PROCEEDINGS OF THE MEGHALAYA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY HELD ON 21st MARCH 1973 IN THE ASSEMBLY CHAMBER, SHILLONG
Prof. R. S. Lyngdoh, Speaker in the Chair, 5 Ministers, 2 Ministers of State and 51 members.
MR. SPEAKER :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up the Starred Question No. 7 (Not put, Member being absent)
Then Starred Question No. 8.
(To which oral replies were given)
Shortage of Funds
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :-
|*8.||Will the Minister of Finance be pleased to state—|
|(a)||The reasons for a sudden shortage of funds in the accounts of the Government of Meghalaya in the State Bank of India and Reserve Bank of India ?|
|(b)||How does Government propose to rectify this situation and when ?|
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) replied :
|8.||(a)—The cash balances of the Government of Meghalaya fall considerably low during the last week of February due to various reasons, e.g., non-receipt of Central Assistance for Plan; non-receipt of State's dues from the Centre as share of Central taxes for month of February as well as some wrong debits raised against the Government of Meghalaya.|
|(b)—With a view to coping with the situation, the matter was taken up with the Government of India for immediate release of Central Assistance for Plan and State's dues of share of Central taxes as well as with the Accountant General for Meghalaya Government. The ways and means position of the State Government improved with the releases and adjustments carried out by the Account General. The restrictions imposed on Government transactions were lifted with effect from 5th March, 1973.|
Prof. M. N. Majaw (Mawhati S. T.) :- Were any officers in the Finance Department reasonable for not trying to secure as quickly a possible this money for the Plan ?
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Not exactly in that way. The delay has been caused as has been stated clearly from Delhi, i.e., by the Government of India.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :- In other words, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the blame for non-receipt of the money would be placed on the Government of India.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, these are common matters that usually happen almost in every State. It is not a question of putting the blame but is a question of one week's delay. It is a minor matter.
Mr. Speaker :- So, let us pass on to Starred question No. 9.
Schemes implemented by the Mynso-Railing Development Block in 1972-73
Shri Humphery Hadem asked :-
|9.||Will the Minister, Community Development be pleased to state—|
|(a)||What are the schemes implemented by the Mynso-Raliang Development Block in 1972-73 ?|
|(b)||What was the amount spent for each scheme ?|
|(c)||To whom was the amount paid and when ?|
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Community Development) replied :
9. (a) & (b)—The schemes implemented and the amount spent for each by the Mynso-Raliang Development Block in 1972-73 are—
|1.||A. H. & Veterinary||
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
|3.||Health and Rural Sanitation||
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
|4.||Rural Arts, Crafts and Industry||... ... ... ... ... ... ...||2,00.00|
|5.||Special Nutrition Programme||... ... ... ... ... ... ...||23,415.37|
|6.||Social Education||... ... ... ... ... ... ..||4276.00|
|7.||Education||... ... ... ... ... ... ..||5,285.00|
|8.||Crash Scheme||... ... ... ... ... ... ..||6,833.00|
|9.||Communication||... ... ... ... ... ... ..||4871.22|
(c)—The Statement is placed on the Table of the House.
Shri H. Hadem (Mynso-Raliang S.T.) :- Supplementary question to (c) Sir. In Animal Husbandry and Veterinary we have found that an amount of Rs.7,090.70 has been paid to M/s. Assam Sales Service, Gauhati. May we know for what reason ?
Shri E. Barah (Minister, Community Development) :- The details of it are not with us, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri H. Hadem :- According to the Statement only to one company i.e., M/s. Kalra and Company, Shillong, a total amount of Rs.21,237.73 was paid in all the 4 heads - Special Nutrition Programme, Social Education, Education and Crash Scheme. May we know what are the supplied given by this Company ?
Mr. Speaker :- That should have come in the form of an unstarred question.
Shri H. Hadem :- Then, will you allow me to put a supplementary question ?
Mr. Speaker :- Yes, you can raise a supplementary after you have put another unstarred question in this regard.
Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, only for the exhibition purpose Rs.6,200 has been spent. May we know, Sir, for how many days the exhibition was held ?
Shri E. Barah (Minister, Community Development) :- As far as I know we had two exhibitions during the year.
Mr. Speaker :- So, let us pass on to starred question No.10.
Supply of Subsidised Bone-meal
Shri H. E. Pohshna asked :
|*10.||Will the Minister-in-charge of Agriculture be pleased to state—|
|(a)||Whether it is a fact that the Government propose to give the monopoly of supply of subsidised bone-meal to one contractor ?|
|(b)||If so, the name of the contractor ?|
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture etc.) replied :
|(b)—Does not arise.|
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on the Starred question No. 11.
Emergency Food Production Scheme in Garo Hills
Shri Nimosh Sangma asked :
|*11.||Will the Minister-in-charge of Agriculture be pleased to state—|
|(a)||Whether Government is aware of the fact that the Emergency food production scheme introduced in Garo Hills is a total failure ?|
|(b)||If so, what are the reasons of failure ?|
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture etc.) replied :
|11.||(a)—Government are not aware.|
|(b)—Does not arise.|
Unstarred Questions No. 14,1 5, 16, and 17.
Construction of Buildings of the Zikzak Marketing Society in Garo Hills.
Shri Samarendra Sangma asked :-
|14.||Will the Minister-in-charge of Co-operation be pleased to state—|
|(a)||Whether it is a fact that some land was donated by the public for the construction of the buildings of the Zikzak Sub-area Marketing Society in Garo Hills ?|
|(b)||If so, what was the amount sanctioned for the construction of the said buildings ?|
|(c)||The different grants and the amounts sanctioned for the functioning of the Zikzak Sub-area Marketing Society, Garo Hills ?|
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture etc.) replied :
|(b)—Rupees 15,000.00 as loan and Rs.5,000.00 as subsidy.|
|Rupees 20,000·00 as share capital contribution.|
|Rupees 20,000·00 as working capital grant.|
|Rupees 20,000·00 as subsidy for the maintenance of staff.|
Special Fund allocation for Border Areas
Shri Enowell Pohshna asked :-
|15.||Will the Minister-in-charge of planning be pleased to state—|
|(a)||Whether it is a fact that the Government of India has made special fund allocation to this Government, which is meant for the Border Area exclusively ?|
|(b)||If so, what is the amount so allocated ?|
|(c)||Whether plans for the development of the Border Area have been made ?|
|(d)||If not, how Government propose to identify the needs and special problems of the areas ?|
|(e)||If the answer to (c) be in the affirmative, will Minister be pleased to state the detailed plans for the information of the House ?|
Shri Grohonising Marak (Minister of State in-charge of Border Area Development) replied :
|(b)—Does not arise.|
|(d)—Does not arise.|
|(e)—The allocation in the State Plan for development of Border Area during 1973-74 is Rs.20 lakhs and the detailed schemes are being called from various Departments, on the receipt and scrutiny of which scheme-wise allocations will be made.|
Proposal to construct a slaughter house at Mawlai
Shri Stanlington David Khongwir asked :
|16.||Will the Minister-in-charge of Veterinary be pleased to state—|
|(a)||Whether Government propose construct a slaughter house at Mawlai ?|
|(b)||If so, whether a site has been selected ?|
|(c)||If reply to (a) above be in the affirmative, the facilities and the advantages of such slaughter house ?|
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Veterinary, etc.) replied :
|(c)—The facilities and advantages of a slaughter are as follows :-|
|(i)||Ant-mortem and Post-mortem Examination of meat meant for human consumption can be done effectively.|
|(ii)||Clean and wholesome meant can easily be produced in hygienic conditions.|
|(iii)||Medical examination of meat by qualified Veterinary Doctors is much facilitated ; thereby making it possible to eliminate the infective meant with communicable diseases. There are diseases like Tuberculosis, Cysticercosis, Sulmonellosis, Brucellosis, Antheax, etc., etc., which are highly infections to human being and can easily be transmitted through effective meat.|
|(iv)||Spoiled or infective meat can also be converted into useful animal feeds or manure by special treatment (if the slaughter house is made of up-to-date standard)— thus without effecting any economic loss.|
|(v)||By-products like offals, intestines, horns, hooves, hair, bristles and blood, etc., could be properly utilised instead of wasting, to bring about better economic return per animal.|
|(vi)||Curing of hides and skins could be done more scientifically so as to improve their quality which fetches a very high price.|
|(vii)||Marketing of meat and its products could be regulated more rationally and prying could be done accordingly to quality.|
|(viii)||The slaughter house will open up sources of subsidiary income and employment.|
|(ix)||It may encourage industrialisation of meat-products in the State.|
Inspectors of Weights and Measures
Shri Winstone Syiemiong asked :
|17.||Will the Minister-in-charge of Agriculture be pleased to state—|
|(a)||The number of Inspectors of Weights and Measure in the State of Meghalaya ?|
|(b)||Where are they posted ?|
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture, etc.) replied :
|17.||(a)—Four. Two posts were recently created but they have not been filled up yet.|
|(b)— One at Shillong, one at Headquarter, one at Jowai and one at Tura.|
Survey map of the three Districts of Meghalaya
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
18. Will the Minister of Revenue be pleased to lay on the Table of of the House a copy of the survey map of the three districts of Meghalaya with its defined boundaries.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Revenue) replied :
18. The official map of Meghalaya has not been published.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know why the official map of Meghalaya has not been published ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :- Because we are in dispute regarding the boundary.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- May be known if the Government would be prepared to at least give us copies of relevant records or the survey map in those areas not under dispute ?
Mr. Speaker :- When the Minister has said that the official map has not been published, you should have asked in some other form.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Is Government aware that the Government of Assam from their Land Records Office and Survey of India Office had carried away a large number of maps ?
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minster) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, if I am correct, the map of Meghalaya was about to be prepared by the Survey of India office and some correspondence was going on with regard to the disputes into certain areas. So, unless the Survey of India has definite information with regard to certain disputes, it is not possible for that organisation to go ahead with the preparation of maps.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Is Government aware of the fact that the Survey of India last year tried to supply with the relevant maps for the boundary between Meghalaya and Assam ?
Mr. Speaker :- That is a question to be asked in the Parliament because it concerns the Survey of India.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- When does the Government expect to have this map ready for publication?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is not relevant here.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Is it not possible to publish ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :- Sir, when the dispute is still there, it is not possible to publish the maps.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to the next item. Mr. S. D. Khongwir is absent. So we pass on to the next time. Before we take up item No.3, may I ask the Leader of the Independent Group and the Leader of H.S.P.D.P. Group to indicate the number of members who would like to participate in the general discussion of the budget today.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- I think I will be the only one today.
Mr. Speaker :- What about the H.S.P.D.P. Group ?
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Nongstoin S. T.) :- I am the only one for today.
Mr. Speaker :- I will allow the members who are participating today. 50 minutes each and Prof. Majaw 35 minutes being the Leader of the Independent Group.
General discussion on the Budget
Mr. Speaker :- Now. Mr. S. P. Swer will initiate the discussion.
Shri S. P. Swer (Sohra S. T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, only yesterday this august House unanimously adopted the motion of thanks on the Governor's Address pertaining to various politics of the Government. There is no room to dispute any policy of the Government. But I think there is enough room to dispute the implementing capacity of the Government. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I take this opportunity to discuss and suggest to the Government the need for proper implementation of various policy decisions of the Government.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we all know that health is wealth, and we do believe also that health is wealth. I cannot but appreciate the achievements of the Medical and Public Health Department when we read the Gazette of Meghalaya and when we came across certain notifications that some posts of doctors and nurses are filled up in those dispensaries in the rural areas which the people hitherto regarded as haunting houses. It is rally heartening to see. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, (at this stage the Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair) in this regard, I would like to draw the attention of the Government to one project, a very important project That is the hospital at Cherrapunjee. If I remember aright, of course I do not have with me the Governor's Address of 1970-71, 1971-72 it was stated in 1970-71 of the Governor's Address that this hospital is likely to be completed this year, and in 1971-72 that it is nearing completion. But till today, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hospital building is still under construction. One rainy day I visited this hospital at site. I met the contractor and he said that it is very difficult to make much progress because of the rain. Then I proceeded to the S.D.O's Office of the P.W.D. He also said the same thing that it is very difficult to make much progress in the construction of the Hospital because of the rains. Then on one sunny day, in November last, I again visited this site where construction is going on and the same contractor said that it is very difficult to make much progress because there is no water for mixing cement (laughter). Of course, I don't know how much water being needed for cement concrete works. Then again I had to reply my mind and exercise a little as to who is this contractor who can make all the P.W.D. officials his mouth piece, the mouth-piece of the contractor (laughter). Then I tried to collect information from those who come from outside, the State, if it is the correct information as they told me that the contractor belongs to the Company whose head is one Mr. Mundra. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have to rather caution the Government by way of suggestion to examine and cross examine as such to avoid antecedence before appointing any contractor from outside the State. I do not know how many visits or inspections the masters of the Hospital had ever made during these last two years. We cannot say that the work is not in progress but it is not the satisfactory progress we expected. We are all taking about fertilizers, manures and if you ask any progressive farmer which manure is the best, I think the answer will be the best measure is the dust of his master's shoes. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to suggest to the Government, especially the Medical and Public Health Department to take a little more interest to make frequent visits to the Hospital site otherwise I am afraid the Hospital will not come up in near future. The public in general are very anxious and every now then, they want to know when this Hospital will be completed and inaugurated.
So much is the people's anxiety because of the need for the Hospital. Now Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I come to another point and that is transport. We know road transport is the means by which some revenue is earned by the State. While appreciating the Government's policy in its attempt to see and alleviate the difficulties experienced by the people by placing road transport services, to the six routes which are not nationalised routes within the State had really relieved the people to some extent. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is not enough, we know that people are still demanding more transport services especially the Shillong-Cherra-Shella Road where people have gone to the extent convening a Meeting demanding more buses and side by side in that meeting, they passed a resolution and sent the same to the Minister concerned that the people traveling in these State Transport Buses will do so free of any fare until and unless bus contractor issue tickets for such fares. The practice of these conductors is to realise fares without issuing any road-side over carried tickets to the passengers as such. This shows the active participation of the public to held and take care of the leakages of revenue of the Government. Sir, on many occasions, the people from that area met the Minister Transport and other officials of the department for more State buses on the Shillong-Cherra-Shella Route. Now, the question is whether Government is earning revenue or not from the services on these routes. And another question is whether the department had ever tried to examine route-wise taking all factors into consideration, which of these routes give maximum revenue to the State. As this undertaking actually means earning revenue so in that context, I suggest to the Government to examine the matter in question and try to meet the demand of the public coming from any quarter as far as practicable. I know there are demands from the public different cable. I know there are demands form the public of different quarters of the State. Public demand is a public demand if it is demanded by 200 people and it is also a public demand if it is demanded by 2000 people. Therefore, I raise this question to examine which of these routes is giving maximum revenue to the Government and therefore try to meet the demand of the public as far as practicable. Sir only yesterday this august House has approved and decided to take over all the nation listed routes. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have another point in this respect and that is in respect of the transport services on these six routes. I would suggest to the Government to place more vehicle and if the Government finds some difficulties due to paucity of fund, I would also suggest to go for loan, to take loan from any financial institution to purchase more vehicles and also to provide necessary compliment of officers and staff such as Store Officers and staff, Station Superintendents and or Assistant Station Superintendents, Booking Clerks, Line Checkers and last of all the Enforcement Squads to check the leakage of revenue from the services and also to provides repair facilities. I do not know as it is today, how these buses are repaired, who does the repair works of these buses because I do not see any arrangement for repair facilities. Sir, I come to the point which I had touched before that is the policy of Government to take over the nationalised routes which is now under Assam-Meghalaya Road Transport Corporation. It is very correct that this is a big thing which the Government is going to undertake. Therefore, I would like to suggest to Government through it is in a phased manner, yet I would like to place before the Government for its consideration to appoint a full time Director or an Officer on Special Duty, who would work out the working plan, who will take advanced action for the requisite materials for the purpose, who will be responsible for the divisions of assets and liabilities. The appointment of such a Director as suggested, should also be vested with financial powers, that is for necessary and effective functioning. Why I come to this suggestion because out of these buses 12 or 13 I do not know the actual number of these buses some of them are lying idle because there are no tyres. On further investigation it is found that there is indecision as to who will purchase tyres, who will sign the bill who will pass the bill for 50 tyres. If I am correct the Director of Transport has got no financial powers even to sanction the cost of one tyre which is a little more than one thousand rupees. Sir, I would also like to suggest and propose to the Government the advisability or otherwise for the Government to take into consideration to appoint the Road Transport Board, and this Board should be headed by the Minister concerned which should consist of the Secretary Transport and all the field officers of this Department so that the purchase of vehicles, tyres and store in general, can be immediately done by the Board.
Now, Sir, I would come to another revenue earning department that is the Forest Department. I do not know whether the Government is earning any revenue from this department but what I want to stress in this. We know that Government is collecting royalty from Government owned forests. But whether Government is getting any royalty from timbers belonging to private owners, and if not, will it not be possible to propose a king of levy on such forest products. Now, while taking part in the debate on the Governor's Address I said that it is a matter of great concern for us, that there is a threat to the water sources being reduced year after year of the felling of trees. Since in our State, many forests are owned by private owners and felling of trees also taking place in an unscientific manner or in some other way we see day by day barren hills are coming up. Now, until and unless there is a scheme re-afforestation to be vigorously taken up by the Government, I am afraid that we may free serious droughty in the near future. Sir, (bell rang) ............
I will now come to industries. Since you have given me warning of time I will not go into the details, I will make only one suggestion to the Government to see as far as practicable these industries are set up in the State whether it is cottage industry or small scale industry or a medium industry or major industry but an industry for the raw materials available in the State should be set up having fully considered the least possible availability of technical know-how in our own State. Government can start such industries in the State like the preservation of fruits, processing of honey and other industries where the materials are easily available in the State and with least requirement of technical know-how. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. S. N. Koch.
Shri S. N. Koch (Mendipathar) :- Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, I raise to take part in the general budget discussion of our State for the second time since we were elected by the people. Our hon. Finance Minister has presented the budget for the year 1973-74 and his statement contained as many as 30 pages. He tried his best to present before this august House the programme which our Government is going to take. While going though this budget statement, Governor's Address and the detailed budget estimate it is found that there is a wish on the part of the Government to do something good for the people. But in fact, if it is analysed properly it does not miss one's sight that the with of the Government can be called only a pious wish and not more than that Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, as far as practicable within the time limit, I would like to talk about the employment policy of the Government. In the course of discussion on the Governor's Address and also on the motion brought by one of the hon. Members, Mr. Majaw, we have the opportunity to discuss about the question of absorption and also the employment of persons who are unemployed. The hon. Chief Minister in course of his reply to the debate on Governor's Address stated as to how Government is going to fill up vacancies in the Directors and Secretariat. From his reply, it is clear that 70 per cent to 80 per cent will be taken from the existing employees under the Assam Government and the rest will be recruited directly. The policy is dangerous, and at the same time, against the interest of the State and need not be emphasised once again because the present day employment policy throughout the country in almost all the States is that preference should go first to the sons of the soil and then to others. The days are not far that people of this State shall not be in position to get any post in any other States in our own. In such case, if we devote our energy and also the limited means only for the persons who are already in secured position, I do not think this policy of employment is a sound one. Moreover, our Governor and and hon. Finance Minister have stated about the Directorate of Employment which is exploring the employment avenues but in this detailed budget estimates I do not find any such Directorate and how much amount the Government is going to spend for this purpose. So there is a contradiction in between the speech and the concrete scheme of the Government. Therefore I would like to say that this wish of the hon. Finance Minister the Government is trying to make all round progress and bring our State at par with the other State of the country is only statement without any substance. Moreover the Government is thinking so much about the absorption of the tribal employees under the Assam Government. I am sorry to inform this august House about their activities. Now in our Secretariat and also in the Directorate I think if not more, 90 per cent are staffed with our own people. But whenever anybody approaches these offices, I do not know about other people, but we being the representative of the people are to stand not less than 10 to 20 minutes for getting any reply from them. These so-called Tribal employees in the Meghalaya Directorates and Secretariat do not get any time to how us little country to ask us to wait for a while or to have our seat. And if at all they give any reply, they will say that the file has gone to Finance. Then if one travels all the way to Finance and after standing there for 20 to 30 minutes the honourable Superintendent or such Officer will say that the file is with the Chief Secretary. So again one travel up to the Secretariat and there also one gets the similar treatment without any definite as to where the file is lying. So if our people for whom the Government is giving such considerable thought and if there treatment towards the representatives of the people is like that, I am afraid what sort of treatment the ordinary people will get. So Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, this reign of bureaucracy should be done away with and I think the Government will book into this.
Sir, the next point which I would like to touch is that in the Governor Address's, in paragraph, 3 it had been stated that the Government is committee to the objective of economic development eradication of poverty, illiteracy and disease. But how to drive out illiteracy, poverty and disease. The budget speech of the hon. Finance Minister does not give any clear indication. The hon. Chief Minister in course of his reply to the debate on Governor's Address has tried his best to show the policies and programmes of the Government and to that I would like to add that in order to remove poverty from our society the Government should give priority to agriculture since our economy is based on agriculture. I am happy that the Government has rightly touched that point but there is a big gap in between the Governor's Address, Budget speech of the hon'ble Finance Minister and the detailed budget estimates. Here in this budget speech it has been stated "the board objective in the sphere of agriculture is to increase the production of food-grains so as to ultimately make the State self-sufficient in this regard. The approach and strategy envisaged for increasing the agricultural production for the year 1973-74 is to increase the area under assured irrigation substantially and to popularise the adoption of scientific method of cultivation". From this budget speech we also came to know that the Government is going to spend certain amount for the purpose of demonstrating scientific cultivation in the field of agriculturists. But nowhere in these budget estimates there is any mention of any amount provided for the purpose of demonstration of scientific method of cultivation in the field of farmers save and expect the pay and allowance of the officers. So it appears to me that the intention or the wish of the Government is not based on concrete proposal. While taking part in the debate on the Government Address I categorically stated that the Government had no policy at all which was vigorously defined the hon'ble Chief Minister stating that there are as many as ten policy statements. This however I do not agree to accept because there is gulf of difference between policy and Departmental activities. Mere exhibition of some departmental works is not and cannot be called a policy of the Government because where there is Government there must officer, there must be some works and there must be some files. As for example the Government has informed us that the land reform is one of the policies of the Government. But whether the Government has undertaken any land reform scheme so far ? They have argued that many areas in Khasi Hills have not been surveyed which the Government is considering to get it served for which a commission is going to be constituted. Not only Khasi Hills but also in Garo Hills many areas still unsurveyed. Here I may point out that survey is a part of the Government duties and that hence the proposal is far from a policy. Here I may state for the information of the Government as well as this august House unless some land reform scheme is taken up, improvement of agriculture or agriculturist in the State would be meaningless. In Garo Hills still there are middlemen known as Nokmas just like Zamindars in other States. Although this Zamindary system has been abolished.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- On a point order, Sir, the Nokmas are not Zamindars. They are the custodian of the clan land and it is with the consent of the Nokmas that the clan families are being allowed to have records of rights. The District Council being the authority to allot lands we are to entrust the work to the District Council.
Shri S. N. Koch :- Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, the information given by the Hon'ble Chief Minister is correct, but the question still remains and that question is unfettered discussion of the Nokmas as regards land settlement. If the Nokmas do not allow, land settlement cannot be given by the Government. Since we have already achieved full Statehood, such powers should not rest with the middlemen or the Nokmas as it may be called so that we can do something for the good of people. So my main contention is that the Government is not working in right direction for the administration of the suffering mass and unless land reform measures are taken by the Government we cannot hope to have .............. (Interruption).
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- On a part of information Sir, I would like to know whether the Member would suggest that the Nokmas in Garo Hills should be abolished.
Shri S. N. Koch :- If necessary, or if they are standing in the path of our progress, they should be abolished. Now Sir, another point. In Garo Hills, the land is divided into two parts the Plain Mauzas and the Hills Mauzas. In the Hills Mauzas it is very difficult to have permanent cultivation. Permanent cultivation is possible as in the plain Mauzas. So, to increase our food production a bold. Practical meaningful and positive scheme of the Government is necessary such as flood control as this plain areas of Garo Hills District every year witness the devastating flood havoc. But in the State Budget no flood control measure is evident. Of course in the 4th Plan review there is mention of construction of embankments as Jingabari.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- It is Jingabari, I think Jingabari is your place.
Shri S. N. Koch :- Yes, it is my local place, my own place, but I think there is printing mistake. I am also doubtful whether it is my Jigabari or somebody else's Jigabari (Laughter). But there are floods not only in my constituency, Mendhipathar but also, in other parts of the district specially in the plain Mauzas. In my constituency the Krishnai river flows through Mendipathar and on both sides of the river, the land are washed out thereby destroying cultivation. This Krishnai rive wipes out all the area for cultivation. There were proposals prayers and petitions for construction of embankment and drainage, etc., for protecting the crops. But unfortunately no action has yet been taken by the Government. As I spoke earlier in the discussion on the Governor's Address the papers are moving from one place to another without any effective action. If the poor farmers go to the District Agricultural Officers, they will generally say that the papers have gone to Shillong to the Project Administrators and from the Project Officer in Shillong, they will say that it has gone to the Director of Agriculture and from the Director of Agriculture it has gone to the Hawakhana and neither irrigation project nor embankments are being constructed.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- What is Hawakhana. Is it a Government Office or what ?
(Voice — Where is this Hawakhana ? )
Shri S. N. Koch :- Hawakhana is the name of the place where the offices of the Project Officers and District Agricultural Officer are located. If the Government allows the papers to travels for years together form one office to another office the Hon. Members can very well understand the affairs of our Government and its administration. So, Sir, I would like to suggest that flood control measures should be taken in right earnest. But unfortunately, there is no such scheme with the Government at present, under the Non-Plan budget. Only in the Plan Review it is stated that in Nidanpur and Jigabari embankment would be constructed.
Regarding agriculture, Sir, I would like to point out that here the hon'ble Finance Minister has laid emphasised on minor irrigation, but fortunately or unfortunately, I had the privilege to associate myself with the Agriculture Department for about last seven or eight year and I have good experience about this minor irrigation. These minor irrigations have been abolished by the Assam Government. The sanctioning authority sometime lies with the Director of Agriculture and sometimes with the Director Agriculture Officer and then towards the fag end of the financial year, sanctions are made but then cultivators who also thank of a small benefit of getting cash money co-operate with the corrupt officers and construct small drainage and the money that is left is divided between the officer and the farmers of percentage basis. When the rains come, these drainages or embankments are wiped away, so the money spent comes to no benefit except corrupt officers. So instead of taking up this minor irrigation project and instead of giving much emphasis on minor irrigation, Government should give more emphasis on major irrigation project. In my Constituency Kantholbari, Gajin and New Puthimari flows and mighty Krishnai river which I referred to earlier and when the rains comes there is flood, bus when there is no rain there is no water for cultivation. The people there have submitted representations and petitions but the District Agricultural Officer would say that he has undertaken these schemes, but as I stated earlier these scheme travel by buses by bullock carts and so taking years together for implementations although its immediate execution is undisputed. In the Governor's Address as well as in the budget speech, it is said that our State is full of natural resources. But I am very sorry to say that there is no scheme anywhere undertaken to tap these natural recourses and to utilise them for the benefit of our State and to boast up our economy. So this is a great failure on the part of the Government in spite of their best efforts and knowledge.
As regards forest, it seems that the Chief Minister in course of intervention during the discussion on the Governor's Address, has stated that the Government has certain policies and that the Government is not trying to shirk its responsibility in discharging its functions but it is found that the record presented by the Government that there is an attempt on the part of the Government to shirk its responsibility. Under the present set-up of things forests are owned by two institutions, namely, by the State Government and by the District Councils.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- This is not a new thing.
Shri S. N. Koch :- Yes, it is not a new thing. But here while our Government is anxious to make our forest resources abundant, why should it shift its responsibility to the District Council. Plantation reforestation of the Forest reserves of the State. There are many State Forest Reserves but now all of them have been de-reserved may be to carelessness of the officers of failure of the Government machinery (Interruption).
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- On a point of information will the hon'ble Members give the names of those Reserved Forests which have been de-reserved and give us one or two examples ?
Shri S. N. Koch :- Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, now the question of de-reservation is of two types, the Government by calling tenders and by unauthorised cutting of trees.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- The Chief Minister wants to know the particular Reserved Forests which have been de-reserved.
Shri S. N. Koch :- Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, I do not know the exact names but in my constituency at Dainadubi there is a big Reserved Forest which is under the State Government. Now if somebody goes and I would also like to invite our Minister incharge of Forests to come and enter into this forest reserve and I am sure that he will not find may valuable tree there because in that locality there are two Saw Mills. These two saw Mills have taken all advantages to exploit the forest resources. Now this forest is a reserved forest in our name as there are no trees. My question is that re-afforestation and plantation of trees can be done by the State Government instead of giving it to the District Councils. Why we cannot do it. If it is due to lack of officers we are competent to appoint officers and thereby conduct re-afforestation and plantation of forests. So I would like to suggest, through you Sir, to the Government that instead of giving it to the District Council, the Government should take it in its own hands and thereby enrich our forest resources. Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, I think, I am having some more time.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Yes, two minutes more.
Shri S. N. Koch :- Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, it appears from the budget statement that there is progress made by the Government. I think has left no stone unturned to show it s achievement, and I would like to read out from the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister for the information of the Hon. Members.
Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, in the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister at page 15, paragraph 25, it is stated that for exploitation of forest produces in the interior, expansion of communication has been taken up and about 9 KM. of new roads were constructed during last year. Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, the total development in the last financial year is only 9 Km. of new road. From this figure of our Government's achievement it becomes crystal clear as to the pace of progress our Government is making. The Government has appreciated that in our State we are to depend for fishes from the neighbouring State but there is no suggestion or concrete proposals with the Government for development of fishery. In this respect, I would like to inform the Government that near Garobada there is a vast track of land know as Talpukhuri which was for centuries together remind hidden inside thick jungle very recently the said pukhuri was cleared by the Betasing Block money but unfortunately, one responsible Government Officer who has undertaken clearing of the jungle purchased some bighas of the land near the Talpukhuri and constructed a house over the khas land belonging to the Talpukhuri which was cleared by the Block money. Now the public apprehend that the said Government officer has constructed his personal house with an interior design to make it has own at the cost of public money. The information was given by the public and I think it is based on facts.
Mr. Deputy, Speaker :- Have you brought this to the notice of the authorities concerned ?
Shri S. N. Koch :- Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, of course I am not notice definitely whether this was brought to the notice of authority concerned.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Whether you have brought to the notice of the District Council because the Government cannot interfere directly.
Shri S. N. Koch :- Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, this should be brought to the notice of authority concerned by Government itself since the Government is having so many agencies and they should do it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- My question is whether you brought this to the notice of the authorities concerned?
Shri S. N. Koch :- Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, the people informed me about this.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Yes, you are a lawyer and the people know to whom they should approach.
Shri S. N. Koch :- Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, my question is that this place is suitable for the development of fishery and this as my humble suggestion to the Government through you, Sir. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Shri K. M. Roy Marbaniang (Mawsynram S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while participating in the general discussion of the Budget presented by the Finance Minister to this August House, I would like to congratulate him because of his efficiency in bringing in finance to the State. Last year we have got Rs.156·23 lacs as State Receipts at page No. 29 this year, the State Receipts has gone up to Rs.161·20 lacs with an increase of about 5 lacs at page 29 of the Budget Speech, the Finance Minister has shown an overall deficit of Rs.11·68 crores this year but the receipt of last year is Rs.156·20 lacs. This year it has increased to Rs.161·20 lacs without new taxation. So I hope next year our Finance Minister would be able to cover up the amount of the overall deficit of Rs.11·68 crores without bringing new taxation to the State. While participating in this Budget discussion, I would like to deal with the border areas which appear at page 5 of the Budget Speech. Here the Government is thinking seriously of bring some short of relief of our border areas with Bangladesh I would like to suggest also that the Government should try to evolve a proper way of utilizing the money properly because, as it is today and in the past, it is found that all money ear-marked for the relief of the border propel has not been utilized properly. The way in which the money is utilized and the management of affairs which the Government is doing is through the Block agency. But what we found during the past years and even today the Block Agency could not do properly to help these border people and in many occasions, the money that had been spent had become only a waste. I would, therefore, suggest that henceforth, the Government should take a serious view of the matter, and if possible, steps should be taken to change the Block administration. Last year also, I remember, we have suggested how to check the wastage of money that had been given to the Blocks. But uptil now nothing appears to have been done. The Governor has rightly stated that the steps for changing the working system in the Blocks are in the process. But I find that nothing has been done to implement them.
Secondly, I would like to come to the cash crops. Our people in the border areas are facing difficulties as a result of the closure of border hats, mainly because they have got only one type of plantation in the area, i.e., Pan leaf. It is very difficult to get market in other part as of the country expect in Bangladesh for their crop, that is, Pan leaves. I would, therefore, suggest to the Government in this respect to see that our people in the border areas are taught to change their plantations. I feel that this can be done by introducing another type of plantation like sugar cane which will benefit our border people. If this is done, even if this is done, even if there is closure of border hats, it will not affect the economy of our people.
Thirdly, Coming to the subject to supply, I would like to stress upon the Government to give factual rate of transport subsidy for the transport of food to the border people because as it is at present, the rate which has been fixed for subsidy does not at all cover the actual expenditure for transporting commodities to different places. It thus sometimes leads the food-grain dealers to the temptation of resorting to smuggling or to black marketing. Therefore, I urge upon the Government to see that the rate of transport subsidy for the border people is suitably raised.
Regarding the working system for the test relief and other relief measures for the border people, I would request the Government to see that all the money ear-marked for the border people actually goes to them. I find that in the past it was just a waste.
Now, I will come to page 9 of the Budget speech of the Finance Minister regarding Agriculture. I find here that an amount of Rs. 41 lakhs has been provided for minor irrigation and that allocation of Rs.123 lakhs has been made for others. I would suggest here to the Government that instead of encouraging these grants for minor irrigation by giving to the individual cultivators, it may perhaps be better for the Government to take up major irrigation themselves because I have seen during the last few years that the minor irrigation grants which are given to the cultivators are just a waste. The cultivators instead of utilising them for minor irrigation work rush to Shillong as soon as they receive the money, as my friend from other side stated earlier, for buying something with the money. I have spoken about this and I have also written to the Director of Agriculture that the money ear-marked for minor irrigation should be diverted to major irrigation works which the Government can take up properly and scientifically by engaging technical personnel who know about irrigation.
I will now come to page 1 dealing with animal husbandry. I to am really very thankful to the Government in this respect that they intended to start the Indo-Danish Project at Upper Shillong which can impart training to local farmers in the modern methods of rearing animals. This is certainly a good sing and it is very encouraging to our State. But meanwhile, I would also remind the Government that they should properly examine when they give subsidies whether the animals meant for different areas can thrive or whether the local conditions of the areas will suit them or not. I have seen during the past years that Block have given Friesian Bulls and some other type of cows to certain areas but those animals could not thrive because of the climatic conditions like heavy rain-fall and the like I, therefore, suggest that the Government should examine properly before giving the subsidies to the farmers in different areas, whether the animals can thrive well or not in those areas.
I would come now to page 14 of the Budget Speech regarding the Community Development. Here we have got the total of 24 Blocks in the State and a big sum of money has been spent through these Blocks every year. I do not know how the Block Development Officers have been authorised to spend lakhs and lakhs of rupees without proper check and supervision. Therefore, I would suggest to the Government to change the administration of the Block according to the local condition which is required in our State. Almost the administration in the Block has been just copied from what has been done by Assam Government before which I hope the situation prevailing at the time is quite different from what it is now. Therefore, I suggest that the Block administration should be changed according to the needs of the people of our State. It has been suggested, if I remember correctly, the hon. Members have spoken a last year in the Budget Session, that the Block administration should be totally changed especially the Chairman of the Block Development Committee. We have suggested through this august House last year that the Chairman of the Block Development Committee must be non-official Chairman because at present, the Chairman of the Block Development Committee is the Deputy Commission and he hardly had any time to see and check the Block Administration.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Do you mean to say that the official Member should be changed.
Shri Kesto Mohon Roy Marbaniang :- Yes, the Chairman of the Block should not be official Chairman because hardly the Deputy Commissioner has enough time to see to the administration of the Blocks and hardly he is having only one or two hours in a year. The members of the Block Development Committees had the same experienced like Deputy Commissioner through the Block has been constituted by several bodies. But I am sorry to say that the members of the Block Committees are participating only about one or two hours in the year. So, how can we expect that the good administration can come out as the Deputy Commissioner does not have enough time to see about the administration of the Blocks. Therefore, I would suggest through you, Sir, that this august House should move the Government to appoint a non-official Chairman so that he can see properly that the money earmarked for the administration of the Blocks should go to the people of those Blocks.
Now, I will come to page 15 of the Budget Speech. It is about Forest. What I want to suggest is that to stop the wanton cutting of trees in the various areas. As we have seen all along these hills which we called the Shillong Peak, all the trees have been cut during these past few years and that is why now-a-days we are suffering of want of drinking water even in Shillong. Another point is about killing of animals which I hope is included in the subject of Forest. We have seen that sambar, barking deer and antelopes were sold in the markets especially in our districts as some people are making a source of business and selling meat to the people by killing all these deer, samber and others. So, I would request the Government to take proper steps to stop wanton killing of these animals which I am afraid if it is not stopped at proper time, the time will come that we will not see these animals anymore.
Now, I will come to page 16, that is about health. I congratulate the Health Department also that so many years before we do not have doctors in many dispensaries in the interior of our State. Now, I have come to know the other day that we are about to fill up all the posts in these dispensaries where there are no doctors in part few years. I am told that the doctors do not want to go to the interior because they do not have enough facilities. I would suggest to the Government through you, Sir, that doctors who are serving in the interior of our State should be given proper facilities otherwise you cannot attract young doctors to go and work in the interior parts of the country without having any facility. I have seen that for want of communication and transport facilities doctors do not want to go to the interior and I suggest, through you, Sir, that doctors who are serving in the interior should be provided with a vehicle as it has been given to many other officers in the Departments and even to the Block Development Officers. So, I would suggest that the doctor serving in the interior should be provided with transport facility so that we can attract them and also they will be willing to serve even in the interior parts of our State.
Now, I will come to communication. Communication to me is a very important subject because without communication no other facilities could be given either in agriculture or in any other products which can be brought to the market in the State. I would request the Government that special attention should be given to the item of communication. At the same time I have seen there are many roads which have been constructed years and years ago but these roads are not roads worth the name but are what it is we use to call fair whether roads. What I would request the Government in this respect it that instead of marking many new roads, but for paucity of fund they should stop constructing new roads but only and see that the roads already taken up should be completed so that they will not be only fair weather roads. There are certain roads which we may take up. I mean the State National High-Way. These roads would be given special consideration in order to market it a big road. For instance like the road from Shillong-Nongstoin to Nongshram connecting Garo Hills and the road from Shillong-Mawphlang- Balat and Maheshkola. These are very important roads which will connect different areas of the State. So, I would urge upon the Government to give special attention to this matter in order to convert these roads into big roads with necessary Block help. At page 19 of the Budget speech a reference has been made to urban development. We find that a scheme for improvement of Barabazar has been taken up. Now, I want to deal with the subject of Barabazar. This is the biggest market of the State and it is in the capital of our State. But it is disgraceful and shameful that probable it is one of the district market. I have ever seen in India. I have also suggested last time in the Budget session that the Government should take over this market, if the Syiem of Mylliem or any local authority fails to improve the sanitary condition of this market. So, I would urge upon the Government to take over this market and then improve it because from this market we take our daily requirements of food-stuffs. If the market is not kept clean and if it remains dirty, I am afraid, Sir, though I am not a doctor, that it may poison, the people who buy food from such a dirty market. Therefore, I would suggest, if the authorities who manage this market fail to comply with the requests for cleaning and making improvement for sanitary conditions, that the Government should take over this market and improve it.
Now, I come to supply. At page 20 of the Budget speech it is stated that "We are receiving the allotment of rice, wheat and sugar from the Government of India directly. The Government of India had implemented a scheme for distribution of sugar at uniform subsidised price by the Food Corporation of India". I am to congratulate the Supply Department at the first instance because they have opened so many distribution centres in some special places of this District in order to check the rise of prices in foodstuffs, I would suggest that they should open more such centres in the interior areas. In the past we have concerned the distribution only at Shillong. That is why there have been lots of complaint during the past few years about the selling of rice at high price in the interior. Now, I congratulate this Department that they have opened some distribution centres also in the interior parts and this has, to a great extent, stopped the rising prices of rice and other commodities. I would also urge upon the Government, through you, Sir, that the Supply Department should move the Food Corporation of India regarding enhancement of quota of sugar. At present, we (Bell rang) are getting 75 grammes per head per week. I do not know how this will meet the need of the people and probably in the rural areas the people will be drinking tea only once a week with 75 grammes. Therefore, I would urge upon the Government through you, Sir, that supply of sugar to the consumers should be of the minimum quota of 250 grammes per head per week. (Bell rang). Only one minute more Sir. Regarding the last but not the least item, i.e., the Transport Department. As a man who is always having a link with the Transport Department for many many years, I find that it will be very difficult to manage this Department. As more of my friends who spoke earlier have said that the people have convinced a meeting where they have decided not to pay fares unless the tickets were issued by the conductor to the passengers. I am very sorry to hear that. So, I would suggest to the Government, through you, Sir, that a proper Board must be constituted to take up this matter and also to see that these things do not happen so that it will bring revenue to the Sate. With these words Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. Reidson Momin.
*Shri M. Reidson Momin (Dadenggiri S. T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am grateful to you for giving me this opportunity to associate myself in this Budget discussion. At the very outset I must congratulate the Finance Minister and the Government as a whole and also its machinery who have been working hard to present this Budget in this august House after a lapse of one year after getting a full Statehood Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am happy, as a Meghalaya and particularly as a Member of this august House and representing the people, to be able to say a few words to express my sentiments and feelings on behalf of the people whom I represent today. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have not been able to go through the Budget speech of the Finance Minister for lack of time but form the Governor's Address, the policy laid down there and also from the Speech made by the Finance Minister yesterday, I am convinced that our Government is adopting a sound policy towards development of our State and welfare of our people. There may have been some lapses and short comings of the Government during the past year due to certain unavoidable circumstances but it will be wrong or any hon. Member to take it for granted that it is due to negligence or dereliction of duty Government or its machinery for that matter. I have a strong conviction that the present Government is able to deliver the goods to the people although it is only one year since we attained full State, and three years, if you take into account, the Autonomous State. It is of no use to blame the Government because of certain failures nor will it serve any useful process by trying to pull down the image of the Government by strong speeches in this august House. But I do feel, and I have a firm conviction, that it is the duty of everyone of us here to help the Government by brining in constructive suggestions and not by trying to blame the Government for its failure. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, our country is a democratic country and as parts of the democratic country, our Government today also is democratic Government. It is the Government of the people, by the people for the people. So Sir, I believe that as responsible representative of our people, we are to act as a liaison between our own people and the Government. It is not only through its august House that we can bring constructive suggestion to the Government. But I do feel that even outside this august House also we can give Government certain constructive suggestions. And I do believe Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if we do this today, we will have better understanding with the people and also between the Government and the hon. Members who are representing our people today. I say this I would like to point out that certain hon. Members of this august House have become frustrated when they called on certain Government departments. This may be that they did not approach in a correct and right way. Today, as M.L.A. I should not try to exhibit myself, my authority to the Government agents which may again frustrate those officers in their own thinking. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do fall in line with the Government policies and here in the Budget speech made by the Hon'ble Finance Minster, I have observed in Page 3, paragraph 4, regarding food-grain production in the State. Now, here I am very happy to note today that in 1970-71 our production was 1·24 lakhs tonnes and in 1971-72 it has risen to 1·36 lakhs tonnes an increase of a 12 lakhs tonnes is these. The Finance Minister has sincerely stated here that in 1972-73, the Government expects to achieve 1·65 lakhs tonnes. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am happy about this also that the Government is earnestly and honestly trying to work for the welfare of the people by taking up local development schemes and it at all we have not been able to achieve this it is because of lac of understanding and mutual Co-operation between the people and the Government itself. This is because we have not been trained to reach that stage where we can readily take up different Government schemes.
Then Sir, I come to page 4 para 5 regarding employment. Today, I, am glad that the Government is doing something to this effect and they have been trying their level best to absorb all those tribal employees now still under Government of Assam and then I know for sure, that today our people do not grumble against the Government, if at all we cannot absorb all them. It is not an easy matter. It is a colossal task to avenues of employment for our youth, but I am really happy today to see that among the Government employees in the Transport Department, Government of Assam many of them have been absorbed here in our State. I had the occasion to visit the Transport Department at Gauhati and I have been told by one employee that only about 10 or 12 persons are still their but the rest have come back to Shillong and are now working in their respective departments of our State. So Sir, I do not believe any criticism against the Government, if we want to point out certain short-comings of the Government we should give some constructive suggestions or methods for providing employment to our own people. In this respect Sir, I think all hon. Members know the fact that in Central offices set up here in Shillong, our State Government is trying its level best to provide certain percentage of employment to our local youths.
Then Sir, I come to page 5, where a reference as been made to the border areas, I am glad Sir, that today, the Government has been concentrating its mind on on the rehabilitation and development of the people residing in our borders. To cite an example, now our Government has provided with some truck and vehicles to carry their produces for marking purpose and also given some amount under the crash programme scheme to enable the border people to at least get some employment, if not permanently at least temporarily to tide over their difficult days. The other day (Mr. Speaker in the Chair), one hon. Member was passing a remark about the made of transport that the border people are not actually getting the benefits out of those border truck, given by the Government. But some body else is getting the benefit. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this respect I would like to point out that is not the Government policy to be blamed, if one scheme did not come out successful. The sincerity and honesty of the Government on there because of the sincerity, the Government, has been able to provide those trucks to the border areas for the benefit of the people and if the benefit are not so derived by the people out of that, the Government cannot be blamed. It may result in failure on the part of Government on certain occasion but that is because of certain unavoidable circumstances.
Then Sir, I come to page 7 of the budget speech and that is about progress on plant implementation. I will not go into the details but I will just make a general remark on this subject. I think Mr. Speaker, Sir, our Government is doing fairly well in all these plans and schemes but if some one wants to find faults with the Government that our progress is not upto exception as compared with other States, we here to think whether our achievement in the implementation of our plans and programmes has been upto the expectation or not. We have also to think whether other States have been able to achieve their objectives only at a very short span of time, and also we have to examine about the local conditions prevailing these etc., and other they are applicable to Meghalaya. Meghalaya consists of huge plateau hilly terrains and if we want to construct a road from Shillong to Tura for benefit of the people, we must also realise and take into account these abovementioned difficulties. In the plains it will be possible to construct a road of 500 kilometers within a short time because of the flat plains and congenial topography whereas in Meghalaya it may take 5 years to construct the same length of road on account of the difficulty of the terrains and the topography of the places. In this connection also Mr. Speaker, Sir, I should say that the Government has one its best in its achievement which I believe people will appreciate.
Then Sir, I will come to agriculture which appears on page 9 of the budget speech. I am glad, the Government has provided Rs.1,45,18,000 for this department. We all know that this is a very important department where there is scope developments. I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have not been able to acquire much experience with that landscape and topography of Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills but I do believe, I know specially in the Jaintia Hills there are some flat lands which can be developed and certain areas which can be reclaimed. In this regard, I must say that in Garo Hills we have a very vast area which can be terraced and converted into green paddy fields. Here again, the hon. Member from Mendipathar had the occasion to say that in the budget speech of the Finance Minister mention has been made that we are coming in for a scientific agricultural cultivation, whereas he did not find any provision in the budget. I think Sir, he made a mistake in his statement and probably he cannot locate this amount which has been allotted for this department.
Shri Sibendra Naryan Koch :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of information, the Hon. Member is not correct to any that I have said that there is not budget provision.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Koch, do not be so impatient. At the end of the speech of Mr. Momin you can ask for clarification. Actually it is not the practice you should seek clarification from him, it is for the Government to clarify afterwards.
*Shri M. Reidson Momin :- Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not want to charge him on this point but I am just trying to clarify his point my letting him know that on this memorandum of budget estimates for 1973-74 under Head "Agriculture" it has been provided for the year 1973-74 under non-plan with amount of Rs.15,28,800 and under State Plan, Rs.1,23,00,000 have been allotted the under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme Rs.6,90,000 making a total amount of Rs.1,45,18,800. But Sir, here of course. I do not like to go into the details. But under some detailed estimates and demand so far grants, it has been shown that for agriculture experiments and research a considerable provision has been earmarked. Sir, I want to point out that although we do not find any scientific work in this budget yet these experiments and research mean scientific way of agriculture. So, Sir, I think by providing these experiments and research and by trying to mechanise our agriculture and also by applying modern method of agriculture, by the Government. I think this means scientific agriculture.
Then Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to refer to another subject that has been spoken by some hon. Members that we have certain difficulties or rather we are coming across some difficulties in approaching the Government in this respect and that is why I would like to suggest to the Government to at least provide joint Directorate in Tura and Jowai so that the farmers or the agriculturists can approach the joint Directorate level for their own benefit.
Mr. Speaker :- In other words, you are pleading for the separate wings of the Directorate only for Agriculture Department or for some other Departments also.
*Shri M. Reidson Momin :- I am just taking up only agriculture at the moment and am only taking about agriculture. Then Sir, coming to page 10, para 15, Small Farmers, Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labourers Development Agency Scheme. I am grateful to the Government that we have been able to introduce this Department in our State. But there have been certain criticisms and apprehensions from the public for not being above to expedite the work of this Department. Here I would like to point out, for the information of my colleague and for the information of the Government as well as through you, Sir, that this Department had been facing certain difficulties for lack of staff, I would, therefore, request the Government through you, Sir, to take up with the Government of India to provide more staff so that the progress of this Department can be expedite to the satisfaction of the public. Since this Department or the scheme is on the co-operative basis our people have not readily taken it and they do not understand what it means by co-operation. But to make them understand, we are to go around to the villages to teach them and make then know the way and means and pursue them to take up the schemes and to create co-operative societies through the help of the agents pf this Department so that they will be able to get benefit from this scheme (bell rang) Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am happy to note that the Government has taken up a Food Mill with grinding and mixing capacity of 3 tonnes per hour at Nayabungalow. Well, it is a good thing Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we are bringing in all these Scientific methods today and for the welfare of our livestock, we are trying them with good meals and good fodder. So here also I must congratulate the Government that we are doing something for the progress of State.
Sir, I will now come to Fishery Department page 12, para 19, it will not an elaborate speech, Sir, as the time also is running out. But I only want to bring to the notice of the Government through you, Sir, that so far the rate for fisheries per acre is Rs.150. Sir, I want to point out that Rs.150 may be possible in the plains but here in the hills Rs.150 may be sufficient for only 1 bigha, i.e., 1/3rd of the acre. So I would request the Government through you, Sir, that we must raise this amount. (bell rang). One more points, Sir, I will come to Community Development. At page 14, para 24, I find that an amount of .......... ..............
Mr. Speaker :- Your time is up. Tell the other hon. Members to cover up your points on some other day.
Shri M. Raidson Momin :- With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
*Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S. T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I can assure the Government that there is nothing very explosive today to terrify them in their seats. But since we are discussing the Budget speech of the Hon'ble Finance Minister, I shall deal only with certain important matters in that speech and leave other matters to the Cut Motion while discussing the demands for grants. I cannot of course but remark upon the observators made by the Chief Minister only yesterday in coming to this discussion on the Budget Speech. In the Chief Minister reply to the debate on the Governor's Address it was pointed out that we in the opposition had mainly deal with details and not with policies and most of the criticism that we are marking are more of a destructive nature than of a constructive nature. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, willy-nilly such is the situation in politics that the Ruling Party in this Budget Speech and in the Governor's Address has had to defend itself and we in the Opposition have to attack precisely in this House and the Government will have come forbearance with as if sometime our attacks are very sharp. But since we have not yet come to the stage where we can propose, we shall only come, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to a stage where we can depose and as we are only in the opposition stage. So, the nature of Opposition is to oppose. Of course when you talk Mr. Speaker, Sir, of policies as initiated in this Budget Speech, these policies are not isolated from implementation. Every policy is based upon the hope of the Government and also of the people that there will be correct implementation and in the implementation of these polices, I am sure we like to point out certain drawbacks, short-comings, mistakes or omissions in the implementation of these policies. Mr. Speaker, Sir, when we talk of the general policies that this Budget is presented of course it is no longer the proposal of a bridegroom the term 'propose' is almost absent here. But when we come to these policies, one of the most important points is its implementation. Well the Budget Speech looks very nice, not only nice but also has nice get-up and good printing this time .................................
Mr. Speaker :- Expecting there is no ribbon.
*Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Will, the Government belongs to the privileged class and we are under-privileged. At any rate, the Finance Minister has very kindly allowed a very big margin of about 4 inches in each page. The Finance Minister has very conveniently provided us with a vast margin I think, for the opposition to note down the points of opposition to the points enumerated by the Finance Minister. Of course mine has already been clotted by so many notes upon the policies enunciated by the Finance Minister. I will first of all point out the slowness in implementation of the policies although there are so many schemes being proposed. There are also references, very laudable references to certain schemes that have already been initiated. Also the Finance Minister has very kindly provided un with a Review of the implementation of the development schemes and programmes. But nonetheless the very nice printing and very nice get-up are not the actual criteria as to what extent all these policies or programmes had benefited the common men, within these two or three years of the existence of this Autonomous State or full-fledged State. The ultimate criteria lie with the lowest common man. It is not by looking at us who are well-dressed or nice vehicles that have been arranged in a row outside this august House nor even by seeing the streets of Shillong or buildings thereof. It is by going 20, 30 or 60 miles into the interior and living in the hamlets of the poorest of the poor in order to release the situation and impact of the Government policy upon the common men. The vast majority of our people living in a stage bordering upon famine, bordering upon neglect and bordering upon death and this condition in the interior is so pronounced to those who go on tour to these villages that they are to sleep on the sand bedded floor of those poor people. Therefore, I would le to suggest to the Government of course our suggestions may enter into one ear and pass out by another that in the implementation of the schemes, policies and programmes it is not enough merely calling meeting of the Secretaries and high official of our Government alone or even Members of the House. What is till more required is to consult the field workers who are actually working in the field so that there will be a link between the Government at the highest level and the people who are ruled. The Finance Minister had very rightly pointed out under 'priority', i.e., lack of communication. It is precisely this lack of communication that has created this abysmal gap between the rulers and the ruled the rulers who live in the ivory towers in Shillong, who are fed with good food, clad with good clothes who have got a livery of servants at their command and who are only step in to their car to transport them from home to their offices. But in the interior, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is very difficult for the poor people to meet Government as I have mentioned the other day while discussing on the Governor's Address that had an occasion to visit a village near Marmain comprising of 9 villages. Half of the population there have been affected by leprosy. They have never seen any officer worth the name except the Presiding Officer who goes once in five years during the elections. So this is abysmal difference between the rulers and the ruled. We sit here very comfortably in an ideal condition and presided over by your honour and so we sometimes fail to realise their condition.
Mr. Speaker :- Prof. Majaw, I am not a judge of High Court, so you cannot address me as your 'Honour'.
*Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- I am referring to your duties. So there is a gap-a huge gap. Therefore, while I praise the Finance Minster and other Minister in certain limited respects of what has been achieved at the same time I will also castigate them for what has not been achieved and also point out to them that their policy is far in seven heavens and the implementation lies in the lowest hell. One of the most difficult problems is to maintain a link between the rulers and the ruled. Is the Secretariat or the Government machinery-my hon. Friend from Nongtalang had objected to the term machinery, any way there is some machinery for running the Government. Much would depend upon the running for improvement of the persons who are ruled.
Mr. Speaker :- It appears the hon. Members fails to realise that ours is a democracy and we are no longer in feudal system. So there is a no ruler and the ruled. It is the people themselves who are the rulers.
*Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, most humbly I may point out there that there is a ruling party. Of course if they can sit with us then there is no ruling party. It may be my ignorance but I presume that since there is a ruling party there are some to be ruled.
Now as regards the Secretariat, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is often found that there are a number of Committees among the high ranking officers of the Government but it would be worthwhile if Government consider sometimes to call a meeting of the Superintendent of the offices or U. D. Clerks as the day to day problem of the people at the lowest level is not known to the higher officers. More often than not it is the high ranking who are officer only connected with the important meetings. A simple example of the single file system that was adopted by the Government sounds every laudable for running the administration if they go down to the lowest clerk and typists in the Secretariat then the Ministers would realise from day to day experience what are the problems of these clerks while, implementing the policy of the single file system. Of course we will speak about it in the cut-motion but I just hinted at it, if it is worthwhile for the Government to take note of it. We had occasion in the past, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to refer to the overwhelming number of officer who have been brought into the State from other parts of the country and a relatively small proportion of responsible post have been given to our own people. Only yesterday, we had the occasion to our shame, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to read the very first item in the Gazette of Meghalaya that one of the most brilliant officers of our State, a tribal, has to be shifted, shunted out to Delhi for which there is a universal complaint and distress among our people. He is one of the most brilliant officers that this State has produced. We the Member of the Opposition do not know of course, what is the particular fault or crime for which he has been posted as Deputy Commissioner, Rural Employment. This is just an example, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the reply given to us by the Government is that there is a quota laid down by the Central Government for I. A. S. Officers. May I humbly point out that in other sister States like Nagaland, they do not consider about that, but if there is an I. A. S. Officer, if his blood is Naga ............... (Interruption).
Mr. Speaker :- Prof. Majaw, again you are referring to the affairs of some other States. It is as a matter of fact, discourteous of even if you praise them, it will still be discourteous. Let us confine ourselves within the affairs of our own State.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- I thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, for the correction. I was only trying to show that our Government infant State is still to learn by examples .................
Mr. Speaker :- You may say in some other States.
*Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. However there is a stage where the I.A.S. Officer having passed the I. A. S., is appointed as a Secretary of that particular Government, so long as he is efficient and he is a good worker and the I. A. S. handle that come after his name is not so important. Suddenly it is possible for the Government to bring some people from outside into this State. And I get a headache and stomachache when I read that one of the most brilliant tribal officer is being sent off to Delhi.
Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, talking on Plans. The policy on plans, which was also planning has a tendency to be top heavy. We have our Planning Advisory Council, we have the Planning Board, Planning Minister, we have all the paraphernalia of the Planning Department but why link up that nexus with the planners and the implementation of the plans. That vital nexus between the plans and planners and the implementation of the plan is perhaps missing. It would perhaps be better Mr. Speaker, Sir, to take suggestions from the public before formulating the plans. Our tribal people are not ignorant of the art of governing, of the art of politics. Our democracy in these hills is as ancient as the hills themselves, we are not servile in any way even during the British rule. We have got ancient democratic traditions. We have had the occasion in the past that certain bills are being introduced but it is in the fitness of things that it would be better to go to the people, consult the people- though our people may be ignorant in book knowledge, though they are not able to sign their names they have a shrewdness of understanding political wisdom, we are second to none. Therefore, it would be advisable for this Government that before they submit and finalise the plans to consult the people before they bring the bills into this House. There is not fear in obtaining public opinion. The public are supposed to be friends of the Government. They are supposed to be so and there is no fear that the Government should have to invite suggestion from the public, but alas Planning Board and the planners meet together in a Council in which of course, some of us are also members. But the planners like it to be top heavy Mr. Speaker, Sir. And that is the reason why the plans did not percolate even to the ground level of this Advisory Council. We are surprised to know as Members of this Council, why the final plan was not shown to us before it was sent to Delhi. Perhaps it was a a very very confidential documents. Our suggestion would be taken and recorded in the Planning Advisory Council meeting and after the meeting of the Sub-Committee we are ignorant whether there suggestions were incorporated in the final plan which was proposed to the Government of India or not. It would have been proper in the fitness of things had the Planning Committee, again summoned and the draft shown before it was sent to Delhi. I do not suppose that this Government imagines that only the ruling party is the only party to implement these plans. Since suggestions have been invited from us, from others– not only of the ruling party, we should presume that courtesy demands that the draft plan could have been shown to us before it is sent to Delhi unless of course it is a very very confidential matter which we are not supposed to see. I do not know what is the reason behind this. There is one paragraph in the Finance Minister's Budget Speech, at page 10 which refers to the Small Farmers Development Agency and the Marginal Farmers and Farmers and Agricultural Labourers Agency for which all praise is due to the Central Government for having started such a scheme. A number of us must have been the benefit of this Scheme but of course, it could have been better if it was incorporated in the budget speech of the Finance Minster of India, rather than in the budget speech of the State Government's Minister. Money for this Scheme is coming directly from the Centre. We must praise the officers who have been trying their best to implement the SPDA programme, though I would add a word of –I cannot say advise a word of caution that the Co-operative Society with 10,000 persons is being set up. It is easy to get Government loans, but for more difficult to return them but and what will be the problem after this nobody knows. We will have to keep our fingers crossed, as the British people say. This type of development is generally well-known, and we thank the Central Government for this.
Now at page 11 we come to Animal Husbandry and Veterinary. All I have to say is that I am amazed at the computers of the Animal Husbandry Department for having calculated the number of eggs that have been laid in the State. (Laughter) It is something which really beats me. I am also amazed that the Director or the Minister incharge who is following every pregnant hen to find out the number of eggs to be laid in the State. (Loud laughter) But the eggs produced registered an increase of 5,00,000. Our praise to the great followers of the hens. (Loud laughter).
On the matric system Mr. Speaker, Sir, though it is a very small thing but important, perhaps, the Government is not aware of the fact that there is a class of persons, great businessmen, rich businessmen belonging to a particular community who are still not using the latest method in measuring particularly cloths. In Barabazar in Shillong, this particular class of persons is still measuring by feet and yards and thereby gain in selling cloths to our simple village folk I would like to request the Government to raid the establishment of these people form outside, the big traders who are dealing in cloths and who are not using the Matric System in measuring cloth.
On the Co-operation, we must give praise, the praise that is due and I thank the Co-operation Minister for having accepted our advice last year to set up a large number of godowns because this is one of the ways by which we can defeat those outside traders who are sucking the blood of our people and who have done so for centuries. If we have our own godowns and if these godowns are placed under the control of the State Ware Housing Corporation which is of course yet to be born, we can then ask our people to fetch their goods in these godowns and keep them there until they get better price and, in the meantime, they can get from the Banks 60 per cent or even 70 per cent of the goods that have been fetched in these godowns and they will not be at the mercy of those unscrupulous traders who are manipulating the market. I would earnestly request the Co-operation Minister to see that things at page 13 will not remain on paper and we hope immediately before the next Session comes the construction work of these godowns will begin. There is no purpose in having a State which is merely politically free unless we are also economically free. But these unscrupulous traders have held us by the throat and throttled our economy. I believe one of the measures for giving relief to our people who are thrown away strangle-hold is by having our own godowns immediately.
On forests we had the occasion to listen to the hon. Member from Sohra who spoke about re-afforestation and other hon. Members on wanton destruction of our forests. But this is rather a shut of the table after the horse has escaped. Rather to have so much of reforestation would it not be better for us to sit together and the Government to sit with the District Councils to being out strict law on felling of trees. This indiscriminate felling of trees is one of the reasons why in the Bhoi areas particularly there is great drought and scarcity of drinking water. If it is possible for the Government to bring forward a very strict legislation in this matter, I believe all the people in the interior will support such measure expect a few vested interests in the sale of felled trees abut the general messes of the public will certainly support such a measure. If there are strict laws in consultation with the District Councils, the Syiems and the forest- -owners on feeling of trees, it is certainly better to save the trees still standing than latter have Vanamahatsava. In other parts of India, Ministers are linked up for planting of little seedlings which next day the cow eats up. It is better that trees of 40 or 60 years old be felled at a later stage rather than reforestation. In addition, let us have stringent laws on felling of trees in the interior.
On Medical Department Mr. Speaker, Sir, some praise is also due and some praise is not due. I must first of all praise them for what has been recorded. I have no personal experience as I have not gone around to visit all centres that have been opened. I have visited a few and my praise goes to them for the superhuman task and the Himalayan task that they are shouldering. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, when looking at the Budget, I notice that too little amount has been devoted and set side. One of the most obnoxious diseases in the State is Leprosy, some amount has been set aside for treatment of T. B., Smallpox, etc. But the most obnoxious of these diseases, to my mind, is Leprosy. In my own constituency there are more than 150 lepers and there is no doubt that at Umden beyond my constituency there is a dispensary where lepers are giving temporary treatment but actually setting up of a dispensary only for lepers is absent in the district. In the Garo Hills there are places for treatment of leprosy run by the Missionaries and by the Government. But in the Bhoi area in particular we have got not only in one constituency, but in all the three constituencies, many lepers. I would humbly request the Medical Minister, himself to personally go with us and look at these people the tragic specimen of humanity. Not only that their lips are eaten away, but their nose, fingers have been eaten away. There are rodent like cats gnawling at night and chewed the toes of those people sleeping in the house without feeling the bite of the rats. The rat cats up purified flesh and carries the germs from one village to another. This disease is communicated from one area to another particularly though rats and through cretin streams and rivers and rivers were some lepers live. It is not communicated so much by physical contact. We know from the Experts unless you have wounds in your hands you will not get leprosy even if you shake hands with the lepers and some of us have done. But through water and through rats which go around from village to village and there is no one to look and take care of their tragic and apathetic condition. Only last year in the village of Mawlong, one man committed suicide. He is a very well-to-do person and a respectable member of the community. He got this terrible disease and in desperation he committed suicide. One of the reasons why this disease is not known because the people become scared of being exiled form the society.
We have spoken to the Missionaries at Calcutta, for example, Mother Teresa who is well known all over India for lepers' work and the Missionaries have agreed very seriously to give all personal required to start a leprosy Hospital in the Bhoi areas provided the Government match its, co-operation for setting up of a particular building for leprosy colony in the Bhoi areas we can guarantee the State provided the Government set up the buildings and give a small grant per year for purchase of expensive medicines from particularly from Germany.
Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the matter of family planning which is not only old but eternal subject, I must add a word that it is to my shame that one small ...............
Mr. Speaker :- You are praising all plans except this family planning.
*Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- It is not planning, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is the destruction, of human life.
In 1970-71 it was Rs.3 lakhs and odd, in 1971-72 it was Rs. 4 lakhs, in 1972-73 budget 13 lakhs and in this budget for 1973-74 it is 17.21 lakhs. The amount of money that has been channelised into this activity is to much which is against the natural law and against all laws. Now, about this money, I know what will be the reply of the Government. The Government has got three replies No.1 this money is coming from Delhi, so why not utilise it. In reply to this, I will point out that no less a person than the Chief Minister, before he took over the governance of the Autonomous State during the discussion in the Council of Action of the APHLC said clearly that once we rule our own State, we will drive out this family planning people to Gauhati. But when the seat became comfortable and the money coming from Delhi was large, these things were forgotten. Today we are able to get the money from the Government of India. Last year we proposed that this money could be divided into two parts one to give subsistence to several new-born babies in the State in which 9, out of 10 babies die in the Bhoi area, in the Lyngam area and in some parts of Garo Hills district. Why cannot we utilise this money for these people and allow them to live by looking after them ? Secondly, Why cannot we allow the mothers of large families to receive some allowance.
*Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have never said during the discussions in the Council of Action that I will drive out the family planning. I never said that and it is unfair to misquote that why.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- I am sorry that the Chief Minister forgets ........
Mr. Speaker :- It is better for the hon. Members not to refer to any private conversation. If the Chief Minister had made a statement anywhere, that is a different matter.
*Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- There is an attitude on the part of certain people to oppose the schemes. Now, we are not compelled by the Central Government to utilise this money for these things like sterilisation, IUCD Programmes, mass education camping and so on. We are not being compelled by the Central Government to use this fund for these purposes. This year 17,21,000 of rupees have been allotted for family planning out of which only 20 + 25 that is, Rs. 45,000 is for laudable purposes. Out of this Rs.45,000, Rs.16,000 will be for infants to immunise against DPT and also for expectant mothers against tetanus, Rs.14,000 against nutritional anemia and Rs. 25, 000 for post and prenatal. The balance of the money is in my opinion being wrongly used. It is being rightly used, of course, as far as the Government is concerned. But it is morally a wrong use. The reply of the Government that we are not forcing anybody is not a reply. When you appoint teachers, doctors and nurses to teach the people to go ahead with sterilisation so that they will never get children, it is almost equal to an order or a command. Likewise, Mr. Speaker, Sir, when you are exercising compulsion through .........
Mr. Speaker :- Your time is up.
*Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Just two minutes, Sir, when you are allowing through ignorance and poverty compulsion upon the people, for example, when there are incentives offered for sterilisation and when Rs.300 is offered to get oneself rectified so that he will not have children in future when, Rs.500 is offered to get herself sterilised, she may accept it. There is compulsion through poverty and there is compulsion through ignorance when doctors go and teach the people. Suppose, the Government appoint some persons to teach the people that there should be no drinking or suppose, the Government appoint teachers and they teach people to drink and say that it is not compulsory, then what will be the result. Of course, it is certainly wrong. Likewise these things are being done here and there is compulsion through ignorance and poverty in family planning programme.
Now, we must congratulate the Deputy Commissioner for the, supply.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Marbaniang.
Prof. Peter Garnett Marbaniang (Laitumkhrah) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while participating in the general discussion on the Budget, I would like to congratulate our Finance Minister, who has given us this Budget, where sober and pragmatic approaches is to the very fundamental problems of the State have been laid down. Coming to page 4 I would say, it is very true what the Finance Minster has stated that unless the Government tries to bring down the rising prices it will be very difficult to achieve different plan objectives laid down here. This, of course, is a national trend and so also it is in our State. If one goes to the market, not only here in the town but in the villages, one will find that the position is very bad. I would, therefore, suggest that the Government should try to create buffer stock and also ensure regular checking of stock position from different stockists here in the State.
Now, on the question of employment, I am very happy to note that our Government is really concerned about this problem. We have been talking about this in the last Budget session and also in other sessions of this august House. But what I would like to suggest is that Government should try to create more avenues not only through those works in Government offices but to those skilled labour helping them with grants and tools or money and also have thorough discussions with the different banking institutions so that these intuitions will be able to help our young men with more loans to enable them to start their own business. This I, am sure, will go a long way if we can follow up.
One thing which I would like to suggest to the Government is that planning will not be successful unless we have statistics. I do not know if the Government has established any Statistics Department but I am sure unless we have statistics coming form all nook and corner of the State it is not use sitting the Planning on paper only. I am happy also to go through the performance of our Agricultural Department. Here we have seen there are many schemes which will benefit our agriculturists and also others who are engaged, but one very important aspect which I would like to stress here is about the marketing facilities. It is no use encouraging farmers to grow more if the price which they receive in the market does not support them and most of the profit goes to the middlemen instead of those who have toiled and sweat for the labour. The question of construction of warehousing is very important and I would like the Government to go into this question quickly and to establish ware-housing in the State. About Animal Husbandry it is very good to see about the different schemes of the Government but I would suggest that these schemes should be well advertised so that our people will know that they exist and also I would suggest that if it is possible to have a Cattle Breeder Association so that the Indo-Danish Project which will be coming to our State will be able in the long run to render more benefits to our people. I would also suggest that Government put into service Mobile Veterinary Dispensary Vans to go to the different villages because as it is very alarming with these veterinary doctors are lacking very much and they will not be able to raise the heads of cattle or other animals.
Talking about Co-operation I would suggest to the Government not to depend on quantity. Co-operative Society may grow here and there like mushrooms but what I would like to suggest is that the quality of these services must really be good and beneficial to the public. Well, coming to page 15 on Forest it is seen here that Government is trying to create a small zoo in Lady Hydery Park and a game sanctuary in Jowai. Well I do not want to talk about small zoo but I would like to touch the question of orchids. Orchids are going to be extinct. There are professional business men who come over to this State to buy Orchids and sell them outside the State. I am told that they buy them at the rate of Rs.2 and they export them outside India and sell them at a much higher rate. I would like that the Government should go into this question carefully and see that they are protected and also not only in Jowai Orchid sanctuary, could also be established in Cherrapunjee as well as in Garo Hills. Therefore, we should do something about this otherwise we will find that we will be poorer in orchids.
Talking about Health, my friend from Cherrapunjee has remarked that "health is wealth". It is quite true, for the Government has a policy on eradication of disease. But I would only want to touch on one point and that is the Civil Hospital here in Shillong. The state of affairs there are not very bright, Government should do something about it. If you take emergency patients you will find that doctors do not come till the patient is about to die. The Government should really look into this aspect and also there is the policies in the Government Address about the incentive given to the doctors are quite true but the trouble is that doctors are sent to dispensaries where there is a house with a roof only without walls and no quarters for the doctors. As we know, today we find that most of the doctors are non-tribals and so naturally when they go to the villages they find that there is no quarters. It will be difficult for them to stay and to hire a house in the villages. So I would suggest that on this point also Government should take quick action so that what we have promised to the people we will be able to fulfill. There is another complaint which we have received from our doctors that certain doctors have been brought from outside the State and are allowed to hold high posts thereby preventing our doctors to get promotion. I do not know how far this is true but I would like Government to look into this matter so that no frustration should be there with our own doctors. These are the people who have the interest of the State at heart and if they are frustrated then who will benefit form their service. I would definitely suggest to the Government that this method should be done away with. Then, here it has bee put down about colleges and also to establish a pharmacists' training schools at Tura, but this is an urgent need in the State. We should try to send those students who are willing to go for such training and ask them not to wait till we have established such an institution here in our State but go outside the State because we do not have these pharmacists and compounders. Therefore, we should do something about this quickly. Then I come to page 18 on the Shillong Municipal Board. In the last Budget it was proposed there that, Rs.1,40,000 would be given as loan for improvement of water supply and in this budget Rs.1.90 lakhs to be given for water supply schemes. Well, considering that so much of money has been given, we thought that at least the scarcity of water would be eased out, unfortunately, it is not like that. However, I am thankful to the Government for the Umkhen Water Scheme which they have brought to my constituency. But, unfortunately, Sir, this Umkhen water has gone only to one big tank. There is no distribution and the tank overflows. People in the adjoining areas are suffering due to water scarcity. It is very unfortunate that the people do not get any water out of this piecemeal scheme. Whatever we do, we should have a broad outline; not like that P.H.E. Department which has provided only one tank and that tank overflows. The people in other areas do not have even bucket of water in their houses and as such they are put into great difficulty, I would, therefore, request Government to do something in this matter to ease the condition of the people.
Next I come to communication. It is very mice and heartening to see that the Government is trying to take up new roads and building up of old roads. But what about the condition of the roads here in Shillong which neither the Government claims nor the Municipal Board claims and, as a result, the people suffer. These are not small roads. These are important and motorable roads If two or three of them are taken up then it will relieve the congestion of the Laitumkhrah main road. But then, when we approach the P.W.D. they said that the roads belong to the Municipal and when the approached the Municipal Board they said that the roads belong to the P.W.D. and nobody does anything. Therefore, we should do something about this and also I would like to point out about one footpath which was taken over right from the time of the Government of Assam. A portion of it is left incomplete now for so many years and I do not see any provision of this in the budget through we have approached the authorities. In some areas, some interested persons managed to get footpaths but regarding this footpaths, which is very very important in the Laitumkhrah main road, I think the Government should please examine and take up the matter and I can assure to help the Government in meeting with the land-owners if the Government thinks that these land-owners will not part with their lands. Then I come to Tourism at page 20. I do not think that this Department will get any praise at all from me. In fact, there is one sentence here "Improvement works at Thadlaskein Lake are progressing". I am so sorry to say that this is very misleading.
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I make a clarification on this question. I have just received some note from the Department that there had been some mistake in the printing of the matter in question in my Budget Speech. The Department had put the words. "The work is in hand" but in the printing they combined with some other works in Garo Hills which are progressing. So it has just been made in the language of works progressing together. So, I would apologise for this error. As a matter of fact, the work is not in progress but in hand which is going to be implemented soon.
Mr. Speaker :- Before Mr. Marbaniang resumes his speech, may I ask the Finance Minister to circulate the correction slip in the morning of the twenty-third because I have noticed that even at page 17, I think, there is a printing mistake that the Nagaland Assembly passed a resolution under Article 250 it cannot be it must be under Article 252 (1). So, on the twenty- third morning these correction slip will be circulated to the Members so that there may not be any confession in the course of the discussion.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- And a few grammatical mistake.
Mr. Speaker :- I think Prof. Majaw if you can volunteer. (interruption).
No, I mean afterwards after the House rises then you can.
Now, Mr. Marbaniang.
Prof. Peter Garnett Marbaniang :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, well if that is the correction that I have to say on that. Now coming to page 22 on Geology and Mining, I just would like to get some clarifications. Last time, when we were in Sonapahar we met a number of workers working in the silimanite, the then silimanite factory who were out of job and I do not know what has happened to them and what is their fate. So I would like Government to clarify on this point too. We have seen on page 4 of the Governor's Address also that he policy of the Government is to establish more Subdivisions and more District. I would like to suggest to the Government that more police outposts should be established for these new subdivisions, new administrative units and new districts, because as it is today, we find the Police Beat House covers a large area and thus it becomes difficult for the Police Officer in that Beat House to go from one place or part of the village to another in case of any trouble. So when the Government has taken into consideration the forming of new subdivisions and new Districts, they should at least examine that establishment of more police out-posts are also necessary. Lastly, Sir, on page 26 of the Budget speech, I am very happy to note that the Government is quite alive to the need of our Government servants and in the last Budget also we find that a mention was made about different interim recommendations and now here also we find that the State Government has decided to grant more interim recommendations based on the recommendation of the Pay Commission set up by the Government of Assam. This is very very important and more so, when we consider in the context of rising prices and therefore, I request the Government to take up this matter immediately and not to delay it. Another aspects of the matter is about bifurcation of service between Assam and Meghalaya in which we find that there is a great discontentment among the Government servants. Those who have come here right from the beginning of the State are still waiting for their promotion while somebody brought from Assam is promoted, a man who is not doing anything for the State of Meghalaya. So I would request Government to kindly look into this and take up the matter quickly. We also find that during the time of the Assam Government, the Government lands were given to the Government servants for construction of houses here in Meghalaya also, I would suggest to the Government to consider this question thoroughly because many Government servants who have come here in Shillong are still staying in rented houses for they have got no house of their own. Therefore, if the Government see that some lands are made available and given to the Government servants it would help a lot and as such they will be able to construct their owe quarters and be happy with it. I am sure that all Schemes in the Budget would depend upon the Government servants for their successful achievements and so before I resume my seat Sir, I would suggest to the Government to take up this matter earnestly and examine it thoroughly and think for the good of these people. Thank you Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Mawlot.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Nongstoin S. T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all, I congratulate the Finance Minister for his Budget speech which he has placed it so nicely that even our Professor could not find any mistake or could not claim any objection.
Mr. Speaker :- You meant which Professor.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- I mean the objecting Professor, Sir, and that is Prof. Majaw (laughter). Mr. Speaker, Sir, to make my speech shorter, I will straight away come to the points and that is on page 2 of the Budget Speech in which it is mentioned" —As the Honorable Members are aware, the year 1971-72 was one of the most difficult years which the country has faced since Independence mainly because of the influx of Bangladesh refugees and the War with Pakistan". On this point Sir, I would like remind the Government that of course the Bangladesh refugees have suffered very much and the Government of India as well as the Government of Meghalaya have been so kind as to take care of them, by serving free rations and giving them shelter in our borders. But it is more than a year has passed that the refugees have gone back to their homes with gratitude to our Government. It is a sad thing Sir, to mention here to the notice of the Government that some contractors who have catered to the needs of the refugees, have not been paid with any due attention. They suffered a lot especially during the months of July, August and September, 1971 when the conduction of the border road was so bad, they had sometimes to spend their nights and sleep on the road because they could not reach the border for supply of food, etc., to the refugees. Moreover, Sir, these contractor faced a great difficulty because our Government till today, have not paid their dues and so many of them are will suffering. In this respect, the labourers also who are working with the contractors in the border areas faced the same great difficulty because they have not been paid their dues just because the contractors have not been paid as yet. So in this regard Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to remind the Government by requesting them at least to be kind enough as to spare their valuable time and check up these things and pay them immediately. I do not know how far the information I have received is correct but I have been told that in Garo Hills only an amount of Rs.25,00,000 is to be paid to the contractors in Khasi Hills especially in the Mailam Camp, for those contractors who were spending weeks, months and year together they come and stayed here in Shillong and loitered in the office to request and to contact the officers, to beg the person concerned to pay their outstanding bill. But till to-day they were not paid and cleared of their pending bills. This is really a very sad incident. Coming to another point now, I am very glad and I appreciate the Hon'ble Finance Minister for having been able to come forward with the information that the Government had been taking steps to absorb all the employees who are now serving under the Government of Assam. I would like to put a word of caution that while considering this question and before absorbing the State employees from the Government of Assam, the Government of Meghalaya should give first preference to the tribals especially to the female employees. As it is today, we are facing this problem of unemployment. In every department that we go we find the workers i.e., the staff complained about heavy rush of works to their table due to shortage of staff. They said "we have been working till late hours every day and doing overtime work because of inadequate number of staff". If there is shortage of staff in the departments why should there be that problem of unemployment ? I do not understand why Government is not apt to appoint and fill up these vacant posts. At the same time additional staff would mean strengthening the department to relieve the department to relieve them from the extra burden of work. In this connection, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would request the Government through you, to establish some industrial Training Centres in order to enable the Government to employ our youths and in such a manner that our youths should get themselves trained in different spheres. It will not be hard, it will not be difficult for the Government to get the unemployed youths trained and send then outside if necessary to get them trained and come back to serve in the State. The Government should also established Training Centres for the farmers. At present, I do not know if we have got any such Centre and it would be ideal, if the Government can establish one Training Centre for the Agriculturists here in Shillong or in any other parts of the State. Just now, the hon. Member from Laitumkhrah has mentioned about the Assam Silimanite at Sonapahar which is now taken up by the Hindustan Steel Limited. It is my experience to inform the House that the Hindustan Steel Limited, is one of the best factors in giving employment to our educated unemployed youths. If the Government is really willing to solve this gigantic problem, to give employment to our youths, I would suggest them to construct a Refractory Plan either at Sonapahar, Nongstoin or anywhere in that area which can give employment to not less than 5,000 people, and by doing so, I think our local people who are jobless, who have no land for cultivation, will be satisfied if they can only get their employment even just as daily labourers or for that matter, if they can be employed in the office as well. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will refer to another very important subject and that is about Health. In replying to my question the Minister of Health has stated that there are no sister tutors in the Civil Hospital. I do not understand this, without teachers, how can there be a school. There are students here in the Civil Hospital at Shillong but when we enquired into about these sister tutors the Minister has given his reply that there are no sister tours and the question of appointment of these teachers does not arise. This is the statement which I have failed to understand how can there be a school if there is no teacher. If 2 or 3 sister tutors are appointed in the Civil Hospital or anywhere it would have been very good indeed so as to give appointment to some who are interested in nursing. I know, Sir, many of them are still under the Government of Assam and they were not called in to serve our own Government even their application were rejected and they said that the appointment for these nurses or sister tutors does not arise. Now, coming to the problem of the border areas as the Finance Minister has stated that certain schemes will be implemented to facilitate the disposal of the border produces at reasonable prices both in the State and outside the State. I do not know what are the ways and means which the Government have helped the border people in marketing the produces. I do not know exactly but as far as my knowledge goes, the Government have sent some trucks and lorries to the border areas to carry the produces of the border people from the spot to Shillong and that the people have to come along with the trucks and take care of their goods. Of course, it was a good plan but practically it is found that those trucks are running at their own discretion and sweet will. Whereas there is nobody to take care of them nobody to supervise. There are certain persons who have benefited from these trucks, others are not benefited at all. This is a shame to see that only those families having a beautiful maid in the family are benefited through these trucks. I do not know what the Government have done till today. But my suggestion is that if these trucks are to be continued to run in the border areas, the Government should appoint supervisors to supervise in the different stations so that the benefits will not go to some persons but it will be to the benefit of the mass population.
The Shillong Municipality and the Cantonment area have been transferred to the Meghalaya Government with effect from 21st January, 1972 as it appears at page 6 of the Budget Speech. While appreciating this, I would like to put a word of caution. As it is at present, each and every one knows the conditions of the roads and the surroundings of Shillong. Whenever you go, wherever you move, you will find that the roads are blocked and instead of taking 5 minutes for going from Mawkhar to Laitumkhrah, one has to take ½ an hour. If one volunteers to go on foot, he must have reached earlier. This is caused by the irregular construction of houses along the roads of Shillong. Take for example, in Mawlonghat area, we see all those houses by the side of the road with their verandahs on the road itself and the passers-by have to pass through the verandahs of some and not through the road. If this continues to be like this, then within a number of years I think nobody will come up to Shillong or nobody will be able to move freely to go to Bazar, Barabazar as well as Police Bazar. It we go to Qualapatty or Mawprem or Jaiaw or Jail Road, all the nullahs are blocked. The smell of the surroundings makes a villager who happens to come here to close his nose because he cannot bear the smell. What will be the fate of Shillong then ? When we were under the Assam Government, we blamed the Government of Assam that it did not take proper steps to prevent or to keep the town clean. But now since the administration of Shillong Municipality has come over to the Government of Meghalaya, I hope the Government will take necessary steps to improve our footpaths and our roads in Shillong as well as to keep the city clean.
Now I will come to page 7 of the Budget Speech-Plan Priorities. The foremost priorities given to the building of roads for creating the infra-structure of development. Nongstoin has become a Subdivisional headquarter and it is a fact that there is only one road leading form Shillong to Nongstoin, the Sonapahar, to Gauhati. That is the only main road. Actually Nongstoin Subdivision covers a part of Maharam Syiemship, a part of Nongspung Syiemshiop, a part of Nongkhlaw Syiemship, the whole of Langrin Syiemship and Mawiang Syiemship. From all the angle from Maheshkola, Langrin, Phlangdilion, Ranikor nobody can come to Nongstoin because there is no communication. If at all they are to go to Nongstoin, they are to go to Mawphlang first which is at a distance of 150 miles and again come down at a distance of 60 miles to Nongstoin. So the creation of Nongstoin Subdivision with the inclusion of these areas without direct communications, is rather a harassment to those people and not a help at all. So I would request the Government to please see to this immediately and that the Nongstoin- Mawthapdah road and also the Nongshillong- Jakrem road be completed within this year. New roads would also be constructed from Nongstoin to Maheshkhola, Phlangdilion, Langrin, Ranikor and other places. At page 45 of the detailed estimates of revenue and expenditure for the year 1973-74, there is a mention about the construction of Nongstoin- Mawthapdah road with a distance of 12 miles. There 12 miles were constructed last year and the only remaining portion is the construction of a bridge over the Kynshi river. But the amount sanctioned here is only Rs.10,76,000. I do not know whether this amount will cover the construction of a bridge over the Kynshi river and I do not understand why the construction should be only 12 kms. or 12 miles. Why not continue the construction of the road from Nongkhlaw to Rangblang in order to help the people to get direct road form Maharam Syiemship to Nongstoin Civil Subdivision. I think this road should be given top priority. Another thing is the construction of Nongshillong- Jakrem Road. It is written "Nongshiliang". Nongshilliang is about 45 miles away form Nongstoin to the West. Jakrem is about 28 miles to the south-east of Nongstoin. I think this is a printing mistake. But since I have come to this, I would request the Government to take note that it should be Nongshillong- Jakrem road. If it is Nongshilling- Jakrem, then in that case it will involve crores of rupees to construct the road. It also appears at present 38 construction of J.R. Road, that is, Jakrem- Ranikor road. This road actually is the Ranikor- Jakrem road which has has been proposed by Mr. H. S. Lyngdoh. He has actually * * * * some officers who were so idle and never visited the place.
Mr. Speaker :- Who has * * * *
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. H. S. Lyngdoh. He purposely did that.
Mr. Speaker :- It is very strange that you have charged your own leader.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- And it is very strange that Government has accepted it.
Mr. Speaker :- So long all the Members to my left press the Government to accept their suggestions.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, my point is that they have accepted the scheme of construction of Jakrem- Ranikor road via Mawksiar. It is impossible to construct any road, but because the officers were so idle, they did not go to the spot, they did not survey it but they just accepted it. I do not think that this construction will be successful with the amount of Rs.9,78,000 only i.e., to construct the road via Mawksiar.
Shri Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think he has not * * * * the officers but he has bluffed them.
Mr. Speaker :- My point is this I think you understand that in that absence of the Hon. Member who has a chance to clarify himself the charge of his own colleagues that he has * * * * the Government and we must understand that as a responsible public leader nobody try to * * * * any Government servant otherwise they may come forward on some occasion to blame Government for having accepted their suggestion. I think this a wrong way of approach to the problem for the development of the State.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Alright Mr. Speaker, Sir, my point is that the Government officers who are entrusted to do the works .............
Mr. Speaker :- Anyway you have said that Shri H. S. Lyngdoh has * * * * and it is up to him to defend himself.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Sir, it is not * * * * it is but testing. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, my submission is that while we from the Opposition appreciate and congratulate the Government for its statement, my earnest request is this, that whatever decision Government have taken, they should be promptly implemented to the satisfaction of everyone. Now again, at page 40 of this statement, for construction of Langter- Myriaw road.
Shri Kisto M. Roy Marbaniang :- I thing it is a printing mistake.
Shri. Francis K. Mawlot :- That is why I would like to make necessary correction otherwise we will be misled. Actually this Langter - Myriaw Road, should be Langtor - Myriaw road.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us try to be more practical. You must find fault with the Finance Minister and not with the printers.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not finding fault with the Government or the Finance Minister or anybody but I would submit that this correction should be made otherwise people who look at this will be misled. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, let us come to page of the Budget Speech Speech, on Agriculture. We have experienced this year that fertilizers which should have distributed to different areas of the State are sold away by night to some businessmen and I tell the truth that in my area no supply of fertilizers was made, and there was a big grumble among the people. In order to meet the agricultural need of the people I would request the Government to construct the road which is taken up buy the Deputy Commissioner from Nongkasen to Nongstoin. My humble submission is that I would like to request the Government to provide more funds so that this road will be completed shortly enabling our people to bring necessary machinery from the roadside to the spot of their cultivation. I am sure Finance Minister had visited the place 'Umyiap' and he knows that place very well. It is a very important valley which can raise more than 100 tonnes of paddy in a year. The construction of this road is a very important and my submission is this, to request the Government to complete the road as soon as possible. Another point Sir, I would like to make is that this SFDA scheme should be extended to Nongstoin Block which is also a backward Block.
I think I will be able to complete my speech with two or three sentence more, our green hills are destroyed and they have become barren. This is mostly due to the damage done by the Nepalese who are allowed to do dairy farming in Khasi Hills. They fell and cut young trees freely, allow their cattles to move about freely destroying the cultivation of our villagers and damaging the young pine trees, etc. I therefore, request the Government to kindly take steps to check the Nepalese who are living in our State form destroying paddy fields of our border people, also the cutting trees, destroying the forests. Unless Government take steps. I am afraid there may raise a clash between the local people and the Nepalese in our area.
Mr. Speaker :- Since there are no hon. Members who would like to participate in the discussion today, the House stands adjourned till 9 A. M. on Friday, the 23rd March, 1973.
|the 21st March 1973.||
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.