Proceedings of the Meghalaya Assembly held at 9. a.m. Friday the 21st June, 1974 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong.
Present :- Prof R. S. Lyngdoh, Speaker in the Chair
QUESTIONS AND ANSWER
(To which replies were laid in the Table)
Mr. Speaker :-Unstarred question No. 18.
Vacant posts of Sanitary Inspectors in the State
Shri Onward Leyswell Nongtdu asked :
18, Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to State-
(a) Whether Government is aware of the fact that there are vacant posts of Sanitary Inspectors in the State?
(b) Whether there is any reservation for Meghalaya trainees in the Sanitary Inspectors Training School in Assam (at Chabua) ?
(c) If not whether Government propose to make some arrangements on this?
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Health) replied :
18. (a) -Yes.
(c)-Yes, Efforts are being made to secure reservation of seats in some other training institutions.
Mr. Speaker :-Unstarred Question No. 19.
Correct Standard of Weights and Measures in the State of Meghalaya.
Shri Kisto M Roy Marbaniang asked :
19. Will the Minister-in-charge of Weights and Measures be pleased to State--
(a) Whether it is a fact that the correct standard of Weights and Measures has been enforced in the State of Meghalaya.
(b) If so, whether Government is aware of the fact that the prescribed standard has not been followed by traders in many parts of the State?
(c) Whether Government is aware of the fact that traders in the Border Hats are using baskets for measurements of rice and other food stuff?
(d) Whether Government is also aware of the fact that the measurement particularly at Bara-bazaar, Shillong is for short of the standard weight?
(e) If so, whether Government propose to keep a through and regular inspection on the matter throughout the State?
Shri Bringston Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister, Weights and Measures) replied :
19. (a)- Yes, Standard Weights and Measures have been enforced in most part of the State.
(b)-Yes, in few interior areas.
(c)-Yes, necessary action had been taken for their removal but it may take some time as this is an age old habit.
(d)-No, all Weights and Measures have been verified periodically . There may be few stray cases and prosecution cases have been registered against the defaulters when ever detected.
(c)-Yes, Inspection have been and are being carried.
Shri Humphrey Hadem :Supplementary to 19 (b), Sir, what steps have been taken?
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries, etc) :Mr. Speaker, Sir, the department has officers who can go around and inspect and check on the weights and measures and they have to check from time to time in different places. So these are the steps that are being continued.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know how many times in a year this department inspected the interior places of these markets?
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries ) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I require notice for this.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : Unstarred question No. 19 (c) Mr. Speaker, when was this Act in force?
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) :-I require notice, Sir, on this question.
Mr. Speaker :-Unstarred question No.20.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh asked :
20. Will the Minster-incharge of Forests be pleased to State-
(a) The names of the area comprising the Government Reserved Forest ?
(b) Whether it is a fact that Government of Meghalaya has leased all the Reserved Forests to M/s. Meghalaya Plywood Limited ?
(c) If so, on what terms and conditions ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Forests) replied :
20. (a) -The names of the Government Reserve Forests as follows :
In Khasi Hills-
In Jaintia Hills-
In Garo Hills-
(b)- No, Sir,
(c)- Does not arise.
Shri H. S. Lyngdoh : In Unstarred Question No. 20 (a) Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I know what is the total areas of these reserved forests ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Forests) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I require notice because it is so difficult to get the information of the whole area.
Shri H. S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the main question is on the names of the area.
Mr. Speaker :- Yes.
Shri Maham Singh :Mr. Speaker, Sir, was there any agreement signed between the Government and the Meghalaya Plywood Ltd. in respect of the operation of Nongkhyllem, Saipung and Narpuh Reserved Forests ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Forests) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, there was an agreement and it was kept in abeyance now.
Shri Maham Singh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, in other words, may we know if the agreement is subsisting ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Forests) : I said it is kept in abeyance. It is not operating but it is kept in abeyance .
Shri Humphrey Hadem : Mr. Speaker, Sir, when it was kept in abeyance, will it be implemented again ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Forests) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, we cannot say about the future.
Shri Maham Singh : Whether the agreement has been executed and registered with the Plywood Company by the Government ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Forests) : This agreement was executed but not registered. Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri H. S. Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know who are the persons concerned in this agreement ?..................(laughter).
Mr. Speaker : The parties concerned are the Government and the Meghalaya Plywood Company. Now let us pass on to Unstarred question No. 21.
Depredations of Wild Elephants in the Bhoi Region
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
21. Will the Minister for Agriculture be pleased to State -
(a) Whether Government is aware of the fact that several areas in the Bhoi region are affected by the depredations of wild elephants ?
(b) If so, what specific steps does Government intend to take to evolve a permanent solution to this problem ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture, Forests, etc) replied :
(b)-Steps have been taken to keep down the elephant population in the Bhoi region by opening up elephant catching every year and also by allowing elephants control licences to be issued to deserving persons by the Deputy Commissioner of the District.
Dilapidated Buildings of Primary Health Centres
Shri Lewis Bareh asked :
22. Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to State-
(a) Whether Government is aware of the fact that buildings of the following Primary Health centres are in dilapidated conditions :-
(i) Bataw Primary Health Centre.
(ii) Pamra-Paithlu Primary Health Centre.
(iii) Umkiang Primary Health Centre.
(b) If so, what steps the Government has taken in the matter ?
(c) Whether the Government had received any memorandum with regard to shifting of the existing Pamra-Paithlu dispensary buildings to a site nearer to Shillong-Jowai-Badarpur Road ?
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister-in-charge of Health) replied :
22. (a) & (b)- There is no Public Health Centre in any of these places. The Medical buildings at these centres are, however in dilapidated condition and the following steps have been taken.
(i0 Bataw Sub-Centre-Administrative approval to the estimate for reconstruction of the building is being accorded shortly.
(ii) Pamra-Paithlu State Dispensary-Administrative approval to the estimate amounting to Rs. 1,46,000 for reconstruction of the buildings has already been accorded and the work will be started as early as possible.
(iii) Umkiang Treatment Centre-The buildings had just been taken over from the Government of Assam and necessary plan and estimates for repairs are now under preparation.
Shri Lewis Bareh : At sub-question No. (i) of No. 22., Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether the construction work for the Bataw and Pamra-Paithlu Health Centre be taken up within this financial year ?
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Health) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, attempt should be made.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : It seems that no reply is given to question No. 22. (a) and (b) It appears that in reply to 22 (a) the Government did not take care to reply.
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Health) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, we inherited from the Government of Assam and it takes time to reconstruct.
Mr. Speaker : Unstarred Question No. 23.
Number of Hospitals and Dispensaries in the State during the financial year.
Shri Brojendro Sangma asked :
23. Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to State the number of Hospital and Dispensaries with the locations which are going to be established in the State during the current financial year (District-wise) ?
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister, Health) replied :
23. Number of Hospitals-Nil.
Number of Dispensaries- Three.
Locations have not been finalised.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :Mr. Speaker, Sir, here in the reply to No. 23. it is stated that the number of hospitals is nil. Whether the existing hospitals are not counted ?
Mr. Speaker :The question is about the new hospitals to be established not the existing hospitals.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
24. Will the Minister-in-charge of Agriculture be pleased to State-
(a) Whether Government has taken any steps to discourage farmers from jhum cultivation ?
(b) If so, the nature of these steps ?
(c) The alternative proposals Government suggest in place of the jhum method of cultivation ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Soil Conversation) replied :
(b) -Government in the Soil Conversation Department has been constructing terraces and reclaiming valley bottom lands under subsidy scheme for people dependent on jhum to have permanent cultivation. In the Fifth Plan, the Department proposes to take up such preparation of lands for permanent cultivation directly at Government cost and also supply manure fertilizers and seeds in the first year and irrigation where ever possible to encourage people dependent on Jhum to take up settled cultivation.
(c) -Besides cultivation on permanent cultivation sites, Government would encourage fruit cultivation, cultivation of plantation crops where feasible, poultry and pig farming, etc., afforestation of hill sides.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot : On No. 24 (b) Sir, how many hectares or acres have been brought under terracing up till now by the Soil Conservation Department ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Soil Conversation) : That I require notice Mr. Speaker, Sir, because we have got vast area under terracing at the present moment.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot : May we know at least the areas in which terracing works were carried out ? I mean names of places.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Soil Conversation) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have got about six places in Garo Hills and three places in Nongstoin Subdivision.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw : In reply No. 24 (c) Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether Government would provide fruit trees at subsidised rates?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Soil Conversation) : Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, if fruit trees will be planted, it would supplied on subsidised rates.
Mr. Speaker : Unstarred Question No. 25.
Milk produced in the Bhoi area
Shri Dhruba Nath Joshi asked :
25. Will the Minister-in-charge of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry be pleased to State-
(a) The average quantity of milk produced in the Bhoi area per day ?
(b) The quantity supplied to Gauhati ?
(c) The revenue collected by the Government of Meghalaya for the supply of milk to Assam ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry) replied :
25. (a)-Approximately 20,000 litres.
(b)- We have no information.
(c)- No revenue has been collected so far.
Shri D. N. Joshi : In No. 25 (a), Sir, does this include the milk produce from the Indo-Danish Project from Kyrdemkulai also ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have not produced any milk from Kyrdemkulai
Mr. Speaker : Unstarred Question No. 26.
Construction of Materials and Child Welfare Centre Building at Sutnga
Shri Onward Leyswell Nongtdu asked :
26. Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to State-
(a) Whether Government is aware if the fact that buildings have been constructed at Sutnga (Jaintia Hills) for a Maternity and Child Welfare Centre ?
(b) If so, when does Government purpose to open the Centre?
Shri Sanford K. Marak (Minister-in-charge of Health) replied :
26. (a)- Yes.
(b)- The Centre was opened in September, 1964.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : Mr. Speaker, Sir, on Unstarred Question No. 26 (b). Is it necessary to have any centre reopened again?
Shri S. K. Marak (Minister-in-charge of Health) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, the centre was opened on September, 1964.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : Mr. Speaker, Sir, my question is; is it necessary that it will be opened twice.
Shri Sanford K. Marak (Minister, Health) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, no, it is not necessary.
Shri Maham Singh : Have any workers been posted there?
Shri Sanford K. Marak (Minister, Health) :Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri Maham Singh : May we know who they are?
Shri Sanford K. Marak (Minister, Health) :The following staff are working at present, (1) Smti. Swilidis, (2) Smti. S. Pale, A. N. Midwife and (3) Sri S. Bamon, Chowkidar.
Shri Maham Singh : No Doctor?
Mr. Speaker : You are asking about the workers. There are different types of workers.
Shri Maham Singh : Is there any doctor attached there.
Shri Sanford K. Marak (Minister, Health) : No Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker : Let us come to unstarred question No. 27.
Shifting of the Packing Section of the Assam Cement Company
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh asked :
27. Will the Minister-in-charge of Industries be pleased to State -
(a) Whether it is a fact that the Assam Cement Company is contemplating to shift the Packing Section from Cherra to Byrnihat ?
(b) If so, the reasons thereof?
Shri Stanley D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) replied :
27. (a) -No.
(b)- Does not arise.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :Where is the cement packing section, Mr. Speaker, Sir ?
Shri Stanley D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Industries) replied : Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is obvious from the answer that the packing section is at Cherra.
Mr. Speaker : Let us pass on to unstarred question No. 28.
Retail Dealers of Cement in Shillong Area
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
28. Will the Minister-in-charge of Supply be pleased to State-
(a) The name of all Retail Dealers in Cement in the Shillong area ?
(b) Whether all the dealers submit their applications through the Deputy Commissioner, Khasi Hills ?
(c) If not, which of them did not apply for a permit through the Deputy Commissioner, Khasi Hills ?
(d) The reason for adopting a special procedure for these persons ?
Shri Stanley D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) replied :
28 (a)- (1) M/s Ranee Brothers.
(2) Shri A. Nongsteng.
(3) Shri Heningson Sawkmie.
(4) Smti. Willian Nongrum.
(5) Smti Fairlyness Thangkhiew.
(6) Smti Pesibon Nongkynrih.
(7) Smti. Trialcyna Lyndem.
(8) Smti. Phrisibon Henniewta.
(9) M/s Rodeal Agency.
(10) M/s. Binod Kumar Jagdish Prasad.
(11) M/s Keshrichand Jaisukhlall.
(c)-Does not arise.
(d)-No special procedure was adopted.
Prof. M. N. Majaw : What is the amount of cement allotted to each retail dealer ?
Mr. Speaker : That is starred question...........
Prof. M. N. Majaw : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the Minister is ready to give the answer now.
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister Industries) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, the individual distribution is not known.
Prof. M. N. Majaw : Is the distribution equal or there are various qualities?
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister Industries) : I require notice for that question, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
VOTING ON DEMANDS FOR GRANTS
Mr. Speaker : Let us pass on to another item of today's list of business. On the 19th Mr. Jormanick Syiem was taking the floor. Mr. Jormanick Syiem to continue the discussion on the cut-motion on Grant No. 8.
Shri Jormanick Syiem :Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the cut-motion it is alleged that there has been random issue of bar licenses. But it does not appear now that there is random issue of licenses. In fact Government, deserves encouragement if not congratulation yet, for their efforts to check illicit sale of liquor, that is liquor that is going to be catered through these licensed bars has to be of approved quality and not that kind of liquor which has been strengthened with all harmful ingredients which has come from outside the town and the effect of which we can see from the face of the heavily habitual drinkers instead of having flushed red, they become darkish brown (laughter) Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the efforts of the Government to check such bad quality coming into the town to be consumed by the people is laudable.
Coming to the rice that is being used in the stills. It is well known fact that all licensed stills are prevented from using rice. If rice is used anywhere, it will be in the illicit stills which exist, which most of the hon. Members know where they come they come from. For this purpose, it is the duty of the Supply Department and also of the public leaders to see that rice is not taken or sent these illicit still and that the Vigilance Committee appointed with the permission of the Supply Department should also be more vigilant to see that every permit holder brings a full quota of rice to the village and the quota should be distributed to the consumer. Unless everybody is alert, unless we all cooperate, it will be difficult for the Deputy Commissioner, Supply to check the rice from going to the illicit stills through black marketers. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would appeal to the Member who moved this cut motion to try to help the Government-staff to check that rice should not go in for distillation..........
Mr. Speaker : What about formentation ?
Shri Jormanick Syiem : It is the same whether it is for formentation or for distillation, rice is not allowed. It is the duty of everyone of us, whether in the town, Cantonment or anywhere to see that this formentation of beer or rice beer should be checked.
Mr. Speaker : Is that the spirit of the Act? I do not think.
Shri Jormanick Syiem : There is no provision that rice can be used for rice beer. At least in the town, rice beer also cannot be formented within 5 miles. I do not know about other areas in the Hills, but it is the spirit of the supply Department, it is the directive of the Supply Department that rice should not be used for distillation or formation when there is so much acute scarcity of rice in the State. I do not believe that any rice beer distillation has any permit to use rice. Rice is absolutely forbidden for use whether in the distillation or in the formentation of rice beer.
Now coming to the question of juvenile drinkers which everybody is complaining, I do not know how we can stop that unless some legislation is enacted that young people should not be served with drinks.
Mr. Speaker : Then they go for some other drugs.
Shri Jormanick Syiem : That is a different thing.
Mr. Speaker : Because we are attaching more importance on the point morality than on the cut motion.
Shri Jormanick Syiem : I do not think it is the intention of the Mover of the cut motion that no people who should be stopped from drinking are allowed to take up to drugs. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I said, unless some legislation is enacted, is it difficult to stop these young people from drinking habits, even the police or Excise-cannot stop unless they are armed with some legislation, they will not be able to do anything. So for that purpose, perhaps if these licensed bars, if a condition is inserted in the license that drinks should not be served to the people under 21 years of age, then this may help. But if the sale in tea shops or in some dens as they say is still in existence, it is very difficult to check as to whom drinks are going to be served. Anyway, as stated before. this is an effort of the Government to check the random illicit sale by the people who obtained liquor from outside. Of course the Excise staff needs gearing up and also the public leader should see that the Excise personnel execute their duties properly and in case any sort of corruption is found, action can be taken by the appropriate authorities if authenticated report is submitted to them. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is for the consideration of this august House how we can prevent our young people from taking to drinks for the good of the future generation.
(Voices- So you are supporting the cut motion)
Let us all co-operate and let us enact a legislation. I found that some speakers have also asked why these bar licenses or leases were being granted when the revenue is going down in Shillong or Tura. It is only natural as we know, that so many people have left Shillong and perhaps Tura and the whole State after shifting of the capital of Assam. This may account for the decrease in the excise revenue. It appears to me the some Speakers advocate prohibition. I do not know if they have ever.........
Mr. Speaker : That is a matter of opinion.
Shri Jormanick Syiem : Yes, it is a matter of opinion. But I think it has been a failure throughout the world and even in America, it became a failure. In Kamrup District it is a dry area, you can get enough drinks.
So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in opposing this cut motion, I would like to.
Mr. Speaker : Even in Tamil Nadu and Bombay which were very dry areas, these livings can be obtained.
Shri Jormanick Syiem : While I was Bombay; I saw some restaurants although it is written that only beers can be served..........
Mr. Speaker : I think it is better now to confine only to these two points and let us not switch our minds to the other points. This is not a forum where we can preach any morality.
Shri Jormanick Syiem : We have mentioned about prohibition. I just cite an instance. I said in Bombay in the restaurants, it is written that only beers will be served, but if you go in, you will get other drinks.
(Voices- That is your experience- (Laughter)
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not agree with the hon. mover of this cut motion that there has been any random issue of licenses of there has been any lapse on the part of the Government to check illicit distillation. As I said before it it the duty of every leader to cooperate with the Government and also to check whether the excise personnel have played their part properly as they are expected. With these few observations, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would conclude my speech and oppose the cut motion.
Mr. Speaker :May I now call on the Minister-in-charge of Excise to reply.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : We want to take part as everybody became excited with this subject.
Mr. Speaker : I have heard very carefully all the discussions. If I allow further discussions, I think all houses in Meghalaya will be converted into distillation places or everybody may become drunkards. It is better that we follow the middle path. I request the Excise Minister to reply.
Shri F. K. Mawlot : Since there is another cut motion which relates to this very subject, it is better.........
Mr. Speaker : I have already ruled out.
Shri F. K. Mawlot : Sir, it is better of the Minister replies to both the cut motions at the same time.
Mr. Speaker : I follow according to the rules. He will reply at that stage.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : But we request you, Sir, to revise your ruling.
Mr. Speaker : Whether I give the right or wrong ruling, once I give, I stick to it. Now Minister, Excise.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know that this subject will be so absorbing and intoxicating. However, Sir, I am glad and I fully appreciate and the full agreement in this august House so far as the subject of the cut motion is concerned on the evil of illicit distillation. Almost each and every member of the House who had participated has expressed very strongly against the evil of illicit distillation and had expressed great concern about the seeming uncontrolled and rampant illicit distillation and sale of liquor. Sir, this is a problem that has engaged the attention of the Government for the last two year. In fact, the hon. Members of both sides may remember that we had taken the initiative of having consultations with the M. L. As of each district separately last year and the year before last on this very problem. I have also taken the opportunity of consuming with the Executive Committees of the 3 District Councils on this problem. I am glad to inform the House that in these consultations in the last two years on this problem, there evolved a consensus of opinion on the need to control illicit distillation and illicit sale on various ground which is bad for the society, bad for the Government and a consensus of opinion of the solution has been arrived at in these consultations, that is the realisation that the Government machinery and the Excise staff and Excise Department alone will never be able to tackle this problem. That consensus of opinion was arrived at and, therefore, there was an agreement of all the 3 groups of leaders of representatives of the 3 districts on the need to have the public co-operation, and public participation in the steps against illicit distillation and illicit sale. The implementation, therefore, is being brought to this House in the form of amendments to the Excise Act. One form is to give the public leaders and public administrators in all parts of the rural and town areas full powers to deal with the matter instead of certain incidents somewhere about 30 miles away from the Headquarters to where the officers and staff have to be sent to rush from here. These matters are to be dealt with on the spot by the local functionaries, local Heads of the Elakas and Local Durbars and Committees and so on. So, we are realizing this problem and have also received the support and cooperation of all the leaders in this line. We are going to bring amendments to the Excise Act in which the Act will be amended in such a way as to empower the public leaders, the public functionaries, the headmen in all the Districts to deal with this problem of illicit sale and illicit distillation of liquor. I think and hope that the mover will be satisfied with this reply to this statement that we are making and also to get the public cooperation in this. And then also there is the question of course of the public attitude on this which we also believe that the educational institutions and the religious institutions' leaders have a role to play by giving moral persuasion in this against the people taking illicit drink. So far as the illicit distillation is concerned, I assure the Members that we are very very serious on this and we have taken serious steps as far as practicable. Members may have read in the newspapers about the very very serious steps taken that are taken apart from the ordinary steps that have been taken in the previous years. Recently we had a case in which a jeep carrying 860 litres of illicit liquor has been seized, confiscated and the owner and the driver of the jeep were sent to prison and also fined five thousand rupees and two thousand rupees respectively, So, many other cases of raids in those areas where illicit distillations are made, like Sohiong etc, have been made. Frequent raids have been made there by the senior officers including the District Magistrate. Anyway, as I have said, we have come to the conclusion and the leaders have also agreed that whatever the efforts of the Department are there, the Department will never be able to cope with this problem throughout the District specially in the interior places unless we get the cooperation of the public leaders, functionaries headman and so on. That is why we are going forward with this idea this year to get the public cooperation and legalise that cooperation. In some place, in Mairang and in Mawlai they have done that without the law. We are going to legalise the cooperation of the public against illicit sale and illicit distillation of liquor.
Now, on the question of bars. It arose out of the same concern about the illicit sale and illicit distillation. Now, as the hon. Member from Mylliem, Mr. Jormanick Syiem, has stated, we were concerned with the illicit sale of foreign liquor in the hotels and the restaurants in Shillong. This is everybody's knowledge. Whether, therefore, we shall encourage or ignore that illicit way of dealing with this or whether we should take steps to remove the illicit atmosphere, illicit way of dealing in these restaurants. As an experiment, we tried therefore, to open 6 bars in Shillong town where a foreign liquor is being served.
Mr. Speaker : Sir, regarding foreign liquors, Mr. Pohshna made a mistake. There is a distinction between country spirit which is distilled in our country and foreign-made liquor which is used to be imported from outside, but which is now made in the country in large quantities. So instead of having restaurants and hotels saving liquor illicitly and secretly we are trying to eradicate the root of this that 50 restaurants and hotels and restaurants. There are perhaps not less that 50 restaurants and hotels in Shillong selling this thing. To meet that situation we have set up three bars in this area and there bars in that area. This of course we realise that since, this is new Venture there may be criticism about the legalisation. In these legalised shops, what Mr. Syiem had said that we are trying to see that the students, the young people below 18 would not be served with drinks. This is one advantage of having controlled Licensed Shops because we can have the condition that persons below 18 will not be served in these bars. Regarding timing also, we have the condition that the bars will be open from such time to such time. But in the illicit sale, there is no question of control and timing. They can sell at any time to anyone. Therefore, we are trying to see that perhaps a License Controlled Conditioned Bar will be a better place and a more decent place than a place where illicit sale of liquor is served where drinks may go on for whole night there. I have the information that young people specially frequent these illicit dens, specially country illicit dens. They went there and stayed for the whole night. They came about 7 or 8 P. M. home again and have the urge to Mylliem had said in these illicit dens, very dangerous because they are using smuggled liquor. We have the Department concerned issue a certain publicity warning the people against this illicit, smuggled liquor in the illicit shops, the health, we have issued informations to the public warning them against the smuggled illicit liquor.
These are the only steps that we have taken in conformity with what the hon. Members have expressed against the evils of illicit sale and distillation of liquor. So far as country liquor is concerned, as one hon. Member has stated last year in the session, that in his Constituency alone i.e., Laitumkhrah Constituency, there are not less than 200 illicit shops selling illicit liquor. Sir, how to deal with this matter is a serious practical problem. One hon. Member had expressed that we cannot completely remove those evils when there was a great demand and somehow or other, the demand would have to be satisfied by hook or by crook. Therefore, in this respect also, I have had an occasion to discuss this problem with the public leaders including the Church Leaders. I had called them to meet me in my office on the 21st April to discuss this problem because when I received a Resolution passed by the Synod at Shangpung, I called them to explain the Resolution against the granting of licences for the sale of liquor. I asked them if they knew that ion Laitumkhrah alone there are not less than 200 illicit liquor selling shops . One Church leader explained to me they thought Government had given licenses to them. I really admit the fact that this is a very serious practice problem which we have to exercise a great deal of wisdom or discretion. We are therefore, thinking in the line atleast how to meet the demand to a small extent and then only we can concentrate our minds on rooting out this illicit sale. We know of 3 shops in Shillong in Police Bazaar, Laban and Mawkhar for sale of country liquor and we are considering at the moment to open some more branches in Shillong under the control for timing, control of quality and control of type of people to be served. This may go a long way to meet the situation to a considerable extent.
Mr. Speaker : May I seek the information from the Minister whether the present timing system is not encouraging ? By opening of 3 to 5 shops for the sake of country liquor, I think, we are going to discourage the old one from taking country liquor, I mean to say that it is to cater to the need of our young boys.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) : It is not so. This is simply for people who are going to buy a bottle or two to take it home even though generally our people have not yet accepted the practice of drinking at home.
This is one of the great problems. In those countries, so-called civilised countries, a persons may have a bottle and have a good drink at home. But here perhaps, they drink somewhere, in the dark corner of the streets.
Shri Maham Singh : But our Khasis in the previous days used to drink at home.
Mr. Speaker : Oh yes, because our Khasis in former days are more civilised.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) : This is a very great problem indeed and it will have to be examined properly.
Mr. Speaker : I think the Minister has not really gone to the statistics. Perhaps, he may be correct that taking of liquor outside is not good. But there are cases also in which the habit of drinking at home had been indulged.
Shri H. Hadem : May we know what is the reaction of those foreign liquors?
Mr. Speaker : May I request the hon. Member to have a trial.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) : As a matter if fact, this is a subject that we have had quite a good laughter though it is a very very serious problem and I hope the mover will appreciate the Government's concern and approach on the steps and consideration which we have taken now. In view of this Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the hon. Mover would be kind enough to withdraw his Cut Motion. But before I take my seat, I would like to refer to the remark of Prof. Majaw, an hon. Member from Mawhati to a reference Police officers drinking in uniforms and on duty. We are much regretted for such incidents and I hope the hon. Member may also have learned that by this time the Government is very much concerned on this. However, if such incidents happen, we will take very very serious steps to improve the standard of administration in the State as a whole that Police officers on duty whatever capacity they may hold, should never indulge in drinking especially on duty and on uniform as this will badly affect the effectiveness of the officers dealing with public. Therefore, I would request the hon. Member from Mawhati to remember the name, time and place where that scene of incident had taken place and then only this matter may be looked into by the Government.
Shri Maham Singh :I think it is happening almost every day behind Dreamland Cinema. (Laughter).
Mr. Speaker : But I think your information is not in connection with the present Cut Motion. That might come in the second Motion to be moved by Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh and at present, we are dealing only with the grievances as moved by Mr. Joshi.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) : Sir, in view of what we have stated on all these aspects of the question in which we have had a lot of discussions from all sides of the House, I would now request the hon. Mover to withdraw his Cut Motion.
Shri H. Hadem : On a point of clarification Mr. Speaker, Sir. One hon. Member has said that drinking is part and parcel of the tribals life and custom and this reflects the community as a whole. It thus implies that anybody who does not take liquor is not a tribal. I would like to have some clarification on this.
Mr. Speaker :The Minister cannot clarify that point because if any hon. Member expresses such an opinion in the House, it simply means that in his own opinion. It does not reflect the opinion of other; and , at the same time, you must remember that on the other day, when we had discussion on this cut motion, another hon. Member has stated that in each and every house you will find that the people are distilling alcohol. That is also wrong and it is only a matter of opinion which may mean that in my house also we are distilling liquor. That is nothing to be replied to by the Minister. Now, Mr. Joshi.
Shri D. N. Joshi : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I had the occasion to listen to the reply given by the Finance Minister very carefully and very patiently. But I am surprised to find that he has not come out with a specific reply as to my question of random granting of licenses.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh : There is no question.......
Mr. Speaker : The Minister had said that six bars have been granted licenses only after through investigation.
Shri D. N. Joshi : So, Sir, in view of what the Finance Minister had said in respect of illicit distillation in the district and grant of licenses, thereof and relying on what he has said on the seizure of the of the problem and that efforts are being made for improvement I would like to withdraw the cut motion with a note of observation that mere good intention only will proverbially pave the way to hell.
Mr. Speaker : But, to catch a thief, you need a thief and in order to abolish illicit of sale of liquor you need licensed bars. That is what the Ministers has said. So may I have the leave of the House that the cut motion, as raised by Shri D. N. Joshi, stand withdrawn.
(The cut motion was withdrawn).
Now, we came to the second cut motion on the same grant to be moved by Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh. I know that enough has been said in the first cut motion and so I would request the hon. Members to be a brief as possible so that we will be able to complete all the cut motions to be raised on the floor of the House.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) : Since we have had through discussion the previous day I do not think that the hon. Members would raise similar matters today.
Mr. Speaker : Actually, it is a new one and the hon. Member wants to disapprove the whole policy of the Government.
Mr. Lyngdoh will you move?
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that.........
Shri H. Hadem : But I would like to raise a point of order, Sir.............
(A voice : All blunt points)
According to Rule 145 (1) (a), the second line reads as follows : " A members given notice of such a motion shall indicate in precise terms the particulars of the policy which he proposes to discuss ". Sir, I beg to submit that in the notice the hon. Member has stated to raise a discussion disapproving the policy of the Government. He does not mention any particular stage of the policy the wants to discuss.
Mr. Speaker : I understand the point of order and these cut motions which have been entered in the Order Paper, have already been admitted by me long before . The intention of this particular cut motion is to raise a discussion disapproving the whole policy. If he does not indicated any particular thing, it means the whole policy.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the total provision of Rs. 3,40,000 under grant No. 8 Major head "239-State Excise", at page 40 of the Budget, reduced to Re. 1.00, i.e., the amount of the whole grant of Rs. 3,40,000 do stand reduced to Re. 1.00.
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved. Now you can discuss.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh : Sir, the motion is before the House and I want to raise a discussion disapproving whole policy of the Government. But I will deal with only one point and that has been stated in the Budget Speech, Sir, I may be allowed to read it again : "Illicit distillation and sale of illicit liquor are deep rooted evils which the Government is determined to weed out". This is very brief and is also a very clear policy declared by the Government before the House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, regarding this very statement of the Government. I do appreciate the Government which has come forward with this bold decision or declaration as to this particular question on Excise. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, the next line within the same statement is that " With this end in view, steps have been taken for utilising the services of the Heads of Elakas, in consultation with the Khasi Hills District Council. It is proposed to amend the Excise Act with a view to making the functioning of Excise Department more effective". Sir it seems here that the Government is going to amend the Excise Act to do away or to weed out this deep-rooted evil but, at the same time, it has been stated here that steps have been taken deal with only the Khasi Elakas and with the Khasi Chiefs and also in consultation with the District Council of the Khasi Hills and so, Sir, we apprehend that only the Khasis are to be blamed for the illicit distillation that is going on in the State. Therefore, Sir, this policy statement of the Government is not acceptable. I beg to disapprove of this policy.
Mr. Speaker : You mean to say that the Government has admitted that there is illicit distillation in Khasi Hills only and not in other parts of the State ?
Shri H. S. Lyngdoh : Yes, Sir, according to the speech it is only in Khasi Hills and not in Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills. But the other day in the cut motion discussion, one hon. Member has mentioned that in Garo Hills there is illicit distillation is almost every house and selling of liquor is in plenty. So, Sir, what I want to say is that when Government want to do away with this illicit distillation, it should done away for the entire State. There should not be any exception. Sir, because we know that the laws are applicable to all, also laws can be made which may cover the whole State. So, Sir, I want to discuss and raise my approval of the policy statement of the Government in this particular speech which has been brought forward. With these words, I move cut motion.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the cut motion. First of all, I would like to express my deep concern over the fact that we are here as responsible representatives of the people and any statement or speech made in this House should be taken very seriously. Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the first instance, I would like to remind the House about the words the Finance Minister had said in the last session. He had requested the hon. Members of this august House to "search their hearts". I repeat and reiterate these very words and I request the Members to search their hearts. The other day we had a very long discussion regarding this illicit distillation of liquor. One hon. Member from the Treasury benches has stated that drinking of liquor is part and parcel of tribal life. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this, in my opinion , is very serious.
Mr. Speaker : I think Mr. Mawlot had better forget what had already been said in the discussion of that cut motion which has already been disposed of. What the hon. Member has said is from his own experience perhaps. But at least in the Khasi Hills District before 1841, the Khasis were not accustomed to distilling liquor. It was only after 1846 or 1847 more accustomed to rice beer.
(Voices : Thank you).
Shri Francis K. Mawlot : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. If that is opinion of the Chair, I beg to submit that as rightly pointed out by the mover of the cut motion that when Government is determined to root out the evils of liquor in the State, I do not agree that any law should be applied to certain parts or certain pockets of the State. If any law enforced in the State it should be uniformly enforced. As stated in the budget speech, it is only in the Khasi Hills District that Government had proposed to come forward with the amendments to the Excise Act. To this Mr. Speaker, Sir, I entirely disagree. What we want is that if any law is enforced, may it be Excise Act, Taxes Act or anything it should be uniformly applied to the whole State. With these few words, I support the cut motion.
Mr. Speaker : There is one point. The contention of the mover is that Government has not come forward with a policy statement regarding the whole State. It has come forward with a policy statement with regard to one district only. The Finance Minister may clarify.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is no distinction here. It is a question of clarification only. The members may be aware of the controversy arising out of the application of the Excise Act in the former Khasi States in the Khasi Hills District . The application of Excise Act was challenged in 1960 in the High Court . The matter went right upto the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court passed its judgment as late as November 1971. Therefore, between 1947 and 1971 there was no Excise administration in the former Khasi State areas. It is in this context after the Supreme Court decision that the Excise Act was validly extended to the former Khasi State areas, that the question of Excise administration was considered in the former Khasi States areas. So far as other parts of the State are concerned, the excise administration is there since the British time up till this time. Therefore, it is in the context of this historical fact that this statement was made in page 17. Illicit distillation and sale of liquor are evils which the Government determined to weed out.
Mr. Speaker :This is a matter of clarification. The words only are misleading in the first sentence.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) : What is really meant in the first sentence is that we are concerned with the whole State. It is particularly applicable to these former Khasi States areas because from 1947 that is on the midnight of the 14th August, there has been only illegal distillation. So, Sir, because no excise administration was applicable, therefore now we are in this question of operating this Excise Act in the Khasi Hills District which is the greater part of the areas of the Khasi Hills. I would also draw the attention of the hon. Members of this House to the fact that the Chiefs of the Khasi States were the excise authorities right from 1911 in agreement with the British paramountcy. They have been running the excise administration in their own States till 1947 legally and because of the historical fact they are still running after 1947. They have their own administration, their own excise staff, their own officers and their own offices.
Therefore, it is a question of legalizing the fact which has been going on in all the Khasi States right from the year 1911 till today in spite of the disputes about the application of the Excise Act. Now, therefore, it is a question of policy of good administration for getting their good services of experienced staff and officers of the former Khasi Chiefs in the rural areas. Therefore, this amendments proposed to empower them in Khasi Hills, if in Jaintia Hills we have also such experienced administrators, such equipments and machineries and this amendment will cover them also. This is a matter of practical administration of excise in the State wherever it is available i.e., certain functionaries, certain leaders, certain officers who are sufficiently equipped with effective excise control may legally be empowered by this Amendment Act. It is not a question of very new policy. It is a question only of legalizing a historical fact that has been going on in the Khasi States for years together. Now this Amendment Act is applicable to the whole State in respect of illicit distillation. It is only how the Government is going to administer or proposing to administer effectively this Amendment Act in big areas of Khasi Hills with little modification here and there. So when we bring this Amendment to Excise Act in next few days. I would like to request the hon. Members to give their valuable suggestions when we will have a discussion on this proposed amendment to the Excise Act.
Mr. Speaker : So, Mr. H. S. Lyngdoh?
Shri H. S. Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I hope the statement made by the Minister will form a part of the policy which has already been laid down in the House and in view of the clarification and assurance for better implementation of the Excise Act throughout the State given by the Minister, I withdraw my cut motion.
Mr. Speaker : Has the Hon. Members leave of the House withdraw the cut motion? (Voices- Yes, yes).
The cut motion is with leave of the House withdrawn.
Mr. Speaker :Now we come to cut motion No.3 to be moved by Shri Rowell Lyngdoh. Will you move?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, since I have already taken part in the earlier discussion I will move my cut motion.
Mr. Speaker : Now I put the main question before the House. The question is that an amount of Rs. 3,40,000 be granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the head "239-State Excise" (After a pause).
The motion is carried. The demand is passed.
Mr. Speaker : Now the Minister for Finance to move grant No. 9.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Revenue) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the recommendation of the Governor, I beg to move that an amount of Rs. 4,55,700, be granted to the Minister-in-charge, to defray certain charges will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration if the head "240-Sales Tax, 254--I--Other Taxes and Duties on Commodities and Services."
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved, Since I have not received any cut motion, I put the question before the House. The question is that an amount of Rs, 4,55,700 be granted to the Minister-in-charge, to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the head "240-Sales Tax 254-I-other Taxes and Duties on Commodities and Services". (After a pause).
The motion is carried. The demand is passed.
Mr. Speaker : Grant No. 10. Minister-in-charge of Transport to move.
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the recommendation of the Governor, I beg to move that an amount of Rs. 5,39,400 be granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the head "241-Taxes on Vehicles.
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved. But I have received as many as three cut motion. First cut motion in the name of Prof, M. N. Majaw, I shall call upon Prof. Majaw to move.
Shri H. Hadem :Mr. Speaker, Sir, before the hon. Member moves the cut motion I would like to raise a point of order, i.e., about priority. In this connection I would like to refer to Rule 43 (2) of the Rules of Procedure wherein priority has been defined. The sub-rule say- "The three motions mentioned in clause V, (b) and (c) of the proceeding sub-rule will have priority in the order they have been mentioned. According to this my humble understanding is that first priority should be given to policy cut, second to the economic cut and third to the token cut. But here I find that Shri D. N. Joshi's cut motion has been put last whereas the token cut has put first.
Mr. Speaker : Whether it is a policy cut or an economic cut or a token cut its depends upon me. Sometimes in a particular grant, economic cut seems to be more important, sometimes a token cut seems to be more important. Here in this case I have given Prof. Majaw first placed on the following two grounds. Firstly, Prof. Majaw has submitted his cut motion first to me and secondly, the grievances of the jeep and mini-bus owners seems really very important to me. Therefore, it appears that the point of order raised by the hon. Member is rather not very sound. I depends upon me to see which one should be given priority since some Member will say- my cut motion is more important -other Member will say- mine one is more important. In this case none of them came to me to plead for the priority and I think I am right in putting Prof. Majaw's cut motion first. Now, Prof. Majaw ?
Prof. M. N. Majaw : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the total provision of Rs. 5,39,400 under grant No. 10, Major head "241-Taxes on Vehicles" at page 47 of the Budget be reduced by Rs. 100 i.e., the amount of the whole grant of Rs. 5,39,400, do stand reduced by Rs. 100.
Mr. Speaker : Now you are to initiate the discussion.
Prof. M. N. Majaw : Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this cut motion I would like to ventilate the grievances of jeep and mini bus owners in the State. Now in the month of March, a notification was issued by the District Transport Authorities, Khasi Hills, to effect that the private jeeps, mini-buses and station-wagons carrying passengers should be registered as public carriers from the 1st April 1974. Now, as we all know there are a number of private jeeps, mini-buses and station-wagons carrying passengers up and down, as also goods from one point to another, especially along those roads where there are no State Transport buses or Government means of transport. Ever since British days, this has been the custom and throughout the regime of the Assam Government these buses, mini-buses and station wagons and private jeeps were allowed to ply for the convenience of the people living in the interior areas in the far flung villages, where there were no transport buses. But now, with this notification that has come out what will happen ? Let us take the example of the jeeps plying in the Bhoi area where apart from Gauhati- Shillong route, there are no routes where we have buses, and a large number of the people living in the interior areas come to Shillong to sell their goods and go back to their villages with the things they need in their villages which they do not find in the Bhoi area. These jeeps carry ten or fifteen passengers with their goods and most of them are not traders. They are the people who have to come to Shillong to buy essential commodities for their small households. So when they are to carry only five or six passengers the jeeps owners will not bear the extra incidental expenses. They will definitely enhance the fares so as to realise the same sum of money and ultimately the poor people in the other areas of the State will have to suffer because of the enhanced rates for transportation of passengers and good from one place to another where there are no State Transport buses. So, I would request the Government to have the same benign generosity in our State as the old British Government had to allow these private jeeps and mini-buses and station wagons to ply until such time as the Government is able to introduce State Transport bus services in these areas.
Secondly, the grievances that many of these jeeps and mini-bus owners have over the tremendous prosecution they have to suffer from the minions of the law, particularly at Khwan or Umiam near the Dam where we have a police outpost. Towards the end of the month perhaps some police personnel feel that their pockets are then absolutely empty- they stand on the road and stop all the jeeps coming from the Bhoi are and impose fines on them which are never credited to the public exchequer and there are no magistrates on the spot to impose fines. These people stand there like vultures stopping the jeeps in the corner of the road and unloading passengers and goods. I would requesting the Minister for Transport to see to it that policemen are not to impose fines. There must be magistrates when these fines are imposed.
Thirdly, the Government should have their own enforcement branch -Transport Enforcement Branch- and these duties should not be handed over to the civil police who are in-charge of traffic.
Fourthly, I would request the Government to withdraw this notification asking the owners for registration as public carriers of their jeeps and mini-buses.
Shri D. N. Joshi : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the cut motion moved by my friends from Mawhat. In this connection, what he has said that the policy of the Government for registering these jeeps and mini-buses as public transport should be with drawn (At this stage, Mr. Speaker left the Chamber and Shri H. Hadem occupied the Chair) because Government up till now have failed to have its own transport to ply in the different routes of the State to cope with the demand of the villagers living in far flung villages. These are the jeeps and mini buses which are helping the poor villagers in lifting the goods small and petty things are to be brought only to the town from their homes. During the time of the composite State of Assam, these jeeps and mini buses used to ply in these routes but no additional taxes were impose. But this Government of ours which is the popular Government,. the Government of the people living in this State, for their benefit has brought this scheme which hardly serves the common people of the State. Besides, these poor jeep owners and drivers have been subjected to untold harassment by the custodians of law and order who are not supposed to act as magistrates to impose fines. At best they can see that the things which are prohibited are not smuggled through these jeeps. They can at least have a check on this but they cannot impose fines. Magistrates must be there to impose fines. So our Government should do well to instruct Police Department not to indulge in high-handedness of this nature. With these words, Sir, I support the cut motion. Thank you.
Shri H. E. Pohshna : Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the cut motion. With only a few words I would only like to draw attention of the Government to a few questions. In case this notification is implemented the long queue of jeeps and mini-buses will disappear from all the important bazaars, not to say of Bara bazaar in Shillong. What will happen then? ?It is only natural that the people will go to the Ministers or the Government to demand buses and passengers buses. Right from Nongpoh, right from Byrnihat up to Umsning then up to Shillong up to Umsning then up to Shillong, we find these jeeps and mini-buses standing to lift the passengers with their goods and who are these passengers using these jeeps and mini-buses ? The majority of them are the poor cultivators, the poor bazar going people who have got not much means of livelihood. If they stop the State Transport bus on the way, the bus will not stop because these bazar-going people are dirty, carrying dirty bags, with basket full of eggs, fowls, pigs, etc. Naturally, they will say that there is no seat. What our Minister of Transport will think if these people are stranded on the road. Therefore, Sir, this is very very important that this Notification should not be given effect to. Moreover, the condition of roads especially in the rural areas is not good most of them are new incompleted roads and we can say that in summer season most of the roads are not good for buses. While a road like Tamil-Shillong-Dawki road got blocked last weeks you can think about these new roads under construction by the P.W.D. Therefore, Sir, I would request the Government to see that this Notification is withdrawn with immediate effect from the point of grievances of the passengers and the villagers. In this connection, the Government itself is not in a position to provide sufficient transport for the bazar going people Mr. Chairman, Sir, before I resume my seat......
Mr. Chairman : But the Ministers is concerned only about the jeep and mini-bus owners and not with the passengers. It seems there is no grievances from the passengers but only from the owners.
Shri H. E. Pohshna : Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am glad to heat about this especially, from your experience and my experience ; even while coming to attend the Session of the Assembly where are those beautiful State buses of Meghalaya going to Mynso-Palu or Nongtalang ? We have to depend only to those jeeps.
Mr. Chairman : Anybody to speak ? Since these is nobody to speak, I call upon the Minister to give his reply.
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) : Mr. Chairman, Sir, the Cut Motion of the Member from Mawhati id dealing primarily with the grievances of the owners of jeeps and mini-buses. Now, he has given one alternative to withdraw the Notification. On what ground ? On the ground that the jeeps and mini-buses which are plying illegally should be allowed to continue to ply legally and that the only time that we should stop it is when the State transport is prepared to take up the transport. Now, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would strongly advocate to the responsible law maker of this august House that the suggestion of the Member from Mawhati is irresponsible. It means that the Motor Vehicle Act passed in 1939 is supposed to be broken. If we accept his suggestion. It means that because the previous administration which had accepted this Motor Vehicle Act and did not implement it, we also should do the same. I should not accept that Mr. Chairman, Sir, rather the Government of Meghalaya should have a more responsible approach No. 1- to uphold the law. No.2- if the law is defective, if the law needs amendment, if something new is to be done and to see that the problem is really solved, let us put our heads together to solve the problem not by breaking the law but by changing the law. With this end in view, we have started a process of notifying that all those who are plying for reward of hire, which is against the Motor Vehicle Act, should take permits.
Now, the State is not in a position to transport everything in the State but permits are to private carriers and public carriers for transporting of goods and passengers and there are a number of people who have taken permits for this purpose. The only question now, Mr. Chairman, Sir, is that the owners of jeeps and mini buses and Station wagons, who are in trade of transporting goods and passengers, should take permits. I do admit this one fact, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that if you classify the jeeps or small station wagons at the same rates at the same charge for taking the permits as it was done for large buses then naturally the charge for these small buses will be too high. I am now having my department to classify a new rate and charge for the purpose of giving permits to jeeps, station wagons and small buses. But I do not accept the question of allowing plying on hire or reward which is strictly against the Motor Vehicle Act. We know vehicles can be used for hire and reward without valid permits. There is certainly a case for re-examination for paying in a new schedule, a new provision for providing permits at much lower rates to small vehicles like jeeps, station wagons and mini-buses and I am having this matter looked into. I may suggest to the Members of this august House in how best to tackle this problem. I do not accept the suggestion that is should be by totally ignoring the act and law to illegally transport of goods and passengers on hire by any vehicles. Now Mr. Chairman, Sir, I cannot accept the withdrawal of the Notification but would welcome the suggestion of the Members on how to amend the rules so that permits may be given to jeep owners and station wagons owners at very much lower rates so that they can ply economically and carry goods and passengers so that people in the rural areas are not placed at disadvantage.
Regarding harassment and prosecution by the police, I could not agree with the Member, more in that it is certainly wrong for policemen to impose fines and harass the public in matters of law. We will certainly take up with the concerning department that such harassment is not there. But I cannot accept that the enforcement of the Motor Vehicle Act will only be done by the Enforcement Branch because enforcement branch is so small and naturally the Transport Department will always have to take the help of police. But the Police will have to operate in a proper manner and if any fines are to be imposed by Mobile Courts or by Mobile Magistrate and so on, then it could be done by them. But Sir, the enforcement branch is too small to take care of all these things concerned with the motor vehicles in the State. They will have to take the assistance of the Police in enforcing this law over the entire State. So I do recognize Mr. Chairman, Sir, some of of the problems that exist in the rural areas, in the border roads, where jeeps transport and light vehicles are required to ply in some for such bad roads that are existing in the rural areas. We will have in some way to provide them with some type of new permits to the jeep owners station wagon owners who operate in these areas so that they will be legally carrying good and passengers and this will make them function economically. So with these words, I would request the hon. Mover of the Cut Motion to kindly withdraw his Cut Motion and to accept the assurance and the correct clarification and to support the law of the land and also if necessary to change and amend the law here and there so that it will be in tune with our requirements in the rural areas. Thank you.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw : Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am not convinced of his arguments, while I am at one with the Minister in upholding the law of the land as all of us are. I am not quite convinced with the saying that jeeps are plying illegally. They have got themselves registered and permits have been issued to them. If we are to consider any form of hiring to be illegally, then during elections when the Government hires private jeeps (usually the Ruling Party also hires private jeeps) are we to understand that they are plying illegally ? I therefore, do not fully accept the contention of the hon. Minister. The hires of these private jeeps will have to pay for petrol and mobile oil as well as for the wear and tear of tyres for their jeeps. So they are following the Motor Vehicles Act.
Further, when speaking on the Police, it is not the first time that we have received assurances from the Transport Minister. It is, I think 10 times that such assurances, the very same assurances, have been given here by the hon'ble Transport Minister. But Sir, we still find the very same persons are there. I will give only three places particularly at Barapani or Umiam near the police outpost, then at Umshyrpi along the Shillong-Sohiong, Shillong-Mairang and Shillong-Nongstoin road at Upper Shillong; and the third is at the jeep stand at Barabazaar. The moment the jeeps start usually the police will collect his rate. That is his "hapta" or weekly rate that he takes as a share from the jeep drivers; then only are the jeeps allowed to move. But how can a policemen impose fines upon the jeep drivers ? In all these three areas particularly, at Damsite and Umshyrpi, private fines are being collected by the policemen and nothing has been done against these illegally actions on the parts of policeman. Therefore, we want a definite assurances from the Minister-in-charge of the Transport Department and the Minister-in-charge of Police Department to stop all this false practice. As far as this notification is concerned, I am surprised to learn from what was expressed by the Minister himself that they have not yet thought of any form or permit or of any new type of taxation which I feel should have been thought of before the notification of a new type of taxation was issued. All of sudden, the notification was issued and everything has been done. And yet now the Government is thinking of a new type of permit. Now Government says we are thinking of a new type of permit, we are reducing the rates. All this thinking should have taken place before the notification was made. So we would like to have further clarification from the Minister-in-charge before I withdraw my cut motion.
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) : Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is wrong to say that a notification was issued for illegally plying. This Act was issued in 1939 and it States very clearly that no vehicle can be used or plied without any valid permit. This notification was issued only to point out what is the right law of land and it explains that those people who are plying far hire , for carrying goods and passengers regularly should take permits from the authority concerned. This notification is only to point out that those owners of motor vehicles should first obtain a permit for plying their vehicles from time to time other wise if they do not get the valid permits they will be taken as illegal acts.
Now on his charge against the police, I can only say that in so far as these three places are concerned, notices will be sent to the Superintendent of Police to see if any illegal act on the part of policemen in taking private fine or whatsoever it is in an illegal way, must be stopped at once. So we will ask for the cooperation of all the police and the Magistrate that they should conduct themselves in a proper manner.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw : Mr. Chairman, Sir, your serving notice to the S.P. will not do good, because it will again go to the O. C. and then to his colleague who are themselves the ones who violate the law. So I feel that the Transport Department itself should have somebody to look after these things, especially in places where these things take place daily. The owners themselves will not dare do so, then next time their fines will be these owners terribly. Since the hon'ble Minister has asked for the cooperation of all the Members I do not think that neither I nor the hon'ble Minister can be there in the three places and at the same time to check upon the actions of the police.
Mr. Chairman : That is why the Minister has assured that the Department under him and those persons under him or the officers of the Enforcement Branch will see that such illegal acts will not take place any more in these three places. As far as they new permits are concerned, we can have definite assurance from the Minister that he will consider issuing of new permits where the rates are to be reduced in keeping with the conditions under which these jeeps have to operate.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw : The use of petrol by the jeeps is far higher than that of the ordinary taxi. Jeeps consume more petrol and mobile oil and if we can have such assurances that the rates will be reduced in proportion to the conditions that the jeeps have to face, then I hope we shall be able to do something here.
Mr. Chairman : I may be correct to say that when the Minister has already promised and has already called upon the hon. Members to co-operate with the Government in keeping with the law and in observing the rules I believe everything will be easy when it will be considered by him. So I don't think any more assurances can be given besides what has already been given. I think you don't have anything more to say.
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) : I think I will take mote from the colleague, the Finance Minister. When the made use of the word "pragmatism" and I hope the hon. Members from Mawhati should recognize that the Ministers from this side of the House are not without experience in running jeeps. Therefore, we know the conditions of running them. But what is really the main question is how best we can make these successful. So I invite all hon. Members once again to let us put our heads together so that they will be effective in their working.
Mr. Chairman : What is already fixed in the notification will stand. But subsequently, the hon'ble Minister has assured that after due consideration it can be done with the co-operation of all. So the only question now is for the hon. Member, Prof. Majaw, to consider whether or not to withdraw his cut motion.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw : Mr. Chairman, Sir, in view of the assurance both in private and in public from the Minister and also from the Chair, I beg to leave of the House to withdraw my cut motion.
Mr. Chairman : Has the hon. Member leave of the House to withdraw his cut motion ? (Voices -yes, yes). The cut motion is with leave of the House withdrawn.
Now, Prof. Majaw to move cut motion No. 2. on the same grant.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw : Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to move that the total provision of Rs. 5,39,400 under grant No. 10, Major head "241-Taxes on Vehicles" at page 47 of the Budget, be reduced by Rs. 100, i.e., the amount of the whole grant of Rs. 5,39,400 be reduced by Rs. 100.
Mr. Chairman : Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw : Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is a very short but very serious matter. I think many of us know Mr. Chairman, Sir, that in the sale of trucks, in the sale of fiat cars and in the sale of scooters also, there are no selling points, or distribution centres here within Meghalaya. If a person is to buy a T.M. B. truck, he has to go down to Gauhati to buy it, although there are number of garages here that can repair trucks, and although permits are issued by the Government of Meghalaya allotting vehicles to people of this State, and although there are Branch offices of these companies here in Shillong, still the sale in conducted within the neighbouring State of Assam, in the city of Gauhati and so to that extent. A large amount of revenue -I do not have all the figure with me, I think the hon'ble Minister will be able to enlighten us in this matter - is lost every year by the Government through this failure of big companies to open sales offices within Meghalaya for the sale of trucks, so that we will be able acquire, we will be able to enjoy, the additional revenue that should come through the sale of vehicles within the State. Thank you, Sir.
Shri H. Enowell Pohshna : Mr. Chairman, Sir, in supporting the cut motion, I would invite the attention of the Finance Minister, since it affects a large amount of revenue of the State by not having sale depots of the vehicles in the State of Meghalaya; although we know that the same assurance would be given as has been done in the first cut motion by the Transport Minister. So I would like to say that arrangement should be made to see that we need not go down to Gauhati for purchase of any vehicle, because as has been contended by the hon. mover of the motion, the sale of vehicle in Gauhati means realisation of sales tax and other matters by the Government of Assam, whereas these vehicles are plying within the jurisdiction of Meghalaya. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Chairman : Anybody else? Will the Minister-in-charge reply ?
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport ) : Mr. Chairman, Sir, this is a matter which in my opinion, should have been given on grant No. 9 because it does not deal with taxes on vehicles and it deals with sales tax. Anyhow, since it has been allowed in this particular grant, I will explain the position that sales-tax is levied on vehicles that are sold within the State and those vehicles which are sold by the dealers outside the State are levied by that State only where they are sold. Therefore, Meghalaya loses the sale-tax when it is on vehicles which are delivered in Gauhati. So the Member who had raised this is very correct in saying that our State loses tax. Now, more than a year and half ago, the Department started taking up the matter with the manufacturers of certain vehicles and scooters. The response has not been satisfactory yet. We are continuing to pursue the matter and we hope that now that we are taking up the matter with the Government of India, the manufacturers will be persuaded to open the dealership within in our State. The contention of the manufacturers of certain vehicles is that the sale in our State was very small and it is not justified in having a dealership, but we hope, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that with the help of the Government of India the manufacturers of T. M. B. trucks, scooters and some vehicles which are not delivered in Meghalaya, will open out dealership within our State. So with these remarks, and that the Government is aware of this and has already taken up more than the Government is aware of this and has already taken up more than a year ago and is still continuing to take up this matter, I request the Mover of the cut motion to withdraw his cut motion.
Prof. M. N. Majaw : May I know when was the last time that the Government tried to persuade these manufacturers to open dealership here ?
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) : Mr. Chairman, Sir, I do not have all the papers with me in the file at the moment, but when the cut motion came, I enquired about it and as stated by the Department, correspondence had been done with certain manufacturers, more than a year ago and that correspondence has been going on for sometime and we are in the process of persuading the Ministry of Industrial Development in this matter the manufacturers may not agree to our request, but we hope that with the help of the Government of India, we will be successful.
Prof. M. N. Majaw : With the assurance of the Minister, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg leave of the House to withdraw my cut motion.
Mr. Chairman : Has the hon. Member leave of the House to withdraw his cut motion ? (Voices- Yes, Yes). The cut motion, is with leave of the House, withdrawn. Now I call upon Mr. Joshi to move cut motion No. 3.
Shri Dhruba Nath Joshi : Mr. Chairman, Sir. I beg to move that the total provision of Rs. 5,39,400 under grant No. 10, Mojos Head "241-Taxes on Vehicles" at page 47 of the budget be reduced to Re. 1.00 i. e.., the amount of the whole grant of Rs. 5,39,400, do stand reduced to Re. 1.
Mr. Chairman (Shri Humphrey Hadem ) : The motion is moved. Will you initiate discussion now?
Shri D. N. Joshi : Mr. Chairman, Sir, here all the Members of this House know that the prices on oil is high in the market. The owners of vehicles have been very hard hit and in view of his abnormal rise in the prices of oil, the plying of transport vehicles in this State particularly has become very uneconomical. So in view of all these things, I feel it would have been in the interest of both the vehicle owners and the passengers of this poor State that the Government comes with the schemes and proposals to reduce taxes on the types of vehicles instead of increasing the taxes in view of price rise. There are efforts to raise taxes on vehicles.
Sir, I come to surcharge, when millions and millions of refugees from Bangladesh came to India, we had to bear the additional expenditure in order to feed those unfortunate refugees from the neighbouring country. In order to meet the additional expenditure, the Government of India has embarked upon the scheme of imposing surcharge on vehicles and on other items also including stamps. But with the return of refugees to Bangladesh and with the return of the prisoners of war from India to Pakistan, the Centre has done away with the levy of surcharge on stamps and vehicles. The other sister States in India also have followed suit. But surprisingly enough, our Government has not followed the line. Instead the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech said that with a view to giving relief to the transport operators as well as users of the transport services, the surcharge under the Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation Act is being reduced. He has not come with any statement that surcharge on transport vehicles will be done away with and and totally stopped. In these hard days of oil prices, plying of vehicles has become very uneconomically and with this surcharge still having on the poor transport owners, it is not at all economic to stick to this trade. Therefore, with a view of giving relief to those unfortunate transport owners, it would have been in the fitness of things that Government would have done away with this surcharge totally. So with these few words, Sir, I move the cut motion. Thank you very much.
Shri H. E. Pohshna : Mr. Chairman, Sir, in supporting the cut motion, I would like to remind the House what the Finance Minister has said in his Budget Speech that the State Government have appointed a Taxation and Resources Enquiry Committee, and at the same time, he has stated that will a view to giving relief to the transport operators as well as users of the transport services, the surcharge under the Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation Act is being reduced. Sir, the very fact that pending the report of the Taxation and Resources Enquiry Committee, the Government has already decided to reduce the surcharge. This means that our Government realised the difficulties of the vehicles owners who have to pay heavy taxes otherwise pending the final report of the Taxation and Resources Enquiry Committee, why a statement has been made that surcharge is being reduced . No doubt, Sir, everybody know about the difficulties of the vehicles owners. The vehicle owners have to pay token tax ; they have to pay surcharge, they have to pay for a permit on the G. S. Road, they have pay permit fees and when they purchase tyres spare part etc, they have to pay sales tax. There are taxes after taxes. Therefore, the cut motion which has been brought before the House deserves special attention of the Government to see that something is done in this respect. Imagine the number of Government vehicles, there are about 800 or 1000 Government vehicles. If Government pay taxes as private owners do, how much expenditure will be there. Moreover owners, Sir, other taxes on vehicles have been realised from the vehicles owners. They have to pay income tax, passengers tax and they have to furnish the returns and clearance certificates. In doing this, they have to maintain a very big office, otherwise when they come for return before the Tax Officers and the Government, they will have to face difficulties. With these few words, I support the cut motion.
Shri S. P. Swer : Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the cut motion. The hon. Member who moved the cut motion, speak only about the taxes on vehicles and the effect on the vehicle owners. As one who has experience in the line for many many years, what I find is not actually on the rate of taxes that transporters find difficulty or that plying of vehicles is uneconomically because of taxes, but the fact is that many of our private transporters enter into a cut-throat competition among themselves and that is why the income from this industry is not viable for the transporters.
Regarding the goods and passenger tax, the hon. Member from Nongtalang has expressed that these transporters find difficulty in submitting returns. This is allowed if they like to pay lumpsum taxes by the Taxation Department for they do not want to keep daily and regular accounts. They do not know but only at the end of the period of 3 or 4 years meaning when the life of one vehicles expires, when they will know that they are losing. So, I think there is not much justification that are real difficulties faced by the transporters but the serious one is their own because they launched into the field of cut-throat competition among themselves. So with these words, Mr. Chairman, Sir, Sir, I oppose the Cut Motion.
Mr. Chairman (Mr. H. Hadem ) : So since nobody wants to take part, I would call upon the Minister-in-charge to reply.
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) : Mr. Chairman, Sir, as in the previous Cut Motion, this Cut-Motion actually does not deal with the Grant. It is more in the proper capacity of my colleague, the Finance Minister, to deal with this because the surcharge was not imposed by the Transport Department but by the Taxation Department of the Finance Department. Anyway, since this has been brought up I will just remind the House of what the Finance Minister had said that we are recognizing the hardship. The Government has already come forward with the statement which will be brought later in the Session for reducing the surcharges. Now it is at the time that the suggestions may be made to do away with the surcharge altogether or that the reduction is adequate, But for putting the Cut Motion here it is not really in the proper form so to speak , but I agree with the Member who had said that the surcharge was too high. This is recognized by the Government and I would request them rather to go and give evidence before the Enquiry and Taxation Committee and mention all these points that have been raised before the House on the question of increase of taxes and the problems of transporters. But the Government has already recognized the problem and in coming forward with reduction on the surcharge. Whether it should be done away with completely or not will be taken up at that time. So, I would request the mover to withdraw his Cut Motion at this stage.
Shri D. N. Joshi : In view of what the Minister has said and in view of the assurance that at the time of taking decision on this very particularly matter, things will be sorted out to see to that if possible it should be done away with completely I withdraw the Cut Motion.
Mr. Chairman (Mr. H. Hadem) : Has the hon. Member leave of the House to withdraw his Cut Motion ?
The cut motion is with leave of the House withdrawn.
Now I put the question before the House. The question is that an amount of Rs. 5,39,400 be granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the head "241-Taxes on Vehicles". (After a pause)
The cut motion is carried and the demand is passed.
Now, the Minister, Power to move Grant No. 11.
Shri S . D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Power) : On the recommendation of the Governor, I beg, Sir, to move that an amount of Rs. 81,700 be granted to the Minister-in-charge, to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the "245-Other Taxes and Duties on Commodities and Services-II-Inspectorate of Electricity".
Mr. Chairman (Shri H. Hadem) : Motion moved. As there is no Cut Motion I put the question. The question is that an amount of Rs. 81, 700 be granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the head "245-Other Taxes and Duties on Commodities and Services-II- Inspectorate of Electricity".
(After a pause)
The Motion is carried and the demand is passed.
Now I call upon the Minister-in-charge of Finance to mover Grant No. 12.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) : On the recommendation of the Governor, I beg to move that an amount of Rs. 66,000 be granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the "247-Other Fiscal Services-Promotion of Small Savings".
Mr. Chairman : Motion moved. As there is no Cut Motion I put the question. The question is that an amount of Rs. 66,000 be granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the head "247-Other Fiscal Services-Promotion of Small Savings".
(After a pause)
The Motion is carried and the demand is passed.
Now I call upon the Chief Minister to move Grant No. 13.
Chief Minister : On the recommendation of the Governor I beg Sir, to move that an amount of Rs. 31,48,800, be granted in the Minister-in-charge which will come in the course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the "252-Secretariat General Services-I-Civil Departments".
Mr. Chairman : Motion moved. As there is no Cut Motion, I put the question. The question is that all amount of Rs. 31,48,800 be granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the head "252-Secretariat General Services-I-Civil Departments".
(After a pause)
The Motion is carried and the demand is passed.
Now I call upon the Chief Minister to move Grant No. 14.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) : On the recommendation of the Governor, I beg Sir, to move that an amount of Rs. 5, 46,599.00, be granted to the Minister-incharge, to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the "252-Secretariat General Services-II-Public Works Department".
Mr. Chairman : Moved moved. As there is no Cut Motion I put the question. The question is that an amount of Rs. 5,46,500.00 be granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the head "252-Secretariat General Services-II-Public Works Department".
(After a pause)
The Motion is carried and the demand is passed.
Now I call upon the Chief Minister to move Grant No. 15.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :On the recommendation of the Governor, I beg to Sir to move that an amount of Rs. 17,79,800, be granted to the Minister-in-charge, to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1975 for the administration of the "253-District Administration".
Mr. Chairman : Motion moved. There is one Cut Motion standing in the name of Shri Rowell Lyngdoh, Shri Winstone Syiemiong and Shri F. K. Mawlot. Who will move the Cut Motion ?
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Transport) : Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to have a clarification from you regarding this particular Cut Motion which is stated very clearly to raise a discussion on the functioning of the department but which department is not stated and also it does not fall in line with the rules in the form of Cut Motion, whether it is in order, I would like to have your clarification.
Mr. Chairman : I am sorry I am not at liberty to give my ruling at this stage because the ruling has already been announced by the Speaker himself. Since the ruling of the Speaker has been announced, we have nothing to do but to take it as it is. I will not give a second ruling on which the Speaker has given.
(At this stage the Speaker occupied the Chair).
Mr. Speaker : Any of the three hon. Members may move the Cut Motion.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh : I beg to move that the total provision of Rs. 17,79,800 under Grant No. 15, Major head "253-District Administration at page 76 of the Budget be reduced to Re. 1.00, i. e., the amount of the whole budget of Rs. 17,79,800 do stand reduced to Re. 1.00.
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, as we have seen, this much amount is to be granted to meet the expenditure for the district administration. Sir, what we want to point out, is that, from what we have seen and experienced, that in the district administration there is lack of coordination in almost the staff entrusted with the work, they are not properly attending their duty. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will give just one example that in one office of the district administration- once myself and some of the hon. Members of this House went to get some information from the officer, we were told that he had no time since he had to go to Pologround. That was at about 3 o'clock. Therefore, Sir, this is only an example to show that in almost all the offices in the district administration, there is a lack if responsibility on the part of the staff in attending to their duties. Of course, some of the staff are very efficient and some are very diligently in attending to their duty. But most of them are loitering here and there without any discipline or control whatsoever from the offices. Besides, in the administration in the rural areas, there is unsatisfactory performance. It is the district administration which comes into contact with the people always and unless the officers and staffs who are being entrusted with the official works in the interior are easily found in the offices, it is difficult for the people to get any help. Sir, in the Block and other agencies in rural areas like Nongstoin, Mawkyrwat, Mawsynram and other areas, we find that many days in a week, the staff and officers are not there, except of course in bazaar days, but still then even in these particular days, the office cannot function well because it is very crowded. It seem there is no proper supervision and discipline in the offices in the interior.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :On a point of information, whether this fact has been brought to the notice of the Government or the authority concerned that at the Block level officers and available only on bazaar days. This fact should be submitted to the Government with specific complaint so that proper measures can be taken by the Government.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh : Sir, this fact, we used to discuss in the Block Committees. We thought it is a forum, of course, if such information is required, we can bring it to the notice of the Government. So with these few words, I would like to move my Cut Motion to dis-approve the policy of the Government.
Mr. Speaker : Any other hon. Members ?
Shri W. Syiemiong : We have hardly two minutes.
Mr. Speaker : You can continue tomorrow.
Shri W. Syiemiong : First of all, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I agree with the Mover of this Cut Motion and also fully endorse the views which the hon. Mover from Mawkyrwat has expressed. To my under standing, the district administration is perhaps one of the most important administrations in the State, in the sense that this administration actually aspects all the people of the State. This is more so in the State of ours where the district administration touches the lives of almost all men right from the civil society who are affected with the requirement of essential commodities to the organisation of Civil Defense during the war time. It also affects the lives of men in running the law and order and in the administration of justice also at the initial stage. Sir, therefore, we can very well understand that this administration, it is properly and efficiently run it will go a way to solve this vital problem of this State. But Sir, we have seen, especially in the district of Khasi Hills, the district administration is something which is most unsatisfactory. Any stranger who happens to come here, his first impression is on the buildings. Going inside the buildings, he will find the congestion in a shattered condition which is full of tables after tables, man after man, staff after staff, that is really difficult......(Bell rang).
Mr. Speaker : Well, Mr. Syiemiong, you may continue tomorrow . The House stands adjourned till 9 A. M. tomorrow, the 22nd June, 1974.
R. T. Rymbai,
The 21st June, 1974.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.