Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled after the First General Election, 1972.

The Assembly met at 9.00 A.M. on Tuesday, the 11th December, 1973 in the Assembly Chamber Shillong with the Hon. Speaker in the Chair.


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Mr. Speaker :- Starred Question No.2.

STARRED QUESTIONS

(To which oral replies were given)

Permanent site for the North-Eastern Hill University

Shri Jormanik Syiem asked :

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

(a) Whether a permanent site for the location of the North-Eastern Hill University has been selected ?

(b) If not, why ?

(c) Whether it is a fact that the Vice-Chancellor of the said University is living in a Guest room of the Khasi Hills Presbyterian Hospital at Jaiaw, Shillong ?

(d) If so, why proper accommodation suitable to his status has not been provided by the State Government.

Shri. Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State, in-charge of Education) replied :-

2.    (a) - No, Sir.

        (b) - The process of selecting a site has not been completed yet.

        (c) - Yes, Sir.

        (d) - One private building at Jaiaw was arranged for the Vice-Chancellor's residence but the same was converted by him as an office. Government is taking steps to allot him one Government building.

Shri. Jormanik Syiem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I know the reasons for not finalising the site for the University ?

Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister, Education) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have already replied that it is still in the process.

Shri. Jormanik Syiem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether the Vice Chancellor has been given any Bungalow elsewhere ?

Mr. Speaker :- He has already replied that Government is taking steps to allot one Government building.

Shri. Grosswell Mylliemngap :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at this moment is the State Government paying any house rent?

Mr. Speaker :- I think that question does not arise. The University is a Central University.


Now Unstarred Question No.32.

UNSTARRED QUESTIONS

(Replies to which were placed on the Table)

Provision of vehicles, etc. to S.D.O. (E. and D.) Phulbari Sub division

Shri. Manindra Rabha asked :-

32.    Will the Minister-in-charge of Public Works Department (Embankment and Drainage) be pleased to State -

(a) Whether it is a fact that the Sub divisional Officer, Embankment and Drainage of Phulbari Sub division has not been provided with Jeep and Trucks ?

(b) Whether it is a fact that Lower Division Assistant and Typist have not been posted in the Sub divisional Officer of Embankment and Drainage at Phulbari ?

(c) If so, why ?

Shri. D.D. Pugh [Minister of State, P.W.D. (E. and D.)] replied :

32.    (a) - No, the Sub divisional Officer, Embankment and Drainage Subdivision at Phulbari has already been provided with one Jeep and one Truck.

        (b) - Applications for filling up the posts have already been called by the Executive Engineer, Public Works Department, Embankment and Drainage Division. The applicants are being processed through the District Selection Committee.

        (c) - Does not arise in view of (b) above.


Shillong Wholesale Consumer's Co-operative Ltd.

Shri. P.N. Choudhury asked :-

33.    Will the Minister-in-charge of Co-operation be pleased to State -

(a) Whether the Shillong Wholesale Consumers' Co-operative Stores, Police Bazar has received any grant or loan either from the Government or Bank ?

(b) If the answer to (a) is in the affirmative, (i) The amount of grant and loan received up-to-date ?

(ii) The amount of loan outstanding ?

(c) Whether the Society is getting profit ?

(d) If so, the net profit earned every year ?

(e) If no, what was the amount of loss incurred by the Society up-to-date ?

Shri. Grohonsing A. Marak (Minister of State, Co-operation) replied :-

33.    (a) The Shillong Wholesale Consumer's Co-operative Stores has not received any grant from the Government of Meghalaya. No loan was granted by any bank except credit accommodation against pledge of goods under double lock system was sanctioned by the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank upto a limit of Rs.1,00,000.00

        (b) - (i) Does not arise.

(ii) Does not arise.

        (c) - No.

        (d) - Does not arise.

        (e) - The provisional loss during the Co-operative Year 1971-72 is Rs.36,317.17.

Shri. P.N. Choudhury :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, reply to question No.33 (e) - Do the Government propose to set up an Enquiry Committee to investigate into such loss ?

Shri. Grohonsing A. Marak (Minister of State, Co-operation) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is no such proposal.

Mr. Speaker :- Unstarred Question No.34.


Number of Ambulances in Civil Hospital, etc. Shillong

Shri. R. Lyngdoh asked :-

34.    Will the Minister-in-charge of Health, etc. be pleased to State -

(a) The number of Ambulances placed at the disposal of the Shillong Civil Hospital, the Ganesh Das Hospital and the T.B. Hospital in Shillong ?

(b) Whether it is a fact that the Civil Surgeon, Khasi and Jaintia Hills have no authority over the Shillong Civil Hospital, the Ganesh Das Hospital and the Government T.B. Hospital ?

(c) If so, the designation of the Officer / Officers having authority over each or all of these ?

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) replied :-

34

(a) - Civil Hospital, Shillong - 2

`

Ganesh Das Hospital - Nil

R.P. Chest Hospital - 1.

        (b) - Yes.

        (c) - Surgeon Superintendent for Civil Hospital, Shillong, Medical Superintendent for Ganesh Das Hospital, Superintendent for R.P. Chest Hospital.

Shri. P.N. Choudhury :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, reply to question No.34 (a) - May I know whether these two Ambulances are in running condition ?

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) ;- They are off the road.

Mr. Speaker :- That means they are not in running condition.

Shri. Upstar Kharbuli :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I know if the Government has taken any steps to repair the Ambulances ?

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, these vehicles are condemned. So we are to get new ones.

Shri. D.D. Lapang :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I know whether Government propose to take steps to place any Ambulance at Nongpoh Hospital ?

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is no such proposal. Anyway this is going to be considered.

Mr. Speaker :- During question hour, your answer must be specific.

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- At present there is no proposal.

Shri. Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have seen one vehicle is running. To whom does this vehicle belong?

Mr. Speaker :- I think that is a supplementary question to a supplementary question.

Shri. P.N. Choudhury :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I know since when these vehicles have been condemned.

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I requite notice for this.


Mr. Speaker :- Unstarred Question No.35.

Unstarred Question No.35

Shillong Civil Hospital

Shri. P.N. Choudhury asked :-

35.    Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to State -

(a) The total number of beds in the Shillong Civil Hospital ?

(b) Whether Government is aware of the fact that indoor patients have to be kept in impoverish bed in the verandah of Hospital due to heavy rush of indoor patients ?

(c) Whether Government propose to increase the number of beds in the Hospital ?

(d) If so, the number of proposed additional beds ?

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) replied :-

35.    (a) - 150 beds.

        (b) - Yes.

        (c) & (d) - Under consideration of Government.


Management of Pinewood Hotel

Shri. P.N. Choudhury asked :

36.     Will the Minister-in-charge of Tourism be pleased to State -

(a) Whether the Management of Pinewood Hotel has been taken over by the Government ?

(b) If so, whether the staff of the hotel has been given the scale of pay and allowances equivalent to State Government scale of pay and allowances ?

(c) If not, why not ?

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Tourism) replied :-

36.    (a) - Yes.

        (b) & (c) - No. The hotel business is different from the work of the Government and hence it would no be correct to draw a comparison between the scales of pay of the staff of the Pinewood Hotel and the scales of pay of the State Government staff.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know in what way does business at the Pinewood different from Government work ? Does Government therefore mean that there should be different pay scales for different works ?

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) :- The work of the hotel is heavy and there are many staff who do not have their counterpart in the Government. For instance, no bearer, no cook and various other staff in the Government and the timings are also different and the method of work is also different to pay scales, ever since the Government of Assam took it over. But I may inform the Members and the House as a whole that in view of the revision of pay scale of the Government staff, the Board of Management is seized of the problem also to revise the scale of pay to the hotel staff and in this connection a committee has been appointed to look into this question of revising the scale of pay of Pinewood Hotel staff.

Shri. P.N. Choudhury :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, reply to question 36 (b) the Minister has given reply only to pay scale but not about the allowances. Sir, the Government staff are getting D.A. Winter Allowance and House Rent Allowance, etc. May I know whether Government propose go give the hotel staff also all the benefits ?

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) :- A Committee has been appointed for the management of this hotel for looking into the whole question of allowances and so on and so forth. So unless the Committee submits its report to the Board, we shall not be in a position to say anything on this at this stage. The whole matter of pay and allowances is to be looked into


Mr. Speaker :- Unstarred Question No.37.

Reconstruction of the dispensary building at Bataw

Shri. L. Bareh asked :-

37.    Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to State -

(a) Whether Government is aware that the dispensary building at Bataw and at Pamra-Pathiu have since collapsed ?

(b) Whether Government lately received representation from the people of Bataw for immediate reconstruction of the dispensary building at Bataw ?

(c) If so, when ?

(d) Whether Government propose to take up the reconstruction work of the said dispensary building ?

(e) Whether it is a fact that the Government Pharmacist of Bataw have not been supplied with medicines for rendering medical relief to the ailing people of Bataw Area ?

(f) If so, what action Government propose to take in this matter ?

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) replied :-

37.    (a) - Yes.

        (b) - Yes.

        (c) - On 5th September 1971, 25th October 1971 and 12th October 1972.

        (d) - Yes.

        (e) - No.

        (f) - Does not arise in view of (e) above.

Shri. Upstar Kharbuli :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, No.37 (d). May we know when does the Government propose to take up the work of reconstruction ?

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, plans and estimates have already been prepared and it is difficult at this moment to say anything abut the actual date as to when reconstruction work will be taken up.


Mr. Speaker :- Unstarred Question No.38 and 39.

Umkiang Dispensary

Shri. L. Bareh asked :-

38.    Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to State -

(a) Whether Government is aware that the dispensary building at Umkiang has not been repaired for the last seven years and that the doors and windows are in a dilapidated condition ?

(b) Whether Government propose to provide a Midwife for the said dispensary?

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) replied :

38.    (a) - Yes.

        (b) - One Midwife has been appointed.


Mawngap Water Supply Scheme

Shri. E. Kurbah asked :-

39.    Will the Minister-in-charge of Public Health Engineering be pleased to State -

(a) The amount spent for drilling the source of water supply East of Mawngap village during 1973 ?

(b) The amount spent for all round surveying of Mawngap Water Supply Scheme from 1972 up-to-date ?

(c) The name of the proposed permanent source ?

(d) The amount estimated for the purpose ?

(e) When it will be finalised ?

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, P.H.E.) replied :-

39.    (a) - Rupees 4,063.98.

        (b) - Rupees 825.00

        (c) - Umiew stream.

        (d) - The estimate is under preparation.

        (e) - The scheme will be finalised subject of availability of funds.

Shri. Edward Kurbah :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in Question No.39 (c) what is the proper name of Umniam stream here? There are two names of Umniam stream - one is the south and one is the west of Mawngap. I want to known what is the proper name of Umniam stream.

Mr. Speaker :- Here it is Umiew stream not Umniam stream.

Shri. Edward Kurbah :-Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether it is in the south or west of Mawngap.

Mr. Speaker :- But here it was Umniam as I said. It is Umiew stream.

Shri. Edward Kurbah :- Sir, reply to 39 (e), whether a scheme has been included in the Fourth Five Year Plan ?

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- I cannot hear Mr. Speaker, Sir.

Mr. Speaker :- He said whether the scheme has been included in the Fourth Five Year Plan.

Shri. S.K. Marak (Minister, Health) :- Yes, Sir.


Mr. Speaker :- Unstarred Question No.40.

Cement Factory at Cherrapunji

Prof. M.N. Majaw asked :-

40.    Will the Minister-in-charge of Industries be pleased to state -

(a) How many times have there been mechanical breakdowns at the Cement Factory at Cherrapunji since it came under the control of the Government of Meghalaya ?

(b) How long did these breakdowns last on each occasions ?

(c) The reasons for these breakdowns ?

(e) The loss that the factory had to bear as the result of these breakdowns ?

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) replied :-

40.    (a) - Meghalaya Government took over Assam Cement with effect from 1st March 1972. Since the taking over of Assam Cements by Meghalaya Government, the Raw Mill Motor broke down thrice and the Kiln Motor once.

        (b) - Raw Mill Motor broke down for the following periods -

(i) 24th February 1972 to 2nd May 1072 - 66 days.

(ii) 16th May 1972 to 1st March 1973 - 280 days.

(iii) 1st October 1973 to 8th October 1973 - 8 days,

  17th October 1973 onwards.

        The break down that occurred on 17th October 1973 has not yet been rectified.

        Kiln Motor broke down for the period from 24th December 1971 to 3rd April 1972 that is for 101 days.

        Besides there were maintenance problem of main gear base during the following periods.

        1st August 1973 to 5th August 1973, 13th August 1973 to 15th August 1973, 25th August 1973 to 26th August 1973.

        Re-alignment of the mill took place during the period 1st September 1973 to 8th October 1973.

        (c) - The reasons for the break downs are mainly technical, viz., due to inherent defects in the motors.

        (d) - The loss to the factory due to the above break-downs are given below in terms of cement production lost-

Tonnes

January 1972

...

...

...

200

February 1972

...

...

...

500

March 1972

...

...

...

5,200

April 1972

...

...

...

3,100

May 1972

...

...

...

2,300

June 1972

...

...

...

3,550

July 1972

...

...

...

3,400

August 1972

...

...

...

3,200

September 1972

...

...

...

4,200

October 1972

...

...

...

3,200

November 1972

...

...

...

3,000

December 1972

...

...

...

1,600

February 1973

...

...

...

290

March 1973

...

...

...

610

August 1973

...

...

...

2,900

September 1973

...

...

...

6,100

October 1973

...

...

...

5,100

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in 40 (d), the questioner has asked for the "loss" to be given. Normally, the loss is given in terms of money. But here the loss is given in terms of cement production. May we know what this amounts to, in terms of money ?

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the reply has been given in terms of national loss. In other words, this would have been produce had the factory been in operation. That is actually a notional loss. So, had the factory been in operation we would have produced the total of 48,450 and odd tonnes. The actual loss in terms of labour and other staff has not been calculated. In other words, some of the labour were diverted to another jobs which had to be done in any case like maintenance and repairs and other works that generally had been there during breakdowns. And it is rather difficult for us to calculate the actual loss because the national loss is here. Now, you cannot say that this 48,450 and odd tonnes is the actual loss because the amount lost is paid for expenditure on labour and so on. The actual loss can be calculated only when the balance sheet of that particular year 1972-73 is finally prepared, which is under preparation. So, this is a notional loss and the actual loss cannot yet be stated.

Shri. Upstar Kharbuli :- Sir, in view of the frequent breakdowns of these motors, is the Government thinking of having spare motors to replace these motors so as to enable the factory to continue functioning .

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Yes, Sir. The factory had actually placed orders for the big motors which have been giving main trouble a year ago and these are expected in May 1974. We have also made efforts to get these motors as spared and that process of trying to get these motors is going on.


Electric Supply to Resubelpara

Shri. Salseng C. Marak asked :-

41.    Will the Minister-in-charge of Power and Electricity be pleased to State -

(a) The reason for the failure to extend electric supply to Resubelpara during 1973-74 as proposed for electrification ?

(b) The steps taken by Government to speed up the work ?

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Power and Electricity) replied :-

41.    (a) - Electrification of Resubelpara has been linked up with the Scheme - 33 KV line from Rongjeng to Dainadubi and Mendipathar, etc. during the 1973-74. We are now still having four months more for the year 1973-74 to go. It is expected that within that period the village would be electrified.

        (b) - Materials for the construction of the line is being collected and work has already started.


Monthly requirement of rice

Shri. R. Lyngdoh asked :-

42.    Will the Minister of Supply be pleased to state :-

(a) The monthly requirement of rice during calendar year 1973 ?

(b) The monthly receipt of rice from various sources during the above period ?

(c) The monthly receipts of rice during corresponding period of 1972 ?

(d) Whether Government have any buffer stock of essential commodities ?

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) replied :-

42.    (a)- The monthly requirement of rice is 6,400 metric tonnes approximately.

        (b) - Against the above requirement which is entirely met from the allotment given by the Government of India from the Central Pool, on the average we actually received only 2,500 metric tonnes per month. Besides the receipt from the Central pool, we received 500 metric tonnes from the Government of Assam and 120 tonnes from the Government of Tripura and another 100 metric tonnes is on its way from Tripura to Shillong.

    The details of monthly receipts of rice during 1973 are as under -

Months

From Central Pool

From other Sources

Total

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

Metric Tonnes

Metric Tonnes

Metric Tonnes

January., 1973

...

...

2,000

....

2,000

February, 1973

...

...

2,000

...

2,000

March, 1973

...

...

2,000

...

2,000

April, 1973

...

...

3,500

...

3,500

May, 1973

...

...

3,000

...

3,000

June, 1973

...

...

3,000

...

3,000

July, 1973

...

...

2,355

...

2,355

August, 1973

...

...

2,000

...

2,000

September, 1973

...

...

2,000

250

2,250

250

120

October, 1973

...

...

2,000

2,370

November, 1973

...

...

3,500

100

3,600

December, 1973

...

...

3,000

...

3,000

        (c) - During the year 1972 on an average we received 3,300 metric tonnes of rice.

        The details of monthly receipts of rice during 1972 are as follows -

Months

From Central Pool

From other Sources

Total

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

Metric Tonnes

Metric Tonnes

Metric Tonnes

January., 1972

...

...

8,000 M.T.

....

8,000 M.T.

February, 1972

...

...

8,000 "

...

8,000 "

March, 1972

...

...

...

...

...  "

April, 1972

...

...

...

...

.... "

May, 1972

...

...

...

...

.... "

June, 1972

...

...

3,000 "

...

3,000 "

July, 1972

...

...

5,000 "

...

5,000 "

August, 1972

...

...

5,000 "

...

5,000 "

September, 1972

...

...

... "

....

.... "

October 1972

...

...

2,000 "

...

2,000 "

November 1972

...

...

2,000 "

...

2,000 "

December, 1972

...

...

2,000 "

....

2,000 "

        (d) - No.


Meghalaya Bus Services

Shri. W. Syiemiong asked :-

43.     Will the Minister-in-charge of Transport be pleased to state :-

(a) The names of the various routes within the State where the Meghalaya Bus Services has been introduced ?

(b) The monthly receipts of each route during the first six months of 1973-74 ?

(c) The number of buses playing on each of these routes.

(d) Whether Government propose to bring in more routes for introduction of its bus services ?

(e) If so, whether Shillong - Mawkyrwat Road is included in the proposal ?

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) replied :-

43.

(a) (1) Shillong-Cherra-Shella Route.

(2) Shillong-Tura Route.

(3) Shillong-Mairang-Nongstoin Route.

(4) Shillong-Mawsynram Route.

(5) Shillong-Jowai-Nartiang Route

        (b) - (1) Shillong-Cherra-Shella Route.

April, 1973

Rs.15,401.96

May, 1973

Rs.15,378.06

June, 1973

Rs.14,049.56

July, 1973

Rs.17,846.81

Aug., 1975

Rs.17,438.46

Sept., 1973

Rs.15,401.17.

        (2) Shillong - Tura Route -

April, 1973

Rs.26,744.88

May, 1973

Rs.26,894.06

June, 1973

Rs.26,166.50

July, 1973

Rs.27,436.69

Aug., 1975

Rs.24,349.06

Sept., 1973

Rs.26,414.51

        (3) - Shillong-Mairang-Nongstoin Route -

April, 1973

Rs.13,740.31

May, 1973

Rs.12,405.05

June, 1973

Rs.,752.28

July, 1973

Rs.11,668.24

Aug., 1975

Rs.15,744.48

Sept., 1973

Rs.14,963.71

        (4) - Shillong -Mawsynram Route -

April, 1973

Rs.3,328.33

May, 1973

Rs.4,610.43

June, 1973

Rs,2,054.86

July, 1973

Rs.4,616.53

Aug., 1975

Rs.4,325.44

Sept., 1973

Rs.5,056.77

        (5) - Shillong - Jowai - Nartiang Route -

April, 1973

Rs.1,657.72

May, 1973

Rs.1,394.43

June, 1973

Rs.3,266.96

July, 1973

Rs.6,016.45

Aug., 1975

Rs.5,617.03

Sept., 1973

Rs.5,793.29

        (c) - Shillong-Tura - 3 Buses including one stand-by.

Shillong -Nongstoin - 2 Buses.

Shillong-Mawsynram - 1 bus.

Shillong-Jowai-Nartiang-1 bus.

Shillong-Cherra-Shella - 3 buses.

Tura-Baghmara - 1 bus. Service suspended  for want of tyres with effect from 19th March, 1973.

         (d) - Yes.

         (e) - Yes.

Mr. Speaker :- Before taking up the next items of business, I have to inform the House that I have received notices of breach of privilege, one against the Chief Minister, the other against Mr. Darwin D. Pugh, Minister of State, the next against Mr. S.D.D. Nichols - Roy, Minister and the last against Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh, Minister. All these are signed by the same Member, Prof. M.N. Majaw, and the question is, as claimed by the Member, that a breach of privilege was committed against him. Before we proceed further, may I know from the Chief Minister whether he has received prior notice from the complainant since I have not received any extra copy from the mover to be sent to all the Ministers concerned.

Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, just as I entered about one minute ago that I received a copy.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- On a point of information, Sir. You forgot about one more privilege Motion that I have submitted.

Mr. Speaker :- I have got one more copy of privilege Motion against Mr. E. Bareh, Minister which is not signed by anybody. When it is not signed. I do not know what to do with it. (Loud Laughter).

        May I know from Mr. D.D. Pugh, whether he has received the notice ?

Shri. D.D. Pugh (Minister of State) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I found it on my table after I finished answering questions.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Sir, he was here right from the start; he entered the House before you entered.

Mr. Speaker :- The issue of notice is not just placing it on the table.

Shri. S.D. Khongwir :- Sir, on a point of information. When the hon. Member from Kharkutta moved a privilege Motion against the hon. Member from Mawhati in the House it was verbally done without prior notice.

Mr. Speaker :- I may remind you, I think you have already known that the Privilege Committee has submitted the report. I do not want to dwell on that matter again as the report has already been submitted by the Privilege Committee.

Shri. S.D. Khongwir :- While the hon. Member from Mynso-Raliang moved a privilege Motion against the hon. Member from Malki, you gave a ruling without prior notice, even less than one minute.

Mr. Speaker :- It even means one minute. That is why, in the case of Chief Minister, he said that he has received one minute after he entered the House. But in the case of Mr. Kharbuli, the mover sent the notice to me and my Secretariat sent the copy of the hon. Member complained against. May I know from Mr. Nichols - Roy whether he has received prior notice ?

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Yes, Sir, just a minute or two before the Speaker entered the House. I saw it here and I was reading.

Mr. Speaker :- You mean you have received. What about Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh ?

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- I found it on the table, Sir.

Mr. Speaker :- It matters little whether you saw it or you found it, but when you have accepted it, it means that you have received prior notice. But when Mr. Pugh found it after the question hour, it means that the notice was duly served. So before the Mover would beg leave of the House, I am asking the Secretary to read out the complaint of the hon. Member. First of all against the Chief Minister, then after that against the other Ministers.

Secretary :-

The Secretary,

The 11th Dec.1973

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly,

Shillong.

Sir,

        Under the provision of rules 158, 159 and 167 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the House. I beg to give notice of my intention of moving a Motion of Breach of Privilege against the Chief Minister, Capt. W.A. Sangma, on the following grounds :-

(1) on the 27th of July, 1973, the said Capt. Sangma, with the permission of the Speaker, interrupted the proceedings of the House and suddenly brought forward a Motion whose text is found in the enclosed Bulletin No.4, page 2, item No.7;

(2) The text of the Motion moved by the Chief Minister, specifically asked for the permission of the House to send certain proceedings of the House to the Government for utilisation for a case registered against me;

(3) There is no such case against me, nor was there any case registered against me in connection with the matter raised in the said resolution on the day when the Motion was moved by the Chief Minister;

(4) Despite several demands from the opposition for the number, date and other details of the alleged case against me, but the Chief Minister could not give such details on that day;

(5) The Chief Minister, who is in-charge of the Home Portfolio acted willfully and with full knowledge of what he was doing when he moved the said Motion.

        I submit that the deliberate circumstances of interrupting the proceedings of the House on the 27th of July, the determined manner in which the Motion was pressed and urged for acceptance by the House by no less a person than the Chief Minister, proves that this was, in my opinion, a willful attempt by the Chief Minister, Capt. Williamson A. Sangma to malign me. As it is also an abuse of his power and position in order to willfully mislead the House, I move that on all these grounds, and on others I shall explain in the House, that the Chief Minister has committed a willful breach of privilege, and I demand that deterrent punishment be meted out by the House in such a case as befits it.

Yours faithfully

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw, M.L.A.

Mr. Speaker :- Before I ask the hon. Member to submit his contention before the House, may I ask the Chief Minister what he has to say ?

Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is a fact that a case has been registered against the hon. Member for exhibiting the bullets in the House. Every hon. Member knows that the bullets were exhibited by the hon. Member for which he has brought this privilege Motion against me. Now, in the Court, whether he will be accused or not will be ultimately known only when the investigation is completed. But it is a fact that a case has been registered in the Court in connection with live bullets have been exhibited by the hon. Member in this House and the Court would naturally require the proceedings of the House in order to investigate into the case. Naturally the Court or the authority dealing with this particular case would require certain information as to how and under what circumstances the bullets had to be exhibited inside the House. At the same time, I would like to make a submission that the accused tried to find fault with the Court but prosecution means to find the truth, and it is a known fact to the hon. Members in the House as a whole that live bullets were actually exhibited inside the House and were in possession of the hon. Member. If it was not so, he could not have exhibited them inside the House. Therefore, whether he is directly accused or not is a matter which can be found out only when the investigation is completed. But it is a fact that in order to facilitate the investigation to be correct and impartial, all the required evidences substantial or otherwise will have to be given. It is not to find fault with the hon. Member. I think it will be good to give certain information which will be more valuable in the course of the discussion in this august House when this matter about exhibition of bullets was discussed inside the House. I therefore, feel that there is no case of privilege in this particular matter.

Mr. Speaker :- Will Prof. Majaw make his submission ?

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it gives me great pain to bring forward a breach of privilege of this nature against the highest executive in the State. But I humbly submit that the occasion to which I referred in my Motion was not occasioned by us, but was occasioned under very strong circumstances, by no less a person than the Leader of this House. If you remember well Mr. Speaker, Sir, the House was engaged in the normal conduct of its business on the 27th of July, 1973, when suddenly an interruption was made in order to bring a Motion which according to the bulletin published by the Assembly reads as follows :

        "I beg to move that leave be granted by this House that the proceedings of the Assembly relating to the matter connected with the exhibition of live bullets be made available to the Government for utilisation in the case registered against the said Member. If we read the bulletin further we will find that there was great opposition from this side against the moving of such a resolution and we even went to the extent of staging a walk-out for the first time in this Assembly. I submit Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the interruption of the proceedings of the House amounted almost to an adjournment of the proceedings of the House, with your permission of course. Nonetheless, there should have been a very grave and serious reason for this. Here, I also submit that the Chief Minister has the prerogative to move for an adjournment. As Leader of the House he can move the Speaker for an adjournment amounting to an interruption of the proceedings. But by having done so, it is his bounden duty. Mr. Speaker, Sir, not to mislead the House. And with all knowledge at my disposal, and with my free will, I submit that the Chief Minister misled the House; and also I submit that he has misled the House willfully. How he has misled the House, I shall endeavour to point out. The case which was registered by me was numbered FIR 51/3/73 under Section 25 (1) (a) of the Arms Act, and I have with me a copy of the letter written by the Officer-in-charge of the Shillong Police Station to the Court of District Magistrate, Khasi Hills, Shillong on 24th March, 1973, which reads inter-alia as follows : "Sir, I have the honour to State that on the receipt of FIR from the hon. Member of the Legislative Assembly, Shri. Martin Narayan Majaw, in course of investigation it appears that the proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly may be necessary for the purpose of investigation of the case. I shall therefore request you to kindly furnish a copy of the proceedings of the House as mentioned above." Mr. Speaker, Sir, had the Chief Minister come forward merely seeking permission to give the proceedings of the House to the Court. I think I would not have any case of privilege. But instead, Mr. Speaker, Sir, he has mislead the House by stating that there was a case against me. Whereas, as a matter of fact there was one and only one case lying with the court in which I myself was the complainant. That was the only case in the list of FIR cases lying with the District Magistrate, at least until 27th July, when the Chief Minister brought forward this Motion. It was the one and only case at that time, namely, with the Shillong Police Station, and the case number was FIR 51/3/73 under Section 25 (1) (a) of the Arms Act.

Mr. Speaker :- Was that complaint in connection with the same affairs of bullets ?

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Yes, Sir. But although there was a case, the Chief Minister willfully and deliberately tried to malign me and made me an accused in the case in which I was a complainant. The text of the Motion moved by the Chief Minister is very unambiguously States "for utilisation in the case registered against the said Member". I humbly submit, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that by using the words "case registered against" me, he has deliberately tried to mislead the House, firstly and secondly, he has deliberately maligned me. Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the basis of the proceedings of this House the local Khasi Newspapers of this town carried news items that there was a case registered against me in the court.

Mr. Speaker :- These newspapers do not come in the picture unless you bring a privilege Motion against them.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is a Press Gallery in the House and they are attending the proceedings of the House. What I mean to say is that I was not only maligned inside the House but also outside it. It was not only published in the local newspapers, it was published even in other English Dailies, that there was a case registered against me on the basis of the Motion moved by the Chief Minister in this august House on the 27th July, 1973. May I point out Mr. Speaker, Sir, that according to Erskine May's Parliamentary practice, page 138, Chapter 10 dealing with breach of privileges, - "the House may treat the making of a deliberately misleading statement as a contempt". Further, Mr. Speaker, Sir, according to the Law of Parliamentary privileges by P.S. Pachauri, at page 239, we have this : "To mislead the House, its Committees or Officers is another major ground of committing a contempt of the House. Such offences can be committed directly by such persons who in any way take part in the proceedings of the House, viz., Members, witnesses and petitioners". So the Chief Minister who is also the Leader of the House, has committed a breach of privileges as clearly indicated by the observations quoted by me.  The Chief Minister has willfully and deliberately misled the House and tried to malign me. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Chief Minister is in-charge of the Home portfolio, besides and all the officers are at his back and call; he could have easily known that I was a complainant in this case, and having that knowledge and knowing fully well that I am not the accused in this House and that a case has not been registered against me, he willfully and deliberately had the proceedings of the House interrupted, under the most unusual circumstances, a thing that has never been done so far in this august House. The first questionable action was when the proceedings of the House were interrupted, and then through a resolution to declare that I am the accused in the case. I should like to point out here that there was vehement opposition from this side. Despite the opposition, despite the constant request from us to let us know when was the case registered and who was the complainant, the Chief Minister moved his resolution. The proceedings of the House on the 27th July may be consulted Mr. Speaker, Sir, to know if such a thing happened. I plead before this House Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we are humble M.L.As. We do not have a single officer, we do not have a single policeman and we do not have a single chapras. The Chief Minister is the Chief authority of the State and has full power.

Mr. Speaker :- Come more to the specific point.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- I am trying to make it out Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have been admitted as an accused and I would also like to point to page 233 of Police Station Pachauri's. The Law of Parliamentary Privileges in united Kingdom and in India' "Abuse of one's position as a Member or a servant of, or as a witness before, the House may also in grave cases be a contempt of the House." I believe Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this is an abuse of one's position. Abuse of one's position as a Member - he is a Member of this House. Abuse of one's position as a servant - he is also a public servant. And having thereby abused his position, he has brought forward a Motion based on wrong facts, deliberately drafted, despite opposition, despite a strong demand for justice from our side on the 27th July, 1973. I also submit Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Motion moved on the 27th July, 1973, constituted also an affront to the authority of the House. Again may I quote Police Station Pachauri - P. 229' Analogous to contempt of the House through an affront of its dignity, is contempt through and affront to its authority." Then further, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to point out that at P.235 the Committee on Parliamentary Privilege stated in its report, 1966-67 in the House of Commons - "They (the committee) do not overlook the fact, however, that contempt may (and has been held to) include the conduct of a Member or officer, whether within or outside the chamber of the precincts, which is so improper or disorderly as to amount to an abuse of the Member's or Officer's position". I humbly submit that this act of the Chief Minister on 27th July, 1973 was an abuse of the Member's position as Leader of the House. I continue to quote p.236 line 2 - "An example of such misconduct would be the gross abuse by a Member of his rights and immunities, for example by maliciously making, under cover of the absolute privilege afforded by the Bill of Rights, a gross defamatory attack upon a stranger or upon another Member of the House". I believe Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is a gross defamatory attack upon me particularly in view of the fact that the false news that I am the accused-and that a case has been registered against me, was carried in all the papers of this town as also outside. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, in view of the fact that this is an affront to the dignity and authority of the House, in view of the fact that the Chief Minister has misled the House and in view of the fact that the proceedings of the House were suddenly interrupted for the first time in order to introduce such a Motion based on a false statement, I submit Mr. Speaker, Sir, that there is a breach of privilege and I submit Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this was committed in full view of this House. There is nothing here to warrant reference to this matter to the Privileges Committee. A breach of privilege in full view of the House may receive punishment.

Mr. Speaker :- May I remind the hon. Member that the action of the Chief Minister has received the consent of the House ?

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the whole House was misled by the Chief Minister.

Mr. Speaker :- Your contention is whether he misled the House.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- He deliberately misled the House with the intention of malign me. With this misleading of the House Mr. Speaker, Sir, he has committed a breach of privilege. I do not see why we cannot deal with the case today itself so that this august House can examine and find out for itself  whether on 27th July, 1973, there did exist or not a case registered against me. That can be found out today by the Secretariat of this House or by the august House itself whether on the 27th July, 1973 there was actually a case or not as presumed in the statement made on the 27th July, 1973.

Mr. Speaker :- No repetition please. I think you must look to Rule 175. So far as privileges are concerned, a Member should be brief and concise.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Yes, Sir. There are circumstances under which the proceedings of the House....

Mr. Speaker :- There are special forums also for ventilating the grievances.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have to come to you to place our case. As humble Members of this House, we are at a disadvantage when the Chief Minister of the Government of the State with full powers and authority abuses that authority in order to malign the Members of the Opposition. So I submit Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this is a definite breach of privilege.

Shri. Jormanick Syiem :- On a point of information, I would like to know if F.I.R. in the Police Station was lodged by the hon. Member. May we know against whom this ejahar was lodged and the next question is after the exhibition of the live bullets, no case has been registered against him ?

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- In reply to number one, Sir, I must say that it is irrelevant and I am not accused.

Mr. Speaker :- Prof. Majaw, it is relevant to the effect that you admit that there is a case against you. If you do not admit that there is no such case, then of course the question would have been irrelevant.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- I lodged the complaint before the District Magistrate on that very day itself. As you remember Mr. Speaker, Sir, you had given me an order that the bullets should be handed over to the Police. But since the two Police Officers who were present in the House, refused to accept the bullets ....

Mr. Speaker :- We are not concerned with what happened outside. What was the nature of your complaint ? The Police Station is outside this House.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- I went outside this House and met the District Magistrate and filed an F.I.R. with the District Magistrate against the person who handed over the bullets to me. He is the accused and I am the complainant. This is an F.I.R. and this is the only case in the Police Register.

Shri. Jormanick Syiem :- The next question has not been replied to and whether after the exhibition of the live bullets any case has been registered against the hon. Member ?

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- No, No.

Mr. Speaker :- That is not for you to reply. His contention that there was no case registered against him, that question was not raised.

Shri. S.N. Koch :- Against whom ? the hon. Member ? ...........

Mr. Speaker :- I have already allowed the Members to have a chance. Please do not challenge my ruling.

Shri. Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I stand to support the Motion that there is a breach of privilege committee through the statement. I mean, the Motion of the Chief Minister on 27th July, 1973, by which has misled the House by saying that a case has been registered against the hon. Member, Mr. Majaw. We even walked out from the House on that day. The effect of this Motion was then not only in the House but also outside the House, outside the State and may be throughout India and this Mr. Speaker, Sir, has damaged the prestige and privilege of the Member of the House. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is a prima-facie case of breach of privilege of the House.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Sir, yesterday I had an unpleasant duty of opposing one privilege Motion moved by one Member of this august House. Also some time ago, during the last session, I had again an unpleasant duty to oppose a privilege Motion moved by one hon. Member against one newspaper. Sir, as mentioned just now by the last Speaker that it is against the prestige of the House that this Motion was moved because the alleged action or the statement of the Chief Minister has damaged the prestige of the House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have a very strong feeling that this Motion of privilege moved in the House did not damage the prestige of the House.

Mr. Speaker :- May I draw your attention that your argument is uncalled for. The breach of privilege was already discussed in order to safeguard the prestige of the House, but if you so unnecessarily repeat the same question. Then you will have to prove whether these Motions are irrelevant or irregular.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Sir, I do not allow to move such Motion I mean breach of privileges .....

Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, I rise on a point of order. Sir, he used the word, "I will not allow". Sir, who is he to allow or not to allow us ? It is you and only you alone to allow in this august House. Even now when I am speaking, he is interrupting me ! Sir, he cannot use the word "allow". It is only you who allow us in this august House. So, Sir, this word may be expunged.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Sir, I have addressed the Chair and I submit my Motion to the Speaker and not to the hon. Members.

Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Lyngdoh, I think this is unnecessary and it appears as if I am a Speaker, is encouraging the breach of privilege Motion to come forward. I request you to withdraw such kind of Motion otherwise I have to take some other steps.

*Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- I said Sir, I will withdraw. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there has been a breach of privilege committed against the Member of this august House and this has been my submission. Sir, there is a tendency against the hon. Member to misunderstand the meaning of the word "privilege". The privilege is a special right - a peculiar right attached to a certain person which no other persons can enjoy. This special privilege is given only to the Members of the Legislatures either in Parliament or in the Assembly. There is also a special privilege that I shall not be arrested on my way to attend the session of this House. This special privilege attached to a Member or Members is a clear objective of giving the Members of  the Legislatures of Parliament or Assemblies in India full freedom to exercise their functions as Members of the Legislatures. Apart from these special rights and special functions, as a Member of this august House, submit Sir, that we have no other special rights. Sir, we have no special rights because we are Members of the Assembly. This is my submission, Sir. Therefore, if any one calls me an accused, calls me even a dog, calls me a cat, calls me anything, I have no special privilege. I have a particular right to sue that man who called me in the Court of Law. This is my submission, Sir. Therefore, the hon. Member from Mawhati has no special right or privilege not to be called by any name. As a Member of this House, he has rights, but as a citizen of India his punishments have remedies in the court of law as an ordinary citizen. This is my submission, Sir. I do not know, Sir, because notice came so late and I have not had the occasion to consult the actual proceedings of the House whether the Chief Minister actually used the word 'accused'. I am doubtful about it. It was heard from the hon. Member and I am not quite sure about it, about the fact. Of course, the Government may be questioned in the House at this State of enlighten the hon. Member. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is an offence even if it is a breach of the privilege of the House. Now the serious matter to be considered in this Motion. Now the serious matter to be considered in this Motion is that the hon. Member from Mawhati had referred to P.S. Pachauri's ....  'The Law of Parliamentary Privileges in U.K. & in India'..... "To mislead the House, its Committee or Officer is another major ground of committing a contempt of the House. Such offence can be committed directly by such persons who in any way take part in the proceedings of the House viz., Members, witnesses and petitioners. Others may indirectly be involved in committal of such offences by being connected with such proceedings either earlier or later.

        But acts which mislead or tend to mislead must be done willfully with the intention to mislead or deceive. The element of deliberateness if an essential ingredient of the offence. There may be a number of statements or depositions coming up before the House or its Committees which may not be wholly true. Many statements made before it may in the end be found to be based on wrong information given to those who had made them. Such statements will not constitute a contempt if their author has made them in the belief that his information is true. As a rule of order in debates, charges of deliberate falsehood against Members cannot at all be made and if a Member wants to charge another Member or other person for having deliberately misled the House, it can be only done through a substantive Motion to that effect."

        Sir, every day in my own humble experience as a Member of this august House and also as Minister in-charge of Finance I was labouring under the wrong impression. Sir, with many questions from the hon. Members, I as human being, was handicapped. We do not know the crystal ball, but we depend on papers and in fact, Sir, on the second day, it may be the third day, of this Session I had the occasion to apologise and beg permission to correct this statement based wrongly on wrong information. Later we got the statement corrected. Sir, I do not know; it may be the wrong statement that I gave in the last Session. Sir, the Hon'ble Minister, Agriculture, brought a completely reverse statement the other day, and after he answered to question later, he apologised about it because it was based on the wrong statement he received. He gave a statement based on wrong information and had apologised in good faith and corrected his statement in the next day. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, here it is stated the essence of the offence is the willfulness; and therefore, we cannot do that when we cannot change even the very statement of the hon. Members from Mawhati and Pariong. The statement has completely exonerated the Chief Minister because the whole position has not been misled. They walked out in protest.

Mr. Speaker :- I think I am yet to satisfy myself. I remember that they went out in protest. I am yet to consult the proceedings  of the House.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- I just quoted, Sir. Therefore, Sir, I have not heard any single evidence, not even a charge, that the Chief Minister when moving the resolution had made any deliberate wrong statement. Sir, there was a great sensation in the House regarding the exhibition of live bullets. There was a commotion. Top police officers were in the House when they heard of the production of live bullets in the House and that they were in the possession of somebody. And then, Sir, there was a case about these live bullets produced in the House by the hon. Member which he admitted to be in his possession. Sir, immediately after that there was investigation in the case, and it was against the person who possessed these live bullets. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the law of arms and ammunition is very simple. Possession of bullets without valid licence whether with bonafide or malafide intention is an offence. Sir, therefore, the man involved in the case naturally is assumed to be the accused in the case.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- On a point of order Mr. Speaker, Sir. May I point out that the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs has entered into too many details with regard to the matter of privileges on which the Committee is due to submit its report. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I submit that he should not go into details.

Mr. Speaker :- He did not go to the whole length of the matter of privileges concerning the case of live bullets but he only goes to the legal aspect of possession of the live bullets.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, because I have to pick up the fact whether the Chief Minister has deliberately forced the House to make available the relevant portion of proceedings of the House or not. It is  very important to judge the State of mind of the Chief Minister when he made a statement. It is a matter of procedure, that for the necessity of the court, for the necessity of the police to go into detailed investigation of the case for making their decision by production of the proceedings of this House in the Court of law. Mr. Speaker, Sir, therefore, I beg to submit that the statement of the Chief Minister was not deliberately misleading or malafide. He simply moved a resolution that the proceedings of the House be handed over to the court for proper utilisation in a case. Therefore, Sir, I submit that there is no absolute need for a prima facie case against him.

Shri. Maham Singh :- I will be very brief Mr. Speaker, Sir. This is a very serious statement. It is unlike other statements referred to by the Hon'ble Minister just won because in this a particular Member has been charged of being an accused in a criminal case registered against him. We are concerned with the position at that relevant period when the statement was made and we would enquire whether Member was actually an accused in a case or not. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the proceedings of the House have been made available to the Government for investigation in the allied case although they are privilege documents. We fail to understand now why these proceedings were made over to the Government. It was stated that they were required for utilising them in a case relating to a matter connected with the exhibition of live bullets in the House but I would humbly submit Mr. Speaker, Sir, that there was no case as far as we know relating to the exhibition of live bullets in the House. There might have been a case relating to the lived bullets exhibited in the House by the hon. Member, but in that case the hon. Member was himself the complainant. The hon. Member himself made the complaint and filed the case in the court of the District Magistrate in Shillong. As regards this case where the proceedings of this House were made available to the Government, we could understand that it would be a bonafide statement had the statement been merely that the proceedings were made available to Government to enable the police to make thorough investigation into the case. But it went further to state that a case has been registered against the hon. Member concerned. Mr. Speaker, Sir, actually there is an addition of the word, "the case registered against the hon. Member". Mr. Speaker, Sir, I submit that the hon. Member is the complainant and and not an accused in the case. There was no case at all against the hon. Member. As such a false statement that someone is an accused in the case when he was not actually an accused was made. At that relevant period Mr. Speaker, Sir, the statement that there had been a case registered against the hon. Member was a wrong statement.

Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, before you give your ruling, I would like to make it very clear to the hon. Member who has alleged that there was a deliberate and willful attempt on the part of the Chief Minister to mislead the House that it is not so. The hon. Member himself has admitted that a case has been registered with regard to the exhibition of live bullets in the House.

(Interruption)

Shri. U. Kharbuli :- On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir, under Rule 169 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, the Hon'ble Chief Minister should not interrupt the discussion unless called upon to do so.

Mr. Speaker :- But he had requested and I allowed.

Mr. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- The sole intention of making over to the Police the relevant portion of the proceedings of this House in connection with the exhibition of live bullets was to facilitate proper investigation of the case. I have already made it clear that it will not be correct to come to a conclusion that this is a deliberate act on my part. As regards the doubt raised as to whether a case has been registered or not, I can say that a case has been registered. I do not want to say anything against anybody. My sole intention is just to help proper investigation of the case so that the culprit can be located - whether it is A or B or C. Now, I have learnt from the hon. Member himself that had he been in my position, he would have liked very much to get the relevant portion of the proceedings......

(Interruption)

Shri. F.K. Mawlot :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I draw your attention to Rule 300 sub-rule (4) where it is stated that "No debate shall be allowed on a point order" but the Chief Minister had asked for clarification.

Mr. Speaker :- He wants actually to explain his action whether it is deliberate or not.

Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I am simply trying to explain to the House. Sir, that there is no deliberate intention to malign the hon. Member. I hope the hon. Member himself will understand that I am trying to help the Department to properly investigate the case by making available to the Police the relevant portion of the proceedings. Here the hon. Members may recollect and consider the circumstances that led us to seek the permission of the House to make the relevant portion of the proceedings available to the Police. I regret that there were some unnecessary words in the resolution that was placed before the House. But the intention is only to make the relevant portion of the proceedings available to the Police to facilitate investigation into the case registered in this connection.

Mr. Speaker :- The matter is really very simple but in view of the fact that I am to go through the proceedings to verify some matters of details. I reserve my ruling till the last day of the Session.

Shri. F.K. Mawlot :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I refer to Rule 304 ? The Hon'ble Minister for Parliamentary Affairs during the course of his speech uttered the words "cats and dogs".

Mr. Speaker :- He referred to himself and not to you and me. (Laughter).

        Now I will ask the Secretary to read the complaint made by Prof. M.N. Majaw against the Minister Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy. But it appears that both are interconnected.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :-  Mr. Speaker, Sir, before the Secretary reads out the complaint and after listening to the debate on the first Motion of breach of privilege, I feel that the other Members were misled by the Chief Minister and so I will not move this motion. I, therefore, beg leave of the House to withdraw this motion.

Shri. U. Kharbuli :- On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Rule 160 (i) reads as follows :-

        "....... (i) not more than one question shall be raised at the same sitting;"..........

        Whether we can discuss more than one Privilege Motion.

Mr. Speaker :- All the three Privilege Motions relate to one issue that the hon. Member has been called an accused - that is the question. So is it the sense of the House that the breach of Privilege Motion which is to be moved by Prof. M.N. Majaw, against Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy be withdrawn ? And whether the hon. Member has the leave of the House to withdraw the Privilege Motion against Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Voices - yes, yes)

        The Motions with leaves of the House were withdrawn.

No-Confidence Motion

        There is yet another important Motion. I have received notice of one Motion from Shri. Kharbuli - a no-confidence Motion against the present Ministry. Let me read it out -

        "To,

The Secretary,

Legislative Assembly Meghalaya

Shillong.

Sir,

        I beg to give notice under Rule 133 (1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of my intention to move a No-Confidence Motion against the present Ministry headed by Captain Williamson A. Sangma, during the current session of the Assembly.

        A copy of the Motion is enclosed.

Yours faithfully,

(U. Kharbuli)

Dated Shillong, 
the 10th December, 1973"

        Before the Member asks for leave of the House, may I draw the attention of the Members to one very important Rule i.e. Rule, 133 (4) - "If less than ten Members rise, the Speaker shall inform the Member that he has not the leave of the Assembly." So Mr. Kharbuli may ask leave of the House to move his Motion so that I may ascertain the sense of the House.

Shri. U. Kharbuli :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to move the following Motion that :-

        "This House expressed its want of confidence in the present Ministry headed by Capt. Williamson A. Sangma."

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question before the House is that leave be granted to the hon. Member, Shri. Kharbuli to move that "This House expresses its want of confidence in the present Ministry headed by Capt. Williamson A. Sangma. Those who are in favour of granting leave will please rise in their seats.

        (More than 10 Members rose in their seats). So leave is granted. I fix tomorrow for taking up this matter soon after the calling attention notice is disposed of.

Shri. H. Hadem :- But Mr. Speaker, Sir, for this particular motion a time has been specifically mentioned that it will not be less than 24 hours or more than 10 days.

Mr. Speaker :- I am really very sorry. Thank you very much for kindly reminding me that provision. The House is either to be adjourned sine die or it is to be prorogued tomorrow. So this matter can be taken up only if the House extends its sitting or it may taken up in some other future date after the notice matures.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- We take it at 10.30 A.M. tomorrow, that will be 24 hours.

Mr. Speaker :- So we will take up at 10.30 A.M. tomorrow. Since we have a number of other business to dispose of and since there is no time to call the Business Advisory Committee, I want to put the proposal now before the House that this House extends its sitting by one day more. I want also to propose that since 13th is Thursday which, according to our rules is a recess day, shall we make it a working day " (Voices - Yes). So the House sits till 13th of December, 1973.

       Another very important information that I should have made yesterday was that I did give my word to the House that I would give my ruling on one motion of breach of privilege moved by Mr. Hynniewta. But it will be more convenient that I will give my ruling on both the issues on the same day. So, let us pass on to the next item in today's list of business Mr. D.D. Lapang to call the attention of the Minister, Revenue, under Rule 54.

(Deputy Speaker took the Chair)

Calling Attention

Shri. D.D. Lapang :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to call the attention of the Minister, Revenue, under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Assembly to a new item published in the Khasi Weekly "U Nongsain Hima" of 24th November, 1973, under the caption "Ki Labang - Phyllut Ki Dawa Iasoh Bad Ka Meghalaya". Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would request the Hon'ble Minister, through you, to please make a statement on this.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Revenue, etc.) :- Regarding this, Sir, I will read as follows :-

        "Blocks I and II were originally part of Jaintia Hills until these areas were tagged to the newly created United Mikir & North Cachar Hills District in 1951. The bulk of Labangs and Nongphylluts reside in Block I.

        There was a public agitation when the question for inclusion of these areas with Mikir Hills came up. And immediately after these 2 (two) Blocks were separated from Jaintia Hills public  agitation for re-inclusion of Blocks I & II into Jaintia Hills continues till now, but more persistent are the people in Block I. Consequent upon the agitations, the Government of Assam, in 1957, vide their letter No. TAD/GA/83/50, dated 5th November, 1957, agreed to have a joint survey by the two District Councils, i.e., U.K. & J. Hills and Mikir Hills District Councils in the deputed area to collect data and prepare sketch maps for submission to the Government. The terms of references to the joint enquiry were :-

(a) the area proposed to be re-transferred to Jowai Sub-division together with the village therein;

(b) the population tribe-wise or sub-tribe-wise in each village within the area mentioned in (a) above;

(c) the dialects spoken by each tribe or sub-tribe mentioned in (b) above;

(d) trade routes of the villages in the area mentioned in (a) above and;

(e) other important information that may be necessary for considering the question of re-transfer of the area to the Jowai Sub division.

        The joint enquiry was held, but the District Council, Mikir Hills informed the Government of Assam that the population figures during the joint enquiry in question cannot be accepted as current and hence the Mikir Hills District Council is not in a position to approve of the proceedings of the said joint enquiry without verification from the latest Census figures. Thereafter, there was considerable correspondence between the District Council, U.K. & J. Hills and the Government of Assam but no decision was taken in this regard. On 9th July, 1969, a meeting was held in the office Chamber of the Secretary, T.A. & W.B.C. Department, Assam, where it was decided that preliminary survey works should be stated in areas where there was no clear-cut natural boundary line.

        When Meghalaya was created in 1970, the question was again resumed. Two meetings, one at the Ministers' level and the other at the Chief Ministers' level were held. At the meetings of the Chief Ministers, which was held on 10th September, 1971, it was agreed to accept the population figures according to the Census reports of 1951 and 1961 of Mikirs and non-Mikirs tribe-wise as the guiding criterion. The Government of India was also informed that the main dispute between Meghalaya and Assam in this area is not regarding the demarcation of the boundary, but it is the question of re-adjustment of the areas, between the two districts before actual demarcation. In the context of the Chief Ministers' meeting, the Government of India had sent a list of villages in Blocks I & II with Census Code Nos. to the Director of Census Operations, Assam, to give the population figures of 1951 ad 1961, tribe-wise. The question of having these areas re-transferred to Meghalaya is being pursued by the Government. A Cell has now been set up to devote exclusively to this work of making an effort to have these areas, which were originally part of Jaintia Hills, re-transferred to Meghalaya.

Shri. Blooming Shallam :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would request the Hon'ble Minister, through you, Sir, that copies of the statement be made available to the Members.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Revenue) :-  I have only one copy. Copies can be made from the proceedings of the House.

Shri. Blooming Shallam :- Usually, the proceedings are made available after correction. If it is possible the statement may be cyclostyled.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is a very important matter. So, I would just request the Minister if he can have copies made.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Revenue) :-  I will do it. 

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- I think that can be done. Now may I request the Minister, Supply, to finish what he could not complete on 8th December, 1973.


STATEMENT BY MINISTER

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Supply, etc.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, to complete my statement on the supply position of essential commodities, the position, as it stands now, is that the rice position has improve considerably towards the end of November and in December. In November, the allotment of rice increased to 3,500 tonnes as a result of the efforts of our Government. In December, the allotment of rice from the Central Pool was 3,000 tonnes. But, as stated earlier, because of the harvest in many parts of the State, the position has improved and the prices have started falling. According to information available, the retail price, in Shillong for instance, of essential commodities, depending on the variety ranges from Rs.1.70 to Rs.2.70.

Shri. K.M. Roy Marbaniang :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on a point of information, I think we do not have a quorum in the House. Now we are only 9 or 8. So, it is better to adjourn the House.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Ten Members now as one is just entering. I think we may continue.

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) ;- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, however there are 10 Members in the House and a few more are coming in. So now we have the quorum. As I said earlier, the prices which were prevailing in October in the open market i.e., at Rs.2.40 to Rs.4.00 have come down to Rs.1.70 to Rs.2.00 in some cases according to certain varieties of rice. The supply of sugar also followed the same pattern of rice. The price of sugar was high at that time; it was Rs.3.40 per kg. and went up to Rs.4.00 in Shillong in the open market. I may mention that the supply of sugar came from the F.C.I. to the Fair Price Shops and is being distributed through the Government distribution agencies. There was an increase in the price of sugar and according to the decision of the Government of India, the price was Rs.1.53 in the urban areas and Rs.1.56 in the rural areas. We are getting now an allotment of 400 tonnes of sugar per month which according to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Government of India, is lightly more than the allocation on population basis of all States of India. But the standard laid down as earlier was 250 grams per head per week which according to our calculation the allotment should be 700 metric tonnes. So the standard has obviously been reduced from what has been put earlier. In so far as other essential commodities are concerned, like mustard-oils, dal and kerosene oil, there has been no report on the acute scarcity and that the prices of some commodities have increased, the Government have got no control on the increase of prices of these commodities because these commodities are not produced in our State. The Government is very much concerned with the difficulties faced by the common man on account of increase of prices of essential commodities. In Meghalaya, we are in a comparatively better position as compared to some parts of the country and serious scarcity has been avoided. So far as increase of prices in concerned, the increase has taken place because our supplies come from Gauhati. Most of our supplies which are sold in the open market come from Gauhati. This can be seen from the comparative study of the prices prevailing at Gauhati in comparison to that at Shillong. It is only during a few months of July, August, September and October that at certain times the prices of rice had been higher in Shillong when the Government of Assam has restricted the flow of rice in the open market from their State. It will be seen that the Government is controlling the food situation in the State. I may refer to the report of Shillong Herald, dated 21st November, 1973 which commented on the food problem in Shillong. The title of this weekly is "ON TACKLING FOOD PROBLEM". There was a remark "every effort is made in trying to distribute the rice that finally did arrive from the Food Corporation of India and distribute it as soon as possible throughout the difficult period of the year". Now Sir, hon. Members have raised certain points in their remarks in this Motion. I am to reply to some of the points. The hon. Member from Pariong has remarked about very high price. I have already referred to this in the statement I have already made regarding issue of rice to the Fair Price Shops. It was Rs.1.56 in the rural areas and the prices have come down in the open market as earlier stated. The price of rice in many places in the interior is lower at this particular point of time. The prices of mustard oil is Rs.9.00 to Rs.10.00 per litre and we have got no control on prices of this commodity as this comes from outside the State. At Gauhati, at present, it is between Rs.8.50 to 9.00 and sometimes higher. As I said earlier, prices at Gauhati as compared to that of Shillong are not out of line. Now the retail price of kerosene oil is fixed at Rs.0.82 per liter for purchase upto 20 liters and Rs.0.81 per litre for purchase above 20 litres. However, retailers have to collect the commodity from the wholesale depot and as such they may have charged little extra for handling and transportation from wholesale depot to their retail shops. It is admitted that the price of commodities in the rural areas is much higher than that of the town on account of the transport difficulties. However, for the border areas Government of India have sanctioned a scheme of subsiding the transport cost for the past two years, and the scheme is now continuing upto the end of this month and we are requesting Government of India to continue the scheme for another one year i.e., upto 31-12-1974.

        It is a fact that we have to depend only on road transport but at the same time we cannot also avoid the fact that most of our essential commodities have at present to be imported from the producing areas outside the State. Unless production of these commodities is started within the State itself we will have to live with this situation for some time to come. However, Government have taken steps to request that railway-lines are extended to Garo Hills and Khasi Hills as soon as possible. If this scheme materialise soon in the near future most of our supply of problems would be reduced.

        As the entire supply of major essential commodities like rice, wheat and sugar is obtained from the Central Pool we have to utilise the services of the FCI which is the agent of the Government of India. It is not a fact that the FCI has failed because its headquarters is outside the State. But the question here is that there is shortage of essential commodities especially rice and sugar in the hand of the Government of India itself. The FCI of Eastern region with its headquarters in Gauhati has now been re-organised and a regional set-up for the North-eastern frontier region has been constituted with its headquarters at Shillong. The regional office is expected to start functioning from Shillong in the course of this month or in early January, 1974. We expected that with the functioning of the regional office in Shillong most of the administrative problems will be reduced to the minimum and we will get a better service for our State.

        As the Member from Mawkyrwat himself has already mentioned we depend for most of essential commodities from producing areas outside the State, there is no point of repeating the statement. Short of increasing production within the State and arrangement to procure these commodities in adequate quantities there is no other way of controlling prices. Government, however, are examining various steps of effectively controlling the prices through vigorous procurement effort of essential commodities from the producing areas at reasonable prices and selling the same to the people at cheaper price than the open market. We expect to be able to devise machinery where procurement and distribution of essential commodities other than the major items can be effectively undertaken at a cheaper cost, to our people. For rice the Agriculture Department will have to take necessary steps to increase production and to compile accurate statistics on production to enable us to come to a correct assessment of the producing capacity of the State. However, we know that there are surplus pockets within the State and accordingly we have taken steps to procure as much as possible. At present we are attempting to procure only from the Garo Hills District.

Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- On a point of information, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, whether he is aware that a large quantity of rice locally produced is going for the distillation of liquor.

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :- I shall come to that.

        It is the responsibility of the Deputy Commissioners to ensure that supply of essential commodities within their districts is adequate. His primary duty and responsibility is to see that his district is properly supplied with essential commodities and that the surplus commodities are allowed to move outside the district. As already stated there are surplus areas in the State or areas where there is adequate production of rice. Jaintia Hills is one of the districts in the State where rice is produced in good quantity particularly in some areas, much more than what is actually required. Recently when the supply of rice in the open market in Shillong was high there was an unrestricted flow of rice from Jaintia Hills to Shillong to meet the situation. In fact the rice from Jaintia Hills has been mainly responsible for keeping the situation in Shillong under control. Because of the outflow of rice from Jaintia Hills the price of rice, naturally, in Jowai rises up. This created a panicky situation in the minds of the people of Jowai and an agitation was started demanding immediate restriction of movement of rice outside Jaintia Hills district. To tackle the situation the district administration decided to regulate the movement of rice outside the district with a view to ensuring that the supply of rice and the price within the district is maintained at reasonable level. Accordingly free movement of rice above 5 quintals outside Jaintia Hills is not allowed except with a permit issued by the Deputy Commissioner or an officer authorised by him. Our point is that unrestricted movement is considered undesirable and as such it is to be regulated by the district administration. Government is also aware that except for the urban population of Jowai most of the rural areas are cultivators and accordingly it is in their interest to obtain a better price for the produce. However, it is the duty of the Government to look after the interest of all concerned both the consumers and the producers within the State. Our efforts are always directed at obtaining a balance at all levels. Movement of commodities however, outside the State is not allowed.

        Subsidising the price of essential commodities is an extraordinary steps which imposes heavy and unnecessary burden on the economy of the State. As such unless we can justify such a scheme it will be very difficult for us to initiate the same. However, it is already stated that for the people of the border areas the Government of India have sanctioned a scheme for subsidising the transport cost. A subsidy scheme of essential commodities in general will be an impractical proposition as the rice in prices is not confined to Meghalaya alone but it is a national and international phenomenon. A suggestion has been made that big businessmen should not be allowed to deal in foodgrains as they tend to hoard for profit at the expense of the consumers and in their place only petty traders should be allowed as they do not have the capacity to indulge in hoarding and profiteering. The opposite also can be said i.e., the small traders since they have not got adequate funds they are tempted to adopt illegal means and indulge in malpractices to cover up temporary losses. It has been our experience that prompt and effective handling of essential commodities is very important and unless the dealers have sufficient funds at their disposal they cannot undertake the business effectively. There are instances where because of shortage of funds it has been brought to our notice cases where benami transactions are adopted. The question that arose here is not so much whether big or small businessmen are allowed, it is a question of integrity and honesty of the individuals concerned. Government is making every effort to see that this is maintained and whenever specific cases are brought to the notice of the Government drastic action is taken. Every effort is made to maintain a buffer stock of rice specially through the FCI but unfortunately, the past year has been very bad throughout the country with the result that we are living hand to mouth from month to month.

        Shri. W. Syiemiong, has raised the question of illicit distillation from rice. Steps have been taken to control illicit distillation from rice. In the course of the year 82 cases of illicit distillation were registered and out of which 59 were convicted and 23 pending for disposal. 226 cases of illicit sale were registered during the year and out of which 153 were convicted and 73 pending for disposal. In all, fines to the extent of Rs.40,355 were imposed besides imprisonment in a number of cases. Most of these cases occurred in the Sohiong- Marbisu areas. We will examine the suggestion of having a single zone of the N.E.C. States for rice. Shri. P.N. Choudhury has referred to the scarcity of newsprint. Newsprint is imported by the Government of India and the State Government have nothing to do with it. However if specific approach is made the State Government will use its good offices. He has also mentioned about supply of fish and cloth at Shillong. Now, fish is imported from Bangladesh by the Central Fishery Corporation and there is no law to prevent sending the fish from Shillong to Gauhati. However, as the Member is aware fish is generally brought from Assam when there is no supply from Bangladesh. Steps will be taken to enquire into the difficulties mentioned by the Member in the distribution of cheaper variety of cloth through the Shillong Wholesale Consumers' Co-operative Society.

        Shri. S.N. Koch has complained against the inefficiency in the district supply office at Shillong and Tura. Necessary steps are being taken to tone up and improve the administration in these offices. The Deputy Commissioners are being instructed to make note of the complaints mentioned by the Member and to take necessary action. We would, however, appeal to the Members and public to co-operate with the Government in maintaining efficiency in our public offices by coming forward to report specific cases of malpractices. The hon. Member from Mendipathar has mentioned a case of smuggling at Tikrikilla. It was reported by the Deputy Commissioner, Garo Hills, but after enquiry it was found that the local Fair Price Shop dealer has got all the stock of rice allotted to him in his shop and no discrepancy was found after enquiry by the S.D.O. Sadar, Tura. However, the people were agitated at that time and attempted to take the law into their own hands. Hence some action has to be taken by the police to prevent a bad situation from developing. The Deputy Commissioner stated that this is a law and order situation. Proper report has been submitted to Home Department. On appointment of sub-agent for procurement of rice, the Deputy Commissioner is the coordinating  authority with the FCI and all such appointments will be done on his recommendation in consultation with the FCI and local people. The hon. Members are advised to contact the Deputy Commissioner if they have any suggestion to make in such a case.

        I think I have covered most of the points raised by the hon. Member in course of their participation on the Motion. However, there was another reference made pertaining to a press report published in the Assam Tribune, dated 24th November, 1973 on Governors' Conference. In that press report it has been stated that some carriage subsidy will be given for essential commodities.

        We have not received any communication from the Government of India and on request to the Governor's Secretariat, they have no information on any resolution or statement from the Governor's Conference on this particular matter. So I have no comment to offer at this stage. Only when we get the authenticated copy on what was suggested in the Governor's Conference and what the Government of India will direct and see what the Governor's Conference recommended. As far as I remember, I have covered most of the points and I am happy to have the opportunity to explain the position supply and food has been exercising the minds of all of us in the country for some time and it should be our effort to continue to improve the situation regarding supply of essential commodities.

Shri. H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. regarding instability of supply of foodgrains, we have raised a point and the Minister has particularly clarified regarding the monopoly of the Food Corporation of India on procurement of foodgrains. So far as the policy of the Central Government is concerned, we have learnt that there will be a Central Pool and that will be the only procurement agencies. It may be in Delhi or in the middle part of India or somewhere but because of the transport bottleneck to this region, we demand that these eastern States should have a branch of this Pool of essential commodities so that in case of failure of communication to bring all these essential commodities, we will not face a crisis as we had faced in the last part of October up to the first week of November this year. We learnt that the Government of India has directed a number of States of India not to send rice from Assam to West Bengal or Tripura to West Bengal or something like that. It is true, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that in the interior the price of rice specially in Khasi Hills has come down for the time being. But actually while we have some rice now during the harvest, we use to exchange this rice with some other goods. So the people sell all their rice and for the next 2 or 3 months, they have no rice but only depend on the Government for their day to day need. I would suggest Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, that the Government should try to procure rice within the District of Khasi Hills not only Garo Hills as the Minister has said that they have purchased lot of rice, as the Assam Government has imposed restrictions on the movement of even one kilogram of rice from their State to Shillong. We have suggested that Government should also procure rice not only from Garo Hills but also from Khasi Hills for building up buffer stock for certain months.

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have already referred to all the points when the Member was out regarding the policy of the Government of India Central Pool. It was not held in Delhi or some-where else. Some procurement is made in the north eastern region, in Assam and the Food Corporation of India maintains the stock within the region. It is only occasionally when the situation was so bad that they had to bring rice all the way from Haryana. But it is not always done  that way. As I said earlier, the Food Corporation of India has decided to have a north eastern regional headquarter and it is to be located in Shillong. That will assist the administration regarding procurement in the State. As I have already stated we have been trying an experiment. If this experiment works in the Garo Hills where the Deputy Commissioner, the District Council authorities and other representatives had told us that there are some pockets where rice is abundantly available, in consultation with the M.L.As and other representatives, the Deputy Commissioner had given us the programme of procurement. Then we have undertaken this question of procurement. But in this District for the first time today, it has been raised that we have surplus pockets. But the Deputy Commissioner has to inform the Government that this programme of procurement may also be undertaken in Khasi Hills. We cannot do by ourselves without proper information from the District authorities. We have asked the Deputy Commissioners of Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills whether procurement could be undertaken in these two districts. That process is being taken up. Then the other question about bringing rice from some other parts of Khasi Hills to Shillong for instance, this matter has been taken up in writing and in discussions with the Chief Minister of Assam to allow rice to be transported from one part to another part of Khasi Hills District through Assam because communication is not easy as our roads have not been completed. This matter has been taken up as I said, and we hope that the modality of the arrangements will be made and that the Government of Assam will allow - I have not said that they will not allow the system. They have just been working out about allowing us to transport rice, how to issue the permit and so on and so forth. I have been informed by the Deputy Commissioner, Khasi Hills, as already stated, that actually there is no scope for procurement in Khasi Hills. He said that this is a deficit District and so on. I would suggest that at the level of the District Supply Advisory Board, the representatives of Khasi Hills District may kindly take it up with the District authorities of whether procurement could be done and how it should be done.

Shri. H. Hynniewta :- Sir, I think this matter should be taken up at the Minister's level, not that the Deputy Commissioner will sit in judgment over the Minister and say this cannot be done. I do not think it redounds to the credit of the Minister to abrogate his responsibility and so transfer it to the Deputy Commissioner.

        Sir, as a matter of fact we are very accessible to the Ministers and it should be in the fitness of the things that the Members of this august House should be easily accessible to one another. Therefore, I pleased that it is appropriate that this matter should be taken up at the Ministerial level because it is at their level that a decision could be taken.

Shri. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I point out that at least in one part of my Constituency where there is surplus rice, the rice goes out of the State due to lack of communication. Therefore, the procurement takes place in some other places.

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply, etc.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to point out to the hon. Member from Nongkhlaw that it is not the question as the hon. Member thinks but it is the question that the Government works through certain machinery now and that machinery is set up as such that in the district level it should be done by district level authority and if the district level authority fails then it is not for us to offer another role to him unless we also have other information.  Now some information has come to us before this session came and from the decision here and there we have suggested that the district level which is a regular forum of consultation by the district authorities with the representatives from the Supply Advisory Board, a suggestion can be worked out, but I shall also accept this suggestion of the hon. Member from Nongkhlaw to take necessary measures at a higher level so that we can come to the conclusion regarding this procurement of rice in Khasi Hills.

Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- As, Sir, I am not a Member of this Supply Advisory Board, I do not know anything.

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Supply) :- This Board was not set up until the time the Meghalaya Government took over the method of examining how mush rice, for instance, is produced in the erstwhile portions of Assam which now constitute Meghalaya, i.e. the hills district of Garo and Khasi Hills. Somewhat more correct methods are maintained in Garo Hills where there is regular record system of the District Council but in Khasi Hills District there is no correct method which can be set up, to find out what is the actual production of our agricultural commodities. As a matter of fact, the current statistics, whatever are available with us are systematic as far as we can understand from Block Officers and Gram Sevaks, who go around to find out the actual production and this is being examined. It may take some time but this is absolutely necessary. This is the only thing which is exercising our minds and this is going to take some time to find out the actual figures. Moreover, in consultation with the District Authorities, they have pointed out some Co-operative Societies to do this procurement. Now it is not only the Co-operative Society because in some other areas there are no Co-operative Societies, so in that case they will have to be prepared to appoint some other agencies in consultation with the District Authorities.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Is it the sense of the House that we continue with the Motions and the resolutions will be taken up later on ?

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Supply) :- Motions may be continued.

Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss about the sharing of liabilities and assets between Meghalaya and Assam.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can raise a discussion.

*Shri. H. Hynniewta :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as it was evident, the matter raised during the question hour was about the division of assets and liabilities between the State of Assam and the State of Meghalaya. This matter has exercised the minds of the Members of this august House, and therefore, Sir, I feel it is a matter of great urgency and we should discuss this matter in the House, especially in view of the fact that Legislative Assembly of the erstwhile State of Assam has been dispossessed of all its contents except the chairs of the Chamber. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I submit that this is a case that involves the very letter and spirit of the North-Eastern Areas Re-organisation Act, 1971 where it is laid down as follows in section 51 (3) .... "Subject to the provisions of sub-sections (1) and (2) of this Section 51, all rights, liabilities and obligations whether arising out of any contract or otherwise, which are, immediately before the appointed day, the rights, liabilities and obligations of the existing State of Assam and all property and assets held by the existing State of Assam immediately before the appointed day shall be apportioned between the State of Assam and the State of Meghalaya in accordance with the provision contained in the Sixth Schedule, not the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, but the Sixth Schedule of this Act, where it is said down in para 3 (1) (a) Apportionment of land, stores, etc. - (1) Subject to the other provisions contained in this Schedule, all lands and all stores, articles and other goods belonging to the existing State of Assam shall, on and from the appointed day, (a) in case where such land, stores, articles and other goods are situated within the transferred territories, pass to the State of Meghalaya; Sir, therefore, according to this paragraph 3 (1) (a) of this Act, all these articles and other goods which erstwhile belonged to the State of Assam, and land, stores and articles and other goods situated within the transferred territories have passed on to the State of Meghalaya. So, Sir, all the furniture, all the books, all the papers, all the fixtures all the stores and even fire fenders - all these are the rights of the State of Meghalaya. But when you go there, to the Assembly Building, you will find that these, all these have been removed. This amounts to, if I may say Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, constitutional theft. Everything has been taken away. But as a matter of fact according to the provisions of this Act they belong to the State of Meghalaya unless according to the proviso, the Central Government shall have distributed the properties between the Government of Assam and the Government of Meghalaya and otherwise according to the Act, the Central Government may issue such direction as it thinks fit for just and equitable distribution between the two States, all the goods and properties shall pass on to the State of Meghalaya. Now, Sir, I do not know whether the Central Government has exercised its discretion on the basis of this proviso. But taking into consideration as they took steps at that time that all these goods were removed from the premises of the Assam Legislative Assembly building, I feel, Sir, the Central Government would not have exercised its discretion on the basis of the proviso only to distribute even fire fenders. It passes all understanding as to how fire fenders should have been removed from the cold place to a hot place, where, I submit, Sir there is not much in need as they are there. So, Sir, I would like to be informed by the Government as to whether the Central Government has exercised any discretion on the basis of this proviso. Unless it has been done so, the removal of these furniture, fixtures, articles, etc. from the premises of the erstwhile Assam Legislative Assembly to anywhere outside the State even inside the State without the consent of the Meghalaya Government amounts to a constitutional theft. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel that the State Government has not performed its constitutional duty on the basis of this Act. This House is certainly entitled to get a very very convincing  explanation from the Government which is responsible to it. As  we have been informed today, Sir, a No-Confidence Motion is pending before the anvil of this august House and this is one of the reasons which may exercise the minds of the Members this way or that way in favour of this Motion. So, Sir, I think we should get the Finance Minister's reply as this matter is concerned. Sir, you will pity the lot of the Members of this august House. We wanted to get copies of the various Acts passed by Parliament, passed by the truncated Assam Legislative Assembly while it has jurisdiction over this State. We could not get them. We were everyday in search of them. I wanted to get the latest amendment to the C.R.P.C. but it was not to be found in this House. I could get a copy of it from a particular officer in the Law Department. He deserves praise from the Member of the House. But from the library of this House you cannot find these things. You cannot have the proceedings of the sessions of the House which have taken place before and the Motions previously moved and the decisions of the House, and not even the speeches of the previous Speakers of the House. We are completely denied of all these papers even though as Members of the truncated State of Assam we have as much right. So, Sir, I feel it has adversely affected the functions of the Members of this august House.

        Now, as I said, Sir, I wanted to study the other day about the provisions of the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act and the Meghalaya Purchase Tax Act but I do not have copies of these two Acts from the Library o this House. Therefore, Sir, I feel that the Government in all sincerity, in all seriousness and in all conviction, whether taken or not yet undertaken, should taken steps to demand that these properties belong to us for the enjoyment of our State and of this august body. Sir, the question of State Central Library also is a very hot issue. Now, since it has made many Members of this House apprehensive lest books are being gradually taken away from the library to any other place outside the State. I demand that the Government should post some police there to see that nobody comes out of the premises of the State Central Library taking anything in their possession. Otherwise by the time we take over, Sir, the State Central Library would have been emptied of all precious and priceless documents and valuable books that cannot be purchased now even with all the money that this House may vote for. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel that immediately the Government from today should post reliable police staff to see that nothing is removed from the premises of the State Central Library. Sir, we come also to the pitiable condition of the Assam Legislative Assembly building. Now, I understand that some money is going to be spent for the repair of this building of the Assam Legislative Assembly which has come now into our possession which is certainly the responsibility of the Assam Government to take care and maintain. Thus in Paragraph 3 to (e) of the Reorganisation Act, it is clearly laid down as follows:- "For so long as any land or building, etc. as refer, to in Clause (a), is held by the State of Assam for its use, it would be the responsibility of that State to properly maintain such land or building from its own funds. For more than a year after the attainment of a full Statehood of Meghalaya, the whole of the building of the Assam Legislative Assembly was enjoyed by the Assam Government. But it ignores completely the maintenance and the repairs of the building so much so that now our Government will have to spend three to four times the amount that should be paid in normal circumstances. This is the constitutional responsibility of the Government of Assam and I demand Sir, that this Government should hold the Assam Government responsible for the huge sum it has incurred for bringing back that building to the glory and appearance that it deserves to enjoy.

        Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I come to the question of the State Electricity Board. This question also makes me perplexed. Sometimes,  we feel that there is a move for the general North East or North Eastern India Electricity Board. This House, to my knowledge, has been properly informed of the Government's stand in this regard. Sir, I feel that it would be to the larger in this regard. Sir, I feel that it would be to the larger interest of our State if we have our own State Electricity Board and if there is any common arrangement with their nearby States, I feel this arrangements should be to the advantage of the people of this State and the Government should take this House into confidence before it enters into any agreement on this score. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I come to the question of the State Transport undertaking. Here also, first of all the valuable routes belong to us. As it is as the moment, the Shillong - Gauhati road is a monopolised route. Large sum of money is being derived from the transport monopoly which is being run by the Assam State Transport undertaking. Sir, I am not sure in my mind but I am rather apprehensive to find out from what the Assam Government has done on our Assembly building. I am apprehensive that in this particular case they may not give to us the share that we are entitled. Therefore, Sir, it is better that we should have our own State Transport Undertaking and monopolise the transport business on this route as far as it lies within our jurisdiction and it should be owned by our own Government. Therefore, Sir, with these few words, I would like to impress upon the Government and this august House the utmost urgency to which we should address ourselves to this remaining task.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we appreciate the concern of the hon. Member from Nongkhlaw and his valuable suggestion he has given to this House. He has referred to the most onerous task which has really been a very difficult exercise for the Government during the course of the last few months. The hon. Member has referred to the question of stores relating to the previous Assam Legislative Assembly and in this matter, I am to inform the hon. Member, through you, Sir, that it is true that the Assam Government had removed the furniture, books, papers and other articles of the previous Assam Assembly to Dispur without consulting this Government. Our Government had taken up the matter immediately and seriously; even the Chief Minister had written a D.O. Letter to the Chief Minister of Assam protesting against the removal of furniture, etc., to Dispur and they have not replied to this. Then as the hon. Member has pointed out, this Government have made a reference to the Government of India,  Ministry of Home Affairs on this question and also by the Assam Government and the Government of India have given their opinion that these stores are also divisible between the two Governments and have suggested that these stores be divided according to the ratio of allocation of staff of the Assembly Secretariat or according to the principle that may be adopted in the case of stores in the Civil Secretariat. The opinion has been expressed by the Government of India only very recently, on the 18th October, 1973 and the Government of the two States are meeting to discuss this matter and to apportion these stores.

Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- On a point of clarification, the Minister has referred to the procedure of the division of stores of the Assembly Secretariat, may we know what is the principle for the division of stores in connection with the Civil Secretariat ?

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs):- We had a very very complicated and a very difficult task before us. It relates to the different articles different sort of principles, sometimes fixed in the Act itself, but in most cases, it is by way of agreement of both the Governments. But the Division of assets and liabilities regarding stores in the Secretariat and Heads of Departments is as follows :

        These include furniture and fixtures, type-writers and duplicators, Pool cars and Staff cars, Stationery articles, library books etc. Meghalaya side pressed that the share of Meghalaya should be 2/11th on the basis of the Fifth Finance Commission Award, but the Assam Government reiterated that the apportionment should be on the basis of population ratio. It was however agreed in the last meeting held on 24th May, 1973 that the population ratio need not be rigidly applied in all cases, and a different ratio in favour of Meghalaya, may be adopted in certain categories of Stores. This question will however be gone further by a Sub-Committee consisting of the Director of Finance, Government of Meghalaya (Shri. D.S. Khongdup), and the officer on Special Duty, Finance Department, Government of Assam (Shri. D.N. Sharma), Shri. Khongdup, will be aided by Shri. B. Kharkongor, Special Officer, Re-organisation Department, Government of Meghalaya. This Sub-Committee could not yet meet as Shri. D.N. Sharma was on leave for some time. So this is the stage; it is not yet finalised. It is in the process of sorting out so far as the Secretariat is concerned.

Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on a point of clarification, pending the settlement of the division of these stores can the Assam Government unilaterally go ahead removing all the stores from any particular department, from any particular Secretariat ?

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs):- No Sir. But so far as the Assembly Secretariat stores are concerned they have been stated, a reference has also belong to them and as I have stated, a reference has also been made to the letter from the Government of India where division of stores is to be shared by the successor States in case of books. We have also verified that position in Punjab where stores have been divided and allotment to the successor State. With regard to Punjab Library, one copy of each of the books and documents is to be given to Haryana.

        So I hope this will be for the present information so far as Secretariat and Assembly stores are concerned and we are working out again as to what to do with the sharing of the stores which have been removed to Dispur, whether we should share in cash value. This is now in the process. perhaps by the next Session we will be able to inform the House of the final position. About the State Central Library, the position has been made very clear to the Government of Assam that as a working principle, one third of the books of the State Central Library be retained by the State of Meghalaya.

        This proportion may however be reviewed later in the light of a decision that may be arrived at by the Committee of assets and liabilities and if necessary re-adjustment made accordingly. This is the suggestion we have made.

Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- It is not so much a question of one book to three, it is a question of the nature of the books. One book may be equal to all books, it is not the number of books. If in case of difference of opinion between Assam and Meghalaya, the nature and condition of the books be taken into consideration and not solely on the working principle of one-third.

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs):- This aspect of the matter has been very seriously considered and in fact there are two or three parts, if I remember correctly, there are district branches, the children branch which has come to us. This branch also is to be divided into one-third either in the physical division or cash value division or the other important section, known as reference section which is more difficult because there are books a copy of which may not be available anywhere. So this matter is thoroughly examined and discussed as to what to do with the Reference Section of the State. The Committee is now on a very active position so far as library is concerned. As for the building, Sir, I do not know, but this will be examined whether legally this Government is entitled to the cost of repairing of the building that has been left unprepared for so many years. We will look into this.

Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, what about Electricity Board ?

Shri. B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs):- Yes, the Electricity Board. The question of the Electricity Board has exercised our minds a great deal because according to the provision of the Act, this common Electricity Board will automatically be dissolved by the 21st January, 1974. We have been studying this question and we have also taken the help of certain experts in the country and, regarding the props and cons of the question, we have come to a decision tentatively, in principle, that we would go in for a separate Board of our own. However, in view of the shortness of time, as we have experienced now, the separation of the stores, officers and other things will take time. So, we have decided to extend it at least for a few months more, in spite of the resolution, to enable us to have a smooth process of division so far as this Electricity Board is concerned.

Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I may also have a word about the Electricity Board and the Transport Corporation. As far as the Electricity Board is concerned, according to the provision of the Act, it will stand dissolved, as has been correctly pointed out, on the 21st January, 1974. We have already engaged an expert committee to go into this question as to whether it will be to our advantage to have a separate Board for ourselves or to have a joint Board with Assam or other adjoining States. On the basis of the experts advise, we have come to a tentative decision that we shall go in for our own separate Board. But the time at our disposal being limited, we have requested the Government of India to give us some more time to implement our decision of going in for a separate Board; and that can be possible only if the relevant section of the North-Eastern Areas Re-organisation Act is amended. Therefore, we have advised the Government of India and I have also taken up with both the Home Ministry and the Power Ministry to kindly bring in a suitable amendment to extend the time for a period not exceeding one year. I hope that within that period it will be possible for us to work out the details for the separation. In fact, we have also decided to depute some officer of the rank of Chief Engineer as Officer on Special Duty under whose guidance the details of the separation of the Board will be worked out. But, as already pointed out by my colleague, it will take time and I hope the House and also the mover of the Motion will appreciate that such an extension of time for the dissolution is unavoidable.

        Now, with regard to the Transport Corporation which we carry on jointly with Assam, we have more or less decided to have our own Transport Organisation. Whether we should run it by the Government or we should float a Corporation, it is yet to be decided. Regarding this matter also the Transport Department has taken steps to prepare a schemes and we are also consulting some private entrepreneurs who are experts in this line, to prepare a scheme for us. We have also approached the Ministry of Transport and Shipping Government of India, to kindly help us draw up a scheme for running our own Transport system because, according to the provision of the Act, we have to submit a scheme for that Corporation to the Government of India, who will examine it. As I said earlier, I have taken up this matter with the Ministry of Transport and Shipping and during my last visit the Minister had assured me all help in the matter. In fact, we have tried to appoint an officer to pay attention to this matter but unfortunately we have not got the right person. Therefore, we are getting experts both from the private entrepreneurs and also from the Ministry of Transport and Shipping. Once the scheme is finalised that will be taken up.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- On a point of information, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may we know from the Chief Minister whether while talking up this matter of dissolution or postponement of the dissolution of the Board, the liabilities were discussed because, the liabilities were colossal and gigantic. The liabilities alone, for unpaid interest has become compound interest, has almost come to Rs.30 crores - just interest - and the carried over loss just after 1971 alone comes to Rs.2 crores and then again there is an investment of Rs.28 crores. Now, these huge sums of money have to be shared and in terms of the North-Eastern Areas Re-organisation Act they have to be shared between the two States. We want to know whether these have been discussed.

Shri. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- In fact, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have discussed about the assets and liabilities rather briefly in the Cabinet but we have not been able to set up a body to go into this question in detail i.e.. of entertaining an officer of the rank of Chief Engineer Electricity, to go into these details. That is why there is need for more time and we cannot do it before the 31st January, 1974. Therefore, we have to request the Government of India to extend the time limit for a period not exceeding one year and I would be happy if it can be completed within 3 months. I hope the mover of the Motion and the hon. Members of this House will appreciate why we could not come to a decision earlier. The expert committee appointed to go into this question of having a separate or a joint Board with Assam could not come out with a recommendation earlier. We have received the report only very recently, only a couple of months back, if I am correct. But then the Cabinet could not have come to a decision to have a separate Board, as I said earlier, because other details will have to be worked out.

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries, etc.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I add further in clarification of the question raised by the hon. Member from Mawhati that we also do not have to wait for the final division of assets and liabilities before we have our own separate Board. But more time is being asked for the constitution of the Board and various other matters. The division of assets and liabilities may take a longer time. Even after the Board is constituted that matter regarding division of assets and liabilities will be continued.

Shri. Hoover Hynniewta :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Chief Minister has requested for an understanding from this side of the House. As a responsible Member of this House, Sir, I categorically say that I do appreciate the Government's decision in this regard.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Discussion on Motion No.8 is now closed. Now Motion No.9 to be moved by Prof. Majaw.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the functioning of the Transport Department of the Government of Meghalaya.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can raise a discussion.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the subject under discussion is not new to this House.  Just two or more months ago, a reference was also made to the Transport Department and we have had occasion in the past to move formal Motions to discuss the functioning of the department. But we have felt that the subject is so important that it warrants repetition. Now Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, ours is a backward State but we have no proper means of communication. The only means of communication between this State and the rest of India, nay with the rest of the world, is by road. A few privileged personages may come down from the heavens above into our valleys by a helicopter, but to most persons of our State, it is only by road transport that we can travel to and from the State, or by MLS 11 (double one) (Laughter). But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, since most of us do not have the necessary human petrol to run MLS double one, we have to rely upon vehicular transport and that transport is confined only to the motor vehicle type and not to railways, and certainly not to some other services. So this department assumes tremendous importance because everything  from a pin to an elephant or something really heavy like a huge motor has to be brought up by road and that this road is long meandering road. Vehicles are controlled by the Transport Department, permits issued by Transport Department and no objection permits also issued by Transport Department. All these Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, are under the control of this great and important department of the Government of Meghalaya. We are happy to know that this Department is looked after by a Minister who is second in rank in the cabinet (laughter). But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I point out that there are two aspects of this department. One is the preventive side of it. The preventive side prevents mostly the malfunctioning, mal-practices and corruption of the Motor Vehicles Act. And the other side is the encouragement side where encouragement is supposed to be given to the transporters. Now from the preventive side, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while we offer much of our sympathies to this department in its lack of personnel, and lack of staff, we would also like to point out that sometimes the over-jealous administrators of the department act in an excessive manner in awarding punishment to violators of the Motor Vehicles Act. We have specific examples of punishment meted out to the extent of three hundred rupees for merely parking in the wrong place. Various other examples can be given here Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Very unreasonable fines are being imposed upon the private and public carriers for minor violations of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Shri. E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on a point of clarification on this information whether that was done by the department or by the Court.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this was done by the officers of the department together with the Magistrate.

Shri. E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- I think this was done by the Court. Do we have to bring the action of the Court to this House or not Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir ?

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Now Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I point out that there are cases which are attached to the Court and I will not touch at all those cases which are under the purview of the courts. But there are cases where Policemen, on the look out for violations of the Motor Vehicles Act, stand on the roadside with Vulture - like eyes when there is shortage of money in their pockets along the Barapani road to catch the poor ma-ma jeeps bringing rice fully - loaded in their jeeps from the interior of the Bhoi area. Then, another aspect of the matter is to prevent the malfunctioning of the department.

Shri. H. Hadem :- On a point of clarification Sir, the hon. Member has referred to which ma-ma, whose ma-ma ?

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, these are interruptions to my speech and I overlook them. But may I point out one of the very serious causes of complaint by the Jeep owners, especially of those areas where there are no transport, bus services run by the Department, is that the operators of those private jeeps are frequently put in trouble by the guardians of the law instead of officers of the transport department. I would submit, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, to impose or award punishment or fine upon the jeep operators, is impossible for the Police alone. These vehicles owners should always be punished by a Magistrate and not by the Department. That is my first submission. Then secondly, if I am not mistaken Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the Transport Department at least the Commissioner's side, has certain Police Staff who have to look after only the Transport Department side; they should at least have an enforcement branch instead of leaving the whole responsibility to an ordinary O.C. of certain Beat Houses along the G.S. road, leaving it up to him to decide what to do. Well, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would say it is a dereliction of duty. We always find that Jeeps on the G.S. road are the only means of transport to bring rice from the interior of the Bhoi area to Shillong. The Police come out to check these jeeps on the way, and fine the owners and sometimes passengers have to walk half way from Umroi to Shillong. This is also done along the Shillong - Cherra road and Mawngap road. I would request the Transport Department not to shirk its responsibility to check the permits of jeeps, and not to leave it to the ordinary police, in the Beat Houses. Now towards the encouragement side, the Government certainly cannot look after everything. I quote the words of Mahatma Gandhi as I have quoted yesterday also that Government is best which rules the least. So in view of the great importance of the Taxation Department, we would expect that the minimum encouragement should be given to the Transport Operators.

        Maximum encouragement would be given to these private operators who are more than willing to come forward to help. Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, what are their problems in the very first place. We have got the Assam Passengers & Goods Tax Act, 1962. The Assam Government has not cared to collect their taxes from the year 1962. But no sooner was it taken over by the Meghalaya Government than every single operator or carried was ordered to pay arrears. If he does not pay the arrears, he cannot get a renewal. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I find that if one poor tribal Khasi gentleman who owns a Taxi is to sell it by auction, it would  fetch only Rs.4,000. Yet he has had to pay arrears amounting to Rs.7,000. I have advised him to take the taxi and hand it over as a free gift to the Department. There are cases of trucks owners also who have to pay Rs.10,000, Rs.8,000 all as taxes from the year 1962. The Meghalaya Government is actually collecting taxes and yet the Assam Government did not care to collect these taxes. For example, taxes of the West Bengal Government for taxis are Rs.45 and odd per quarter. I may submit here also that the price of petrol is slightly higher in West Bengal it is Rs.2.81 per litre. But in the State of Meghalaya, road tax comes to Rs.88, passengers tax Rs.200 and the most unreasonable Surcharge tax is Rs.100. I was told that when some trucks owners went on deputation to the Finance Minister to complaint about this surcharge tax, the Finance Minister was amazed that the surcharge, was so high, that is 50 percent. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, a truck owner pays Rs.560 per quarter as tax. There is a goods tax of Rs.550 and surcharge of 50 percent what is the result"? Rs.5,540 is paid per year. So trucks move down to Gauhati and are paying taxes in Gauhati. I know here of 109 trucks that have gone down to Gauhati, amounting a loss to the Government of Meghalaya. It entails a loss of rs.6,03,860 per year; and if you calculate it for 2 years it amount to Rs.12,07,720 loss to the Government of Meghalaya. This is the great functioning of the Transport Department.

        Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have got the Corporation of Assam and Meghalaya - the State Road Transport Corporation. I have the fullest praise for the Transport Minister. But last year, he correctly, honestly and humbly admitted that although the Government of Meghalaya should have been consulted on every important decision regarding this Corporation, as a matter of fact decisions like the suspension of the former General Manager, the appointment of a new General Manager and the selection of the Chairman were taken without consulting the Government of Meghalaya. The General Manager belongs to the Assam Government, and also happens to be the Joint Secretary, Appointments. I have seen with my own eyes and had personal experience of what happened when other officers in the Assam Transport Department were ordered to act against this General Manager. Who is this great gentleman who sits in judgement over the whole road ? He is only a General Manager. He even imposed fines. This can be proved from the many receipts in our possession. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I may submit that this Corporation is a rival party to the private operators in business in transport. How can the General Manager of the Assam Meghalaya States Road Transport Corporation impose fines on the truck owners ? He has violated the provisions of the Act. Since when has the Transport Department of Meghalaya relegated or delegated its authority and its responsibility to the General Manager, Assam and Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation ? It is not an isolated case. I can provide the Minister with at least half a dozen receipts. The truck owners should pay fines to the Commissioner of Transport, and not to the Assam and Meghalaya States Road Transport Corporation.

        Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, what authority has the Corporation got to detain private trucks well in their compound. As a General Secretary, Meghalaya Trucks Owners' Association. I personally went down to Gauhati. The ADM Gauhati issued an order to the General Manager to release those trucks but he flatly refused because I made a mistake by sending that release order through the DTO Gauhati, who was terrified to serve it as it might effect his appointment by the Joint Secretary, who is also the General Manager of the Assam-Meghalaya States Road Transport Corporation. And you will be surprised to know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that they are not satisfied only with detaining the trucks; they will deflate the tyres also. Can you imagine what would be the condition of those trucks loaded with 8 or 9 tonnes of goods if the tyres are deflated. Only the other day it had been stated that the Government cannot run so many trucks on account of a dearth of tyres. It has also been stated that one bus has been withdrawn from Tura due to scarcity of tyres with effect from 19th March, 1973. But we do not have any protection against the General Manager because in every case a no - objection certificate has to be countersigned by the great boss, the General Manager, Assam - Meghalaya States Road Transport Corporation. Even for matters like issuing permits the General Manager behaves most rudely. Sometimes, he shouts at the people to get out of his office. Sometimes he does not talk to them even. He does all these things with impunity since he owes allegiance to the Minister of Transport who is also the Chairman of the Corporation. But this Minister is not a Minister from Meghalaya, he is a Minister for Assam. So we are to be cowed down in order to get a mere no-objection certificate from Gauhati. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for getting a permit one has to write down all the details like cow-dung, chicken dung (Laughter), etc. Eve details of biology have to be entered. Not only that, for getting a permit one has to pay Rs.8.25 to the Government of Meghalaya and again Rs.8.25 to the Government of Assam; and if he is lucky he will get it within two weeks after being bitten by mosquitoes, living in dingy hotels at Gauhati. It seems, although we have achieved a separate State, we do not have a full fledged Transport Department which every other State has. Our Transport Department from is still under the Government of Assam and a Minister from Assam is the Chairman of the Road Transport Corporation. Any truck of any public carrier has to get a no-objection certificate from Gauhati for plying over the G.S. Road. For getting a no-objection one has to pay Rs.8.25 which also goes to the Government of Assam. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at one stage some transport operators became desperate and decided that since the Government of Meghalaya cannot protect them, they entered into an agreement, of course verbally, that they would allow their trucks to run as sub-carriers at a rate of Rs.2.50 per quintal from the Government of Assam. But the Corporation went back on its word and offered only Rs.2.00 per quintal Sir, if the transport operators have to forego Re.0.50 per quintal, the total loss comes to Rs.3,000 per month. Moreover, the price of fuel oil has gone up and what remains after paying and meeting all other expenses ? Therefore I strongly recommend that something should be done immediately and we must have a full fledged Transport Corporation. Almost of the G.S. Road falls within Meghalaya and why should this road be under the control of the Assam Government. In the meantime I would request our Minister for Transport to take up this matter with his counterpart in Assam. My suggestions are: first no arrears should be collected for the period under Assam under the Assam Passenger and Goods Tax Act; secondly, the payment of 50 percent surcharge should be reduced and thirdly, I suggest that we should compel the Corporation to open a Branch here at Shillong.

        In the meantime, when the no-objection certificate or permit is given by the Government of Meghalaya through its Transport Department. Government must insist that in every case when the Government of Meghalaya has issued a permit, there should be no reason why the Government of Assam should withhold the no-objection certificate. It is more courteous and it is on a reciprocal basis that the Government of Assam should issue no-objection certificates when the Government of Meghalaya, through its Transport Department has issued a permit, then why should there be an objection from Assam. I submit that this is discourteous on the part of the Corporation to refuse recognition to the permits given by the Transport Department of the Government of Meghalaya.

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to get a clarification if we are to continue with the Motion up till 1 o' clock. When will the reply be given ?

(Voices - Next Session) -

Prof. M.N Majaw :- I move that we sit till 1.30 P.M. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.

(Voices - We are not prepared)

Shri. H.E. Pohshna :- I will speak for only 5 minutes, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am going into new points. I am very grateful to the Mover of the Motion for bringing full details about the functioning of the Transport Department in Meghalaya and I fully know the fact that our Minister has already anticipated what we are going to say in this respect. (Laughter).

        I would like to say that he is the most helpless Minister in the State. Inspite of the fact that he want to help, he is helpless. We had the occasion of meeting him and also the General Manger jointly.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. Pohshna, kindly withdraw the word 'hopeless'.

Shri. H.E. Pohshna :- I said helpless and not hopeless. It may be due to my poor pronunciation. Every time our Minister met the General Manager, the Minister asked him to do this thing and that thing but the General Manager acted in his discretion. Therefore, I would like to support the idea put forward by the Mover of the Motion that the earlier we take over the G.S. Road, the better for our people. Secondly, Sir, in the meeting with the General Manager, in spite of the fact that our Minister had asked him to issue permit, he will not issue, and in spite of the fact that our Minister of Meghalaya and the Minister of Assam have agreed to pay 2.50 per quintal to the sub-carriers but he did not agree. Any-way, because of little time at my disposal, I will come to the new point. I say that the present Corporation has no more right to continue. The Corporation has failed to give good service in the Jowai Road, in the Shillong - Dawki Road it has failed to give good service and you will find break-down of vehicles everywhere. In the G.S. Road, it has failed to serve the State. Therefore, the very fact that they have to engage sub-carriers and sub-let the monopoly proved it failure why  should it continue ? Therefore, I urge upon the Government to see to these things. Secondly, there is a very big thing that happens in our State. Whenever any truck owners wants to declare before the Assistant Commissioner or the Secretary, S.T.A, Meghalaya that he has purchased a new vehicle no, no, we are not going to issue permit to new vehicles - is the answer of that Assistant Commissioner. Is it a fact that our Government want to see only rotten vehicles ? If a man comes with a new vehicle for registration with a sale deed and asks him to issue permit, the Assistant Commissioner will say no no we are not going to issue permit to new vehicles. The Assistant Commissioner would say that because it is not for Government of Meghalaya to issue permits, it is in the hands of the General Manager and it appears that the General Manager is feeling very bad that the new vehicles are to compete with the rotten trucks of the Corporation (Laughter). Same is the case with the taxis and tourist taxis. Then the last point I would like to say is that it is high time for our Transport Department to think about the interest of the trucks owners who have to pay various taxes which compel them to sell their vehicles or surrender their vehicles. Although their names are still in the registration number many of them are longer actual owners. They cannot transfer  due to nonpayment of taxes like passenger tax, good tax, etc. On account of high cost of petrol many GMC trucks and many Bedford trucks are hiding in the jungle for fear of being caught by the Police or the District Transport Officer. Why ? because they cannot pay the cost of petrol or taxes. This is a horrible condition which is prevailing in our State. Therefore, I request that the Government should think about it seriously. The last and the most important point is that our Transport Department is a revenue earning department such as taxes court-fee stamp, etc. Even in front of the Central Library, you will find vehicles of Meghalaya - they are brand new, TMV trucks costing about 60 to 70 thousand rupees, but have no tyres, no legs. Imagine, Sir, if all of us have no legs. What will become of us ? (Laughter). But the Government of Meghalaya is very keen to tax the vehicles without legs. Of course I do not blame them as I have already stated, that our Minister is very helpless but at least something should be done to get the tyres from outside so that we can get legs for the vehicles of the people and also for the vehicles of the Government.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Now I close the discussion. May I request the Minister-in-charge to reply.

Shri. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Transport) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am grateful to the Mover for bringing about a number of very important facts in regard to certain aspects of the transport operations in our State, I would refer first to his remarks on the preventive side of transport. While recognising that there might have been in his language, excessive punishment, in a word excessive fines or excessive punishment, so far as violation of rules is concerned, the term excessive is to be defined or understood. In regard to the particular violation, where it deals with the court where a Magistrate has fined any one or given any punishment, it is not for the Minister or the Department or in my understanding this House to question the court in doing what is prescribed under the law. It is upto the person concerned to appeal to the higher court for the sake of seeing that justice is done, if the fine, is too much. But I am not prepared to answer this particular point where it deals with the courts and Magistrates awarding punishment. I do not think it is proper as a Member of the Assembly or as a Minister to look into the question of the court awarding punishment. But there are procedures which lay down how we should proceed in regard to this matter.

        But the Member from Mawlai stated about the departmental officers who fine people and who award punishment. So far as my information goes the department or the officers of the Transport Department do not award fine or punishment. The State for enforcement officers under the Transport Department and their job is to report and not to try cases. There are large numbers of cases that have been taken up on the basis of the report submitted by enforcement officers about illegal playing, plying without permit and so on and so forth. To our information we find that these fines are imposed ranging from Rs.10 to Rs.1,000 by the Court concerned or by the Magistrate concerned. Now the Member from Mawhati made a very strong case against police who administer the transport law under the Motor Vehicles Act and it should be left purely with the Transport Department and Sir, the hon. Members says that these policemen shirk their responsibilities. But Sir, Transport Department has only two Inspectors and Sir, throughout the country the Motor Vehicles Act is an independent administration not only by enforcement inspector but by police as well, and would be almost impossible for the Transport Department in any State to administer the law of the Motor Vehicles Act without the assistance and the works of the police. If there is any case or if there are mis-carrying out of justice by any person - Whether police or enforcement officers or inspectors, we certainly take this case whether they are doing their duties according to the law or not. But I would expect that Members of this House to support the enforcement of the law or if the law is not properly enforced, then to help in seeing that the law is properly enforced. I agree that the punishment should be given by the Magistrate or those authorised by the law and so it seems that one thing he would like the departmental law to administer this Act through its one or two officers, or three officers who are not part of the Enforcement Branch and yet we in this House would like to improve and every one has agreed that we should improve the services and the work of the transporters. Now those who are operating their transport under the Act taking permits according to the Act, are thereby protected from competition or from those who are illegally plying their vehicles and our duty is to detect and catch those people who are not plying their vehicles according to the law or Act. Therefore, the case of complaint of jeep-owners, which Mr. Majaw stated, is the catching of Mama Jeep - which I take it to mean the expression - the man who drives these Jeeps with those passengers whether he is related to them or not, they call him Mama and he says that they are to his Mamas. Such private vehicles carrying passengers are subject to punishment under the Motor Vehicles Act. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, such private vehicles cannot carry passengers and therefore this term "Mama - Jeep" comes through those who pretend that every one in the vehicles is our "Mama" and relatives. These Mama-Jeeps are plying not only in Shillong but also in other parts of North-East India. About the case of complaint from the hon. Member from Mawhati, I may refer to any specific case that there should be existing some authority to prevent this illegal carriage of passengers or goods in any vehicles with a permit.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- How much time is required to finish this reply ? Whether the House would like to continue?

Shri. H. Hadem :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to raise a point of order in this particular matter. I would refer again in Rule 264 which says that a Motion, resolution or an amendment, which has been moved and is pending in the House, shall not lapse by reasons only of the prorogation of the Assembly and shall have priority over all other Motions, resolutions and amendments. So if by chance there is no other provision to regulate the private Members' business during the session, the Motion will have to be carried over to the next Session, (Interruption). But there is no provision regarding the sense of the House. I would like to know whether there is  anything in the rules regarding the sense of the House ?

Shri. M.N. Majaw :- On a point of order, we have already violated the rules, we have exceeded two minutes.

Shri. Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, it is the convention in the House to take the sense of the House.

Shri. Maham Singh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think it is at the discretion of the Speaker himself.

Shri. H. Hadem :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that is the old rule. As amended by this Assembly the House shall sit from 9 A.M. to 1 P.M. and Thursday is a recess day provided that nothing in this rule shall be deemed to prohibit the answering of question. That is the only rule; there is no more rule.


ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- So, the House does not want to continue. The House stands adjourned till 9 A.M. tomorrow, the 12th December, 1973.

 R.T. RYMBAI,

Dated, Shillong,

Secretary,

the 11th December, 1973.

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

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