Proceedings of the Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, the 15th June, 1974, in the Assembly
Present : Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair, 5 Ministers, 2 Ministers of State and 52 hon. members.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
(To which oral replies were given)
Mr. Speaker : Now let us take up Starred Question No.1. Question is not put as Member is absent. Let us take up Unstarred Question No.8.
(To which oral replies were laid on the Table)
Checking-day for all sorts of defects in the Power and lines of electricity
Shri Humphrey Hadem asked :
8. Will the Minister-in-charge of Power and Electricity be pleased to state -
(a) Whether Sunday has been fixed as the checking day for all sorts of defects in the power lines of electricity?
(b) If so, the reasons thereof?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister -in-charge of Power and Electricity) replied :
8. (a) - Except on emergent occasions shut downs are taken normally on Sundays for undertaking repair and maintenance works in Transmission and Distribution of Lines and also in Sub-Stations.
(b) - Sundays have been selected as all Government offices and commercial organisations and most of the industries are closed on that day, so that least inconvenience is caused to the public and the consumers. Also lose of revenue to the Board is minimum.
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Mynso-Raliang S. T) : Reply to (b) Sir cannot any other day of the week be used for this purpose?
Mr. Speaker : It is very unfortunate that the Minister-in-Charge is absent from the House but I think the Chief Minister can reply on his behalf.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) : Sir, I want notice for this Question.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : In that case Mr. Speaker, Sir, shall I have to give short notice question?
Mr. Speaker : No. When the Chief Minister has informed the House that he may give a reply on some other day, you cannot do so.
Let us pass on to item No.2 Prof. M.N. Majaw.
Prof. M.N. Majaw : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to call the attention of the Chief Minister under Rule 54 of the Rules and Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to a news item published in the Shillong Times of May 4, 1974 under the caption "Two youths Allegedly Beaten up by a Police S.I."
Mr. Speaker : Now you can briefly explain your contention.
Prof. M.N. Majaw : The only information we have received Mr. Speaker, Sir, on this matter, is all that is contained in the news report as it appeared in the weekly to which I have referred. It appears that a group of young men were trying to trace out a thief in their locality, the locality being near the Military Hospital. The incident took place at about 12 o'clock mid-night on the 1st of May 1974. While they were looking around for this thief, the Sub-Inspector of Police, who was supposed to be under the influence of liquor, caught hold these young men and with the help of an officer from the M.E. S., brought them into the M.E. S. compound and beat them up severely, and later on took them to the Civil Hospital for medical examination of their injuries. It seems quite an unusual and quite serious for a custodian of law and order to behave in this manner. So I thought it is necessary to call the attention of the Chief Minister to this Sir.
Mr. Speaker : Will the Chief Minister give a statement?
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) : On a preliminary enquiry, it has been ascertained that on 1st May at about mid-night, a shop-keeper of Rilbong noticed two persons concealing their presence near his shop. On suspecting them to be the thieves he raised a hue and cry and some persons of the locality gave chase to the suspects along to Shillong-Cherra road. Two boys Shri Sujit Kumar Choudhury and Shri Bimalendu Bhattacherjee, students of B.A. Class, also come out of their residences with iron rods and went in search of the suspects. When they reached the Umshyrpi bridge, the S.I. of Police, Shri S.K. Das Gupta who happened to be there on patrol duty reportedly enquired from them as to what was happening. The boys allegedly enquired from them as there was a scuffle between the S.I. and the two boys. In the meantime, another Sub-Inspector also arrived on the spot and prevented the situation from getting out of hand.
After this, the boys were taken to the nearby M.E. S. Office where it is alleged that the S.I. Das Gupta abused the two boys. The boys alleged that the S.I. tried to beat them with a stick, and that he was drunk at that time. The two boys were thereafter taken to the Police Station. The S.I., on the other hand alleged that the two boys were overpowered by him after the struggle. The boys were taken for medical examination. the Medical Officer did not find any external injuries on Shri Choudhury who however, complained of pain on his left shoulder and right hand. As regard Shri B. Bhattacharjee, he opined that there was slight swelling in his right fore-arm. After medical examination the boys were brought and were released on P.R. bond at about 3. A.M. the same night.
Further departmental enquiry into the conduct of the S. I. is under process.
Government are keen to ensuring that their officers do not act in a high handed manner. In every such case which comes to the notice of the Government, suitable corrective action will be taken.
General discussion of the Budget
Mr. Speaker : Item No.3, general discussion of the budget. I call upon Mr. H.E. Pohshna to participate and I give him 15 minutes.
Shri H.E. Pohshna (Nongtalang S.T.) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am afraid I cannot congratulate the Finance Minister for his budget speech, but I have to congratulate him for the introductory remarks in his speech. In the concluding Para of his speech, the Finance Minister has stated that : "I call upon the hon. Members to extend their full co-operation in meting the challenge of or times which we face today and contribute their best towards building up of an economically strong and prosperous Meghalaya, marching hand in hand with the rest of the country.
With these introductory remarks, I place the budget for 1974-75 for the consideration and acceptance of the House"
In this last sentence, Sir, our Finance Minister has mentioned his introductory remarks for which I congratulate him for his being frank in making such a statement here. Now, within a short time I would like to stress on some very very important points regarding the achievements we had during the last two financial years, i.e., before this budget session. Sir, we cannot deny the fact that our State of Meghalaya has in one way progressed to a considerable extent. If we look at the beautiful ambassador cars plying in the town of Shillong which is the capital of the State and also the M.L. P. Jeeps and cars that ply on the road we have seen that our State is progressing. If we come to the number plates of the M.L. P. and M.L.G. cars and Jeeps, we find that in one way there is a good progress. Previously there are very few policemen in this District, but now you will find a good number of policemen some in white dresses and some in khaki dresses. It is really a good progress. If we go to Jowai. we will see the beautiful sign board of the office of the Civil Surgeon, Jaintia Hills. But when we get inside the office, there is no Civil Surgeon. We also fine the sign board on the top of the hillock of the office of the District Transport Officer. But there is no such officer in Jowai. this is the progress so far. I really welcome the invitation of the Finance Minister to go hand in hand with the rest of the country in his introductory remarks. He himself admits that this speech is not really a programme but only a remark. Sir, since the time is limited, I would like to say something about the District of Jaintia Hills. In so far as Jaintia Hills is concerned, I think much injustice has been done from the top of the administration to the district level. There are 3 districts in Meghalaya-Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills. The very existence of 3 districts means equal administration. Although the population may be different, yet the responsibility is the same. In the Cabinet, we have got only one Minister.
Mr. Speaker : Assuming that your contention is true, will it not be justified that Garo Member demand that Garo Hills be split into 4 or 5 districts and Khasi Hills also like that?
Shri H.E Pohshna : Sir, I am coming to Garo Hills.
Mr. Speaker : What I want to help you is this. If we talk only about the administration, it is alright. But if you say from top to bottom I think it is really unfair.
Shri H.E. Pohshna : I only want to clarify the point. In the Cabinet we have only one Minister. In the Planning Board which is very very important, there are no members representing Jaintia Hills. Then in the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank, we have no representative from Jaintia Hills.
Mr. Speaker : I think a Member of the Rajya Sabha is a member from Jaintia Hills.
Shri H.E Pohshna : This is the first time that I came to know Sir, because he never told us before (laughter) .... Sir, in my opinion, I think it is important at least one member from Jaintia Hills should represent in the Planning Board. Why I say that because we have got enough members on the other side who can represent us in the Planning Board.
Then coming to the implementation of the schemes, the success of which depends upon their implementation. While coming to this point, Sir, I cannot help in giving thanks to the hon. Members from Garo Hills who spoke yesterday about the break - down of the Meghalaya Transport bus when travelled from Tura to Shillong via Gauhati and was carrying the M.L.As from Garo Hills. It was told that on the 3rd of this month bus No. MLX 18 left Tura at 6:30 A.M. but on the way it had to stop. Some members for Garo Hills who were in that bus were to attend a Committee meeting. In the place where the break-down happened, the people around thought it was a picnic party of some M.L.As from Garo Hills. The poor M.L.As arrived Shillong at 4:30 A.M. of the next day. I happened to be in the Assembly Hostel on that day. I heard knockings on the door and when I got up, I found that they were the M.L.As coming from Garo Hills On the 10th of June also, it has been reported that the same thing happened. The Members from Tura is the picture of the implementation. The beautiful buses are there, but this time the M.L. X. buses are not going for beauty contest. I am sorry to learn that there are no jacks, spanners, screw drivers, spare tyres and nothing of the sort The poor passengers including babies, children, men and women and the M.L.As are stranded on the way looking for dal-bhat at Nalgiri. I would like to cite another example. Sir, there was a programme for the construction of Government College building at Jowai. One year, two years and three years passed but it appears there has been some break down somewhere on the way, in spite of best assurances made by the Chief Minister last year that these buildings will be constructed. Up till now only the grass has grown up on the sites of the buildings. So is the case with the Civil Hospital in Jowai. One year, two years and three years passed, but it appears there has been some breakdown somewhere. Sometimes the departments blamed each other, the Public Works Department blamed the Architect that he has not completed the plans and designs for the buildings. this shows that there is breakdown of the administration every where. If a thatch building has been erected, at least the assurances of the Chief Minister is fulfilled in a way. Therefore, in spite of the good programme, in spite of the huge amount that has been provided in the budget, nothing has been done. Unless our State id taking serious steps how to implement this, it is very difficult to achieve the progress. On the other hand, Sir, there has been so many agencies to execute the work, the Block Development and the District Public Public Works Department. Sometimes there are clashes within the departments. This has happened and the result is the delay in the execution of the schemes.
Then, Sir, I will come to another very important department, and that is Education. While reading through the introductory remarks made by the Finance Minister regarding the education, it appears as I the State is not a full-fledged State. there has been no mention about the scheme for the establishment of Agricultural College, no scheme for Technical College and there is no mention even about the N.E.H.U. it self and what are the things required for its improvement.
Mr. Speaker : But N.E.H.U. is under the Central Government.
Shri H. Enowell Pohshna : But Sir, our finance Minister has even mentioned about the nuclear power (Loud laughter)
There is no harm Sir. If in the portfolios of the Chief Minister himself, as one of the Heads of the State is included inclusive of education and it happens like this, it is not strange that much work is not done in other departments. In so far as agricultural is concerned, I am very happy to say that there are many schemes on agriculture. But again Sir, in this particular Department the implementation itself is very important in view of the fact that 75 to 80 per cent of the population are agriculturists. Then the failure of farmcos at Mawryngkneng is ample evidence that no proper survey was made nor a proper scheme prepared before the implementation, and, I am afraid, if no proper estimates or surveys of the schemes before implementation are made all the money meant for the schemes may go to waste.
Mr. Speaker : Is it a post mortem examination of the case? You should have come forward with your suggestions right from the beginning.
Shri H. Enowell Pohshna : It is an introductory remark, Sir. (Laughter)
My last point is about Forest. The portfolio of our Forest Minister has become very important. this is because of the fact that three or four Reserve Forest which have been leased out to the Meghalaya Plywood Limited.
Mr. Speaker : Anyway, the matter of forests seems to have been medically administered (Laughter)
Shri H. Enowell Pohshna : And that also only after agi9tation, Sir and I am grateful to the leaders whose names appeared in the famous paper "The Implanter" that they have been able to make the Cabinet keep this lease in abeyance. But, according to the newspaper, the cutting of trees will be the same thing as the entire forests will be given to the contractors for felling the trees and the trees will go to the same place and the contractors will be the agent of the private company itself and as such the destination (bell rang) will be the same. Therefore, Sir, it is a very very important subject. So, I would request the Finance Minister that while we are making discussion on his introductory remarks, he would also take our remarks very seriously.
Mr. Speaker : Mr. Kyndiah, you will get 29 minutes.
*Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah (Jaiaw S.T.) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have taken the opportunity to study the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister with care and I have also made an attempt, because it is almost an exercise in futility to study the voluminous book of the budget. But, ultimately, I came to a certain conclusion and I must join hands with the Member from Mawhati to congratulate the Finance Minister for his Budget which according me - if I may add - is realistic, dynamic and pragmatic. The speech has given a survey of the various achievements of the Government in many spheres of economic activity and I must say that it has reflected in a very comprehensive manner the land marks of achievements. I am also happy to note in the speech of the Finance Minister a clear spelt out picture of the economic and the industrial policy of the State Government as also the administrative policy in running the affairs of the State. I am also happy that in the speech there is a definite inclusion of a projection of the action programmes that the Government intend to take in the course of the near future. While appreciating the Finance Minister I think he also deserves praise and appreciation on three counts. In the first place, the budget has shown a negligible or small deficit of Rs.94.75 lakhs compared to the revised budget of 1973-74, which is of the range of Rs.136.30 lakhs. Therefore, this is quite a matter deserving praise.
The other matter which has struck me is that the Budget does not contain the proposals for increasing the rates of taxes or any levy of new taxes. This is indeed a great relief.
Then the other matter which has also struck me forcibly is that there is a fantastic decrease of rates from the Centre on non-plan Budget by about 438 per cent. The amount has been reduced from Rs.433 lakhs of the revised budget to one lakh of rupees. But what I would like to dwell here, Mr. Speaker, Sir, is that in both the Budget Speech and in the Budget Estimates they have clearly shown and born the imprint of two basic factors. In fact, these two factors have created an impact on both the speech of the Finance Minister and the figures in the Budget Estimates.
Firstly, it is the recommendation of the Sixth Finance Commission which I will deal later. Secondly, the tentative allocation of Rs.84.21 crores for the Fifth Five-Year Plan; I think the Finance Minister is at pains to explain clearly the various implications of the downfall of the expected Fifth Year Plan allocation. I sympathise with him on this. Mr. Speaker, Sir, while going through the Budget Speech at page 8, concerning the recommendations of the Sixth Finance Commission, I have noted that ton Meghalaya State "will receive as devolution of its share from taxes, etc Rs.12.85 crores during the Fifth Plan Period". This is a good thing indeed. Now again, "Under Article 275 of the Constitution against the total of Rs.11.64 crores received by the Government of Meghalaya in the Fourth Plan Period. Thirdly - this is a good feature - as there is allowances of debt relief of Rs.7.64 crores to Meghalaya by way of moratorium on various types of loans. Then of course, 'the Commission has also accepted the State Governments view-point relating to its special needs for upgrading the standards of administration". Mr. Speaker, Sir, I know for sure that the Government has made an attempt to present the case very strongly before the Sixth Finance Commission, but I am at a loss to find that the Sixth Finance Commission has rejected the very important basic need of the State. Now, that is the matter relating to the Border Transport Subsidy Scheme. this Scheme is one of the most important and vital activities by which the economic life of the people in the border areas would be uplifted, but unfortunately, the Sixth Finance Commission has rejected it. Now, we know very well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that our State is a border State and it has a border line of 496 Kms. right from Dona in the Jaintia Hills on the border line to the west of Manakang and goes north-ward to Mankachar. Apart form that, the State has a border area which is 8500 sq. miles having a population of 2,29,000 which constitutes 36 per cent border areas of the State and 22 per cent of the population. Now we know very well o the plight of our brothers and sisters in the border areas right from 1947 after Independence. The effect of the partition has greatly hampered the way of life, the economic life and more so because of the enmity that existed between our country and the then East Pakistan. You will find there was a stoppage of border trade and the traditional crops like pineapples, oranges, betel leaves, etc. have come to a stage where there is no market. We have thought that after Bangladesh has emerged that the position would improve. But unfortunately, Sir, the position is far from being improved. on the other hand, my information is that our people in the border areas are suffering immensely In fact, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the last few years because of the acute economic difficulties faced by our people from the border areas there, there has been even evacuation of the people from the border areas trying to get land somewhere else for cultivation, it happened in Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and even in Garo Hills. I do not know why the Sixth Finance Commission have not thought it proper to look into the matter more deeply and appreciate the very serious difficulties faced by the people in the border areas. So I am very unhappy about this matter in which our people in the border areas have not got their due share. If my information is correct, I think we have been treated unfairly on this. I believe other border areas like Jammu and Kashmir are getting this kind of scheme in the State. So I would therefore, urge upon the Government and the Finance Minister and particularly the Chief Minister, to bring home to the authorities concerned on this to enable them to appreciate the plight of our people in the right perspective. this is one thing which gives me unhappiness while dealing with the Sixth Finance Commission's recommendations. I am also astounded by the manner in which our claim for giving aids to the District Councils ahs been rejected. I do not know but I have thought that the Commission should appreciate the fact that the District Councils are the statutory body under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. They are elected bodies, they are very important bodies not only for the sake of legislating certain subjects under their jurisdiction, but more important, as years go by, they have now become very important and vital economic agents of most Governmental activities. I think it is the policy the of the Government to help and argument the resources in order that they will play an important economic role in the State. When I talk about the District Councils, I would like to be cleared about a sense of objectivity in the role which the District Councils play in the economic development of our State. I am not speaking here on party line-party may go-party may come, but the District Councils would go on for ever. Therefore, they should be given adequate and appropriate authority to enable them to play a very important role in the affairs of the State. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am that pain to fins that the Commission has not given us the aids to the District Councils as presented by the Government. Of late, I also came across certain information by which the Government of Meghalaya had gone a step further in which the proposals were sent to the District Councils, to obtain their consent or otherwise for taking up certain developmental projects on behalf of the State. It shows very well that the policy to help the District Councils to play their legitimate role. Of course, I agree that while doing that there should be an administrative check and balance which is very necessary.
Now gain, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has also made me unhappy that the case of the revision of scale of pay and other emoluments of the State employees has gone by default. Now, the failure on the part of the Commission to meet this legitimate demand, I think, is something which I just cannot make sense. We know that in order to make the best administration, it is necessary that our employees, whether in the State or District levels, should be contented and satisfied and in these day of soaring price and in the days of growing price index, it is a fantastic thing which is not our doing, this is a national phenomenon. I thought that the Commission would have been taken note of the situation and agree to help our employees. Now I am very sure that the State Government is in difficulty to face this problem. Now again, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am also shocked to find that the Commission has made a very negligible and pitiable 4 lakh allocation for the whole Five Year Plan period on relief against natural calamities. this I cannot understand. We know very well that our State is not economically backward but in certain areas people are badly affected by natural calamities. My friend, the hon. Member from Mawhati, Shri Martin Narayan Majaw, had come with number of people who are suffering from such calamities, and there are so many cases in Garo Hills. As a result of the natural calamities we have the floods in the Phulbari area, we have the cyclone, we have so many things and why this Rs.4 lakhs of rupees allocation I really do not understand. this is something which I do not know how to say. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will put on record to say that the Finance Commission's recommendation had not only fallen far below our expectation but has betrayed sense of impartiality. So, Mr. Speaker in so far as this one factor of the report of the Sixth Finance Commission is concerned, I think it is exercising the mind of the Finance Minister. It has to a great extent affected the budget speech and the budget figures.
Now I come to the second factor, that is the Fifth Plan of the State. It is at page 4. It is an interesting reading. Of this Para 5 i very very interesting to read. The State Government had submitted a plan of 203 crores which also included about 21 crores\s for specially backward and most backward areas. Then, again this amount of rupees 203 crores has been cut down by the Working Group recommendation to Rs.93.67 crores. Then again in almost a geometric transgression, the Programme Adviser had put it down at Rs.84.21 crores and then again I think now the N.D. C. had put it down. This is something which I do not understand. I was amazed at the concept of Planning. Now they go by that concept of doubling the Fourth Five Year Plan which is the Fifth Plan. We cannot just double it. I had put up a case on this once or twice while taking unofficially, but I would understand if I am convinced that this is the right thing to do. Now imagine our Fifth Plan allocation. It is Rs.38 crores. And this Rs.38 crores also is not our actual need. It was based on the Assam Hill Plan of Rs.65.75 crores which is very much short on the real demand because this was the Assam Hill Plan and when Meghalaya came into being in 1970 starting with the scratch with no staff, with no administrative infrastructure and despite that we cannot be accused of not being able to be spend. The spending capacity of the Government was then proved beyond any shadow of doubt. We had 38 crores and we spent 37.44 crores. Therefore, the Finance Commission is not correct in saying that the Government has not been able to spend and for that reason, they cannot give us more. I think this is a wrong notion which I do not expect. Mr. Speaker, Sir, now if we go by that process of depreciation I do not know what will happen in the National Development Council. This is something which I cannot understand. My only request to the Finance Minister who I know very well and who has been known to posses certain qualities of irresponsibility and persuasion I think if both of them combine together and place our case before the National Development Council I hope our case will be appreciated in its right perspective. So this is my contention in so far as the two factors are concerned, which were responsible for the motivation and the manner in which Budget Speech has been presented and the budget figures have been given. Now in the Fifth-Five Year Plan, one most important thing according to the Speech is that this provision of Rs.84.24 crores is totally inadequate and require substantial augmentation, especially in respect of requirements for generation and transmission of power and in regard to large and medium industries sector. Now on this, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is my contention that the industries whenever we would like to have industries we should not have industries, just for industries sake. Industries should be able to serve the real needs of the people. It has to take into consideration of the socio-economic needs of the people. This is a very very important fact which I feel, as a matter of fact should be considered before any industries are taken up. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Finance Minister has said very clearly that the population of the State consists of 82 per cent of people living of the villages. In fact, India is a village. And for that Meghalaya is more than a village. So we are to cater to the needs of the villages primarily but at the same time because of the legacy of the uninhibited type of education that we have today in the process, the educational institutions have become factories of producing standardised graduates who have no hope for employment and as it is now the biggest employer is the State Government itself. but this cannot go on forever. that is why since 1970, I think this is the Fifth year I have been advocated for one little thing which will be a precursor to industrialisation. I have advocated strongly for having industries to meet the needs of the people. For Shillong, what we need is a big industry to feed our people coming from the schools and colleges. It is a matter of shame that a graduate and under graduate came to me to get a job of a peon.
Mr. Speaker : What modern education do you think we need? The educated man is not willing to serve in the villages.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah : That is very correct, Sir. Certainly we would not like to go to the villages but I mean for the need around Shillong, Tura, Jowai. Since 1970 a small Meter Factory is et up in Shillong to meet the needs of our people and I was very unhappy on this. I cannot say that I praise this Government but I am very happy to see today in this review of the implementation of the employment scheme at long last -better late than never the Meter Factory may be coming and a provision of Rs.3 lakhs has been made. So it is a good thing indeed. Secondly, a big industry should be set up to meet the needs of the border people in that area. So we should to have industries just for industries sake, and I am very candid and frank about this. We have to be careful. I think the hon. Member from Mawlai, Mr. S.D. Khongwir has made a very beautiful expression when he said "be careful to see that the industrial area which we re setting up in Byrnihat may be the industrial exploitation". When I said that this I do not belittle the primary needs or the interest of our people of Meghalaya. We cannot close our eyes to the people of our State but at the same time what is important is for the interest of the insider. I do not mean the outsiders. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a very important thing that I have in my mind, (bell rang)
Mr. Speaker : I will give you two minute more.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah : I would like to speak on priority because it is very important to fix priorities. I must really thank the Finance Minister very heartily because I have with me here the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister for 1973-74. I will quote "Since the growth of every sector is dependent upon good communication facilities, which are ill-developed in Meghalaya, the foremost priority is given to the building of roads for creating the infra -structure for development". This is the priority last year. Now this year, there has been distinctly clear statement of policy and here i is. I will read it because it is very important Page 4 para 6, within the overall frame work of the national priorities and aims and objectives of elimination of poverty and fulfillment of the 'minimum needs" programme the Fifth Plan for Meghalaya will put greatest emphasis on the development of agriculture as the vast majority of the population of the State solely depend on agriculture and the allied sectors. So it is a very well known fact. It i very realistic and I think, it is very important even if we want to reduce our needs we cannot do that because it is the thing we need for our daily life. So the problem of Agriculture -economic activity is a very important policy statement given by the Finance Minister with which I fully fall in line. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, one main important thing, I think, is about the improvement and development of agriculture in the State. We have to spend all the time to go and depend entirely from outside the State for our essential commodities particularly the main crops such as rice. I know of certain large industries in the Phulbari area and in the Bhoi area which can be granary of paddy. It is very important for the Government therefore to identify those areas and give much attention to these areas so that we will be self-sufficient. This is very important, so that we can definitely be self -sufficient and self-reliant. Another important point I would like to take up is in relation to paddy. Paddy to the cultivators to see that they grow paddy with scientific method so that we can export it to other countries also. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is my contention that after some time we will be facing a state where the paddy market will give place to other States because paddy is now being grown in some places in Bihar and a time will come that we will be facing great handicap for the growth of paddy in our State.
Now I will take another new crop of the Hill areas. I am sure it will get a big market even in the U.S.S.R It is growing at a certain altitude and the climatic condition is a very important thing. I think it is for the Agriculture Department to see that this crop is given much assistance so that (bell rang)
Mr. Speaker : I am very sorry, I would have listened you more but the time will not allow you to speak further you have already spoken for 30 minute.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah : So, Sir, with these few words I resume my seat.
*Shri W. Syiemiong (Nongspung S.T.) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I like the speakers who have spoken before me would like to join hands with them and give my thanks to the Finance Minister for having brought about the Budget without any new taxation in one sense, I disagree with the hon. Member from Jaiaw who said that it is realistic for the quite realistic. In the balance as has been brought, as we can see from the budget of the last year, that a small deficit at the end of the year will turn into a bigger closing balance this time also. I appreciate that Rs.94 lakhs is opening balance as deficit but by next year it will increase much more (At this stage the Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker occupied the Chair)
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Sir, I am quite sure that the Government had not exercised effective control and taken strong measures to see that the deficit is much reduced and even wiped out. The problem is that, if we look at the figures we can see here in the memorandum of the Budget Estimate for 1974-75 that the allocation for plan expenditure is Rs.14 lakhs and the total expenditure is Rs.7.71 lakhs. From this very figure we can understand very well that for developmental projects there is only one small portion out of the total budget as around 27 lakhs of rupees will be spent on developmental projects. the balance in the budget itself will show the actual figure of how our State will be allotted, and if we care to look at page 524 of the budget for 1974-75 we will find how the budget is prepared for the development of horticulture.
Out of the total investment of Rs.9,000 we see that Rs.6,500 are meant for supplies, Rs.2000 for wages and only Rs.500 is meant for materials and supplies. Under Grant No.62 we will also see a huge amount is being demanded, but then there is no detail as to how this amount is going to be spent. In many cases we will find that lakhs and lakhs of rupees are being demanded but without giving any details whether the amount is for wages or for purchase of materials and other items. We cannot understand or make head or tail, when only a lump sum amount is given. The total amount demanded in this particular case is Rs.75 lakhs. Rs.6,91,000 are meant for maintenance of the establishment annually and a paltry amount of Rs.4 lakhs is to be spent on development. So also with agriculture and allied services, for which the allotment is Rs.1 crore and 83 lakhs. Out of this, almost 60 per cent will be spent only on maintenance of establishment. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is this is to be the picture then all the wonderful plans drawn up will be useless; then how can we develop our State. Achievements are enumerated by the Hon'ble Finance Minister in one of his speech. But as the hon. Member from Phulbari said yesterday, in a year in respect of rural electrification, only 17 villages are electrified. Not only that. In the last 5 years only 701 kms of roads were constructed. This means in a year, only 140 kms are being constructed when there are about 12 or so Executive Engineer Divisions in the State. That shows, for development of roads a huge sum of money is spent, but hardly 10 kms are constructed in a year. We can very well understand, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if this be the way Government runs the State, development can never take place. It will take centuries before all the projects that were drawn up in the Budget speech which were also good and so nice can be implemented. Also there are many cases of wasteful expenditure.
Another point I would like to say is that if we can exercise a little disciplinary measure, as I said earlier, by all departments of the Government, I believe that all these wasteful expenditure can be avoided. For example in the State of Meghalaya there are 500 cars belonging to the Government MLG, MLP and MLX. Given that each car is going to use 5 litres of petrol a day at the rate of Rs.3.80 paise per litre, in one day only for petrol, not P.O.L., we have to spend Rs.7,700. in a year, deducting 52 days for Sundays and 30 to 35 days for holidays, we have 280 days. So in a year if we multiply Rs.7,700 by 280, the amount comes to Rs.21,56,000. And again if we take at the rate of Rs.2,000 for maintenance of each vehicle for buying spares and other things, for 500 cars the amount comes to Rs.10 lakhs annually. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not say that the Government should not have these vehicles. But they should exercise some restraints on their use. As it is, these vehicles have become and eye -sore to the people of the State. These vehicles are to be seen everywhere, and on Sundays and holidays or week days. You will see them in the roads, funerals, cremation grounds, in cinemas, fisheries and polo ground. Every where you will find these cars. I understand that the people to whom these vehicles are allotted have to pay for the petrol from their own pockets, but they are reimbursed. I must say that the expenditure that may incurred in case, they go out on tour. .....
Shri Sibendra Narayan Koch (Mendipathar) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on a point of order. Whenever any important discussion is going on I find that not a single Cabinet Minister is present.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) : Particularly when a very important subject is discussed, the Minister-in-charge should be present.
Shri Winstone Syiemiong : Sir, as I said earlier, I could very well understand in case of Police officers or in the case of the S.P.D. C. whose duties are for 24 hours and who have to go here and there. But for those people whose duty is from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., why I do not understand. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as I said, if some restraint is exercised in this respect, we can surely reduce the big margin of deficit financing.
Another point which I would like to say is about what some other hon. Members have already said. We see that most of the schemes and programmes are being implemented and those schemes which are being implemented are being done in a lethargic manner. For example, for improving one playground in Jaiaw it takes more than 2 years. The work was started some time in the month of April 1973 and up to this time it has not been completed and I think it will be completed in another year. Things could not be implemented in time specially in the rural areas. In the rural areas you will fins that there is no work in most of the days when the officers concerned, whether S.D.Os of the Public Works Department or the Block Development Officers have to be outside the station. So, if this is the way the Government is run, then I am afraid, Sir, that all the promises will be a cry in the wilderness.
Another point that I would like to say is to endorse the view which the hon. Member from Jaiaw has just said. That more and more industries for the people should be established. For example, Government said here that industries based on forest, minerals and agriculture based industries only will be set up in the State. But I say and I suggest why don't we start one mini steel plant here. It does not cost such, I understand that only one or two crores of rupees will do. This will help the State and it will go a long way in meeting the requirements of building materials in our State. This will become a big one in future, that is if we can start it right away.
As far as agriculture is concerned, I would like to say that in spite of all the efforts that Government has made, the main thing, that is soil testing has not been undertaken in a proper manner. The soil of the entire State has not been properly tested and analysed and naturally whatever amount of fertilizer we apply, we will not get the expected result. We have seen the plight of potato, and there are many diseases in our crops. This is mostly due not to the condition of the soil, but the wrong application of fertilizers by the people because there is a great lack of publicity and propaganda by the Government. At the same time, if we are to be self sufficient in food Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel that we must also try to erect one fertilizer plant. It may be a mini one or a big one, there is no harm in it, only that we set up a plant here so that we won't be dependent on others. And I can say that our State will be self-sufficient in a short time in food production.
I would like to say a word also in so far as Public Works Department is concerned. Here again there are proposals for spending money for construction and improvement of roads and other things. But I must say that in many parts of the Districts especially Khasi Hills District, there are many places where there are big rivers that cannot be crossed over by the people. But because of paucity of funds from the Block or other Departments, bridges cannot be constructed over these rivers. So I would like no suggest to the Government to take over and construct new bridges. They may not be motorable also, but at least they will be used by the people.
Lastly Sir, I would like to say a word on Water Supply of Shillong. The proposal of Shillong Water Supply has been there many years ago. But as it is at present though in some places, water has been easy as we can see in the news papers but I tell you that in many places in Shillong, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, water supply is very very acute (bell rang). This is the month of June and it is summer, when we expect abundant supply of water will be there. So I cannotreally understand Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, whether there is actually abundant water supply in Shillong or scarcity.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. Rava, I will give you 9 minutes.
Shri Manindra Rava (Tikrikilla) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to participate in the debate of the budget speech delivered by the Finance Minister to this august House. In the budget speech, we found that we have got a deficit of Rs.94.75 lakhs. This deficit means that we are going to progress more and more in future. The Hon'ble Minister brought this deficit without imposing any new tax on the people of the State of Meghalaya. So, I congratulate him in this regard. In my first point, I would like to touch on health. Health is wealth. Without health we cannot do anything. So for preservation of health we should do anything and everything whether it is to be done by the Government or by the people. But in many cases, we have seen that most of the dispensary and hospital buildings in our State are in a dilapidated condition. I would like to refer to the dispensary at Tikrikilla which is under my Constituency. Last time it was visited by the Public Accounts Committee and they have seen the condition of this dispensary. It is beyond description and I myself took up this matter to have it constructed by the Department but yet no good result has been achieved. So I would request the Government to look into the matter and construct a new dispensary and staff quarters at Tikrikilla at an early date. Over and above that, one thing is this that most of the dispensaries are running without medicines. The common people have made complaints that they are not getting some of the common medicine, and in some cases we ourselves also enquired into the matter and we also failed to get the common medicines. In this year, we have seen that instead of supplying medicines, only bandage clothes and huge bundles of cotton wool are supplied to this dispensary. this is a matter of surprise. Unless there is medicine, how this bandage cloth and cotton wool can be used. So I request the Government to take necessary steps in this regard.
Secondly, I would like to make some observation on transport. The running of State Transport buses is not at all satisfactory. The main thing is that some conductors used two or three ticket books for the same passenger bus. This is really surprising. I myself brought it personally to the Minister-in-charge last year, but the same practice is being continues till today. In last March Session also when I was going down to Gauhati by the Meghalaya State Transport Bus the same practice was found to be in vogue. They used 2 or 3 ticket books for the same bus and there is no mention of the number of seat, book number is found to be different and ticket number is also different. One conductor got down at one place in the outskirt of the city and another conductor got inside the bus with a new ticket book. I do not know how this system came into the management of the State buses.
So I would request the Government to look into this matter also. At the same time, I would like to request the Government to introduce one State Bus to run through that important road, i.e. from Tura via Phulbari upto Gauhati. As it is a very very important road, I would like to request the Government to introduce one Bus on this road.
Thirdly, I would like to come to Public Relations Department. The Department of Information and Public Relations is one of the most important Department in the State. Because this Department can focus the real picture of the State to other State. But it seems this Department in our State is a bit isolated. It has got no touch with the common people of the State. So far, I observe our Meghalaya State has become the paradise of natural scenery, various cultures and languages. This Department should take effective measures to of bring all these vivid pictures and glorify our State. So also this Department has a great responsibility to organise so that people get a vivid picture of our various cultures and languages.
Fourthly, I would like to touch on employment situation. Of course, the Government of Meghalaya have kept the provision of 5 per cent reservation for the tribals other than Khasis, Jaintias and Garos. But in practice, we have not seen this policy of the Government being implemented in respect of giving employment to the tribals other than Khasis Garos and Jaintias in the State. So I would also request the Government to look into this matter and see that this 5 per cent reservation of posts for candidates belonging to Ravas, Koch, Hajongs, Lalungs, etc., is strictly implemented.
Fifthly, I would like to touch on the question of administrative reorganisation. the hon. Member from Phulbari has just emphasised the need for setting up of an administrative unit comprising Dadenggiri-Selsella Development Block Areas. I fully agree to his proposal, as these two Blocks are still very backward and I feel one administrative unit should be set up in this area. With these few words, I would resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. G. Mylliemngap. I will give you 23 minutes.
Mr. G. Mylliemngap (Sohryngkham S. T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at the start, I would like to express my gratitude to the Finance Minister who has presented the Budget with minus figures of Rs.165 lakhs and he could bring it down up to the extent of (-) Rs.94.75 lakhs even without imposing any fresh taxes. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it may be further be decreased if we judge from the performances and way of working of the Finance Department which we have seen and heard. This Department is very systematic and very fond of raising objections. (Laughter)
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I remember when I was in the office of the Accountant General, whenever there was any pre-audit Bills to be passed we have a mentality to just dispose of it by raising objections here and there and return the bills to the senders and in the meantime we are transferred to some other table. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I just want to bring this fact because our Finance Department is also placing hurdles most of the times which cause surrender of money that has been allocated in the Budget; especially Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Plan Money which they have allocated in the Budget. Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I request the Finance Department, through you, to speed up and give concurrence to the plans and proposals of different Departments so that all these handicaps which stands in the way of implementation are removed.
Now, coming to the Budget as a whole, it is really heartening to note that Agriculture and its allied subjects have been given top-most priority. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I bring out a comparison in this House between the two States in the country, i.e., Punjab and West Bengal. At one time, the Chief Minister of Punjab, late Pratap Sing Kairon, was all out for agriculture and the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, late B.C. Roy, was all out for industries and we can see at present the difference of economic conditions and political stability in these two States. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel that it is very appropriate to take lessons from these two States. Some of the hon. Members have mentioned about the Farmers' Multi-purpose Co-operative Societies. It is a fact Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that the implementation of the scheme was taken up in a bit in haste and this is the lack of proper manpower were actually the main causes for bringing us into this difficult situation as it is now. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Government is quite seized of the problem and had been kind enough to place the services of one IAS Officer as the General Manager of this Co-operative Society and we hope that in course of time we will be able to win back the confidence of the Members which we have lost due to many causes and factors that have caused us this trouble or rather which have landed us into troubled waters. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to touch a little on the Police Department. Police as you know, Sir, is not only a spending department but it is also an earning department. In the current year's budget, it is estimated that Rs.15,24,700 will be the earning of this department. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are now living in a welfare State and we are no longer living in a Police State. Education, Science and Technology are developing very fast and these developments brought about many changes in the society. Some of these changes may be bad and some may as well as be good. Crimes now a days are no longer committed in the same way as they were committed ten or fifteen years back. I remember a post mortem report from the doctor where he stated that the person died of a deep wound in the chest caused by sharp weapon. But the investigating officer did not accept the report. He returned the report to the doctor with a remark, to be more specific. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the doctor has said that he cannot be more specific. This is the conception which our police personnel are still having now a days. They wanted that the doctor should say that a patient was killed by a dao or by a particular sharp weapon. Actually, it is the duty of the investigating officer to find out what that sharp weapon was. Further, I would like to elaborate that now a days, the greatest crime which the parents are very much scared of their children and the next generation is the indoctrinisation to drugs. We know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, these drugs are being taken in different forms. I know one instance. Even in Barabazar there is a shop where they are selling these drugs in the form of cigarettes and biri. they emptied the contents of a ready made cigarette or biri and filled up with the drugs inside and then they sell that packet to their known customers. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel that our police personnel should be properly trained and the whole department renovated now so that they can detect the criminals and crimes which are prevailing at the present day, in a different form. therefore, I feel that some sort of special education and training should be imparted to our police personnel. But alas, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you go through the budget estimates you will find that against training and education of police personnel a sum of Rs.10,000 only has been earmarked. this amount is really insignificant and they are not doing justice to the Police Department whereas a provision for modernisation of the C.I.D. and Vigilance department for purchase of machineries and equipments a provision of Rs.1,27,000 has been allocated. Also a provision of Rs.1,04,000 has been allocated for the purchase of vehicles by this department. I feel Sir, that simply with equipments and vehicles without man power to man those machineries and equipments it will not help us. We cannot just please some of the representatives of the firms but we have also to see that our society is free from any deteriorating feature which may result of these crimes. Further, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Police Department is not actually functioning as is expected of it. I know a certain case were people from Bangladesh had infiltrated into the territory of India in 1972 but till this day some of these people are still here without having any permission to continue to stay here, and I know no action has yet been taken to find out how many infiltrators are here and how many of them had gone back after repatriation. I know a case and to be specific I would give an example. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there was one Shri Bibhash Ranjan Dey from Sylhet. This man entered into India and reported his arrival to the Police Station. But this man is still here. Now, not only that he is here, he is also working in Shillong. He is the cinema operator of Assam Regimental Centre. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if this State of affairs is going on I feel myself insecure. I feel that the whole country is insecure if we are not actually alert in this respect.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, coming to the Industries Department what I feel is that this Department or this baby is not properly cared for and not properly looked after. I have heard of a Limestone Making Plant Factory at Sutnga since a long time. The Limestone Making Plant is ready for production, how long this readiness will take. As it is now, that sort of thing cannot be thought of. I do not know how long the Government will take to commission this plant. May I request the Government, through you, Sir, that this sort of delay will not actually bring a good picture of our State. I do not know much about the management of the Industries District Offices in other Districts but what I know is about the management of the district office here in Khasi Hills and the implementation of the district schemes. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let us take some broad instances. You know there are schemes in this department where there are provisions for grants and loans. You may be happy to know that there are cases in which the same individual is getting both loans and grants. This is not actually encouraging because thee are thousands and thousands of applicants who actually want to avail of this opportunity which the Government is extending. Also there are people who are getting grants or loans every year. They are getting them again and again. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not know what these people have done with the tools they have received from the department as grant-in-aid year after year.
These tools are not consumable and I don't know how they used to get such grants every year. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, another over-lapping which I have noticed in the department is that there is no proper co-ordination between the Department and the Blocks. Some individuals, I have personally seen, received grant from the Blocks as well as from the Department. So may I request the Government, through you, Sir, to see that all these lapses be promptly scrutinised and examined by the Department at their offices and avoid them in future. Further Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I come now to another aspect of industries Department. In this Department there are training centres, production centres and also sale depots. But Sir, to my utter surprise I have seen in the Audit Report of the A.G. that all these training centres and production centres are not having their store keepers. The posts of store keepers for such centres are really essential because lots of raw materials and finished products are being produced and stored in these centres. Therefore, I feel that the Government should take note of all these facts and tighten up its nerve to eliminate these draw-backs so that Plan money is properly spent.
Next, I come to transport Department. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, when I mention about this Department, probably the minds of our hon. Members are all concentrated on G.S. Road. But I am not going to dwell only on G.S. Road. What I want to stress here in this Department is that we should also include communication and navigation. By navigation, I mean to say that we have got plenty of rivers in our borders and I think it is worthwhile that the Government should study and make a survey on the possibilities of those river navigations so that we can have an outlet not only through road transport alone. If the present relationship with Bangladesh still prevails, I feel we can avail this type of communication by means of navigation .... (bell rang) .... Further, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I request the Government through you, with in regard to rail-way head which is supposed to come up to the boundary of our State, to take steps immediately so that the harassment and unnecessary detention of our carriers carrying essential commodities is stopped. therefore, I feel that this question of bringing a rail-head into our boundary is very very important and I request the Government through you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, to take up this question immediately so that our carriers can transport their essential commodities to some States also without any handicap.
Lastly, regarding G.S. Road, I would only like to make a mention that this is a life line of this part of the world and this road is a monopoly road which our Government is also a co-owner of it. But surprisingly enough it seems that our Government do not have much say on it. .... (bell rang) .... Just one minute more, Sir. The whole affair of this road is being managed and manipulated by the Assam State Road Transport Corporation. Meghalaya is just in name only. Therefore, I feel that the Transport Department of our Government should be active and make best efforts to have an equal say on this road as long as it is a joint-ownership. As you, Sir, our local contractors carrying their load through this road are facing troubles because for each ton of load they have to pay Rs.14 to Rs.16 to the Corporation... (bell rang) ... One minute, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : I have already given you two minutes. Your time is up.
Shri Grosswell Mylliemngap : I feel, this is denying the constitutional rights of the contractors and traders and therefore, I request that the Government should try to do something about it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Now, Mr. S.D. Khongwir. You will get 15 minutes.
*Shri S.D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, since the time at my disposal is very limited I will skip the facilitation part of it and I will personally meet the Hon'ble Finance Minister in his Chamber and convey my congratulations to him. Many hon. Members have already expressed their concern about the execution, implementation and names of schemes. We see that most of them are written or promised in papers only, but when it comes to the implementation part of it, it is always losing its importance. So on this account, I would like to implore upon the Government not to be merely a conceiving Government, but also an implementing Government.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, first of all, I would like to say a few words on agriculture. Since it is also an accepted policy of the Government that agriculture is the main stay for our State, in this respect, I would like to say a few words on manures and fertilisers. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this respect, we have had several complaints especially from the interior areas where most of our farmers and agriculturists live, that they do not receive adequate quantity of fertilisers and timely supply of manures and fertilisers. In this regard, I would like to remind the Government the incident which has recently occurred here in the district of Khasi Hills where one of the agents of fertilisers has created or remanufactured his own fertilizer and supplied it to the people, Sir, I would also like to implore upon the Government in the utilisation and the using of what it is called plants protection because in plant protection, I understand, pesticides are being used. I would remind the Government that the Department concerned should educate to teach the people the proper use of these pesticides, because most of them, I believe are ignorant.
Another point Sir, I would like to say is about potato development. The target that is expected during this financial year 1974-75, is placed at 76,000 tonnes of potato from the Khasi Hills District. I would like to suggest to the Government or rather to say that the provision in the current year's budget for the development of potato and potato seeds is very much inadequate because potato cultivation, especially in Khasi Hills, is very important. I would suggest that the Government should lay more emphasis on the development of this particular commodity.
Now I come to health and medical. In this regard Sir, I would like to inform the Government, through you, about the horrible condition of most of the dispensaries, especially in the rural areas. Many times, Sir, we have had a discussions on the floor of the Assembly and we have informed the Government about the deplorable condition of the dispensaries, especially in the supply of medicines. In some dispensaries, where there are medicines, there is no doctor and where there is doctor, there is no medicines. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at Mawlai last month, there was an attack of diarrhoea and dysentry and many cases, especially the children, had to be brought to the hospital at Jaiaw and Civil Hospital. The people in the locality do not have faith in the dispensary because they know that the dispensary has no adequate and effective medicines. That is why the people have to spend extra money to bring the children to the hospitals or consult private doctors. I would also like to point out to the Government about the huge congestion in the Civil Hospitals, especially here in Shillong. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would suggest that as far as possible, we upgrade some Public Health Centres in the Blocks into 30 bedded hospitals. Sir, since there has been a healthy convention or practice that yesterday a Member of the Ruling Party has conceded some minutes to our side, I would also like to concede half a minute to the Hon'ble Finance Minister who represents Nongthymmai. I would advocate for setting up a 30 bedded hospital in his constituency at Nongthymmai and also a 30 bedded hospital in my constituency at Mawlai. (Laughter).
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to say a few words on education. It is an accepted policy of the Government that the Government would like to remove illiteracy from the State and in doing so, the Government has already appointed M.E. School teachers. I would like to impress upon the Government that merely appointing teachers will not do. I would suggest that the Department concerned should try to inculcate a spirit of service among the teachers, because most of them, as we have seen, go to take their assignment just because they are teachers appointed by the Department. They visit the school and do the work for one or two hours only. So I would like to impress upon the Government that the teacher, especially in the rural areas, has to do a lot more than just going to school simply to teach. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the most important thing is that the teacher should act as the guide of those people. In most cases, we find that it is very difficult to get the parents of these children sending them to school and it is the duty of the primary school teachers and M.E. School teachers to go and visit the houses and try to talk to the parents to send their children to school. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to say a word about tourism which has been said by other hon. Members. In this regard, I would only like to suggest to the Government with regard to the foreign tourists, especially since our districts there is dearth of good hotels, and toeing the line of the hon. Member from Mawhati who said that the foreign tourists when they come to our place, do not want to see lakes, parks or golf course, but to see the real tribal life. So in this respect, I would suggest as is prevailing in some of the European countries, especially Switzerland, to have paying guests system. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Government can invite some tribal families to open up paying guests, give accommodation with prior notice to the Government or Department concerned. When any foreign tourists come, they will register their names and get accommodation in the tribal houses in the three districts.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to remind at this juncture, the assurance given by the Government some time last year on the floor of this august House about the construction of the slaughter house at Mawlai. But, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I had been trying to find out from the budget whether there is provision or not for the construction of that slaughter house and I had not come across any provision whatsoever in the budget for this year for construction of a slaughter house despite the fact that Government and the Department concerned have tried to find a suitable site for the construction of the slaughter house. I would also like to request the Minister-in-charge of Excise, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on a very important road leading to Umjajew Distillery. I would request the Minister- in-charge of Excise to kindly speak to Finance Minister (Loud laughter) in this regard so that a provision in the budget is made for the construction of this very important road.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like now to say a few words on the report embodied in the Budget Speech at page 18 pertaining to the administrative re- organisation. i very much welcome the steps proposed to be taken by the Government for the creation of more districts in the State. I would hasten to suggest that in so far as Khasi Hills is concerned, why not create 4 or 5 more districts so that we can get more fund allocation from the Centre when the number of districts will be more. Of course this also will go in the case of Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills. But since I know Khasi Hills very well I will confine my speech and suggestions to the Khasi Hills district only.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the same page, we read about the absorption of tribal employees. It is no doubt very welcoming that 169 tribal employees have so far been absorbed in Meghalaya but Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this regard (bell rang) I would like again to remind the Government that it has done practically nothing. It has not used its good offices to get more of these tribal employees to be absorbed either in the Central Government offices and the North Eastern Council and other offices in Shillong, because Mr. Deputy Speaker, if my memory serves me right, the Government has given a statement some time in 1972-73 that it will use its good offices to get these persons absorbed in Central Government offices in Shillong. There is another case regarding the proposed shifting of Central Government offices down to Gauhati, especially in the case of P & T and A.G. also. This is a matter of life and death, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, since the Assam Government has taken steps to appeal to the Government of India to shift the Training Centre of Posts and Telegraphs to Gauhati, I do not see why our Government also cannot take up this matter with the Central Government so that this Posts and Telegraphs Training Centre will remain in Shillong.
I would like to say something also about Sports and Games. I do not find any provision in the budget for the development of sports and games.
Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. Khongwir, your time is up.
Shri S.D. Khongwir - I have a hundred other things Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, but I will meet the Departments concerned. I am very pleased with the Hon'ble Ministers of Forests and Medical, whom yesterday I have approached for some business in my area and they have attended to them very promptly. So with these few words, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think I should resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Now Mr. Plansing Marak, I will give you 17 minutes.
Shri Plansing K. Marak (Kherapara S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to repeat the same old story by participating in the general discussion of the Budget. In order to repay the debt we owe to one of the hon. Members in the opposite bench who was speaking in Garo language I was quite determined this time to speak in Khasi, but unfortunately, in spite of my best attempt, I could only pick up three words, 'sngewbha shong, and sngap'. Anyway, with these words I am unable to express my ideas and I am compelled to speak in English again. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will repeat the same old story and I am not going to speak any thing now which I requested in this august House before. The fact that I am going to speak again the same thing signifies that this request which I have made two years ago has not been implemented by the Government.
First of all, I would like to discuss about agriculture because, as stated by the Finance Minister, agriculture is the back-bone of the economy of the people of Meghalaya and 82 per cent of the people of Meghalaya are agriculturists. As such it is felt that it is essential to improve the lots of the agriculturist. Today, if you go to Garo Hills, you will find that people are faced with great scarcity. Before I came to this Assembly I had an opportunity of going around almost the entire district in order to see the food situation prevailing in the District. I am surprised to find that in the areas in Maheshkhola up to Phulbari, Rongjeng and Songsak, people are really starving.
I would appreciate if Government would take prompt action in order to feed these hungry people by sending sufficient quantity of rice. But I would suggest here that the quantity which was being sent to Garo Hills is not at all sufficient. I have brought this to the notice of the Government and I believe they will be ready to give sufficient food stuff to the suffering people. The people in my Constituency would not have suffered from starvation had my my request to the Agriculture Department been implemented some years ago. I have brought to the notice of the Government one vast plot of land at Karikoja the area of which is about 500 acres. This plot of land has been inspected by the District Agricultural Officer and a recommendation has been made. But unfortunately, even till today no action has yet been taken. Had this plot of land been converted into wet cultivation, at least the starvation condition of the people of that area would have been mitigated to some extent. Another area I found last time while going around is Asugiri where there is a plot of land suitable for wet cultivation. It is near a big river of Bogai. Since the river is big, it is not possible to construct a dam for irrigation. If lift irrigation is made in that very area, not less than 30,000 quintals of paddy can be procured from that area. This also, I have brought to the notice of the Agriculture Department, but no action has been taken. Another plot of land which is suitable for wet cultivation is Amindagiri, which stretches to about 5 to 6 miles and if this vast land is converted into wet cultivation, this land alone can produce sufficient food stuff to meet the requirements of the needy people of Tura and the surrounding areas. Though I have brought this also to the notice of the Government, no action has been taken. Another area is Joshipara about 1 mile in length. In this area also, wet cultivation is suitable and there is a big river and lift irrigation is essential. If this is taken up, the position in the district will be much improved. Another vast land which is quite suitable for wet cultivation is Rajingpara. I have requested the Government to reclaim those lands to improve the food production in Garo Hills. I would simply remind the Government to take up this matter by reclamation of lands so that the people will be able to cultivate in this land and increase the food production.
Another question regarding agriculture. I am not at all satisfied with the work of the Land Use Survey Department and Engineering Department of Agriculture. I do not know the persons and officers concerned if they all visited these lands. Whether the Officers concerned has gone round the district or not and whether he has gone to the place I have mention here in this august House. I wonder. it is the duty of the Government to take prompt action in order to reclaim these wet cultivable lands. Another thing, I am not satisfied with the working of the Engineering Department of Agriculture because they have not done anything to construct dams and also to improve the land to produce sufficient food stuff. So I appeal to the Government, through you, Sir, to kindly look into these things so that food production can be increased and the people will not face starvation as it is today. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my next point is education.
With regard to education, I would like to bring the following to the notice of the Government for necessary action and rectification. No.1 is appointment of teachers for Government M.P. School. there are teacher in that school and secondly, for Girls' High School. No Headmistress has been appointed up till today for efficient running of the school. Therefore, one Headmistress should be appointed. Thirdly, this is very important and if there is any person from the Education Department, I would especially appeal them to take note of this. In my district, that is the Border Student Subsidy Scholarship, lot of money has been sanctioned to the border areas students. I do not know how many students are getting this benefit. There is no rule, no regulation. Sometimes, the scholarship is disbursed by the Deputy Inspector of Schools. But to my surprise, I find this year the scholarship which was given to the students of the M.E. Schools by the Deputy Inspector of Schools is now given by the Inspector of Schools.
Now, why should the Inspector of Schools take the responsibility or power to disburse all the money, and not give it to the Deputy Inspector of Schools. This should be properly maintained. So I appeal through you, Sir, to the Department concerned that rules must be laid down and followed strictly.
Another point I would like to raise, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is gradation of the seniority of teachers of M.E. Schools which has not so far done. In due course, somebody by doing something, will supersede the seniority of others. So it is time that this gradation of seniority is done at early date. Another pointy with regard to Education, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is confirmation of the M.E. School teachers. I came to know from one of the teachers that in spite of the fact that they have served for more than 17 or 18 years, their services have not been made permanent till today. Therefore, it is time that these posts are made permanent so that we can determine the seniority of the teachers.
Regarding employment, I have not much to speak, but I will simply say that Garos are not adequately represented in Secretariat and Directorate Levels. I would request the Government to see that the Garos are adequately represented so that they will also become partners in the day-to-day administration.
In the District level administration we have decided to appoint a non-official Chairman. But this also has not materialised though it has been proposed some time back. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, many speakers have spoken regarding the Transport Department and it was my determination not to speak again about transport. But unfortunately, I am compelled to speak on this subject because yesterday at about 7.45 p. m. when I went to the bus stand, I could not find the Tura bus. It has not yet come. May be the Bus has been stranded on the way. It is the duty of the transport Department to see that buses come in time. Even 7.45 p.m. bus has not yet arrived from Tura possibly something must have happened on the way. So, it is my earnest request to the Transport Department to set these things right. The running of buses between Tura and Shillong is quite irregular. The buses do not arrive in time. This has given trouble to the passengers. In spite of our repeated requests nothing has been done to improve the plying of buses between Tura and Shillong.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to supply, I have spoken in my speech on agriculture and I will not touch it gain but I would only appeal to the Government to give some more stocks to my District because my District is facing a serious food scarcity.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have promised to our people to give a better administration. We promised to make it a model State, so that other States can copy our activities, our good examples. And I would like to pose a question to the Government whether we had shown such examples so that other States can copy them. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Meghalaya is a land carved out of Assam which is called land of Lahe lahe (Laughter). Assam is like a father and Meghalaya is the son of that great father. There is an English proverb, which says, "like father like son" If Assam is the land of Lahe Lahe Meghalaya is becoming the land of Piche Piche. (Laughter).
With these few words, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, since my time is almost out I would like to bring only one more point, that is regarding the appointment of an Enquiry Committee to enquiry into the Goalpara - Kamrup border. Since there is a proposal in Parliament I would request the Government to urge upon the Government of India to take action on this score. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Now Mr. Lewis Bareh. You will get 10 minutes.
Shri Lewis Bareh (Rymbai S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Finance Minister has presented the budget for 1974-75. The budget speech of the Finance Minister contains the guidelines of the Government for the improvement of administration. Sir, in associating myself with the budget speech, I would like to make a few observations on the following subjects. With regard to Agriculture, I fully agree with the remarks made on the food production. There is no denying the fact that the sale management and promotion of food production are being conducted by the Community Development Block in the matters of implementation of the schemes. But the areas under cultivation are only on paper records and no works at all. But now Sir, under the Fifth Five Year Plan the Government modified its policy, and there are proposals as lid down under the Minor Irrigation Project in Jaintia Hills with regard to this. It is stated that there are two projects - Pynnah Project and Umblang project. I do hope Sir, that the purpose will be of course to bring thousand acres of land cultivation.
Now I will come to the Nutrition Project Sir. These are the Centrally sponsored Schemes which are still to be continued by the Central Government, and yet to be supervised and managed by the State Government. Sir, in this, there is lack of supervision by the Community Development Block to expectant mothers and developing age of children. Hence the benefits go only to the supplier and not to right people (Interruption).
Shri H. Hadem (Mynso -Raliang S. T) : I rise on a point of order. Under Rule 279 (2) it is stated that a private member may not read his speech, but refresh his memory by references to notes. But no ruling has been given from the Chair. (Laughter).
Shri B.B. Shallam (Jowai S.T.) : Speak on the loud speaker.
Shri H.E. Pohshna (Nongtalang S.T.) : The Member was reading the names of the schemes.
Shri H. Hadem : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we shall have to exhibit whether the schemes of the speech itself are correct.
Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) : I think the mike may be brought nearer to him.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Shri Lewis Bareh, you may continue.
Shri Lewis Bareh : I think top priority should be given and special attention paid towards the reconstruction of the buildings of the collapsed Dispensaries at (I) Bataw at (II) Pamra Paithlu. It is regrettable to note that no provision has been made for the purpose of reconstruction of the said Sub-Centre at Bataw and Pamra Paithlu.
Now I come to the Transport facilities. Sir, in connection with the transport facilities the State Government had constituted its own Meghalaya Transport Corporation. With regard to this, Sir, there are various representations from the Public to the Government but the Government gave no response at all. That previously Sir, the road transport was operated by the Assam State Road Transport Corporation and that should have been continued by the Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation. But I am sorry to say that since the Meghalaya State has constituted its own Transport Corporation there is a cry from all quarters, from the people especially of my area. So Sir, I hope the Government will look into the matter for the interest of the public. Now I will come to one special road communication. With regard to this special item, Sir, there is a road programme for implementation of the road schemes especially in our area where most of the road schemes are not implemented during 1974-75 and most of them have been continuing since five or six years ago. But it appears that since then no new roads are to be taken up for the interest of the people and the entire area of the District. Now Sir, I would like to bring to the notice of the Government, through you, that there is no provision made in in the budget for these roads. With regard to the proposed road from Borkhat to Sonapur since some years back provision had been made by the Government and lots of Government money have been spent in connection with the survey works. So I cannot understand the reason why now there is no attempt to take up this very vital and important road for the interest of the people especially in the border areas along the border of Bangladesh. While I was on tour to the border areas I saw that the people are suffering a lot when the price of rice there for the last few months has gone up to Rs.5 per kg. this is due to the lack of communication that has not been taken up by the Government (bell rang) So Sir, with these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Now Mr. Jormanick Syiem.
Shri Jormanick Syiem (Mylliem S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will try not to repeat the same subjects on which the hon. Members have already touched. At the outset I would like to congratulate our Finance Minister for the budget estimates which have been presented before the House which indicate that our State is going to march forward. Looking at the past years any one can view that our State is going for an all-round development of roads, water supply schemes and the like except in a few cases where roads are entrusted to the development blocks in which the construction was done in a very haphazard manner and most of them are left incomplete for whatever reasons known to them. Now as I said that we are bringing all-round development to our State the Municipal Administration in Shillong deserves commendation. I thank the Government for having made funds available to the Municipal Administration. As we have seen, roads have been repaired, important black spots have been cleaned up though water supply is not yet adequate especially during the dry season. Credit also is due to the Executive Officer who has devoted all his time attending the whole town to see that roads, streets and other things are being attended to. I hope that this time when a regular Board will be formed after election, the members of the incoming Board will pursue the development now initiated by the Executive Officer under the supervision of the Government.
Another subject which I would like to touch Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is Soil Conservation. Our Meghalaya State is fast becoming a desert in not very distant future unless soil conservation and reforestation are adopted. I congratulate the Government in its effort to start soil conservation especially in Garo Hills which I had the occasion to visit two or three times during these months. I could see that vast areas are being taken up for soil conservation and efforts are being made to give people alternate lands for wet cultivation. I do not know how far in Khasi Hills we could take up such schemes but in Jaintia Hills I think it will not be difficult, if the District Council or Dolois can co-operate with the Government. But here in Khasi Hills in view of the peculiar land tenure system, the scheme will be a bit difficult. Even then, with proper approach to the District Councils, the Syiems and other heads of the villages, I think there is no doubt that soil conservation can also be taken up in this district. Once upon a time I had the opportunity of allotting a plot of land on a hillock which was lying barren for generations. With proper approach and conviction I was able to persuade the local people to allow this area to be started for soil conservation and now forest is growing in that area. I hope that the District Council in the Khasi elakas will make proper approach and make them have full play in carrying out the task of soil conservation even in the district, otherwise I am afraid the time is not far off when Khasi hills will become a desert.
Another point Sir, which I wish to say is that once we start soil conservation we cannot neglect irrigation, otherwise the people will have no land for alternate cultivation. If irrigation schemes are to be started, there will be places where lift irrigation will be necessary and for that we shall need power. It is unfortunate that we are still joint with Assam in running power. Why we are still under the Assam State Electricity Board, I do not know. We have not been able to constitute separate Electricity Board although six months have already passed. May be due to want of trained personnel or for the fastidiousness in selecting officers. But it is unfortunate that we are still have to stick to the joint cadre with Assam. In this case our officers may find it difficult to give and offer straight-forward suggestions as they have dual loyalty as there may be a difference of opinion. It is now for the Government, therefore, to find out ways and means how to get over these difficulties. Unless we have a separate Board of our own, we hall be at the mercy of other people. Up till now we are looking after distribution and rural electrification only, but power generation is being run and controlled by the Assam State Electricity Board. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to suggest through you, that the Department concerned take up this question as early as possible so that we shall not miss the bus. We have barely six months to constitute our own Board, if not then, we will have to ask for extension. I however will not say much on this since other members have already spoken but I will confine myself to other subjects which the hon. Members have not touched.
The next subject which I would like to deal with is co-operation. Co-operation used to be conspicious by its absence in these Hills. I, in the past years ha d the duty of carrying out propaganda for co-operation amongst our people with their individualistic views, and they were told that unless they work together and make an attempt in forming co- operative societies they cannot improve their lot. But recently when the people have become co-operation minded they submitted many applications through me for forming co-operative societies. But then the Department informed that unless they have an area of operation to cover 5,000 souls, no co-operative society can be formed. I do not know why the reserve Bank set up that criterion knowing fully well that the hills of Meghalaya are sparsely populated. If we are to cover an area of 5,000 souls, then it will be almost impossible for the members of any society to meet in any convenient place. It is a well known fact that the hill areas are sparsely populated, so unless this criterion is waived by the reserve Bank there is absolutely no hope for new co-operative societies to be formed at lest in Khasi Hills, and I believe this equally applicable to other districts also. I hope, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that this Government will take up this question with the Reserve Bank and apprise them of the difficulties of the hill areas so as to enable the people who desire to form co-operative societies with a lesser population, say about 2,000 in one area of operation to do so.
I think it is very important now that our cultivators should form societies and enjoy the benefits which they are getting from the Apex Bank in the shape of loans and also the subsidies from the Government without which it will be difficult to expect that they will ever improve their lot. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would urge upon the Government, through you, to see that the area of operation for the Khasi Hill Districts of Meghalaya be reduced to two thousand people which, I believe, the reserve Bank, when fully convinced, will also reduce their criterion.
Coming to the next subject Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to say a few words on the workings of the District Councils. The District Council of Garo Hills deserves congratulation and from what we have seen they have done very good job all round and that they are helping the Government in all matters. With regard to matters of administration, it does not seem to me that the District Councils in other districts are (Bell rang) so well alert. The only draw-back here Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is that the courts of District Councils are working as independent and separate entities. The magistrates of these courts are not transferable which, in my opinion, it is not a very conductive to good administration; there should be a healthy change if the judges and magistrates are transferred from one district to another to relieve them o the monopoly (Bell rang) and also to get impartiality from them. So Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to urge upon the Government to see how this healthy change can be made in the District Council courts, just as we have in the State courts, so that the courts will function with enthusiasms.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. F.K. Mawlot. You will have 15 minutes.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Nongstoin S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as usual, I congratulate the finance Minister as well as his colleagues who have been able to bring forward a very smooth Budget Speech Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as time is short. I will not take much time in praising the Government or any body. So, I will come straight-away to the subjects which I am to deal with. First of all, though most of the hon. Members have already spoken on education, I still have to say something on it. Why is there a problem of unemployment, why is there economic scarcity? It is all because of the fault of the system of education which we are following today. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, our system of education has created more problem not only to our Government and the Government of Assam but to the country as a whole. The present system of education only produces graduates, M.As and I.A.S's which does not offer scope for employment. But if the Government considers and thinks of reforming the system of education in such a way that it can give self-employment though, of course, the State Government is now trying to assist those persons who want to get themselves employed or engaged in different trades, still that is not efficient. For how long can the Government assist them? Every year students come out of schools, colleges and universities by thousands in numbers. So, my contention is that our system of education should be such that the students who have passed Classes VI, VII or VIII which is all general education should find avenues in which they can choose their own subjects according to their own interest and genius. Unfortunately, here in Shillong we have only one Technical School, the Don Bosco Technical School. But there are thousands of students; not to speak of those who come from outside. Whereas this Technical School alone can hardly accommodate 500 of them annually. So, if the Government comes forward with a proposal to have one more technical school, it may be called a Central School or the State Government School in which subjects of different trades are taught then it will be a boon to them. Say, a boy who has passed Matric but who cannot afford further studies like I.A.S. or Doctorate, he can choose his own line as an agriculturist or as carpentry and so on. So, Sir, our Government should at least open up avenues for those who cannot afford to go for higher studies right from their boyhood, say, 14 or 15 years of age; after that they can start their own work not depending entirely on Government services. Government should think in this sine and also if possible provide them with books. In this way the problem of employment will be solved and the economic condition of the people will be raised in no time. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, another thing. I appreciate the Government for having come forward with the assurance to give more incentives to the lower primary schools. Well, I am at one with the contention of the Government, but I am sorry to say that since 1969-70, the pay for five months due to the primary school teachers is still pending. Till today it has not been paid. This has to be paid by the State Government to the District Councils and the District Councils would then pay the teachers. But it appears that the Government has not handed the money to the District Councils and the District Councils would then pay the teachers. But it appears that the Government has nor handed over the money to the District Councils for the purpose. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to point out another aspect on education. We have now the North Eastern Hill University here in Shillong, but still there are students who want to study outside the State. They may like to go to Maharashtra, U.P., West Bengal for study, but they find tit difficult to get seats in other universities. So I would like to request the Education Department to get a few seats reserved for the students from these hill areas in different Universities, especially for post-graduate classes.
Now, coming to roads I am very happy to note that from the 3350 kilometers of roads during the Fourth period it has come to 5511 kilometers. This increase is really commendable. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this increase would have been much more if there was no duplication of work. What is that duplication of work? For example here is one road being constructed by the District Council, then Development Block is constructing one road and Deputy Commissioner will be constructing another road. All activities are centred round one area. As for example take the case of Markasa-Myriaw road. Of course, at Myriaw there is no road, all will start from the same point at Markasa and take different directions to come to the same place at Myriaw (laughter).
The Development Block will construct 2 miles and stop, the DC will construct 3 miles and then stop and District Council will dig and scratch some jhampal marks then stop. (laughter).
Then the Public Works Department people will say that since these people have started this way, let us take our own way. This is duplication of work.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) : This is not duplication; you may say lack of co-ordination.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot : It is over lapping of work. Anyway I would like to request the Government to examine the matter, and if possible, entrust the work to only one Department for the construction of roads. Instead of allowing this type of competition among the small agencies like Block Development or District Council and so on, Government, should have one clear policy of developing roads. Such competition brings about nothing stagnation of development.
Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to say something about agriculture also. In the past years and even today, the Government was helping the poor agriculturists in the villages by giving them grants, petty grants through the agencies like Development Blocks or through the District Agricultural Officer and so on. The grant is in between 500 to 200 rupees and sometimes 125 rupees or so. But for getting this petty amount of grant the poor farmer has to spend 3½ months to get himself acquainted with the officer to enable the officer to get his name by heart or to win his good wishes. Then what he will do with that grant of Rs500, Rs.200 or Rs.125 if he gets. The Gram Sevak will ask, "where is my share?" The accountant will ask "where is my share I have taken so much trouble for your grant?" The poor fellow, ultimately has to go back virtually empty handed. Therefore, I propose that if the Government really wants to assist the agriculturists, they should give grants in kind and not in cash. From now on the cash grants should be stopped.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, coming to Community Development, I had mention has been made in the Budget Speech regarding special Nutrition Programme. This has been entrusted to the Development Blocks for execution. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I know for a fact that the money which has been spent for special Nutrition Programme under the Blocks has not yielded any result. Sir, what the Development Blocks do is that they entrust this work to the Social Welfare Organisations to distribute the food to the small children of the village. But that is also difficult. That very person who is entrusted with that work either he or she has to bring or collect fire-wood, collect pan, for cooking and not only that, he or she is not paid or rewarden for that work. Naturally, he or she will try to gain something from this. This encourages her or him to resort to unfair means. He is compelled to do some thing of that kind. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my suggestion to the Government is that they are going to stick to their plan, to put more incentives in this Nutrition Programme, let Government entrust this job to the Lower Primary School teachers; so that the maximum benefit goes to the children. If this programme is entrusted to the Lower Primary School teachers much of the benefit will go to the children of the school concerned.
Next I come to employment. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, to ensure employment opportunities to our youths, we have in our district the District Selection Board. I would say that this Selection Board is rather an obstruction or stumbling block or may be a discrimination to the job seekers of the State. As it is today a peon or a Lower Division Assistant would find acute difficulty to secure a job through this Selection Board. For example, if an Officer in the Nongstoin Civil Subdivision wants to have one Lower Division Assistant for his office, he has to write to the District Selection Board and then the Selection Board issues an advertisement for the post, then calls for an interview and finds out a suitable candidate. This takes quite a long and complicated process. By the time the appointment is made the candidate may even refuse the appointment as he does not like to serve in the interior places. Now, Sir, if this selection of candidates is done by the Head of the Office or by the department concerned, it would somehow or other facilitate and quicken the pace of appointment to a considerable extent. If such appointment is to be done by the head of the office to recruit the candidate locally that have offered a solution of the problem.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me now come to the boundary question and the police Department in the State. In the Budget, under the head "Police" a huge amount is provided and also a huge amount is earmarked for the construction of barracks for the Police. Actually, I was expecting that new Outposts at different places along the Border would be established or proposed to be established. I was thinking that Police Out Post would be opened at Patharkhmah, Aradonga or Maheshkhola and Khanduli Bazar along the border of the State of Meghalaya or in the places where protection of the police is essential. But to my utter surprise Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I find that all this amount of Rs.16,10,000 is only concentrated in the outskirts of Shillong, Tura and Jowai. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my last request to the Government at this juncture is to consider at least to have more police outposts along the borders not only bordering Kamrup but especially Bangladesh, which is most strategically important. With these few observations, I resume my seat.
Shri M. Reidson Momin (Dadenggiri S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at the first instance, I would like to thank the Finance Minister and the Government as a whole for taking much trouble to present this budget to this august House. I do have much to say at the moment. I have gone through the budget and I am quite satisfied that there are lots of improvement and more funds are provided in this year than in the last year. Sir, I do not want to go into the details of the budget but I will only make a general passing remark on the administration and workings of the departments or the defects or certain departments. First, I would like to come to agriculture which is the back-bone of our State's economy, which needs more attention of the Government and which has been duly looked after by the Government also. But here I would like to say, Sir, that today agriculture is to be modernised and mechanised and as such we have to use machineries like bulldozers and tractors. I found to my dismay that so many tractors and bulldozers of this department are lying idle for want of spare parts and sanction. So, I would request the Government through you, Sir, to look into this matter and expedite repair of these machineries.
Then I come to irrigation. Most of the hon. Members who have spoken before me have stated that it is only by reclamation that we can bring more barren flat lands under wet cultivation and other cash crop cultivation. But this needs irrigation which is not looked after by the Government properly. If irrigation is provided to these areas our economy can be well improved and our people would be able to eat 2 square meal a day. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I represent the area which is the most scarcity hit and most under developed area but no irrigation work had been taken up in that area. I had the occasion to speak on this floor previously to provide irrigation in my area but so far nothing has been done. But I had been informed or rather gathered information that a team of experts to study the feasibility of damming certain streams and irrigation of certain areas has been formed. I do hope that this team will come to our area also and take up irrigation works.
Then I come to Public Works Department, Sir. Public Works Department is next priority to agriculture. Now, unless and until we have road communication, we will not be able to take those machineries or fertilisers or even the personnel of the department to these interior areas. So, this department is very important. But I find that there is no road communication provided to our areas. Of course, I am not blaming the Government for this because I know their resources and limitations. But I would like to inform the Government that even though my areas are exclusively situated by virtue of the geographical condition and had been branded as the most backward area no roads had been provided. Road communication is of utmost importance for the development of the State as a whole. I am disappointed that no road has been taken up except one. You see Sir, as I said and as stated by the hon. Members from Garo Hills also that these two months i.e., June and the coming month of July are the worst months. As observed by the hon. Member from Kherapara that today we need more rice. Sir, I would like to say for the information of the House that we do not have communication to carry those food stuffs and as such, even if you give us rice as we require, we do not have the means of carrying these food stuffs to the villagers who are in need of rice. I therefore request the Government to provide more roads for such interior areas. Because certain areas are inaccessible as the hon. Member from Phulbari has pointed out yesterday that Dadenggiri and Selsella Blocks are the most backward and backward areas respectively. Since the Government could not look after these areas properly, I would like to urge upon the Government to set up new administrative unit somewhere in that area including these two Blocks. And unless we have such Government agencies in the interior places we cannot look after the welfare of poor people. Here I would like to say that it is very unfortunate that a lot of damages is done by the wild elephants. Many houses are trampled upon by these elephants. Not only that, in some villages there are house gutted by fire and it takes time even to report these things to the Government because these places are inaccessible. It is only after one month or so that these reports go to the Deputy Commissioner for his action. A grant of Rs.50, Sir, was given to those suffering people. But Sir, I think, this Rs.50 was determined some 10 or 15 years back as its face value today would be hardly Rs.10. So I would like to urge upon the Government to increase this grant now so that a man who has lost his property, his house as a result of fire, can get at least construct a temporary shed. To start with, this Rs.50 will not enable him to construct even a thatched or bamboo house. So I once again would urge upon the Government to please consider this matter very seriously. So also Government should see to the extent of damages done by these wild elephants and help the poor people in reconstructing their houses. I would rather suggest to the Government to kindly increase this amount of Rs.50 to Rs.250 which I thing the face value of Rs.50 for some years back was equivalent to Rs.250 today.
Then, Sir, I would like to say a word about transport on which many hon. Members have already spoken. Of course, I do not have to say much on it, but still then I feel that this department is not working up to the mark in spite of the fact that Government is trying their level best to provide facilities to the people. But I am grateful to the Government of Meghalaya which in a short space of time, have been able to provide the longest route that is running from Shillong to Tura and back. Here Sir, I would like to say only few things. Now, people coming from Garo Hills have been facing a lot of difficulties. There are no facilities of waiting rooms in the booking office and for the drivers also there are no waiting rooms, no shelter for them and sometimes the conductors have to stay even inside the bus. They have got no retiring rooms and therefore they stay in the bus even in winter season. They are bitten by mosquitoes without any proper sleeping accommodation. So I request the Government to kindly allot them some sort of accommodation or some portion of the rooms now lying with the Family Planning Clinic in Police Bazar which has got a very spacious hall and which I also think the Family Planning Staff do not occupy all the available rooms. I feel this is an ideal and centrally located place in the town and therefore, I would request the Government, if possible, to allow this place to be used as the Shillong-Tura Bus Station and let the drivers and handymen stay there. Then there is a general complaint about tyres. Of course, I also know that tyres are not available in the market and that tyres which cost Rs.900 are sold at Rs.2,000 in the black market now a days. For this I do not blame the Government. But here I would like to point out that as soon as possible adequate stocks of tyres should be made whenever they are available for supply to those buses. This will help all the transport staff and at the same the travelling passengers will not suffer unnecessarily. Sometimes these drivers and handymen are working till late hours at night, up to 11 or 12 o'clock, they have to get up early in the morning say at 6 or 7 o'clock, which is not possible for then if they do not get proper sleep. I am not trying to blame the Government for this, as I said. But I am only pointing out these difficulties faced by these people. So I feel more remedy should be found out to mitigate the trouble of these people and therefore, I would request Government to kindly look into this.
Then coming to appointment of handymen, Sir, I am told that some third persons who are not at all employed were engaged to help them which they feel essential for maintenance of the vehicles. These helpers are meant for bringing water, pouring water into the radiator, jacking up and then climbing back to the driver's seat and cleaning it. These are the difficulties which our Government should look into.
Then coming to District Agricultural Officers, Sir, I have been told that their financial power is limited only to Rs.10,000 which limit has been fixed in 1950 or 1960. this Rs.10,000 will not enable them to construct even a bund or any irrigation work. So I would request the Government to look into these matters and also revise the financial power at a very early date so that our contractors and officers will not suffer at all.
Then Sir, I would like to join with some hon. Members who have spoken about the District Council. The District Council is an agency which helps about the State administration at the district level. Today we re talking about education for the upliftment of our people. We have to educate them and we have got university today by the grace of God. But I have seen that primary education in the State is now deteriorating and unless Government help them I do not think we can improve. Here I would practically like to point out that teachers have not been paid their salary regularly because sanctions are being made from the State Government to the District Councils. For some reason or other, they used to blame the State Government and the State Government used to blame the District Council. So I do not know where exactly trouble lies. But I believe there is something wrong there. Our Government should look into all these things very seriously and try to rectify the defects.
Then, now coming to the employees of the District Council. I want to point out here that the District Council is an autonomous body, it is a separate body by its own. The employees of the District Council are not entitled to pension benefit. So I would like to say here that they are also human beings like us and they also are looking for their future. They have been serving there for a number of years. So what will be their fate if they do not get any benefit after retirement. What will be the welfare of their children. So also is the case with those Gram Sevaks. They have, been devoting their time to work for the welfare of the people. They are working in the interior and suffering throughout the year. But at the time of their retirement they do not get any pension benefit. So I would request the Government, through you, Sir, to look into these matters.
Then Sir, I would like to touch a little about employment. Employment is a burning problem today and some hon. Members have repeated this problem again and again. This employment is a vital point where the State Government and every one of us have to concentrate. Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, Government has reserved 40% of posts for the Khasis and the Garos respectively. But I would like to point out to the Government that this 40% is not going to the brothers and sisters of Garo Hills. Some bureaucrats here in Shillong are trying to block the entry of our Garos into the Government service. Of course the Government is very sincere about that but unless the people are helping the Government, then our Meghalaya will be never prosper. if the discontentment is there, then the Garos and the Khasis will never be united together. There will be no integration. We will always think in terms of community. One will say that I am a Khasi and the other will say that I am a Garo. So this is a very important and serious matter, I know there is no trouble with the Government. Government is very sincere about it. I know that even some of our boys and girls from Garo Hills applied for the posts, but their applications were not received. This is a very shameful affair. Even when there is the M.P.S. C. but when some one has been enlisted in the list for interview, he has not been served with the notice. But when he came at his own instance, he has been served with the notice then and there. Many advertisements do not reach Garo Hills. As Mr. Francis Mawlot has pointed out that some boys and girls, although they are appointed by the Government they do not like to come. If somebody cannot come, then the appointment should go to the next candidate. If there are vacancies, Government should indicate the percentage for the Garos and the Khasis. For example, if there are 6 posts, Government should indicate that 3 posts are reserved for the Garos and 3 for the Khasis, so that the reservation of posts for the Garos does not go to the Khasis and likewise the reservation for the Khasis does not go to the Garos. With these few words, Sir I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. D.D. Lapang. You will get 19 minutes.
Shri D.D. Lapang (Nongpoh S.T.) : Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, at the very outset, I would like to express my thanks and sincere gratitude to the finance Minister for having brought to this House the budget of 1974-75. It is a fact to be admitted that the budget embodies very important schemes, projects and programmes which will really determine the destination of our newly born State. While associating myself with the discussions of the budget presented by the Hon'ble Minister for Finance, I would like to make the following observations.
I want to dwell a little on the Excise Department. At page 17, para 34 of the speech presented by the finance Minister, there are these words "illicit distillation and sale of illicit profit liquor are deep rooted evils which the Government is determined to weed out". I do congratulate the Finance Minister for having that determination would be translated into action. Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, there is a line mentioned that an amendment Bill to Excise Act will be brought by the Government in order to make the Act more effective. It is also said that the co-operation and services of the headmen of elakas and rajs will also be taken into and confidence. This is totally a new approach. It is a real involvement of the head of elakas, rajs and sirdarships because we cannot do anything if we do not get the co-operation of the public and the leaders. Government has taken this step which we do not hope will really help very much to make it successful. Now, talking of the statistical data of the Excise Department so far I can collect from Shillong office, the revenue collected by the Department for 1971 was Rs.7 lakhs, for 1972 Rs.14 lakhs and for 1973 Rs.20 lakhs. It is rising every year which indicates the efficiency of this Department. We still wish and bless that it will bring more revenue to the State. But Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, Government has not given attention to the welfare of the staff and officers of the Department. there are no quarters for them neither in Shillong Jowai nor Tura. It is a fact that the services of the Excise Officers are needed round the clock. Incidence of excise cases may crop up at any unexpected moment. I would request the Government to see that the officers and staff are provided with quarters. There is a shortage of staff in the Department. At the same time, there are no vehicles at Jowai and Tura, and even in Shillong, there are two vehicles which are very rotten. I have experienced myself, Sir that when I had arranged a raid party to come to Nongpoh, the party could not reach Nongpoh on that day because of the break down of the vehicle and on that day, they could not repair it because the breakdown occurred more than once during the day. This will have to be looked into.
May I jump to another subject, that is tourism. So far as this subject is concerned, I am tempted to accept that Meghalaya is the tourist paradise. But, Sir, if I am given the freedom to express my opinion, I would say that the Government has not done anything so far as this Department is concerned. We have had a very sad experience last year that an amount of as much as 8 lakhs of rupees had to be surrendered due to non-utilisation. It wonders us why this Department which has got scope for utilisation of money could not spend it. In fact, they should have demanded more than what has been provided. We see that the Tourism Department does not have any office staff and all that. if at all, we can say that there is a skeleton staff with one man. I do not know whether he is a U. D. or Head Assistant, and the Director in-charge is the Director of Publicity who is having dual function. We realise that this is an important Department which has to deal with foreigners coming form out side. How can we take the foreigners down to the small room in the Publicity office which is congested. There is no arrangement, no map, no information and nothing of the sort. We are simply letting down the Government and the image of our own by giving bad impression to the foreigners coming here as tourist. So Sir, I would request the Government to look into this matter with all the seriousness so that we can safely develop tourism. There are many lakes that can be beautified, caves, falls, hills and also the Government can make holiday homes. We can make picnic spot and orchid gardens. We can also make emporiums where we can exhibit our tribal arts and culture to the people coming from outside the State. But I am sorry to say that we have not done anything.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Sir, Government should look into the matter in order to publicize our Tourism Department. We can establish Information Centres for Tourism at Gauhati, Calcutta and Delhi, so that people will know really what is there ion Meghalaya and they will spend money and a lot of revenue will accrue to the State exchequer through this Department.
Coming to Supply Department. In this regard I congratulate the Department that in spite of the fact that there is a steep rise in prices all over the country and even in Assam and we have heard of a sad experience about scarcity of food and essential commodities, but in our Meghalaya State, the Government was able to keep the price level to the conveniences of the public, of course the price is higher now than in the previous years, but in comparison with other States, we must really thank the Supply Department which, under the able leadership of the Minister Supply, can really maintain the price in order to mitigate the difficulties of the people. Here, Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, we cannot avoid appreciating the co-operation of the Frontier Chamber of Commerce. This association of traders and commercial agencies ahs extended its sincere co-operation to the Government and I am sure that the Government will get its sincere co-operation in the days to come. I have got some suggestions to make. Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, that in all districts there should be sufficient buffer stock for at least 3 months to avoid unforeseen shortage of food stuff. One thing that the Government has not done till today is that it has not done any local purchase of paddy and rice. There has been a big leakage of rice from the Bhoi areas of Marmain, Aradonga and Garo Hills and some parts of Jaintia Hills. So we would request the Government to take up this matter in view of the fact the people I do not realise that their produces are needed by our State. I would say that local purchase be strengthened. I appreciate the erection of check gates by essential commodities from Shillong and other destination. It has been informed by the Deputy Commissioner that trucks coming from Gauhati used to go down to Gauhati loaded with essential commodities, but since check gates have been erected, the undesirable and un-social elements have been prevented from carrying such commodities.
Now I come to Sericulture. In the former years, it is a neglected and forgotten department, but now it has become a very important department and the Government has also taken an interest to improve this department, It is high time that we should see that our traditional weavers should not die out and we should bring it up with a modernised method. At page 15 of the Budget Speech, we fin that there are full time employees in this department which number up to 4,000. It is really to be accepted with gratitude.
Now, coming to the Health Department, it is to be noted with pleasure that this Department has been raising its standard from time to time, though Mr. Pohshna had mentioned something wrong with the Civil Hospital at Jowai. But so far as the Civil Hospital at Shillong concerned, it is worth mentioning here that it is a remark of the day that the Civil Hospital to other private hospitals. We have never heard such remarks in the years gone by. There is much room for improvement in the rural areas also, where we do not have doctors because there is no incentives for them; whereas the doctors in Shillong can carry on side-business. But in the interior, the doctors will have to go to the jungle and get bitten by mosquitoes without getting any financial benefit. Moreover, neither the doctors nor the pharmacists of dispensaries in the interior get their quarters. The doctor at Umden has to live in a very small shed with thatched roof. These are the factors which do not encourage the doctors to go to the interior. I am happy that the Government has come forward with the scheme for opening up hospitals for the benefit of the people in the years to come, like the Nongpoh Hospital. The P.W.D. has handed over the building to the Medical Department and I just had a talk with the minister for its inauguration. So the people for them. I would also like to mention here that formerly, the case of the Umden dispensary was only a cry in the wilderness, but now I may express my thanks to the Government that the P.W.D. has made the estimates for a 10 bedded hospital. I would also request the Medical Department through the Minister and also the Finance Minister to please accord and give administrative sanction so that the building can be started at the earliest possible time. The medical Department should also look into the supply of medicines as in spite of the long list of medicines listed for hospitals dispensaries, only very few medicines reached the dispensaries and the people to buy medicines from (bell rang) Shillong or somewhere else. I will require two minutes more.
So far as the rail head is concerned, Shri Mylliemngap also had the occasion to refer to this matter. It has come to my notice that the General Manager from Maligaon had written to our Government that he would like to send his Executive Engineer for survey and I understand that about 4 miles of this line of rail-head will enter into Meghalaya. So, I would request the Government to see that survey is taken up at the earliest possible time.
Before I resume my seat, Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, I, on my own behalf and on behalf of my colleagues from Ri Bhoi area and on behalf of the 90,000 souls of Ri Bhoi would like to express our thanks and gratitude to the Government for having made it possible to have in that area a separate Ri Bhoi Administrative Unit which has been inaugurated on 18th April 1974. We thank the Government through Shri B.B. Lyngdoh, who inaugurated the function in the company of Shri E. Bareh, Agriculture Minister and other M.L.As and M.D.Cs (laughter). We were anxiously expecting our Chief Minister to be present on the occasion but unfortunately he could not come. But we are definite and I also firmly believe that our Chief Minister will be there very soon when the Civil Sub Division will be inaugurated. (laughter) With these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Is there any other hon. member who would like to participate in the discussion; I can give him 10 minutes.
As nobody like to take part the House stands adjourned till 9.00 A.M. on Monday, the 17th June, 1974.
|R. T. RYMBAI,|
|Dated Shillong :||Secretary,|
|The 15th June 1974.||Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.|