The House meet at 9 A.M. on Tuesday, the 24th July, 1973 in the Assembly Chamber Shillong with Hon. Speaker, in the Chair.

Mr. Speaker :-  Let us begin the business of the day by taking on Unstarred Question No.1.


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

 Unstarred Question 

(Replies to which were placed on the table)

Grants give to persons of Mawthengkut Constituency out of Chief Minister's Fund

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :

1. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to state

(a)

Whether any sums of money or grants were given out of the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, or the Chief Minister's Discretionary or Contingency Fund to persons living within the Mawthengkut Constituency during the months from March to May, 1973?

(b)

If the answer to (a) is in the affirmative, what are the names of the grantees their addressed and the amount of money grated in each case?

Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) replied :

1.. (a)

No.

(b)

Does not arise.

Foreign Liquor Shop in Jowai

Shri H. Enowell Pohshna asked :

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

(a)

Whether it is a fact that a Foreign Liquor Shop has been opened in Jowai?

(b)

If so, the names of the licensees?

(c)

Whether Government has received representations from the people of Tympang Club Jowai, objecting to the opening of a Foreign Liquor Shop at Iawmusiang area?

(d)

If so, the action taken by Government?

Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) replied

2 (a)

Yes.

(b)

Shri Gowell Laloo of Jowai.

(c) & (d)

Yes. The Government decision has been taken after consideration all aspects of the matter.

Shri H. Enowell Pohshna :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in answer to (c) and (d) it has been stated that Government decision has been taken after consideration of all the aspects of the matter. May I know what are the main aspects leading to the decision of the Government.

Mr. Speaker :- You want to know the other aspect

Shri H. Enowell Pohshna :- Yes Sir, the main aspects.

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have looked into the aspects of objections and consideration of the suitability and locality of the shop. After considering all these factors and aspects we have taken a decision.

Shri H. Enowell Pohshna :- Whether it is a fact that during discussion with the Finance Minister during his visit to Jowai, many representatives were against the setting up of the liquor shop?

Mr. Speaker :- That is outside the competence of this House to discuss the discussions which took place some where else.

Specialized Training for Engineers

Shri Onwardleys Well Nongtdu asked

3. Will the  Minister-in-charge of P.W.D.  be pleased to state

(a) 

Whether Government has sent any Engineer for specialized training in Architecture, Geology and Mining?

(b)

If so, will the Government give the names of the trainees?

Shri Grohonsing A. Marak (Minister of State i/c P.W.D.) replied :

3.(a)

No.

(b)

Does not arise in view of reply to (a) above.

Executive Engineer, Tura North Division.

Shri Jagabandhur Barman asked :

4. Will the  Minister-in-charge of P.W.D. be pleased to state

(a)

Who is the present Executive Engineer of P.W.D. Tura North Division?

(b)

Whether he is a regular employee or re-employed personnel?

(c)

If re-employed, what is the reasons of his re-employment?

(d)

Whether it is a fact that the Government of Meghalaya has moved the Government of Assam for the extension of the services of the present Executive Engineer, Tura North Division?

(e)

What is the general and technical qualification of the said officer?

Shri Grohonsing A. Marak (Minister of State i/c P.W.D.) replied :

4. (a)

Shri Barindra Nath Das.

(b)

Shri Barindra Nath Das, Executive Engineer is now a reemployed Executive Engineer.

(c)

Shri B.N. Das, was re-employed in the interest of public service due to dearth of experienced Executive Engineers.

(d)

No.

(e)

General qualification - Matriculate.

Technical qualification -Upper Subordinate (Diploma Course) in Civil Engineering.

Registration of Co-operative Societies within the Mawthengkut Constituency.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :

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

(a)

The number of vacant posts of the Block Development Officer which have been recently filled up in Garo Hills?

(b)

If the answer to (a) is in the affirmative, the names of the appointed Block Development Officers may please be stated?

(c)

If the answer to (a) is in the negative, the reasons thereof?

Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister in-charge of Community Development) replied :

6. (a) & (b)

The Vacant posts of Block Development Officers have not been filled up in Garo Hills recently ?

(c)

 The vacant posts could not be filled up due to acute dearth of A.C.S. II officers under the Government. These posts will be filled up immediately after the Meghalaya Civil Service is constituted.


The Meghalaya Board of School Education (Amendment) Bill, 1973.

        Let us pass on to item No.2 of today's list of business. Shri Darwin D. Pugh, Minister of State of Education to beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Board of School Education (Amendment) Bill, 1973 As the Minister is not present, the Chief Minister to introduce the Bill


Point of order

Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to raise a point or order in this matter. I would like to point out to Rule 23(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business which states that every Tuesday and Saturday in every session shall be allotted for Private Member's Business.

        Provided that the Speaker, may in his discretion allot any other day if these days are holidays or if any Government business is allotted on those or any of those days. And then according to Sub-Rule (2) the Speaker, may allot different days for the disposal of different classes of Private Member's Business; and on days so allotted for any particular class of business, business of that class shall have precedence.

        In this Connection I beg to submit, Sir, that yesterday we have had the report of the Business Advisory Committee and a Calendar for the purpose was provided. In the calendar only one day was fixed for the Private Members' Business, while, at the same time, we have so many classes of business. So if the Government Business will be included in this day which is meant for Private Member's Business, it  will be very difficult for us to have the business completed beside, two days, we have only one day allotted for us. So I request you, Sir, in view of the fact that we are having the five day's  session in this week to give a ruling whether we will have two days of session in this week, to give a ruling whether we will have two days for Private Members Business; i.e. for Saturday too; and also whether it will be proper that the Government business be cropped in even on this particular day?


Ruling by the Speaker

Mr. Speaker :- I have heard the arguments put forward by Shri Hadem. I would remind that there are hundreds or thousands of rulings of this score. In so far as introduction of any Bill is concerned the Speaker has the power to fix any day and I think a lot of time has been taken by your argument rather than by introduction of the Bill (laughter) May I now request the Chief Minister to beg leave to introduce the Bill?

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Board of School Education (Amendment) Bill 1973.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Board of School Education (Amendment) Bill, 1973. (The motion was carried)


Private Member's Bills

        Let us pas on to item No.3 Prof. M.N. Majaw  to be g leave to introduce the Meghalaya Agricultural Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 1973.

Prof. M.N. Majaw (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Agricultural Tax (Amendment) Bill, 1973.

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, before leave of the House is granted or not granted for the introduction of this Bill, I would like to request that you will allow a discussion on this Bill so that we on this side of the House and the Members on the other side may decide after full consideration whether the Bill is to be introduce or 

Mr. Speaker :- You mean to have a full discussion on the general principle of the bill before leave is granted?

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Can we not discuss the principles of the Bill after leave is granted, Mr. Speaker, Sir?

Mr. Speaker :- Leave can be granted according to the submission made by the Minister-in-charge of Law. Leave can be granted only what the whole House has understood the full implication of the general principles of the Bill. But once leave is granted, there is no alternative but to introduce the Bill. So I want to take the sense of the House whether they want to have full discussion at this stage on the general principles of the Bill or not. Is it the sense of the House that the general principles of the Bill be discussed now?

(Voices ... Yes)

        So the general principles of the Bill will be discussed now before leave is granted. Prof. M.N. Majaw  may start initiating a discussion of the Bill, the general principles of the Bill.

*Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as a matter of fact, I had not thought that the Hon'ble Minister-in-charge of Law and Parliamentary Affairs would suggest that we discuss the principles of the Bill before introduction particularly in view of the fact that we have received the Governor's recommendation. Be that as it may as you have given your ruling, I humbly submit to your ruling. Before I come to the principles of the Bill, may I point out that this is the first Bill that is sought to be introduced by the Private Members and not from the Treasury Benches.

        As a matter of fact, this Bill should have come form the Treasury Benches. But as we also have a duty to our people we have brought this amendment to the Meghalaya Agricultural Income-Tax Act and also to the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act, 1939. Now income-tax in India. Mr. Speaker, Sir, was first introduced in 1980 and 1986, for the first time agricultural income tax appeared in India as a tax. But it was only till 1935 that agricultural income-tax was put in the Provincial Legislative list in the Seventh List, Entry 41 of the Government of India Act and then in the Constitution of India in List II of Seventh Schedule, Entry 46. This is distinct from what we normally call income -tax and because of the powers that the State has to legislate on agricultural income-tax as distinct from income tax, so various states in India have passed legislation on agricultural income-tax. But now, Assam also in 1939 passed this Assam Agricultural Income tax. Act. It was amended seven times and rules were published and enforced Now, in 1971  this Assembly adapted by the Meghalaya Adaptation Order, the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act and they made it the Meghalaya agricultural Income Tax Act without any date added to it because it was merely a continuation of the Assam Act of 1939. At that time it applied only to the autonomous areas because it was in the Autonomous State and in the remaining three Wards of Shillong and Cantonment, the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act applied and still applies. The Government of Meghalaya in the Law Department has not yet issued the adaptation order on which it has full power under the North Eastern-Areas Re-organisation Act. for adaptation of the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act for all the parts of Meghalaya. So, I have had to move this Bill before the House for introduction. I have had a to move a Bill to amend the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act 1939 and the Meghalaya Agricultural Income Tax Act because both are operating to-day in Meghalaya. Now, by virtue of the immediate necessity this bill was occasioned by the Meghalaya Finance Act which was passed in the last session of the Assembly. It has been said by some outside this House also that we should have repealed the Meghalaya Finance Act. But that would not have served the purpose which the Bill proposes to serve by merely replying the Meghalaya Finance Act. Merely putting off the charging section, Section 3 of the Meghalaya Agricultural Income Tax Act-that charging section 3 of the Meghalaya of the Meghalaya Income Tax Act. The Meghalaya (Finance) Act publishes the rates. But it would serve no purpose to merely move a Bill or to enact an Act to repeal the Meghalaya (finance) Act. Instead I have brought this Bill by moving an amendment of Section 4 which is an exemption clause. This is a clause which contains the exemption. There are one or two other clauses like Section 10 which contain exemption. But the more appropriate clause to which an amendment could be moved and within which this type of amendment would fall would be Section 4. So I move this amendment to Section 4. As hon. Members will notice on page 2 or this proposed Bill, I have given an extract of Section 4 of the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act, 1939 which is also in the old autonomous areas. At  the bottom of all these. I proposed to add Section 6, Now. Section 6 contains one Principe, viz. to exempt our tribal people from the payment of the agricultural income-tax. As we all know there is an Income Tax act, an all India Act passed in 1961

Mr. Speaker :- Do you mean the tribal people in general or only the members of the scheduled tribes.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Members of the Scheduled Tribes. Sir, than you for the correction. Now, in order to exempt our people. the members of the Scheduled Tribes from the operation of this act or rather from the imposition of the agricultural income tax. I have tried to extent the exemption given under the Income Tax Act to the State. The Income Tax Act of 1961 does not include agricultural income tax. Under Section 10  of the Income Tax Act Clause I, it is very clearly stated that agricultural income tax shall not be added. So while making calculation of the incomes of the persons, Clause 26 of Section 10 of the Income Tax Act of 1961 clearly exempts all members of the Scheduled tribes residing in the scheduled tribes area from the payment of any tax on any income from any source in the area. These are the exact words of the Income Tax of 1961 for the payment of tax on any income from any source in the area. But merely looking at this word, we have been excluded because Clause (1) of Section 10 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 clearly distinguishes between the income tax in general and agricultural income tax. Entry 46 in List II of tax under the State List. Therefore, I have brought this Bill before the House in order to extend this exemption given under the all India Act to the State. Now, why should there be any exemption for the members of the scheduled tribes. To ask such a question,  of course, I think, would be pointless while we still have this privilege of enjoying this exemption from the Income Tax Act of 1961. It therefore follows that we are certainly living under conditions which allow or permit all these exemptions. Are we so poor, rather are the tribal people in this State really so poor that they should be free from payment of agricultural income-tax? I have here before me the draft proposals of the Fifth Five Year Plan of the Government of Meghalaya. At page 6, at is shown that the capital income in Meghalaya is only 327 rupees per year, and 327 rupees per year, Mr. Speaker, Sir, mean only les than a rupees per day. For a farmer.........

Mr. Speaker :- Do they fall victims to the Agricultural Income Tax Act?

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- I will endeavour to show how they will be the potential victims (laughter). Now, if it is 327 rupees per years it means only less than a rupee per day. I doubt how many of us would be living to if we are to leave with exactly less than one rupee a day. It is easy for those people who are in the power moving around in cars and living in palatial buildings thinking of imposing taxes upon others whose difficulties they do not see and notice. We have in fact yesterday, a supplementary demand presented to us for new car for some Ministers.

Mr. Speaker :- I think it is insinuation, you may discuss this matter  at a proper time. Prof. Majaw, I think you should have rather concentrated on the main principles of the Bill because if the income of people is so much low.  I do not think that they are the people who are liable to pay the tax according to the Act.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker Sir, may I point out that some of the people who are so poor would not fall under the application of the provision of the Income Tax Act and yet are exempt from paying the income tax although they  do not fall and many do not fall under the purview of the Income Tax Act, yet the Government of India has seen it exempt the tribal and many would not fall under the Income Tax Act. There is a reason why while the Government of India asserted why should not the benigned Government  exempt the members of the scheduled tribe of the state from payment of the agricultural income tax. I only try to show Mr. Speaker, Sir, that sometimes, the reality of the situation in the interior has lost to the persons moving around in luxury cars in the capital of the State. Now, the agricultural backwardness is there  Mr. Speaker, Sir. The booklet  issued by the Government of Meghalaya also tells us that from 1971-72 the total agricultural production was 10400 tons but in 1971-72 it came down to 1017 tons and if that  is the drift, it means that agricultural production and food production is going from bad to worse. Now rather instead of giving incentives to the farmers for encouraging the growth of agriculture for which of course, we have made tall promises but instead of that on the other hand we have a terrible tax. Some one may say or others may say why one should worry because only the rich will be taxed.  Why the poor farmer, he will not be able to pay the tax, why should he worry? But Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I point the details because I was only asked to discuss the principles of the Amendment Bill. If we go through section 4, 10,13 and 14 of the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act of 1939 which has been adapted, we will find that the total agricultural income will be assessed. Further what is agriculture, I may try to show that not only the rich will be taxed. I do not see the rich farmers around. Even the poor will be taxed. I have before me an extract of the ruling by the Supreme Court  1957 in the case between the Commissioner of Income Tax Vrs. Binoy Shaha Roy. In the Long ruling of the Supreme Court this was said the products that should be taxed may be grains or vegetables or fruits which are necessary for the substance of human beings including plantation, grasses of pastures for the consumption of beasts. Even grasses for the consumption of beasts. The term agriculture the Supreme Court continues cannot be confined merely to the production of grains and food products for human beings and beasts. It must be understood as a comprising all products of land which are of some utility either for consumption trade and commerce and  will also include the forest products. This is the ruling of the Supreme Court of 1957. It includes the forest products and also the grass used for consumption of beasts. Now grass and forests though our people are poor the nature has give us in abundance. is one of the reasons why Mr. Speaker, Sir, I claim that all our people have become the potential victims of the agricultural Tax Act. This is one of the reasons why Mr. Speaker, Sir, I claim that all our people have become the potential victims of the Agricultural Tax Act. This is one of the reasons and there are several more. Also Section 13 of this Act Mr. Speaker, Sir, categories the various types of persons who may be assessed including the Government manager. In our hills particularly, we have got a manager of the Ri Kur land belonging to a clan. The clan lands are managed by the manager. He gets the salary but by virtue of Section 13 of the Act his salary is a separate affairs. By virtue of the Act the manager of the area belonging to other persons for the benefit of other persons yet the tax assessed on the total agricultural income from all this lands he will have to pay. The poor man may not be able to pay the heavy tax which will be imposed by this Act. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I claim it is. While the Assam Agricultural Income Tax act lays down the minimum at Rs.3000 the Meghalaya Finance Act proposes the rate for 1972-73, 1973-74 which they have forgotten to issue every year. They issued it once in two years and because of that they rise the rates and lower the minimum and the assessment begins from Rs.25000. Whereas the assessment begins under the Assam Act Rs.3500. Of course levying.

Mr. Speaker :- Whether it is the net profit or the gross profit?

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- It will be the gross profit and I will endeavour to show that Mr. Speaker Sir, when I will come to that Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, not only ahs the Government imposed the lower rates of minimum in order to get more people to fall into the leech of the Government. Of course they say that there is a levy from Rs.2000 upwards whereas in Assam it begins from Rs.5000 upwards. By the time we come to this 5000 Mr. Speaker, Sir, cut of this Rs.5000 of the total income one has to pay is Rs.1450 and out of Rs.5000 in the case of Ri Kur it will be paid by one manager who managed. It may be that agricultural income tax including grasses for the cows of others coming from outside the grasses and the forest products altogether will come to Rs.1 lakhs. Now the benefit of course goes to the manager and this benign kind and beloved Government will collect Rs.59,000 and Rs.41,000 can be kept by the beneficiaries. Rs.59,000 out of one lakhs comes to more than 50 per cent. So I will not enter into more details. It is enough to say that this is the most unfortunate piece of legislation of the Meghalaya Finance Act. As I have pointed out in the start it will not painlessly be repealed if I attack the rates of Assam Meghalaya Agricultural Income Tax Act. Mr. Speaker, Sir, now there is also illiteracy. The form to be filled up, just to show to the House, has a number of columns to be filled up by a man who cannot write at all. He simply his puts L.T.I. for  how many blades of grass and how many chilies are growing in the garden.

Mr. Speaker :- I think you are wrong, there are no L.T. Is. but only R.T. Is Of course there are many R.T. Is. but there are some men who own lands.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- The point is that they are illiterate. As a parallel example, I have had the occasion to look into the forms-Income Tax forms which are given to the learned contractors of Shillong who are graduate, engineering graduates, highly educated persons. But even for them it is a headache and they run to somehow else to fill up the forms. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, how do we expect that illiterate farmers from the interior can fill up to those forms. What they will do-they will have to engage somebody to fill up the forms of course in return they will have to pay 10 to 100 rupees. The more the ignorance the higher is the fee. Further Mr. Speaker, Sir, the I.T.O.s will go to theses ignorant farmers, as provided in the Assam Agricultural Income Tax, Act, of course the name has been changed form Assam to Meghalaya, to collect the taxes. Many of us have had the experience to witness the operation of these I.T.Os. They will go to the poor framers and will ask for their income. The poor farmer may reply that his income is Rs.2000 or so. but the I.T.O. wills say in pompous manner I know your income is more than 20,000 rupees. Then the poor farmer will have to pay what we call in Khasi 'burom" to the tune of Rs.100 or 200 as bribe to bring down his income form Rs.20,000 to Rs.3000 or so. That is what will happen. The Government will let loose the army of I.T.Os upon the poor farmers field of Meghalaya to collect money form the ignorant persons who do not know even to read or write their names. Thereby they will become the potential victims of the Agricultural Income Tax Act and in this way the Government will be encouraging corruption, of course, indirectly

        Then there is another aspect. Are we not ready to pay taxes when we have achieved our Statehood? Are we so irresponsible that we would always like to remain dependent on Delhi for money? Are we nor responsible people? Mr. Speaker, Sir, my submission is that we too pay taxes. I have got here a match box of course not bullet, although it can burn. (loud laughter).

        For this match box we pay 10 naya paise. Out of this 10 naya paise, 7 naya paise is the tax. Even a humblest farmer also pays this tax.

        And this 7 n.p. tax goes to the Government of India out of which we get something in return. Though our Government considers this money they get from Government of India as free gift, this money is the hard-earned money of our people. Whenever we purchase clothes, flour, kerosene or mustard oil for cooking, we pay taxes. So we are not a non-tax paying race. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not the endeavour of our Opposition Members to see that our State should not turn into a surplus State. We also want our State should be a surplus State. We do not want to be at the mercy of somebody from outside to dictate or to change our Chief Minister or to change the Government. We want to rule ourselves and to determine our own destiny. During the last session of the Assembly I moved a resolution to raise the salary of the Government servant-the moved a resolution to raise the salary of the Government servant- the poor Grade IV, Grade III doctors, nurses and other essential services. But the reply of the Government was that it would involve an additional cost of Rs.87 lakhs to raise 25 per cent of their pay. Even I proved that the Government could raise 9 crores of rupees if they nationalized export trading of potatoes, tezpatta broom, grass etc.

Mr. Speaker :- Do you think there will be no I.T.O.s when it will be a State Trading?

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, if some special commissioning agents are appointed from our people, then this State Trading will certainly be a success without making our poor farmers to suffer.

        Now, regarding industrialization - what industrialization we have got  I have got the beautiful report printed in beautiful papers. I think that is the only achievement of our industrialization. This Assembly has already passed a budget outlay of Rs.240 crores within these three years. Over and above they have passed another Supplementary Misappropriation Bill - I mean Appropriation Bill (Laughter). Mr. Speaker, Sir, with this investment of Rs.240 crores what capital formation has been brought about by this Government? Even half of this amount had not been utilised. Most of the money has been misused and now they are going to impose agricultural income tax.

Mr. Speaker :- Prof. Majaw, you are a Member of the Public Account's Committee. Your remarks should confine to the line of Finance Minister statement.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am going by the reports presented to the House. Now Mr. Speaker Sir, I am aware of the fact that this Government has set up a Committee called the Tax Inquiry Committee in 1972. In the draft Fourth Five Year Plan at page 27 it has been stated that the State Government has set up a Taxation Committee. I think if my information is not wrong without sitting for once or without asking for the recommendation of the Tax Enquiry Committee, they conceived, gave birth and they have not allowed it to walk. The Government came forward with the grand proposal to tax the people, discarding the people and this Committee was not even consulted. Finally Mr. Speaker, Sir, the final reason why I have moved, this amendment is because of our tradition, particularly in Khasi Hills, that is in respect of land. Land may I remind this august House, Mr. Speaker Sir, that the areas governed by the 25 Syiemship immediately after Independence, became independent and that all the mightiest of them bowed down to the might of Sardar Patel and the Indian Prime Minister and here the 25 Syiem in the little state, little district of ours did not sign the Instrument of Accession while it was signed by all the other independent states, But here, our little chieftains lived by the will of the people. The Government of India allow our customs with the Syiems at the head to continue in the Instrument of Accession. In India, Jammu and Kashmir and Khasi Hills, the additional Instrument of Accession was signed whereby the administrative power over land, excise and forest was left with the Syiems and Shillong, from the many authorities - from the books of Mr. Cantlie, McKenzie and others and form the records of the Assam Secretariat, the Khasi people here in this District never paid any tax or revenue on land. Land belongs to the people, land rests with the Rikynti, the Raj Lands, etc. But land does not belong to the Government except for a few spots here and there.

Mr. Speaker :- You mean all the erstwhile Khasi Hills?

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Not all the erstwhile Khasi Hills. Mr. Speaker, Sir, but the 25 Syiemships were directly under the British Crown, only some areas were acquired by the Government and the other areas still continue to be under the Sixth Schedule.

Mr. Speaker :- Do Khasi people still enjoy the same right over the Raj lands in Shillong area?

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- No. It is a misfortune of history. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is very vital issue for us particularly in this district, as the imposition of the agricultural income tax strikes at the very root of our people, our customs and our tradition. We cannot allow Government to claim ownership over land....  

Mr. Speaker :- I think that remark is still uncalled for, Mr. Majaw Government has never said that they will take away the land. Government has acquired certain land for road construction and that does not mean that Government intends to take away the land from the people.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is difficult to know..

Mr. Speaker :- What we are to discuss here is on the issue which has come up on the floor of the House and uptil today I have not received any report form any side or any intention form the Government that the Government intends to take away lands form the people.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Even if it does not intend to take away the land Mr. speaker, Sir, it intend to take away the right of the tribal members by imposition of taxes, revenue, levies of all kinds. We must point out that if anything is to be done if any levy is to be imposed, it must be with the will of the people and it will be after consulting the people or whether the people have been consulted before enforcing the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act and whether the people were really consulted.

Mr. Speaker :- A time will come when you will become Finance Minister, then you will understand that tax proposals should be secret.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- I have no idea about mathematic Mr. Speaker, Sir, but the point here is that Government did not even consult the Tax Enquiry Committee, they did  not consult the people, they did not consult the District Council which is ruling over the Sixth Scheduled Areas for enforcing this Act. Our people are the potential victims of the Assam Meghalaya Agricultural Income tax Act and so far as our people are concerned, it is neither historical nor political. Let these people go to the interior areas and take ten battalions with them and announce that they are going to impose this tax, I wonder if they can came back in one piece. This has not got even a political reason, nor a customary reason or even a traditional reason for our people. Therefore I beg the House to grant me permission to introduce this Bill.

Mr. Speaker :- Minister for Law.

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker,  Sir, I hope that the hon. Member from Mawhati would appreciate our gesture in the co-operation that we have shown in giving a full one hour to discuss his Bill which we could have thrown out only by voice vote. However  we have given him the opportunity in the gesture of co-operation from  all sides of the House to discuss this matter concerning the taxation all sides of the House to discuss this matter concerning the taxation measure which is a very very serious matter. Before I go into the merits of the proposed amendment Bill from the hon. Member of Mawhati, I would like to inform the House the factual position of this Agricultural Income Tax Act. It was introduced in Assam as far back as 1939 by the British Government. Its operation extended to the partially excluded  areas which included Garo Hills District of Meghalaya as well as Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya and the British portion of the Khasi Hills District right through from 1939 during the British period. In 1952, the Government of Assam extended this Agricultural Income Tax ('Amendment) Act to the erstwhile Khasi States. Therefore, this tax is not a new thing in our Meghalaya areas, it is a long history of nearly 35 years and also even in the Khasi State areas Prof. Majaw had even maintained the Khasi States had not been merged into any State in India. It was surprising that the leaders of Meghalaya in the two districts have been sleeping all these 35 years. However with the birth of our own new State, perhaps new ideas also were born. It is a good justification for the creation of this State to general leadership and ideas and responsibilities among our own people. As such, I will not put much blame on the silence that we have been for the last 35 years. I would after this to into the merits of the amendment. I though and expected Prof. Majaw at this stage would go only to the principles of the amendment but in the course of his nearly one and half hour speech, he has also rambled into many things . I will not enter into these details, I will simply say that the operation of this Act has not affected, as the hon. Member from Mawhati has stated the poor tribal farmers of the State.

Mr. Speaker :- I think we better refer to members of scheduled tribes.

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance etc) :- Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the members of the scheduled tribes in the State. However, the hon. Member form Mawhati had rightly stressed the point that without the Tax Enquiry Committee's consideration and recommendation the Government should not go ahead to further its taxation measures, I think this argument put forward by the hon. Member himself would defeat the introduction of this Amendment Bill. Because when we come into existence as an Autonomous State first on 2nd April, 1970 just over 3 years ago, what what would you expect of this State that has come into existence only on 2nd April, 1970 and what will you do with the laws that prevailed in the State. One would have expected that it will not disturb the existing laws, existing rules, conventions and practices that have been in the area before. As the hon. Member has said we should have first consulted Committee of experts and leaders and public opinion. He was not expected therefore to suggest this or any change as he had himself said in his speech. But that is what we are exactly doing ever since we came into existence on 2nd April, 1970. We simply adapted the laws because it is our legal necessity to adapt those laws and rules that were already in existence and operating in this area because unless we do so, it will be a lawless State and hence it is quite natural that we should adapt those laws. There are numerous laws right from the British time that we have adapted till today. We have to bring the expert of the Finance Ministry as a Financial Adviser here to do this very onerous job for us, to look into these laws and to study and collect all laws and rules and to adapt them for this State and this was what we did right form 1970 and right from this year up till today, we have to adapt these laws and we are still in the process of adaptation therefore, in this matter of basic question that was raised by the hon. Member, it is quite true we have not introduced any new law of our own so far but what we are doing is that we simply adapted the existing  laws which were in operation since 1939 in this area. We have not gone thoroughly into the merits of those existing laws and so far as this not gone thoroughly into the merits of those existing laws and so far as this question is concerned, I think the matter will be thoroughly looked into by the Taxation Enquiry Committee that we have constituted as already announced by the Governor and also mentioned by the hon. member is this Taxation Enquiry Committee that will go into the whole tax structure of the State. Therefore, I am happy to know that the hon. Member from Mawhati had realised these principles. But as I have stated earlier, the Taxation Enquiry Committee will thoroughly look into the whole tax structure of the State in consultation with other bodies and leaders in the State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, therefore, I would not go into the merits of the question of the Agricultural Income Tax Act in the State. That may prejudice the Taxation Enquiry Committee scheduled t o met on 27thj of this month. I would also like to inform the hon. Members that this Taxation Enquiry Committee has been constituted in a way that will  not only reflect the opinion of the experts available in the North Eastern India but also public opinions from the leaders of this House. The experts we have is one Prof. Sarangapari Head of the Economic Department Gauhati University and also Mr. B.P. Saraf who has written many books on taxation especially of the Assam Tax Acts. Then from among the hon. members of this House, we have Shri Akrommozaman, the Opposition Leader  at that time who is now a member of the Congress Party here in this House. We also have Shri H. Hynniewta, M.L.A. when he was one leader of the Opposition parties at that time and now an independent Member of this House plus myself and other senior officers of the Government like the Chief Secretary and Financial Commissioner. So I would not say therefore for or against the principle of the whole Agriculture Income Tax  act and also on the principles that the hon. Member had raised by excluding the members of the scheduled tribes from the operation of the act because as I have said this matter will be gone thoroughly into and all other matters also will be thoroughly gone into by this Taxation Enquiry Committee, which is sitting this month and perhaps they may be able to complete their job within six months. Therefore I reiterate that the Government did not  by itself as complained by the hon. Members go ahead and look around as to where to impose tax on the poor farmers, the poor members of scheduled tribe. That is not so. We have just adapted the existing rules, laws and measures that have been here for many many years. The Taxation Enquiry Committee will go thoroughly into it and give their suggestions, recommendations and other considerations within a short time. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in view of the fact that the hon. Member has just mentioned and challenged that the Government should not do anything, now, of course, we should not. We are going through it and I would, therefore ask the same thing form the hon. member that he should not propose anything new without waiting for the recommendation of the Committee. Of course many mistakes have been made by the hon. Member in this speech and the most glaving thing in this question is about delimitation of the area, the tax  limit, the net income which is very very clear here and it is not the income of above Rs.3,000 only. When you look at the Meghalaya Finance Act, 1973 you will find the proviso which runs provided always that no agricultural Income Tax shall be payable on total agricultural income which does not exceed Rs.5,000

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of information , that was in the beginning. Now it is 5,000

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- The language very clear. Whatever it is, no agricultural income tax shall be payable on the total agricultural income which does not exceed Rs.5,000. All of us are not profession's but we understand that this means the income below Rs.5,000.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- On a point of information Mr. Speaker, Sir, the act itself says that the assessment begins from Rs.2,500 and not Rs.5,000

Mr. Speaker :- Prof. Majaw, assessment may begin even with 500 otherwise people may try to hide their real income

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- In any case, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I said, these are the basic facts which have been existing for the last 35 years and whether we should accept them or not. I would suggest in the light of the hon. member suggestion that this matter would be gone through by the Taxation Enquiry Committee.

Mr. Speaker :- You mean the whole tax structure.

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Yes, the whole tax structure including this one will be gone through by this Taxation Enquiry Committee which I have already announced and I hope that all sides of the House would agree that they would be fair, impartial in their assessment. In view of this, therefore, I would like to request the hon. Member to withdraw his Amendment Bill.

Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of clarification. Here in the Act it is not clear whether it is gross or net income.

Mr. Speaker :- I think once again you are making a confusion. I will allow to discuss only the general principles of the Bill which are really helpful to the State or whether it is in consonance with the spirit of the Act and so on and so forth. I will not allow anybody. Now if the Motion for leave to introduce the Bill is passed, the Speaker, may if he thinks fit after permitting a brief explanatory statement from the hon. Member who moves and from the members who oppose the motion, may without further debate put the question before the House. So now it is left to the mover whether he will graciously withdraw his Bill or not.

 Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am happy that the Finance Minister has referred to the Taxation Enquiry Committee which......

Mr. Speaker :- I will not allow any body to reply I have already read out the relevant Practice and Procedure of Parliament Since the hon. Member...

 Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- I have not said so, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I pity the Finance Minister for his ignorance and inability to proceed with the running of the Government in making this State almost a District of Assam and because of that fact, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to State that I cannot withdraw my motion for the introduction of this Bill because it will not be good to ditto the law of Assam.

Mr. Speaker :- We should not be little ourselves. It is not a question of Meghalaya being a District of Assam simply because Meghalaya has adapted a number of rules and Acts of the composite State of Assam

 Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- On a point of information Mr. Speaker, Sir,

Mr. Speaker :- No, that is my ruling. May I put the question before the House. The question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Agricultural Income tax (Amendment) Bill, 1973.

        (After a pause). The motion is loss. Leave is refused. Now let us take up item No.4 Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh to initiate the discussion on the pending resolution which he had already moved in the last Session.

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

Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to place before the House only a few points in support of my previous resolution moved in the last Budget Session. I request the Government through you, Sir, that a new Civil Sub-Division be created in the south-western part of the District which comprises as many as five Syiemships of Maharam, Nongspung, Mawsynram Bhowal, Mawlai Sohmat and also many Elakas, under the Sirdarship namely, Pamsangut, Nonglwai, Nongsluid, Synnei, Sirai, Nonglait Mawdon, Dwara Nongtyrnem and also Lyniong Lyngdohship and other contiguous areas. These area having a big population are justified enough to have their own administrative set-up so that the people should see the all round development of those areas. Sir, in accordance with the principles of democracy, administration should be brought closer to the people of those areas. I think it is a fit case that a new civil sub division be opened within these areas with the Headquarters at Weiloi which is the central place where the people from the villages in the areas can easily come. Weiloi is linked by road to nearly all courses of the arrears. Besides that Sir, the criterion for opening of a civil Sub-division is more or less fulfilled because enough population is there in the area. Now at present what we could collect, the population is more than 57,000 (fifty seven thousand) : it may go up to a lakh if a suitable condition is created in that area i.e. if such administrative arrangements are made in that areas because as it is no the bulk of the population has migrated to other areas due to the difficulties in many respects, economically as well administratively. Therefore, because of the need of the people of that area to have such administration situated locally it is imperative that the Government should consider the case to serve the people of that area and those in the border. With these few words Sir, I move this resolution and I also request Government to see that a new subdivision be opened soon in that area.

Shri Winstone Syiemiong :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in moving this resolution as well a in supporting the resolution moved by my friend from Mawkyrwat I have got one point to make and that points that as the Government has clearly enunciated in the budget policy  statement to remove the regional imbalance in different areas of the State and for removal of this regional imbalance in the State, the Government has proposed to set up two more district, four more new Sub-Divisions and some numbers of administrative units. The reason for this is mainly as I can understand form the Statement, because of the economic backwardness between the different areas of the State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would say that this area, as has been stated by my friend from Mawkyrwat, just now comprised of more than 7 elakas. These areas are perhaps in the District of Khasi and Jaintia Hills one of the most backward pockets. Apart from Mawsynram proper and Mawkyrwat apart from these two villages the entire area especially in Nongspung and the surrounding places the people are living there under poverty line. Consequently you will find many of them have migrated either to Shillong to Mawthengkut area, Nongstoin  area or to Bhoi area mainly because of the economic difficulties. If the Government as it has proclaimed that it would remove the regional imbalance. I would say that this area deserves special consideration. It deserves special consideration because people there are not only so backward but also ignorant and illiterate. Unless and until the people there could be made to see, to get themselves involved in running the administration. I am afraid that area will remain the same. The people should be given a chance to get themselves involved especially around about Nongspung area in getting involved in the administration. Believe it is a dream to come to Shillong for many people and children and the sight of a vehicle is still a luxury to many of them. They have to seen a car and whatever decision taken by the Government from Shillong to implement plans and schemes the benefit will never be reaped by them, unless we give them a chance to get themselves involved. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel that if a new Civil Division with Headquarters at Weiloi can be opened that administration can see  to the needs of the people much better than the administration from Shillong. With these few words Sir, I support the resolution.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Now I request the Chief Minister to reply.

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am very happy that this resolution has been tabled because it has thereby given us an opportunity to explain to the hon. Members of this august House the thinking of the Government on this subject. As it has been currently pointed out by the Mover of the resolution, in the Governor's Address the Government has made it very clear that in the course of next five years 2 more civil districts, 4 more civil sub-divisions and some administrative units will be established within the State of Meghalaya in order to bring the administration nearer to the people. This is the policy decision of the Government. But before this decision is implemented, the need for establishing such districts, subdivisions and administrative units will have to be determined after going into the various aspects of the matter.

        It has been stated that the people of this particular are are very backward and they have not even seen a car and they have not seen Shillong and so on and so forth. I would remind the hon. Members that such a situation is not confined to this particular area alone. Here, I would request the hon. Members to see the picture of the State as a whole. There may be so many places in Jaintia Hills and also in Garo Hills Districts where such conditions exist. There the people might not have seen anything which has been produced by the modern world. They may be living a very primitive life still. There is a place in my District also. When a road has been constructed, a vehicle went to that place for the first time. On seeing it, the people were surprised and they wondered what it was. That was something new for them which they have never seen. They wondered and said among themselves, if the road is curved it can also go in a zigzag way; if the road is straight, it can run fast  and if the road is up, it can climb up also. The vehicles was something new and surprising to them. Therefore, it will not be correct to say that there is a place in this particular District which is very very backward and so a new Sub-division should be created.

        Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would, through you like to request the hon. Member to realise that we do not  represent, in the truest sense of the term, only a particular pocket. We are here to represent the State as a whole. I have had the occasion to request the hon. members of this House to be the effective representatives of the State as a whole In fact, would like the Garo M.L.A.s coming from Garo Hills to visit all the areas in Khasi and Jaintia Hills Districts and also M.L.A.s from Khasi and Jaintia Hills Districts to go and visit every part of Garo Hills District so that there can be proper assessment of the situation prevailing throughout the whole State. We have decided to be together, to be in one State and to help each other. Therefore, whenever a particular subject-matter is brought up to this House, let us not make it a point to focus the problems of the place which a Member alone represents. But  it will be good in the interest of the State to give a comparative picture of the State as a whole and to make a correct assessment.

        Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, the Government has as a matter of policy, decided to take steps to bring the administration near to the people. We have in mind to create two more Civil Districts 4 Civil Subdivisions and a few Administrative units in the course of next 5 years or so. I would, therefore, request, through you, Sir, the hon. Member who moved the resolution to have more patience. After making a through assessment of the position, the Government may decide to have a new sub-division whether for this particular areas or else where. After making a thorough assessment of the need and consideration the various aspects of the matter, the question of the need or otherwise of establishing a new sub-division for  this area can be decided by the Government. Let us not, therefore, think of having a tug of war or to try to bring the maximum benefit to a particular area only. But let us approach the problem on proper consideration of all aspects of the matter. It is only then we can be more effective representatives of the people. Let us not forget for a moment that we are hear together to think about the State as a whole. I have  made a number of appeals in the past that once we come here, we should remember our duty to the State and the people in the first instance and then to the country as a whole. No State or country can survive if the people are guided only by the narrow considerations or selfish interest while approaching a problem. While I may not at this stage, rule out the possibility of going for new Subdivision for this stage, rule out the possibility of going for new Sub-division for this particular area it will be too early for me to say that the Government will do so. As I have said earlier, we have to consider this question taking the requirements of the entire state into consideration. I can however, say this, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that the Government also fall in line with the view point of the hon. Members that the administration should be brought nearer to the people.

        Since in principle it has been agreed to by the Government and also a policy decision made in this regard, let us wait till such time comes when the Government will be in a position, after proper enquiry into the various aspects of the question, to come to a decision. I would, therefore, request the hon. Member to kindly withdraw the resolution in view of the fact that Government is anxious to establish more districts, sub-divisions and more administrative units, in order to bring the administration nearer to the people and with a view to doing away with the regional imbalance. Indications have been given for the first time  in our approach to the next Five Year Plan to pay additional attention to more and the most backward areas within the State, within the district, within the sub-division and within the block for economic programme and development. It will, therefore, not to be understood that the Government is not aware of the backwardness that is prevailing in the State. I would, therefore, make it very clear that only creating a new Sub-division or a Civil District will not help removing the regional imbalance. It will depend how we proceed in the matter of economic and social development programme. Without creating a new sub-division, or without going for a new  Civil District or administrative unit, I think, Government should proceed without delay to pay more attention to more backward areas in the mater of development  with a view to doing away with the regional imbalance. I would again make it very very clear. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it today I find that there is any particular area in the State which needs attention in the matter of development, that could be done without going for a new sub-division. There is a need for an Agricultural Officer because of the fact that there is a lot of scope for agricultural development, Government would not hesitate to create a post for that office and to post a person. It is not by going for a new District or new sub-divisions that we shall be able to solve the problems. It is creation of the posts based on the volume of  work for the development programme to be executed. I think in that way it will be a more correct approach therefore, with these few words, I would request the hon. Members to appreciate the stand taken by the Government and when the question of creating more Civil Districts and Sub-Divisions will be taken up the public will be consulted  and we will be able to come to a correct decision. I am sure, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir the hon. Members will appreciate the stand taken by the Government and withdraw the resolution.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- After the Chief Minister has given his reply may I know the reaction of the hon. Member?

Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while appreciating the consideration of the Chief Minister that in the next Five Year Plan this question will be considered and as he has spelled out a policy for creation of new Sub-division I am happy but then, Sir, at the same time we cannot take that the members sitting in this side of the House are not equally responsible as the Members of the Treasury Bench are and that we are narrow in outlook as the Chief Minister has said. But Sir, what we are arguing now is that out of these four Sub-Divisions proposed to be opened at least one be given to the area in question. We are demanding that this is a fit case to be considered by Government. We do not demand that it should not be opened in more backward areas. But  out of the 4 sub-divisions in question it is proper that one should be opened in the area pointed out. But even then with the assurance of the Chief Minister to study or that the Government will study this question in the next Five Year Plan, I withdraw the resolution.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :-  Has the hon. Member leave of the House withdraw his resolution?

(Voices ...Yes)

The resolution is with leave of the House withdrawn.


Motions

Now Shri Upstar Kharbuli to move Motion No.1.

Shri Upstar Kharbuli :- Mr. Deputy  Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this Assembly do now discus about the conditions prevailing in the  Reid Chest Hospital in Shillong.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :-  Motion moved. Now Mr. Kharbuli to initiate a discussion.

Shri Upstar Kharbuli :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this respect I should say that this is the only Hospital of its kind in our State. But it is very sad to see that it seems that this Hospital has been very badly neglected by the authorities. Just a few days ago I have had the occasion to visit some of my friends there who were confined in the Hospital. I find the conditions prevailing in the Hospital, both in respect of staff as well as the patients who are confined there, are  very deplorable. About the staff I could observe those nurses in particular who were supposed  to attend to these patients. There are no proper sitting facilities or no relaxing facilities. There is no proper duty room provided for them with the minimum amenities given. In on particular Block which is a two-storied building, I estimate there might have been about 100 beds or so. These are rooms, small rooms in the corner of this building where medicines, and things like that were stored but there is barely a chair and a table for the nurses or the staff attendant to stay while on duty.

        There is no provision for lavatory or bathroom or anything of the sort. So it cannot be imagined how these people can stay in such small room for the entire period as may be required of them to be on duty. Moreover during winter season when the cold is very severe, I do not see that there is any heating arrangement provided for them. I therefore feel that the nurses are really performing their duties in a very very tiring condition. I think it is because of their sense of dedication to their job that has made  them to stick to the job in spite of the tiring condition. It is also understood that at one time the Government has agreed in principle to give some kind of special allowance to the staff. I feel that will be a good thing if the Government can do so because such special allowance, if it is given, will afford the nurses to procure better food so as to build up their resistance, and not to easily succumb to the diseases which we know are very highly contagious. But up till now it seems that the Government has not done anything.

        Another thing, Sir, it is reported that in case of emergency , the patients at dead of might are left stranded. They cannot get the attention of the staff  very easily. So if they want to attract the attention of the nurses, because  the nurses, duty room is about one and half furlongs away from the main building, these patients uses to take their places, where they are supposed to take their meals, and strike them in order to make noise. If the ward boys happen to be there, these ward boys run to the duty room of the nurses and inform them of the situation. It takes 10 to 15 minutes for the nurses to arrive in that ward. We cannot imagine the difficulty during monsoon season if there is heavy rain or hailstorm at night. In view of these difficulties, I feel that Government should construct the duty room near the main building  and to provide such calling facilities either by electric bells or any such divide by which the patients can get  the attention of the Staff or the nurses at the earliest possible. Another thing that we have noticed there is for check-up purpose of the patients. These patients have to be brought to Police Bazar where there are screening facilities. But there is no such thing in the  hospital compound itself. I  do not see the reason why the Government did not try to do something to shift these instruments form this place to the hospital compound itself. So with these few words, I come again request the Government to take up the matter very seriously and at least depute officers, concerned or it would be more appreciated if the Minister-in-charge of Health himself visits the hospital just once and see for himself the conditions prevailing in this hospital. With these few words Sir,  I resume my seat.

Shri Hoping Stone Lyngdoh :-  Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to take part in the motion regarding the Reid Chest Hospital. I quite appreciate the hon. Member who has brought this motion before the House. The Reid Chest Hospital is a very small hospital in the corner of this town. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while listening to the hon. Member, moving the motion, it is not only the Reid Chest Hospital but has become a wretched hospital considering the conditions and the position of the Hospital itself. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, though it is very small and in such a wretched condition, it is a very very important hospital and is meant for the T.B. Patients. I think it is necessary to discuss in detail because it seems that the Government has forgotten the hospital totally that it has come to such a wretched condition. This  hospital has got certain number of beds it  Certain beds are reserved for military people, certain  beds for the Government officials and certain beds for the public. There are two categories of beds one is paying bed and the other is free bed. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have visited not less than 13 or 14 times this year because of admission of the patients. People from this district especially came to me for getting recommendations for admission and force, I may use the word force, the doctor to give them admission. There is rush it seems. T.B. is not a new diseases, it is one of the oldest diseases which the whole world has faced as the greatest and very very dangerous enemy of human society. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it seems that the disease has now developed and has in the State come up to such an extent more rapidly whereas in the past decade we have never come across such rush for admission into the T.B. Hospital. In the past at least 2 or 3 persons every year who were attacked by this disease came to me for admission into the Hospital. But this year, within a week about 10 to 15 patients have come to seek admission in the Hospital Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the Hospital they maintain a long waiting list of patients and because of this long list, many patients died before they were admitted into the Hospital. Today the doctor cannot  decide and the Superintended cannot decide which patient will be given priority, who will be the most deserving as the number of beds is very very small compared to the demand for admission which has been  increasing day by day along with the disease increase of population. According to medical science this attacks mostly those people who are half fed and who are living in very low standard of living, I mean very dirty and the rich who are not exposed to air or sunshine. So Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the first thing to be done in this regard is to increase the beds in the Hospital. the existing beds which have been provided in the hospital since very long years ago right from the British days, are not at all sufficient to meet the need of the people. Another thing, Sir, sometimes we had a discussion at the Board meeting about the need of extension of the hospital but I have not seen such an attempt on the part of the Government to extend the hospital. I agree with the mover of the motion that the condition of accommodated in such a poor standard of accommodation because we know that the ones who are looking after. T.B. patients should be given great care ; they need proper sleeping place, they need ventilation, they need proper food and they need cleanliness. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, considering the accommodation for the workers and staff, it is true as the hon. Member, the Mover of the motion said that the Government should immediately attend to these needs of the workers and staff and to improve the condition of the hospital. It is learnt Sir, as I have said before, that the condition of the hospital is very very bad and it has come wretched.. Many of works and staff working in the hospital I do not know how they could draw their pay, they do not have appointment letters. I do no understand how it is so. It seems that the administration of the Hospital is such that it has become the monopoly of somebody who administers by words and not by letters. I learnt Sir, that there is no such thing  in other hospitals. If the appointment is not in writing there is no appointment at all, what about promotion, pension etc. for any category of services of the staff there. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we cannot understand these things. If it goes on like this, many of the amenities and rights of the employees will be neglected and ignored. So, Sir, with these few words, I hope the Government is well aware of the necessity that we have reminded, I hope the Government will immediately attend to the requirements of this particular hospital - No.1 to improve the accommodation of the staff. No.3. to like after the administration of the hospital because it is in the very very wretched condition. With these few words I support the motion. 

Shri D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am grateful to Mr. Kharbuli for bringing about  this motion for discussion here. It is a long pending case. It is a great surprise that the Reid Chest Hospital run by this Government is in a wretched condition. Actually the Reid Chest Hospital is a wretched Hospital. I agree with the hon. Member, Mr. Lyngdoh that the Reid Chest Hospital is in a very horrible condition. The workers numbering about 70 are still casual employees although most of them have already served there for 10 to 26 years. It is indeed strange that the Government employee, be a casual employee or other-wise serving in the institution run by the Government is treated as a casual employee even after serving for 26 years. It is quite horrible and strange. Sir,  certain workers have been placed under casual employment without any proper service condition and without any promotion or any facilities that are enjoyed by other categories of Government employees. These unfortunate employees do not get any regular scale of pay as prescribed by the Government to even Grade IV employees. They are absolutely under the mercy of the hospital in-charge. He can be retained or thrown out even after serving for a period of 26 years. Can any body imagine such State of affairs in other civilized States of our Union or in other countries of the world. I think such a State of affairs does not prevail. In as a social worker have had the occasion to visit  the hospital and had occasion to talk to the staff over there and I am sorry to learn  about the service condition of these  unfortunate workers. They do not get any holidays, they do not get even the Gazetted holidays. There is no casual  leave facility for these unfortunate workers in that Reid Chest Hospital which should be renames the wretched Hospital. There is no facility for getting earned leave as well as we can imagine the sufferings of having no facilities for these poor workers to get provident fund or gratuity benefit and to add to their injury the Government is silent and inactive in the matter in providing them with suitable protective clothes and uniforms. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you will be surprised to know that these workers are not safe because where they are working they are susceptible to this contagious disease. In other sister States of our country, workers serving in T.B. Hospital get special T.B. allowance. But these unfortunate casual workers  of this T.B. Hospital viz, Ward 'Boys, Malis, Chowkidars etc. do not get such facilities. They do not get any benefit of this nature which is a admissible under the rules in other States of the country. It is indeed very strange that in the T.B. Hospital Ward there is no duty room. So the nurses are to wait in the room which is not less that 100 yards away. There is no facility for duty room where the nurses can wait for those unfortunate patients. If any patient has to draw the attention of the Ward Boys or the nurses they have get no alternative but  to ring their plates. If this ringing of plates is audible to the nurses or ward boys then they may attend the patient or otherwise his need will go unheeded. So such is the state of affairs there. Therefore I want that this Government take up the matter very seriously and do the needful to redress the grievances of the employees there and also of these unfortunate patients. Unless the State of affairs in the Reid Chest Hospital is improved, this Government which is responsible for running the affairs of the Hospital forfeits the right to be called a Government of the people. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, through you I would like to request the Government to do the needful so that our people may enjoy the modern facilities that should be three in the Hospital to save the patient from this dreadful disease.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- I request the Minister in-charge to reply.

Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister for Health) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, hon. Members have spoken may things about this Reid Chest Hospital and one hon. Member went to the extent of calling it a wretched Hospital. However, the condition prevailing in the Reid Chest Hospital is as follow :-

        The name of this hospital is Reid Provincial Chest Hospital and as its name implies it was meant fro the whole State viz., for the whole State a of Assam and is now under the control of the Meghalaya Government. There are 23 Wards some of them very small, attached to this Hospital  with a total number of 240 beds, out of which 110 are free bed, 62 paying beds, 39 reserved beds, 3 investigation beds and 70 Staff Quarter.

The staff includes Medical Officers including the Superintendent

7

Nursing Staff including Matron

33

Ministerial Staff

6

Pharmacists

2

Laboratory Technician

1

Radiographers

2

Ward Boys and Girls

28

Malis 

10

Sweepers

16

Cooks, etc.

10 + 7

        The number of casual employees is 71. This number of casual employees of 71 has been there since 1956 and the posts have been yearly renewed till date. The question of their being absorbed into regular service is under examination. It may however be pointed out that the question of bringing those casual employees into regular service will not be confined only to this hospital or to the Health Department alone but to all the Government departments having casual employee. In other words this will have to be the general policy to be adopted by the Government. 

        Regarding T.B. allowances - not T.B. allowances is given to the staff of the Hospital by the Government of Assam or by the Government or Meghalaya. This, including any attempt on increase of pay or increase of uniform allowance for nurses, cannot be considered at the moment  but if  the Government of Meghalaya adopt the recommendations of the Pay Committee instituted by the Government of Assam, there may be some relief as recommended by the Pay Committee.

        As matter stand now, all the employees are just on deputation from the Government of Assam to the Government of Meghalaya without Deputation Allowance.

        Regarding aprons, uniforms etc, of the hospital employees, steps are being taken to provide the same as has been done in the past, for those who are entitled.

        Regarding increase of beds in the hospital, there is hardly any space left for further expansion of the hospital with consequent increase in beds. However, if some of the existing wards are dismantled and two storied buildings constructed in their place it may be possible to increase the bed strength. The Government of India has been approached for providing funds for more isolation beds and some beds if feasible, may be added to the R.P. Chest Hospital.

        The diet is being supplied to the Hospital patients as per norms laid down by the Government and as per approved diet scale.

        As regards the performance of the Hospital is concerned, the Hospitals is going a good job in looking after the indoor T.B. patients, who have been admitted in this Hospitals.

        Recently 2 new posts of Sisters and 6 Staff Nurses were sanctioned of which both the posts of Sisters were filled up by promotion and 2 staff Nurses have since joined. The remaining 4 posts will be filled up in due course.

        Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, as we all know, this is the only hospital for T.B. Patients  in the State. Recently we have opened one 25 bedded T.B. Hospital in Garo Hills. The Government is aware that  once T.B. patients are admitted, they  are to be treated as indoor patient for months together. Even when they are fit to go out and leave the hospital and be released, other T.B. patients are there in the waiting list which are pouring everyday. I was told by some doctors. (I  am not a doctor, so I won't be able to give you the exact idea of how they are treated) that treatment at home can also be given, but so many patients and their families would not listen to this. They want to admit their patients in the hospital for the traditional fear of the T.B. disease, and in spite of the attempts made by doctors to convince them that they can be treated at home, they could not be persuaded. They confine themselves only to getting admission in the hospital. In this way we cannot accommodate them in spite of our best efforts. So many T.B, patients will come, the  number of T.B. Patients keeps on increasing every year. I do not know whether this can happen simply because it is a new State. Anyway, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the reasons which  have been suggested about the accommodation, about the calling bells or about a minor facilities which are given to the employees, will be considered and I will make it a point to visit the hospital personally. Something will be done about it. I want to inform the hon. Member, through you, Sir, that I think we shall be able to absorb some of the employees who are employed on casual basis. Government will try to find out ways and means to absorb and calculate how many of the casual employees can be permanently absorbed in the posts. Once they are absorbed in the permanent posts I hope the problem will be solved  to a great extent. Unfortunately, these casual employees are in other departments also. Appointments are given in that way for the muster rolls in P.W.D. and others. It is a very unfortunate that in the Reid Chest Hospital, Shillong there are employees who are suffering, and I will  see that the Government can do about them. I hope this explanation will meet the points raised by the hon. Member.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Now, Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh to move the motion which is pending under Rule 264 of the Assembly Rules.

Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir,  I beg to move that this Assembly do now discuss the question of inter -State boundaries between Assam and Meghalaya with particular reference to the disputed areas of (a) Jaintia-Mikir Hills border, (b) Khanapara Dispur area and (c) Nongwah area and Athiabari -Hahim area.

Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.

Shri R. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in fact, my original intention was to move the resolution whereby I can draw the attention of the Government to the position of those disputed areas on the inter-State boundaries of Meghalaya and Assam. But as it is, the Assembly Secretariat has changed the whole spirit and wording of the resolution, I will have to place only one point. Many of the members in this resolution, I will have to place only one point. Many of the members in this House and the public at large in the State of Meghalaya are not clear about the actual position of the inter-State boundary. Since the attainment of this full-fledged State, its actual demarcation of actual boundary is not clear to the people, therefore since the position is not clear, I demand from the Government in power to bring forward a white paper detailing the true position of the boundary in question to this House so that every member of this House and the public in general may know. As it is now, we understand that there is no proper survey or demarcation and no land marketing anywhere. So it is not clear where the position of this State stands. We understand that there are disputed areas here and there. The Government should after taking necessary measure bring forward a white paper so that the public at large and the members of this House are kept informed of the position of this border issue. With these few words Sir, I move this motion.

Shri D.D. Lapang :-  Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I fully appreciate the hon. Mover of this motion which I think it is very  important and urgent on the part of the Government to see that something should be done as early as possible to settle the boundary issue. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also fully appreciate the attitude of our Government towards this mater, I will inform the hon. Members that I once had the occasion to go along with the Minister of Revenue who happened to visit my constituency in which he has openly assured the people of the area when they came forward with a complaint of certain boundary settlement there. They said unless and until the boundary is settled by the Government we are not in a position to understand ourselves whether we belong to Meghalaya or Assam. The Minister has assured them that he would see about the position of location of the boundary pillars and to see that proper boundary lines are placed there so that the people are not in an embarrassing position Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, in one of the villages in my area of Patharkuchi there was an utter confusion on the part of the people. That village according  to the last Constituency Delimitation belongs to Meghalaya but now the administration of that particular area for instance, even some grants for the Primary School teacher are coming from the Kamrup district. Therefore, the people failed to understand and asked whether they belong to Assam or Meghalaya. I just bring forward these facts to make the Government active in the matter of boundary settlement. I do not like to lengthen my speech Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, but I have seen there is dislocation in the department concerned and my sincere request is that they should look into the matter, the earlier the better and also to take it as a very very urgent matter.

Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir,  it is really a sad state of affairs to face this situation of boundary settlement. It is rather surprising to know that even the hon. Members of this House do not know the actual boundaries of the State and I doubt also whether any of the Ministers know the actual boundaries of the State as they stand today. I remember in the month  of May last when we were involved in the Mawthengkut bye-election, we went to certain villages where people are not in a position to understand whether they are within Meghalaya or Assam. They then asked cretin questions whether you have the right to come to us when our rights were not served? I feel it is a shame on the part of the Government for neglecting their own people and at the same time for not looking after the interest of those people. In this motion it is mentioned about the Athiabari -Hahim area, where there are about 14,15 villages who are still under the Government of Assam but were registered as electorates in the State of Meghalaya. The Dispute in this area arises from time to time and whenever any fighting occurred some of the people come to Nongstoin, some of them go to Boko Police Station and some of them go to the Nongpoh Police Station. They do not know their own destination and this has created a lot of confusion among the people living in this area. Therefore, it is the duty of each and every one of us here and the duty of the Government in particular, to keep a clear demarcation of the boundaries of the State. I do not know whether the Government has the documents or not. If the Government has got these documents then demarcation of boundaries will be easier. I, therefore, impress upon the Government to issue a white paper so that demarcation of the boundaries of the State not only in relation with the State of Meghalaya and Assam, but also with the international boundaries of Bangladesh.

Shri Humphrey Hadem :-  Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while taking part in this discussion, I don't like to admit as some of the hon. Members have done that nobody knows the actual boundaries of our State. This may mean that this House also does not know the actual boundaries of the State. And in this matter, I would like to deal particularly with the first part of this motion which refers to the Jaintia-Mikir Hills border. Sir, this entire  area falls within the Constituency of the Revenue Minister and I think he will clarify the situation of rather agree with me that the boundaries were defined. But the fact is that there are encroachments towards our State. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, to say that the Government did not take active part in the settlement of boundary disputes is not correct but there have been lapses in not keeping the boundaries of the State in tact from time to time. I personally met the Chief Minister and also the Revenue Minister and they both said that they are pursuing the matter. At present, as far as this Jaintia-Mikir Hills border is concerned, I am to say that the Government has not vigorously pursued the matter and I urge upon the Government to see that the matter is being expeditiously pursued so that encroachment can be checked. In this connection, I would also like to bring to the notice of the House that all the lowlands and paddy fields owned by the Mukroh villagers which previously belonged to the Jaintias through the leases issued by the then S.D.O. Jowai or by the Jaintia Hills District Council were now claimed by the Mikir Hills District Council. I would like also to remind the House, Sir, that in the last Session we have discussed about some encroachments towards Khanduli side of the north-eastern part of Jaintia Hills and it was learnt that even the Khanduli Bazar  had been claimed by the Mikir Hills District Council and therefore, I would request the Government to be active and expeditious in taking up this matter so that no further encroachment or illegal possession from the other side be made and the matter be once and for all settled. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.

Shri H.E. Pohshna :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, taking part in this discussion, I fully associate myself with the hon. Member who moved this motion. With the coming into being of the State of Meghalaya, a ray of hope has been kindled to the people living in the outskirts of the present boundary of Meghalaya. The people of Jaintia Hills who occupy an area of about 600 sq. miles which is under Mikir Hills, were under the impression that the Government of Meghalaya would come to their rescue of their long pending claim of returning to their own believed place of Jaintia Hills District. The people of Nongwah area also were taking part during the movement for creation of a separate Hill State with the hope that their cases will be considered. The Garo friends who are living in the areas of Goalpara and Kamrup adjoining our State have made representations after representations to the Government of India and we have received copies, that in view of the present political and administrative changes following the creation of the new State, they no longer wish to be under the State of Assam. Therefore, Sir, we should consider the various claims and representations of the people of our areas. I also fully agree with the sentiments that have been expressed here that the Government is sleeping over the mater and that is why the Government remains inactive. We are very glad to read in the Assam Tribune about the various statements made by the Revenue Minister, that even Dispur is claimed by our Government and we are also happy to read in the many Budget speeches of the Finance Minister, about the Mikir Hills boundary. But the manner in which our Government take up the matter is not at all satisfactory and it does not appear that the Government will expedite the matter. For example, the hon. Member who has just spoken mentioned about Mikir Hills boundary. There was a dispute over the return of places already transferred to Mikir Hills and there is encroachment and this encroachment may be due to the indirect commitment made by the Government of Meghalaya. The Police Force and the Police Station  of the Assam Government are there in the border between Mikir Hills and Jaintia Hills whereas the Police outpost of our State is seven miles away from the border. The hon. Member who has just spoken said that the Government has taken keen interest in this matter. Yes, that may be so, but just because the Government has claimed Khanduli Bazar, it does not mean that Government is taking serious interest  in the matter. Therefore,  Sir, I would request the Government to see that something more should be done. Although it is impossible for the Government to do everything all of a sudden, but we want to see that at least something should be done and that no more encroachment by the other side is there. So I think this is one of the most important subjects of our State because while we are enjoying in a free State, we must also think of our own brothers, our kitch and kins, our own relations across our borders who are also our own brothers and sisters. They also want to enjoy the same privileges, the same kind of administration and the same freedom as we are enjoying here now. Sir, I would like to remind the Government, especially the Revenue Minister, whose statements, were very much courageous that his declaration that Dispute falls within our jurisdiction has made many people to purchase plots of land and some of them have started constructing houses and even out stills also are coming up there ....(laughter) Yes, of course no foreign liquor shop is there. With these words I conclude my speech.

Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I fully fall in line with the hon. Member who has moved this motion before the House regarding the State boundary. We have a number of times here on the floor of this Assembly discussed this boundary question but the stand of the Government is very doubtful and also not clear to this House. The Government is simply assuming that the boundary is there by believing in the Notification of 1876 But Sir, the motion which has been moved by the hon. Member is that the Government  should not keep anymore doubt. The white paper will remove all the doubts and darkness from the minds of the people of the State. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there are  two aspects of the matter. One thing is that the Government is asked to issue immediately the While Paper because of the situation that has been created along the border of Assam in the Jaintia Hills border in the Khanduli areas Blocks I and 2 of Mikir Hills and also in the border of Kamrup and Khasi Hills. Of course there was also a public demand in Goalpara and Kamrup Districts, such as procession and meetings last month demanding that the contiguous area inhabited by Hill tribes in included in our State. A memorandum was sent to the Union Government with a copy to the State Government regarding the inclusion of the north western area which is under Kamrup and Goalpara Districts. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is observed that our people there in the Border are facing great difficulties because of the harassment by the people of Kamrup. On the other hand the fact that these people have got their cultivation or other occupations and other activities in this area and are staying the area itself for their day to day life goes to show that this area is a well within the administration of the District Council and of the State also. But from the Kamrup side the people are encroaching in these areas and our people there are being harassed. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, another thing is that for the whole boundary there is no ground demarcation at all and the people can not see the actual boundary of the State which is side to be according to the Notification of 1876, but while we were under the composite State of Assam there was an attempt  from the Government side to demarcate the boundary. These people along this border are in a very doubtful position and because of the uncertainty they are still within the influence of the State of Assam. Another  thing, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is that there is an immediate need on the part of the Government to issue a While Paper on this boundary question of Khasi Hills and Kamrup District. These people have been exploited by the Kamrup people. Last time when we referred to certain areas regarding operation of the forest wealth in the Nongwah forest the Government said that there is a case in the court of  law. Of course there is a case, a private case but there is no case regarding the boundary. So the Government have asked the Member of the House to produce the document to help the Government because they did not have the documents at all. It is a shame for the State Government to say that it does not have the document, that it does not understand whether it is exercising its jurisdiction in matters of administration and development, as if it is somewhere in the cloud as the State has been named. Sir, now that the situation is such and since I have got certain documents to help the Government, I have given those documents. But up till now it does not do anything and no initiative is taken to assure the local people that this is the boundary of the State. So there is an urgency Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that the Government should immediately issue the White Paper to this effect. I apprehend that there will be a breach of peace in this area if no attempt is made form the Government side and no attention is paid by the Government to the situation which is prevailing there in the border area.

           Another thing, Sir, is that the Government will believe in something which they have stated. It may be so because there is nothing in black and white. Therefore we demand that the Government should issue the While Paper to show the actual boundary. Now according to the old notification, though the Government seems to think that it is the latest notification, it was in fact issued during the British Regime in 1875,1876, 1877. There was a piece-meal survey, piece-meal investigation on this border area in between Kamrup and Khasi Hills and in between Mikir Hills and Jaintia Hills and the notification was issued in 1876 but there was no demarcation in so far as the border is concerned. The Government cannot just take this notification of 1876 as their correct stand. If we refer to the historical events regarding the territorial jurisdiction of our  people in Khasi Hills according to the Independence act of 1947, these old notifications old agreements, old instruments and old practices and usages ceased along with the recession of the British Crown from India. And on this Independence Act, 1947, Sir, the Indian Constitution also was based. There is some connection between this Act and the Constitution. In the Sixth Schedule Para 20, it has been stated very clearly that the territorial jurisdiction of the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills District Council comprises the area of the erstwhile Khasi States prior to the commencement of the Constitution and also the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills District with the exclusion of Shillong Municipality and Cantonment for the time being. So, Sir, certain areas which have been tagged, according to the notification, by the British Rulers to the Kamrup District have come back to the Khasi States immediately after the end of the British rule.

        Now, if you say that the notifications of 1842 and 1843 have been superseded by the notification of 1876, I will say, Sir, that this notification  of 1876 has also been superseded by the Constitution of India so far as our District Council's jurisdiction or area is concerned. Now, the Government may say that our jurisdiction extends to the limits as has been defined by the Reorganization Act, 1969 and that it mainly comprised the Districts of Garo Hills, Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills. Sir, if the Government will say like that, I am afraid, the people will not get a correct interpretation or know the full implications of the laws and the provisions  of the Constitution, the Sixth Schedule and also the notifications. Whether the State of Meghalaya does not include the territorial jurisdiction of the District Councils. Sir, there is also a notification by the Election  Commission that those areas are within Meghalaya with the creation of Meghalaya. This was done by the Assam Government which means that they have recognised the area to be in our territorial jurisdiction.    

        Sir, so far as the boundary of the State is concerned, we know fully well that there are certain areas in Garo Hills also like the 7-Thana which has been tagged to the erstwhile Pakistan. there is a hope among the people in Garo Hills that this area which has been lost to the then Pakistan will be settled again by the Government  specially after the emergence of Bangladesh. This is however, not the only area which we have lost to Pakistan. In Khasi Hills also many places of Balat area and Shella area have been lost to Pakistan during the Pakistani trouble. Here, I want also to say that I do not see any clear boundary demarcation between our State or our country and the other country. Of course, this is an all- India concern. It is an international boundary. But though it is an international boundary, our State is directly concerned with it. So, I associate myself with the Mover of the motion and urge that the White Paper should be issued by the Government as early as possible so that re-demarcation of boundary could be taken up forthwith.

Shri Jormanick Syiem :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to associate myself with this Motion because I know that many people belonging to our tribe are left outside the State. I have had an opportunity  to see the borders of the Khasi & Jaintia Hills District in the old days. I know that a large portion of Jaintia Hills was snatched away to constitute the district of Mikir  & North Cachar Hills. The Jaintia Hills boundary extended to what is called Iawthymme, Umbas and Jrikyndeng. It was some time in 1950s that about 600 square miles were snatched away form the district of United Khasi & Jaintia Hills, now Jaintia Hills District. In fact prior to 1940s  there was not district by the name of Mikir Hills, Mikirs were spread over Nowgong, Sibsagar and perhaps in some parts of North Cachar Hills. But they started by creation of a Sub-division and then a district. The district of Mikir Hills was made out by taking away a large portion of the Jaintia Hills never agreed. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I hope the Government will go into the records and see to what extend Jaintia Hills extended prior to the creation of Mikir & North Cachar Hills District. I know that many people living in that area of 600 square miles-like Umpani and Rymphum and all those areas are mostly Jaintias. But now they have been forced to come under Mikir Hills. It is true, as the hon. Members have expressed, that these people, after the attainment of full-fledged Statehood of Meghalaya, were expecting and waiting that the Government would do their best to bring them back to their home district.

        Now, coming to the Khasi Hills-Kamrup border, I should say that demarcation of the boundary was done by the British most arbitrarily, It was based on the reports of certain British Officers form Khasi Hills and Kamrup like Col. Raban and Major Lamb. For the sake of administrative convenience. They prepared their report and submitted it to the then Chief Commissioner and the report was simply accepted without referring  to the people living in this area. This affected Mylliem Nongwah and Jirang. Then, Sir, in course of time, when the British was still the ruler of the country they wanted some revenue and Mandals from Kamrup took up every bit of land which is fit for wet cultivation. They came there and included them in Kamrup while our people, ignorant as they are, did not know how to protest. They were afraid of the Mandals and perhaps the Mouzadars. Thus they did not know how to move the Government. So the notification was simple put up by the British which, as the hon. Member from Pariong said, must have been done in a most arbitrary manner and that notification should not be allowed to be the authority. Nongwah wholly was gone into Kamrup for the sake of convenience. I have had occasion to take them to the Chief Minister of Assam who also deputed the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup to hold a local enquiry at Rani godown and who had promised that he will report to the Khasis should be returned. For whatever reason best known to them, that record was never published and at least was never made known to the people of Nongwah with the result that the people now are trying to agitate for return to Khasi Hills. Unless the Government take up the matter, they will not be able to make any headway.

        Now, coming for the west, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am afraid that Jirang is silent. But I have seen that bids of wet land inside Jirang are also put under Kamrup because Kamrup has the revenue staff while our district has got no cadastral-survey map. Therefore, they could not prove which land belongs to whom. In fact, according to the traditions, even the whole of Border was supposed to be in Nongkhlaw. The British though they promised to return it but they never did so. I am not sure whether this Border also falls under the list of disputed areas. But it is worthwhile for the Government to look into the records to see whether Border should be within the district. Then also in the Garo Hills, I have not been there personally but I understand quite a big lot of people cultivating their own lands have been placed under Kamrup because that would be a revenue yielding area. Now, I request the Government should see that it takes up with Kamrup of Goalpara administration. But if the area is  predominantly inhabited by the Garos and the land also belongs to them, why the Government  should not also take up the matter with the Government of India to get back these lands to the Garo Hill. Now, so far I know, there has been no proper boundary mark demarcated all along the border of the Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Garo Hills, Mikir Hills and Kamrup. Now, in the absence of any boundary pillars, it is quite possible that encroachment will be continuing and a time will come that we shall lose more and more land either  to Goalpara or Kamrup or Mikir Hills. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to suggest that the Government should take up this matter seriously by going through the records and check up which area we can claim to be within the State of Meghalaya.

*Shri Hoover Hynniewta :-  Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are indeed very grateful to the hon. member of Mawkyrwat who has again enlightened me on this problem by bringing this motion before the House. I think Sir, this problem is so fundamentally important that no amount of underlying on the part of the members of  this Housed can meet the demand of the situation. All the same, Sir, the Members of this house are performing their moral duty by raising this question again and again in the House and  I entertain the fervent hope that the Government will match the interest of the Members of the House by the active steps they take to reassert their  authority on the land that belongs to them. Sir, this question of boundary dispute according to me can be divided into two categories. The first category will be those  lands over which we have a legal right like Nongwah like Khanapara and others. The second is those lands to which we have a political  right  inhabiting by the people of the same stock as those living  in the State  of Meghalaya and the people of which also ardently desire to join with the State of Meghalaya. Therefore, Sir, I would concentrate my views  on these two points. Obviously the most important, the most urgent are those lands to which we have a legal claim. Now, Sir, some Members have raised the question of notifications issued by the British from time to time fixing boundaries between British areas of Kamrup and the District of Khasi and Jaintia Hills. I would like at this juncture to raise some fundamental questions as to whether these notifications issued by the British administrators at that time have any legal binding on the erstwhile Khasi States. Sir, the British rulers in their relations with the British areas exercised the functions in the form of the Governor General or the vice-Roy then the Governor and then the Deputy Commissioners. But in their relationship with the Indian States, they functioned as the Crown Representative. The Vice-Roy was then known as the Crown Representative. The Governor was then known as the Agent of the Crown Representative and the Deputy Commissioner was known as the Political Agent. As far as the Khasi States of Khasi Hills. Now, I would like to ask the question whether in determining the boundaries between the Khasi States and the British areas of Kamrup and Goalpara, the Governor issued those notifications in his capacity as the Governor of  the British Province of Assam or as the Agent to the Crown Representative. If he had issued those notifications in  his capacity as the Governor of the then Province of Assam, those notifications were binding on the Province of Assam, but they were not binding on the Khasi States. So I would therefore, request the Government, Sir, to study this aspect of the matter. Being a layman, Sir, perhaps only by raising my voice in this House I can add a legal weigh to my views expressed  in this House. Sometimes even lay man can be right. So Sir, I am quite sure in my humble opinion, I am quite sure that in one notification and I could see the notification was issued by the Governor of Assam not acting as the agent of the Crown Representative. My submission is that the Agent between the Kamrup District of the State of Assam and the erstwhile Khasi States of Mylliem, Khyrim, Nongkhlaw, Myriaw, Jirang, Nongstoin. I lost my thought, Sir, I was about to say Sir, that the boundaries between the erstwhile Khasi States of Khyrim, Mylliem, Nongkhlaw, Myriaw, Jirang, Nongstoin are  open boundaries unless notifications were issued by the Governor acting as the crown Representative. That is one aspects, Sir, then I come, Sir, to the political boundary disputes in which category we have disputes between the Jaintia Hills and Mikir Hills and some areas of Garo Hills District with Goalpara District. Sir, the boundary between Jaintia Hills and Mikir Hills was governed  by the provisions of the Sixth Schedule. Certain provisions of the Sixth Schedule were utilised by taking advantage of at the time of fixing the boundaries of new autonomous district of Mikir Hills and the erstwhile district of United Khasi and Jaintia Hills. The Commission was appointed and on the basis of this Commission's report the Governor determined the boundaries between the autonomous district of Mikir Hills. Therefore, Sir, I may say that this is a political dispute, moral as well as political dispute. These areas claimed by the State of Meghalaya are  definitely areas which by all consideration, and by moral consideration also are part and parcel of the new autonomous Jaintia Hills District. They are inhabited by our people. Therefore, we have a moral right over these areas. But Sir, unless we can convince either the State of Assam or the Mikir Hills Autonomous District Council or the Government of India to do something to re-align the boundary between Jaintia Hills and Mikir Hill, I do not see how we can by force occupy administratively these areas. But as far as the question of boundaries between Khanapara-Dispur area and Nongwah area and Athiabari-Hahim area is concerned, we have certainly both the moral and legal claim and therefore, I request the Government to take all the necessary steps to assert our authority over these areas. But it is a mater of great regret to say, Sir, that the Government has been very slack in this regard. I have some documentary proof to bring before the House. While one branch of the Government seems to be active, the Executive branch of the Government and the Legal Branch of the Government seems to be inactive. The left hand is not working together with the right hand.

        I know, Sir, there is one case in which the then Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya. Revenue Department, as far back as the 24th April, 1973 had addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Khasi Hills, Shillong. I now, read it, Sir.

Subject :- boundary dispute-Basistha Ashram, Khanapara. 

        Shri D.S. Hynniewta who has built a house at Khanapara, well within the boundary or Meghalaya has been served with a Summons by the Court of Assam, Gauhati and I have been informed that the Police have flagged his properly and put it under Section 145 Cr.P.C. This is really a high-handed attitude of the Assam authorities and as such it is requested that you kindly take up the case with your counterparts at Gauhati so that our people residing on the border line of Khanapara and Kamrup are not harassed and maltreated by the authorities of Assam. Shri Hynniewta has informed that he has construction materials worth thousands of rupees on his property and he has been restrained from entering his own property as his land has been placed under Section 145 Cr.P.C. Please take up this matter most immediately and report action taken"

        Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is most unfortunate, that the District authorities had not taken any action to the knowledge of the person concerned. In desperation he went to the Minister-in-charge of Revenue and also the Minister-in-charge Law. One these Ministers asked him to go to the court of law and the other asked him to go to a lawyer. The Law  Minister being himself a lawyer, asked the person to go to the the lawyer while the Revenue Minister asked him to go to the court of law. Sir, with due respect to these Ministers I must say that this is not a simple case of going to a lawyer or going to a court of law. Here is the question of dispute in boundary. Whether this person concerned will submit himself to the jurisdiction of court of law at Gauhati or not It is a question whether he should submit himself to the authority at Gauhati or not and once he does that, his case will be a foregone conclusion.

Shri Upstar Kharbuli :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I draw the attention of the House t a procession which is waiting in outside the Assembly premises just now. so I request, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that the House be adjourned for a short time to enable us to meet the people, who will place their grievances before the Government I, therefore, request through you, Sir, the Leader of the House to meet the people outside and hear their grievances.

(Mr. Speaker, in the Chair)

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister for Parliamentary Affairs) :- I was surprised at this request, Sir, if these people have some demands they can meet the Government at any time and on any day. Therefore, I would suggest that it is not in order.

Mr. Speaker :- No adjournment motion can be moved unless and until I have received previous intimation.

Shri Upstar Kharbuli :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not a to adjourn the House for the rest of the sitting but only for a short time.

Mr. Speaker :- I am to inform that I have had no intimation from anybody requesting me to adjourn the House so that members may meet anybody. If they want to do so it is not the concern of the House. This House cannot be disturbed by anything which occurs outside the House.

Shri U. Kharbuli :- May I request the Leader of the House through you, Sir, at least to go and see these people.

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, unless the request comes to me why should I go and meet them.

Mr. Speaker :- I think this is very irrelevant.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, naturally our mind and our sense of hearing is very much divided even as I take my stand  I am not strong as my strong feel. I feel that my ears are not so strong as my feet. Anyway let us act according to your ruling. I think I am confused by the noise made outside.

Mr. Speaker :- I will take necessary precaution that nobody will disturbed the proceedings of the House.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, when I was speaking the loud speaker was being used outside and I happen to be very sensitive to it.

Mr. Speaker :- I request My Hynniewta at least to close your ears and utter with you mouth louder.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, with due respect to you the nature has not invested me with such device.

Mr. Speaker :- Personally I am not disturbed by any noise from outside.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, my attention has been diverted by the noise of the loudspeaker when I was engaged in the discussion.

        Sir, I say with due respect to the two Ministers whom I had met in their office, I do not agree with them that our people should go to the Court of Gauhati for this matter which vitally concerns the Government. It should be dismissed by the adviser categorically or by going to a lawyers. Sir, if as I said he accepted the jurisdiction of the Court of Gauhati therefore, whatever decision that court takes he will be bound by that decision. So Sir, now if he goes again to the court of law at Shillong to eject any encroacher from his land the court of law in Shillong may not entertain his legal plea. Sir, I am helpless I feel disturbed by the loudspeaker. So I shall wait until your authority is asserted. 

Mr. Speaker :- I have already issued instructions that nothing should disturb within the precincts of the House and the Government also must take action to see that anything which happens outside the precincts of the House does not disturb the proceedings of the House.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, your authority has been asserted (laughter), Sir, I do not cite this concrete case by way of condemning anybody. I cite this case just to show that even our Ministers can commit mistakes. They can take an attitude which is partially right and partially wrong. I think the attitude they have taken cannot be said to be completely wrong, but since it is a matter of boundary dispute, I think it could have been more right if they can back up any legal measures by various administrative steps available at their disposal. So Sir, as a matter of a fact I was planning to bring this matter to the personal notice of the Chief Minister when this motion came to me. According to the motion before the House, I bring this case at the acute time while speaking on this very floor of the House. Sir, there is one more aspect to which I want to draw the attention of the Government and that is this. As pointed out earlier by the hon. Member from Mylliem all low land areas since the days of the British had been claimed to be under the District of Kamrup for the purpose of getting revenue because these low land were recognised  to be part and parcel of the then Khasi States. Then the British Government would not be in a position to derive any revenue from these areas. So, when you come to the boundary, you will find zig-zaging boundary lines. If it is a higher land it is in the Khasi Hills and if it is a low land of one mile in the interior it will be the territory of the Kamrup District. Even if we accept the notification the territory of the Kamrup District. Even if we accept the notification of 1876 you will see nothing in the map issued by the Assam  Government. So when in the map the highland is not connected how on earth you will have zig-zaging boundary lines which included all the low lands in the district of Kamrup. All the high lands, the non-revenue yielding high lands will be in the district of Khasi Hills or under the then Mylliem, Nongkhlaw and Khyrim and so on and so forth. So you see, Sir, from that point of view the claim of the Assam Government is defective and wrong and on the basis of other notifications which have been recognised, that this map, which had been issued on the basis of these notifications was, therefore, not acceptable. Our Government should be very very active in asserting their authority in these areas and on the fixing of  the boundary according to their meaning, which boundary is advantageous to them. If the notification of 1876 is advantageous to them or the notification of 1843 or the non-recognition of this notification is advantageous to them certainly no legal dispute would have arisen. We must accept these findings, the legal findings which are of advantage to us.

        Therefore, this entire question will have to be studied very thoroughly and minutely. I am apprehensive of the issue of the while paper although the hon. Mover and he has been supported by other Members who have been pressing upon the Government emphasizing the need of issuing of the while paper, I am personally very apprehensive. We may be digging our own grave. So you see, Sir, the other day the Chief Minister was saying that the Government was in short supply of documents. If they have no documents, they are certainly in short supply of these documents. So, it is very difficult to asset  their claim in absence of these documents. Suppose this statement finds expression in a white paper then our case will be damaged by ourselves. So there should not be any hasty decision. The white paper is not a beautiful maiden. It is not a beauty contest. As in a beauty contest people would like to go to witness all beauty of human form. It is not such a thing whose appearance will be decided to be best by us. We are more in need of concrete assertion of authority on our own lands. Therefore, the issue of the while paper is not an end in itself. It is indeed a guide for our people in the borders as to how far the boundary of our State extends. It may be necessary if it can serve that purpose and at the same time also it can serve the cause of our authority that the lands rightly belong to us. I see nothing wrong in this white paper. But unless all these necessary facts and information can be asserted, I do not think that the issue of white paper, will serve any useful purpose. And at the same time also, Sir, as the Chief Minister has admitted at one point of time, may be by way passing, I am not sure whether it is a definite information confirmed by him-I think it was more or less in the nature of passing remark and he accepted, if my memory does not betray me, he accepted your advice that the Government should not deal further in view of the sensitiveness and importance of this should not deal further in view of the sensitiveness and importance of this question and the Chief Minister tried to half and came to a stop, if my memory is correct. Therefore, Sir, we should also try to collect all the documents form the State of Assam because the State of Meghalaya has the constitutional claim to these documents. We cannot run the administration without having at least documents relating to the boundaries between the State of Meghalaya and the State of Assam because both of us are the heirs of the documents that belong to the undivided State of Assam.

        Sir, then I come to another area to which we have a political and moral claim which has been alleged during this debate. Your remember, Sir, if once you cross the Umtrew bridge at Byrni we will find all those hills on the left belong to Khasi Hills of Meghalaya whereas those hills and valleys on the right across the river Umtrew belong to the State of Assam. I do not know whether the Members of this House know at that point of time these areas.

Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the hon. Member by slip to tongue has said in both cases as right side of the river Umtrew.

Shri Hoover  Hynniewta :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think you have heard me aright.

Mr. Speaker :- Yes, the hon. member said that the right side after crossing the river Umtrew is in Assam.

Shri Hoover  Hynniewta :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at that time it was part and parcel of the Syiem of Shillong. The last Syiem of Shillong was U Bor Manik Syiem who was the ruler over this plot of land. It was a very big plot of land. It may come to 6,000 sq. miles. It was then known as Sonapur area.

Mr. Speaker :- In Khasi it was called Ka Ri Khadar Bongthai.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Yes, we know it as Khadar Bongthai....

Shri H. Hadem :- What is the meaning?

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- If you want I can open a Khasi class for you.

Mr. Speaker :- I think Mr. Hadem you  must give the hon. member the privilege to speak. He should not be disturbed.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, this area was taken away form the jurisdiction of the then Syiem of Shillong, U Bor Manik Syiem, as a punishment for his association. With U Tirot Singh Syiem, the ruler of Nongkhlaw area and made a promises to return this land to the Syiem of Mylliem. but unfortunately they did not do so.

Mr. Speaker :- I think on historical points you must stand correct. It is the successor of the Syiem of Mylliem.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- Sir, on that promise they gave up their sovereignty to India. But unfortunately that promise was not translated into deeds. So Sir, we have claim over this land. So this land should be claimed by our Government.

        Now, if you rightly use the word successor Sir, in my little limited understanding, the legal interpretation of this would mean the State of Meghalaya s the successor of the then proud Syiem Bor Manik. Therefore, our Government should be mindful of this onerous duty which is devolved upon the successor of the aforesaid Syiem. Now, Sir, it has become whether it is right for me to say, more necessary but the word necessary in this is very very strong. But if I can offend the English Grammar, I will use the word more necessary even it is wrong grammatically. Sir, it is more necessary for us to  make our claims because the Chie Minister of Assam, Shri Sinha, on the very floor of the House, stand that there is no boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam. They have not taken our claim seriously. We may congratulate ourselves that we are very determined that we have taken adequate steps to make this claim. But as far as our adversary, I would call it adversary, in respect of boundary dispute is concerned, he is not taking us seriously. He said there is no boundary dispute. There is no fight between this dog and that dog. One simply howls. There I only a howling dog there is not fight. The Chief Minister is taking our claim that way. It is nothing more than a howling of the dog. Let the dog bark.

Mr. Speaker :- How many minutes more?

Shri Hoover  Hynniewta :- One or two minutes. Sir. The dog barks and carries on howling. Therefore, let us indulge in barking, even a biting dog has to utter a little barking noise. Let  us bite, bark and then howl. Sir, by quoting one poem, let us then be up and doing, whereas heart for every feat still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labour and to wait. At present, I think we are concentrating more on waiting than on labouring. So, I would say learn to labour and to wait.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the very outset, I thank all the members who have participated in this motion because there are some news information's which can benefit Government through the discussion. but I will not go far on that because the motion here is about the boundary dispute.. the Assembly now discuss the question of inter-State boundaries that is between Assam and Meghalaya (a) Jaintia Mikir Hill border, (b) Khanapara-Dispur area, (c) Nongwah area and Athiabari-Hahim area. I will straight-away go to this boundary between Mikir Hills and Jaintia Hills. The transfer of Blocks I and II from Jaintia Hills was done as per Government of Assam's notifications issued by the Tribal Areas Department since 1951. Immediate after this order, there was public agitation from the people residing in Blocks I and II of Jaintia Hills. The Government of Assam decided to re-examine the matter and issued one notification No.R.S.R.296/51/130, dated 13th March 1957 inviting objections to the eastern boundary of the U.K.J. Hills district subsequently, meetings were held on the issue and a decision was arrived at to re-transfer Block I to Jaintia Hills. No agreed solution could be arrived at with regard to Block II, This could not be materialized due to the fact that the Mikir Hills District council as ked for time to study the facts, etc. Hence the matter remained pending till now. As for block II, the Mikir Hills District Council were of opinion that the population figures supplied by the parties could not be accepted unless the same is verified from the latest Census figures. thereafter, protracted correspondence took place between the District Council and the Assam Government. This matte also remained pending. Later,, there was a meeting in 1969 under the Chairmanship of the Secretary, T.A.W.B.C. Department, Assam and survey on the ground was ordered but this also was stopped at the instance of the Jowai District Council because the survey party did not act in accordance with the Assam Government notification and decision.

        This is in connection with the boundary fixing the boundary which was done independently by the Survey Department of the Assam Government

Mr. Speaker :- You mean by fixing boundary pillars?

Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Revenue) :- Because agreement was that both the states should be present, the District Council of Mikir Hills and the Jaintia Hills District Council should be present when this ground demarcation is conducted. But the survey party did not inform either the Mikir Hills District Council or the Jaintia Hills District Council. that is why the Jaintia Hills District Council objected to it and it has to be stopped and most of the boundary pillars were uprooted.

        Later on there has been two meetings with the Assam Government. In the second meetings, it was decided that both the Government collect the population figures in Blocks I and II of Mikir Hills. The Government of Assam have informed us that as far as they are concerned they have collected the available figures for the year 1951 and 1961. they are now trying to collect the up-to-date figures of population as per 1971 census. In this connection I may be allowed to point out that in the meeting in the office room of the Chief Minister of Assam on 10th September 1971. It was decided that the population of Mikir and non Mikirs tribe-wise of Block I and II be collected jointly by the officials of both the Governments. On the basis of this decision the Government of Assam has been asked to let this Government know when it is proposed to implement the decision contained in the proceedings for which we have not received any reply till now. Since both Block I and II are within the jurisdiction of the Government of Assam it is not possible for us to go there or the have access to any papers or documents pertaining to these areas. Hence the figures collected by the Government  of Assam without associating this Government may not indicate the true picture of the real population of Mikirs and non-Mikirs in the aforesaid areas. Besides, the 1951 Census does not indicate the tribe-wise population in the area. We too have certain figures which were collected jointly by the then District Council of United Khasi and Jaintia Hills District after publication of Notification No.RSR.296/51/130 dated 13th March 1957. It may not serve any useful purpose to produce these figures because while we may not agree with the Assam figures, the Assam Government on the other hand may not also agree with our figures. The only alternative that I could see is to re-examine the Boundary Commission report of 1950 where I see a lot of mis-interpretation of the areas concerned and take up the matter with the Government of India for a fresh independent commission to go into this question in proper details basing on local information's, local names, local people and the historical back-grounds.

(b) Khanapara-Dispur area : We  have not received the reports from the Government of Assam a few  weeks ago and now the Government is examining the Das Committee's Report in detail since this Government had not accepted the report. A lot of ground work has to be done and it will take some time before we can submit our finding.

(c) Nongwah area : We have received some copies of the documents pertaining to these areas but they are not sufficient. More documents are being collected and when we have all the documents we shall have the whole question examined. The Survey Wing is being strengthened and a close examination of the boundary definition of 1876 is being taken up so that we can exactly plot on the maps. Stages for ground demarcation of the area concerned are under examination.

(d) Athiabari-Hahim area : We have received so far no documents in respect of that area. This department is however, atempting to get hold of some records and also to examine certain villages which according to verbal reports fall within Kamrup District but according to the Election Commission they have been tagged to the constituencies within Meghalaya. It may be mentioned here that delimitation of constituencies where these villages are to fall was done by the then Government of Assam which was duly approved by the Election Commission. Hence the Government of Assam cannot deny that these areas fall within Meghalaya. Further Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to point out that there are some information to be given to this House which I think I should not leak out without correcting them otherwise somebody will be misled. There is one hon. Member from Jowai who said that the Police Outposts of Meghalaya is 7 miles away from Khanduli bazar and this is absolutely wrong. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is to even one kilometer.

Mr. Speaker :- Well this is not connected with the Inter-State boundary.

Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Revenue, etc.) :- Hence there cannot be any reply now.

Shri Hoover Hynniewta :- May I submit, Mr. Speaker Sir, that it is connected because  unless our Government asserts its claim that there are standing police personnel in this area, then our claim  will be meaningless. Therefore, the question of posting policemen at one kilometer or 7 kilometers or one mile form the disturbed area is very much relevant.

Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Hynniewta, I do not understand your point. I said that Police Outpost whether it is one mile away form the border or seven miles away. It is not so much relevant with the main issue but I want that the House must be clarified on one very important point and that point was raised by one or two hon. Members and that is, what steps Government has taken regarding the procedure to get hold of the documents which are connected with that matter form the Government of Assam.

Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Revenue, etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, regarding this matter, we have been corresponding with the Assam Government and we find that our efforts to catch hold of the records were not fruitful and now we have appointed one officer particularly for this purpose to trace out the records and bifurcate the records from Assam. These are the steps which we have taken in this respect.

Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- On a point of clarification, Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know whether this practice is there with the Government of Nagaland which has got an officer in the Assam Secretariat maintaining all the records. If it is so the  Government of Meghalaya also should have an officer to maintain the records in the Assam Secretariat.

Mr. Speaker :- The Minister has replied that they will pursue and that the officer of the Government of Meghalaya should be appointed in the Assam Secretariat with every free access to the records room.


Adjournment

Mr. Speaker :- The discussion is closed now. The house stands adjourned till 9 a.m. on Tuesday the 25th July, 1973.

R.T. RYMBAI,

Secretary, 

Dated Shillong

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

The 24th July,1973

Shillong.

*****