Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Assembled
After the General Election 1972
The Assembly met at 9 a.m. of Saturday, the 23rd March, 1974 in the Assembly Chamber at Shillong.
Prof. Radhon Singh Lyngdoh, Speaker, in the Chair, five Ministers, two Ministers of State and fifty-two Members.
Question and Answers
(To which written replies were laid on the Table)
Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up Unstarred Question No.3.
Monument in Memory of Freedom Fighters at Rongrengiri
Shri Choronsing Sangma asked :
|3.||Will the Minister-in-charge, Public Works Department be pleased to State -|
(a) Whether any provision has been made for erection of a Monument in memory of the Garo Freedom Fighters near G.D. C.I.B. at Rongrengiri?
(b) If so, the amount earmarked for the purpose?
(c) Whether the Government propose to start erection work during 1974-75?
(d) If not, when the work will start?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minster of State, Public Works Department) replied :
3. (a)- No, Sir.
(b), (c), and (d) -Do not arise in view of reply at (a) above.
Shri Choronsing Sangma (Rongrengiri, S.T. ) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, will the Government consider to erect a monument?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State, Public Works Department) :- Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to the next item.
Call Attention Motion
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah (Jaiaw, S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of the Business of the Assembly, I would like to call the attention of the Chief Minister and request him to make a statement on the correctness of the date, that is, 29th March, on which death anniversary of Tirot Singh is being celebrated. There is great confusion in the minds of the people about the correctness of the date. This has been caused by a letter written to the editor appearing in the Assam Tribune on the 16th March, 1974, which runs as follows.
"The Meghalaya Government has declared March, 29th, as the death anniversary of U-Tirot Singh. I would like to pointed out that this date is incorrect according to authoritative historical accounts.
Mackenzie in his "History of the Relations of the Government with the Hill Tribes of the North East Frontier of Bengal" quoted Pemberton thus: "Teerut Singh...... on the 9th January 1933 deputed Jeet Roy, his confidential Muntree, to treat with. Mr. Inglish.... the 13th was the day finally determined upon for his surrender. On the day appointed, the Rajah Teerut Singh met Mr. Inglis at Nuringare. Teerut Singh was conveyed to Myrung, from whence he was taken to Gauhati in Assam, eventually confined in the jail of Decca, where he remains a State Prisoner for life....Rujun Singh, the nephew to Teerut Singh a lad of between 13 and 14 years of age .... was installed by Captain Jenkins on the 29th of March, 1937, on the following conditions which had been previously prepared and submitted for the approval of Government.
Aitchinson in this 'A collection of Treaties, engagements and Sanads' gave the following account'... 'In 1829 Tirot Singh was prominently concerned in the massacre of two British Officers, with about sixty native subjects. Hostilities ensued, and after a harassing war with the Hill Chiefs, most of whom joined Tirot Singh, the Raja surrendered. He was imprisoned for life in Dacca Jail and Government conferred the Chiefship on his nephew Rajan Singh'.
There accounts clearly indicate that March 29 Was actually the day when the first Nongkhlaw Chief was installed by the British and that Tirot Singh was still very much alive at that time. So by declaring March 29 a public holiday we will actually be celebrating the subjugation of the Khasis by the British, which is an insult to the memory of our greatest national hero".
Mr. Speaker :- That news item has already been received by the Chief Minister. Now I would like to know about your contention.
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, he was giving the account of Aitchinson and the collection of treaties. On this account he said that the date, 29th March, is not the date on which Tirot Singh died.
Mr. Speaker :- Did he suggest any other date?
Shri Ripple Kyndiah :- No. He did not give and this created confusion. It is my intention to bring this Call Attention Motion to dispel the doubts and clear the log of confusion that exists.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, may I call upon the Chief Minister to make a statement.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government's attention has been drawn to a letter to the Editor on the subject 'U Tirot Singh' published in the Assam Tribune, dated the 16th instant.
In this connection I may mention that a separate communication on the same subject was received by the Government from Shri Kynpham Singh.
In the agreement between Rujon Singh, Syiem of Nongklaw, nephew of Triot Singh who succeeded him, and the East India Company it is clearly stated that Rujon Singh had been appointed to the Syiemship on the death of his uncle, Triot Singh. Rujon Singh succeeded to the Syiemship on the 29th March, 1834. A copy of this agreement is found in W. J. Allen's Report of 1858 as well as in Aitchison's collection of treaties and Sunuds. In fact, a reference is made to this agreement in Aitchison's Commentary, quoted in the said letter to the Editor.
That the date of the great patriot's death at Dacca was the 29th March, 1834 has been widely accepted for a long time. In Dr. H. Lyngdoh's History of the chiefs of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, which is widely accepted as an authoritative book on the subject, it is stated that Tirot Singh died of a stomach ailment at Dacca on the 29th March, 1834.
It may be also, mentioned that the Governor of the composite State of Assam, who opened the Tirot Singh Memorial at Mairang on the 29th March, 1954 stated in his speech that the Syiem passed away on that date one hundred and twenty years earlier.
The materials received from Shri Kynpham Singh being examined. Any further materials received by the Government on this subject will also be carefully considered on the basis of the existing materials. However, Government feel that the 29th March, 1834 is that memorable day in the history of our country when the champion of freedom and liberty passed away in captivity.
Mr. Speaker :- Any other point for further clarification?
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- No, Sir. On the basis of the records that are available with the Government and whatever I have with me, I am now satisfied for the time that it is 29th March, 1834.
Introduction of the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1974
Mr. Speaker :- So, let us pass on to the next item in today's list of business. Finance Minister.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now I put the question before the House. The question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
The motion is carried and leave is granted.
Before I ask the Minister-incharge of Finance to introduce the Bill, let me read the message from the Governor.
The 22nd March, 1974.
In exercise of the power conferred by Clause (1) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I, Lallan Prasad Singh, hereby recommend to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Sd. LALLAN PRASAD SINGH,
The Finance Minister will now introduce the Bill.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Finance Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Bill.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. I put the question before the House. The question is that the Bill be introduced. The motion is carried and the Bill is introduced.
(The Secretary, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly read out the title of the Bill.)
Introduction of the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1974
Mr. Speaker :- Item No. 4.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1974.
The motion is carried. Leave is granted.
Before I ask the Minister, Finance to introduce the Bill, let me read the message from the Governor.
The 22nd March, 1974.
In exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I, Lallan Prasad Singh, hereby recommend to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1974.
Sd/- LALLAN PRASAD SINGH,
Governor of Meghalaya
Now, the Finance Minister to introduce the Bill.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minster, Finance) :- Sir, I beg to introduce the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1974 be introduced. The motion is carried. The Bill is introduced.
(The Secretary read out the title of the Bill.)
Debate of the Governor's Address
Let us pass on to the next item. Debate on the Governor's Address.
Now, Mr. Plansing Marak will take his stand. He will get 10 minutes.
Shri Plansing Marak (Kherapara, S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address moved by my hon. friend from Nongpoh. Sir, I would thank the Governor for coming over here and addressing this august House. In his address the Governor has clearly mentioned the performances of the Government in different spheres of administrative and developmental works for which I cannot but give him by unreserved support. As mentioned by the Governor in his address, agriculture is the mainstay of the people of Meghalaya and the majority of the people depend on jhumming. But jhumming is really doing more harm than good to the people. Sir, I am happy to note in the Address of the Governor that our Government is taking steps to put a stop to this practice by introducing such schemes as terrace cultivation and regrouping of villages. To this Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would add my own point that regrouping of villages should be done in such places where there is land enough for wet cultivation. In Garo Hills I find many such places which can be converted into wet cultivable lands provided they are properly reclaimed. We all know from common experience that in an area where there is land for cultivation, the people flock there. So, if such lands suitable for wet cultivation are reclaimed, the people of their own accord will flock in such places and it will be some sort of regrouping of villages. Schemes, have been drawn up by the Government for improvement of agriculture for which I give my full support. This shows that the Government have not failed in its attempt to develop this State economically. Recognition of importance of animal husbandry and agriculture, preparation of scheme for their improvement, Indo-Danish Project for cattle breeding, setting up of a research station, appointment of a Commission for Land Reforms, all these activities are taken up to accelerate the pace of development of the State economically. As for industries, the Governor has mentioned the projects taken up by our Government and I do not like to repeat here but suffice it to say that in the field of industrial development our Government has not failed to recognise the importance. A number of the scheme such as Road Transport Corporation, linking of railway line with Byrnihat, construction of ropeways in Garo Hills are being taken up. These are under active consideration of the Government and definite steps are taken. After appreciating the schemes and performances of the Government I would add a few suggestions of my own. There suggestions will be in connection with agriculture. Agro-industries should be introduced in the State as early as possible in order to give more technical help to the cultivators. Point No.2 -There is a growing demand for power tillers and bull-dozers and such other machineries. These should be made available in every district. Distribution of seeds comes very late. So distribution of seeds should be made at an early date so that the cultivators will get the opportunity to cultivate their lands at a proper time. Subsidy for land reclamation should be totally stopped now. Whenever there is application for land reclamation, the Government used to give grants as an aid but the people do not properly utilise these grants and whenever they receive the money they spend it for their own use and never utilise it for reclamation purposes. So, instead of giving grants to the cultivators, I would suggest and request the Government to take up the matter departmentally. If there is construction of bunds and dongs it should be done departmentally. So, I would request the Government to discourage the grant of money for land reclamation.
Shri Edwngson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Sir, may I intervene in this matter. As far as the matter is concerned, the Government has decided not to give subsidy for reclamation and construction of bunds and dongs and everything will be done departmentally.
Shri Plansing Marak :- The Governor made mention about the recent incident in Goalpara district. Yesterday some of my friends clearly stated the actual position of the movement of the Garo National Council in Kamrup and Goalpara. Although I have not been listed to participate in this particular matter, I think it is my duty as the Vice President of the Organisation to speak something in this regard. Sir, I would simply denounce the charges of some of the leaders in Assam who have accused us that we encouraging the Garos in Kamrup and Goalpara. But this accusation has come rather too late; it should come long before the creation of Meghalaya and before the creation of the District Council itself this movement has already been there before the creation of Meghalaya and the Autonomous District Council. We have a political organisation which is known as the Garo National Council. This organisation is not an organisation of the Garo alone. This organisation came up before the certain of the District Council. We demanded autonomy and the Garos of Kamrup and Goalpara district took active and leading part in it. We have achieved our demand for district autonomy under the leadership of the President of Garo National Council. If you examine the records of the annual general conference of the Council, you will find that every year there is a resolution for merger of the contiguous areas of Kamrup and Goalpara with Garo Hills. The creation of the Autonomous District and the creation of the State of Meghalaya has not in any way changed our political entry, our political idea and the ideology of the Garo National Council is the same as it was before, and our Chief Minister who is the President of the All India Garo National Council is elected before the creation of the Autonomous Districts and before the creation of the State of Meghalaya. Our Minister of State for Forest who is here in our midst is the General Secretary of the All India Garo National Council. He has been elected the General Secretary of the All India Garo National Council before the creation of the State of Meghalaya and uptil today he continues to be the General Secretary of this Organisation. Regarding myself, I was elected Vice President of the All India Garo National Council and continue to hold the post uptil today. I was elected Vice President of the G.N.C. not after the creation of Meghalaya State but before creation. In the political field, I did not confine my political activities in Garo Hills alone. It is my duty to spread the ideology of the G.N.C. and it is my duty to spread the ideas of the G.N.C. movement not only in Garo Hills District but to every village wherever there are Garos. I went to different villages in Kamrup and Goalpara District of Assam to spread the ideas of the Garo National Council. I attended and delivered lectures in public meetings but I have not received any complaint neither from the Government of Assam nor from the people of Assam. The same thing has been done by our G.N.C. President and the General Secretary in those days before the creation of Meghalaya and before the creation of the Autonomous District. Our G.N.C. President and the General Secretary came to villages and asked the people for donation and also asked them to organise strikes and hartals and there was not a single day that the Government of Assam and the people of Assam handed a note of protest to us but today suddenly we have been branded as instigators and inciters of this movement. I therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, make an appeal to the people of Assam to take note of this and realise that the movement of the Garos living in Kamrup and Goalpara Districts of Assam of the merger of the contiguous areas with Garo Hills District is not as all the outcome of the creation of the State of Meghalaya. This movement of the Garos of Kamrup and Goalpara for merger of the continuous areas with the District of Garo Hills has been there before the creation of the State of Meghalaya and before the creation of the autonomous districts. Before I resume my seat, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to appeal to the Government of Assam and also to the Government of Meghalaya to settle this matter in a peaceful way so that peace and tranquility can be maintained. With this observation I support the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address and oppose the amendment motion.
Shri William Cecil R. Marak (Selsella S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while participating in the debate on the Governor's Address, I rise to support the motion of amendment. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to speak a few words on the Flood Control especially with regard to the Garo Hills District of Meghalaya. Refugees came over to our District of Garo Hill from the erstwhile East Pakistan in 1964 and they have been rehabilitated in and around Jigabari, Mauzas No. 6 and 7. In order to control flood and to give full facilities to the agriculturists, the Flood Control Department should at least give help to the agriculturists by constructing embankments and protection bunds so that the people who are living in the flood affected areas can have better crops and thereby improve their economic condition. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Jigabari Project has been taken up quite a long time but nothing has been done after the lapse of two years by the E&D Department. During those times two Engineers had been transferred and afterwards we know from the Addl. Chief Engineer that Officers, the Superintending Engineer and some high Officers of the Government visited Baghmara, Karukal, Baitbari, Phulbari, Tikrikilla, Mahendraganj and other areas but in the Fourth Five Year Plan nothing has been done regarding the flood control scheme. So I request the Government to see that the people who are living in these areas as I have said in Mauzas No.6 & 7 which are flood affected areas get the necessary protection and to see that some stable and permanent scheme should be taken up in order to give full facilities to the agriculturists in the field of agriculture. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is also a mention in the Governor's Address regarding setting up of Flood Control in the State of Meghalaya and it is also known to us. Flood is not only affecting the economic condition of the people but also the human life and will affect the State of Meghalaya which is a deficit State. We should try to increase the foodgrain production in our State through improvement in the agricultural facilities and to this effect I have requested the Government for a long time to see that this Flood Control Department should survey the areas where it is essential for the setting up of the flood control projects which will give benefit to the people. The Government should know the art of Self-reliance and so I would like to suggest to the Government for the implementation of Flood Control Schemes in order to save one-eighth of the population of the State. Now Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to touch the topic of regrouping of villages in Garo Hills District. Regarding regrouping of villages, a reference has been made in the Governor's Address right from 1970 but up till now nothing has been done. It is said that regrouping of villages will be taken up by the Garo Hills District Council and we know from the District Council that not much progress has been achieved in order to speed up regrouping of villages and we know our hilly villages are scattered and the population is sparse. So we cannot give good communication, medical facilities to each and every village, so regrouping of these villages is essential, but till today, even a survey for this has not yet been finalised. Most probably, this matter is entrusted to the District Council of Garo Hills, and I think and believe the State Government has given one officer for the purpose of survey of the regrouping of these villages, but I do not understand the span of time record by the Government in connection with this regrouping of villages. So, it would at least come up in some concrete form otherwise it is better not to give hope than giving it which cannot be practical.
Mr. Speaker :- You mean there was has been no form of concrete development?
Shri William Cecil R. Marak (Selsella, S.T.) :- Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir. And now I will come to the town development.
Regarding town development, there are several references made by the Governor Address regarding the town development at Jowai, Tura and Shillong, but to my utter surprise, I cannot see any steps that have been taken by the Government. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I know from the Government side regarding town development in Meghalaya.
Now I am coming to the rural electrification Mr. Speaker, Sir. This rural electrification is also to be speeded up under the 4th Five Year Plan. Whereas in Assam, as the Assam State Electricity Board which composed of two States, that is, Assam and Meghalaya, Assam could at least complete the rural electrification of villages up to a number of 2000 under the 4th Five Year Plan as given in the "Implanter". So, I would request.
Mr. Speaker :- Name of the Newspaper cannot be brought in unless and until you have the exact figures.
Shri William Cecil R. Marak :- I think we have this comment here about the Electricity Board under the 4th Five Year Plan. Meghalaya has electrified the rural areas, only 107 of villages as given in the Governor's Address, Mr. Speaker, Sir, of course rural electrification is to accelerate the development and agricultural purposes. In the 1973 Governor's Address, in the Budget Session Finance Minister stated that rural electrification will be made to accelerate lift irrigation in our State. We know this lift irrigation is one of the most essential factors for upliftment of our agricultural target.
Now I would like to refer to the important roads. I have already got a reply from the Chief Minister in the last sitting that he would see that important roads will be linked within this 4th Five Year Plan. But now the 4th Five Year Plan is over and I would request the Government specially to link this road from Baladchanda to Garobadha from Balachanda to Selsella upto Garobadha, and it should be linked without delay. This is only about 10 to 15 kilometers.
Now there is a great disadvantage about cement scarcity in the implementation of the various developmental works. In Garo Hills we are not getting sufficient cement allotment. So may I request the Government, through you. Mr. Speaker, Sir, to see that the allotment of cement will be made available to the District of Garo Hills sufficiently.
Industries is one of our main factors in the development of our State, in the economic development of our State. In the Governor's Address, I have seen many private sector's set up in the State of Meghalaya, but may I know from the Government side whether common people get greater participation in this type of industries set up inside the State of Meghalaya, whether this type of industry is moved towards the capitalists or to the socialistic and economic upliftment of our State. So it should be made (bell rang) that the common people should get more participation in the field of industry. Mr. Speaker, Sir, one thing also, it is learnt that jute mill and cotton yarn will be set up in the District of Garo Hills. I feel that the location of jute mills must be in the jute growing areas. And the cotton yarn, it should easily be done in the cotton ginning mill which is located at Phulbari. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to have some more time please; (Bell rang).
Mr. Speaker :- I have given you 5 minutes actually you can pass on the points to your other colleagues. Now Mr. Rava.
Shri Manindra Rava (Tikrikilla) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to participate and support the Motion of thanks moved by the my colleague to the Governor's Address in this august House. First of all, I would like to touch the point of law and order. As I have seen when I have gone through the speech of Governor and observed that the law and order situation in Meghalaya is deteriorating day by day. Especially I would like to refer to some incidents that took place at Phulbari and Tikrikilla Constituencies.
Mr. Speaker :- Which page are you referring to ?
Shri. Manindra Rava :- Page 1 of Para 1 of the Governor's Address. There were some occurrences at Phulbari and Tikrikilla Constituencies.
Mr. Speaker :- No, Governor did not say that the law and order situation was deteriorating rather he said this year it was satisfactory. You may have different opinion but when you quote Governor's Address, it should be correctly quoted.
Shri Manindra Rava :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in our area for quite some time acts of vandalism were going on; even telegraph wires were being removed but up till now culprits could not be apprehended effectively. So I would like to request the Government to look in to this matter. Our people are suspecting that these culprits are coming from border areas of Assam particularly from Goalpara District. So I would request the Government to make a joint venture to detect the culprits since the people of our areas are feeling insecure for their lives and properties. Recently, two murders have been committed at Boglabita and Gomaijora under Phulbari and Tikrikilla constituencies but the culprits have not yet been arrested. Therefore, in order to maintain law and order effectively, I would suggest that the village defence force should be organised effectively and some more police outposts should be set up in border areas.
Secondly, I would like to refer to Agriculture Department Sir, agriculture is the backbone of the nation and unless we can develop agriculture we cannot prosper. Of course our Government has indicated a series of plans and programmes. It is not doubt very satisfactory but my observation is this that these plans and programmes are very slow in execution. Our Government machinery should be geared up in this regard otherwise we would not be able to produce sufficient food stuff. In my constituency the places are mostly flood-affected and in the year 1973 our people lost all their agricultural output due to flood. The Embankment bund from Phulbari to Nidhanpur should be contracted early to protect evasion of this area. Now the price of rice is Rs.50.58 per maund and Ahu paddy seed is sold at Rs.100 per maund. I think our Government will extend all possible help all possible to our agriculturist. Specially, I request the Government to distribute Ahu paddy seed at subsidised rate.
Now I would like to refer to the incidents that took place in the border of Goalpara and Kamrup in connection with the question of merger of those areas with Meghalaya. This is a long standing question and we know from the documents that this movement actually starred during pre-independence days. Therefore, I congratulate those people who have raised their voice to protect the democratic and constitutional rights of the people. But in this connection I would like to refer to one sensitive news published in The Assam Tribune of yesterday that two Ravas have been beaten, one at Kukurmara and another at Tura. It is a very very shocking state of affairs. If such types of incident occur it will erode the communal harmony in our State. As we know the Garos and Ravas were the inhabitants of these places from pre-historic days.
Mr. Speaker :- Are you going to reverse the course of history?
Shri Manindra Rava (Tikrikilla S.T.) :- Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would request our Government to see that the communal harmony is not disturbed. Everybody has got the rights to preserve his custom and language and at the same time I would request my Garo brothers to keep communal harmony among ours. We should look to the interest of the minority communities in Meghalaya; and only Ravas but other minorities also should not feel insecure in Meghalaya and so also the Garo should not feel insecure in Assam being minority there. With this appeal I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Khongwir. You will get double the time i.e.20 minutes.
*Shri Stanlington David Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Thank you Mr. Speaker, Sir. At the very outset I would like to welcome the Address made by the Governor and despite the fact that we, from our side, have not tabled any amendment to the motion of thanks, moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh, nevertheless we or rather I shall not waive my right to speak against the motion of thanks or for that matter in favour of the motion of thanks. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this document or this Address of the Governor is in my opinion, embellished with the assurances and, at the same time, differed accomplishments, I can very well understand. *Mr. Speaker, Sir that we are a new State and during the growth of our State it is but natural that our State will encounter several problems, difficulties and even failures and in the history of State buildings 3 to 4 years time in my opinion, is not a lengthy period. But I would also hasten to say, at this juncture, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we, as a State, have not been able to progress satisfactorily; and, in this respect, we have been all together, called or invited to address ourselves to the difficult task ahead and I deign to say that, in this connection, the Government will have to assume tremendous responsibilities for the betterment of our State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the first point that I would like to raise in my discussions is with regard to paragraph 5 at page 4 of this Address pertaining to the Department of Agriculture. I appreciate the importance given by the Government to agriculture. Agriculture is indeed the mainstay or backbone of the people of Meghalaya. But in this paragraph, pertaining to agriculture, I do not see any mention about the other important aspect of agriculture which is, in my opinion, a necessary adjunct to agriculture and that is irrigation. In the preceding Addresses of the Governor, I have seen that mention has been made about the development of irrigation but in the present Address of the Governor I do not see any mention about irrigation programme proposed to be taken up by the Government for this year.
In the middle of this paragraph I see a very important commodity- U phan -I mean potato. This commodity came into the lime-light quite a few months ago and Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have to admit the fact that in so far as the Khasi Hills District is concerned potato is very important and we have to give a very important position and take good care of that particular commodity. It is a fact, as stated here in the Address, that our potato cultivators lack staying power and they tend to sell their produce soon after the harvest at very low prices. But here I would like to disagree with the policy proposed to be taken up by the Government in so far as marketing of this important commodity is concerned. Here it is proposed that the cultivators of potato can be saved from this situation by enhancing the role played by the Co-operative marketing agencies in Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I doubt very much the effectiveness of this at the particular stage of the working of the marketing or the co-operative marketing agencies. Mr. Speaker, Sir, our Ministers and the Government are sometimes carried away by the precious enthusiasm of the officers to make the proposals and I would, at this juncture appeal to the Government to examine this more thoroughly and see if there should be any other better alternative for the disposal or for the marketing of this important commodity because, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the majority of our cultivators in our district are naive, poor and illiterate and I doubt very much whether through them we can have successful working of the co-operative marketing agencies.
Then I come to paragraph 10, at page 7, which I would like to refer to as a growth point.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- May I interrupt here, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Then in that case what is the hon. Member suggestion?
Mr. Speaker :- It is up to the hon. Member concerned.
Shri Stalington D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the Government will request for my suggestion, I require time. (laughter)
Mr. Speaker :- You have time to suggest not on the floor of the House but at the Government level.
*Shri S. D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- M. Speaker, Sir will you not compensate by giving me more time for the interruption?
Mr. Speaker :- You may have time.
*Shri S.D. Khongwir :- So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to refer to this paragraph 10 which is on growth point and out of this paragraph may spring up many many industries. But I would like to sound only a note of warning to the Government to be alert and vigilant to see that these industries when set up only in Garo, Jaintia and Khasi Hills, may serve as a conduit for the flow of outside population into our State. I repeat, Sir, they may become the conduit for the flow of outside population into our State. And while referring to this paragraph, I would like also to say a few words on Cottage and Small Scale Industries. Here I find not a single line is mentioned about cottage industries. We have heard so many times outside the Chamber, of this Assembly of Government talking about cottage and Small Scale Industries. But here in this very important statement of the Government nothing is said about cottage and Small Scale Industries and in this regard, I would like to appeal to the Government to come forward and render necessary assistance to these small enterprises. Then, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to say a few words on paragraph 13 because it is very gratifying to see in this paragraph that so many Central Government Offices will be set up here in Shillong. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, while referring to this same paragraph, I would also like to refer to a particular question of mine which I put last year regarding assistance on the part of the Government to help those people who are working under the Government of Assam to get them absorbed in the offices of the N.E.C. But it is very surprising to learn that out of about 65-70 employees, the tribal employees in the various offices of N.E.C., are only 8 to 9 in number. That is only 8 Khasis and 1 Garo. So I would appeal to the Government because the Hon. Chief Minister has also promised and made a statement in the House last year that Government will try to help those Government employees now serving under the Government of Assam by getting them absorbed in various offices of the Central Government to be set up here in Shillong. If the Government would make not only an attempt but a sincere attempt to translate their words into action, it would have been appreciated by all concerned. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have got here a copy of a letter written to the Accountant General with copy to, among others, the Chief Minister and hon. Members of this Assembly about the apprehension of the tribal employees serving under A.G.'s Office for fear of being transferred to other branch offices outside the State of Meghalaya. I do hope the Chief Minister will take up the matter and make his sincere attempt to see to this problem also. I would like also to remind the House, through you, Sir, that the P. & T., the Central Excise and Land Custom offices have conducted interviews and written examinations mostly on Sundays.
Mr. Speaker :- This House has got nothing to do with the activities of the offices of the Central Government here. They do not fall within the purview of this House. It is the duty of the hon. Members of this House that they should see that this type of question be taken up outside this House.
*Shri S.D. Khongwir :- In view of that, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we shall take up this question outside the House. I would welcome the friends in the Treasury Benches to go with us to the Director of P.& T. one day and to other Central Government authorities and make a protest...........
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- What time and when?
*Shri S.D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Tomorrow. But tomorrow is a Sunday.
Now, one more point Sir, and that is with regard to the shifting of Assam's Capital. Here I would like to make an earnest appeal once again to the Government to please consider the case at least of those women employees who are still working under the Government of Assam at Gauhati. I have had a chance of going down to Gauhati twice and met those who are working there at Dispur. There are many many of our women employees and by the way they have conveyed through me greetings to the Government of Meghalaya....(laughter)... and request the Government of Meghalaya to please help them. Mr. Speaker, Sir, now I come to Health Department and I must congratulate this Development because in this paragraph it is proposed that medical care should reach all people by increasing the number of Mobile Dispensaries. In so far as my Constituency is concerned, they have done a good job whereas in this statement, they have only proposed to do something in this regard. Only the other day, I met some people at Pynthorumkhrah and they told me that the Mobile Dispensary has already operated. It is very quick, but with regard to the interior areas it is very disheartening to note that this particular department has done nothing at all but they have just given this proposal if the statement. (Bell rang)........ Just one minute more, Sir, for the road. Just one minute.......(laughter)....Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would just like to say a few lines about the road. One day when I met some tribal employees who are permanent residents of Shillong at Gauhati they expressed to me their difficulties of coming to Shillong during weekends because they said it is very difficult to get buses from Dispur. But they have to go down to Gauhati for tickets to come to Shillong. Last time I remember the Hon. Chief Minister has promised.....
Mr. Speaker : - You have said one more minute for the road and now one more minute for transport.
*Shri. S.D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) : - Transport is on the road, Sir (Laughter). If two buses can be arranged for them on Saturday at about 3 O'clock, because there are about 300 of them by rotation, they can come every fortnight. They can start from Dispur at 3 O'clock to Shillong and on Monday morning about 2 special buses should be arrange for them to go back to Dispur.
Mr. Speaker : - Do not cross the bridge. Let other friends cross the bridge (Bell rang).
*Shri S.D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Sir, about Mawlai water scheme supply that is in my constituency.
Mr. Speaker :- You should have begun with that.....(laughter).
*Shri S. D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, with regard to Mawlai water supply scheme, it has come to my knowledge, in my opinion I should say, that there are some slipshod performances here and there. But with regard to this, I shall not keep the Hon. Minister busy here. I can save him the trouble and I will not discuss further, but I shall go to his office and discuss matters with him. Thank You.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Hadem. You will get 20 minutes.
(At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and Deputy Speaker took the Chair.)
*Shri Humphrey Hadem (Mynso-Railang S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, first of all, I support the motion of thanks moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh constituency but at the same time, I decline my support to the amendment moved by the hon. Member from the other side. The reason for his absence today seems that he is not so serious or sincere to his amendment. To me it seems that he has already withdrawn it. But Sir, as the time is very limited, I will deal with some subjects mentioned in the Address. I have to think, Sir, about the Address because as some of the Members have said that this is just like an offer made by a bridegroom to a bridegroom.
*Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Bridge-groom to a bride.
*Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Yes, bridegroom to a bride (Laughter). I am not an expert bridegroom as those who are expert in the line. I take it, Sir, that this Address had limited the policy of the Government for this year, that is, 1774-75. As far as I can see, Sir, the Government had enlightened the House through the Governor's Address about its programme to be taken up during the year. It is very much welcomed that in many subjects the Government have elaborately shown their ambition how to raise the standard of living of the people of our newly-born State.
First of all, with regard to agriculture, the Address had enlightened us that the Government aimed at controlling the Jhumming cultivation which is detrimental to the interest of the State as a whole. I would like to suggest that if lift irrigation can be done or experimented, it will serve the good purpose towards extension of agriculture in our State. So far as Jaintia Hills is concerned, all the places and waste lands fit for wet land cultivation have already been reclaimed. It will be proper for the Government to start, as an experiment, lift irrigation in these areas. This will help not only towards extension of agriculture but as the same time, solve the economic problem of the people living in Jaintia Hills. I hope, Sir, that the same thing could be said about Garo Hills also. But I do not know the position so far as Khasi Hills is concerned because here the land tenure system is different from that of Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills. Sir, if the items in paragraph 5 and paragraph 12 could be tagged together, that is, if the water used for generating electricity could also be utilised for the purpose of lift irrigation then this will serve the purpose of both irrigation and power generation. If it is properly investigated, and a dam constructed in such a way, then it will also serve as a flood control measure. So, I hope that the Government will give due consideration to the suggestions given. I hope that during the year the Government will show improvements of other areas and at the time the hon. friends from the other side of the House will give congratulations instead of criticising the Government.
Sir, I would like to draw your attention to the supply of fertilizers, as appeared in paragraph 5 of the Address, Sir, the Government have endeavoured supply of fertilizers, but, may be due to transport difficulties, difficulties, sometimes fertilizers did not reach the cultivators in time. I would, therefore, suggest that Government will please see that fertilizers at least reach the cultivators by the last week of April each year at the latest.
Now, Sir, I would draw your attention to paragraph 30 where it is mentioned about shifting of the Assam's capital. With the shifting of the Assam's capital it was noticed that the population is decreasing and I hope that is the best opportune time for the Government to replan the whole town. We have seen Sir, and we have discussed also on the floor of the House about many roads encroachment and congestion that have been found in the heart of this town. I think this is the most appropriate time for our Government to consider these matters and replan the town in a better way.
Again Sir, I would like to draw your attention to paragraph 16 of the Governor's Address wherein technical education of the State has been mentioned. In this connection, Sir, I would like to point out that since the time of the Government of Assam there was already a proposal that technical school will be opened at Jowai in the Jaintia Hills district and it was the expectation of the people there that with the coming of our own State and our own Government, this matter will be taken up as early as possible. As regards Pre-Examination Training Centre, Sir, which is proposed to be established here in Shillong according to paragraph 18, I have nothing to say but only to express my thanks to the Government for such an intention and I hope this will accelerate the pace of progress of our own tribal people within our own State.
Again Sir, many primary Health Centres will be established in the interior areas of the State and the Government also is trying its very best to see that our people enjoy good health. But I have to bring to the notice of the Government, Sir, that there are some Primary Health Centres which have not been able to accommodate themselves within their own buildings. As such, for this reason, Sir I would request the Government to see that those types of Primary Health Centres should be accommodated in their own building. For instance, Sir, we have had one Primary Health Centre at Mynso in the Jaintia Hills District and this Centre has not been able to accommodate within its own building. In Paragraph 26, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it has been mentioned about the intention of the Government to administer the Excise Department by utilising the help of the Heads of elakas in the Khasi Hills District. But nothing has been mentioned as regards the administration of the Excise Department in the Jaintia and Garo Hills District. Therefore, Sir, I would like to bring to the notice of the Government that the people of Jaintia Hills are ready to co-operate with the Government in so far as this matter is concerned.
*Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- But not in any other matter?
*Shri Humphrey Hadem (Mynso Raliang S.T.) :- I am not concerned with any other matters; I am concerned only with paragraph 26 of the Governor's Address. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in keeping with this scheme, I would request the Government to see that a uniform type of administration is being introduced and carried out in the two districts also, i.e., the Heads of elakas should be entrusted in the same way to the two districts of Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills as it is being done in the Khasi Hills district. Most probably, Sir, this attempt of the Government is meant for the control of country, spirit and for this matter many views were expressed from this side and that side of the House on previous occasions and from the public sector as well. One said that he does not like outstills and the other said he wants some more outstills. As for me, Sir, I would like to say that if within a village of ten houses an outstill is not allowed to be created then automatically prohibition will manifest itself because when it will not be a paying business; many will give up the work in that particular trade. Also Sir, we have seen that the Government during this year have anticipated to bring legislation on two important matters, i.e. the Meghalaya Sale Tax (Amendment) Bill, 1974 which we have heard that the public at large will be over-burdened due to heavy taxation to be imposed on them. This attempt of the Government will not of course, help the public as a whole as it will be an extra burden on the part of the low income group and poor people. Moreover, Sir, the Government is also bringing another legislation, viz, Members' Salaries and Allowances Bill already passed by this House. In this connection, I think the Government should consider the high cost of living and the present spiraling rise in the prices of essential commodities. I hope the Government will bring such a bill which will be in conformity with the passage of time. Furthermore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to draw your attention to paragraph 25 dealing with the Assam and Meghalaya border. Here, Sir, it has been mentioned about the border of this State in Garo Hills. The border of this State in Jaintia Hills and also Sir, we have been discussing in the House frequently about the conflict in the borders of Khasi Hills also and this Sir, has been the long feeling of our own people living in the borders of our neighbouring States. For instance, some people who originally belonged to Garo Hills district were tagged to the Mikir Hills District against their will and since the creation of this District in 1950 those people have expressed their opposition to being people to be tagged with the Mikir Hills district. It was not the wish of those people to be tagged since the beginning but they have expressed their desire to be tagged to a district which is familiar to them. It has been found Sir, that this feeling is growing greater and greater with the passage of time especially when the district authority of the District Council of Mikir Hills has shown their attitude towards the establishment of the education. Sir under Article 30 of the Constitution let me quote it, if I can get it correctly. It was provided therein that all that all minorities, whether based on religion or language shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice and the State Government shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of the minority, whether based on the religion or language. Sir, the attitude of the Mikir Hills Districts Council towards those schools, especially, the lower primary schools within Block I and Block II where the medium of instruction is Khasi, is unfavorable. They forced them indirectly to use the Assamese language, rather the Assamese script. They do not, at the same time, extend the subsidies or grants to those primary schools. I learnt now, Sir, that this is the policy followed in those areas also where the Garo brothers are living in the district of Goalpara. From year to year this feeling of our people living in the border of our State is becoming thicker and they feel that unless they can be together with us in the same State, they are simple foreigners, though they live in the same country under the Union Government.
(Bell rang).... Only two minutes more, Sir.
In this connection, I would refer to paragraph 2. It was stated there that we have just entered the third year of Meghalaya as a full fledged State of the Union. We are living within the same Government. Ours is the State under the same Union. We know that those administrative divisions were made during the British regime and the policy of the then Government is well known to us that it was a Division and Rule Policy. So, now since we are under the same Government at the Centre and the Government of India, I feel that all there grievances should be removed so that the people of the same tribe can live and work together for their improvement and betterment. Since my time is over, with these few words, I once again support the Motion of Thanks and oppose the amendment moved.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Mawlot.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Nogstoin S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in support of the amendment to the Motion of Thanks moved by the hon. Member from Nongtalang, I feel, at the outset I should congratulate the Government.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. Mawlot, you will be getting 15 minutes.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- I congratulate the Government for the Governor' s Address, though very inspiring but is very vague that I am compelled to add a few more things to it. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, yesterday we had a very long discussion in the House about the incident which took place in the border of Meghalaya and Kamrup and Goalpara Districts of Assam as well as the incidents which took place last year in the border of Meghalaya and Mikir Hills District and Kamrup District in the Nongwah, Patharkhmah and Mawtamur area. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I personally feel satisfied with the narration given by the hon. Member from Jaiaw yesterday giving us the figures and the real picture and also the concern of the Government of Meghalaya over the boundary of the State. We have, in the last two years, urged upon the Government to take necessary action, rather immediate steps, to confirm the boundary. But we only received the replies saying that the Government have no records or the papers relating to the boundary. But yesterday the hon. Member from Jaiaw has narrated the position to us. He has stated about the concern of the APHLC over the boundary question since a very long time back. I am happy that with the movement of our Garo brothers and sisters in the Goalpara District, the Government have become a little bit awake. I hope that this very movement will compel the Government of Meghalaya to have further discussions with the Government of Assam to settle the boundary of the State in a proper way. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the admission of the fact which has been revealed the yesterday's discussion through the speech of the hon. Member from Jaiaw was a shock to us in the Opposition Bench. When the Meghalaya Autonomous State Bill was passed in the Parliament it was done after getting the consent of the APHLC on the boundaries to the State. To us it is an unknown fact. But yesterday it has been revealed to us that before Meghalaya came into belong or before the Bill was passed, it was already accepted and it was already agreed by the APHLC in respect of the boundaries already laid down in the Bill itself. But what made them to accept it in such a hurry that they have forgotten to notice the facts at the time of determination of the boundary of the State. It may be because they were so happy or may be because they were anxious to occupy the ministerial chairs. (At this stage, the Deputy Speaker, left the Chamber and Mr. Humphrey Hadem took the Chair). Mr. Chairman, Sir, we are here in the Opposition Bench not to destroy the Government and not to destroy any political party. We are here to work together for the benefit to our people. So Mr. Chairman, Sir, I fall in line with the expressions, with the views expressed by the hon. Members from Opposition Bench as well as from the Treasury Bench yesterday and today.
Another important matter which has not been mentioned in the Governor's Address is about holding of the elections to the Shillong Municipality. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member from Jaiaw yesterday has said that we have seen and we have had the experience that without the Board and without the existence of a Board, the Shillong Municipality was much better. I do agree, we are fortunate to have one efficient and hard-working C.E.O. I agree that there has been improvement in the Shillong Municipality, and that since the Shillong Municipal Board has ceased to exist the working and the activities of the Shillong Municipality have been better. But we should not forget the rights of the people. I do not know how long and how many people have met the hon. Member from Jaiaw when yesterday he said that from the consensus of the people living in Shillong, the Government have decided to postpone of Shillong Municipal Election. (Interruption).........
Mr. Chairman :- He did not say so.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Chairman, Sir he had said about that.
Mr. Chairman :- If he has said also it is according to his own calculation.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Chairman, Sir I think the Shillong Municipal Election should be held as soon as possible so as to give the people their fundamental rights to exercise their own rights. Mr. Chairman, Sir, if I am not mistaken, last year the explanation from the Government was that delimitation of Wards has not been completed and as soon as delimitation of Wards is completed the Shillong Municipal Election will be held. Mr. Chairman Sir, let me passed other points. In the Governor's Address at page 4, in regard to agriculture, the Governor's Address has revealed and has repeated the same, same, same promises which the Government, I mean, the same Government has promised 5 years back (Interruption)........
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- The term of office of the present Government has not exceeded 5 years.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- I mean since the erstwhile Autonomous State days.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, even from the time of the Autonomous State, the State of Meghalaya has not exceeded 5 years of existence.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at page 4 paragraph 5 of the Governor's Address, I quote- "My Government decided on programme for regrouping of villages in the Garo Hills and have set up Committee to chalk out a detailed action Programme". Well Mr. Chairman Sir, in the same page of the Governor's Address of 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973, the same, same promises or the same programme had been promised to the people but I do not know how far the Government have proceeded or succeeded in regrouping of villages in Garo Hills District. As far as my knowledge goes, and as it has also been confessed by the Government has been done, and after such a long time, now Government has just set up the Committee to chalk out programme of action. I hope Mr. Speaker, Sir, that has will not come up in the new Budget Session of the House.
Mr. Speaker :- Do you mean that you disagree with the proposal?
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I disagree with the implementation of programmes. The proposal is there and I feel that it is a shame on the part of the Government that promises continue for four years without doing anything. Mr. Speaker, Sir same paragraph at page 5 of the Governor's Address, the Government has mentioned about the existence of the S.F.D.A. Well, Mr. Chairman Sir, I do not the have anything to say this because, I do not know about very much but I ask the Government to place on the Table of the House the detailed financial statement of the S.F.D.A. as well as it Annual Report.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I come now to paragraph 7 of the Governor's Address which, I quote- 'This Commission has since been set up and is functioning. 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". Mr. Chairman, Sir, as the hon. Member from Mawhati and the hon. Members from Nongspung and Mairang have expressed some views on land Reform, I also share the same views. We opposed to the adjustment, here in the Khasi Hills because the land tenure system in Khasi Hills is quite different from that of Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills District.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, let me now come to industries. We are very glad and we appreciate the Government for giving us the information about the establishment of different industries in Meghalaya, but one thing which I would like to ask from the Government, Mr. Chairman, Sir, to inform the House the daily production of cement by the Cherrapunjee Cement Factory. I have also gone through the Governor's Address of 1970 where the Government has outlined the suitability of the areas for raising plantation of last growing paper pulp trees for starting a paper mill in Garo Hills and the newsprint mill in Khasi Hills. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I express my deep, deep, deep sorrow for the Government having forgotten its sound and honoured policy. Well, these are printed policies. If these printed policies are so easily forgotten and neglected by the Government I must express my sorrow and I wish I had some tears to shed with them.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I urge upon the Government to refresh their minds and try to recollect what they have promised a few years back. (Bell Rang) Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to have two more minutes, if you would kindly allow me.
Mr. Chairman :- I will give only one minute.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- In the Governor's Address, it is mentioned that Government proposes to have its own State Road Transport Corporation. Mr. Speaker, Sir, transport is the most important agency promoting the well being of the people of the State. Well, the Shillong Tura Road, this is mentioned since 1970 but it still stands as it was in 1970 itself. I do not know how Government changed its mind. Yesterday, the Minister-in-charge of P.W.D. - he is not present in the House now-made a statement in the House that Shillong -Tura road is open to light vehicular traffic. But I must say that the road which was opened to vehicular traffic connecting Khasi and Garo Hills is the Sonapahar - Nongshram road.
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Does that road touch Nongstoin also?
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, the road from Shillong to Tura goes through Nongstoin to Tarugiri and that the first and the third sections are completed whereas the second section has not been completed.
Mr. Chairman :- Anyway you can go to Tura I think? (Bell Rang) Your time is up. Now I call upon Mrs. Percillina Marak. She is absent, So, I call upon Mr. Joshi. You have 20 minutes only Mr. Joshi.
Shri D. N. Joshi (Shillong Cantonment) :- Mr. Chairman Sir, at the very outset, I welcome the address of the Governor in that it present in itself a very good chronicle of the failure, lapses and inaction of the Government. This Address of the Governor is a very good mirror, where we can see not so very beautiful face of this Government. It reflects quite the other way. Let me go page by page. Coming to law and public order, here the Government has said that by implication, law and good order, prevails in the State. But Mr. Chairman, Sir, there were occurrences of crimes not only in other parts of the State, but in the very heart of State itself, in Shillong town. There were murder cases last year in Mawlai, Mawprem and in Cantonment area. Only recently a murder case was detected somewhere here in the lake area, but the culprits are not yet brought to book. The Police Administration here is so inefficient that not a single case is yet traced out. There is rampant increase of burglary and theft in Shillong and it has increased of late. In the Fourth Five Year Plan, in paragraph 3, the Governor has said that food grains production is expected to increase from 1.17 lakh tonnes in 1969-70 to 1.45 lakh tonnes by the end of the Fourth Plan and only 8 day are remaining for the Fourth Five Year Plan to complete and there is no more harvesting to be done and so it implies that 1.45 lakh tonnes of foodgrain have been produced here. On calculation it transpires that with this foodgrain only, we can feed the entire population of our State. For the entire population of the State, the per capita consumption per day would be half a kilogram calculating on these figures, but I fail to understand that even with the import of food grain from F.C.I., the food position of our State is not satisfactory and our people are not supplied with full quantity they required to keep their health in tact I fail to understand where this 1.45 lakh tonnes of foodgrain go, or is there a clandestine which trade on this commodities is unchecked by this Government? There is inflation, there is high price foodgrain beyond the reach of the common people. Everybody knows that 90 percent of the population of this State live below the poverty line, but Government has failed to curb the rising prices and the people who are under the poverty line are finding it very difficult to make both ends meets and live as healthy citizen. This Government has not yet opened up any procurement department. When this State is self-sufficient in food-grain as is clearly shown in the Address of the Governor, there should have been no scarcity. But for want of a procurement department on the part of the Government, our people here are made to suffer. There are no warehousing facilities here in our State. False promises, tall promises were given by the Government that warehousing facilities would be made and F.C.I. would be persuaded to build go-downs here in Shillong, Tura and Jowai. A number of times our colleagues here have requested the Government to take up the matter, but up till now, no go-down facilities have been made available here.
Now, Coming to very important item of our food, i.e. milk The other day we came to know that the Government of Assam had imposed a ban on the entry of milk and milk products from Garampani side to the State of Meghalaya under threat of imposing even D. I. Rules on the traders. D. I. Rules even for bringing milk and milk products to our State. A representation has already been made to the Government by our traders and graziers that land should be provided for grazing their cattle in Meghalaya. Now, Sir, we remember that during the days of scarcity of foodgrains in our State, our sister State of Assam imposed ban on the entry of even foodgrains from Gauhati to Shillong. On the other hand our State, I am surprised to know, is sending thousands and thousands of litres of milk and other milk products to flood the Gauhati market, whereas the Assam Government is imposing ban and even threatening operation of D. I. Rules on our milk traders. Therefore, I would request the Government to bring those cattle, graziers and traders to our territory for the development of our State.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister for Agriculture, etc.) :- They are not our people.
Shri Dhruba Nath Joshi (Shillong Cantonment) :- They are very much our people, I maintain. Now Sir, there is a clandestine trade of smuggling fish from Shillong to Gauhati. We get fish here at Shillong from Bangladesh but the price of fish has gone up beyond the reach of the common people and it is only because the bulk of fish that come from Bangladesh goes down to Gauhati to get more profit. There is a supply Advisory Committee formed by this Government. This Supply Advisory Committee had held one meeting only to Garo Hills but no such meeting was ever held at Shillong, and I do not know whether any such meeting will be held or not look to these important problems.
Last year, in the Governor's Address there was a clear indication that election to the Shillong Municipal Board would be held as soon as the delimitation of the constituencies was completed. Delimitation of the constituencies had since been completed by the previous Board and sent to the Government for their approval. But later on the Government in pursuance of certain public opinion returned the same to the Board for review of the delimitation. Subsequently the Board sent its recommendation upholding its previous delimitation. A delegation from the people side went to the Minister concerned and the Minister gave a categorical assurance that very soon, say within six month's time election would be held. Now more than 10 months have already elapsed but no election was held.
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister for Health, etc.) :- I have never categorically stated that election would be held within six month's time.
Shri Dhruba Nath Joshi (Shillong Cantonment) :- I was present in this delegation and the Minister-charge told the delegation that election would be held as soon as possible and he had issued instruction for preparing electoral rolls to the district authority.
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State for Education) :- May I intervene, Sir? The hon. Member himself admitted that the Minister assured to hold election as soon as possible. The term "as soon as possible" does not mean 6 months.
Shri Dhruba Nath Joshi :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, it was heard from some quarters of the authority that consequent upon the shifting of Assam capital, the population would be disturbed and it would be possible to hold election only when the population is stabilized. But to me that ground is not at all tenable. When Gauhati where thousands and thousands of people from Shillong went down and disturbed the stability of the Gauhati population election to the Gauhati Corporation could be held successfully. Why was it not possible for Shillong? I do not see any reasons? Therefore, that question of stabilization of population does not hold good. There is no point in depriving the people of their democratic right to have their elected representatives run the Municipal administration. I know the Executive Officer-incharge of Shillong Municipal Board is a very efficient administrator. But that is not at all the excuse that since there is a good administrator there should be no election. Then, in that case, if we get an efficient administrator we should dissolve the Assembly and install him to run the administration of the State.
(Voices- Yes, Yes)
Shri Hoover Hynniewta (Nongkhlaw S.T.) :- But could we find a good administrator.
Shri Dhruba Nath Joshi (Shillong Cantonment) :- That we can find out. Now, Sir, there is a proposal of WHO under United Nations for eradication of Small -Pox from eastern region, viz. Assam, Bengal, Bihar and even Bangladesh. Some time ago a conference was held but nothing definite has yet been taken up to eradicate small-pox from this State of ours. The Government simply announces and declares certain areas to be epidemic areas affected by small-pox. Why effective eradication programmes are not being taken up? I do not know what steps have been taken by the Government and how far they have moved the Government of India and other agencies to bring that agency or agencies here to eradicate small-pox from our State which is always infested with and attacked by this dreaded disease. Now, Sir, we have heard from some of the previous speakers that mobile dispensaries are in operation in Shillong and its suburbs. This has got a link with road communication and unless each and every village in the interior is connected with motorable road these mobile dispensaries, even if they are in operation, cannot reach our ailing brethren in the interior. Therefore, in order to make this scheme a success, the Government must see that road communication is reached to each and every village of our State. In this respect, the Government is still lagging. I know that only last year, to cite an example- the Shillong -Diengpasoh Road was taken up. As a matter of fact, it was I who had pressed very much for taking up of this road which was in a very bad shape and the Government had very kindly taken up the scheme. But uptll now it has not materialised. What impediment was there, I do not know. But so far I know, money is there. So is man-power. But the road is still in the same condition.
Shri Edwinsong Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- What about the land Compensation?
Shri Dhruba Nath Joshi :- Yes, it is your duty to see I may also state that the Lawsohtum village does not get any facilities only because there is no motorable road. As we all know, Sir, Lawsohtun is very near to the heart of the town. Is it not, then, a black spot on the fair face of the Government that a part of Shillong is still to be connected with a motorable road? (Bell rang)
Mr. Chairman :- You have one minute more.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- You have given me 20 minutes and I think only 10 minutes have passed.
Now, Sir, I come to forest. We have seen that forests are dwindling because of resin tapping from the trees. Here in Malki resin- tapping is going on and I do not know how this Government has allowed some people to tap the resin. I may state here that wanton destruction of forests is not conducive to the well being of the State. It would seem that no steps have been taken by the Government uptil now to prevent wanton destruction of forests.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- You are living in Shillong and you do not know?
Shri Dhruba Nath Joshi :- I know and I find that due to the negligence of the Government most of the hills and dales are all barren and it casts a reflection on the working of the Government. So, Sir, I should conclude with these words of my Guru to the Government. "Let thy goodness blossom, Not in thy voice only but in action".
Mr. Chairman :- Now I call upon Miss Percylina Marak. You have 10 minutes.
Shrimati Percylina Marak (Rongram S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir I take my stand to support the Motion of Thank moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh and I also extend my congratulations to the Governor for his Address to this House. While appreciating the policy and plans laid down by the Government, I would also like to make a few observations.
As regards agriculture, the Government has laid down a sound policy in respect of doing away with the Jhumming cultivation and in order to implement the scheme, I think, that land reclamation is the most essential thing to be done, especially in the Garo Hills district. As we find in the Governor's Address, terrace cultivation is being introduced by the Soil Conservation Department and I would like to say that there are also lands known as lowlands and waste lands here and there. So far, these have been surveyed by the Soil Conservation Department and the Agriculture Department and I hope that these low-lands and waste-lands in between the hills will be made cultivable in future by the joint efforts of both the Soil Conservation Department and the Agriculture Department. In my area also, i.e., beyond Rangira Hills, there is a land which is not easily accessible due to transport difficulties. There are plenty of flat lands and low lands and these can be cultivated by lift irrigation. I would like to mention particularly two main areas, i.e., Urenggiri and Mongalgiri. These two villages have plenty of cultivable lands for wet cultivation.
Now, I would like to touch upon transport. As we know, State Transport is very essential for the interior. There is a road from Tura to Damra. Of course, the road is still to be widened and some survey works also yet to be made. I would also like to suggest that road transport should be opened for linking with subdivisions. The road from Mendhipathar to Simsangiri via Songsak is also an important road. Then, there is also an important from Tura to Shillong via Nongstoin. This road is still under construction and some portions are still to be widened. I hope within this year this road will be completed and will be opened for heavy vehicular traffic. I would request the Government, through you, Sir, that this is done at an early date.
Regarding education. I do agree with the educational policy of the Government but here I would like to mention some points regarding the appointment of a Principal in the Tura College at a very early date so that the College could run smoothly in future. Then I also would like to request Government, through you, Sir, that the appointment of the Head Mistress in Tura Government Girls' High School be made at an early date. Now, I would like to suggest that Pre-Primary education to the children between the age group of 3 to 5, as stated by my colleague, Shri S. Marak, be introduced in our State and also at least three Training Centres for nurseries opened in the headquarters of the three District, i.e. Shillong Tura and Jowai.
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Do you mean Training Centres for nursery teachers?
Shrimati Percylina Marak (Rongrama S.T.) :- Yes, Training Centre for nursery teachers.
Now I would also like to touch upon the merger problem as has been stated by my colleague before. Here, I would like to mention something in expressing my great feeling for the two Rava brethren who were beaten in Kukurkata and Tura. We condemn any act of violence and lawlessness connected with the demand of the Garo people staying in Kamrup. I refute the publication of a news item in the Assam Tribune regarding collection of money from the non-Garos by the G.N.C. On this, I would like to say that it is not the principle of the G.N.C. to collect anything from anybody forcibly. Donations are being accepted with thanks and the principles of the G.N.C. both at Goalpara and Kamrup are by means of non-violence. And along with this, I would like to add that I have seen many refugees who have come to our State and necessary help is being rendered by the Government at different refugee camps. I have met even women folk and girls and even students have come here and our Government has extended all possible assistance to these poor refugees. Now, if these poor people are to suffer for their legitimate and legal demand or for their constitutional rights, I would request the Government to take necessary steps to meet their demand. With these few words, I resume my seat. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman :- Now, Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh. You have got 15 minute.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Mawkhywat S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, though I am not in favour of motion moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh, yet I am thankful to the Governor in so far as he has performed his constitutional duty to address this august House. Sir, going through the address, I find that it does not give much enthusiasm to the House because it is more of a narration of the achievements of the Government rather than of the honest and sincere intention to implement the programmes which are being spelled out here in the Governor's Address. Sir, I come first to the question which has been referred to in the first page of this Address. Here Government feels that administration is handicapped because of scattered buildings, but does not feel the pinch of misadministration by the officials. Sir, I say that there is misadministration because we sometimes find that the officials are taking an upper hand in the Government. I may cite an example. The Block Committees submitted schemes to the Government for approval. But when these schemes come to the Government for according necessary sanction, officers of the Government insert new schemes, separate schemes in place of those already recommended by the Block Committees. This happened in Nongstoin Block and a few in Mawkyrwat Block. Sir, it has come to our knowledge, whether it is right or wrong, that sometimes even the D.C. put his own schemes for the interior villages even after the Block Committees have already recommended some other schemes. The officers seem to feel it is their right to change the original schemes and instead bring up their own schemes. That is why I say the officers seem to have an upper hand and thus the human development in the administration of the Government must be considered and solved.
Mr. Chairman :- Can you cite specific instances?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh, (Mawkyrwat S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have already stated whether it is right or wrong that we do not know but it has come to our knowledge. It is up to the Government to find out whether it is correct or not. But then it happens that the schemes have been changed.
Now, I come to page 14 regarding to District Councils. In this Governor's Address, I find it is mentioned like this; "The Councils continue to receive financial assistance for running their administration". It is of course encouraging if it is the intention of the Government to do so. We should appreciate the Government for that but I differ with the this statement because so long the District Councils of Meghalaya have not received grants or assistance for running their normal administration except in development schemes. I do not know what happened to the District Councils during the then Government Assam. Whether they received grants, assistance or not I cannot say. But now under Meghalaya, the District Councils have not received grants, for running their administration. If, as stated here that the District Councils continue to receive grants for running their administration, it is indeed welcome because the administration of the District Council suffers very much due to lack of fund. They depend only on their own small revenue receipts for running their administration. I cite an example. Here in the Khasi Hills District Councils, a special problem is being faced, Sir, because of the administration of elakas. While in no other District Councils in Meghalaya such problems are faced Sir, because the administration of elakas involves heavy works as well as expenses because of court cases. Some cases went up to High Court and even to Supreme Court. Therefore, it involved lots of expenditure. If it is the intention of the Government to extend financial assistance to the District Councils in Meghalaya , then it is very much welcomed for running their normal administration.
Cat. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- But we have not said normal administration.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Mawkyrwat S.T.) :- Again I come to para 2 of the Address. I find that the Government have realised the growing inflation and high prices of foodstuffs. It is regretted that the Government has not been able to meet the situation. Yes it is shown here that the Government have tackled with tact and discretion. I am afraid that in spite of their promises, the rise in price and inflation are going on in the State. If this trend of inflation continues in the State and if the Government has no intention to find ways and means of solving the problem of high prices, I say, the Government has failed in its duty to protect the citizens from this high cost of living.
In the matter of road transport, it is shown that during the last part of the Fourth Five Year Plan the Government of Meghalaya received an amount of Rs.38 crores out of the composite Hill Plan.
Capt. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- 40 crores.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Whatever it is Sir, the road length that is shown since the Government of Meghalaya came into existence, right from the time of the autonomous State in 1969-70, will be increased by the end of the Fourth Five Year Plan by some 900 kms. This may be an exaggerated, figure which is being fed by officials. Sir, if it is so, we should have seen the physical progress everywhere- the opening up of new road. But as it is today, we find that in all the 4 constituencies of this Districts, namely, Nongspung, Mawkyrwat, Langrin and Pariong hardly 8 kms. of new roads are being constructed.
These areas are considered very poor and backward in communication. So we expect that more roads should have been opened in these areas, where there is no road communication. Therefore, from the above example I say that if the Government expect that the total additional road length of 900 kms. will be completed in the Fourth Five Year Plan, I doubt very much as this must be an exaggerated figure and I urge upon the Government to see the proper implementation and physical achievements and not the paper records only.
Sir, I again share the views expressed by some Member on forests. It seems that the Government has no intention or policy for development of forests. Some Members have mentioned that the hills and valleys have been wiped out of vegetation. It seems that the Government has no intention of replanting the trees. I, therefore, request the Government that this should be looked after and more land should be acquired for planting trees.
Again, Sir, yesterday we have heard such eloquent narration about border incidents- the problem faced by our kith and kin- our Garo brothers inside Assam, who were ill treated by the Assam Police. At the same time, Sir, I blame the leaders of the political parties who had been so long advocating for the inclusion of those areas predominantly settled by tribals but failed to raise the matter at the appropriate time. The leaders specially the leaders of the ruling party, APHLC have forgotten the issue completely at the most opportune time. There was every opportunity during 1969 at the time of reorganization of Assam and in 1971-72 during the reorganization of North-Eastern Areas to place this point before the Central Government for inclusion of these areas predominantly settled by Garo tribals, within Meghalaya. But we have not seen anything that the political leaders of this State have ever voiced, at that time, to the Central Government to make appropriate provision in the Act to include these contiguous areas within Meghalaya. Therefore, the agitation of these people is left to rot within that State.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- On a point of information, Sir, when the Leader of the House has been criticised in this regard, I would like to know what the hon. friend has done about it?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Mawkyrwat S.T.) :- I said that we must blame ourselves. Though we were not there in the political arena at that time, we know that the political leaders at that time have not done anything. They have agreed to whatever dictated by some others.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I want to know whether there is only one party in the State at that time?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh, (Mawkyrwat S.T.) :- Of course Sir, at that time the APHLC had a chance of going up and down to Delhi for negotiation. The HSPDP has voiced these things but of course we had no chance to go to Delhi as the APHLC had.
Mr. Chairman :-You have only one minute more.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Mawkyrwat S.T.) :- Whether it is, we feel pity and we are deeply concerned with the life and properties of those people. In this respect, Sir, I would like to make a note of caution that since the matter is within the jurisdiction of another State to political party should actively be involved. Of course these people are to struggle constitutionally to achieve their legitimate rights.
Mr. Chairman :- Sir, referring to the shifting of the capital, it has been stated that steps are being taken to find out suitable avenues for those people affected by the shifting. I would like to know what the Government proposes to do to safeguard their interest and also what will be fate of those sections of the people who are still in service under the Assam Government. We have been discussing this subject on several occasions and the Government has assured us that those people (employees) who are still under the Government of Assam would be absorbed under this Government. It is surprising to know that up till now many of them are still serving under the Government of Assam and the problem has not been solved. However, Mr. Chairman Sir, no more mention is made about this in the Governor's Address presented in the House, Sir, we want to know whether the Government is keen towards bringing all those personnel from the Government of Assam or not.
Mr. Chairman :- Your time is up.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Since my time is up, I will resume my seat, thank you.
Mr. Chairman :- I now call upon Mr. G. Mylliemngap to speak, I will give him 20 minutes.
Shri G. Mylliemngap (Sohryngkham S.T.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the motion of thanks moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh. In the Governor's Address, many hon. Members have mentioned regarding holding of election to the Shillong Municipality. In this respect Sir, I feel that the present arrangement, as it is now, seems to be functioning quite satisfactorily and most of the hon. Members who have spoken on this particular issue, may not be eligible voters of the Shillong Municipal election. Therefore, I feel that unless the voters of the Shillong Municipality feel by themselves that they should exercise their right at this stage, we should not be hasty, rather we should give more time to the present body to do their works till the shifting of Assam's population and shifting of Arunachal Pradesh's Offices have been completed.
(At this stage the Speaker took the Chair)
Mr. Speaker, Sir coming to the Governor's Address, as page 2, para 3, on " Fourth Plan in retrospect", my observation in this respect is that the Government is trying to surrender Rs.56,00,000, taking into consideration the difficulties and circumstances under which the Fourth Plan had been apportioned from the Governments of Assam. I feel, Sir, that this surrender is justified and the works done by the Government are commendable because, as you know, Sir, the Fourth Plan was formulated and made by the then Government of Assam and the frocks and coats under which we were putting on during the past two years of the Fourth Plan, remained according to the size and wishes of the Assam Government. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, Sir, since we have come to the beginning of the Fifth Plan; I am tempted to say that if our Government continues this same process of working and the same system of red-tapism, I feel, Sir, that by the end of the Fifth Plan we may have to surrender more than we are surrendering now. Are we lacking in personnel, Mr. Speaker, Sir? We have got our own Public Service Commission and our young men and women are very eager to sit for such examination and such people are advancing in age and soon there would be an age bar for them to enter into any Government Services. Therefore, I would request the Government through you, Sir, that holding of the Civil Service Examination for our own boys and girls should the done as quickly as possible so that we are not standing in the way of the career of our own people who may have a chance to serve us and execute our plans and programmes in a better way and we can spend whatever money placed at the disposal of our Government, and should plan our programmes and woks in a practical way. We should see that we will construct a house and make four walls and that we complete the same within our own resources. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to draw the attention of the Government, through you, to the last paragraph and last sentence regarding the Advisory Council in the State. This should not be a fish market; we are having about 66 members in the District Planning Advisory Board. Will it be practicable, Mr. Speaker, Sir? I am afraid that there will be a tug of war and no substantial thing can be done in this respect.
Mr. Speaker :- Do you have any suggestion to reduce the membership of this Advisory body?
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- I feel that the membership of this body should re reduced, why should I say that; I am simply an M.L.A. knowing nothing about planning and actual works which are supposed to be done and cling to be a member of such committee.
Mr. Speaker :- But do you suggest to have a cell within the Board? But even if all the 66 members attend, will there be room for complaint that certain area is still not reprinted?
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- In this respect, Mr. Speaker, Sir, my humble submission is that over and above this, there should be a smaller body to thrash out the programmes framed by the first body, which is a bigger body and also all schemes to be carefully examined by this smaller body before implementation; and as far as this matter is concerned, this smaller body, I feel, should consist of some capable persons.
Coming to another point, Sir, i.e., agriculture. We all know that Agriculture needs many supporting factors, the most important of which are lands, water and marketing. We have seen in many places land is being eroded and fertility drained out by water with the passage of time and in this respect, I know very well that our Government had made an endeavour to have soil testing kits. This is a very important method to get the soil tested especially when we are applying chemical fertilizers so that a correct fertilizer is supplied and used for a particular land. Therefore, I would request the Government, through you, Sir, that all efforts should be made to utilise all the resources available at the disposal of the Government to get the soil tested at every corner of the State. Water, as you know, Sir, is the life-line to cultivation. But water comes and water springs out of forests. Therefore, water means production and as water comes from forest, forest means water. Therefore, water means production and water comes from forest. Therefore, forest means water and water means also life. As some of the hon. Members have pointed out, our Government have not earmarked their broad-based policy on afforestation. Therefore, I feel that this programme should be taken into consideration.
I would also like to deal with marketing. Agriculture means production. If we simply produce without marketing, nobody will go for further production. Therefore, Sir, marketing is very important to encourage our cultivators or our farmers to go for more production and for this reason marketing should be looked after seriously by the Government. In the pamphlet of the State Government, viz., accelerated economic development, which has been distributed to the people, there is mention of the State Government's programme for marketing the agriculture produce and they have a plan for setting up a State level Co-operative Apex Marketing Federation. This is very much encouraging. But I would like to request the Government, through you, Sir, to speed up this matter.... to spend up the constitution of the State level Marketing Federation so that our cultivators will get remunerative prices for their produce. Further Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you know, last year there was a hail-storm in some parts of my constituency. Some of the families thereby could not get even a handful of grain and they did not have any more seed even to sow in the coming season. They are the villages which have never asked for rationed rice in the previous years. But this year they have been forced to take rationed rice since crops have been damaged by the hail-storm. Therefore, may I request the Government, through you, Sir, if there are such needy families, their cases may be suitably considered by the Government.
Coming to the Health Department, I am very grateful to the Health Department and the Government for having started Mobile Dispensaries in many parts of the district. But, Mr. Speaker, Sir, simply inaugurating the Mobile Dispensaries will not solve the problem of health or render medical help which the people in the interior places need. Sir, I have received complaints from many villages that malaria has started raising its mentioned head once again. Many people are suffering from malaria and I feel that the Government should do some thing to eliminate this aliment which our people used to have in the last 10 or 15 years but happily it has been reduced to a great extent during the last five years or so. But again it now started raising its head.
Besides that, Mr. Speaker, Sir, our villages used annual inculcation or vaccination. I am sorry to say that the Department did not care much to send vaccinators or inoculators to the interior places, unless and until they are requested by the representatives. I feel that this is the regular routine duty of the Department to see during a particular month or during a particular period of the year that all the villagers are vaccinated or inoculated.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will now come to education. Education policy of the Government is really commendable. But one complaint which we are receiving from the parents of the students is that the tuition classes which are being adopted by the teachers of Schools and colleges have become an additional burden to the parents of the students. The cost of this private tuition is as costly as the maintenance cost. Most of the parents from the villages are afraid of sending their sons and daughters for higher education because besides maintenance and cost of books and dresses, they have also to pay for tuition which has become more or less compulsory now-a-days. Therefore, Sir, may I request the Government to look into this particular problem, and if necessary and if possible, to do away with the private tuition practiced by the teachers because they have made it more or less like a side business.
Mr. Speaker :- Is the so-called private tuition being imposed by the school authorities or by the teachers or by the will of the guardians?
Shri Grosswell Mylliemngap (Sohryngkham S.T.) :- Not necessarily by the college or school authorities, but indirectly by the wishes of the teachers. Indirectly they do it and they tell the students that unless they come for tuition they are no good and that they will not be able to pass. So it is an indirect imposition.
Shri Williamson A Sangma (Chief Minister) :- On a point of information. Does it mean that the teaching is not adequate and that is why they have to go for private tuition? Does he intend to say that?
Mr. Speaker:- He means that the Government should impose a rule on the school authorities saying that the School teachers should be sincere and that they should not impose private tuition on their students.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- So, in other words, their teaching is not adequate.
Mr. Speaker :- By implication.
Shri Grosswell Mylliemngap (Sohryngkham S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, by implication we may say that the teaching in schools and colleges is not adequate or in other words the teachers are not sincere to their profession in the class rooms because they want that the students should come and take private tuition from them. Therefore, I feel that the Government should look into this and try to eliminate this extra burden on the parents especially the villagers. They say that they cannot afford to send their children to schools because besides other expenditure which is supposed to be met there is another expenditure unnecessarily imposed on them (Bell rang)...
Mr. Speaker :- You have only one minute more.
Shri Grosswell Mylliemngap (Sohryngkham) :- Thank you, Sir, in one minute's time I will simply point out one thing and that is the Road Transport Corporation. I feel that this is an important source of revenue to our Government if we take over the Road Transport Corporation from Assam which is common at present. It will enhance our financial resources. We have seen and heard even in the Assam Assembly there were allegations against mal-practices and corruption in this particular establishment. Can we subscribe to this, Sir? Besides I feel that there were lots of handicaps and difficulties which our people are facing with the present arrangement. I do not encourage that this road should be taken over and denationalized and all types of vehicle be allowed to ply freely but I want that this road be taken over by the Government and not a Joint Corporation of Assam and Meghalaya so that the revenue from this particular road can come to the exchequer of our State. I know very well, Sir, that even from the cost of carrying of potatoes last year the Road Transport Corporation has earned 40 lakhs of rupees. Therefore, I feel that the Government should consider taking over of this road immediately so that we can earn some revenue and also help our people. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker :- Shri Reidson Momin. You may take 20 minutes although I allotted 15 minute time for each.
Shri M. Reidson Momin (Dadenggiri, S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the Motion of Thanks to the Governor's Address moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh. In the first instance I would like to congratulate the Government for laying down its sound policies in the Governor's Address. I have nothing to say much but I feel that this 1974 year is auspicious to us because we have moved to the new Assembly House and this august House has been addressed by the new Governor for the first time and this is the first sessions of the year. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to say something about agriculture. Sir, we have many reclaimable lands in Bhoi area and Garo Hills which are to be surveyed properly and I would request the Government to constitute a team of experts to go to those areas and survey them to find out whether these lands can are be reclaimed and irrigation facilities provided. One thing while we are thinking about production of food, I would like to bring to the notice of the Government, through you, Sir, that is Garo Hills though the villagers have cultivated their lands and have sweated for the whole year but at the time of harvesting, the crops have been destroyed by wild pigs. It has become the imminent menace to the villagers, they cannot do anything to destroy these wild pigs because there are hundreds and thousands of wild pigs in Garo Hills and unless and until the Government takes some protection or some measures are taken to do mass killing of wild pigs, it is no use to talk about agriculture or food production. Some people will laugh at me when I say this and say that we may give these villagers guns to kill these wild pigs but now many of these wild pigs can be killed with one gun or 4 guns. Sir, a female pig bears piglings twice every year at the rate of 10 or more (interruption).
Mr. Speaker :- We should train the villagers to transport them from Garo Hills to Khasi Hills.
Shri M. Reidson Momin :- Well I said some measures Sir. We should either transport them to Khasi Hills or disposes of them in Garo Hills itself. But the problem is imminent and I would like to impress upon the Government about the seriousness of the situation and request the Government to take measures for killing these wild pigs in Garo Hills. Last year our crops in Garo Hills especially, have failed due to drought and other natural calamities, and, as a result, our people this year are facing a near famine condition. As such I would like to request the Government to give relief to the people by way of providing some test relief and by giving them or providing them with crash programme through the Development Blocks.
Regarding industries, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like only to say that in Nangalbibra, we have the Thermal Plant and then we have also the coal belt in that area. To increase the revenue of the State, I would like to request the Government to start coal mining in that area as early as possible and since we do not have trained workers and our people do not have the knowledge of coal mining, I would like to request the Government to send some of our boys to other coal-fields in Bihar or West Bengal for training so that when they come back they can teach their own brother and their own people to work in this coal mine.
Regarding transport, Sir, I would request the Government, as some of the hon. Members had already spoken, that the Shillong-Tura Road should be make motorable as soon as possible so that the villagers of Garo Hills and Khasi Hills may move freely from Shillong to Tura or vise versa for attending to court or other business. Then I do not have much to say and a lot has been said about this Assam Meghalaya Border. Although many hon. Members have spoken, I feel that I will be failing in my duty if I do not speak about this because this problem is a burning problem and an unfortunate incident had happened. But I would like to refute the charge made by one of my colleagues that two Ravas and been beaten up in Garo Hills and he has mentioned a place, Kukurkhata which is not in Garo Hills but in Goalpara. I know for certain for I was present at Tura. It was not the two Ravas but it was one Rabha and one Garo boy who were beaten in Tura. I was told that they were trying to get fresh with the girls who were going to cinema.
Mr. Speaker :- The result of a romantic adventure.
Shri M. Reidson Momin :- The other day, when I was coming from Tura to attend the Session, I have met some refugees. I did not know actually that they were the refugees but I was told by one fellow passenger in the bus that they were the refugees coming from across the border of the District. And of course, before that I have heard that the Government of Assam had been trying to brand the Government of Meghalaya and the hon. Members of this august House that we are instigating these people to come over to Meghalaya.
Mr. Speaker :- I want to be clear whether the Government of Assam had confronted the Government of Meghalaya or only certain section of the Members.
Shri M. Reidson Momin :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I stand corrected. I do not mean the Assam Government, but I mean some Members from the Assam Government.
Mr. Speaker :- Some Members of the Assam Government or Assembly?
Shri M. Reidson Momin :- Members of the Assembly, Sir, and not the Government. In this respect, I would like to tell the world that it is not a question of instigation. The movement is not only of recent happening, but it goes back to 1899. It was started by one Shri Sanaram Sangma who was a road muharir in Public Works Department in 1899. He had fought the British Government to form these areas into an autonomous district and today, Sir, it is 1974, and 75 years have passed and this movement had been started by them and not by the Members of this august House or Garos belonging to G.N.C.
Mr. Speaker :- I do not think it has come to my notice that this august House has been blamed but so many Members have spoken that a certain section of the Members and leaders of the Assam valley had tried to malign the Government of Meghalaya to have a hand in it.
Shri M. Reidson Momin :- That is why I narrate these facts. In 1902, 700 Garos living in the areas between Nabraghat and Dalgoma, I am reading this out of the record Sir. They refused to pay taxes to the Zaminders of Bijni and Gauripur and one Lasker from Resubelpara which is very much today in Meghalaya also joined the movement and he too refused to pay taxes. Then in 1904, Shri Sonaram Sangma was arrested and later on, he was released and was promised by the British that he would be paid 4 annas revenue, but late Sonaram Sangma refused. But then later on in 1905, the movement still continued and the chieftains of those Garos or the Nokmas were also offered 4 annas from the revenue collected from those areas, buy they also refused. Later on, when late Sonaram Sangma died, on Singgam Shira from Nishangram and our Ex- M.L.A. Mr. Bronson Momin also took up the case. He fought the case in the Calcutta High Court in which subscriptions and donations were collected even by the father of our hon. Minister Mr. G. A. Marak. This movement was so spontaneous; it had been there all along and that if today somebody tried to malign Meghalaya and say that Meghalaya Members or the Members of the G.N.C. are instigating these people to go over to Meghalaya, is not correct, Sir. Because they are making this movement under the banner of the G.N.C., it does not necessarily mean that G.N.C. from Garo Hills are instigating or are trying to help them. No one had gone to their villages and they have never tried to preach them to come over to us, but they are our brothers and they are our kith and kin and the same blood is flowing in them and they are having the same bones (laughter). They want to join the Garo in Meghalaya, so it is wrong to say that we are supporting them and instigating them. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. S. P. Swer. You may have 20 minutes.
Shri S. P. Swer (Sohra S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address and also to oppose the amendment moved by the hon. Member from Nongtalang to the motion of thanks. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I only want to draw the attention of the House to one policy statement of the Government in the Governor's Address. That is found in paragraph 7 of the Address. I feel that I should appreciate the Government for the policy statement on land. As we know, this part of the hill areas which was in the then composite State of Assam, for about a quarter of a century, that is since Independence, was neglected in every sphere of development. Now, that we have a State of our own it is the first and foremost duty of any Government worth the name to build up the economy of the State. In building up the economy of the State or in the development of the economic condition of the people in the State we cannot treat separately between man and the land. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, here in the Address at paragraph 7 the Government has really stated-'"when it comes to agriculture the relation between the farmer and the farm becomes a decisive factor. To strengthen the incentive to improve and develop land, the farmer must have an assured interest in the land". Now in building up the economy of the State, it is for everyone of us to go deep into the grass root of the question to find out a base on which economic development, whether agricultural or industrial development, can be based. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as we know, we cannot improve or achieve the desired progress in agricultural production or in industrial development until and unless something can be done about the peculiar socio-economic background prevailing in our State.
Coming to this question of land problem Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to say a few words on the concepts of our people especially we, the Khasi people in this district about the land. To go into the depth of this question the Government has set up the Land Reform Commission. The Commission will carry on its work under the terms of reference and to enquire into the different land tenure systems and to have a written record of the Khasi customary laws about the land Systems. Land, we believe, has been given by the Creator and therefore land belong to the people and not to any particular individual. But with the passage of time the concept of land tenure system amongst our people had been abused and it is therefore necessary at this stage to come to certain procedure to get all the existing customary laws obtaining in this district and to put them on record. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I said earlier that the land tenure system is a pre-condition to agricultural and industrial development and you will be surprised to know about the peculiar condition and peculiar socio-economic background of the land tenure system in our district of Khasi Hills. We feel very proud when we pronounce that we own lands and we are the owners of our land but to be frank I would like to enlighten in this respect how we own our lands and how we control and manage our lands. As I said, you will be surprised to know that I own my land or a dwelling house but I cannot prove it unless of the neighbours do support my claim. It entirely depends on the mercy of the neighbours around. Therefore, I think it is all the more a necessity that we should have the record of our land tenure system and the record of own rights over the land.
We know that the Land Reform Commission has gone deep into the subject-matter and that it has done its work to get or bridge the wisdom of the past and to meet the need of the present also to safeguard the future. This Commission in only to enquire into and to ascertain the views of the people and also to record their suggestions.
Mr. Speaker :- That is understood from the terms of reference and it is not necessary for the hon. Member to take note of whatever was spoken outside the House.
Shri S. P. Swer (Sohra, S.T.) :- Yes, Sir. We know that in absence of such a written record about our land tenure system there will be trouble in respect ownership. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, when the time comes when the Record of Rights will be there, the rights of the owners over such lands will be recognised and I feel that it is high time that this work or the implementation of the plan or policy, as stated in the Governor's Address is taken up as specially as possible. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know how to express because I am not an expert in English language but what I feel is that the institutional adjustments also men that even when the record of right be legalised I think that much also is an institutional adjustment.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Congratulations for his knowledge of English.
(Voice: Thank you)
Shri S. P. Swer (Sohra S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir as I said earlier the agricultural and industrial development can speed up the economy of the State as a whole and I feel that the implementation of the Government policy in this regard should be helped by all section of the people so that the economic condition of the people can be raised in the whole State. With those few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Nimosh Sangma. (He is absent). Is there any other hon. Member from my right hand side who would volunteer today instead of another day. We have 24 minutes more.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Would you offer it to us also Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- I am offering to Mr. Mawsor. (He is also absent). Now, Mr. Dlosing Lyngdoh.
Shri Dlosing Lyngdoh (Umroi S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir I rise to support the Motion of thanks moved by the Hon. Member from Nongpoh. I may refer to paragraph 8 of the Governor's Address. We are fully convinced that the our Government are going ahead in the field of industries. The fact that our Government are going to set up various types of industries at Mendipathar, Byrnihat, Gomorrah and other places indicates a great achievement of our Government but unfortunately, in the tourism industry their achievement is very very unsatisfactory.
Prof Martin Narayan Majaw :- Hear, hear.
Shri Dlosing Lyngdoh (Umroi S. T.) :- I understand that this particular Department have made a great effort to add to the surrendered amount of the Plan money of Rs.56 lakhs. In this regard Mr. Speaker, Sir, I propose some suggestions to the Government, through you. Proposal number one is the immediate improvement and electrification of the Krem Pubon at Mawsynram. The second proposal is with regard to the improvement of beauty sports at various places like Jakrem, Tura Peak, Dieng-iei Peak, Thadlaskein and other places (Interruption) (Voices- Sohpetbneng. )
Let them not take away my time by interruptions.
Mr. Speaker :- Practically speaking you are getting more time than others. Others get 10 to 15 minutes, but you get 25 minutes. You have consumed the time of Mr. Pritington Sangma and Mr. Nimosh Sangma.
Shri Dlosing Lyngdoh (Umroi, S.T. ) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, their suggestion is the construction of Tourist Lodge in different parts of the State such as Shillong, Barapani, Tura, Jowai and Cherrapunjee.
Mr. Speaker :- Umiam means the whole length of the river.
Shri Dlosing Lyngdoh (Umroi, S.T.) :- Of course, Sir, I am very proud to say that Meghalaya is a land of beauty and grace.
Mr. Speaker :- The hon. Member who has just given these suggestions hope, has just returned along with other hon. Members from outside tour of the Estimates Committee to Goa, etc. So, what were the things which were really tourist attractions in Goa? (laughter)
Shri Dlosing Lyngdoh (Umroi S.T.) :- Sir, not only Goa, but different parts of the country like Madras and so on and so forth. But Meghalaya is more beautiful than other States.
Then Sir, I want to say a few words regarding the border between Meghalaya and Assam. It is really very unfortunate that this border issue has created much disturbance especially in the settlement of State boundary. But let us hope that under the leadership of our able Chief Minister and the Chief Minister of Assam all these boundary troubles will be saved peacefully and amicably in a historical way as is done in other State boundary disputes.
Sir, lastly, I will not take must time of the House, but I would like to point out here that I am very grateful to the Governor for his speech which said that Government have decided to have its own SEB. With this I hope that the electrification of our rural villages as well as irrigation of the cultivable fields will be speeded up. If we can irrigate our cultivable fields by means of electricity, I hope green revolution will gear up speedily. Lastly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I also suggest for bifurcation of the Assam State Electricity Board and I hope this will be looked into by Government. With these words I oppose the amendment by the hon. Member, Shri Pohshna.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Jormanik Syiem.
Shri Jor Manik Syiem (Mylliem S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to pick up the thread started by the last Speaker, i.e., about the electrification of the villages. We were given great hopes that electrification of the villages would be carried out speedily. But it is regrettable that the present Board does not seem to be alert with the promises given to the people. For example, a year ago, in Laitkroh village which is very big village and constitutes the whole elaka of Laitkroh, the people were taken to the site but it is one full year now yet the work has not been started. I am grateful for the Governor's Address that the Electricity Board is going to be bifurcated and we are going to have our own Board. We expected that it should have been set up by now. But for reasons best known to the Government we have extended time by another year. Then Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring to the notice of the Government that the present Board has not honoured the assurances given to the people of Khwan-Barapani because they did not pay the compensation due to them. Therefore, I request the Government, through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this matter of paying compensation to the people be looked into. It is learned that the Government is going to start a Deer Park Somewhere in Barapani area. But I would like to bring to the notice of the Government that a portion of the village forest will be included in that Deer Park for which the State Electricity Board has not paid any compensation to the people who have regenerated the forest. I hope that when the Deep Park is started there, our Government will make the Assam State Electricity Board pay compensation due to these poor people.
While welcoming the Address of the Governor, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like also to join with some friends, the hon. Members who have spoken before me that no mention is made about irrigation. As we know Sir, cultivation in these Hills is carried out mainly on Jhumming system. This is not only in Khasi Hills but in Garo Hills also jhum cultivation is done. This jhumming cultivation has destroyed our beautiful forests which are perhaps one of the best in the world. So, unless irrigation schemes are introduced, I do not see how we can preserve our forests and also develop the agricultural system of our State. I would, therefore appeal to the Government, through you, Sir, that irrigation system be initiated as early as possible in every part of the State wherever possible.
Then next point Mr. Speaker, Sir, as the last hon. Member has said. I hope the tourist attraction should also he attempted in our State. It is said that our hills are very beautiful and perhaps one of the most beautiful areas in the world. So if we can develop tourist attraction in our State, I am sure it can bring more revenue to the Government and also can compete with other parts of the world.
Tourism also will be a source of income to the State. I do not see why Government should not look into every possible part of the State where tourists attraction, beautiful spots can be made to be the attraction to the tourists. Not only around Shillong but in many other places we have got beautiful gorges. We have got beautiful spots everywhere. So if Government neglects this part of development, we cannot augment the revenue which the State can expect.
Another point, Mr. Speaker, Sir, which I would like to bring to the notice of the Government, through you, is that our cultivators have suffered too much for want of fertilizers in time. Last year there was an assurance that fertilizers would be available in sufficient quantity, but when sowing time came, no fertilizer was available. Even this year the cultivators of Mylliem constituency could not get sufficient fertilizer even at the cost of thousand rupees per tonne although I understand that the Government rate was in the neighbourhood of Rs.700 per tonne. But how these distributors or whoever they may be could get these fertilizers and sell them to the villagers at the rate of Rs.1000 per tonne? There is something wrong somewhere in the distribution. I would, therefore appeal to those incharge of this Department through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to see that proper distribution is made through the proper people and not just allow anyone to lift their fertilizer from the godowns and sell it in the black market to the poor cultivators. These are the points which I would like to mention by way of participation in the debate although my name was not there. But these are the points to which I would like to draw the attention of the Government, through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on this fertilizer question, I should say that we are not manufacturing any fertilizer in our State. Whatever fertilizer we get is from the quota given by the Government of India. Even for this allotted quota sometimes. When we approached the factory, we are not supplied in full quantity. Therefore, there is great shortage of fertilizers for our use in the State. Whatever allotment is there, 50 percent will be allotted to us and 50 percent will be allotted to their own agents. Therefore, I cannot say at the moment how they sell these fertilizers in the market. This is a question to be enquired into. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is also a motion on this matter. So, I think we will get more detailed information when we discuss the motion.
Shri H. Hynniewta (Nongkhlaw S.T.) :- Whether it will come up for discussion?
Mr. Speaker :- Whether it will come up or not will depend on the ballot.
Prof. M. N. Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- Who will give the information, a Member or the Minister?
Mr. Speaker :- The Minister will give the information, but the information will have to be collected by him. Nobody is a super-man who can give all the information at a time.
Shri H. Hynniewta (Nongkhlaw S.T.) :- On a point of information. The Minister has said just now that the F.C.I. has got its own agents. So 50 percent of the fertilizer is distributed through these agents. May I know from the Minister whether in the State of Meghalaya these F.C.I. agents are functioning or not?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Normally they use to ask for the list of approved dealers from us. But according to their saying, there is no bar to appoint their own agents. But we insist that we are not happy with that but they should issue the fertilizers through the agents recommended by the Government.
Shri H. Hynniewta (Nongkhlaw S.T.) :- My point is whether at the present moment these agents are operating or not in our State?
Mr. Speaker :- Whether the F.C.I. have their own separate agents Meghalaya and whether they are functioning or not?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have applied to what he has raised.
Mr. Speaker :- You reply is not categorical.
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- There is a rule that the F.C.I. can appoint their own agents. But that information is subjects to my verification. I can give the full picture of this matter when we discuss the motion on this subjects.
Shri H. Hynniewta :- With due respect to the Minister, I can't say whether this resolution or motion will come up for discussion or not. That is a different question. But at the moment we want to get the information as to whether the F.C.I's agents are operating or not in our State. It is a very simple question and we request the Minister to give us a simple reply.
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- I will give that information on Monday.
Mr. Speaker :- Only three minutes are left and I do not think any hon. Member would like to participate for only 3 minutes. So I take the opportunity of declaring that the House stands adjourned till 9.00 a.m. on Monday, the 25th March, 1974.