Councils should be entrusted with the task of running the L.P schools in future. In fact the Government is still trying to give more and more works the District Councils because by doing so, the public will have chance participate in affairs of Meghalaya. Regarding the standard of teaching in the L.P Schools, many members have said that it has gone down. I do not know, because I myself have never been a school teacher. In Garo Hills last time, while I was addressing a gathering, one public leader came to me and said that all L.P. schools should be closed as they are not at all necessary because the standard of teaching has down. I do not know about it, it might have gone down but what I want is that, many of our children in villages do not know how "A" & "B" sound. Let us see, at least our children in villages are not deprived of knowing how a vowel or a consonant sounds. I admit that we should have some sort of an expert committee to examine thoroughly the defects of these L.P School courses. I quite agree with Dr. Bhuyan, an eminent educational who spoke yesterday, suggesting that some sort of diagnostic arithmatics should be adopted in the primary stage. He also said that most of the educated persons are Arts minded. He had given a proportions of B.A and B.Sc students. It is true that we will not be able to produce science graduates, engineers and doctors etc. until and unless we try to go deep in to the roots i.e., the primary stage. I also quite agree that there should be an expert committee to look into these affairs. Mr. Speaker, Sir, many of the hon. member have referred to medical college, engineering, college and agriculture college. The medical college is a big scheme. During the last two years we could fill up the quota allotted to scheduled tribe medical students. For the scheduled tribe medical students of Meghalaya and Assam, we have the quota of 18 seats in the Dibrugarh Medical College, 12 seats in the Gauhati Medical College and 6 seats in the Silchar Medical College. Altogether 36 seats are available for the scheduled tribe medical students from Assam and Meghalaya. However, in 1969-70 the quota had been filled up. Last year also many students approached me for a seat but because of their late coming many of them were deprived of getting a seat in the medical colleges mentioned above. To have a medical college also, we have to go deep into the roots because if we cannot produce students who are like to joint the medical college, I am afraid all seats may have to be treated as general. So until and unless we have sufficient number of students, I do not know whether it will be wise to have a college like the ones I have mentioned above. At present the growth rate of production of other States is about 100 graduates who are coming out as doctors every year. In our State also we need doctors for the interior dispensaries, health centres and pharmacies. We have no doctors, pharmacists, nurses and immediately it is not possible to post them to these dispensaries. I want to give the position of doctors who have been appointed after 2nd, April. We have tried to get many more, but uptil now we have got only 17 doctors who have been appointed. Some have been sent to the interiors and some to the headquarters hospitals and some doctors are yet to join. The House is aware that we want to give incentive to attract doctors by increasing pay and allowances. But due to technical difficulties, the monetary incentive to give some more facilities to the doctors in the rural areas could not be availed of by many of the doctors. As a temporary measure, we are trying to provide ambulance, so that the mobile dispensaries can cover areas in villages and markets. That means, it will cover larger areas. It was found that no vehicles are available. Recently, Some vehicles were purchased and they have been found to be not serviceable in those areas. In a way we are trying to see that these people should be given enough medical facilities.
Some of the hon. Members have mentioned about a Stadium. Last year, in the discussion with the Planning Commission, we have tried to convince the fact that it is extremely necessary to have a Stadium in Shillong. At the moment, we were told the question of a Stadium cannot be considered in Shillong. It will involve a huge amount. So far as sports and other athletic activities are concerned, the Planning Commission is ready to consider the matter. I have no idea about the financial involvement. I do not know how much money was spent for the Nehru Stadium at Gauhati. Regarding physical training and sports for the youths in Meghalaya, we are very soon trying to form a 'Meghalaya Sports Council' to go into the various sports activities on the physical side.
Some of the members have mentioned about Social Welfare Board. This will also be formed as early as possible. Because we know and we have realised that we have to do a lot of things for one the people living in rural areas through the voluntary assistance of the people. This question has drawn my attention very seriously and it will be looked into.
So far as my Department is concerned, I have covered practically all the points. I think, the Leader of the House will give further explanation.
Shri Alwot Berry Diengdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of clarification . .. .. ... ... ... .
Mr. Speaker :- There is no time for clarification. We are actually waiting for the Chief Minister to reply to the debate on the Governor's Address.
Capt. W.A. Sangma, (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am indeed very grateful to the hon. members for having taken keen interest in the debate on the Governor's Address. As against the total number of 41 members including 5 ministers, I have noticed, as many as 27 have taken part in the debate. That itself shows that they are very much interested in the development of the State and the people.
Sir, Mr. Kyndiah has given the speech in the House in which the most vital question is about Statehood. We all know what has encouraged us to get State of our own and for what reason. We have seen the unreserved support of the masses in the struggle for achieving a State. What are the underlying objectives in having a State of our own ? Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has found place in the Governor's Address in the following words "One of the main purpose of setting up the State of Meghalaya was to accelerate the development of this region". Therefore, having that objective in view, the masses have pledged to achieve a State of their own and fought for the last 16 years till Meghalaya came into being, and they now want to move forward with speed for all-round development of the State. But in this, it is not only the duty of the members of the Government alone, but it is also the duty of the other members to explain to the people how we can proceed in our march towards all-round prosperity and happiness. This Government is going to be one year old after a few days. During this year, Government was busy setting up its administrative machinery and that also with lot of difficulties and obstacles, primarily because of the limitations of the Act itself and the plan itself. Therefore, it should be appreciated that in the present set-up whatever programme is taken up for the current year would be the base for the next year. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are going to complete very soon our first leg of journey in the attainment of full Statehood. We have had our journey with the mass support of the people for the last 16 years. Now we are going to start our second leg of journey which is more difficult. We will have to come across a number of obstacles and difficulties in the field of plans and programmes, in getting necessary funds and also in getting necessary resources of materials and man power. All these factors must be born in mind when we start our second march. As I said in the beginning that our people expected that after the achievement of Statehood we should be able to progress more rapidly some impact should be created in the various fields, But it is not possible to do so as you know, we are placed geographically in a handicapped position though nature was so good to give us immense minerals and various forest resources. These cannot be tapped unless and until, in the first instance, we are in a position to create the necessary infrastructure. Therefore, I request the hon. Members to inform heir friends outside the House that the approach which has been initiated by the Government is moving in the right direction. You cannot expect at this stage to deliver the goods but it will be good for the Government and for the hon. Members to see whether we are starting in a correct direction. We are moving towards achieving our goal which will bring peace and prosperity to the entire State. Therefore, I think the period at our disposal, should be utilise for examining different aspects of matters. Mr. Speaker, Sir, within a span of one year we cannot show something in the economic and other developmental activities. With all these limitations, however I am definite, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as with mass support and determination we have achieved our State that a full State is coming soon. With that same determination if we march ahead in the second journey towards attainment of prosperity of the people, I am sure we can move faster. But I believe my colleagues have expressed their views. But whatever programme has been taken up for the development of the people, for the development of the areas, it cannot deliver the goods if there is no sincere determination and that mere given of subsidise in the various filed of activities will not bring the result. It is in this context, whatever schemes may be taken up in future by the Government, unless people are determined to develop themselves, unless they Sincerely and earnestly participate in implementation of various plans and programmes, people will not derive any benefits from such schemes. It is easy to talk and it is criticise and find faults with the scheme, but primarily the success of planning and implementation will depend very much on the determination, sincere and earnest desire of the people to develop themselves. It is only then we shall be able to march forward with speed towards alround development of the State as a whole, I therefore earnestly appeal to the people through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, let us not only use this forum to discuss certain issues before us and forget several other problems with which we are confronted in this State. We must also be aware of the other problems and difficulties at all levels. It is from that bottom of the floor we shall able to focus at the problems more clearly and can bring to this larger forum finally, so that whatever we discuss and whatever we plan for future will really touch the problem right from the root. This will enable us to discharge our duties and responsibility in an earnest and sincere way. I would therefore, request the hon. Members from now to use different forms for discussion of the various problems, handicaps and difficulties and also explore the possibilities for removing those difficulties in a more effective way, and it is then only that the primary objective of asking for a State of our own can be fulfilled. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not going to reply to the various points raised in course of discussion by the hon. Members, as I think almost all the points have been replied by my colleagues. Therefore, I would, simply by way of a general reply, touch points. Mr. Kyndiah has made a reference to the administrative set up. He has asked the Government to be cautions in deciding a particular pattern of administrative set up. He also complained that in the present setup there is no element of checking. Well I must, in the first instance, inform through you, Sir, that we have not accepted recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Committee of the Government of India in into. But at the same time, Government is anxious to avoid delays. Therefore, we have adopted a Via media as far as the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Committee are concerned. The Department of the Administrative Reforms Committee of the Government of India suggested an integrated pattern of function in which the Director atc becomes a Part of the Secretariat. The Secretary passes bell committed by the Directorate without any intermediaries. The Cabinet in its meetings on 30-6-70 and 7.1.71 accepted this recommendation. The Cabinet however did not agree to the desk officer system seeking to do away with assistant. Mrs. War also made and an observation that by going through this system we have done away with the employment opportunity of the Lower Division Assistants. It is not correct to say that because we have not agreed to the desk-officer system recommended by the committee. Well at the same time I must also make it clear that system which we have adopted will enable us to test whether it would really help us in the quick disposal of officer work. We must be allowed to have some more time to get an experience of this system which we have adopted for the time being. I therefore request the hon. Members not to be so doubtful about this system which we have adopted for the time being. In fact, it is only through experience that we shall be able to get a fair trial. We shall be able to know more about the effectiveness or otherwise of this system in course of time.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, every one of the hon. Members expressed anxiety about the problems of the border people. As the the hon. Members know we have a long border with East Pakistan starting from Garo Hills-Goalpara border at a place know as Mankachar right upto Sonapur in Jaintia Hills covering a total length of 530 K.M. As against this we still have 130 K.M. gap through which no road exists. We have already taken up programme to cover this gap. I hope if necessary fund is made available by the Government of India, once the entire length of 530 K.M along the Pakistan border is completed, the movement of security forces along the border the can be made more rapid and effective and present problem in the matter of cattle lifting, smuggling, kidnapping can be more effectively checked. Mr. Speaker, Sir, a number of speakers have also suggested that it will not serve our purpose if we simply be contented with opening of few border 'hats' to create market for the produce of the border people. So far we have established markets in following places -
KHASI HILLS: Balat, Gomaghat, Sonatola, Shella, Rengkua, Lyngkhat, Bholanganj, Nayabazar and Tyllab.
JAINTIA HILLS : Dawki and Muktapur.
GARO HILLS : Baghmara, Rongram and Sibbari.
We have also moved the Government of India to allow us to open more bazars. Recently, when I was in Delhi I had discussion regarding this matter and I was told that an officer has been sent from Delhi to make local enquiry about the places suggested by us for opening of border markets. As I have occasion to inform the House, these border markets cannot function successfully unless there is cooperation from the other side. Of the three markets in Garo Hills I know oF one place, Viz, Sibbari, which could not function because there is no cooperation from the other side. But in other places they are functioning and they have been able to give some relief to the border people. Mr. Khonglah suggested about restricting certain commodities. Well, I will say very clearly that this is not according to the decision of the Government of Meghalaya alone. It is according to the agreement arrived at between the Government of India and Pakistan that certain commodities are allowed to be exported. These are the items - Candles, Indian Ware, Earthen Ware, Turmeric, Vegetable of local produce, Fruits of local produce, Lime-Stone, Ginger, Spices, hardwood, DurgentS, Betel leaves, Posts, Fuel Thatching grass, Bamboos, Stones, Boulders, and Shingles. The monetary limit allowed at the time of transit is Rs 100/-. We have taken up also with the Government of India regarding allowing of boats to Shella 4 days a week to collect shingles and boulders and lime-stone at a maximum amount of Rs. 500 /- at a time. Each boat is allowed to be propelled by 2 men. But I agree with the hon. Member that this arrangement should be a temporary one. Unless there is co-operation from the other side of the side of the border the markets cannot function. Therefore, we must take up alternative programmes for the economic rehabilitation of the border people. I must make it very clear through you, Sir, to the hon. Members that the Government of Meghalaya will be up and doing this problem. We shall take up the matter more vigorously with the Government of India because we cannot allow this long border of 530 K.M to be barren without population. If today, because of economic difficulty, the people of the border areas leave their places and move away and expose this long border without population to the foreign country there will be no security for us. It should be our earnest attempt to see that the border people remain in tact along this line and provide for their economic rehabilitation. I am sure the Government of India will realise the importance of this problem and help us in an adequate manner to take an economic programme for the border people, not only in the interest of the border people but in the interest of the security of the country as a whole. Therefore, the question of neglecting the border people does not arise. We are fully alive to the problem we have also submitted a special programme for the economic rehabilitation of the border people amounting to Rs.13 crores which will cover each field of developments for the benefits of the border people. That will be in addition to whatever programme that will be made in the General Plan Programmes for the entire State. I doubt whether the Government of India will agree to approve the scheme for the entire amount. But our requirement even for the remaining period of the 4th Five Year Plan, will be Rs. 348 lakhs. We have taken up this matter with the Government of India. During my recent visit to Delhi I had some discussion with the Union Finance Minister . Since he has come again to the same Ministry only recently he has not been able to look in to this matter but he has promised that he would look into this matter. I and my colleagues will have occasion again to go to Delhi and discuss about this special programme for the economic rehabilitation of the border people and I can assure this House through you, Sir, that wherever possible in our part, we shall exercise our influence to make the Government of India agree to this special programme.
Well, another criticism was made against the Publicity and Public Relations Department. I must confess that this Department. has not been able to function properly uptil now. Not to speak of my own colleagues being unhappy about it; I myself too am not happy about it. I know this is a very important Department. It is from this Department that we shall be able to get public information and also release information to the public about the various activities of the Government. But, unfortunately, as you all know, in the present set up we are to depend primarily on the Government of Assam to get the officers to help and man the various Departments under Meghalaya. At present, we have only one Deputy Director of Information & Public Relations and in the absence of a Director, we have to entrust some other officer to look into this Department, in addition to various other Departments under his charge. As such, we have not been able to do much in the discharge of the responsibility entrusted to this Department. I can assure this House, through you Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this question has already engaged the attention of the Government and we taking the matter up seriously to see that the Department is reorganised as early as possible.
Mrs. War and Mr. Lobendri Hujon had made a complaint about delay in setting up of a new Subdivision for Nongstoin. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the delay is partly because of certain representations we have received from the people of that area. Certain areas wanted to be excluded from the proposed Sub-Division. These are the places which submitted representations for exclusion from the proposed Sub-division, viz, Jirang, Nongkhlaw and Nongspung Syiemship. Government after considering the objections, have yet to take a final decision whether this 3 Syiemships should be included n the proposed Sub-division or not. The matter will be coming up before the Cabinet shortly. Once a decision is made, I hope progress could be made in future. In fact, during the current year we have already made allotment for the purpose of starting the work, but because of these objections we could not take up other work. For example, before a Sub-Division is created, we have to give a notification notifying the area proposed to be included with in the Subdivision ; population, area and so on and so forth. Now yet to decide about the 3 Syiemships. It is not possible for us to go for a notification. The matter will be coming up before the Cabinet and I hope we shall be able to solve this problem and a decision taken in this regard. There was also some difficulty about getting officers to be in-charge of the Sub-division for Nongstoin, and in fact a proposal to have a new Subdivision for Garo Hills in Simsauggri is also being considered by the Government. In this connection we are to look for officers who will be incharge with of this particular scheme so that the necessary programme connected with it could be pursued. As I said, it was very difficult for us to get officers and so on. However, I have passed an order that the A.D.M Shillong and Garo Hills should look into the matter so that more progress could be achieved. We have also given instruction to the Deputy Commissioners connected to submit plan and estimates for setting up a new Sub-division at Nongstoin and Simsanggiri. I hope with the coming up a new Sub-divisions at Nongstoin, various problems of that area could be looked into the more effectively and the people could derive benefits there from.
Mr. John Deng Pohrmen mentioned about raising Jowai Sub-division into a Civil District. The matter is coming up soon. We have already got report from the Deputy Commissioner and we have received representations from the public and a Resolution passed by the District Council, Jowai also. But certain matters linked up with the question, will have to be decide formally before necessary notification, will be issued regarding this question. So also is the case of Nongstoin and Simsanggiri. We have not been able to get detailed reports from the Deputy Commissioners with regard to area, population and so on and so fourth.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Mrs. War had also mentioned about Post and Telegraphs Communication in the entire State. We know this is an important matter and without improved communications we will be very much handicapped. As she had correctly pointed out, a letter from London will reach Shillong within 5 days while a letter from and to Nongstoin, will take 10 to 15 days to reach Shillong. We are quite aware of the problem and Government will take necessary action in the matter. According to the approved scheme in the backward areas they are allowed to have a Post Office established to a certain permissible loss. But if it is beyond that loss somebody must come into the picture to foot the bill we have already taken up a comprehensive programme for Garo Hills, Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills. Now the matter is being examined by the Postal Department and by the Government of Meghalaya to find out what will be the total amount required to meet the expenditure beyond the permissible loss. The intention of the Government is to provide better communication in the border areas. I had occasion to discuss this matter with the Minister of State for communication, Prof Sher Singh while he was in Shillong and had tried to impress upon him the need for better communication along the border from the point of security. I am sure when the scheme which has been drawn up by the Government can be finalised we can provide better postal communications through out the whole State. We have already decided in principle to provide adequate fund to meet the expenditure beyond the permissible loss so that our programme cannot be delayed. The details are being worked out.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there was a complaint about a number of cases of cattle lifting smuggling and kidnapping along the border and there was the suggestion that the Border Security Forces should be strengthened, and if necessary more outposts should be set up. This matter is being taken up with the Government of India. We have already taken up with the Government of India the need for strengthening the Border Security Forces along the Border. As I have said, this road lies along the entire border with Pakistan. As such it is one of the problems to strengthen the machinery for Border Security and make the patrolling party more speedy so that more effective checking can be done with regard to cattle sifting, smuggling, kidnapping, and so on and so forth. I hope once a programme can be taken, up more effective checking and patrolling can ensured. I have already contacted the local authorities about this problem and I was told that at present there is no proposal to open more outposts, but they have assured to strengthen the security measures along the border with their present force. I hope more effective measures will be forthcoming and we will take up the matter with the Government of India to see that these problems of the border people are minimised.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not want to reply to the various points which have been touched by my colleagues. But to certain matters which have occurred to me I think I should reply. Now, Mr. Kyndiah said about primary schools and also there is a suggestion whether it will have been more desirable to take over the management by the Government itself. I hope Mr. Kyndiah and other colleagues who have suggested such a measure know the constitutional provisions. It is very much within the District Council under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule. We know, as complained by a number of speakers, that the standard of education, not only in the primary stage but in other levels also, is deteriorating, I also had to occasion, as a public leader, to complain about it. It is of no use to go on increasing the primary schools in the districts or in the State without simultaneously strengthening the staff. We shall simply increase the number of schools without any quality, without maintaining a good standard. Therefore, the Government had taken a decision to place the Sub-Inspector of schools at the disposal of the District Councils because we have received complaints that at present the District Councils cannot obtain the services of the S.I. of schools directly. Inspection of the schools has been very much handicapped because it is under the control of the Deputy Inspector of Schools. They are supposed to inspect the schools on behalf of the District Council but they have no control over them. Somebody has suggested that the Government, before deciding to place the services of the S.I. of Schools, should have, first of all, considered the question of the services and the financial resources should also have been examined.
Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, before the Government made a decision naturally all these factors had been taken into consideration. When the S.Is of Schools are placed at the disposal of the District Council, they will be sent on deputation, and they will be placed under the administrative control of the District Council so that they will be entitled to pension and other benefits as is done in the case of primary school teachers of the State Government.
One very very vital question has been raised regarding the prevention of Gambling Act. Mention was also made about prohibition. This is a very big question. Before I give definite reply to this question I would request the hon. Members to think about it. It is very easy to say that. But let us go into the problem of prohibition by experience in the country and the world and the social structure which we represent. I do not know about the K & J Hills but in Garo Hills more than 60 percent are non-christians. They follow tribal faith and they require drink in connection with their festival. The cannot have a social gathering without a drink.
SHRI E. BAREH (P.W.D. MINISTER) :- That is a mistake.
SHRI W.A. SANGMA, CHIEF MINISTER :- At the same time we have been told by the experts that their food is not very rich in proteins and they have been able to maintain their health with their poor food and because of the drink.
Now these are the factors which must be taken into consideration before we come to a definite decision about this particular question. I therefore, request the hon. Members to realise this fact and to take these factors into consideration. I know in Assam, in the tribal areas certain liquor was prepared. They were allowed a certain quantity of rice for brewing beer. They have been rather strict on the quantity. But as you know, the people were entrusted to enforce this law without thinking of harassment. Once I had the occasion as a Tribal Minister to visit a tribal area, a Boro area in Garo Hills along with late Rupnath Brahma. One very old man composed a beautiful song about which will be of interest for us. He said I welcome the programme of prohibition. But before you do so you should examine this question. I am an old man, when I was on my mother's arms I was given this drink and with this drink I grow up and become an old man. Do you think it is possible for me to give up. Please bring a programme to educate the young people when they are still at the young stage, when they have not got involved in drinks. We should take up a programme, an effective programme to give proper education and propaganda so that the youth and new generation can be prevented from this drink. When a number of social workers told me, I used to advise them, let us join with the Government and take up a programme and I told them about the evils of drink. First of all, let us train the mind of the people before we can go for legislation. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not giving any definite information about it, but these are the factors to be considered before we can come to a decision. I would, therefore, especially request Mr. K. Laloo and Mr. Rynshon and other Members who have made a definite suggestion about it to kindly examine this aspect of the matter before a concrete demand for prohibition is put before the Government. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I must admit before I close my speech, not to speak of the measures that myself and my colleagues though we have tried our best to utilise this one year to complete the setting up of the administrative machinery and along with that today something tangible in the services of the people, we cannot do so as we would like because of certain difficulties, and certain limitations. But I can assure the House and through the representatives of the people of the State that we are all determined to progress and develop our people and to be effective participant in the affairs of the country as a whole. I also know if Meghalaya should be prosperous, the people should be happy. Every area, every village must have a feeling that they have been given their equal share. If our attention is drawn only to the areas because certain MLAs are very vocal and effective and know how to place the problems of their respective areas and if we forget the other areas, it is not going to serve that particular area or the State as a whole. Today, as Members of this House, we must have a complete picture of the State as a whole. I will be the happiest man today if I could know the problems of every nook and corner of the State as a whole. In several ways I would request the hon. Members not to confine their tours only to certain areas. I would request all Members to visit the entire State. I would request the Members of Garo Hills to make a comprehensive tour in the Khasi Hills. And I would also request the Members of the Khasi & Jaintia Hills to have an extensive tour in the Garo Hills so that we, jointly, as responsible representatives, have a real picture of the State as a whole. I would be happy today if one Garo Member speaks about Nongstoin area and presses the Government for the solution of their problems. In the same way, if a Member from Jowai or Jaintia Hills could speak about Rongjeng area of the or the areas to which we have not given more importance, I am sure I will be more happy. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I express my thanks to the hon. Members for taking interest the welfare of the State. But let us have his determination without any reservation, to fulfill the primary objectives of our State. As I said, Sir, we have studied these objectives for the last 16 years. Let us now get ourselves prepared to start the second chapter, that is, to be in the service of the people, to bring all-round development, prosperity and happiness to the people of Meghalaya, and also to contribute what is possible for us to the country as a whole, That part of the journey is going to be a difficult one, but as I said, if we all are determined to over come the difficulties and determined to develop and bring prosperity and happiness to the people whom we represent. I am sure nothing will stand in the way. Therefore, let us with this determination, look forward to the full-fledged Statehood which is at the door. Let us prepare ourselves, let us see that the whole of Meghalaya can be made a real unit for all round development without having any sort of reservation, without neglecting a particular area. And I am sure, if we do that it will be possible for us to give a good start in our future journey in the service of the people of this State of Meghalaya. I am sure with that spirit and that determination, we shall be able to overcome all the difficulties which might stand in the way. But at the same time we must learn a lesson that in whatever activity it might be, there must be patience. In our desire, in our programme of development there must be always patience. This we have learnt in our struggle for political aspirations. It was patience which paid us. If there was no patience, I think today we would nto have been here in this House and now a bigger thing is coming, the achievement of a full-fledged State. That is not far from us. It is that patience which has helped us to bring about this aspiration. Let us realise that, we should start with that determination coupled with patience and work. Thank you, Sir.
MR. SPEAKER :- The debate the Governor's Address is closed. Now I put the motion before the House. The Motion is that the members of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled in this session are deeply grateful to the Governor for the address which he has been pleased to deliver to this House on the 22nd March, 1971.
(After a pause.) The Motion is carried unanimously.
Now, let us come to item No.3. Mr. Nichols-Roy to move the resolution.
SHRI S.D.D. NICHOLS ROY, (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this Assembly do approve of an expenditure of Rs. 24,000 under the head "35-Industries-III-Major Industries" by reappropriation from Savings from the sanctioned grant as indicated below :-
(1) Grant originally voted by the Assembly - Rs. 1,70,000
(2) Sub-head under which the Appropriation will be accounted for -
Development Schemes-(Fourth Five Year Plan)-II-Other State Plan Schemes-A-3 Provincial Organisation (a) Directorate of Industries 6-Survey and Investigation.
(3) Sub-head from which the amount is to be re-appropriated -
"Development Scheme-(Fourth Five Year Plan)-II-Other Plan Schemes-A 3-Provincial Organisation (a) Directorate of Industries".
The Explanatory Note has been circulated with a copy of the Resolution.
MR. SPEAKER :- The Resolution is moved. Now I put the question before the House. The question is that this Assembly do approve of an expenditure of Rs. 24,000 under the head "35-Industries-III-Major Industries by re-appropriation from Savings from the sanctioned grant at jubilated below :
(1) Grant originally voted by the Assembly - Rs. 1,70,000
(2) Sub-head under which the appropriation will be accounted for -
Development Schemes-(Fourth Five Year Plan)-II-Other State Plan Schemes-A-3-Provincial Organisation (a) Directorate of Industries-6-Survey and Investigation.
(3) Sub-head from which the amount is to be re-appropriated
"Development Schemes-Fourth Five Plan)-II-Other State Plan Schemes-A-3-Provincial Organisation (a) Directorate of Industries".
The resolution is passed.
The House stands adjourned till 9 A.M on Friday, the 26th March 1971.
|The 25th March, 1971.||
Secretary, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.