Proceedings of the Eighth Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled after the First General Election.
The Assembly met at 9 am on Friday, the 22nd March, 1974 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Speaker in the chair.
Prof. Radhon Singh Lyngdoh, Speaker in the Chair, five Ministers, two Minister of States and fifty-one Members.
QUESTION AND ANSWERS
(To which oral replies were given)
Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up starred question No.1.
Re: Scheme for the development of Border Areas in the State
Shri. NIMOSH SANGMA asked :
|*1. Will the Minister-in-charge of Border Areas, be pleased to state :-|
|(a) Whether any scheme has been drawn up for the development of border areas in the State ?|
|(b) If so, what are the schemes ?|
|(c) Whether it is a fact that Government proposes not to consult with concerning M.L.As while drawing up the schemes ?|
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Border Areas Development Department) replied :-
|1.||(a) -Yes, Sir.|
|(b) - In 1973 - 74 the following schemes were undertaken by various departments :-|
(i) Power tillers were purchase and minor irrigation channels constructed by the Agriculture Department in areas where terraced cultivation was possible. Assistance was also provided for the development of Horticulture.
(ii) The Public Health Engineering Department also completed parts the Multiphase Water Supply in Siju.
(iii) Ten Trucks were purchased for the Border Areas Marketing scheme.
(iv) Stipends to students from the Border Areas were also provided through the Education Department.
(v) Fourteen Border Areas Development Officers were also appointed assist the Deputy Commissioners in the field of Border Areas Development.
(vi) The Animal Husbandry Department had also taken steps to set up pig breeding units in the Border Areas and financial assistance was given the Co-operation Department to strengthen some Co-operative Societies in the Border Areas.
|(c) -No, Sir, Government is always willing for consultation|
Shri Nimosh Sangma (Dalu S.T. ) :- When are the schemes going to be implemented?
Mr. Speaker :- It has already been answered. The schemes which have been enumerated have already been implemented.
Shri S. P. Swer (Sohra S.T. ) :- Whether the Border Areas in State are clearly defined?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Border Areas) :- The definition and the limitation of the Border Areas have just recently been completed and this has now been defined by the Government.
Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know how much amount has been spent last year for all these schemes?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Border Areas) :- The original outlay was Rs.20.00 lakhs and the outlay after the economic cut is Rs.18.00 lakhs.
Mr. Speaker :- And all these Rs.18 lakhs have been spent?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Border Areas) :- They will have been spent by 31st March, 1974.
Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- May we know how much been spent upto date?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Border Areas) :- I want notice for that.
Shri Samarendra Sangma (Salmanpara S.T.) :- Whether goat rearing scheme for the development of Border Areas is still pending?
Shri Stanley D. D. Nichols Roy (Ministers, Border Areas) :- I require notice for this. The pig breeding units have been taken, but for the goat breeding, I have no information.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Mawkyrwat S.T.) :- Whether as specially in Khasi Hills, any M. L.A. have ever been consulted concerning the scheme?
Mr. Speaker :- The answer is "no", but Government is willing to consult.
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Border Areas) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is a proposal for having an Advisory Committee for the Border Areas Development and that file was passed only a couple of days ago.
Mr. Akramozzaman Phulbari :- What is the breakup of allotment for different schemes?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Border Areas) :- Agriculture Rs.43,500 and out of Agriculture, for power tillers Rs.12,000 each, total Rs.36,000 for 3 power tillers; Rs.7,500 pay, etc., for power tiller operators and assistant power tiller operations. Horticulture Rs.63,000 Khasi Hills-Rs.24,000- Jaintia Hills Rs.15,000 and Garo Hills Rs.24,000. Purchase and distribution of fruit plant, grass, sugar cane sets and other seeds, etc. Minor Irrigation- Rs. 35,000- Khasi Hills Rs.13,000 Garo Hills- Rs.19,000 and Jaintia Hills - Rs.13,000.
Co-operation - Rs.1,60,000.
Animal Husbandry - Rs.3,25,000 details have not yet been received from the department concerned.
Purchase of Trucks- 10 trucks were bought for Rs.5.48 lakhs. Rs.52,000 for tyres, etc.
Education- Rs. 4.80 lakhs for stipends of the Border Students.
Water Supply for Siju- Rs.20,000. These are the details we have so far.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to unstarred question No. 1.
(To which replies were laid on the Table)
Re: Government Pleader for Jaintia Hills
Shri H. Enowell Pohshna asked:
|*1. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to state -|
|(a) Whether the Government Pleader for Jaintia Hills have been appointed ?|
|(b) If so, who ?|
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister-incharge, Law) replied :-
|(b) -Shri. G. Briggs, B. L., Shillong has been appointed as Government Pleader for Jaintia Hills on 7th February, 1974.|
Shri Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know whether the appointment was made before or after submission of this question?
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Law Minister) :- Before, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri Stanlington David Khongwir (Mawlai S. T.) :- Who was the previous Government Pleader?
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister, Law ) :- Mr. A.D. Massar.
Unstarred Question No. 2
Re: Construction of Shillong -Nongstoin -Tura Road
Shri Nimosh Sangma asked :-
|2. Will the Minister-in-charge of P.W.D. be pleased to state :-|
|(a) Whether it is a fact that the construction of Shillong - Nongstoin - Tura Road has been progressing very slowly ?|
|(b- When is the road expected to be completed ?|
|(c) When will be the road be opened for general traffic ?|
Shri Darwin D. Pugh [(Minister of State, incharge, P.W.D.) (R. and B. )] replied:-
|2.||(a) -No. The progress is quite satisfactory.|
|(b) -The road is already opened to light vehicular traffic.|
|(c) -After completion of the bridges (which are expected to be completed within this month) and minor improvement to blind corners.|
Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- May we know what was the average length of the road constructed in a day or a month?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- It is an impossible question.
Mr. Speaker :- The question is disallowed. If you asked specifically then Minister may be able to answer.
Shri Maham Singh :- The average length of road constructed a month?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- We do not keep any record of the progress month wise.
Shri Maham Singh :- May we know how the progress of the road construction being satisfactory is determined by the Government?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State P.W.D. ) :- By looking at the road, Sir, (Laughter).
Shri Prittington Sangma (Kharkutta S.T.):- How many bridges are yet to be constructed?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- I will require notice for this.
Shri Francis K Mawlot (Nongstoin S.T.) :- In the reply, given by the Minister it is said that the road is already opened for light vehicular traffic. Is it not a fact that only portions in section I, and section 3, are completed, whereas in case of 2, even the jungle clearance has not yet been done?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State P.W.D.) :- It is not a fact.
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Mynso - Raliang S.T.) :- What is the total length of the road?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State, P.W.D.) :- 313.6 kms.
Shri Enowell Pohshna (Nongtalang S.T.) :- Whether the Minister of State has ever traveled on the road?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State , P.W.D.) :- Yes, Sir,
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- My point is that is that a portion on the Shillong-Tura Road has not yet been completed, as far as I know.
Shri Humphrey Hadem :- It is argumentative.
Mr. Speaker :- It is a matter of opinion and argumentative. Let us pass on to the next item. But before taking up item No.2, I have one announcement to make. I have received an intimation from Mr. Kharkongor, M.L.A. addressed to the Secretary for leave of absence which reads as follows-
LEAVE OF ABSENCE
|Meghalaya Legislative Assembly,|
Subject :- Leave of absence from the House.
In continuation of the correspondence on the above mentioned subject, I regret to inform you that I am still under treatment in the Shillong Civil Hospital, as such I am not yet in a position to attend the coming session of the Assembly.
In the circumstances, leave of absence from the House be granted be granted to me for the entire session.
Certificate in original from Surgeon Superintendent, Civil Hospital is attached herewith.
|B. KHARKONGOR, M.L.A.,|
Is this the sense of the House that leave of absence be granted to the hon. Member?
(Voices Yes, Yes).
Shri Humphrey Hadem :- On a point of information, Sir, is it necessary to seek leave of absence when the hon. Member is not absent for the whole length of 60 days?
Mr. Speaker :- Leave of absence is necessary in the case of Mr. Kharkongor because he had remained absent for two consecutive sessions and he is really suffering very badly. Everyone who had gone to see him will agree that he is not in a position even to get out of his bed.
Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Sir, in the last session leave of absence has already been granted. So, I want to get a clarification when he is not absent continuously for 60 days. This is according to the provisions of the Constitution. Therefore, is it at all necessary to seek the permission?
Mr. Speaker :- Leave of absence is sought only when a Member cannot attend the session for unavoidable reasons. But in case of a Member remaining absent without information the House, than 60 days will be counted. But in this case the Member is very prompt to seek the sanction of the House for his absence. Since the House has granted the leave of absence, I think the matter is closed. Now, let us pass on to item No.2.
Presentation of the Supplementary Demands for Grants
and Supplementary Appropriation
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to present the Supplementary Demands for Grants and Supplementary Appropriation for 1973-74.
Vote on Account for 1974-75.
Mr. Speaker :- Item No.3. Minister, Finance.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mawhati S.T. Sir, may we crave your indulgence for a minute? I would like to protest against the presenting of the Vote-on-Account instead of a formal annual budget. The reason given in certain official quarters are that new form has been introduced in preparing the budget and as the officers have been little accustomed to this new system they have had to take time to make the budget for the entire year. We have also heard another explanation given that there has been some difficulty in Delhi in apportioning the assets between Assam and Meghalaya.
Mr. Speaker :- May I point out that hearsay from this or that quarter cannot be valid point unless and until it is based on facts. I hope the Finance Minister will incorporate the explanatory note in the Vote-on-Account document which will come up. After it is presented you may have time to discuss on the action of the Government in this regard.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- We want only to register our protest before he lays the Vote-On-Account.
Mr. Speaker :- The protest in recorded.
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to present the Vote-On-Account Budget for 1974-75. I would also add that in the Explanatory remarks to the Vote-On-Account the reasons are fully stated.
Announcement from the Chair
Mr. Speaker :- Item No.4, I have received information from the whips of the Ruling Party and of the H.S.P.D.P. Group about the number of members who will participate today, and I am of the opinion that it will be convenient to everybody if instead of allotting the time to each individual members the matter is left to the groups concerned. It is upto the Group to divide the time. Now, we have one hour and fourteen minutes at our disposal and there are as many as 8 hon. Members who would like to participate in the discussion today. I will allow the Ruling Party 90 minutes and the rest will go to the Opposition for today. From tomorrow onwards we will discuss about the procedure with the Whips. I have already informed all the Whips to meet me in my Chamber as soon as the House rises for the day. Now, Mr. Lapang who moved the Motion of Thanks will initiate the debate.
Shri Williamson A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I find a notice of amendment to the Motion of Thanks. I think this should be moved first.
Mr. Speaker :- No, the amendment will be moved afterward. That is the procedure elsewhere. I also find that this is the procedure followed in the Lok Sabha. But on occasions when the House feels that the amendment be moved first, then it is taken up. Now, since the Chief Minister also seems to agree that the amendment be moved first, I would like Mr. Pohshna to moved his amendment.
Debate on the Governor's Address
Shri H. Enowell Pohshna : (Nongtalang S.T. ) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I express my thanks to the Chief Minister for giving me the chance to move my amendment. Sir, I beg to move that at the end of the Motion of Thanks moved by Shri D.D. Lapang, M.L.A., on the Governor's Address on the 20th March, 1974, the following shall be added-
"but the House regrets that the Governor's Address makes no reference of the vital problems and the economic development of the State as a whole and also the performances of the Government with regard to the separation of Judiciary, election of Shillong Municipality, Flood Control, Supply of Forest and Mineral produces to Bangladesh, procurement of foodgrains and failure of regrouping the villages in Garo Hills".
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. You will get 15 minutes.
Shri H. Enowell Pohshna :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while moving my amendment I feel that I am in a very dark position to say many words. But, Sir, the fact that the Finance Minister has not been able to place the budget for the year 1974-75 reveals that the Government is not in a position to give us a clear assessment of the vital problems and economic development that we have got in the State of Meghalaya. Sir, from the very beginning, there was mention about the Fourth Five Year Plan. In the previous Governor's Address, the Government was taking a very good excuse by saying that the influx of refugees has affected the implementation of the Plan. But we find at page 2 of Governor's Address that in spite of that fact that the Government expected in 1972-73 to spend Rs.7.96 crores an during 1973-74 to spend Rs.8.25 crores. Here also mention has been made that during this Plan, Rs.37.44 crores would be spent in spite of the fact sanction amount of Rs.38 crores. Still it appears that another 56 thousand Government is not going to spend and it is very very uncertain whether they can spend this amount of Rs.37.44 crores or not. Many vital problems have not been mentioned in the Governor's Address. The Shillong -Gauhati road is one of the most important road that affects the economy of the State. But there has been no mention in the Address that the Government is earnestly taking interest for taking over this road inspite of the assurances made in the previous discussions in this House. Also the Minister incharge of Power assured time and again that the Government was going to set up our own Electricity Board. Times have been elapsed but nothing has been done and in this Address also the same thing has been repeated that the Government is going to set up our own Electricity Board. Now, Sir, about industries, there is no mention about the real industries that are going to be opened in the rural areas of the State with the exception of those industries that have been opened along the G.S. Road and in some places of Garo Hills, there is no specific mention about the industries to be opened for the rural areas of the State. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not want to take much time but what I find is that the Address does not give us any mention about the real economic development of the State. Moreover, Sir, there was an assurance given in the previous Address about the separation of judiciary from the executive. Yes, I agree that it has been done in Khasi Hills but what about Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills Districts ? Uptil now nothing has been seen that the judiciary and the executive have been separated in these two Districts. Now so far as the election of the Shillong Municipal Board is concerned, the Government has given assurance during the last Governor's Address that the election will be held as soon as the delimitation of the constituencies is completed. I do not know whether this delimitation of the constituencies has been completed or not but two years have already been elapsed since the assurance made before this House. I think the people of Shillong had not been taken into confidence by the State Government; they have no confidence that the people of Shillong can run the local self -Government in a democratic way. As such, instead of giving the Shillong Municipal Board to the people of Shillong they have handed over it to a few individuals who are selected by the Government. This is a very very serious matter. Sir, our State is a democratic State and if in Shillong which is most advanced place in the State, we cannot hold election for the Municipal Board then I am constrained to believe that the Government does not does not take the citizens of Shillong into confidence for running their own Municipality. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there has been mention in the Governor's Address in 1972-73 that unprecedented flood has inflicted damages in many parts of the State and there has been mention about the embankment department to control the floods. But from the actual performance it appears that this end has become as extra department and doing nothing and in this Address also nothing has been mentioned about flood control.
No mention has been made regarding supply to timber produces to Bangladesh. We are glad that our Government is going to help our neighbouring countries like Bangladesh. But in this matter also, Sir, I find that nothing has been mentioned in this Address as to how the timbers are being supplied to Bangladesh. So far I remember there was a deal last year between Bangladesh and the Government of India that timbers worth to the extent of Rs.50 lakhs would be supplied to Bangladesh. Out of this, supply to the tune of Rs.35 lakhs has already been made to Bangladesh and we learnt that there is another deal this year for supply of timber to the tune of Rs.15 lakhs to Bangladesh and for that matter quotations has been invited. But the manner in which the quotations have been invited does not appear to be in conformity with the normal procedure adopted by any Government. As you know, even for the construction of temporary sheds, advertisements for inviting quotations have to be made in the Government Gazette but there was no advertisement in the Government Gazette, i.e. Meghalaya Gazette for this supply of timber of Bangladesh. Moreover, regarding distribution of allotment, the names of 850 persons have been mentioned but contractors who are registered timber contractors have completely been excluded. It is surprised to find that the people of one particular village have been given the major portion of the contracts and supply of timber to Bangladesh this year has become very slow because most of the contractors are inexperienced. Moreover I do not know what is the basis of the allotment of timbers. Of the total allotment of 28,000 nos. of ballies more than 20,000 ballies have been allotted to the people of Jaintia Hills of which the major portion goes to the contractors of one particular village and those contractors are related to the Chief Executive Member, Jowai District Council whereas for contractors of the whole Khasi Hills District only 8000 ballies have been allotted. Sawan timber being the item with less profit have been allotted more to Khasi Hills. Sir, I would also like to mention another very very serious matter done during last year. Huge consignment of bamboos which had been allotted for supply to Bangladesh are lying in some places on the border of Bangladesh and Garo Hills without being transported to Bangladesh I do not know whether any alternative arrangement has been made by the Government to remove these bamboos and whether payment has been made for these bamboo?
So before I resume my seat I would request the House to support this amendment. Of course I am thankful to our Chief Minister since he was very kindly suggested and favored me to move the amendment first which implies that he is also indirectly supporting this amendment.
Mr. Speaker :- Any other hon. Member?
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I raise in support of the amendment moved by the hon. Member, adding certain reversionary words to the motion moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh, but while doing so, I would like to congratulate the Government for having reduced the number of proposals in the speech of the Governor. As I had remarked in the part, there speeches were generally proposals of a bride-groom to a bride; but, this time, the number of proposals have been reduced and the Government has pointed out certain things that it has done whether these are commendable or not from our point of view. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are a number of things that have been left out. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, while referring to the Fourth Plan in retrospect, we have been told that food -grains production is expected to increase from 1.17 lakh tonnes in 1969-70 to 1.45 lakh tonnes. I really wonder how the Government has arrived at these figures. Do they really have such accurate data in the Statistical Department or in the Supply Department or even in the Agriculture Development by which they can calculate that by the end of the Fourth Plan food -grain production would be 1.45 lakhs tonnes? But to our humble mind, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we think that food-production will go down if and I may give up an example the Umiam -Umkhen Project in the Bhoi area is really implemented and thousands and thousands of acres of paddy fields are inundated. Certainly there will by a clash between the Ministry -incharge of Power and the Minister-in-charge of food grains Supply. One say "Grow more food" and then the others says "Drink more water" Or " Eat more Fish" Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, due to shortage of time, we cannot go into details but we would certainly like to know how this figure of 1.45 lakh tonne has been arrived at, and also the figure of 1.17 lakh tonnes. Has the Government taken into consideration the large amount of paddy and rice that come into Meghalaya from the adjoining areas of the State or is this food production purely within the territorial boundaries of Meghalaya?
Now, regarding agriculture, Mr. Speaker, Sir, one noticeable omission is regarding ware-houses. I do not really think Mr. Speaker, Sir, that merely encouraging co-operatives would really solve the problem. It would rather be by having ware-houses that the Government would be in a position to encourage the farmers to store their produce and then sell them at a better price later. This used to be a famous proposal in almost all the Budget Speeches but this time it has been left out. Do we understand thereby that the Government does not intend to construct warehouse or cold storages as one of the solutions to the economic problems of our agriculturists. Then Mr. Speaker, Sir, I must congratulate the Government and if I forget the whole lot, at least I remember that at page 6 it say "My Government have treat respect for the customs and traditions of the people". Is also state that these are the words used "Certain minimum institutional adjustments may be necessary for this purpose". Excellent, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Of course, the English language has been used with so many multifarious adjectives and connotations and I must congratulate the Government for the subtle use of the adjectives from the dictionary by which the subject-matter of land Reforms has been explained in the tribal dialects, as a mere recording of land. At least, it could have been explained to them there would be minimum adjustments or reforms and this proof is at the end of that paragraph where the Governor has stated that "I am glad to inform the House that action for making such institutional adjustments has already been taken in the Garo Hills over a long period. And we all know Mr. Speaker, Sir, that land in the Garo Hills is under the control of the District Council and the Government. So it means that the institutional adjustments as proposed in the Khasi Hills will be as the Government has stated that such institutional adjustments will be along the lines of the Garo Hills Land Tenure System and, therefore, we must congratulate the Government for at least admitting the fact telling the public the truth.
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- On a point of clarification Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to inform the hon. Member.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Can't the Chief Minister reply later on?
Mr. Speaker :- No, he can intervene.
Capt Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- The land tenure system in Garo Hills is that at the land does not belong to the Government. It belongs to the clans under the control of the District Council. Most of the lands belong to the Nokmas or chieftains.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- I did not use the word "belong". I say that it is under the control of the District Council. I used the phrase correctly. However, we are very happy that in this beautiful document this word has been clearly recorded for the public of know the truth and from the horse's mouth respectfully said. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, at page 7 there are new industrial projects and we must congratulate the Government for these. But we would also like the Minister-incharge to lay on the House the names of the share-holders of all these proposed companies that are proposed to be set up in the State, particularly the one at Byrnihat. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have our own means of gathering information on the subject and, without casting aspersions on anyone, we in all ignorance, would like to know the names of the share-holders of the Jute Twine Factory, Tubes and Tyre Plant, Timber Treatment Plant, Meghalaya Potteries, etc. May we have the names of the actual share-holders of each one of these proposed companies and the quantum of shares held by each person.
As far as Transport is concerned Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government has clearly stated that it is an unmistakable index of economic development and to that extent certainly we are undeveloped. I do not know the reason why the Department of Public Works for construction of roads alone has to surrender money back to the Finance Department. It is going to be Rs.5 lakhs but fortunately, the Finance Department was able to reallocate this fund of Rs.75 lakhs which was to be surrendered the year from the P.W.D., only for the construction of roads. Now there is one famous road running through the Bhoi area known as the Umsning-Jagi Road. Only a few days ago, the Minister of State happened to visit one village far away in the Bhoi area along this road. Knowing this, the Muharir so quickly came out this road and cut and cleared the grass which covered the whole road so that the road can be seen. Otherwise we the public cannot go along that road because the grass is so long and we cannot see even the road. But only when the Minister of State happened to go there one day that this road was cleared and the Minister could go along this road. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are temporary bridges also and for two months only a total amount spent for these temporary bridges was about 75 thousand rupees.
Mr. Speaker :- How many minutes move do you require?
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Only 5 minutes, more, Mr. Speaker, Sir, along this same Umsning Jagi road, the Government has constructed only temporary bridges, real temporary bridges with this Rs.75 thousand. Every-body is keen to ask the Engineer of that side why permanent bridges could not be constructed out of this Rs.75,000. The Engineer would say "No'' it is difficult to do so. Permanent bridges cannot be constructed. He would say "No, let us have temporary bridges every year and these bridges also collapse every year and again next year another Rs.75,000 will be spent for construction of these same temporary bridges". In this way, year after year, the money is thrown away by the Government without much benefit. Instead of building a few permanent bridges along this road and save wastage of money year after year, the Government will not see to this and will construct again and again temporary bridges. How long will it take our Government to look into this? I would like request the Government to kindly see this. Then also Smit Sohiong Lyngkhoi-Nongspung roads tenders were called for constructions of these road long ago but nothing has been done. Then Sir, on page 9 of the Governor's Address on the "Shifting of Assam's Capital" I would like to draw the attention of the Government that while shifting their capital, the Assam Government carried away sands belonging to Meghalaya from Khanapara for construction of their temporary capital at Dispur. Sir, the capital has been built upon sands taken from the Meghalaya side and therefore, it is proper and correct to claim even Dispur which rightfully belongs to Meghalaya. Sir, so many trucks have gone there to Khanapara for carrying away sands belonging to Meghalaya for the construction of Assam's capital at Dispur. We have requested the District Council authorities to move the Government of Meghalaya on this matter and the File dealing on that subject was sent to the State Government a few months ago. The Government could put check posts over there at Khanapara to check this thing. According to my calculation about 10 to 15 lakhs of revenue could have been collected by our Government, but this Government is in the habit of begging money from New Delhi. But now the Hills were made Plains and there is nothing left in our Hills and you can see now at Khanapara our Hills are made plains. Of Course as, I have said, we have strengthened our claim to Dispur. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this North Eastern Hill University, while it is going to setup it Headquarters at Shillong, our Government is rendering all possible assistance but we hear a rumour that the price of land has gone up to Rs.88 lakhs just because there are certain interested parties who have become land-owners with benami names and for this, the price of land has shot up to 88 lakhs of rupees. Now, coming to page 11, where the State Central Library was handed over to our Government, the Minister of State, Education who is absent now has given many assurance in the previous session that the Government of Meghalaya would see that all assets relating to the Library would be divided properly with Assam. But I have one day gone there myself to look for books in the Khasi language, but those valuable books were carried away to Assam on the plea that there was an exhibition at Gauhati in 1970 and these books are still lying with the Government of Assam. Since I do not want to steal the time of my colleagues, I would request Government to provide us with the information we have asked for on these books.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Lapang.
*Shri D. Dethwelson Lapang (Nongpoh S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, after listening carefully to the remarks made by my colleagues who stood before me, with all the power at my command, I was constrained to say that the Governor rightly deserves sincere thanks of the House for the Address he has delivered on the 20th of this month. It was the first occasion that the Governor has delivered his Address to this Chamber. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as my observation goes, the Governor's Address embodies many major policy statements and I am confident that if the Government would implement these policies vigorously, it will definitely accelerate the pace of development during the next Five Year Plan. I must thank the Governor for his Address because it really contains various policies which I do believe the House also will join hands with me. For instance, I am glad to know that the Government is determined to work hard to bring out plans for the economic growth of our people like development of communication and transport in which one hon. Member has also passed remark, and also the development of education and other fields that our Government is trying hard to accelerate their development which I hope will certainly bring about a balanced growth in the State. I am also happy to note Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Government has determined to increase food production by taking up a number of Agricultural Programmes beginning from next year. My colleagues have referred to shortage of food supply and other shortcomings which are the growing difficulties of our people. But the Governor in his Address, at page 4 has made it clear that the Government will take up programme of controlling jhum cultivation and introduce terrace cultivation which is at the core of our strategy for break through in agriculture. It is a fact that Meghalaya is a State which can grow more potato, jute, etc., but there are certain bottlenecks and difficulties standing in their way like lack of communication, transport and other facilities. But this Government has taken steps to strengthen co-operative societies to ensure that cultivators can sell their produce at good prices and benefit out of their produce. Again Sir, at page 5, first para the Governor has said like this "My Government will continue to arrange supply of fertilizers and other inputs and adequate credit to support the cultivators and thereby help increase the yield of their crops". It is very much encouraging that the Government is extending its good services in this item. I further hope Mr. Speaker, Sir, that our Government will endeavour to get the fertilizers supplied to the cultivators well in time. Entering the realm of industries, it is a known fact, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that our Government has selected certain areas to be industrial estates of which Byrnihat is one. So, it is not surprising that hon. Member fails to understand why industries are not established in other parts of the State. I am satisfied that the Governor has dwelt at length on the Industries Department. He has mentioned about the Cement Factory at Cherrapunjee to be expanded and daily production capacity will reach 900 tonnes per day during Fifth Five-Year Plan as against 250 tonnes as it is today. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member has stated that no mention was made or indicated in the Address for making supply to Bangladesh. I fail to understand how would the hon. Member come to know that supply of timbers and bamboos to Bangladesh has got to be criticised if such items were made in the previous years. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I see no such amendment is necessary when it is already there. I would urge upon the Government to take effective steps to check any red-tapism. It is also worth mentioning, Sir, that improvement and progress in this sphere is also there. The clinker-cum-cement factory, thermal power station in Garo Hills, timber treatment plant, Meghalaya potteries, steel structural unit, plywood company, beverages company- these are also not to be set aside without having any fact. I would consider myself and my people blessed if Byrnihat is really developed. For this Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is my farm belief and hope that the Government will also encourage growth of small and medium industries like printing industry, paper and pulp industry, canning industry, tranning industry an some other items. The Governor deserves also congratulations for making two statements of policies which the people of the State have long been awaiting and for this I mean, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to have a separate Road Transport Corporation and also a separate State Electricity Board. It has been made in the statement in this House that the Electricity Board will be bifurcated and it has already been decided to do so. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is really congratulatory that these two public bodies will create scope for employment. It is my personal wish and also the wish of my people and my organisation to which I belong that the Government will please give special, I repeat, Mr. Speaker, Sir, special preference to the local people.
Mr. Speaker Sir, coming to the educational area, I think the Governor has told that the Government is soon setting up three residential schools, creating two more departments of the Shillong Polytechnic and also opening Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages in Shillong and on top of that, opening up of the Pre-Examination Training Centre at Shillong to train up our Youths to make themselves fit to go along in the role of All India Services. The Governor outlined future the course of action for health, water supply and also mentioned about border areas. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, from all these I consider the most important thing is the one relating to Assam- Meghalaya boundary. It is a known fact that inspite of the note of dissent of the Member of the Commission in 1950. Block I and Block II of the now Mikir Hills District were forcibly tagged to that District, i.e., Mikir Hills. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the people of these two Blocks I and II since that time, expressed their opposition to such an action which was really against their will. Till today, the scene of continual tension still prevails in the worst manner. It is an accepted fact that unless these Blocks were brought back to Meghalaya, there will be no end to this restlessness of the people who are really part and parcel of the State. The Government stands, Mr. Speaker, Sir to apply its peaceful policy to pronounce its sincere claim and to maintain its cordial relationship. It is really very much deserving to have the most undisputed opposition. From all these facts that I have stated, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I request the House, through you, to accept the motion as moved and at the same time I oppose the amendment moved by the hon. Member from the opposition.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Syiemiong. You have 15 minutes.
Shri W. Syiemiong (Nongspung S.T.):- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the out set I would like to state that we from this side of the House and I for one especially do welcome the speech of the Governor because apart from many other things, the speech lays bare the real intention, wish and the functioning of the mind of the Government but for which, I believe we shall be groping in the dark only, fighting always, talking always and deliberating always with details. However, my thanks go to the Governor though the speech does not reflect all the things that we the people of Meghalaya want. Nevertheless I thank the Governor with reservation for the speech made here the day before yesterday. I would like to begin my observations by pointing to the last page of the Governor's Address in which the Governor has solicited the co-operation form all sections of the people including the Members, I believe, from this side of the House. I hope, therefore, the Government will take our observations on the basis of merit and not with any malice nor charity. First of all, in this connection, I feel I must thank the Government for certain actions and certain performance that it had done during the last one year or so.
The first I cannot but comment that the problems solved by the Government as regards water supply in Shillong though only for the time being, is really commendable. Even though the greater water supply schemes is yet to be completed, still these temporary measures to sustain supply of water in the town are most welcome. At the same time, I welcome the way the Public Works Department is running its works in so far as renovation and repair of roads are concerned and for which I find the quality being good enough. In Shillong at least another thing which I would also like to comment is with regard to the North Eastern Hills University. In spite of the various difficulties and problems that are standing on the way, the Government somehow has been able to make it function since year. I know for sure that the Government could do all these things because of the protests and slogans from the people but that if they are not to do I am sure they could do any thing. However, were other proposals made by this Government in the previous speech of the Governor but I regret to note that many of them have not been put into effect up till now. I am afraid there is a great credibility gap in between the various proposals of the Government and their actual implementation. Apart from this, there were also few schemes, proposals and plans which the Government have made in the past that have not been executed not implemented till today as referred to by some of my colleagues. I am not interested in the big projects and industries because I know they will take time and the persons who are mostly concerned with these schemes are the capitalists or the middle class. I feel Mr. Speaker, Sir, that Government must first fulfill their proposals by the actual implementation of the scheme. The hon. Member Mr. Pohshna has elaborately stated that there was a proposal in certain parts of the Governor's speech that election to the Shillong Municipality will be held as soon as possible pending delimitation of wards. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, three years have elapsed and the Government has not been able to hold the election and I am afraid the Government is depriving the people of their fundamental rights.
Another thing which I would like to comment is that I remember the Government has promised and that was made clear by the Education Minister when he replied to a question on the last occasion, that a State Sports Stadium will be set up in Shillong, but to my surprise, I find that it will take some time more because negotiation for acquisition of a site is going on and not yet finalised. Another question put by me last year was regarding stray cattle in Shillong. The Government, it appears has not been able to put a stop to this stray cattle menace even though assurance were made on the floor of the House to prevent them from roaming about in the art of this town. Also there was a question in the last session and the Finance Minister in his reply has stated that certain vehicles belonging to the Government like MLG-206 will not remain in one particular place in Mawngap any more. But I would inform the Finance Minister that particular Car No. MLG-206 is still there lying unutilized. There are other Trucks also like MLG-205, MLG-207 which used to ply in the border areas for carrying border produces but sometime, it was found that these trucks instead of going to the border areas they were seen carrying people and goods for the Bhoi area. It has been reported recently that a driver of the particular Trucks No.MLG-207 misbehaved and the people of Tyrna lodged a complaint against him in the Deputy Commissioner's office in Shillong. The Deputy Commissioner told the complainants that the driver will be transferred and proper action will be taken but no such thing has been done up till now. Another instance I would like to cite is with regard to the Cooperative Department. The Minister-in-charge of Co-operative in the Session in 1972 while demanding a Supplementary demand for co-operative societies has stated that funds are required for the construction and repair of Godowns of the Cooperative Societies one at Sohiong and the other at Marbisu. But if we go there today we find that those buildings are still in a wretched and dilapidated condition.
Another thing which I would like to point out is regarding gambling. As we all know, gambling is rampant everywhere and in the State in spite of the police enforcement to stop gambling, still it is going on every day. Mr. Speaker, Sir, if this is the nature and character of Government, I am afraid if their promises and assurances would be implemented or not. Also Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is dislocation in the performances of Government offices. If you send a letter to any Government's office, that letter will take a long time inspite of the personal approach made to get the information. Sometime, M.L.As have to go there personally to pursue the matter I had the occasion to meet one village who wants to get cement for construction of his building. He has submitted his application 4 or 5 day back; he went one day to enquire about it and they said that the officer incharge was on leave and he has kept his application including all paper in the almirah and he has locked the same. Therefore, it will take another one week for him to get his cement as he has to submit application for a second time. This is the way the Department functioned without taking the suffering of the people into account.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in another point I want to say is with regard to Sports and culture important factors that were left untouched and omitted from this speech. Sports I believe, do not meant only for physical activities of human being but also to build up the character and intellectual capacity of a man. But in this speech no where Sport and Culture have been mentioned. I do not know why this Government does not include Sports or Culture. As far as this State is concerned in order to maintain our speech identity with the whole of the country of India. I feel the Government should have included these important subject in the Governor's speech. One should know how to preserve one's heritage and culture but I am afraid in this respect, the Governor's Address conspicuously silent on culture and as such the speech is not very welcoming to us. At page 2 of the Governor's Address it has been stated "For a deficit State like Meghalaya, shortage and high prices of foodgrains means a great hardship, and it is to the credit of my Government that the situation has been handled with tact and discretion". I do not know what this Government means by shortage of foodstuff and spiraling rise in the prices of all essential commodities and taking credit for that. If the Government is really taking credit for shortage of foodstuff and the spiraling prices, I give them full marks. But if they say that but for these handling with tack and discretion the situation would have been worst. I would request the Government to please bring down further the price rise and case the flow of foodgrains to this State through some more agencies, so that the prices would not been skyrocket. Otherwise let not this Government take any credit or handling the food problem. If anything the credit belongs to the people who have been very much restraint and disciplined. Lastly, we all know, our is a Christian State in which majority of people are Christians and special quotas have been given for Sugar. During the last Christmas special quotas of sugar have been given for sugar but most of the people (At this stage the Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair) complaint that they did not get those special quotes of sugar. The people in the village are special worse off. Orders were issued on the 14th of December, 1973 but delivery was made only at the fag end of January, 1974. You can will imagine this situation. We cannot shift the Christmas.
The last point is about the behaviour of the officers specially in the rural areas. Very often we receive complaint that the officers in the outlaying areas behave like the burra sahibs of the old colonial regime. It is impossible to talk to them and to meet them. If this be the behaviour of our officers serving in the outlaying areas, I am afraid, Mr. Speaker, Sir, no development worth-while can be made. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member has said that this State has majority of Christians. But to our knowledge, the number of Christians is less than 50 percent.
Shri Winstone Syiemiong :- I stand corrected. But in this House the Majority are Christians.
Shri B. B. Shallam (Jowai S. T.) :- But our State is a Christian State.
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah (Jaiaw S.T.):- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not know how to begin- whether I should speak on the amendment of the Motion or the Motion. I think I can speak on both. In the first place, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would oppose the amendment to the Motion of Thanks for the simple reason that the amendment purports to say that the Address of the Governor makes no reference to the vital problem or the economic development of the State. After having gone through the Address of the Governor, I think the hon. Members will agree with me that various vital sector of economic activity of the State have been touched and dwelt at length. I think the Address of the Governor has been able to catalogue various performances of the State Government as well as the basis policies in regard to industries, agriculture, co-operative and various other economic sectors. Besides the Members in the opposite, rather on the two sides, have already contradicted themselves when, on the one hand, the hon. Member who moved the amendment had advocated very strongly for having the elections to the Shillong Municipality on the ground that the Municipal on Administration is not doing well or on the basis of the previous statement made by the Minister, while on the other hand, we have a Member who had correctly assessed the situation by making a realistic assessment that the Municipal Administration is very much improved now. In fact, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as Member representing the urban constituency, I have had the occasion to met the Ministers and the public leaders on this and it is the general consensus in the town that the election to the Municipality should not be held at this stage on consideration of two factors, namely, (1) there has been a continuing shifting of population from Shillong and (2) there has been a strong feeling that of late of the Municipal Administration, in the hands of the Chief Executive Officer, is improving to a large extent. In the context of these two considerations, I think I would reflect the feelings of the people of the town, if I say, that the elections to the Shillong Municipality should be postponed for a certain period of time.
Anyway, that is what I feel. That is my personal opinion and it is the opinion of quite a majority of the people in the town.
Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I feel that it goes to the credit of the State leadership and, of course, to the sobriety and soundness of the people that our State has been at ease and there is peace and tranquility, despite the rumblings and turbulence that we find in other parts of the country caused by rise in prices, inflation, high prices of fuel and scarcity of essential commodities. I would agree with the hon. Member from Nongspung when he said that the credit should go to the people. But at the same time, we cannot delink the State leadership which has given guidance. So, let us say that we all share in this happy situation which is prevailing in the State and everybody has a part in it. But at the same time, we should not lose sight of the fact that the people are today suffering a great deal because of rising prices and it would do well for the Government to take dynamic steps to see that the problems are solved or eased I say so because I know that it is very difficult to solve rising price, which is a national phenomenon. It is also connected with international factors like monetary crisis and all that sorts. But I feel that if the Government implement certain steps, the problem could be eased to a great extent. I feel that the people appreciately the need to have peace in this region apart from the basic character of restraint and discipline of the people. More basic I think is the fact that they want that peaceful conditions should exist in the State in order to allow the Government machinery to put its mind, heart and energy for the economic development of the State because unless there is peaceful condition in the State, whatever we may do, we will not be able to promote the wheels of progress in economic fields. I feel that there is realisation that we have to put more efforts to develop ourselves economically for the simple fact that we have had a great backlog economic development, we are in arrears of development. For year and for decades together economic activities in this part of the State have not been tackled in the manner they should have been. In fact, I will go to the extent to say that these regions have been long neglected. We have the backlog of economic development and second factor, we have to keep abreast with the development of the country as a whole. Therefore, we have to put more united efforts, double efforts to keep ourselves in line with the development of the country. That is the basic condition. Sir, I feel that the condition of peace exists today in the State. Now, on this I may like to add of the change in the international boundaries which have been the scene of insecurity in the past with the erstwhile East Pakistan. The situation is now changing, when we do not have border incidents of the magnitude we had in the past and whenever incident did occur, the Government of India or the State Government have been able to tackle it at their level and at an appropriate time. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring to the attention of the House that while there is basic approach to have peaceful conditions in the State, to have peaceful relation with our neighbours, we are very much concerned with the territorial integrity of the State whether it is in the southern border bordering Bangladesh or whether it is in the areas adjoining with the northern part i.e. Assam. I must congratulate the Governor for having told the House very explicitly in this Address at page 15 paragraph 25, I quote "Border incidents have tended to occur with a distressing pattern, and tribal people inhabiting the border villages have complained of harassment and intimidation by the police and other agencies of the Assam Government". This matter is very serious that all signs of hope and optimism to maintain peaceful conditions in this part of the Region is now shattered because of these incessant border incidents which are distressing, disturbing and serious. I would not like to dwell on the border incidents in the Jaintia Mikir Hills Sector which have been dealt with by the hon. Member from Nongpoh but I would like to congratulate the Government for having taken this matter so seriously so as to appoint Honrary Adviser on inter-State boundary and I understand substantial progress has been made and a settlement is expected to reach. This is a good sign indeed, it shows urgency with which the State Government attaches to this very important problem. Now there is another sector with which we have this problem. In fact just this morning, I had a copy of petition addressed to the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from Mr. Arland Syiem who came personally to see me. That is referring to the claim of the people of Nongwah villages at present in the Kamrup District for getting them transferred to the District of Khasi of the State of Meghalaya .....(Interrupted)....
Shri H. Hynniewta (Nongkhlaw S.T.) :- Nongwah village is not in the Kamrup District.
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am just reading what has been written in the petition, although I agree with the hon. Member from Nongkhlaw, who has made an intervention on this. With sources of information I have these villages are, let us say, the points of dispute with the adjoining State. But since the letter has been addressed to the Chief Ministe,r and a copy of which was given to me, I hope the Chief Minister, will be able to deal with it when he replies. So I leave it at that. So, I go now to this very important statement made by the Governor which I will quote "Meanwhile, following the recent incident at Goalpara involving a larger number of tribal people, refugees have started entering the Garo Hills District from Goalpara and arrangements have been made to offer relief to them". Simple though the statement seems to import yet the purport of this statement is profound and pregnant with all implications that I could visualize. Peace is substituted there by a sense of insecurity and atrocities committed are reminiscent of influx of refugees from the erstwhile East Pakistan. The situation is this part of our State is so serious and disturbing that whatever we thought of maintaining peaceful conditions are now let us say that situation is in the verge of chattering. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will now refer to these incidents which happened on the 11th February, 1974 at Baladmari near Goalpara. On that day rather on the day before, on the 10th February, 1974, 20,000 Garos living in contiguous areas of Garo Hills had assembled with a view to launch a peaceful hunger strike on the next day. On the 11th morning they were on the way to Goalpara. Their objective was a peaceful hunger strike they demand merger with Meghalaya and their cause or rather the reasons of the cause are historical, economic neglect and the most important of all which is the immediate cause is the imposition of Assamese Language in the Schools which I may put it more correctly is a way to effect the cultural in road to a cultural invasion and this is therefore, the immediate cause. Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will be dealing with this matter elaborately because I would like that on this matter we should be able to appreciate in a proper prospective having obtained all the facts involved. Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the 11th morning on the way to Goalpara, they were stopped by the personnel of the Assam Police. As a result of which they could not proceed to Goalpara to launch the hunger strike and the clash occurred. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, 20,000 Garos who marched on that day came from village comprising 316 in the areas of 762 square miles having a population of 65,000 or more. So when the clash occurred a tragedy happened, one Garo person died and a police personnel of the Assam Police died, then two students were missing 5 Garos were seriously injured and 20 received minor injuries. But what happened after that is a matter which I would like to deal at this time. After that day, the Assam Government have let loose a reign of terror. Harassment and intimidation by the Assam Police to the Garo people living in the contiguous areas have been the rule of the day since then. I am not trying, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, to impute motives on the leadership of the Assam Government, but I am placing facts as they exist today which culminate in thousands of refugees coming to our State, hundred families and thousands of them keep coming and the harassment and intimidation continue. There has been indiscriminate beatings of the Garos, they were threatened, both men and women. There were indiscriminating arrests and let it be known that today there are 130 Garos languishing in Jails, 61 in Gauhati Jail including 19 girls, 52 are now detained in Goalpara Jails. On top of this, the personnel of Assam Police and their agents have lifted cattle, paddy, fowls, pigs and valuable belongings of the Garo people. I know many instances. When the Garo brothers and sisters went to the market places, they were pounced upon, beaten and arrested and sometimes left on the road. These are the cases that are happening today. Even the other day, there has been an incident in which a Garo passenger who was traveling in the State Transport Bus from Damra to Tura was taken out of the bus and beaten. On top of that, I am trying to place the facts, one church building at Baladmari was damaged. On the12th I went to Dainadubi in Garo Hills and met many people and got information. I was pained to know that many girls were assaulted and molested and 5 girls were dishonoured, I do not want to use the word which is unparliamentary dishonored. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to draw your attention here that while placing these facts, I believe, are the concern of not only the Ruling Party or of the Opposition, but of the whole House. These people dwelling in those areas have been with us through thick and thin on the Hill State struggle. Most of you know too well that they were part and parcel of the movement. I will go to that part later. Under all these intimidations, almost all the Garos have evacuated in 5 villages of Baladmari, Phulukdubi, Chotropur, Chamaguri and Raikhoshi and refugees are now pouring and we are having camps in Dalma, Bajengdoba, Dainaburi and Damas. I know the hands of the Government are tight but there is another fact which I would like to bring to the notice of the House and that is that the Assam Police Personnel have entered into Meghalaya and committed intransigence. On the 17th February, they came right into Meghalaya and made a search in the Adokgiri School compound. On the 26th February, 1974, they came two kilometers into Meghalaya at Citukuna. On the 28th February, 1974, the Assam Police entered Damas and harassed our local M.L.A., who is hereby throwing stones and perhaps he will speak about how they tried to break the door to his drawing room.....
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh (Pariong S.T.) :- No Border dispute as stated by the Government?
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah (Jaiaw S.T.) :- Let us not rush and come to the conclusion. I will come to that later. Even at Dainadubi, the Police personnel had come. These are the facts after 11th February, 1974. Now we have this problem of refugees, we have the problem of insecurity and we have the problems of not having peaceful conditions which are the necessary infrastructure of the development of our State. I do not mind if this happened in the Border with Bangladesh, but these happenings with our good neighbour Assam are unthinkable.
Shri Hoover Hynniewta (Nongkhlaw S.T.) :- You should mind but not too much.
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- I have already mentioned about the cause of the movement. It is because Assamese language was introduced compulsorily in the schools. I have got a copy of the resolution passed by the Garo National Council which was signed by their Vice-President on the 14th January when they have decided to launch a civil disobedience movement. Now the Assam Chief Minister had made a statement in the Assam Legislative Assembly which is before me here and after going through the statement I disagree with certain basic notion that he has in this connection. It appears to me that Assam Government has a wrong notion that this movement is a new movement and even some of the hon. Members of the Assam Assembly had gone to the extent of bringing the name of the Government of Meghalaya as the villain behind this movement. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is not a fact. It is not a new movement and it is not a simple law and order situation and it is not because of the creation of Meghalaya. This demand is backed by history, it is the expression of the democratic aspiration of the people for many many years. Infact in 1899 the movement was started under the leadership of late Sonaram Sangma of Nishangram who fought for the integration of the Garo Speaking areas when at that time the entity of Assam was not very clear. Even during the pre-independence days the movement had been very very strong and late Sonaram Sangma was once arrested because of this movement.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. Kyndiah, your time is up.
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- Sir, I shall take only 10 minutes more. Now as I said it is the democratic aspiration of the people from a very long time; so in 1947 when the Independence came, the Constituent Assembly of India agreed to constitute a small Committee with the leaders drawn from this region under the leadership of late Gopinath Bordoli. The late J.J.M. Nichols Roy was also on the Committee to go into this matter. The leaders of these contiguous areas made a very strong representation to the Committee on the basis of their three arguments, viz. (i) that it was a historical movement right from 1899, (ii) that it has the socio-cultural kinship with the Garo people from Garo Hills and (iii) that the areas are economically backward. Now the Bordoloi Committee listened to them sympathetically but they advised them to represent this matter to some other authorities as it was outside the terms of the Committee's reference. In 1949 the All Assam Garo National Council, which later on become a constituent of the A.P.H.L.C. in 1960 made a very strong plea for merger of these areas with Garo Hills. Again and again they gave representations to the authorities concerned. Then in 1951 the movement again gained momentum. The agitation stared because of the forced introduction of Assamese script in the Garo Medium Schools. The agitation has been launched under the leadership of late Mackeson Sangma, the father of one of the honourable Members of this house, Mr. Salseng Marak. The other two leaders are Shri Lipson Sangma and Shri Elwin Sangma, one of the hon. Members of this House. The agitation became so strong that Shri Lipson Sangma and Shri Elwin Sangma were arrested on 23rd June 1951. It this a new movement? Between 1951 to 1960 representations were made to various successive Chief Minister. Then came the A.P.H.L.C. the All party Hills Leaders, Conference. Most of you here had a part to play in that Conference and in 1960 I will read out the Resolution of the 3rd Session held at Halfong "under the Chairmanship of the late J.B. Hagjer, who are then the Member of Parliament and in the plan for creation of the Eastern Frontier State, the territory of the State has been clearly laid down". I will read out "The State shall also include any other area or areas geographically contiguous to the autonomous District mentioned in the above paragraph and predominantly inhabited by Hills Tribes, such as the contiguous Tribal areas of the districts of Goalpara, Kamrup, Nowgong and Cachar and the territories of Manipur and Tripura unless the Hills tribes inhabiting these areas decide otherwise" and since then the people of these areas have been in the thick and thin of the movement for the creation of the State and from year to year the demand of the people of these areas had been part and parcel of the proceedings of the A.P.H.L.C. I do not like to take the time of the House by reading all the resolutions. I will therefore, read out only two resolutions which will go to show how deeply........
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Better give me the documents as I do not have them.
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- Yes, But I would like to make it clear that this is not a new movement; it is not a law and other matter. It is a democratic movement based on history and sacrifices. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the resolution of the 16th Session of the A.P.H.L.C. held at Tura on 18th January 1967 runs as follows: "This Conference considered the resolution of the Goalpara and Kamrup Units of the Garo National Council expressing the determination of the Garo people of the Garo areas of the Goalpara and Kamrup Districts contiguous to the Hill areas to separate from Assam and their decisions to boycott the forthcoming General Election to the Assam Legislative Assembly as a gesture of their determination; and the Conference approves of the decisions of the above units and reiterates its demand that the Government of India take immediate steps to meet the legitimate aspiration of the people of the above and other areas contiguous to the hill areas". Even after Meghalaya came into existence as an Autonomous State, we had occasion to be seized of this problem and passed a resolution. The resolution that we passed was in the 22nd Session of the A.P.H.L.C. held at Shillong on 21st and 22nd September 1970. It runs like this "having considered the question of the inclusion in Meghalaya of areas contiguous to it and predominantly inhabited by the hills people, now reiterate its stand that these areas be included in the State of Meghalaya". This was the stand. This is stand. (Bell rang) Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will need only a few minutes more, Sir, this question is a sensitive one and at the same time, it is very important for us to be acquainted with its implications in all aspects. I know that the Government is seized of this matter and had made a policy statement which I will quote: "While my Government wish to maintain cordial and good neighbourly relations with the Government and people of Assam, my Government View with regret all unilateral action and reaffirm their faith in a peaceful and negotiated settlement of all outstanding issues, keeping in view the linguistic cultural and educational right of the minorities and the right of every citizen to live and work under conditions of peace". This is the policy (Bell rang) statement and I congratulate the Government for coming out boldly. My only appeal to the Government is to take note of these unilateral actions by the Government of Assam. These atrocities are to be condemned and the matter has to be taken up forthwith. I know that the people of these areas are disciplined and peaceful but let not their peaceful intentions and their restraint be misconstrued as weakness because when the people want to demonstrate in a democratic manner of their long-cherished aspirations, force cannot yield results. Let the Government of Assam understand that we are peaceful and we like to maintain peaceful conditions. But then if force is used in this manner the patience of the people will not last for long. I say this because the people there are determined on discipline and they would go ahead with their movement. With these few words I resume my seat.
Shri Salseng Marak (Resubelpara S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion moved by the hon. Member, Shri D.D. Lapang. First of all, I thank the Governor for his Address and extend my whole support to the general plans and programmes of the Government. In appreciating the contents of the Governor's Address, I want to make some observations here and there.
In the sphere of agriculture, I put more stress on the importance of irrigation and reclamation of land and also on the productive methods of cultivation. Therefore, importance and priority should be given to irrigational facilities and reclaimed lands are to be properly irrigated to. Our cultivators should be educated with modern scientific method of cultivation and also the use of modern implements. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I fully appreciate and support the educational policy adopted by the Government but here also I stress more importance on pre-primary education. Proper education and guidance right from the lower stage to our students will make them useful citizens in future. Therefore I offer my humble suggestions to the Government, through you, Sir, to set up training centres to train teachers teaching in pre-primary schools. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am grateful to the Governor for his mention about border incidents. It is very unfortunate that the sad incident occurred at Baladmari on February 11, 1974 were thousands of Garos assembled to lunch a peaceful 12 hour hunger-strike and at Goalpara to press for a demand for merger of some areas with Meghalaya and also the release of their political detentees from Goalpara and Gauhati Jails. Unfortunately, on that day the Garos were denied their constitutional right to express their grievances and demands. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, rather there was lathi charge and firing though unprovoked by the Assam Police resulting in the death of one Garo and a police man. Later on, after that incident, more atrocities were committed by the Assam Police and their act of harassment still continues unchecked till today. The atrocities, harassment and intimidation by the Assam Police are such that any person belonging to a Garo Community, whether he is from Assam or Meghalaya, is beaten severely and dragged to the Police Station and outpost and even put into jail at Goalpara. Many Garos were indiscriminately beaten and arrested and then released afterwards after much torture done to them. Even the police have gone to extent of violating all constitutional rights of worship by damaging the church at Baladmari. The Garo and men folk were searched from their houses and women-folk were molested and even their properties were destroyed and because of police atrocities, harassment and intimidation, Garo people from some villages have left their hearth and home and taken refuge in other places of Meghalaya. Now I am much concerned with this problem because these refugees have come to me for giving them shelter. I am very grateful to the Government of Meghalaya for giving them relief and shelter. In this connection, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the student community are badly effected by this incident and because of police intimidation our Garo students have fled from their respective Schools and migrated to Garo Hills for admission. Particularly students who are going to appear at the H.S.L.C. Examination this year were badly effected and therefore, I would request the Government to give permission to change their examination centres from Assam to Meghalaya, and to get the effected students admitted in our own schools in Meghalaya. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is the sad outcome of the legitimate demand of the Garo of Goalpara and Kamrup for merger of some areas with our State of Meghalaya. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the merger demand is not a new one, but it was since the time of late Sonaram Sangma who had fought for the integration of Garo areas, since the achievements of independence of our country the Garos of Goalpara and Kamrup have been demanding for contiguous areas in Garo Hills to be merged with the present Garo Hills District. A number of memorandum to this effect was submitted to the successive Prime Ministers of India on the question to merger. The demand for merger is speed up when Assamese was made the official language of Assam and the Garo areas are neglected economic development. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Assamese language was made compulsory in the Garo Primary Schools and even all necessary teaching materials written in Assamese script are supplied to the Garo for their use. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I appeal to the Government of Assam not to treat this merger movement merely as a law and order situation, but I appeal to them to understand and realise the genuine demand of the Garo people and normalize the situation and settle the matter in a constitutional way, and not by the force but at the conference table with the Garo leaders of Goalpara and Kamrup. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also demand retransferring of Block Nos. I an II which fall now under Mikir Hills to Meghalaya. With few words, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.
Shri Y. Fuller Lyngdoh (Mairang) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have been listening to the debate on the Governor's address and first of all, I wish to express that I share the same opinion with the views expressed by some of the hon. Members from the Opposition Bench who spoke before me. I want only to say few things and would like to point out what the hon. Member from Jaiaw has just said regarding Shillong Municipality. I am afraid the hon. Member from Jaiaw misunderstood our stand on the Shillong Municipality. While it is a fact that we have an active Chief Executive Officer in the Municipal Board, we cannot deny the democratic rights of the people, so the election must be held immediately. The policy of the Government in relation to some subject as it appears in the Address is not at all satisfactory. It has been mentioned in the Address about the shortage of man-power in the State. But we do not see that any steps have been taken in this matter by Government. I would suggest that Government should take steps in the matter by giving some incentives to our youths so that in future our development programme will not be hampered by shortage of man-power.
With regard to land reforms, I share the same opinion with the view expressed by the hon. Member from Mawhati and I would also like to add that it has been stated in the Address that the farmers must have an assured interest in the land. We wonder whether the Government is having complaint and if there is any grumbling from the cultivators regarding land. So far as we know, the land tenure system which has been practiced in our district, i.e., in Khasi Hills is more or less a system which the people of our district are really satisfied. So I would would suggest that it is better for the Government to give up the idea of bringing this land reform in Khasi Hills.
With regard to employment, I would also like to say a few words. The self employment schemes have been taken up by the Government and what we have experienced in the past is really very discriminating. It appears that only the youths of Shillong town have been given the opportunities, while the youths from the rural areas were not at all taken into consideration. I may mention a few cases in respect of the State Transport Undertaking. None of the unemployed youths from the rural areas have been taken or helped by the Government in recommending loans from the State Bank of India. I would request that in future, such discrimination should not be followed by our Government. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. Samsul Haque.
Shri Samsul Haque (Mahendraganj) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, by way of participating in the discussion on the Governor's Speech, I would like to express my full satisfaction of the plans and programmes of the Government. But as only few minutes have been allotted to me, it is very insufficient time to express all of my views in the House. The first thing which is peeping in my mind I would like to express here Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that it is very unfortunate and it is a matter of great regret that one tribal brother and one policeman of Assam have lost their lives in the incident that took place at Baladmari near Goalpara town on 11th February, 1974. What was the wrong with the tribal people, I cannot realise. But so far I know the tribal people who are living along the border areas of the southern part of Goalpara District and Kamrup District are trying to merge with Meghalaya since the beginning of the Hill State movement. But it is surprising to know that the consequence did not cover their aspiration up till now. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I know very well that the tribal people of those areas belong to the Garo community; and they are the peace loving people. It is also a fact that the Garos of that areas are belonged to minority community of the State of Assam. So, it has given me much pain as I am also a Member of this House elected from among the minority community. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has been reported that these minority people of Assam were being oppressed by the police and some other agencies. Even directly or indirectly they have been force to take up Assamese language in the field of Primary and M. E. School education as a medium of instruction, although these minority people are never willing to forget their mother-tongue. It is also a fact that other kinds of oppressions have been inflicted on this section of the community. At this stage Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am to express my fear and say that our Government should try its level best to protect and take proper care of the interest of the minority community with the collaborations of the Government of Assam. If they allow the atrocities on these people and exploit their minority people, then consequence will bring serious type of bitterness and ill-feeling in the minds of our own brethren. As such, I would request the Government of Assam through our our benign Government that the minority community of Assam should be deeply considered while coming to a conclusion peacefully; otherwise we shall be over-burdened with difficulties as we have been experienced during the Pakistan conflict with Bangladesh in 1971-72. Many refugees came to our shoulder and we have to give them refuge at whatever cost it might be to our own State. We have also received complaint about the coming of so many refugees from Goalpara crossing the Assam Border and they have started to come to our places here.
This will be another burden on us if we are sleeping and do not take up the matter in time.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, coming to another point I think, the Government is aware of the fact that the Ampati Mahendraganj road has been constructed during the period of Assam Government but land compensation was not paid to the land owners concerned up till now. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, also an embankment has been constructed in 1959 at Mahendraganj just on the left bank of the river Zinziram but no compensation has been paid to the land owners. Therefore, I earnestly urge upon the Government specially the Minister-incharge of P.W.D. to take necessary steps so that these poor cultivators i.e. land owners may have their legitimate dues in these days of hardship and scarcity of food. Next, Sir, I like to say that I have gone through the Governor's address and I would express my satisfaction again on this point that the Government of Meghalaya proposes to upgrade some medical or health centres in Garo Hills to 30 bedded hospital within the 5th Five Year Plan. In this connection, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I may suggest here that the Mahendraganj State Dispensary also should be upgraded into a "30 bedded hospital". In this respect, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to remind the Government that though this Mahendraganj Dispensary was there in existence still there has hardly any doctor. Sometime it is running without a doctor and sometimes with a doctor who is old enough to conduct his duty. Sir, as the time does not allow me to speak these few words I resume my seat. Thank You.
Mr. Deputy Speaker:- Time is up. The House stands adjourned till 9 a.m. tomorrow, the 23rd March, 1974.