Proceedings of the first Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled after the First General Election in 1972 under the Sovereign Democratic Republican Constitution of India.
The assembly met in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong on Saturday, the 25th March, 1972 at 14.00 Hours with the Acting Speaker (Shri Jormanik Syiem) in the Chair
ANNOUNCEMENT OF ORDERS OF THE GOVERNOR
Shri Jormanik Syiem (Acting Speaker) :- Fellow hon. Members, we assembled here this afternoon as Members of the Legislature of the State of Meghalaya. Some of you had the privilege of being here during the past two years as Members of the Autonomous State Assembly. But now we are here as Members of the full-fledged State of Meghalaya. We have reason to be grateful to our leaders who had led us through the years to attain State-hood of a full status of the State of Meghalaya. The first item now is that the Secretary will announce the orders of the Governor appointing me to perform the duties of the Speaker for the purpose of conducting the business of the House this afternoon and I now call upon the Secretary to read out the orders of the Governor.
(Secretary read out the order)
"In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 180 of the Constitution of India, I, Braj Kumar Nehru, Governor of Meghalaya, hereby appoint Shri Jormanik Syiem, a member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to perform the duties of the office of Speaker of the said Assembly while the office of Speaker is vacant.
In exercise of the powers conferred by Article 188 of the Constitution of India, I Braj Kumar Nehru, Governor of Meghalaya, hereby appoint Shri Jormanik Syiem, a Member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly before whom other Members of the Meghalaya Legislative subscribe an oath of affirmation until the Speaker is elected.
After the election of the Speaker of the Assembly, the oath or affirmation shall be made and subscribed before the Speaker of the said Assembly and in his absence before the Speaker or when the Assembly is in session and the Speaker is absent and the office of Deputy Speaker is vacant or when both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are absent, before the person who may be presiding over the Assembly for the time being."
The next item will be the oath-taking or affirmation by the hon. Members. Before we do that there is a convention that before the searing-in-ceremony, we as a House will stand in silence for one minute as a mark of solemnity of the House on the occasion of this Assembly. May I request all the hon. Members to please stand up?
(One minute's silence was observed by the Members present in the House)
The procedure to be followed is that the oath or affirmation is made and subscribed by Members individually in accordance with a set procedure. On the name of a Member being called by the Secretary, the Member proceeds from the place he is occupying to the side of the Secretary's table, where a copy of the form of oath or affirmation, as the case may be. The language in which the Member desires to make the oath or affirmation is handed over to him. The Member faces the Chair while making the oath or affirmation and then goes up the Speaker and shakes hand with the Speaker who then gives the Member permission to take his seat in the House. The Member then again passes to the side of the Secretary's table, where he signs the Roll of Members and thereafter takes his seat in the House. Now the Secretary will please call out the name of the Members beginning with the Treasury Bench and after that other Members will be called to come one by one to take oath or affirmation.
OATH OR AFFIRMATION BY MEMBERS
(Members sworn in).
|Capt. Williamson A. Sangma.|
|Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy.|
|Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh.|
|Shri Edwingson Bareh.|
|Shri Sandford Marak.|
|Prof. Alexander Warjri.|
|Shri Besterson Kharkongor.|
|Shri Blooming Shallam.|
|Shri Brojendra Sangma.|
|Shri Choronsing Sangma.|
|Shri D. Dethwelson Lapang.|
|Shri Darwin D. Pugh.|
|Shri Dhruba D. Pugh.|
|Shri Dlosing Lyngdoh.|
|Shri Edward Kurbah.|
|Shri Elwin Sangma.|
|Shri H. Enowell Pohshna.|
|Shri Francis K. Mawlot.|
|Shri G. Mylliemngap.|
|Shri Galynstone Laloo.|
|Shri Grohonsing Marak.|
|Shri Hoover Hynniewta.|
|24.||Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh.|
|25.||Shri Humphrey Hadem.|
|26.||Shri Humphrey Nongrum.|
|27.||Shri Ira Marak.|
|28.||Shri Jagabandhu Barman.|
|29.||Shri Jackman Marak.|
|`||30.||Shri Jor Manik Syiem.|
|31.||Shri Kisto M. Roy Marbaniang.|
|32.||Shri Lewis Bareh.|
|33.||Shri Maham Singh.|
|34.||Shri Manindra Rava.|
|35.||Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw.|
|36.||Shri Medison A. Sangma.|
|37.||Shri Nimosh Sangma.|
|38.||Shri Onwardleys Well Nongtdu.|
|39.||Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah.|
|40.||Shri Parsvanath Chowdhury.|
|41.||Miss Percylina Marak.|
|42.||Shri Peter Garnette Marbaniang.|
|43.||Shri Plansing Marak.|
|44.||Shri Pleander Gare Momin.|
|45.||Shri Pritington Sangma.|
|46.||Shri Reidson Momin.|
|47.||Prof. Radhon Singh Lyngdoh.|
|48.||Shri Rowell Lyngdoh.|
|49.||Shri S.P. Swer.|
|50.||Shri Samarendra Sangma.|
|51.||Shri Salseng Marak.|
|52.||Shri Singjan Sangma.|
|53.||Shri Sibendra Narayan Koch.|
|54.||Shri Samsul Haque.|
|55.||Shri Stalington David Khongwir.|
|56.||Shri Upstar Kharbuli.|
|57.||Shri William Cecil R. Marak.|
|58.||Shri Winstone Syiemiong.|
|59.||Shri Y. Fuller Lyngdoh Mawnai.|
Shri Jormanik Syiem (Acting Speaker) :- I hope that all the hon. Members present have subscribed their oath. But in case any hon. Members is left out inadvertently then please come up.
ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Now we shall take up the next item, the election of the Speaker.
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Mynso-Raliang S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in connection with this item I would like to raise a point of order. That point is in accordance with Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Assembly which says like this "When at the beginning of the new Assembly or owing to a vacancy in the office of the Speaker the election of a Speaker is necessary, the Governor, shall fix a date for the holding of the election, and the Secretary shall send to every Member notice of the date so fixed."
The notice was not sent to me. I did not receive the notice, received the notice only today when it was placed on my table here. When I received it only this evening, the privileges given to me under sub-rule (2) could not be utilised as sub-rule (2) says.
"At any time before 3.30 p.m. on the day preceding the date so fixed any member may nominate another member for election by delivering to the Secretary a nomination paper signed by himself as proposer and by a third member as seconder and stating.
(a) the name of the member nominated; and
(b) that the proposer has ascertained that such member is willing to serve as Speaker, if elected".
Since I received it only now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, i feel that my right to propose anyone could not be utilised by me and as such, the election at this stage is ultra vires of Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the House which had also been enclosed along with a copy of the notice which I have just now received on my table. As such I think the election at this stage and at this time will be irregular.
Shri Jormanik Syiem (Acting Speaker) :- I noticed that the notice was sent on the 23rd March, and I hope that all Members have been served with this notice. It is unfortunate that the hon. Members who stood up just now did not received it in time, but in any case there is no irregularity since these notices were issued on 22nd March 1972 and most of the Members have received these notices.
Shri Hoover Hynniewta (Nongkhlaw S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I understand that you have given a ruling on the point raised by the hon. Member Mr. Hadem from Raliang. If you have already ruled it out, I would like to participate in the discussion as to whether the election of the Speaker has been held according to the rules and I would like to know from you, Sir, whether you have ruled it out.
Shri Jormanik Syiem (Acting Speaker) :- I have no other alternative but to rule it out because notices have been served and other Members have already received and the date for the election of the Speaker has been fixed. The election will have to be held in any case.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Nongstoin S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am sorry it is the same in my case also. I have received the notice just now. The letter, of course, has been despatched on the 22nd but I have received it just now.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Jaiaw S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I presume the point of order that has been raised by Mr. Hadem is correct and I think there could be no discussion about it.
Shri Jormanik Syiem (Acting Speaker) :- I don't think.
Shri Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to raise another point of order on another subject. Now as per Rule 25 it is stated that a provisional programme of business for the session shall be circulated to each of the Members of the Assembly by the Secretary at least seven days ahead of the commencement of the Assembly.
Capt. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think that it is a different matter.
Shri Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is an item in the programme.
Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we also have been her as Members of the parliamentary democracy. When Rule 25 is referred to atleast by the hon. Member from Mawhati you could have accepted the point of order. If my eyes don't deceive me it is not the true and correct when the Hon'ble Chief Minister said that he could not follow as to what the Member from Mawhati had spoken. I would request you and through you Sir, that atleast the Member should be given a hearing before the House when he spoke.
Capt. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- There is no reason from any side to participate in it.
Shri Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise from my seat because I want to know if the Speaker has to address the Chair.
Shri Jormanick Syiem (Acting Speaker) :- This is the item according to the agenda.
In the Agenda there are three nomination papers submitted and these also were ruled out as required by Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.
Shri M. Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, here is another point of order under Rule 11 which says the Assembly shall ordinarily sit from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on all week-days except Friday and Saturday. On Friday it shall sit from 9 a.m. to 11.30 p.m. but the Speaker, at his discretion had stated earlier that important exigency should be provided that the first sitting of the Assembly may meet earlier than 13.30 hours. That is Rule 11, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri Jormanick Syiem (Acting Speaker) :- I think the Government has fixed the time at 2 p.m. for reasons best known to him and once the Governor has fixed the time this Assembly has to sit.
Shri M. Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, so the Governor over-rides the Rule and by Rule I am referred to Rule 11 of and we have to abide by it.
Capt. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as requested by the hon. Member I would like to interpret the provision correctly. The Assembly was ordinarily to sit from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on all week days except Friday and Saturday but this time could be changed in case there is an exigency and emergency and it may sit at any time as summoned by the Governor. Therefore, I suggest, Sir, that all the hon. Members should not unnecessarily, bring this particular point of order knowing well that the very word "Ordinarily" will give a scope for dealing with the exigency of the situation.
Shri Jormanick Syiem (Acting Speaker) :- I hope the hon. Members will be satisfied with the explanation that the Hon'ble Chief Minister has given. This is not an ordinary session. This is the session summoned by the Governor and in which we can all participate in these coming days.
Shri H.E. Pohshna (Nongtalang S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the latter portion of the Rule states that sitting of the Assembly may mean even earlier than what we have done now. So far as we are concerned, this is the first sitting which we have followed in accordance with the Rules.
Shri Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we want clarification whether the Governor has the power to overrule the sitting of this Assembly today contrary to the Rule referred to in this House.
Shri Jormanick Syiem (Acting Speaker) :- According to the procedure which provides further the first sitting of the Assembly may mean earlier even than the fixed time but then it does not necessarily mean that it cannot be held at a later time.
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Mynso - Raliang S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, with regard to the proviso mentioned by the hon. Member just now, I would list to express the view that the proviso is not worth while and co-related with the original Rule. This is in accordance with Rule 11 which states the word "ordinarily" means that sitting should be from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. But in case there is any change the sitting may be earlier than 10 a.m. and not later than 10 a.m.
Capt. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to point out to the hon. Member that the proviso under Rule 11 is defined just to enable the House to sit in a proper and at a fixed time as summoned by the Governor.
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is very important to hold the first sitting at a fixed time as summoned by the Governor. Moreover in my opinion, exigency matters may be raised even while the sitting started or before raising the point of order.
Shri H.E. Pohshna (Nongtalang S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, all the information that the leader of this House had mentioned is that emergency matters also may be raised and if it is so, I should call this as Emergency Session.
Capt. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I said that the exigency matters could not be accepted. We have already agreed that this question could not be raised before this Session starts. I think this point is clear now.
FELICITATIONS TO THE NEWLY ELECTED SPEAKER
Shri H. Hynniewta :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, if I am to participate in this discussion, I think we should have accepted the point raised by my friend in which he has stated about the facts and figures of this first sitting of this House. It is generally know that the hon. Members who participated in the proceedings of this House had spoken only on the proviso with regard to the sitting of this House. So, Sir, unless I agree first to take their stand, I may say that the provision here is not proper and unless I agree to take that view Sir, I am deprived of the right to raise a point of order. So we have accepted this particular question in order that we may jointly raise this point of order. The Hon'ble Chief Minister has raised the point by answering that as per Rule 11 he has said that the word "ordinarily" in this Rule means that it is only in ordinary occasion that we can raise a point of order. From the provision of the Rule, I don't think that it is right and proper for you, Sir, to rule out the point of order raised by the hon. Members. Whatsoever, I agree with this Rule, but it is, however, liable to interpretation. So, if it is liable to interpretation it is more favourable to the House to abide by the provisions which should be accepted.
Shri Jormanick Syiem (Acting Speaker) :- The hon. Member who has raised the point of order has now understood the reason why this Session has been summoned at 2 p.m. because the Governor was extremely busy in the morning. So, that is the cause that we should not delay any further, the proceedings of the House for today.
Now all the three nomination papers are in favour of Prof. R.S. Lyngdoh. So in absence of any other names, I have the great pleasure to announce that Prof. R.S. Lyngdoh has been elected Speaker of the House.
Before I request Prof. Lyngdoh to come and occupy this Chair, I may be permitted to to say a few words about Prof. R.S. Lyngdoh. I heartily congratulate him for having been elected to the exalted office of Speaker of this House. It is a fitting tribute to a man who has devotedly served the people for a long period. Not only that. He is one of the public leaders serving the people and he is also a well known Professor for a number of years. We know him for his profound knowledge of Constitutional History, an asset which will go well with him in the exercise of his duties as a Speaker of this august House. Besides, he had all along been in the forefront of our political life. Since his last election to the same exalted office in this House in April, 1970 he has steered the House ably from the very beginning. The duties of the Speaker are as onerous as they are delicate, he has to use his wit and wisdom at the right moment. He has to cajole and he has to rebuke, but all the time he will be the guiding spirit of this House whenever it meets.
I have absolutely no doubt that the rights and privileges of the Members of this House will be safe in his worthy hands and as a custodian of the House he will also bring new light in our parliamentary life.
With these few words, I have great pleasure in requesting Prof. Lyngdoh to occupy this Chair.
(The Chief Minister conducted the Speaker to the Chair)
Capt. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am, indeed, very happy to have this occasion to congratulate you on your elevation to this high office. Though there have been some discussions about the procedure for the election of the Speaker in this House, I am sure that the whole House has the full confidence specially the Members who had the occasion to be the Members of this House for the last two years. Many of us are fully aware of the conduct of the House and it has not only given the opportunity to the Members of the different groups and parties, but at the same time, you have conducted the House in such a way that the disposal of the proceedings has always been smooth and expeditious. I am sure, this time, after having full-fledged State and after having much bigger number of Members in the House with different groups and parties, it will be a more difficult task for you. At the same time I have no doubt at all that with the experience of the past two years, you will now give an opportunity to the Members or to the groups to take their full advantage to utilise this forum for various problems. But at the same time you will be in a position to conduct the business of the House very efficiently in your capacity as Speaker of this House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not want to take much time but to say that the whole House has agreed to elect you to this high office because we have great confidence in you and I am sure, under your stewardship the proceedings of this House will be conducted in a very efficient way.
Shri Hoover Hynniewta (Nongkhlaw S.T) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on this auspicious day and on this red letter day in the parliamentary history of the people of these Hills, I feel it a great privilege for me to extend my humble congratulation on your unanimous election to this high office. The only discordant note that has been struck in connection with this election is the failure of the Ruling Party to consult us on this matter. But Sir, in all humility, this failure has not, in the least, degraded the solemnity and joy of this occasion. I hope, everybody of this House will agree with me that the responsibility we have jointly and collectively reposed on your able shoulders are very very heavy.
I know what I would have felt if the same responsibility would have fallen on my weak shoulders. Sir, you will be laying the foundation of a true parliamentary democracy in these hills. The future Assemblies of this State will either benefit for will be led astray by the example that we show in this first Assembly of the full State of Meghalaya, and also Sir, to see that the business of the House is conducted on sound parliamentary principles and procedures which is certainly not a very easy task. You are aware also as we are aware of the race from which you come. You come from a political party and when you sit there, Sir, for you to forget the fact that you belong to a certain political party and for you to be able to resist the temptation to help a little, give a little push and a little advantage for the party which is responsible for your being elected to this high office, is certainly very very difficult. I have great confidence in your sense of responsibility and and I believe that you will be the first Speaker of the Assembly of this full State of Meghalaya to keep and draw firm dividing line between allegiance to certain party and allegiance to your solemn office. Sir, I believe that you will be the epitome of decorum, decency and impartiality on the floor of this House as well as outside and when we look at you Sir, we shall be suffering from a kind of deterrent effect that we should not say anything that will violate of an Emperor and the Members of the Ruling Party and the Members of the Opposition will be the crossing swords and you will have to see that they play fair and there, that is certainly an extremely difficult task. I believe Sir, that most of us had been at one time comrades at arms in fighting for a separate hill State and will to a certain extent, lessen your burden. I believe that in a parliamentary Government the first short certainly will have to be made by the Government. Like playing foot-ball, the y will first kick the ball and if they kick it will be in a fair and right way. We the hon. Members from the Opposition side also will be attempting to play fair. So, I think the Leader of the House has realised the importance of the first shot. Today we have a little crossing of swords just to enliven the proceedings of this House. I believe, Sir, we shall not ascribe any sense of bitterness or any sense of acrimony in the debate and I believe you will take us to task if we harbour such a sense in the discussion in this House. As one of the Members of this House, Sir, I promise that we shall function as highly responsible Opposition. We shall do everything on our part to lessen your burden but at the same time, Sir, we need your protection. The Opposition is a group in the House which requires your protection and if you administer justice with a little bid of mercy it will be fair for the Opposition. I hope Sir, the Members of the Ruling Party will not mind. With these few words, Sir, I once again express my deep sense of joy on your election although, as I said at the very beginning the Government did not take us into confidence in this matter. I hope they will not repeat it in future. Thank you.
Shri Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I consider it a great privilege to be able to congratulate you on the very auspicious day. You belong to us as much as you belong to others. And, although as my good friend from Nongkhlaw Constituency pointed out that the Leader of the House did not take us into his confident when nominating you, you also have our blessings and good wishes so much so that all of us seated in these benches decided not to set up a candidate against you on your election as Speaker of this House. We are all confident that you will deal with us with equality and justice and also with mercy because we are short of fall of the others seated in the Treasury Benches at least today. We are also hopeful that in the many rules and laws and other quotations that we shall raise we shall receive from you your fullest attention and wisdom. I have had the privilege of knowing you almost two decades. It has been a long and rich experience of having known you and my only sense of regret is that with the heavy responsibility now on your shoulders some of your other great cultural aspirations may be somewhat curtailed. I know from the past that you have a very good voice for singing, a talent which will hardly be exercised in this House and I have also known you as a great debator in the University, another talent which will hardly be exercised in this House. In fact, the name of "Speaker" is somewhat incongruous. You will hardly be able to speak for a very long. The opportunity of making a speech will be given to us. But on occasions of great moment, you will be able to exercise his talent, the debating talent you always have. We wish you a long tenure of office, we hope that the proceedings of this House will be very interesting now that both sides in the House are almost fairly matched. We of the Opposition can promise you our fullest support consideration and also the responsibility of administration in the days to come. Thank you.
Shri Maham Sing (Mawprem) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on behalf of the Congress Parliamentary Party also I wish to convey our sincere greetings to you. We are very much happy and glad that you have been unanimously elected Speaker of this House. That you have been unanimously elected Speaker of this House, clearly shows that the whole House has great respect and confidence in you. We all consider that you are the best person to hold this high office of Speaker of the House. We are fully convinced that we have selected the right person who will uphold the dignity of the Chair and we have no doubt whatsoever that during your term of office, you will be very impartial. During the first sittings of the House we have seen already a heated debate, with regard to the proceedings, as to whether we have followed strictly the rules. We hope that under your guidance, the future proceedings of this House will be conducted in a real parliamentary and honourable manner. On behalf of my party, I wish to convey that we will do our utmost with a full sense of responsibility and to uphold the dignity of the House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is no doubt you have heavy and important duties fulfill. However, on this occasion let me take the opportunity of drawing the attention to certain things which might escape your notice but we consider nevertheless they need some attention in spite of the heavy duties you have to fulfill. Let me tell you my first experience on coming to this House which before was the Assembly House of the Autonomous State of Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I consider we must maintain the House compound and approach road in a clean manner. The first day when I came here with my friends I found just in front of the gate several waste papers thrown over the road. We consider this is a very satisfactory state of affairs. Again Mr. Speaker, Sir, when we come here we considered that we are fortunate that we have ....
Me. Speaker :- For the information of the hon. Member, he should draw the attention of the Government to this matter and not the Speaker.
Shri Maham Sing :- I mentioned this because I though the Speaker is in charge (Laughter) of the whole building compound and including accommodation for the Members. Mr. Speaker, Sir, anyway let me take the opportunity of further expressing that we have considered ourselves fortunate when we find there is a chair inside this room where we may sit. Outside the Chamber we do not have any place at all to sit for discussion (Shame ! shame!). For us and other Opposition Members there is not a single room in which we can sit together. Yesterday when I came here with some of my colleagues for discussion of some matters there was no place where we can sit and discuss. We had to go to the road to discuss. We found it very embarrassing and finally we decided to take a taxi and proceeded to the hotel to discuss. Mr. Speaker, Sir, you have said that I should draw the attention of the Government. Let this be taken as an attention drawn to the Government of the difficulties we are experiencing. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am saying this by the way. As I have already stated we hope that the proceedings of this House will be conducted in the most impartial manner. We have full confidence in you and we consider that we have selected the right person because besides your successful political career, besides our high academic qualification, besides the high estimation and respect which the people have in you, you have also had the experience of being the Speaker of the Autonomous State of Meghalaya. We require a person of your caliber to occupy the dignified Chair and guide us on our proceedings; but as was stated by one of my friends there is only one regret. I have known you for many years, have heard many of your speeches. You are a great debator and orator but as you are holding the post of Speakership, they will be only few occasions for you to address us. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I congratulate you on this occasion which we consider a very important day for our new State i.e. the first sitting of the Legislative Assembly of our Meghalaya State.
Shri Stanlington David Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am well pleased at this particular moment because of your having been elected to this high office as the first Speaker of this Assembly of this new State which is born only about two months ago. I feel that I am rather obligated to say something as part of my felicitation to you, Sir. This obligation is attributed to long, cordial and fraternal association I have with you, Sir, and this association with you goes back from the time when we were together in high school and in college also. For four long years we were class mates and as such I feel that it would be most discourteous on my part not to participate in this deliberation and this felicitation, this offering of good wishes on your success on this unanimous election as Speaker of this august House. As we know Mr. Speaker, is a man of high academic distinctions. This perhaps is a proverbial fact. Apart from this prodigious learning, Prof. R.S. Lyngdoh is a very amiable and sociable personality. He is also very co-operative.
Mr. Speaker has a high sense of good humour, infinite patience and a photographic memory. Sir, I remember I have at one time in a tea house described your memory as photographic memory. The most lofty characteristic in the personality of Prof. Lyngdoh, however lies in his endeavour at becoming a conscientious servant of the people. I trust that the entire House will join chorus with me when I say that in you, Sir, we have an erudite, upright and dignified principal officer of the Assembly.
In a parliamentary democracy, the office of the Speaker is held in very high esteem and respect. In fact, he is the symbol of the parliamentary system and the pivot of its machinery. The main characteristics of this high office are dignity, independence and impartiality. With regard to impartiality, Mr. Speakers, Sir, I would like to read it here a portion from May in his "Parliamentary Practice and Procedure". It says "confidence in the impartiality of the Speaker is an indispensable condition of the successful working of procedure and many conventions exists which have as their object not only to ensure the impartiality of the Speaker, but to ensure that his impartiality is generally recognised". The essence of his impartiality, therefore, lies in the way he maintains an atmosphere of fair play by ensuring that the Opposition has an opportunity to express their views and criticism.
I have no doubt that the qualities of a fearless and an impartial arbiter are inherent in you, Sir, and am confident that you will be the impartial custodian of our rights as members of this august House. May we look forward to your just and proper guidance in the affairs of the Assembly. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I believe that this Assembly Chamber is not spacious enough to contain all the members. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- May I draw the attention of the hon. Member that this is not the proper time we should discuss the problem. We have some other time to discuss the matter.
Shri D. Dethwelson Lapang (Nongpoh S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is a great privilege on my part to have this opportunity of felicitating you as the Speaker of this first elected House of the State. You were no new figure in the House as well as in the State. The very fact that you had proved your brilliance and intelligence during your school and college days has captured, I believe, the imagination of not only your teachers but of the leaders of the hills districts of Assam as well.
You are the person upon whom we look now in this House as a guide. Your wide experience in parliamentary affairs as well as in the conduct of the business of the House during the last two years. I hope, will always be a guide for these five years to come. During the last two years of your Speakership of the Provincial Assembly of the Autonomous State, I remember to have seen the tribute of the Leader of the Opposition of that House that you were very impartial in your ruling. As for me, you were my teacher. It might even be possible that some more of us here in this august House were once your students. Needless to say how much a student hopes from this teacher. In this House, we need guidance, sympathy and impartiality. The very fact that you have again been elected Speaker this time when the composition of the House promises an interesting future, shows that you are the fittest person to hold this coveted position.
I fully associate myself with the Leader of the House and my colleagues in congratulating you on your election. But before I resume my seat, I would like to stress that impartiality may always be allowed to be a special feature of this House, particularly when we have a Speaker of your calibre. I have no doubt that you are an impartial person, because your election has been unanimous. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- I am really grateful to all the hon. Members of the House for a number of reasons. In the first place, I am really grateful to all of you that you have elected me Speaker of the first Meghalaya Legislative Assembly unanimously. The unanimous choice that has been made has instilled in me new confidence that from now onwards I will really act as a true British Speaker in the true sense of the term. That from now onwards inside the precincts of the House I belong to the whole House and not to any particular party.
I would have loved to see that the British convention would be adopted and followed in India. But I do not understand that after so many years, this convention that the Speaker should be a non-political man has not been so accepted in this country. On a number of occasions in nearly all the Speakers' Conferences, a discussion was always held whether the Speaker should resign his membership from a political party. Nearly all Speakers of all State Legislative Assemblies in India were about to agree and I hope the majority will agree that the principle provided for all political parties will come to an agreement that we would never fight the Speaker in the election....... (Laughter) ... Of course, in England also on a number of occasions some independent candidates fought against the Speaker. But, nevertheless, I do not want to explain to the House. Now, as all of you are aware, I can only assure you that to protect and to ensure that each and every Member enjoys his privilege, should be my solemn duty. I would rather like to read a passage from the speech of the former Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr. Ayyangar. He said "I assure every section of this House and every group and even every individual who does not belong to any particular group that I will never let down their privileges. The Members' privileges as a Member shall constantly be before me. I shall try to stick to traditions followed and whenever new ones have been established you may take it from me that I will try to do that. I will make no difference between party and party and between group and group." I think this very important part of the speech of the former Speaker of the Lok Sabha is a very very important part because it contains the real spirit of how a Speaker should behave inside the House. I am really deeply grateful for all the kind words that have been spoken for me and for a moment, I thought it was some obituary reference (Laughter) But on the other hand, I recollected that I am still alive (Loud Laughter). So I am really grateful to the hon. Members.
I will make an announcement that the Government will arrive exactly at 4 p.m. and we will have a recess for a while. It is better that all the hon. Members remain in their seats inside the House and let me move from my Chair to receive the Governor. In the mean time, the Governor's Address will be distributed to each and every hon. Members.
(The Governor entered the Chamber along with the Speaker).
Mr. Speaker :- I now request the Government to address the House.
ADDRESS BY THE GOVERNOR UNDER ARTICLE 76 (1) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
Address by Shri. B.K. Nehru Governor of Meghalaya
MR. SPEAKER AND HON'BLE MEMBERS,
It gives me great pleasure to address this august Assembly of the State of Meghalaya in its first session. The past year has been an eventful period for Meghalaya and indeed for the whole country. The Prime Minister and the Government of India had redeemed the pledge to confer Statehood upon Meghalaya, and the North Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971 was passed by the Parliament and received the assent of the President on the 30th December,1971. The State of Meghalaya was inaugurated by the Prime Minister on the 21st January, 1972. This day will go down as a red letter day in the history of Meghalaya, for it marks the culmination of years of arduous struggle of the hill people to ensure that their institutions and their culture and safeguarded and that the people of this region take their rightful place in the life of the nation. The preceding year also witnessed the liberation of Bangladesh from the military occupation of the West Pakistani forces. The freedom fighters of Bangladesh aided by the Indian Armed forces put up a heroic struggle against ruthless Pakistani military machine and liberated their motherland. The emergency of Bangladesh in the comity of nations was hailed from tremendous enthusiasm throughout the country and particularly in adjoining Stats such as Meghalaya. The people of this region look forward to close and friendly relations with the people of Bangladesh in social, cultural and economic fields. Our countrymen cherish with pride the momentous day of 16th December, 1971,when the Pakistani Commanded signed the Instrument of Surrender. The entire population stood as one man behind the Prime Minister in her courageous and righteous stand and the country today has a new sense of purpose and direction. My Government would like to place on record its deep appreciation and abiding gratitude to the Prime Minister for her outstanding qualities of leadership and her profound sympathy for the legitimate aspirations of the people of the North Eastern region of the country.
2. It is a matter for satisfaction that the General Elections to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Meghalaya could be completed soon after Meghalaya emerged as a new State. The delimitation of the Assembly constituencies in Meghalaya was taken up on a priority basis by the Election Commission and the final delimitation order was issued on the 24th January, 1972. Polling for the first General Elections to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly was duly held on the 9th March, 1972 and the new Legislative Assembly was constituted on the 16th of this month.
3. During the year 1971, the economy and administration in Meghalaya had to undergo severe strain owing to the tremendous influx of evacuees from Bangladesh fleeing from the atrocities of the Pakistani military forces. About seven lakhs of persons entered Meghalaya as refugees during the year and most of them were accommodated in camps set up on the border. The presence of such a large number of refugees out-numbering out of all proportion the local population in the border areas created inevitable social and economic tensions, and added to the manifold problems faced by the people of the border whose economy had already been disrupted after partition of the country in 1947. The influx of refugees imposed an enormous strain on this small State and the District administrations had to concentrate their energies upon tackling the refugee influx by arranging for their food and shelter and completing the registration of the evacuees as foreign nationals. This also added to the law and order problems in the State, particularly in the Khasi Hills District. There was a clash between the local population and evacuees in the Mailam area, resulting in the death of a Garo boy by drowning. There were also some cases of burning of refugee camps, which were duly enquired into by the Police. The influx of refugees called for the taking of additional security measures to ensure that Pakistani agents should not be allowed entry in the guise of evacuees. Special steps were taken to guard vital installations and to maintain lines of communication. There were 18 cases of sabotage and attempted sabotage on the border lines of communication in the Garo Hills and one such case in the Muktapur border area. Owing, however, to the vigilance of the police, the village defence parties and Home Guards, no serious damage or destruction of vital installations could be caused by Pakistani saboteurs, although there was some damage to minor bridges.
During the period that the Pakistan army was attempting to suppress the liberation struggle in Bangladesh, it occasionally intruded and carried out shelling across the border, killing 40 Indians and 5 evacuees and injuring 63 Indians and 8 evacuees.
After the liberation of Bangladesh, the situation along the border was appreciably improved. The problem of Pakistani army infiltration is over and a number of Mukti Bahini personnel have surrendered arms and ammunition on the appeal of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. However, it is possible that some among them may not have yet done so. Besides, the Razakars and Pakistani army collaborators have not yet fully surrendered and there have been cases where some arms and ammunition were covered by our security forces from people crossing the border. Security measures have accordingly been tightened up along the border to deal with such cases and check-posts and intelligence posts are being set up at appropriate points.
Apart from incidents on the border before the liberation of Bangladesh, the law and order situation in the State has been well under control. There was one serious incident during the night of 23rd June, 1971, involving a clash between some members of the public and the Central Reserve Police in Shillong town, during which the police had to resort to firing. The situation was however quickly brought under control. A dead body was found next morning and post-mortem revealed that death was caused by gun shot and not by police rifles.
4. The liberation of Bangladesh holds out the promise of a new era of progress and prosperity for the border areas of Meghalaya through the revival of trade contacts on both sides of the border. The border markets, which were closed after the Pakistani army crack down in Bangladesh have been re-opened and Bangladesh nationals are again attending the border bazars. Steps are also being taken to increase the quantum of trade and to open new markets on the borders.
5. With a view to accelerating progress in the fields of administration and development, the Jowai Sub-division of the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills District has been formed into a separate District known as the Jaintia Hills District with headquarters at Jowai and this new District was inaugurated by the Chief Minister on the 22nd February, 1972.
6. There has been a move in the Blocks I and II in Mikir Hills District adjoining the Jaintia Hills to have the areas merged with the Jaintia Hills District. These areas are predominantly inhabited by Pnars, and were included in the Mikir Hills District in 1951. Representations had been received since then regarding such inclusion and the matter had been under examination by the Assam Government. This Government took up the question of the retransfer of Blocks I and II from Mikir Hills District to Jaintia Hills District with the Government of Assam. Two meetings at the Ministerial level have been held, and in the last meeting, it was resolved that the officers of both the Governments would study the population figures of Mikirs and Non-Mikirs, tribe-wise, in the said two Blocks and furnish their findings for discussion between the two Governments. Recently, some Pnars left Mikir Hills and took shelter in Jaintia Hills and relief had had to be given to them by the Jaintia Hills District authorities. It is hoped that this matter will be amicably settled soon.
7. I would like to refer in brief to some of the salient features of the development programme in the State. The outlay for Meghalaya's Fourth Five Year Plan was fixed at Rs.38 crores by carving out a share of the Assam Hill Plan outlay when Meghalaya was created as an Autonomous State. With the attainment of Statehood, Meghalaya has a claim to a share also in respect of State-level schemes out of the outlay of the general plan of Assam. This question has been taken up with the Planning Commission and the schemes that would have to be transferred to Meghalaya and the outlays to be shared and adjusted between the two States are under process of identification. It is expected that the size of the Fourth Five Year Plan of Meghalaya may be raised to some extent, making it possible for implementation of large programmes during the remaining part of the Fourth Five Year Plan.
The provision for the current year had been fixed at Rs.7.96 crores. For the next year, the size of the annual plan is likely to be fixed at Rs.8.25 crores.
Apart from the provisions under the Fourth Five Year Plan, the State Government have drawn up some special development programmes outside the plan and submitted them to the Government of India. These special programmes relate to re-grouping of villages in Garo Hills, road projects of strategic and economic importance, Shillong Water Supply scheme, development of Shillong, Tura and Jowai towns, and rehabilitation of the economy in the border areas. The State Government has set up a working group to prepare details of a pilot project for re-grouping of villages in Garo Hills. An integrated scheme for rehabilitation of the economy in the border is being drawn up as suggested by the Government of India. The project report for Shillong Water Supply has already been prepared and submitted to the Government of India for technical scrutiny and arranging of funds. Preparation of a project report for construction of a central market in Shillong is also being taken up. The scheme for socio-economic survey of Garo Hills has been taken over from Assam and the survey report is expected to be completed shortly. Steps have also been initiated to take over the socio-economic survey of Khasi and Jaintia Hills from the Assam Government and to have the work completed by our statistical programmes.
8. Agriculture forms the backbone of the economy of Meghalaya, but owing to primitive practices, agricultural production has as yet lagged behind. The wasteful method of jhumming, combined with low inputs, has resulted in poor agricultural yield. The production of foodgrains has shown a marginal increase in 1970-71 compared to 1969-70. According to available data, production of foodgrains during 1971-72 is not likely to have increased substantially, partly because the area under jhumming could not be increased on account of early rainfall and partly also due to attack by pests. However, the production of jute and mesta is expected to have increased in 1917-72. Potato cultivation is shown an encouraging trend with more area coming under the crop. To achieve a break through in the agricultural field, it is necessary to ensure that the people adopt improved agricultural practices and also to take up a coordinated programme for reclamation of land and development of a net-work of irrigation. It is also necessary to make available adequate credit to farmers. Action to evolve a system by which ownership of land can be identified so that the credit requirements of the agriculturists can be met more easily by the financial institutions and banks is being processed by the District Councils and the Government. In the agricultural sector, in addition to the regular Fourth Plan schemes, two projects of composite nature to benefit small and marginal farmers and agricultural labour have been sanctioned by the Government of India. The co-ordination and implementation of these projects will be secured through Development agencies already registered under the law. Besides an area development project to be taken by up with Norwegian collaboration is under the consideration of the Government of India. Sanction from the Government of India is awaited for taking up the "Freedom from Hunger Campaign" aiming at training the farmers in various fields of agriculture and to be financed through Japanese assistance.
Forests constitute an important natural resource of the State and it is essential to ensure their proper management. At present, the bulk of the forest area is not under systematic management and ways and means for proper control of all forests will be worked out in coordinating with the District Councils.
Development of communications is also being accorded special importance. A proposal for construction of 130 kms., of border roads has been submitted to the Government of India for approval and execution during 1972-73. The State P.W.D has since taken over the National High Way Route No.40 connecting Jorabat-Shillong-Tamabil. The Tura-Dalu road has since been declared as a road of strategic importance and the entire expenditure will be borne by the Government of India as grant-in-aid. The Tura-Shillong road will also be developed during 1972-73 and it will be open to public vehicles soon.
In the field of industries, a techno-economic survey to assess industrial potential of the State was conducted last year through the National Industrial Development Corporation. Negotiations are being conducted with consultancy firms in the country for preparation of feasibility studies for possible industries in the State based on the report of the Corporation. The Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation has decided to establish a cinnamon oil distillation plant. After creation of the State of Meghalaya, steps were initiated to takeover the Assam Cement Co. Limited located at Cherra. Steps are being taken to have a management survey carried out by a consultancy firm in order to improve the functioning of this Company. A number of mineral occurrences in the State have already been located and important minerals investigations have been undertaken in different parts of the State. With the liberation of Bangladesh, the prospects of mineral development in Meghalaya have increased considerably. The rural electrification programme in Meghalaya is also being speeded up.
In the field of education, the Government of India have agreed to the establishing of a Central Hill University and the Indira Gandhi Hill University will start functioning from a site to be selected in the environment of Shillong in the near future. It is hoped that the setting up of this University will act as an impetus to the intellectual growth and development of our youth.
To improve the medical facilities in the State, it is proposed to start construction of a new Hospital at Tura with a hundred beds and to expand the Jowai Civil Hospital. It is also proposed to establish a Health Education Bureau. To relieve the problem of shortage of doctors, a scheme of incentives has been sanctioned for attracting doctors to serve in the rural areas.
9. As in the rest of the country, the problem of unemployment has assumed serious proportions in Meghalaya. Employment opportunities have not kept pace with the increasing number of educated and semi-educated persons. It is expected that employment potential will be increased through development programmes such as soil conservation, road construction, small scale industries, rural works, health and educational programmes. In addition, a crash programme for relieving unemployment in rural areas has been taken up.
The personnel policies of the Government have been so formulated as to reserve a number of vacancies at the lower levels to be filled up by direct recruitment. In order to rationalise the system of recruitment to different posts under the Government and with a view to ensuring uniformity in standards, a Selection Board has been set up to make recommendations in respect of direct recruitment to posts in the Secretariat and the Directorates where consultation with the Public Service Commission is not necessary. Similarly, District Selection Boards have been set up to make recommendations to fill up vacancies of such posts in district offices. Steps are also being taken to constitute various services in the State and to gear up the administrative machinery.
10. The position of civil supplies in the State during the year has not been entirely satisfactory. The large scale influx of refugees into Meghalaya imposed considerable strains on the supply and transport system of the State resulting in periodic increase in prices. It is however, expected that the position will become stabilised during the next financial year. The Government have also taken up a Transport Subsidy Scheme financed by the Government of India to enable the people in the border areas to purchase essential foodstuffs at prices prevailing in the district headquarter.
11. During the year, the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act, 1971 to regulate the transfer of land by a tribal to a non-tribal or by a non-tribal to another non-tribal was enacted to replace the corresponding Acts of the District Councils, as the Supreme Court had ruled that the District Councils did not have powers to make laws on transfer of land.
Apart from financial bills, the following Legislative measures will be placed before the Assembly during this Session:-
1. The Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya (Speaker and Deputy Speaker Salaries and Allowances) Bill, 1972.
2. The Meghalaya (Ministers' Salaries and Allowances) Bill, 1972.
3. The Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya (Members' Salaries and Allowances) Bill, 1972.
4. The Prevention of Disqualification (Members of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) Bill, 1972.
5. The Meghalaya Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 1972.
6. The Meghalaya Interpretation and General Clauses Bill, 1972.
12. I have outlined some of the salient features of the last year's achievements. As for the future, my Government is fully aware that the attainment of Statehood is but the first step towards the accelerated development of Meghalaya and the goal of social growth with justice. My Government pledges itself to ensure that effective steps are taken to build up a prosperous Meghalaya. In particular, steps will be taken to achieve self-sufficiency in food by modernising agriculture and assisting the farmers by building up a net work of irrigation schemes, reclamation of land, and supply of seeds and fertilisers in time. The natural and mineral resources of the State will also be exploited in a judicious manner. In the field o social services, efforts will be made to ensure to the people a better life by improved educational and medical facilities and by promoting employment opportunities. My Government will also take energetic steps to implement effectively special such as the border areas rehabilitation programme, regrouping of villages in Garo Hills, urban development schemes and development of important roads. My Government will further ensure that, in carrying out its programme, the legitimate interests of all non-tribals residents in the new State will be fully safeguarded.
For implementing the programme outlined above effectively, my Government hopes to secure the active participation of the people by harnessing their enthusiasm. My Government is confident that in shouldering the heavy responsibility of promoting the welfare of the people, it will have the willing co-operation of all political parties and all shades of public opinion so that every citizen is actively involved in the task of raising Meghalaya to the level of the more advanced sister States in the country.
MOTIONS OF THANKS
(Applause from all Members of the House) (The Governor left the Chamber).
Mr. Speaker :-Under Sub-Rule (2) of Rule 13 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, I hereby report to the Assembly that the Governor has been pleased to make a speech, a copy of which, has been laid on the table of the hon. Members. Now I have received notice of a motion of thanks to be Governor's Address from Shri D.D. Pugh, seconded by Prof. P.G. Marbaniang. But the hon. Members will move the motion of thanks on Monday. Now in consultation with the Business Advisory Committee, I allot Monday, 27th March, Tuesday, the 28th March and Tuesday, the 4th April as dates for discussion on matters referred in the Address. Hon. Members who would like to make amendments to the motion of thanks may submit notice of amendment which should reach this Assembly Secretariat by 6 p.m. to-day.
Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have heard that you have given time only up to 6 O' clock to-day, within which we must submit our amendments to the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address. Sir, I feel that the time is too short. Now it is 4.30 p.m. and the Hon'ble Governor has invited us. Therefore, I request that the time should be extended till Monday, say, up to 12 O' clock.
Mr. Speaker :- But the debate will take place from Monday. So although tomorrow is not a working day, there is no bar and I may extend the time till 2 p.m. tomorrow. Will it not be sufficient?
Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we would request you not to extend the time till tomorrow, because tomorrow some of us will not be able to attend the House. I, therefore, request your honour kindly to extend the time till Monday morning.
Mr. Speaker :- May I draw the attention of the hon'ble Members that by extending the time upto 2 p.m. tomorrow, hon. Members may submit the notice by 9 or 10 p.m. today. Because in consultation with the Business Advisory Committee, I have already fixed Monday as the starting date for the debate on the Governor's Address.
Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, let us say the last words on this question. Most of us are new to this august House. That aspect also may kindly be borne in mind and to-day we have worked very hard we just taken oath and some of us are very tired. So, Sir, in order to do justice to the task, ........ that the hon. Members must be given ample time to go through the....... into only in words but also it will link for a statement that we should start the debate on the ............ start at a later part on Monday. In the mean time, we may cyclostyle our amendment and circulate to the hon. Members.
Mr. Speaker :- I think the suggestion of the hon. Member can be accepted, because according to the list of business, the debate will be the last item which will be moved in the afternoon on Monday. So I will now extend the time for submission of the amendments to the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address till 10 a.m. on Monday. I think that will be sufficient for the hon. Members.
Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- As there is no other business, the House stands adjourned till 10 a.m. on Monday, the 27th March, 1972.
The 25th March, 1972
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.