Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled after the First General Election under Sovereign Democratic Republican Constitution of India.
The Assembly met at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the 30th November 1972 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong. Present with the Hon. Speaker in the Chair.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Mr. Speaker :- Let us take up Unstarred Questions.

UNSTARRED QUESTIONS

(To which answers were laid on the table)

Date : 30th November 1972

Vacant Posts of Block Development Officers

Shri Prittington Sangma asked :

4. Will Minister-in-charge of Community Development be pleased to state -

 

(a) How many posts of Block Development Officers are lying vacant in Garo Hills?

 

(b) Whether Government is aware that the people are suffering much for want of regular Block Development Officer?

 

(c) If so, what action Government propose to take for the smooth administration of the Tribal Development Blocks?

Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister incharge, Community Development) replied :

4.

(a) -Six (6) posts of Block Development Officers are lying vacant.

 

(b) -Yes.

 

(c) -Steps are being taken to fill up the vacant posts immediately.

Shifting of S.D.O's Office, Tura

Shri Prittington Sangma asked :

5. Will the Minister incharge of P.W.D. (R. and B.) be pleased to state - 

 

(a) Whether it is a fact that the Government propose to shift the office of the Subdivisional Officer, P.W.D., Tura North Division from Damra to Dainadubi?

 

(b) Whether Government acquire a plot of land at Dainadubi from the Forest Department for the location of the office of the S.D.O., P.W.D.?

 

(c) If the answer to (b) above is in the negative, what alternative measures does the Government propose to take?

Shri Grohonsingh Marak [Minister of State, P.W.D. (R. and B.)] replied :

5.

(a) -The P.W.D. Subdivisional headquarters from Damra has already been ordered for shifting to Dainadubi under P.W.D's Notification No. Admn/Estt-401/70/5, dated 4th January, 1971.

 

(b) -The matter regarding taking over of a plot of land at Dainadubi belonging to the Forest Department for the purpose of locating the buildings for the Subdivision has not yet been finalised and is under correspondence with the Forest Department.

 

(c) -As an alternative arrangement, the Department is trying to find out another suitable plot of land at Dainadubi.

Hiring of Building for the Shillong Polytechnic School, Mawlai

Shri Rowell Lyngdoh asked :

6. Will the Minister-in-charge of Education be pleased to state -

 

(a) Whether it is a fact that the Government have hired one building for the Shillong Polytechnic School;: Mawlai, besides the present Government buildings?

 

(b) If so, (i) who is the owner of the hired building and (ii) the rent settled per month?

 

(c) The necessity for hiring such a building?

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister incharge Education) replied :

6.

(a) -Yes, Sir.

 

(b) - (i) Mrs. Leslie Lyngdoh (ii) Rs. 923.00 per mensem.

 

(c) -Until the "building under reference was hired, the Shillong Polytechnic was being run in the buildings meant for Workshops. The administrative building, hostels, staff quarter, etc., are yet to be constructed. Hence there was an urgent need for suitable accommodation for the Administrative Staff, Office rooms, etc.

Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Mawkyrwat S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, what is the size of the building and the number of rooms?

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) :- I require notice.

Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Who fixes the rent?

Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) :- Under the Rent Control Act, the Deputy Commissioner fixes the rent.

Prof. Martin N. Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Was this rent fixed by the Deputy Commissioner?

Mr. Speaker :- Yes, that is what he said.

Prof. Martin N. Majaw :- May we know the name of the husband of Mrs. Leslie Lyngdoh?

Mr. Speaker :- No, that is insinuating.

Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Whether the rent has been fixed in accordance with the standard rent fixed by the Meghalaya Urban Areas Rent Control Act?

Mr. Speaker :- He has already replied.

Prof. Martin N. Majaw :- It is a fact that the owner is now living in a Government building?

Mr. Speaker :- That is also an insinuating question.

Numbers of Tractors and Bull-dozers

Shri Francis K. Mawlot asked :

7. Will the Minister incharge of Agriculture be pleased to state -

 

(a) The number of tractors and bull-dozers placed at the disposal of the District Agriculture Officer, Khasi Hills, Shillong?

 

(b) The number of tractor drivers directly placed at his disposal?

 

(c) The numbers of bull-dozer drivers?

Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) replied :

7.

(a) -Tractors, bull-dozers, etc., have been placed under the Assistant Agricultural Engineer (Mechanical), Khasi Hills and not under the District Agriculture Officer. There are 28 tractors and 8 bull-dozers.

 

 

(b) -The number of tractor drivers under Assistant Agricultural Engineer are 25.

 

(c) -The number of bull-dozer drivers is 5.

Shri Humphrey Hadem (Mynso-Raliang S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, why there are only 25 Assistant Agricultural Engineers?

Capt. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister)  :- That is not the question.

Mr. Speaker :- You may ask - Are these 25 Engineers sufficient?

Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Yes, Sir.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- At present, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there only 25 Engineers and we are appointing 3 more.

Shri Humphrey Hadem  :- Then what about the case of bull-dozers? There are 8 bull-dozers but there are 5 drivers only.

Mr. Speaker :- You can ask- when the number of bull-dozers is 8, how can they manage only with 5 drivers?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- The drivers at the moment are not available and we are trying to get 3 more.

Prof. Martin N. Majaw :- Will the appointment be made through the Selection Board or by the District Agricultural Officer?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Through the District Selection Board.

Mr. Speaker :- Item No.2. Shri D.D. Lapang and Shri D. Lyngdoh to call the attention of the Minister, Transport.


Calling Attention

Shri D.D. Lapang (Nongpoh, S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to call the attention of the Minister, Transport under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business to the sad accident which occurred on the 27th November, 1972 when a State Transport Bus collided with a jeep at Naya Bungalow (Umsning) causing the death of as many as five persons and injury to five others.

        The accident is very sad. Five persons died on the spot and five others were injured. The accident took place in the same narrow bridge near the Naya Bungalow Block Office where a number of such accidents occurred in the past, but no steps have been taken by the Government for expansion of the bridge. It is said that the State Transport bus was at fault. The bus was examined by the Motor Vehicle Inspector on that day and reported that the vehicle was alright at the time when the accident took place. The bus was driven at a very high. It is reported that the State Transport buses, especially the Super Express Buses are usually run at extremely high speed endangering the lives of men and cattle all along the road, including the passengers inside the bus.

Prof. Martin N. Majaw :- May I know from the Minister incharge of Transport.

Mr. Speaker :- For any clarification you can ask after the Minister makes a statement. I will request the Minister incharge of Transport to make a statement.

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) :- On the morning of 27th November, 1972 the Assam-Meghalaya Transport Corporation Bus (Super Express) No. ASX-2105, bound for North Lakhimpur, left Shillong 45 minutes after the scheduled time. The driver, Shri Kameshwar Koch was apparently in a hurry to make up for the lost time. While the bus reached Naya Bungalow at about 7.45 a.m. it had a collision with Jeep No. ASK-6107 on the culvert No. 46/1 on G.S. Road in front of the Naya Bungalow Project Office resulting in total damage of the jeep and instantaneous death of 5 occupants including the jeep as well as serious injuries to another 5 occupants including the jeep driver. The cause of the accident seems to be rash driving of the bus driver who was driving at high speed and tried to cross the culvert, even though the jeep had already entered the culvert. The culvert is too narrow to accommodate two vehicles at a time side by side as it is only 55'-7" long and 16' broad. The driver of the bus has been arrested and a case has been registered at Naya Bungalow Police Station under Section 279/338/427/304(A) I.P.C. The injured persons were immediately given medical aid at the local hospital and then shifted to Shillong for better treatment. The dead bodies had been handed over to the relatives of the deceased. The road was cleared by 1.30 p.m. on the same day. The main cause of the accident was rash driving by the bus driver as well as the narrowness of the culvert. The question of widening of all narrow bridges on the Shillong-Gauhati National Highway has been taken up by the Public Works Department with the Government of India and the estimates are waiting approval of the Government of India. I will read out the names of the deceased persons :-

1. Mrs. Rauta Ralte

(30)

2. Miss Rim Diki

(16)

3. Ka Stein Khongsdir

(30)

4. Ka Alice Shadap

(40)

5. U Robinson Shadap

(55)

Names of the injured persons :-

1. Lalruatha Ralte

(30)

2. Ka Syai Bina

(32)

3. U Kmain Mynsong 

(37)

4. U Emir Nongsiej

(25)

5. U Libar Nongsiej

(22)

        The post mortem examination of the dead bodies was not performed due to express will of the public and the relatives and the dead bodies were handed over to their relatives after obtaining the order from the District Magistrate, Shillong.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- In view of the statement given by the Minister that the accident was due to rash driving by the driver of the bus would Government consider giving some compensation to the families of the injured and the deceased?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) :- This will be put up to the Claims Tribunal when the matter is brought before the Claims Tribunal.

Shri Dlosingh Lyngdoh (Umroi S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, since the State Transport Bus driver has committed a mistake by his rash driving will the Transport authorities be prepared to pay compensation to the owner of the jeep?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) :- These matters will be considered by the Claims tribunal as these matters come under its control.

Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Sir, has the Claims tribunal been constituted by the Government of Meghalaya?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) :- There is already a Claims Tribunal.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has also come to our notice that one of the aspects of this rash driving is the switching off of the engine and the driver was releasing the neutral gear. Will Government be prepared to issue strict instructions to all truck and bus drivers not to go downhill on free engine?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) :- But the switching of engine has not been brought to our notice.

Shri Blooming Shallam :- Sir, it is a matter of great regret that five precious lives have been snatched away as a result of the rash driving of the driver. So, I would request the Government to see that in places like Naya Bungalow and Byrnihat and also other places where the people are crowded some sort of speed breakers are constructed so as to control the high speed driving of the drivers.

Shri Maham Singh :- Is it not also due to the fact that the bridge is very narrow?

Mr. Speaker :- He has already stated that.

Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Sir, according to the statement given by the Minister, the accident took place due to the high speed driving by the driver and it was stated that the driver had to make up for the loss of time. We can understand this loss of time when there was a gate system. But this time, there was no control or timing. In view of this, what does the Minister mean by 'loss of time'?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) :- Sir, there is a schedule of timings for the departure of buses from Shillong and their arrival at the destination. So, the driver had left, as I said earlier, 45 minutes late and to make up for the time, probably he was going beyond the speed which he should have been going.

Prof. P.G. Marbaniang (Laitumkhrah) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in view of the fact that the Bus was late by 45 minutes, we cannot understand how he was allowed to leave the station at all, because 45 minutes' time is a big gap. In the Station there are Station Superintendents and other staff. How is it that they have allowed this bus to go inspite of this?

Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is no control gate. I think the hon. Member has had experience that even the planes sometimes depart the airport  after two or three hours.

Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Hadem.

Shri Humphrey Hadem :- It is the same question, Sir.

Mr. Speaker :- Now let us pass on to item 3.

Shri Upstar Kharbuli (Malki) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this Assembly do now discuss about the difficulty faced by the local labourers in procuring jobs due to the influx of labourers from outside the State.

Mr. Speaker :- The motion moved. You can now initiate the discussion.

*Shri Upstar Kharbuli :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, one of the main sources of our people specially in this town and its suburbs is to earn their living by selling their labours in various capacities, some of them like the carpenters and the peasants. They may be skilled carpenters or semi skilled and many of them are unskilled labourers. But nowadays we notice that most of these people are loitering in the town without any job and they are put to great hardship. Some of them have resorted to other means of living which is sometimes of a nefarious nature. Many of them have become dealers in illicit liquor and some of them have become bookies in this Teer popularly known as THOH TEAM in Khasi, and the reason when asked, they told us that they could not find a job. We have seen at the same time many of these people are from outside the State who happen to be here. First of all these people were brought here by those firms or companies which have come for some construction. We have the Barapani Dam constructed by one of such firms. There are many firms like the one which took up the work of construction of the Assam Secretariat building here. These people come and stay here permanently, and, as a result, our local people cannot compete with them because they can accept wages which is far lower than what our people can survive with. So, in order to protect the economy of our people and those who have no other means to live but to earn their living by selling illicit liquor as daily wages, I would request the Government to do something to prevent this influx of these cheap labourers from outside the State. I hope the Government can very easily do that by putting certain conditions on the contractors who come from outside the State whenever any contract work is offered to them. Normally the local contractors or local company do not bring labourers from outside. So, I think if the Government invariably include in each and every tender inviting for any construction work this condition that as far as practicable the local labourers should be engaged by firms and contractors, this will go a long way in helping and protecting the interests of our local labourers. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.

(Mr. Deputy Speaker in the Chair)

Shri Winstone Syiemiong (Nongspung S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion moved by the hon. Member, Mr. Upstar Kharbuli. Out of 20 motions and resolutions moved so far in this session I feel this motion moved by Mr. Kharbuli is one of the most important. Because it deals with a section of our population which has been neglected so far. The State as well as the entire society is very much seized with the problem of unemployment of the students as well as problem created by shifting of the capital of Assam. But there is none to champion the cause of these local labourers. I have had my personal experience about the condition of these local labourers; some of them happened to be my neighbours. Their condition is really very pathetic. Their condition was far better even 5 or 10 years ago. At that time the prices of the commodities were less and they could somehow meet both their ends. But now these people are facing a lot of difficulties and one of the reasons is that our local labourers, both skilled and unskilled, are not getting any job. They cannot compete with labourers imported from outside the State. Under road construction you will find that there are quite a number of Bhutanese labourers. These people have taken away most of the jobs of labourers which rightfully belong to the people of the State. So also under building construction most of the labourers are coming from Bihar. These people having experienced in their own State, where life is very difficult, can easily compete with our local labourers. They can easily pull on with much lower rate of wage. Whereas our local labourers charge 5 or 10 rupees, these labourers from outside easily agree to work with 4 rupees as wage. Once I asked one of such labourers as to how much they spent in a day. He replied that he can easily get two square meals and two full cups of tea with only 1 rupee. But our local labourers cannot do like this. They are used to having a lot of things. So they cannot compete with the labourers coming from outside the State. That is why some of our local labourers are going outside Shillong to some interior places for getting job and to avoid competition. So, I do fully associate myself with the mover of the motion, Mr. Kharbuli, I hope this House will consider something in favour of these local labourers, with these few words, I resume my seat.

Shri K.M. Roy Marbaniang (Mawsynram S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to oppose the motion moved by my hon. friend from Malki regarding the difficulties of the local labourers I am sorry that I cannot agree with the mover of the motion that local labourers cannot get any job due to influx of outside labourers. I do not know whether anybody of us has experienced the actual state of affairs or not in the past few years. It is very difficult to get the labourers especially the local labourers at this juncture. I am stating from the facts. Many of the building works and Road Construction work under the P.W.D. could not be completed in time due to shortage of labourers; even with the labourers coming from outside the State too. Therefore, it is difficult to understand as to how the local labourers cannot get job. I think some of my hon. friends were contractors in the past. They probably know that many of the construction works could not be completed in time. One of the reasons which the contractors used to cite in their application was that the labourers were not available. I have come across many such applications to the State Government wherein the contractors' only explanation for non-completion of the works in time is that there are no labourers. This is the main reason stated about in all their application for the extension of contracts. Even for the construction of my own house I am facing great difficulties for dearth of labourers it is very difficult to even get 'jugalis'. The rate of wages for jugalis is 5 rupees for men and 4 rupees for women. So Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I cannot appreciate the contention of the hon. friend from Malki that the local labourers are resorting to 'Thoh team' or something like that for not getting work. But I think they are doing so only to get the money without manual labour. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I disagree with the hon. Mover and I am not convinced of the reasons which he has stated. With these few words I resume my seat. 

Shri Plansing Marak (Kherapara S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to point out here that only in Khasi Hills but also in Garo Hills we are facing the problem of not getting local labourers. It is only during the harvesting season that a few labourers are available in Garo Hills. So long cultivation continues no local labourers are forthcoming. Before I was elected as a Member of this august House, I was doing some contract works under the District Council. I was also in favour of engaging local labourers, because I dislike the labourers from Bihar. You will find every month these people are sending Rs.500/600 to their home exploiting our people. So I tried to employ some Garo labourers, some of them were well known to me. At one time I employed a number of Garos for road construction. These labourers are well-known to me and they took money in advance as I have confidence and trust in them. So I gave them money in advance. But what is the result. Next day they did not come to work. There are many contractors who like to engage local labourers but because of so many troubles they are bound to give works to outside labourer. I know of a Bengali contractor who is to be used very fond of Garos and had even tried to engage them or help them find works. But since then, although he still wants to get Garo labourers, he was compelled to employ others. As regards road construction I like the Biharis better; they are very cunning. They are experts and at the time of measurement, you will find that the measurements have increased. (laughter)

        Sir, this is why I do not like to employ Garo labourers because they will never do justice; they will try to cheat. Only this year when I was constructing my house I employed one Garo mistry who was my wife's maternal uncle (laughter). Later on, he got angry with me and did not come to work. So, Sir, I was compelled to get another mistry who was a Bengali. Now I am living in that house. Not only that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, these Garo labourers are not experts in brick works and even in giving cement proportions. There is a big building under construction at Tura and I find that the labourers there are from Orissa. These labourers make sounds like "lolo lolo"  (laughter)  and they even start work at 6 o'clock in the morning till 12 at night making sounds like 'thik' 'thik' 'thak' 'thak' (laughter). While in Orissa and elsewhere, they have got good experience in big works. That is why the contractors are compelled to bring these outsiders here. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it may be possible here in Khasi Hills but in my district the time has not as yet come to stop import of outside labourers. So, Sir, on this ground I oppose the motion. Thank you, Sir.

Shri H.E. Pohshna (Nongtalang S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, while supporting the motion opposed by two ex-contractors (laughter) I would like to say a few words. Firstly, I am to express my thanks to them for being frank enough (voices-Are you not one of them?). If I was one of them you should also submit. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish to express my thanks to the two hon. Members of the ruling party who have opposed the motion. I think I would appeal to their minds to consider that while opposing the motion they are opposing their own community. Sir, I do not think that the Garos are lazy and they are not bad workers.

Shri K.M. Roy :- I am only opposing it.

Shri H.E. Pohshna :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member has got excited. From the speech of the hon. Member it appears that the Garo labourers are not so disciplined and, moreover, they are not law abiding. They do not work from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. But, Sir, this is against the Manual of Labour Rules, against the law of the country and, as such the hon. Member wants outside labourers. It also means that the Garos do not over-work like the Biharis. Secondly, Sir, as such, it is clear that these contractor friends are responsible for the influx of outside labourers.

Shri K.M. Roy :-  I am not responsible for that.

Shri H.E. Pohshna :- Then you support this resolution.

Shri H. Hadem (Mynso Raliang S.T.) :- I think it is unparliamentary if hon. Members are allowed to interrupt.

Shri H.E. Pohshna :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while speaking, I want to base my speech on figures. According to the Census figures of 1961-71, increase of population like this : Tribals 27.4 per cent, Scheduled Castes 208.2 per cent and other non-tribals 50.5 per cent. Now, Sir, what is the cause of this increase? It is very difficult to say. But the matter has been simplified by the statement made by the two friends who are responsible for the increase of labour population. So, Sir, I do request my two friends from the other side of the House to see that these outsiders do not come. I am not charging them but I simply say that they are responsible for the influx of these outsiders. Sir, labour is one of the most important things and the dignity of labour is also very important for this house to consider and which we should try to infuse in the minds of the Tribal population of Meghalaya. Just because a maternal uncle or a son-in-law does not submit to the order of the selected contractor engaging him you cannot say that the Garos are not good labourers. I do associate with the idea mentioned by the hon. mover of the motion to check the increase of population of outside labourers at the cost of the local labourers. At the same time it is an insult to say that our people are no good labourers. These other people from outside the State do not construct the road, in Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills in the rural areas where our people are working. All the roads are in progress not because of the Biharis but because of the local people. Therefore, Sir, I would like to say that we should be very cautious. There is a dearth of work for our labourers because of the exploitation of the outside labourers. It is natural that there will be competition if you start a stall in the local market. You will find that outsiders will come with a competitive spirit. So, also, if you offer to Khasi labourers Rs.4.00 per day, the outside labourers will work at Rs.2.00 or Rs.2.50 paise per day. Therefore Sir, with these few words I support the motion. I also request that the Government should have a thorough checking as to the cause of the influx of the outside labourers. Whether it is because of the contractors? I would like to say that the contractors who engage outside labourers should not be encouraged to do the work because if one makes profit only for this, the local people should share the profit.

Shri D.D. Lapang (Nongpoh S.T.) :- at the outset, I would like to appreciate my colleagues from the other side for bringing this motion before the House.

Shri H.E. Pohshna :- He opposes the Bangladesh labourers. 

(At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair).

Shri D.D. Lapang :- While I am standing here I take this opportunity of expressing my feeling on the problem which is standing in the way, i.e., the problem of encouraging local labourers of our State. It is also appreciated that we are very much concerned about our respective Constituencies. I think it is our sacred duty that our people are not exploited in all walks of life. we should be more realistic. It is an admitted fact that there is lack of technical know-how in our people when they construct roads and buildings. I do agree that it is our duty also to train them up, bringing them to the forefront so that there will be no exploitation from any outside labourers. I do also agree with the hon. Member who said that our people are seasonal workers. They have to go to the paddy fields and sometimes they will be working on the road. But the contractors are also responsible for completion of the work according to the schedule before the work is measured and final payment made. It is not cent per cent correct to say that the Government should bring in Garos. May I bring to the notice of my colleagues that the District Council has passed an Act for encouraging local labourers. The contractors should intimate to the authority concerned within 7 days the number of outside labourers engaged by him. Further he should also state the period of their stay and on top of that, the contractors or authority concerned should direct the outside labourers not to stay beyond the stipulated period. It is the duty of the respective Districts to approach the District Councils to pass some Act through proper channel in order to check the influx of outside labourers. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is our concern to see that our people are not lagging behind. I would request the hon. Member who brings this motion to do his best that the labourers of his Constituency are not exploited. Because it is not a fact that the people who are responsible for completing the works are intentionally bringing only outsiders. But it is a fact that there is dearth of labourers in our State. Therefore we must try to be realistic in looking into this matter.

Shri Reidson Momin (Dadenggiri S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while I share the sentiment and feeling expressed by the mover of this motion, I rise to oppose the motion on the following grounds. It is a fact Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that local labourers are not in plenty and it is also a fact that the labourers from outside are trying to monopolize labour in our State. We will not say that the labourers are lazy and not fit to do the work. There are some Khasi and Garo labourers who have taken to this profession. I will definitely say that there are very few labourers who take to this profession and as such we have imported labourers from outside. So, I do not believe that the tribal people are not good. But I would say that our people have not taken to this profession because we are, by nature, agriculturists. So we do not like to take to this profession. The mover of this motion has said that because the labourers in this State are not getting works, many of them have become bookies, like dealers in illicit liquor, etc. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I stand to differ on the point of profession or the line of trade we take in our life. If I am a labourer I will not definitely go for illicit distillation or to become a bookie. If I am a driver today, I will definitely go for that line because I know I have experienced in that line. But I do not like to become a mechanic although I know that this job is more respectable. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is no dearth of work in our country for our labourers, but our people have not taken to this line of work. So we cannot simply say that we are bringing in or importing labourers from outside and thereby increasing the population by bringing more people from outside the State. Today, before we condemn the outsiders, we should also see and study whether we are really capable of taking over such profession. I know Sir, that our youngsters - young students say that we should drive out all Merwaries and Bengalis or non-Meghalayans from our land, because they are monopolizing the trades in our country and sucking the blood of our tribal people. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I disagree that we are led to bookie profession before we can deprive somebody else of his profession. Here again, I should like to say that our tribal people are wasting away their leisure time while the outsiders are engaged in such type of works. I share the view points expressed by the two Speakers from this side, who said that when we tried to engage our own people, they tried to indulge in chewing pans or smoking hookas or rolling tobacco cigarette only. When I tried to point out to them that this should not be done, that they should complete their work first and not to waste time they replied that this is their custom. So this is the infection they have got with them. Even when I tried to help my own brothers, they do not try to help me. So if  we bring in more labourers from outside, I can say that they can do better work than our local people in this respect. The outside labourers are more sincere in their work - they work day and night. So I cannot share the views expressed by Mr. H.E. Pohshna from the other side of the House. Sometimes I feel delighted to see that the Bihari workers work even at night and even they try to work in the moonlight. So it is a great advantage to us that the contractors are bringing these outside labourers for their own benefit. These labourers will complete any work in time. Therefore,  Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I say that it is impossible to put a condition which the mover of this Motion has suggested that only local labourers should be solely engaged but the outsiders should not be brought in. It is a time factor, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, because in the Public Works Department or in any other Departments the time factor is there and the contractors are supposed to complete the works within the stipulated time. So whether we engage the local labourers or labourers brought from outside, there is the time factor for all the works. So with these few words,  Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat. Thank you.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Order, please. Let me clarify the subject matter now under discussion in the House. According to Rule 131, a Motion on a matter of general public interest can be discussed only with the consent of the Speaker. Hon. Members can take part in the discussion on this Motion. So the members who take part in this Motion have got only very little time. The question of opposing or supporting the Motion will not arise. So the hon. Members are requested to take part on this subject matter on a very few points only.

Shri Blooming Shallam (Jowai S.T.) :-  Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while fully appreciating the sentiments expressed by my friends who have just spoken in favour of the Motion, I would also like to share their views in this matter. As a matter of fact, it only indicates how much love they have for our own people whom we also do love. I think there is none of us who will not love our own people. We should do the best we can for our people. There was a thought that with the achievement of our Hill State or full-fledged State as we are having now, we will do our best for the benefit of our people. I would like to say that we should not be allowed to be led simply by sentiments but we should look into the things as they are in their practical perspectives. There are real difficulties which we cannot help. I would like to give a concrete example. Now, suppose we have to construct a bridge, a big bridge, like Lukha bridge. According to my own experience, I found that the local contractors are not available, we have to offer the work to other Companies who can undertake the construction of such a bridge. So now if we allow ourselves to be led by sentiments, I can say that we will never be able to construct such a bridge or big buildings which I think, our local contractors cannot afford to do it because of lack of skill, financial power and also other technical things. So these things can be the reasons why we have to offer the work to others, otherwise we will not be in a position to construct such bridges and buildings. That is the reason why we will not be in a position to construct our buildings and bridges. If we love our people, we should come forward and do the work. We must also carefully examine and see that we should not be lagging behind in the construction of not only buildings and bridges but also other works. There are times when we reached such a stage that we could not extend our help. We are now discussing about the influx of outside labourers. This is a different matter. We are discussing about giving help to our people, to see how best we can offer jobs to our people and how to enrich our economy. Because, we do not believe that simply by the coming of the labourers the population is increased. There are other factors also that we should take into consideration. That is why I differ from my friends. We of the Ruling Party also are not the least to love our own people. As we do not have people to man the difficult works, we have to encourage them, otherwise developmental works will suffer. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel it is not proper to blame the condition of our labour force. I do not know whether we can lay down rules to prohibit the influx of labourers from outside or from within the boundary of our Mother India. I think if rules are enforced, automatically it will tantamount to communalism by restricting the works to our own people. As my hon. friend, Mr. D.D. Lapang, has rightly pointed out that by imposing some sort of labour taxes by the District Councils, the problem of influx of outside labour could be eased. But, Sir, this will discourage our own people from taking up the works. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I once again appeal to each and everyone that while we love our own people - as we are all here for our people and our State, - we must see that the interests of our labourers are not exploited. With these few words, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- The debate is closed. I now request the Minister incharge of Labour to reply.

Shri Humphrey Hadem (Mynso-Raliang S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, allow me to speak a few words and I shall be very brief.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- I will give you two minutes.

Shri Humphrey Hadem :-  Thank you very much Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I am very much concerned with the remarks given from both sides, that is to love our own people. From the discussion we have had, it appears that it is only a 'lip-deep love' and nothing at all. As such, I would like to say that we should have to go to the exact principles of love in which the labourers were not exploited but their interests are safeguarded to their best advantage. Sir, I will not be mistaken in saying that the labourers should be paid their due share and legitimate right so that they can resort to different works for the development of the country in general and particularly, our own State which is backward. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel that Government should not allot the works only to the big contractors from outside but also to local contractors in such a way that it will not be a one-sided benefit but be beneficial to both the contractors and the labourers. But it seems, Sir, according to what has been stated by some of my friends from the other side, it is a one-sided benefit. Only the big contractors get the lion's share while the labourers are being hard hit. These poor labourers don't know whether there will be dinner for them or not while they are working continuously to make somebody rich. One of the hon. Members has stated in this House that he has to bring labourers from outside since he cannot get local people who are ready to work at less than Rs.5 a day. I think because of this reason...........

Shri K.M. Roy Marbaniang :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I did not say like that. I said that during these days it is very difficult to get labourers if we pay less than Rs.5 a day. You know, Sir, I am ready even to pay Rs.10 to each labourer.

Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Now, Sir, it is clear that he can pay Rs.10 per day but indirectly nobody can work with him except a few outside labourers. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the remark given by the hon. Member seems that the influx of these outside labourers for the reason that our own people are not skilled labourers. The reason is that he has got some misunderstanding with his uncle and father-in-law. That is why he has avoided them but then he said that they were not trustworthy and lazy. And if this is the classification, I think it will be quite an unpleasant state of things. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I say this from my practical experience and I hope after having fully discussed the matter in the House, the Government will sympathetically consider the condition of our local labourers. With these few words, I resume my seat.

Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Labour etc.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, from both sides we have heard discussion. The motion is that our local labourers are not getting any share of employment because most of the labourers working in this part of the country, are from outside the State. Dealing with this labour problem to which most of the members had referred I would say, we in Meghalaya, do not have sufficient number of professional labourers. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on many occasions, due to lack of labour force the Members have complained as to why we cannot bring labourers from outside to complete the works. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have to do something to have labourers from outside also to help solve the problem. Particularly, in the case of the Public Works Department to which some of the hon. Members have referred, construction is done within a specific time. Contract works were given subject to  a stipulated time, i.e.,  3 to 4 months for the works to be completed. As I have pointed out earlier, we have to wait and hence the work suffered terribly and impediments have arisen. We have to wait and wait like this because the Contractors find it difficult to complete the work due to shortage of labourers. We have to wait till the work is completed. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as we have seen here in the Khasi Hills the majority of the labourers are unskilled and seasonal.

        Then another point Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. There are skilled and unskilled labour as well, and in my opinion, I think we, in Meghalaya today, have only semi-skilled and unskilled labourers. These are common especially in Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. We all know that Khasi labourers are good workers.

Shri H.E. Pohshna :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is it a fact that for the reason that we have only unskilled labourers labour has to be indented from outside?

Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Labour etc.) :- Well Sir, I have nothing to comment on the question of bringing such labourers from outside. We have to bring labourers from outside to complete the work. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, another point raised by the mover of the Motion is that since our local people are not getting jobs, they are engaging themselves in some other anti-social activities like distillation etc. and they have become bookies and all that. According to my information, it is not only the labour class who sell liquor or have become bookies. The profession is open to all and anyone can take up that profession even without becoming a labourer. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would not, therefore, agree to it.

        Another thing by which we can put a check is, as has been done in Garo Hills, by way of introducing the system of residential toel. It is perhaps the look-out of the District Council. In Garo Hills we have the residential toel at the rate of Re.1/- per labourer and all the contractors who engage labourers from outside are instructed to cut the wages of the labourers to pay for the residential toels. This system gives revenue to the District Council also and at the same time controls the practice of bringing labour from outside. Considering all these, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not see that we have much labour problem now in this State. In fact, we have not come across any big problem as other States are having. So, there is nothing much to worry.

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to add a few words so far as the industrial labour is concerned because this is a problem which we may face in future in our Industries. I would like just to inform the House that in all discussions with industrialists and entrepreneurs, particularly those from outside the State, when they are interested in establishing industries in our State, we have given them specific directions, instructions and advice that they are to employ local labour. This is the field in which the Government will have some sort of control when licenses are issued. Therefore, we can have some hand in it. In addition to this, the Government has taken up some schemes for training our local people for taking up industries. We enter into agreement that our local people - skilled and semi-skilled will need to be trained sometimes in the factories of the entrepreneurs outside the State, not to speak of establishments inside the State, so that it can take care of our unemployment problem. So, this is an aspect which I thought we should inform the House that the Government is fully aware of this aspect of helping our own people and getting them employed. Whenever we entertain proposals, we study the proposals and discuss with entrepreneurs and always insist that labour must be from the State and we enter into an agreement so that as far as possible, right from the top to the bottom local people can be employed. We request them to take in local partners also in entrepreneurship. This is for the information of the House.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Now the discussion is closed. Let us come to the next item. Prof. Majaw.

Prof. Martin N. Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to move that this Assembly do now discuss about the removal of all monopoly control and the nationalisation over the Gauhati-Shillong Road and instead, to issue a sufficient number of road permits to the local owners of trucks for the carriage of goods between Gauhati and Shillong.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Motion moved.

Prof. Martin N. Majaw :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this subject of the Gauhati-Shillong Road is an old subject coming down from the British days. As all of us know, there is the monopoly control over the carriage of goods along this road. The monopoly agency started when the road was nationalised in 1948 and then with the Assam State Road Transport Act, 1954 the State Transport Authority was set up and that State Transport Authority of the Government of Assam continues to run passengers and goods traffic along this road. All these are based upon the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 which gives full authority and power to the State Government to set up the State Transport Authority to issue permits, to renew permits, to cancel permits and to supervise in other ways and to make rules for the transport of goods or passengers. Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, what was the result of the nationalisation? As all of us know, this is the only means of communication between Shillong and the rest of India. This long, circuitous meandering road is the only means of communication, unless one has to walk on foot across the vast stretches of land that constitute the north-eastern region. We have no river transport by which to go down to the plains. We have no airways except a privileged few who can go and come by helicopters. We have no railways as well. Therefore, the only way by which people in Shillong, Jowai and further on can go out to Assam and then to West Bengal and other places would be through this road alone - the road called 'Gauhati-Shillong Road. But along this road, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is an absolute monopoly. There are arguments adduced for the nationalisation of services, for the nationalisation of various trades and for the nationalisation of roads. They may be justified if in the final analysis people are benefited. But what do we get in Shillong? Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we find that prices of everything are affected by the high cost of transport between Gauhati and Shillong. Everything from a match-box to an elephant - this Circus Company coming up to Shillong has to transport along this road there is a proportionate result in the shape of rise of prices because of monopoly. Now, the rate of transport of goods is Rs.1.25 per maund, whereas there are records when it was under the Government of Assam, that all transport companies offered to carry goods from Gauhati to Shillong and vice-versa  at 0.50 paise per maund. So, we have here the picture of an authority or corporation carrying goods at more than double of what other companies offered to charge and thereby proportionately affecting rise of prices in Shillong. Nowhere else in India Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this nationalisation of goods traffic exists except in Jammu and Kashmir. Nowhere else even when we speak of the North Eastern Region. It is difficult to understand why this nationalisation should be maintained only along this road while the National Highway in the rest of Assam and other parts persons can carry goods from Gauhati to Jorhat and Dibrugarh that is along the National Highway No.37. Along this N.H. No.37 there is no monopoly by the Assam State Road Transport Corporation which has been curiously renamed as the Assam Meghalaya Road Transport Corporation. It is only along this place, a little stretch of land where there is no other means of communication that the monopoly at the high rate is being maintained. I fail to understand the reasons for the continuation of this monopoly. Now, the result which has come from this monopoly is that we have got black-marketers, extensive black-marketing. The school of black-marketer has been opened along the Gauhati-Shillong road where many innocent people are learning. How Government petrol and spare parts like wheels of the trucks of the State Transport have been sold by means of black-marketing. Old tyres are used whereas the new ones are sold and the black-marketing centre is at Lalcharai. Though there are no petrol pumps or petrol stations along the G.S. Road yet petrol is being sold by the drivers and conductors of the State Transport at a cheap rate. Re.1 per litre. Sometimes coming late at night on the G.S. Road, we saw the State transport truck unloading big parcels but in the report it is stated as breakdown. Of course breakdown for a nice economic business. Then, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is the first time a request had been made for removal of the nationalisation of monopoly. A request was also made in the Assam Legislative Assembly and the repeated reply of the Government is that if this monopoly is removed the State Transport Department will have to be closed. Although the people are living for the Government and not the Government for the people, if the State Transport Department will have to be closed down, for God's sake close it down, the people will not suffer for it. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there are other arguments still. For example, all services, - I have got photographs which I have not yet printed showing the conditions of the State Transport Trucks. But may motion is mainly for carriage of goods by the State Transport Trucks and not with the passenger services. If you watch the Transport Trucks carrying goods up and down, like vegetables, the load of vegetables etc., is almost touching the ground. It is like a fatty lady falling by the side of a tight chair. Big breakdown of the State Transport Trucks is very often. This is the type of service we are getting from the State Transport Corporation. I was told by the General Manager of the present Assam Meghalaya Road Transport Corporation that they are not in certainty regarding taking over of the corporation by the Government of Meghalaya and so they cannot buy new trucks and the old ones are used because buying of new trucks may involve extra expenditure. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that was the picture in the past and it is still continuing at present. According to the audited account for the year 1970, the Corporation suffered a loss of Rs.1 crore and 7 lakhs in the year 1969-70. One day before the inauguration of the Autonomous State of, Meghalaya on the 1st April, 1970, the Assam Road Transport Corporation was taken over and as per audited report the corporation is running at a loss of Rs.1 crore and 7 lakhs during 1969-70. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, when this Government was set up on the 21st January 1972, the full fledged State of Meghalaya was derived the power of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1939 to revoke denationalisation of roads. It has the full authority as the Motor Vehicle Act has been extended to Meghalaya but I am surprised to see that uptil now, not even name plates have been changed. This was not so, instead the same Road Transport Corporation was allowed to continue and in support of it, Section 56 of the North Eastern Areas Reorganisation Act was quoted. Section 56 says as follows :- 

        "General provisions as to statutory corporations - save as otherwise expressly provided by the foregoing provisions of this Part, where any body corporate constituted under a Central Act, State Act or Provincial Act for the existing State of Assam or any part thereof has by virtue of the provisions of Part II, become an inter State body corporate then the body corporate shall, on and from the appointed day continue to function and operate in those areas in respect of which it was functioning and operating immediately before that day, subject to such directions as may from time to time be issued by the Central Government until other provision is made by law in respect of the said body corporate". This section 56 of North Eastern Areas Reorganisation Act, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if we read it carefully would mean that Assam and Meghalaya State Transport Corporation may run or continue to run passengers and goods traffic along the Gauhati-Shillong Road but not exclusively monopoly comes to an end along the area, that part of the P.W.D. road which is known as N.H. No.40 which has been taken over by the State of Meghalaya. As we know N.H. No.40 begins from Jorabat and the remaining portion of it from Jorabat upto Khanapara falls under N.H. 37. Along the National Highway 40 Assam and Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation may continue to run its services but it cannot hold a monopoly. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in support of this, I quote the Motor Vehicle Act which has been extended to Meghalaya. In the first place, according to Section 68 C of the Motor Vehicle Act "Where any State Transport Undertaking is of opinion that for the purpose of providing an efficient, adequate, economical and probably coordinated Road Transport Service, it is necessary in the public interest that Road Transport Services in general or any particular class of such services in relation to any area or route thereof should be run and operated by the State Transport Undertaking, whether to the exclusion complete or partial, or other reasons the State Transport Undertaking may prepare a scheme giving particulars of the nature of the services proposed to be rendered, the area or route to be covered and such other particulars respecting thereto as may be prescribed, and shall cause every such scheme to be published in the official Gazette and also in such other manner as the State Government may direct". Now since the Government of Meghalaya has not published such scheme in the official Gazette there is no such scheme and by virtue of Section 56 of the North Eastern Areas Reorganisation Act, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Assam and Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation may continue to run its services not on monopoly basis within this State. An agreement was signed between the Government of Meghalaya, the Government of Assam and the Assam State Road Transport Corporation which agreement had expired on the 1st of July, 1972. Then it was further extended for a period of two months upto September 1972. This agreement also has expired. We were in the month of November now, but tomorrow we will be having the month of December and the agreement between the Assam and Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation and the Government of Meghalaya has even lapsed. The agreement specifically states that the Assam Government must consult the Government of Meghalaya in taking up the matter and the Government of Meghalaya must be consulted also in any action taken under the provision of the Assam Road Transport Corporation Act, 1964. First of all, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Transport Minister of Assam was appointed as the Chairman of the Assam Motor State Road Transport Corporation Ltd. the Government of Meghalaya was not consulted; he was automatically made the Chairman. The previous Chairman was the Minister, Transport and since there was change in his personality, Mr. Talukder became the Chairman.

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport, etc.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on a point of information, the Chairman was not the previous Minister. At the time when the change took place the Chairman was a Special Officer, Transport and the Minister Transport, Assam, took over from him and not from the previous Minister.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- I do not think it is correct, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. The Government of Meghalaya was not consulted when the new Chairman was appointed. Further, Shri B.N. Hazarika was appointed as the General Manager without consulting the Government of Meghalaya. The agreement merely stated that the Government of Meghalaya should be consulted; while in suspending permits and renewing permits we are finding the trucks are held up in the compound of the Assam and Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation in Gauhati, but the Government of Meghalaya was not consulted. This action on the part of the Corporation is an insult to the Government of Meghalaya. Furthermore under section 68(e) the Government of Meghalaya can, at any time cancel or modify any scheme. The Section reads :- "Any scheme published under Sub-section (3) of Section 68(d) may at any time be cancelled or  modified by the State Transport Undertaking and the procedure laid down in Section 68(c) and Section 68(d) shall so far as it can be made applicable, be followed in every case where the scheme is proposed to be modified as if the modification proposed were a separate scheme" - So it is open to the Government of Meghalaya to link the monopoly or to denationalise or to continue nationalisation. Now if one is to argue, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that it is enough for the Government by an executive order here in the State of Meghalaya to continue with the nationalisation. I will quote the relevant section in the Motor Vehicles Act to show that this is not permissible. Section 47-A Regional Transport Authority shall in considering an application for a stage carriage permit have regard to the following matter, namely :-

 

(a) the interest of the public, generally,

 

(b) the adequacy of other passenger transport services operating or likely to operate in the near future, whether by road or other means between the places to be served;

 

(c) the benefit to any particular locality or localities likely to be afforded by the services;

 

(d) the operation by the applicant, etc. and shall also take into consideration any representations made by persons already providing passengers transport facilities.

         Now, therefore, the Regional Transport Authority can issue permit on application. Therefore, on this Motor Vehicles Act, 1949 to have nationalisation of the route, there is a ruling Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, from the Hon'ble High Court of Gauhati in the case between the Mr. Chandra and the Regional Transport Authority, Gauhati and, in this, Mr. Chandra has challenged the validity for continuing nationalisation and the rule of the High Court of Gauhati was this. The Executive Government have the power to carry on any trade, business or industries to the exclusion or partial exclusion of the citizens. They can do so only under the law which justify the requirements of Clause 6(19) which again may require the Government, for the greater interest to nationalise the transport service after the Executive Government creates monopoly to the exclusion of the citizen from the provision or trade with the authority of the law. The Government of Meghalaya cannot allow the AMSRTC to continue its monopoly over the Gauhati-Shillong route. Therefore, Sir, by continuing this is very much as for Gauhati-Shillong route as matter stands to be legal there is no more monopoly on the AMSRTC on the Shillong-Gauhati route. But it is a fact that the monopoly does not exist. The AMSRTC may run out and the Government can issue permits to any person whoever seem fit to carry goods or passengers along the Gauhati-Shillong route. There is another aspect also, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that comes into this genuine monopolisation by the Government. I may be allowed to state that along the Gauhati-Shillong route, there are so many Trucks and Buses of the Assam Meghalaya State Transport Corporation plying up in Shillong, Jowai and Tura but all are being taxed to and realised by the Assam District Transport Officer in Gauhati whereas the Tax from these vehicles involve Meghalaya also with consequence a huge loss incurred by this State. All these vehicles of various types of Buses and Trucks are paying taxes in Gauhati. They have been registered in Gauhati all these months even though the Act have been extended to Meghalaya also.

        We are losing these taxes whenever permits are renewed and whenever taxes have been collected, as it is being done at Gauhati although most of the time vehicles are kept in Tura, Shillong or Jowai. We are not speaking of the vehicles which are locked up at Gauhati. Further, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, along the Gauhati-Shillong Road, 90 per cent of the road is in Meghalaya and only 10 per cent or 5 per cent is in Assam. Even that 5 per cent is in the South because the boundary of Assam and Meghalaya beyond Jorabad runs in the middle of the road length-wise and half of the road is in Meghalaya and half in Assam. There is no reason for the Assam-Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation and for the District Transport Officer of the Transport Department in Assam to collect all the revenues when the major portion of the road lies in Meghalaya. Now the position is, therefore, very clear, either we are to remove nationalisation or we are to continue with it. At present in this area, I maintain, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is no nationalisation because no legislation has brought before the House and a parallel service can be run and there is no doubt that buses of Meghalaya Government are running to Tura via  the G.S. Road. But the trucks that run are under the Assam Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation except a few. A majority of them are combined with the Assam-Meghalaya State Road Transport. So I would move, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in keeping with my motion, that the Meghalaya Government denationalise this road, removing the monopoly in order to protect the interest of local truck owners in Meghalaya and also to prevent a larger distress coming with thousand of trucks. The Government can issue a restrictions on permits to the local trucks owners within the State of Meghalaya because, I admit, that if we are to merely to open the Gauhati-Shillong road and not denationalise it, then the local truck owners may suffer. There are many big monopolists who may come from outside. So we cannot jump from the fire into the frying pan. But in order to allow the local people who are farmers, people who are traders, genuine indigenous people - our own tribal people to carry their goods directly from their own fields to Gauhati, Calcutta and other places - we should denationalise the road and issue restricted number of permits only to those whose antecedents have been checked. There are benami transactions permitting large number of monopolists to own vehicles masquerading in the name of tribals to avoid payment of taxes, etc. But if the Government of Meghalaya accept our proposal and find out if he is really a tribal or if he is really a genuine native, we can avoid benami transactions and help our people to bring down the rise of prices in Shillong.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Shri Maham Singh.

Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem, S.T.) :- I also, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, wish to support the Motion that has been moved by my friend from Mawhati, with a slight modification. As has been said by my friend, this is the only means of communication or outlet between our place and the rest of India. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, apart from the inefficiency which has already been expressed by my hon. friend regarding the working of this Department, I want to say that nationalisation of traffic in this route has subjected our people to great suffering and hardship. All the people living between Shillong and Gauhati, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, have to face enormous difficulties because of this. It has been a great handicap to the development of the major portion of our district. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this connection I want to say that many people have got their paddy fields in the interior away from the road, that is, from the Gauhati-Shillong Road. Now this Department has got no arrangement whatsoever to lift goods from the road side and there interior places and thus it causes a great hardship and financial loss to the people. At present even if the people bring the commodities from the interior unload them on the road side, to bring them to Shillong, the fact remains that there is no arrangement whatsoever by this Department for lifting goods from the road side to Shillong or to Gauhati or to any other market. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to say that in regard to goods traffic there should be denationalisation and the monopoly must be lifted. With regard to the passenger traffic, monopoly may continue but in this connection I want to express that Government should run the services in a more efficient manner. So with these few words, I would also like to support the motion that has been moved by my friend with this slight modification.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Shri D.D. Lapang.

Shri D.D. Lapang (Nongpoh, S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the subject of monopoly of Gauhati-Shillong Road, the  mover of the motion has said that this is an old subject and it is a fact. But it is a new subject for our new born State because Meghalaya State came into existence only a few months ago. The importance of this road is realised by everybody. There is a high rate of traffic. We all do accept this. Now we understand that the control falls on the State Transport Corporation which belongs jointly to Assam and Meghalaya. The profit and loss of this road is being shared by the two States. My colleague from Mawhati, Prof. Majaw, has stated that there has been a big loss during the recent past in this Department. I do not understand very clearly and I do not know whether it is a losing concern or not. If that be the case, it is very clear that our State Government should examine it very thoroughly so that all losses already incurred or are going to be incurred by this Department would not simply fall on our State. Now regarding the demonopolisation of this road, we are not able to say whether it will really bring benefit to our people or it will take our people to a much more difficult position. It may also happen that by demonopolisation this road may fall in the hands of few people who may not be the people from our own State. So the matter should be examined and looked into very carefully, whether this road will be controlled by the Corporation or by the Department of Transport. The hon. Member, Prof. Majaw, has questioned the existence of the Transport Department if it cannot control this road. This is a serious matter and the Government should examine and see which is the best agency to control this road. We are well aware of the fact that the North Eastern Council is coming and the inter-State subject is one of the subjects included in the advisory jurisdiction of this Council. The Gauhati-Shillong Road can also be termed as the inter-State subject. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, 99 per cent of the road fall under Meghalaya, and if the North Eastern Council is anything to us or something to do with inter-State, it will be to our benefit if 99 per cent falls under Meghalaya. So our Government should see that this matter falls within the purview of inter-State subjects. After considering very thoroughly and after a thread-bare discussion of the pros and cons, a firm decision should be taken by the Government to see that no loss falls on our shoulder and Government should take up the matter immediately. Then I think it will be a benefit to our people as a whole. Thank you.

Shri G. Mylliemngap (Sohryngkham S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to associate myself with the motion for demonopolisation of the G.S. Road. This was a burning subject during these past few months. Why? Because during the months  of September and October, which is the peak season of potato, potatoes are collected from the fields all over the districts. The potatoes are rushed to the Marwaris. But on some plea or other, these Marwaris, since the G.S. Road is a monopoly road, do not purchase the potato according to the price which they are supposed to buy. So the poor villagers had to carry the potato up to Shillong. But for carrying the potato to Shillong they had to be stranded the road side for want of truck. They were rushing to this leader and that leader and some other people for help. With the help of those leaders they came to know that no demand for trucks was placed. Why? Because of the plea that this is the only source of taking our agricultural produces outside our State. So the monopoly or nationalisation of this road is doing much harm to our cultivators and our consumers as the people who are having a hand on this road, are playing tricks. They are playing tricks for the benefit of a few at the cost of many others. Therefore, Sir, I associate myself with the motion and request that this new Government should seriously take up this matter. I agree with one of the hon. Members that before we take up this matter we should take into account many other factors. I agree with him that it would be helpful to our people if the Government do away outright with nationalisation. But it would be better if we can have partial monopoly or partial nationalisation.

        Now, Sir, I would like to bring another point to the notice of the Government. As you know, the trucks and other vehicles used to go to Bhoi area for carrying agricultural produces from there. There is a police point near the Dam Site. The police men use to stop the vehicles and unless the drivers give them some money they are allowed to go. So those who are in position to give something are allowed to go and those who cannot give, are forced to go back to Shillong because this G.S. Road is a monopoly road. So this monopolization of G.S. Road is doing considerable harm to the people. With these few words I resume my seat.

Shri H. Enowell Pohshna (Nongtalang S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while associating myself with the view expressed by the mover and other hon. Members, I would like to say a few words on this very important subject. This is the most important trade communications as well as the most important sources of revenue for our State. The word monopoly does not sound democratic. This monopoly of the Shillong-Gauhati road has been over exercised. It has become the monopoly of the police, the enforcement staff, the black-marketers and the staff of the ASRTC. There are people who are running trucks day and night and the night traffic without permit is run by them. The trucks are plying with chicken dungs, cow dungs except men dungs whereas the illegal plying trucks are carrying important goods.

(laughter)

        For a small mistake if the drivers did not bring documents like permits and licenses they would be fined with Rs.100, 200, 300 and even Rs.1,000. Actually this monopoly has become a source of vengeance upon the people and the truck owners. We thank the hon. Minister of Transport for having saved the situation of the potato growers before it was too late during the last months. When the poor dealers were crying for dearth of trucks, the General Manager of the ASRTC said that they have plenty on trucks on demands but when the dealers requested the Minister for a physical verification which is not his duty he found huge quantity of potatoes were lying in the godowns of Mawlong Bazar for want of transport. It was a fact that the potato growers were suffering. So this monopoly of transport on the G.S. Road is inviting one monopoly after another monopoly. It has also encouraged the monopoly of some traders who in order to crush the potato growers from the village will pretend to talk over telephone to Gauhati and will ask the price of the potatoes per quintal and in beautiful language he will say there is no transport and as such I cannot purchase potatoes to day. In this way our growers were left at the mercy of the traders.

        Therefore, in associating with the views expressed by the hon. Members I do support the denationalisation of the monopoly of this road because of many reasons. Moreover, Sir, it is a fact that this Corporation has failed in its duty. The very fact that they have spoilt the markets of our potato this year proves that they have failed and had it not been for the truck owners, who are often subjected to monthly verifications by the authorities of the ASTRC the potato growers would have to face a great deal of difficulty. Moreover, Sir, this monopoly has encouraged black-marketing. Open black marketing. Why, it is white black marketing. It has been done and encouraged by Government itself. The transport cost charged by the Corporation is Rs.3.85 per quintal and when these goods are given to the sub-carriers and others they are paying only Rs.2.00 and Rs.1.85 is the margin for ASTRC. This is white black marketing as the remaining Rs.1.85 has gone to the exchequer and still the Corporation authorities are crying for loss. While the corporation enjoys the monopoly of this road, the trucks of private owners have to return empty because they cannot carry anything whereas the Corporation trucks are running fully loaded and yet they are crying about running at a loss. Sir, I would request the Transport Minister, whom I know very well, to give serious attention to this monopoly matter. Of course, before making his decision, he will have to take some time to consider but at least the very principle of monopoly should be done away with. Thank you, Sir.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir,  in associating myself with the mover of the Motion, I would like to observe certain very important points regarding monopoly of the G.S. Road. The G.S. Road, Sir, has been monopolised for a long period of time under the Government of Assam. But it is surprising that even under our own Government this monopoly is being practised over the G.S. Road. According to the mover of the motion and also according to our own knowledge we may call this as a so-called monopoly because of the absence of legislation, and not even a notification by the Government to this effect. Sir, I do not like to dwell on the legality or illegality of the matter but I support and associate with the mover of the motion to do away with monopoly on the G.S. Road because of the fact that this monopoly has let down the economic growth of our people of this districts of Khasi and Jaintia Hills. This monopoly has greatly affected the marketing of the produces of these districts and also the bringing of supplies of goods from outside into these districts. As mentioned by some hon. Members, it is not only potato that has suffered due to lack of marketing facilities but other agricultural produces as well, specially with the closure of the border trade. We can easily know the magnitude of the problems which our border people are facing. So long our border people have no roads to send their produce; they have only the Shillong market. They should have other markets also in India through the G.S. Road. So, Sir, the producers have suffered great loss for want of roads. Sir, as the hon. Members have said, this monopoly is a monopoly over monopoly on trades by monopolising the transport of this road. No doubt, Sir, if at all the Government is managing the affairs properly it will be a great income to the State. As we know, Sir, the actual income of the State Government is very less from the G.S. Road than what was expected. So, Sir, instead of carrying on with this monopoly or instead of allowing the Corporation to continue the Government may do away with this monopoly and issue permits not only to trucks or buses but to other private carriers also. This is a very important subject which has been affecting the entire districts of Khasi and Jaintia Hills all along. It is a nerve-centre, and, in fact, is a source through which the body of the State is kept alive by helping carriage of the blood from the liver to the heart. So, Sir, I would request the Minister of Transport, who is very serious with this subject (laughter) to do away with this monopoly.

Shri Sibendra N. Koch (Mendipathar) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the motion moved by the hon. Member in this House regarding the Road Transport Corporation clearly shows that there are hardships and difficulties of the people. One of the hon. Members has stated that the objective of denationalisation of road does not help to find out a solution. I agree with him and would like to differ from the hon. Member the mover of the motion.

        This decentralisation of G.S. Road is in line with the all India National policy specially at a time when we are marching towards socialism. By denationalisation we prevent our monopoly or we should neither invite another monopoly to encourage growth of private monopoly which may present a worse system than what is prevailing. I fail to understand the hon. Members who spoke so many things about State Transport Organisation, but none of the hon. Members tried to see where the evil lies. Now the only point here is whether the intention and objectives of this nationalisation are good or bad. If the object is noble and in line with the national policy it is duty to protect it all all costs. In this connection, I remember one Excise officer who recently sought my opinion regarding opening one distillation at Mendipathar. He told me that the Government proposes to open one distillery at Mendipathar to fetch some revenue to the Government. He also told me that since Government failed to stop illicit distillation it is better to open one distillery for which Government is ready to issue licence. To this, I put a counter question to him. Under the Indian Penal Code, it is provided that the murderer be punished with death by hanging or life imprisonment but even after the existence of this Act for last 200 years, murders are going on in the country and Government could not stop it. Now would it be wise for the Government to issue licence to some murderers on payment of some fees because Government could not stop it. In this respect I should say that the Government have completely failed to execute their policy. I do not say that neither the policy nor nationalisation is bad. It is good and it is most essential. Therefore, I am sorry to say that the hon. Members of this august House are encouraging this sort of evil, such as denationalisation. Therefore, Sir, my humble suggestion is that the Government should see its failure in executing their duties and rectify the defects. So I request the House to ask the Government to find out the persons who are at fault and bring them to book so that we can revitalise our organisation which is the most essential and which is the need of the hour. But to do away with the evil de-nationalisation is the only means is against the national policy and unacceptable. With these few observations, I resume my seat. 

Shri Blooming Shallam (Jowai S.T.) :- I rise to say that I totally disagree with what the previous Speaker has spoken before me. When he said that this Government has totally failed, he must not forget that this Government has come into being not even one year ago. As a matter of fact, I compare it with a baby; it is only at the banana eating stage. Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh and Mr. Pohshna have said that the Minister incharge of Transport is serious about this. He takes keen interest in this matter. He does not see that the real defect lies with the Department. That is why I believe what has been suggested by Shri D.D. Lapang that the status quo should be maintained. That Government should consider and reconsider what is the position. I believe that the Government should think over this matter very seriously and try to remove the evils. As stated by my friend, murders are still going on, that of course we cannot help as human beings. But we shall try to see to reduce the evils. Instead of doing justice to the people and the Department, we must see, as stated by Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw, that we do not jump from the frying pan into the fire. That is why I feel that we should allow Government to see what best can be done. We should not allow ourselves to jump from one evil into another by trying to fight evils. I think Government should see what best can be for the benefit of our people.

Shri P.N. Choudhury (Laban) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel very sad to stand here and criticize the functioning of nationalisation of Road Transport on the Gauhati-Shillong Road because I was one who fought for Nationalisation of Transport on Gauhati-Shillong Road and for this I had to pay a heavy price by losing my service in the Commercial Carrying Company which were monopoly operators in that road. Sir, when we supported nationalisation we meant that our people will get better amenities; the public will be provided with better facilities and Government will earn revenue. There will be less suffering to the Traveling Public. Our people will get better amenities than prevailing before. They will be provided with better facilities and there will be less suffering of the people. But what we find today, Sir? We find in reality is that suffering have increased in the nationalise route. If one is a passenger along this road, or if he is to book some goods somewhere, or carry some goods from outside, he will find that there is untold suffering and trouble there. We did not support the nationalisation of this road, for this. We supported because we hoped that better amenities to the Traveling public will be extended and it can reduce the sufferings of our people. But what we find now is that instead of reducing the sufferings of our people, it is increasing their sufferings day by day. Corruption is a rampant in the Transport Corporation. Even minimum amenity is lacking. So Sir, there is no doubt that functioning of the State Transport is not at all satisfactory. Sir, I am not opposed to nationalisation of Transport but I am unhappy over its functioning. Unless something is done, some drastic action is taken to improve the working of the State Transport authority, people will naturally loose their faith in the principle of nationalisation of Transport.

        Sir, coming to the question of monopoly of the goods traffic on the Gauhati-Shillong Road a lot of criticism have been made by my previous speakers, and I am also one with them. Monopoly has caused a lot of sufferings to the people and as a result of this, the prices of commodities have gone up here in our markets. Sir, I believe there are some unscrupulous hands in this matter and sometimes the goods are detained for long at Gauhati because trucks are not made available for carrying them in time. This consequently culminated in rising prices in the markets. Our people find it extremely difficult to transport their produces in time as the State Transport do not provide sufficient number of trucks for this. Sir, if the Government cannot reduce the sufferings of the people, they have no right to monopolise this route and cause suffering to our people. It is the duty of the Government to see and think how best they can reduce the sufferings of the people and provide better facilities and scope to our people so that they can carry their goods as quickly as possible. So I would like to make a suggestion to the Government through you, Sir, that they should increase the number of trucks, make them readily available to the growers for carrying goods and improve their efficiency and allot more trucks to the producers and growers so that they do not find any more difficulty in future for exporting their goods outside the State. If they fail to do so or if they cannot supply the requisite number of trucks or if they fail to improve the service conditions, then my alternative suggestion is for partial demonopolisation and in doing so the Government should allow the actual growers to carry their goods by granting them requisite number of permits and that also to bonafide persons only. With these few words, I resume my seat.

Shri M. Reidson Momin :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while associating myself with this Motion I would like to bring only a few point to the notice of the Government as well as to clear some of the points raised by the hon. Members. Sir, we should think first whether we should continue this monopoly or whether we are to demonopolise this Gauhati-Shillong Road. Both the advantages and disadvantages should be carefully studied and Government should evolve a policy and take necessary action accordingly. As far as I know, Government is taking keen interest in this subject and is also aware of the difficulties of the people of the State and they have tried to do their best for the benefit of the people. The State Transport Organisation is a really difficult affair to manage and to administer correctly and efficiently because of some facts and figures which I would like to place here. When the Government has taken over this Organisation it is not an Organisation which is job-oriented or revenue-oriented, but it is meant for the benefit of the people. If one goes through the report of the Indian Road Congress, he will find that no profit is being made by the Corporation and the rest of the country is losing in this concern. If we demonopolise this road, I know that there will be a lot of unscrupulous traders and operators coming along this road and so the Government have to monopolise this road. I would therefore, like to point out here that though we have so many traders and shop-keepers and so many whole-sale dealers in the towns yet the prices are soaring up. So I do not agree with my friends who have stated that if the Gauhati-Shillong Road is demonopolised the price will come down and that the farmers and agricultural producers of our State will be benefited. So I would sincerely request the Government through you, Sir, to see that there is no complaint of dearth of trucks or transport, and that Government should consider to supply sufficient number of trucks and provide facilities for carrying the goods to any place. So it will not be advisable at this moment to have demonopolisation, Government should consider all the pros and cons before it considers demonopolisation of the Gauhati-Shillong Road. With these few words, I resume my seat.

        Thank you.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- The House stands adjourned till 2 P.M. today and discussion on this motion will continue in the afternoon.

"After Lunch" 

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Speaker :- I have received intimation that the Chief Minister will make an important statement before the House.

Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- As the hon. Members of this House are aware, the Union Education Minister introduced the Indira Gandhi University Bill in the Lok Sabha on the 16th November, 1972.

        It was only about four days ago that I received a copy of the said Bill which was forwarded to me by Prof. G.G. Swell, the Hon'ble Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha.

        In connection with the Bill now before the Parliament, Prof. Swell informed me over the telephone on the 21st instant that a section of the Members of Parliament had raised objections to the proposal to name the University after the Prime Minister and also suggested that an alternative name be thought of. That same day I consulted my colleagues on this matter and later in the evening informed the Union Education Minister that we should insist on the retention of the name originally proposed. That was the first, though comparatively minor, obstacle faced in the Lok Sabha in the process of passing the Bill. On receipt of the copy of the Bill, I directed that a comparison be made by the Education Department between the Bill as introduced in the Lok Sabha and the draft Bill as prepared by the Drafting Committee. The Department has drawn my attention to the fact that there has been a radical change in sub-clause (2) of clause 1 of the Bill as introduced in the Lok Sabha from the draft originally proposed by the Drafting Committee, thereby expending the University's jurisdiction so as to include the entire State of Assam, which was not intended or indicated in the original draft. The clause defining jurisdiction in the present form has also included Tripura, which was not the original intention.

        My attention has also been drawn to the fact that, consequent upon the change made in the clause defining the jurisdiction, a radical change has also been made in the clause defining the objects of the University.

        In original draft, it had been proposed to define the objects as follows :-

        "The objects of the University shall be to disseminate and advance knowledge by providing instructional and research facilities in such branches of learning as it may deem fit and in particular to pay special attention to the improvement of economic conditions and welfare of the people of Hill areas of the North Eastern Region and the intellectual, academic and cultural background of the people of the scheduled tribes inhabiting the area".

        But in the Bill as introduced in the Lok Sabha, the clause has been changed to read as follows :-

         "The objects of the University shall be to disseminate and advance knowledge by providing instructional and research facilities in such branches of learning as it may deem fit, to pay special attention to the improvement of social economic conditions and welfare of the North Eastern Region and, in particular, their intellectual, academic and cultural advancement".

        Without mentioning the other changes that have been made in the Bill, I wish to take the opportunity to inform this august House that as a result of the changes made to which I have just referred, our Government has taken the view that there has been a drastic change in the very concept of the University proposed to be established for the people of the hill areas of this North Eastern Region. Our Government have therefore, found it necessary to inform the Government of India that the University in the form conceived in the Bill now before the Parliament will not be acceptable to Meghalaya. We have sent telegram to the Union Education Minister to this effect and have requested him to amend the Bill suitably so as to conform to the concept of the University as reflected in the Bill as originally drafted by the Drafting Committee. I have further requested the Union Education Minister to withhold the passage of the Bill in its present form until my arrival in Delhi. I also wish to inform the hon. Members that I intend to proceed to Delhi on the 2nd December to pursue the matter with the Government of India at the personal level.

Mr. Speaker :- I have received a notice from the Hon. Member, Shri Maham Singh, that he wants to raise a discussion on the statement of the Chief Minister. But for the convenience of all hon. Members, I fix tomorrow as the date for the discussion. Now, let us pass on to Resolution No.4.

Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport etc.) :- The Deputy Speaker has announced that I have to reply to the motion that was not yet finish.

Mr. Speaker :- Then let us resume discussion on Motion No.4. The discussion on this motion was not completed this morning. Any other hon. Member who likes to participate?

Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, May we have a copy of the Bill after it is introduced in the Parliament so that we will be in a better position to discuss the matter.

Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, since it is already introduced in the Parliament, I don't see any reason why a copy of the Bill, should be made available to the Leader of the group. If possible, it can also be made available to all hon. Members of this House. I have asked the Department to cyclostyle it as soon as it is made available for the use of all hon. Members. I would like to inform the House that I have got information from Delhi that the Government of Assam is withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the proposed University. The Education Ministry are aware that education being a State subject and unless these two State pass a resolution to include them in the University, the Parliament will not be in a position to establish the University. The Government of Assam is withdrawing from jurisdiction of the proposed University Bill which is being introduced in the Parliament and this is the reason why the Bill cannot be taken up any further unless in addition to the Assam Assembly, Meghalaya and some other State Assemblies also, pass a similar resolution. I am taking up this matter with the other States in the North Eastern Region to which it was proposed to extend the jurisdiction of this University. Therefore, after I arrive Delhi on the 2nd December, I will have the opportunity to discuss with the Deputy Minister, Education, Government of India and other leaders and the present situation will be cleared.

Mr. Speaker :-  Mr. Syiem.

Shri Jormanik Syiem Mylliem (S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the monopoly of transport on the Gauhati-Shillong Route is a necessary evil. It is unfortunate that the State Transport is not making any profit rather is incurring huge loss. This is due to the lack of proper supervision. I would like to take this opportunity of requesting the Government to see that the people who have got their produce on the roadside are not left behind or the passengers who are waiting by the roadside are not just left stranded on the road. For the loss of unprofitable business on the road. I think we should have proper supervision. In the old days when the Commercial Carrying Company, before that the Planters' Stores was running this route, I understand that it was quite a paying concern. That was because those people who ran the transport in this route appointed persons who checked pilfering on the road and disallowed the drivers to stop the trucks whenever they like. But under the present arrangement, not only that the drivers of the trucks do what they like - they, sell away the diesel or petrol or even get some articles lost - and even the conductors who are supposed to issue tickets for the picked up passengers do not do so. It must be giving a good amount because in each trip the people are being picked up from the road. And if the conductor does not issue tickets it means a loss to the Transport Corporation. Therefore, by way of a suggestion, I would like to request that the Government do appoint proper persons to ensure that picked up passengers are issued with tickets and that the trucks plying on this route should not stop without reasonable grounds because stopping the trucks on the roadside will lead to malpractices either by the drivers concerned or by the passers by.

        Another drawback in this monopoly is because the people living between Shillong and Nongpoh do not get seats in the buses and do not get facility of loading their articles in the trucks which ply throughout the length of the road. In this connection, I would like to draw the attention of the Government, through you, Sir, that some bazar buses which should be passenger-cum-goods should be introduced to ply between Shillong and Nongpoh or between Shillong and Naya Bungalow so that the producers who have got their good or their belonging with them can take the benefit of getting seats in the bus and at the same time carry their goods along with them in the same vehicle. If the Government introduce such a system, I believe such of difficulty and hardship which the people are suffering from will be relieved. But the most important point which I think is that the proper supervision should be there so that the State Transport will not incur so much of loss as this route is supposed to be a very paying route compared to other parts of the country. And for the benefit of the producers of this hills who have to transport their produce during the season there have been complaints that they do not get space in the transport - for such people, I understand last time some permits were issued in certain cases so that the potato is not left in Shillong. I hope this practice also will continue and it is for the State Transport authorities to see that perishable commodities should not be left uncarried to the markets. With these few observations, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I oppose the motion of de-monopolising the G.S. Road.

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am happy that we have an opportunity of discussing this very important subject. As has been mentioned by some of the Members, I myself have taken personal interest in this matter which is admittedly a very important matter for the State capital, for the districts of Khasi and Jaintia Hills and for the State as a whole. Now, before I make a statement on what the position is, I would like to correct a few of the factual errors- perhaps due to mis-information. The hon. Member from Mawhati had said that there was an agreement between the Assam Government and the Meghalaya Government regarding the operation of the State Transport Corporation. He said that the agreement had expired in July and it was extended for two months till September. The correct position is that when the full State of Meghalaya came into being, in order that we can have some say in the affairs of the Corporation, while we were in the process of examining the whole matter, we came to some agreement with the Assam Government and that was also announced in the House which expired in July. That was extended for 4 months which expired on the 21st November, not September. After that, extension had been made to include the scheme for division to be undertaken. Now, there is a very important issue that has been raised by the hon. Member from Mawhati regarding the legal position, and it is certainly a very interesting thesis, that with the coming into being of the Meghalaya full State the law passed by the Assam Assembly and notified in the Gazette, had ceased to exist. Therefore, there was really no true monopoly. Unfortunately or fortunately, as the case may be, that is not the position. Our Government has had to examine the legal position, all existing laws continue to exist and to be in force until and unless repealed or modified. So the position is that monopoly, as it existed before, continues. The hon. Member is certainly correct that we do have the power to modify or throw out the monopoly and so on. Now, I am certainly not one to defend the malpractices which have been listed by a number of Members, particularly from Mawhati. It is unfortunate that it is so. Petrol or diesel or spare parts are sold on G.S. Road, obviously taken from the State Transport vehicles. It is extremely unfortunate that the Corporation is not being run as was hoped. It is just because, to say with the best of intentions decision is taken to continue something wrong. It is not properly implemented; because theoretically you may say for denationalisation and the State having taken over the responsibility of running the transport, it would be expected that the profit would be shared by the State and by the people as a whole and not only by the transport operators. All the Members have indicated the fact that services are not good. Corruption is there and a number of difficulties have come in the way and the people have not gained and, therefore, the Government certainly has to look into the matter. There is one aspect of the question which I should mention and that is regarding the agreement which was entered into between the Minister of Transport, Assam and myself and it is very sad that in spite of the agreement, two or three major decisions have been taken by the Corporation without consulting our Government. I have taken it up with the Assam Government objecting to the breaking of that particular agreement and it is a fact that the Chairman was changed without consulting us and certain high officials like the General Manager were suspended without taking us into confidence. Now, another factual error has been made by the hon. Member from Mawhati regarding the percentage of the road. The fact is that 48 miles out of 63 fall exclusively within Meghalaya which comes proportionately to little over 76 percent. 7 miles falls exclusively within Assam and 9 miles are shared partly by Assam and partly by Meghalaya. So, when we quote percentage of road, we should not exaggerate. The actual figure may be 76 per cent which is exclusively within Meghalaya. We share approximately 13 per cent and about 11 percent remained with Assam. Now, this being so, we have tried to come to some understanding and agreement with our counterparts in the other State regarding the share of this particular road and control, because it is an inter-State road. It is not the same as a road being totally within our own control. I am one to fully agree with all the remarks made by the Members so far as the fact of monopolization and nationalisation. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was one of those who spoke in the Assam Assembly many years ago regarding the fact of monopolization of goods transport and the economy of K. & J. Hills District. It is for this reason that our Government has made a study on this. But since now we have two States, denationalisation or demonopolisation becomes matters in which we will have control over a certain proportion and the Assam Government will have control over certain proportion. Permits will be issued to the operators from Gauhati and Shillong on an inter-State road and, therefore, we have to be very careful on this. Even the mover of the Motion had admitted this fact and this is one of the things which has prevented us from immediately jumping into the decision of denationalisation. I must admit that right from the beginning I was one of those who wanted immediately to cancel the system as soon as we are ready, but on further examination of some other facts it was brought out that our own operators are very small having only two, or three trucks whereas some of the bigger operators in other States have much larger fleets and it would be difficult for our operators to compete with them. We feel that it is worth further study and examination and this is what our Department has been doing. We have requested the Government of India to send some experts on this question of inter-State transport and to give us the benefit of some experienced men in running the nationalised roads, particularly in the hill areas. But since there was no help coming from that quarter, we decided to make a study ourselves. There is also the complication of railway transport linked up with the Corporation at the moment. The State Transport Department have an arrangement with the Railways for transporting goods carried by rail which are meant for Shillong, Shillong as an out-agency of the railways. Therefore, it would be desirable for the State to continue to hold this responsibility. Therefore, it is not a very easy decision and a snap decision cannot be taken. I appreciate the hon. Members from Nongpoh and other places for cautioning the Government of immediate demonopolising the road or denationalising the road and suggested that the Government should be very careful before coming to a decision on this matter. As a matter of fact the question of continuance of monopoly or otherwise has engaged the active attention of the Government for some time. Some arguments were advanced in favour and some against monopoly. I noticed two or three hon. Members have advanced arguments, some of them are in favour to continue monopoly and most of them have opposed it. The Government has to take a decision keeping in view the special transport problem of this region and safeguarding the interest of the local transport operators and strengthening the economy. We have issued a Press Note some months ago stating that the matter is under active consideration and analysis have already been made. The matter is at the last stage of decision and we are expecting that the Department will take a decision within 2 or three weeks' time. Regarding the effect of this monopoly on the prices here in Shillong, I am also of the opinion that it is an important factor. It is very difficult to keep down prices of commodities coming from outside the State. But it is not the only factor. If we are to demonopolise the road, I am sure all prices may not all fall. It is certainly one of the most important factors and this has to be taken into consideration when we consider the problem of demonopolising or denationalising the road. One of the most important factors is exporting or getting out of the State the agricultural produces of our people. Our people depend to a very large extent on agricultural occupations and it is indeed very unfortunate that the organisation which was entrusted with the job of transporting the goods would fail. Mr. H.E. Pohshna had stated that he was also with me when I went to see the actual condition of the godown of potatoes stored and the fact that the corporation was not able to transport the potatoes in time and there were huge amounts of potatoes left over, and not purchased by the traders. However, I was able to insist to some extent in persuading the Corporation's Management to issue No-Objection or permit to the private operators as a temporary measure. But now soon we will come to a permanent decision on this matter, it would be too early for me to say what that decision will be. I would therefore, assure the House that all facts that have been brought before the House and the facts brought by the Department itself on the advantages or disadvantages of the monopoly are going to be kept in mind and will figure in our final decision. So we shall certainly take these facts into consideration before we come to a decision. The hon. Member from Sohryngkham has mentioned about partial denationalisation of the road. Well this way our mind is being turned at the moment. We should not completely denationalise the road. Some sort of control by the State will have to be taken on this very important road and to see that goods are transported, to see that it is transported at a good price and lower price and to see that it is under the control of our own operators. Mr. Choudhury, the hon. Member from Laban Constituency has suggested to increase the number of vehicles and improve the services. It is really a sorry state of affairs that when we came into the picture, we found that out of the total number of vehicles, 180 trucks are running on this road and 50 per cent are off the road and it was not a strange thing or it would not be a surprise to find that the corporation has incurred some losses. Regarding improvement of the service conditions it depends on the people we can find in the organisation. We cannot wholesale throw out everybody who is there or it would not be possible to put new people as they will not be able to do the job better and so this gives us a good example of good intentions going wrong because of the poor character of the people in the Organisation. I should very much like that the Corporation be successful so that we can share the profits. But the profits of last year have been wiped out instead we find huge loss. For this reason also we have to re-examine seriously the whole question. But I can assure the hon. Members of this august House who have taken the opportunity of discussing this matter that we will very soon take a decision which will improve transport of commodities outside our State and into our State whether it is by means of taking over the Organisation and run it by ourselves or by a partial denationalisation or total denationalisation of the road, I am not at liberty to say at the moment. Certainly all factors that have been placed before the House will be taken into consideration. Thank you.

Prof. M.N. Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :-  On a point of clarification Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I know what particular provision of the law, the Hon'ble Minister based his contention of monopoly that is still continued along the G.S. Road?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport ) :- I have already answered that. The existing laws will continue to be in force until and unless repealed or modified. I do not get the exact provision of the Reorganisation Act. But this is the basis on which our Government had taken all other laws and statutes that are on the book when Meghalaya came into existence.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, by way of clarification, Section 55 of the North Eastern Areas Reorganisation Act does not specifically refer to this particular aspect. It only says that the body corporate shall continue to function. It says nothing that monopoly will continue along the G.S. Road.

Mr. Speaker :- Do you like to reply? (After a pause)

Prof. M.N. Majaw :-  I thank the hon. Minister for accepting certain factors particularly the very prominent fact that the Corporation did not consult the Meghalaya Government in suspending the Chairman and Shri B.N. Hazarika, the General Manager of the Corporation. It is expected that the Government would rectify the anomalies of the existing Corporation. I would request the Government to come to the decision as soon as the agreement had been extended for a second time. I do not know how many months this agreement is continuing. I would like to know Mr. Speaker, Sir, how long it will continue?

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport ) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we expect to come to a decision very soon.

Mr. Speaker :- The discussion is closed now. I would request the hon. Member from Mawlai to move resolution No.4.

Shri Stalington David Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to move resolution No.4.

         Whereas, construction  of new roads in the Khasi Hills District has been very much impeded owing to inordinate delay in making lands available, and

        Whereas, non-availability of lands is mainly due to delay in the settlement of land compensation, this House, therefore, recommends to the Government of Meghalaya to detail adequate number of Sub-Deputy Collectors to deal with land compensation matters.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :-  Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you can see from the list of resolutions I have the maximum number of resolutions i.e.,  four resolutions standing in my name. But ultimately after a little bit of pondering I thought that it is of no use to move all the four resolutions but to select any one of them. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the Government will see as to the merits of this resolution which I have selected and I would request the Government to accept this resolution. So with this intention in my mind I have discarded all other resolutions and I stick only to this one that I had in my mind. Mr. Speaker, Sir, roads are the blood veins of the State and the country, and at this juncture I would like to refer to the first line in paragraph 1, "Public Works" of the Budget Speech of the hon. Finance Minister. It is stated that on account of the geographical conditions in Meghalaya roads are vital for the development of the economy of the State. In so far as our geographical conditions are concerned it is true that the main life and blood would mean communications in our district and that is road. We cannot expect in this difficult hills and terrains to have the rail services or air services. So it is wise on the part of the Government to lay more emphasis on this question of communications, i.e., roads. I am persousally very much grateful to the Government for the very ambit list plans that they have taken up. It is also very encouraging to see that the old roads which the Government intends to construct, and for this I so far like to congratulate the Government. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, in so far as our District is concerned I have found that only the list of roads is there - only the names of roads are there. But actual construction of roads is being held up. The main reason why roads cannot be timely constructed, especially in our District, is because of non-availability of lands. When we asked the Officers of the P.W.D. as to the problems faced by the Department in not having been able to start these roads, the main reason is that lands are not made available. Then we went further to ask them of the actual problem that they cannot get these lands. The answer we got is that the duty on the part of the P.W.D. officers is to go to the spot to make survey of lands. At the same time they will have to prepare land compensation statement. That is their very duty. After that they have to send the statement to the collector who deputes his Sub-Deputy Collector to go for land assessment and enquiry. In many cases, we find especially in our district that in the process of assessment so many disputes have arisen and these disputes will continue for years together before coming to any solution. Mr. Speaker, Sir, any delay on the part of the collectors to settle these land compensation matters has greatly impeded the good intention of the Government to give us more and more roads. For the purpose of road construction we cannot expect to construct them on the air; we have to construct roads on land. If we cannot get land over which to construct roads it would not serve our interest and to have a number of roads on the list. So in so far as making land in our district available to the P.W.D. is concerned there is only one S.D.C. to deal with all these cases of land compensation. If I am not mistaken, there is a long pending case of land compensation. So far as the Mawphlang-Balat road, Umsning-Jagi road all the land compensation matters has been left incomplete. Mr. Speaker, Sir, somehow or other these things are going on in other areas in the district. Each and everyone of the people whose lands are being affected will point a finger to the S.D.C. or to the P.W.D. Officers and say "we shall not give our land because it so happened that in such and such places you have taken the land and constructed the road for many years but they have not yet been able to get their compensation. So the same thing may happen to our land also". So it is a confirmation of the fact that the Government have been unable to deal with this compensation matter. In respect of the other roads already taken up by the Government, it acts as a ramification, it impedes the progress of road construction. So, Sir, by bringing forward this resolution I would like to impress upon the Government to detail some S.D.Cs to go into and deal expeditiously with the matter of compensation so that the intention of the Government to break the isolation of inaccessible villages can be carried out. We may say, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that it would involve a lot of expenditure by appointing more S.D.Cs. So if that be the case Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to utter a little bit of advice to the Government through you, Sir, that we shall never sacrifice efficiency for the sake of economy and before I resume my seat, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to make a humble request to the Government, and if the Government accept this resolution from our side, we shall not claim any credit...(Laughter). So, if you appoint more S.D.Cs within a week or so, we shall not come back to the Assembly next time or in any public meeting say that our Government have appointed more S.D.Cs only after we from our side have brought this suggestion (laughter). On my word of honour, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will never do that. I request the Government to please consider this very minutely and thoroughly for the interest of of the State as a whole and to accept this resolution and appoint at least more S.D.Cs (laughter). So with these words Sir, I resume my seat.

Prof. Martin N. Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir,  I rise to support the resolution moved by the hon. Member from Mawlai. As you all know this matter of compensation in some cases is very ancient and long before the State came into being. And in supporting this resolution not only should we have more S.D.Cs but more efficient S.D.Cs, particularly S.D.Cs who know the language of the people. Now the hon. Member from Mawlai has said that there is one S.D.C. in this District who is looking after the land compensation. He is perfectly right in this respect that this matter of land compensation is entrusted only to one particular gentleman whose name I may not mention, who knows little Khasi. Of course he was posted as Land Acquisition Officer. He was a very junior person when he was appointed as S.D.C. and he got additional increase of Rs.100. I do not blame the hon. Minister for informing in the last session that at the time when this Land Acquisition Officer was appointed, he was the only officer and so he had to be promoted. I think the information supplied by the Revenue Department was a bit incorrect. As a matter of fact, in the gazette both the persons were appointed.

Mr. Speaker :- In fact your discussion does not enter into the main context of the resolution.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :-  We need more S.D.Cs for this compensation matter. I do not know for what reason it was given to a person who knows not a single word of local language. If he knows the local language, it will help a lot in dealing with land compensation matter. There are only 5 S.D.Cs.........

(Voices........4)............

        One is coming soon. These four occupied the office, 2 are tribals and 2 are non-tribals. One Garo gentleman is entrusted with record though he is a senior man, I would not call him S.D.C. looking after the land acquisition matter. The other tribal officer who occupied half the room was recently assigned in accompanying the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha. He also knows nothing about land acquisition. The other 2 gentlemen, they know not a single word of Khasi. The hon. Member from Mawlai has pointed out all along that they deal with files only and do not know the geography of the area very well. I fully sympathize with them. For this district at least, we certainly need many more efficient S.D.Cs. The cases that are still pending are many and the most notorious case of course is the Mawphlang-Balat road which is hanging for 18 years. There are only two files at Mawsynram Division and the other one in the Deputy Commissioner's office. Though the money was paid there was no disbursement list of these who received the money. When the claim is made for the second time the Government cannot entertain it, and the original owner of the land threatened even to block the road. Many of the problems cannot be removed. There are some compensation cases that are yet to be taken up, - for example the Shella-Mawsmai road and the Umsning-Jagi Road. After a great deal of agitation yet the Umsning-Jagi Road, although half of the road is acquired, the new S.D.C., that particular gentleman, did not accept the assessment made by P.W.D., which to him, needed correct assessment about the number of trees, paddy fields etc. He again wants to go there and I do not know what fruit trees, etc. He will find there when the roads have already been constructed. He will have to dig 6 ft deep and find out the seed in consultation with the land owners along the road from 35 miles to 50 miles of the road and then decide to give out the correct assessment.

        Like all S.D.Cs, the Head Clerk of the Deputy Commissioner's Office deals with the correspondences regarding land acquisition. Once the Deputy Secretary, Revenue, asked for a list of the land owners along the said road for bringing a notification in the gazette. Now a list was sent wherein in it was stated that a map of the State was enclosed. But it was actually a blank sheet of paper. Probably the poor clerk had a mind to draw over it but he forgot. Although two or three months lapsed, the Deputy Secretary, Revenue, did not receive anything other than that blank sheet. In another case, the single S.D.C. incharge of land acquisition along Dwarksuid road was asked by the Deputy Secretary, Revenue to send Form No.3. But instead of sending Form 3, Form No. 4 was sent. The Deputy Secretary sent back the file to the Deputy Commissioner's office and upto this date in spite of several reminders Form 3 was not sent to the Deputy Secretary, Revenue. About this road the hon. Mover of the resolution has made a very pertinent remark. When the people were asked to give more land for the said road they refused to give their land when the compensation has not been given to them for the lands already acquired. So I would request the hon. Minister to see that the Form 3 is sent for the Dwarksuid road. I promise to help them in getting the land free from another point of view. We will pursue the people to give us the land free for the construction of Dwarksuid road, as it is seen that any official approach does not bear fruits. Suppose the S.D.C. goes to the people with a jeep to acquire land, they will ask money, something in cash or dole. But I am sure if any M.D.C. or M.L.A. goes to persuade the people for acquiring land they can do the job easily, at least the lands where there is no cultivation can be given if is Raj land. We may persuade the people in the matter of acquiring land for the construction of Dwarksuid road. So I reiterate my support to this resolution that we want more and better S.D.Cs.

Shri D.D. Lapang Nongpoh (S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the question of delay in making payment of compensation for lands to the people was raised in this august House on many occasions. In the present resolution the hon. Mover has stressed the need for increasing the number of S.D.Cs. It is a fact that more S.D.Cs are required for speedy disposal of  the matter relating to compensation of lands. This is very much needed in our Bhoi area also. One of the hon. Members has mentioned about the difficulties in getting the lands for construction of roads due to non-payment of compensation for the lands. It is a fact, which every reasonable gentleman will admit, that we are in dearth of personnel. But at the same time, as the hon. Member has said, that the S.D.Cs should know the local languages for effective and speedy disposal of work to the utmost satisfaction of the people concerned. Now we have got some B.D.Os who are working as S.D.Cs for compensation of land. But for that matter they should undergo some training. S.D.Cs cannot be manufactured overnight. Very recently the Government of Meghalaya has constituted the Meghalaya Public Service Commission. Now we can manufacture our S.D.Cs through this Public Service Commission who will know the local languages. But through this resolution we are rather pressing the Government to get more S.D.Cs right now. naturally, if we compel the Government to appoint more S.D.Cs, they will have to recruit them from outside the State, who may not know the local languages. So the problem will not be solved. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, with these few words I oppose the resolution. Thank you.

Shri Onwardeywell Nongtdu, Sutnga (S.T.) :-  Mr. Speaker, Sir, while associating myself with the discussion on this resolution, I would like to say few words. Through this resolution the Government has been requested to appoint more S.D.Cs so that compensation matters can be settled at an early date. I would like to point out a particular case of land compensation for the road between Dkhiah of Sutnga. Actually the P.W.D. has finalised the payment of compensation last year, i.e. 1971-72. But when the sanction came to the D.C's office Jowai, the S.D.C. had to make further enquiry which had not been done previously, and as such the payment of compensation was held up till end of the financial year. So the sanction lapsed.

Mr. Speaker :- Money had to be refunded to the Government?

Shri Onwardeywell Nongtdu, Sutnga (S.T.) :- Sir, I mean the D.C. has to be asked for re-sanction. And I may remind the Agriculture Minister and the Minister of State incharge of P.W.D. who had made a promise on 16th May this year to pay the compensation on Sunapahar-Nongshram road within a month. But that promise did not materialise even uptil now. This shows that the Government needs now more S.D.Cs so that problem of land compensation can be taken up and that the people who are waiting for their dues, can get the payment in time. As a matter of fact, compensation matters are still pending even for more than 10 years and the Government have not been able to clear up the compensation matters. Now, Sir, the people are at a loss whether they are to allow Government to construct roads through their lands or whether they are to oppose such construction. So, I hope, the Government will see that more S.D.Cs are appointed, so that the people can get their payment of compensation in time. Thank you, Sir.

Shri H.E. Pohshna Nongtalang (S.T.) :-  Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the resolution and while supporting the resolution I would like to say that I differ with the remark that has been made by one of the hon. Members, Mr. D.D. Lapang when he said that it is very difficult to get S.D.Cs who know the tribal languages.

Mr. Speaker :- No, he didn't say that. What he did say was that the Government might be compelled to take some from the Assam Cadre because, according to him, the Meghalaya Public Service Commission had just been constituted and that it would be better to wait till the Commission recruits new people for the cadre.

Shri H.E. Pohshna :- Yes, Sir. He didn't say but indirectly his contention was like that ...........

Mr. Speaker :- I request the hon. Members to be fair. Only the other day the M.P.S.C. Regulations have been placed before the House. How is it possible for the Commission to provide new recruits right now?

Shri H.E. Pohshna :-  Alright, Sir. But at least we should adopt some theories in expediting the appointment of such persons. If applications are invited now, I think by the time of Commission's Regulations are finalised it will be possible to get them. For instance, the Mukhtapur road was constructed 4/5 years ago but compensation has not as yet been paid. There were two or three houses which were dismantled during the course of construction of the road. Sir, in a murder case if there is no affidavit or if the dead body is not there, it is difficult to give evidence in support of the case. Now, Sir, these houses had been destroyed about 4/5 years ago and I now doubt their case because only little slips of paper were handed over to the house owners. So, Sir, I would request Government to see to it and not let it remain pending for want of S.D.Cs.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh Pariong (S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I raise to support the resolution that more S.D.Cs be appointed to expedite matters in connection with land compensation due from the P.W.D. Sir, let me mention a few roads which have been constructed 10 to 15 years ago like the Mairang, Ranigodam Road, Mawngap Nongstoin Road, Laitmawsiang Mawthawpdah Road, Ranikor Mawphlang Balat Road, Lynkhattmar Road Nongstoin Mawsynrut Road.

Mr. Speaker :- Let us say the major road......

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Yes, Sir. These roads were constructed more than 10 years ago. I may also mention the Sohiong-Pariong road. As far as I know, compensation has not as yet been paid to land-owners.

Mr. Speaker :- Can you suggest Mr. Lyngdoh? Supposing the Government is quite willing, how do you expect to do it?

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- I will come to that, Sir. Even the roads already constructed or going to be constructed during the Fourth Plan like the roads of Mawlai, the constituency of the mover of the motion - there are about 8 roads there for which compensation has not been assessed. Sir, I would also mention something regarding the people of Pamlakrai and Laitkor villages where the villager's land have been acquired by the military. There are many controversies and there are cases of half-payments of compensation while at the same time the military are in full occupation of the whole of the Shillong Peak for a long time now and yet the land owners have  not as yet received the compensation due to him. So, Sir, this delay in payment of compensation for acquisition of land during the Fourth Plan of the State has become a problem and it has effected the construction of thousands of miles of new roads under the plan. This delay has totally effected the 4th Plan. So I would suggest that at least 5 S.D.Cs should be appointed one to work in land acquisition or compensation matters in Khasi Hills alone and four may be placed in the four corners of the district and also one in the Centre. So, I would suggest that if the S.D.Cs cannot be immediately recruited through the Public Service Commission we should invite applicants from outside. I think there is no difficulty if we appoint them on contract basis just to speed up the pending matters in connection with payment of compensation. The contract may be for a period of 2 or 3 years.

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :-  What about the language?

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- There is no difficulty in the language because if we talk now of language, everybody in our State holding higher places is a non-tribal.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :- I would like to know those non-tribals who are higher places.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Those who are holding the post of Secretary, etc. So, Sir, I think, if there is no harm, the Government can take necessary steps in the matter of appointment of the S.D.Cs on contract basis at least five for Khasi Hills alone. I therefore support the resolution.

Shri G. Mylliemngap (Sohryngkham S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to oppose the resolution moved by the hon. Member. Because even if the Government brings not only five but say five hundred S.D.Cs. I think the Government will not be able to speed up the works Sir, the land tenure system here is most complicated and one thing which stands in the way of land compensation is the technical difficulty which is interlinked between one Department and another Department. Therefore, it will not be easy for the Government to take S.D.Cs even from outside our jurisdiction unless we can set right these complications which are standing in the way at present. But for the benefit of our friends I would like to suggest to the Government, through you, Sir, that the officers of the A.C.S. cadre can be considered for appointment as they have land survey experience and training. It would be better if the Government can entrust this work of land revenue to the S.D.Os who are working in the villages in their respective jurisdictions. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.

Shri Bloming Shallam (Jowai S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the problem of land compensation is vexed as any other problems prevailing in the State which has been left pending for years together. As has been stated by the hon. members in the House, the main cause for not being able to expedite the matter of payment of compensation to the land owners is the shortage of staff- shortage of S.D.Cs. Our people have suffered a lot, specially the land owners. So we must be cautious. Soon after we have achieved our State, our Government have been able to constitute our own Public Service Commission and I am glad that our own people who know the language will be able to come forward to compete in the examination so that they can qualify themselves to the post of S.D.C. So I would request each and every one to be patient as they have been patient for years together for best reasons known to them. I do not know why they cannot be patient, specially in view of the fact that the Public Service Commission has been constituted only recently. So our Public Service Commission will take some time some time to function. Before the creation of the State, we have a joint Public Service Commission with Assam. Now to our greatest satisfaction we will have our own people to man the posts of S.D.Cs. With these words I oppose the resolution and hope the hon. Members, Sir, will remain patient. (Mr. Speaker left the Chamber and Mr. G. Mylliemngap took the Chair).

Shri E. Pohshna :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, Members of the Ruling Party said even B.D.Os will have to be recruited!

Shri Bloming Shallam :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, whether the members of Ruling Party or the Members from any other Party, I only make a general appeal to all to see what best can be done for the interest of our own people.

Shri Edward Kurbah (Sohiong S.T.) :- I rise to support the resolution moved by the hon. Member from Mawhati. I have already heard that many people are complaining about non-payment of the land compensation by our Government. The Government has not paid the land compensation in time for I do not know what is happening uptil now and many people are waiting patiently for land compensation. The people came to me telling me to remind the Government that the land compensation should be paid to them as early as possible. Another road from Mawmaram to Nongthliew. One day I with the Minister incharge of P.W.D., Executive Engineer, Nongstoin Division, Superintending Engineer and other people visited the road from Sohiong to Weilyngkut, from Nongthliew to Mawmaram. As soon as we reached the road to Mawmaram we were stopped by a lady who was the land owner of  a certain portion of the road telling that the land compensation has not been paid to her uptil now. She said to the Minister incharge that the land compensation should be paid to her as soon as possible because she has already given her lands for the construction of the road. The road from Sohiong  to Weilynkut tenders have already been invited for the construction of the road from Sohiong to Weilyngkut 4 or 5 months ago, but uptil now nothing has been done. I enquired of the people there. They said there is no difficulty in giving their land if they get the land compensation in time. So, the S.D.O. and the Overseer have gone there to enquire into the matter. I do not know whether these people understand Khasi or not, I mean, the S.D.O. and the Overseer as they are non-Khasis. I have met both of them also. I told them that we should hold a meeting to explain the matter to the people. But uptil now a meeting has not yet been called. The only answer I have got from the S.D.O. is that, he would call all the Headmen of the villages concerned in order to explain the matter to them but that also has not yet been called uptil now. I would like to bring to the notice of the House that due to the non-payment of compensation, the land owners and the people are complaining against the Government even to us who are representatives of the people. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.

Shri Humphrey Hadem (Mynso-Raliang S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, after hearing the observations made by some hon. Members, I am compelled to narrate at least some of the few facts which arise out of this land acquisition matter. The second portion of the resolution demands that the Government should take adequate number of S.D.Cs. But while discussing this resolution, many of us have spoken on the land tenure system and the over-burden of some of the officers and some of our friends have requested us to be more patient. So Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to say here that we do not want only the quantity of officers or to depend upon the officers that we are having but we also want the quality of these officers. Of course, Sir, the quantity of officers is essential no doubt in this respect. We are having at present in Jaintia Hills, if I am correct, one such officer or S.D.C. who is meant entirely for the land acquisition and compensation matters. But it is regretted that no action has been taken by him or by the Government uptil now. Sometimes it was found even when there was a case of compensation or land assessment to be dealt with by him, he was found somewhere fishing in a river and he did not care to attend to the case. Mr. Chairman, Sir, if this be the case, I think it will only increase the burden on the cultivators as well as the Government by appointing more persons for this particular type of posts. By saying so, I do not mean that I do not support the resolution. But I would like to say that we do not only need sufficient number of S.D.Cs but we also need efficient personnel for these posts. So I totally disagree with the Speaker who proposed that this burden of assessment of land be entrusted to the B.D.Os because I do not know how far they can cope with the work which has already accumulated. Probably the hon. Member would be more experienced than myself because at one time he had been officiating as B.D.O. for some time. Anyway Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to say that if we are to take up the work it must be satisfactory and should not be mixed up with any other works. I would like also to say that it is not a good advice to us that we must be patient. How long, how many years more should the land-owners be patient?

        Then again, Sir, I would also like to point out one particular road which was constructed about 8 years back. That is the Pasyih-Mynso-Mawkynsniang Road and only half portion of the road was constructed some eight years back. The poor land owners whose lands were affected by the construction of this road have not so far received any compensation. So when the Government extended the period for the construction of the remaining portion of the road., the land-owners stood against the proposed construction. So I would request the Government at least to consider the case of those people and expedite payment of compensation. It so happened that the visit of the then P.W.D. Minister to the area collided with the election to the House of the people where the present Dy Speaker, along with the then P.W.D. Minister who is at present Agriculture Minister were present and in presence of the then Speaker of the Meghalaya Provisional Legislative Assembly who happens to be the present Hon'ble Speaker of the House, that the P.W.D. Minister promised that compensation to those people would be paid within a short time and the people were convinced of his assurances. Then the people agreed to the construction of that road being continued. But Sir, it is regrettable that uptil now nothing has been done. This is a very sad thing. Therefore, I request the Government to look into these things and save the land-owners the embarrassment of having to wait indefinitely. But I would rather request the Government that if they cannot do the the work, it is better not to promise anything. As already mentioned by one hon. Member, the Minister of State, P.W.D., said that compensation will be paid within July. He did not mention which year, and probably that might take one thousand years, whereas the people understood that, that July means this year. But that time will never come. Moreover, Sir, it is indeed regrettable that in some cases payments were made partially. Payments were made only to the officers' favourites. That happened in my Constituency. Sir, in the case of Raliang-Sohsniang Road it happened that some persons who have got no land, were paid more and those who have really got land were not paid. Some persons who have lost their cultivation and their land were paid only Rupees twenty. So Sir, I would like to suggest that if we are at all to pay, let us do it immediately. I would also propose that if any land is taken for any road construction, due compensation should be paid to the land owners. With these few words, Sir, I support the resolution moved by the hon. Member.

Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Nongstoin S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the Resolution moved by my hon. friend from Mawlai. It is of immediate urgency to have more S.D.Cs. As the hon. Members who took part in this discussion have already pointed out, I just want to point out one particular road which the hon. friend of mine, has already mentioned and that is the Nongstoin-Nongshram Road or the Shillong-Tura Road. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I remember on 16th May 1972 when two Hon'ble Ministers, the Minister incharge of P.W.D. and the Revenue Minister went on tour to Nongshram, on the way, they were obstructed by the people of that area who wanted to meet them. They demanded that if the Government does not do anything, does not take any step to pay the compensation for their lands, they will not allow the Ministers to go down to Nongshram. I was also with them and one hon. Member, Mr. K.M. Roy was also with us. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in our presence, the hon. Ministers promised that if they are allowed to go down to Nongshram.....

Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Revenue, etc.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think that is too much. I want to clarify this point. The hon. member was there. We were obstructed by the people; they came to us with representation for compensation. Alright, we said, "let us go back to Shillong and there only we can settle the matter expeditiously". Because Mr. Chairman, Sir, unless we give this promise, they will never allow us to go there.

Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I was with them and Mr. Kristo M. Roy was also with us.

Mr. Chairman :- You have got the clarification from the Minister concerned. Are you not satisfied?

Shri F.K. Mawlot :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, but it is a very sad thing to say that till date the hon. Minister has not yet made it clear to the people, neither to the representatives of that area about the compensation to the land owners.

Mr. Chairman :- But who will be responsible for this?

Shri F.K. Mawlot :- I think there is none to blame but the delay was due to shortage of S.D.Cs. So, I would support the hon. mover who moved this resolution and at the same time, through you Sir, I request the Government to accept this resolution by appointing more S.D.Cs as soon as practicable.

Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Jaiaw S.T.) :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, while participating in the discussion on this resolution before the House, I would like to offer my thanks to the hon. mover of this Resolution for having initiated and brought forward this resolution. Rather than ventilating the grievances of the land owners I would rather feel called upon that to dwell on the merits and demerits of the resolution. I am fully aware that there is a genuine difficulty among the people for getting their compensation in time. Certain instances have come to my notice and I do agree that there is much force in what the hon. Members have said. I am only surprised that the matter has come in the form of the resolution. The Preamble of the resolution as the  hon. mover has put it, I will quote, "Whereas, construction of new roads in the Khasi Hills District has been very much impeded owing to inordinate delay in making lands available, and whereas non-availability of lands is mainly due to delay in the settlement of land compensation, this House, therefore, recommends to the Government of Meghalaya to detail adequate number of Sub-Deputy Collectors to deal with land compensation matters". Mr. Chairman, Sir, but here it is not that lands are not available but there are some other factors also which have to be gone into properly. Now, from the resolution, it is understood that it is due to non-payment of compensation. While I agree with this point, there are matters to be taken into consideration also before coming to the conclusion. For instance, I know that there have been cases where people themselves do not like to part with their land for construction of roads, for reasons best known to them. Therefore, this resolution does not really reflect on the facts and remarks of the mover. A part of the resolution is more or less to request the Government to have more staff of S.D.Cs but not to allow Government to encroach upon this or that land. It is not a question of asking for more staff. I do not see that the Government would not  agree to that. But let us admit one fact that there is shortage of personnel. We all know very well when we go to the departments of the Government today, there is shortage of personnel. This is a genuine shortage and there is difficulty of getting people to work in certain departments. For instances, in this particular resolution, it is obvious that we want more S.D.Cs to be trained in land revenue matters. We can not get them easily. There is so much force in what my hon. friend from Nongpoh has stated that we can get more of the staff only through the P.S.C. and that also we have to wait. Mr. Hadem has correctly pointed out that we cannot tackle this problem. It is very difficult to obtain people who have certain technical know-how and the expertise in order to avoid dislocation in the administration. There is no emphasizing on the need of the quality of the personnel whom we should take in the department. Therefore, I agree that the resolution is subject to modification. I do not dispute with the motivation of the mover for bringing it to this House. I would have thought it a simple matter that the matter could be disposed of on the Government level rather than brought to the House in the form of a resolution. The resolution as it stands now, does not deserve my support. With these few words, I oppose it. Thank you. 

Mr. Chairman :-  I would now call upon the Minister to reply.

Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Revenue, etc.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, at the outset, I would express my thanks to the hon. mover of the resolution for the sacrifice of his 4 motions for this important one. The objective of this resolution as it appears is to appoint more S.D.Cs. Mr. Chairman, Sir, we have many difficulties that we cannot appoint these S.D.Cs, because we have not created separate cadre from that of Assam. We have many of these S.D.Cs as B.D.Os in the Blocks and we are not in a position to take these officers from the Blocks. In that case we have to recruit such personnel from the open market. In doing so firstly, we have to advertise for the posts, then interviews follow and it is a time consuming business. Secondly, after getting the suitable personnel, we have to make necessary arrangements to depute them for training. Therefore, it will take a longtime in getting these new S.D.Cs. But if we look in the offices of the D.C. in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, we will find that we have 4 S.D.Cs  in the Khasi Hills, 1 in Jaintia Hills and 1 in Garo Hills district. Altogether, we have 6 S.D.Cs in all the district offices. Now we propose to appoint two more S.D.Cs - one for the Nongstoin new Subdivision and another for the Simsanggiri new Subdivision. That will mean eight S.D.Cs in all the district offices of the State.

        Then Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh complained that all those roads for which compensation has not been paid are the roads which were constructed about 8 years back, that is, during the Third Plan. It is true that most of those roads were constructed long before Meghalaya came into being and when Meghalaya came into being, it has to bear the liability of paying the compensation due to the people. I want to make it clear that at that time the Government of Assam did not acquire those lands when they constructed the roads and now we cannot make any payment of compensation for any piece of land which is not acquired according to law. I should make it clear that before we pay compensation we have to acquire the land according to the provisions of the law and the mover of the resolution, if he would go through this little piece of legislation, he will find that since we notify in the gazette for acquisition of land and until the acquisition is completed, it would take at least two years. That is according to the law. Therefore, you can imagine how the process of law goes step by step. The hon. Member from Nongstoin has charged two of us - the Minister of State and myself. When we arrived, we checked up both with the Revenue and the Public Works Departments and we found that the land for the construction of road, for which he complained to us, was not acquired according to law. Therefore, the whole land was to be acquired and before the Revenue Department acquires the land, the Public Works Department should be ready with the acquisition papers - and in the acquisition the map of the area to be acquired must be there. The hon. Member from Mawhati said about the blank sheet which was attached and which was supposed to be a map. The S.D.C. is not to compare a map, nor does the Deputy Commissioner. The map is to be prepared by the acquiring department which needs the land to be acquired. Unless the department provides all the necessary papers, the Revenue Department can hardly do anything. I do not know, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that there is some Sub-Deputy Collector who is supposed to go for road verification and assessment of compensation but was instead fishing somewhere. If the hon. Members come across such lapses on the part of any Government servant, I would only request them to bring specific cases to our knowledge so that we can take necessary action against those officers who are guilty of such lapses in their duties.

        There is also a complaint that there is some partiality in paying compensation. These are serious charges and if the hon. Members would like to join hands with the Government by filing specific cases of partiality in payment of compensation, we could get them enquired into and bring to book all those officers who have committed such lapses in their duties.

        Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to emphasise that the roads in question were constructed long before Meghalaya came into being and at that time they were constructed without acquiring the land and we found it difficult to decide how to pay the compensation. Therefore, sometimes we had to make the reassessment. There are some Members who complained that the roads were constructed 4 or 7 years back and only recently the Sub-Deputy Collector went to make the assessment. Here I should make it clear that, as I have already clarified the position, unless such assessment is made we cannot make payment of compensation. There are also complains that there are Sub-Deputy Collectors in Shillong who are not conversant with the local language. Mr. Chairman, Sir, for the information of the House, I would like to tell, through you, Sir, that there is no more tribal Sub-Deputy Collector that we have not brought over. All the tribal Sub-Deputy Collectors are now with us and if we have to appoint more Sub-Deputy Collectors or ask for more Sub-Deputy Collectors that will mean that we will get only non-tribal officers and we will get only those officers who will not be conversant with the local language. So, I do not know what to do and we are at a loss. If we appoint non-tribals, complaints are made that they do not know the local language and the Government is adopting a policy which is anti-tribal and all that, and again if we do not make such appointments the blame is put on us. I can, however, assure the hon. Members that the Government is very much alive to this question of payment of compensation. The Revenue Department always remind the P.W.D. when they want that the road should be constructed that they should fulfill all the requirements of law by filing all the acquisition papers so that we can expedite the matter. In the land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Act, 1967, there is no time limit for completion of the acquisition proceedings. However, according to the said amendment, proceedings should be completed within 3 years from the date of publication of the notification in the Gazette under Section 4. According to the Land Acquisition Review Committee, this State Government has pressed the Government of India that the acquisition proceedings should not be less than 24 months, i.e., 2 years after publication of the original notification under Section 4. 30 days are allowed for filing objections under Section 5 (a). After this, draft declaration under Section 6 is published and then after 15 days another draft under Section 7 is issued to the Deputy Commissioner to take possession of the land under acquisition. After issuing instructions under Section 7, the Deputy Commissioner will complete all formalities before drawing the award under Section 9. Normally if there is no objection from the public, the time taken from publication of the original notice till drawing the award will be 5 to 6 months. That is the law. Delay sometimes happens because of public objection and non-finding of the actual claimant. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, from here we can see that the law itself has to be overcome before we can complete payment of compensation. One hon. Member has referred to one particular road which he said that compensation has been paid but the money has not reached the actual claimant. That is true Mr. Chairman, Sir. From our records, it is clear that compensation had been paid. Where the money goes, nobody knows. That matter is still under the Police investigation and we are awaiting the result of the investigation. Therefore, I am not in a position to be specific - what it is and where it is. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think, the delay in payment of compensation does not solely lie on the Sub-Deputy Collector alone. It has to be done by the Department which requires the land under the land acquisition proceedings. At present the Revenue Department has got 4 Sub-Deputy Collectors in Khasi Hills and from the month of January or February, it is hoped that another Sub-Deputy Collector will be appointed, of course if we have a man. To say that the payment of land compensation has been delayed because we are short of Sub-Deputy Collectors to carry on the work is not correct. The matter was delayed because there was delay in getting relevant papers and in regularisation of the matters. Now all these roads will have to be resurveyed and remarked and then notified for their acquisition. So, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I hope the hon. Member, the Mover of the Resolution, will realise the difficulties that we are facing. The Government of Meghalaya has taken over all these roads only recently from the previous Government and we have to regularise everything right from the very start. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think, that since the hon. Member, the mover of the Resolution, has sacrificed 4 of his resolutions it would not be hard for him to sacrifice at least this fifth resolution (laughter) and I would like to request him to withdraw it. Thank you.

Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I want to have a clarification. It appears from the reply of the hon'ble Minister incharge of Revenue, that the difficulties are mainly due to roads constructed by the previous Government without acquiring the lands according to law. So, I do not want to press on that point. But I would like to get a clarification about the case of Pasyih-Mynso-Mawkynsniang road which was constructed during the time of the Government of the Autonomous State of Meghalaya.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, that road was constructed under the old scheme right from the time of the previous Government and we executed it. At that time we could not have possession of all relevant papers. It took time to transfer these papers. Therefore, at that time we thought that everything was alright. But when we took over this road, we found that it has not yet been acquired.

Shri H. Hadem :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, in this connection the then P.W.D. Minister has made a promise in the public meeting at Mynso that he will pay the compensation. But uptil now nothing has been  done.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, I did not promise to pay the compensation because I have no money to pay from my pocket. I know that the office procedure has to be followed.

Shri H. Hadem :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, the Hon'ble Speaker who was present would corroborate what the Minister has said. And from now onwards when any promise is made we would take that it is only a false promise because the Ministers have no money to pay.

Shri Bloming Shallam :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is not a false promise because the Hon'ble Minister in his reply has said that he did not make any promise at all.

Shri H.E. Pohshna :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, on a point of clarification. The Hon'ble Minister has laid down the time-table between construction of roads, acquisition, payment of compensation and getting of papers. What is the duration between the date of construction and the date of compensation as according to the statement of the Hon'ble Minister, the time-table is of two years?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have said only the time. Normally if there is no public objection, the time taken from the date of publication of the original notice till the time of drawing the award is 5 to 6 months. After that if complication arises, we do not know how long it will take. However, the Government is trying its best to see that compensation is paid as early as possible.

Prof M.N. Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, on a point of clarification. Is this system being followed with regard to the Umsning-Jagi Road? The first notification came out after 3 months and it was not worked out by the Department. The first notification came out in July and now we are still waiting for the next modification on 30th to 50th mile.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think on this particular road which has been mentioned, I have to collect necessary papers so that I can give a correct reply.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh (Pariong S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, according to the statement of the Hon'ble Minister, most of the roads for which compensation will have to be paid fall under the Third Plan. Of course it is true that according to the resolution the delay is for the new roads which are under the Fourth Plan. I know that there are 11 roads which are under construction and the work is not progressing because of the difficulties in payment of compensation and acquisition of lands. What will happen to these roads and the compensation to be paid?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, if the people do not allow us to take advance possession of the land before payment of compensation, then the work has to be stopped. What else can we do? We cannot pay compensation without first acquiring the land according to law.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, the question is not of the people obstructing anybody to go there to take measurement of the road as there is no S.D.C. at all. If we approach the Executive Engineer who is incharge of the scheme he informed us that there is no S.D.C. 

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, the S.D.C. will not go there unless all processes of law have been completed. The S.D.C.  will go after the lands have been acquired compensation paid to the land owners and after assessment is obtained.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, because of this delay in the execution of the proceedings no progress can be made in the payment of compensation.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, the P.W.D. will give us all the acquisition papers and then we will notify in the Gazette. All these factors are there. Then only we will assess the land.

Shri F.K. Mawlot :-  As stated by the Minister incharge of Revenue that the S.D.C. will go to the area only after acquisition is made. So unless land is being acquired by the S.D.C. who is supposed to do the acquisition business?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :-  The Department who want land will complete all the acquisition papers before the proceedings is sent to the Revenue Department for final decision.

Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :-  Mr. Chairman, so far as I know advance possession of the land can be taken only if the land owners give their consent. So advance compensation can be given before final payment of compensation i.e. according to the Land Acquisition Act. And  as far as I know from the statement that advance compensation cannot be given is not correct.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :-  We do not want to take the land of anybody by force. After all ours is a democratic Government.

Shri Maham Singh :-  We are acquiring lands only for public purposes so that they will not suffer for want of lands.

Capt. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I have been hearing the speeches both for and against this Resolution. What we are concerned today is the disposal of the compensation matters with regard to the land acquired for the purpose of further construction and for such other purposes. That with the increase of the staff, i.e. the S.D.Cs, it is contended that the disposal of pending cases could be expedited and that the Government should agree to the Resolution that has been moved for the quick disposal of the compensation cases. Even if we agree to appoint more S.D.Cs it will not be possible to get qualified S.D.Cs from within the State, they will have to be brought from outside on contract basis or on deputation. There was also a suggestion that without recruiting people from outside on contract basis or on deputation it will be possible entrust the work to the B.D.Os. In this State there is a good number of B.D.Os. who are deputed from the Revenue Department to work in the development blocks. The Government may examine whether their services can be placed  at the disposal of the Revenue Department to deal with these matters. We have also to examine how blocks can be improved. I would like to make it very clear to the hon. Members here that by merely adopting a resolution the problems cannot be solved. Government also is fully aware of the fact that there has been without doubt delay in the disposal of these compensation cases. Suggestions have been made that without going through the usual procedure advance compensation should be taken into account. It is stated that the land had been acquired for construction of roads or for other construction works before the accepted procedure is gone through in the payment of compensation for the land. Therefore, I believe the House will agree that this matter should not be taken up through this Resolution as this is one of the difficulties inherent in the land acquisition cases. The Government is fully aware of this problem and I can assure the House that this matter will be taken up soon. Of course we are equally anxious as the hon. Members from the opposition who said that the matters should be disposed of immediately. I would suggest the hon. Member to withdraw the resolution, and allow the Government to take steps as early as possible to dispose of acquisition cases. We are trying our level best to find out ways and means for the quick disposal of acquisition cases. With these words I would request the mover to withdraw the resolution.

Shri S.D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, at the very beginning I tried to make very emphatic entreaty upon the Hon'ble Minister to accept this resolution, but I find that it is a boomerang that I have been requested to withdraw the resolution. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the main point in this resolution that I have brought before the House for discussion, and on which I have purposely laid emphasis is on the new roads and not the old roads. At the very start, I have made it clear that here in our district we need a lot of roads because of the geographical condition of our State. Roads are the only means of communication and in the first part of the resolution, I have suggested that the problem in the first instance is of getting land. Whenever I visited the P.W.D. I had discussions with them and I sought information from them regarding  the new roads. They informed me that they cannot go ahead with these roads because they have not been able to get possession of land for the purpose of constructing these roads and then I asked them again what was the main reason. They told me that they have forwarded all the papers to the Collectors and the Collectors have not been able to deal with those acquisition matters. So that is the main problem. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have also spoken in the second part of the resolution about the appointment of adequate number of S.D.Cs. In my resolution, I have never made any mention of the number of S.D.Cs nor did I categorically state the quality of the S.D.Cs. It is left to the Government to appoint, and I am sure, the Government in appointing anybody will not appoint an incompetent person and there have been one or two suggestions to solve this problem. The Hon'ble Chief Minister has accepted the fact that we have been facing a lot of difficulties and problems with regard to the old cases which are pending. In so far as compensation matters are concerned, I reminded the Hon'ble Chief Minister at the very beginning  that these old cases may act and react as a ramification to the new cases. So unless and until we can clear the old cases, how can we deal with the new cases? So I have brought these things to the notice of the Government. It is up to the Government to consider it and when the question was posed by Speaker - when we spoke about more S.D.Cs, - how to get these S.D.Cs, it is not for us from this side to offer the suggestion to the Hon'ble Minister how to get the S.D.Cs. But if I happen to be on their shoes, even for one minute I shall be able to tell how to get those additional S.D.Cs. 

Shri B. Shallam :- You should help us now.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :-  You give me your shoes first. Another thing I want to express Mr. Chairman, Sir, in bringing the resolution or for that matter anything before the House, is not our sole intention to find fault with the Government, but we feel we have got an equal share in the affairs of the State and for this purpose, I have purposely brought this particular resolution because it is an old case, to borrow the words used by Prof. Majaw, - the most ancient cases. So, with a view to reminding the Government and with a view to helping them, I have intentionally and purposely brought this resolution for the Government to consider and to act accordingly. Mr. Chairman, Sir, as you can very well see most of the chairs on this side are empty and we are not prepared for a division on any issue and no whip has been issued to the party Members. So from the very beginning the Hon'ble Minister is dead certain that division will not come and I will eventually withdraw my resolution. So on the assurance given by our Hon'ble Chief Minister and the Revenue Minister, I withdraw my resolution.

(Loud Applause).

Mr. Chairman :- Has the hon'ble Member leave of the House to withdraw the resolution?

(Voices - - Yes, Yes)

        The resolution is, by leave of the House, withdrawn,. Let us pass on to Resolution No.5.

Shri Upstar Kharbuli (Malki) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to move that this Assembly recommends to the Government of Meghalaya to move the Government of India to release and hand over to the State Government that part of the Cantonment area which falls within Shillong Town proper in view of the fact that more land, to the extent of nearly 4,000 acres, are being acquired by the Government of India for that purpose, so as to enable the State Government to improve and develop Shillong town in a planned manner.

Mr. Chairman :- Resolution moved.

Shri Upstar Kharbuli :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, we heard with rapt attention the discussion about congestion of Shillong town in the previous sitting of this House, and in my opinion, I do not see a better way of solving the problem of congestion of the town than to get this thinly populated cantonment area in order to divert the activities of the town and also to improve the situation. For instance you will find congestion in and around Bara Bazar area particularly in Bus Stand and Mawlong Hat area, I think, if the State Government can persuade the Central Government to release this cantonment area, then we may shift the activities of the town to that side also.

        Now, we have been clamouring for a stadium and in my opinion the most suitable site for a stadium would be the present Garrison Ground and if we can get this ground I think we can immediately go ahead and start a stadium. So with these few words I resume my seat.

Mr. Chairman :-  Any other Member who would like to participate?

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support this resolution for one thing that the Military has occupied a large area of this town as well as the outskirts of the town. If you go towards Cherrapunjee, if you towards Upper Shillong, you will find that vast area of lands has been occupied by the Military. Even the then Assam Government was ready to sacrifice the Agriculture Farm for the Military. I hope the present Government will drop that proposal. If you go to the Happy Valley side you will find large area has been occupied by the Military and even if you go further towards Laitkor you will find there also vast area has been occupied by the Defence Personnel. So when the Military has occupied vast areas of outskirts, why should they continue to remain within the town also. Probably, long ago this cantonment was on the outskirt of Shillong. But in course of time the town has expanded on all sides. Moreover, the existence of a cantonment within the town creates many problems. There was always a friction between the Defence Personnel and the civilians, particularly so far as the female population is concerned. Quite a number of fights took place in Upper Shillong where the Defence Personnel have raided the villages. So it is better for them to go to the outskirts lock, stock and barrel. Let the activities of these Military Personnel be confined to clubs only. Let the big big Military vehicles not endanger our life since the Military divers know only to move when they are asked to move. Moreover not  only 40000 acres of land have been occupied by the Military, but also they have occupied quite a vast area of land in the outskirts of Shillong. Now if they remain within the town itself, there is a chance of continuous friction. There had been a friction between the businessmen and the Defence Personnel. So their clash was not confined to Cinema Hall only but it also extended to the godowns also. So it is better for us as well as for them to remove themselves to the outskirts so that we may be able to have a stadium, a better Cinema Hall, which of course, should be owned by the local people. So I hope with the co-operation of the Government it would be possible.

Shri H. Enowell Pohshna (Nongtalang S.T.)  :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the resolution and in doing so, I would make a special request to the Government to consider it very very sympathetically. Over and above the reasons that have been pointed out by my friends, I would like to say that the existence of a cantonment within the heart of the town is an admission on the part of the Government that we are all cowards. It means that we want the Military to stay with us  for our protection (laughter). Therefore, if the Government cannot concede to our request, it would mean a serious insult to our people since it would prove that we are very cowardly. On the other hand the existence of the cantonment is dangerous to civil population in case there is any air raid or attack. The cantonment will be the place of concentration of bombing etc., and it will be very convenient for our forces to depend it without creating danger to the civilians. Thus the removal of a cantonment will serve both ends.

        With these words I request the Government to accept the resolution.

Shri F.K. Mawlot (Nongstoin S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, in supporting the resolution moved by the hon. Member from Malki, I would like to remind the Government that Shillong has become so congested especially when you move along the Mawlong Hat or along every side of Bara Bazar itself not to speak of different portions of Police Bazar. The inclusion of the Cantonment within the town of Shillong has caused untold difficulties to the public and one of the main difficulties which stands in the way is that we cannot extend the roads, we cannot allot more lands to our people to construct their houses. So the people are compelled to construct their houses even by the side of the roads and you will find that they have encroached on the roads. So I also would request, as Mr. Pohshna has stated, the Government to think for the people and to sympathize with the inhabitants of Shillong especially the female inhabitants (laughter) when they move about in the streets, because the military trucks pose a constant danger to them. The military drivers, as one hon. Member has pointed out, are taught to drive forward only and not backward. I remember one evening when I was coming from the Circuit House, I was almost crushed by a passing military truck. When we confronted the military truck, the Captain said he was very sorry because his driver was a new man. These things are happening almost everyday. On the other hand, if a civilian driver meets with an accident, you will find him in jail the next day whereas you cannot expect to have a military personnel in jail. There are many difficulties in connection with the arrest of military personnel. So, Sir, I support this resolution and would request the Government to sympathize with the inhabitants of Shillong and by cooperating with the Military Authorities remove these inconveniences from the Shillong Town itself.

Shri P.N. Choudhury (Laban) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I also rise to support the resolution moved by the hon. member, Shri Kharbuli. As a matter of fact, we from the Congress Party took up this matter with the Prime Minister during her recent visit and we pressed the need of shifting the Cantonment from the heart of the town. It is really a great necessity that we all join hands together to request the Central Government to shift the cantonment area from the town. There are only a few offices and institutions in the present Cantonment area like the MES and a hospital, etc. The rest of the areas is occupied by private individuals' bungalows and other residential quarters. This has helped the expansion of the town. It is because of this that the Bara Bazar area - which is the biggest market place in the whole of north-eastern zone - cannot be expanded. We need expansion of the Bara Bazar area for removing its congestion but this is not possible unless the Cantonment is shifted.

        Secondly, Sir, the mover of the resolution has very correctly stated that in the Garrison Ground a Stadium can be very easily constructed, and we all know that a Stadium is a crying need in our capital town. I also agree with the hon. member that the Garrison Ground is the ideal ground for a play field and can conveniently be used as the ideal site for the proposed Indira Gandhi University. So, Sir, I feel that the hon. members from both sides of the House should join hands and move the Central Government to take effective steps to shift the cantonment from the heart of the town thereby allowing the State Government to develop the city and also to remove congestion and make our State Capital a beautiful city. This would also provide more accommodation to the civil population. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.

Shri Dhruba Nath Joshi (Cantonment) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I should like to thank my hon. friend, Shri Kharbuli, for moving this resolution and I rise to support this resolution. As a member elected from the Cantonment it was actually my part to play but, however, I am thankful to him. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think almost all the hon. members of this august House are aware of the fact that the Cantonment area is a part and parcel of the town of Shillong and that our Government has take up a scheme, through the Shillong Municipality, to develop and beautify this town in their sector but the Cantonment Board, under various pretexts, is reluctant to take any scheme for development. Time and again, our Party, the Indian National Congress, has taken up this matter with the Government of India. We even had submitted a memorandum to the late lamented G.B. Pant the then Home Minister, Government of India, when he visited to this area, to get this part of Shillong- the-cantonment area- brought over under civil administration. But for reasons best known to them that did not materialize. When the Prime Minister, Shrimati Indira Gandhi, visited last year our Party took up the matter with her. We do not know actually what is there in the minds of the Defence Department. But the Prime Minister very sympathetically listened to our arguments. Now I should like to remind the House, through you, Sir, that even during the last session, the Budget Session, I had taken up the matter while speaking on the Hon. Finance Minister's Budget Speech, that this part of Shillong i.e., the Cantonment area - a large area under civilian habitation be brought back to Shillong from the Defence authorities so that we can have a planned and simultaneous development of the town. Therefore, Sir, we will be ashamed to learn that the assessment over holding in the Shillong Cantonment is the highest in India. Where our people in Shillong municipality are paying taxes say at the rate of Rs.10 for a particular holding comprising of an area of say 10,000 sq. ft.- there in the Cantonment area one has to pay for the same area ten times more or say not less than Rs.100. So people are suffering there in our own town. We in Shillong municipality got the benefit of an amount of Rs.1,50,000 earmarked for the scheme of development of Shillong town while the Cantonment area is totally deprived of it. The Chief Minister had assured us that he would take up the matter with the Government of India. The question of the establishment of a University also is there. Naturally, Government will be in the look out for a suitable site. A land for the University would have been solved and the question of having a Stadium and having other projects located within Shillong town would have been solved because there are vast tracts of unused waste lands in the Cantonment area if the area is transferred to civil authorities. When the Defence Department of the Government of India is acquiring vast tract of lands outside Shillong, there is no justification in having this Cantonment located here which can be removed to Umroi or elsewhere in the interior.

(Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :-  We hope so.)

        Mr. Chairman, Sir, the problem of sanitation is very acute in the Cantonment area. We are very much ashamed to see that in the capital town of Shillong the disposal of garbage is done within the town area itself. Smoke always comes out of the oven which effects the health not only of the people of the Cantonment area itself, but that of the whole of Shillong town. That can be removed, and that can be done away with if the Cantonment area comes over to the civil administration of the State of Meghalaya.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh (Pariong S.T.) :-  Mr. Chairman, Sir, in supporting this resolution I would like to say that the military installation is not at all found in modern towns and cities in the world and also in our country, because of the fact that the purpose of defence is to defend the country and people from any outside aggression. So the Cantonment being there in the heart of the town defeats the purpose of the meaning of defence. It means rather provocation because it is in the heart of the town. Shillong town is going to be a city and it is the administrative headquarter of this State and of the Eastern region. Therefore, Sir, this military installations, which have been keep since a long time should be removed. Of course, it is difficult to remove them immediately. But over and above that we have seen, as Prof. Majaw said, that at Laitkor, Happy Valley, Mawphlang, Umroi and Umpling and some other places lands have been and are being acquired for defence purposes for the headquarters of the Eastern Command. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is very inconvenient to have this military installation in the heart of the town expanded. Looking into the matter from all angles, I do not think the Defence Department, Government of India will insist on having this installation in the heart of the town. So, it is necessary to remind the Government of India not only in the form of this resolution as has been replied by the Government but it would be better and more effective to pass a resolution unanimously with a recommendation to the Government of India to remove the Cantonment and establish it elsewhere in the suburbs. With these few words, Sir, I support the resolution. 

Mr. Chairman :- The discussion on Resolution No.5 will be resumed on Tuesday, the 5th of December, 1972.


ADJOURNMENT

        The House stands adjourned till 9 a.m. tomorrow, the 1st December, 1972.

   

R.T. RYMBAI,
Dated Shillong: Secretary
the 30th November, 1972. Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

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