Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled
after the General Election, 1972
The Assembly met at 9 a.m. on Monday, the 25th March 1974 in the Assembly Chamber, at Shillong.
Prof. R. S. Lyngdoh, Speaker, in the Chair, five Ministers of State and fifty-two Members.
Question and Answers
(To which replies were laid on the Table)
Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up Unstarred Question No. 4.
Black -topping of Dalu-Baghmara Road, etc.
Shri Nimosh Sangma asked :
|4. Will the Minister- incharge of P.W.D. be pleased to state-|
|(a) Whether the black-topping of Dalu -Baghmara Road and Dalu- Purakhasia Road will be started this year?|
(b) If so, the reasons for delay in execution of the work?
|(c) Whether the cost of the black-topping of the said road will be borne by the State or Central Government and what the total amount earmarked for each road?|
Shri. Drawin D. Pugh (Minister of State in-charge of P.W.D.) replied :
|4.||(a) -The black topping will be started in 1974 - 75.|
(b) -Black topping could not be started earlier as the preparation of drawings after carrying out detailed field survey had to be undertaken for obtaining the approval of the Government of India.
|(c) -The entire cost for improvement of the two roads will be borne by the Central Government.|
The total amount sanctioned for the roads is as under:-
(i) Dalu-Baghmara Road- Rs. 64,27,300.
(ii) Dalu- Purakhasia Road- Rs.32,78,700.
Shri Nimosh Sangma (Dalu S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, supplementary to unstarred Question No.4 (a), when the work will be completed?
Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State. P.W.D.) :- It is not possible at this stage to state when the work will be completed.
Shri Nimosh Sangma :- Supplementary to 4 (c), what is the total length of the Dalu-Baghmara and Dalu-Purakhasia Road?
Shri D.D. Pugh (Minister of State P.W.D.) :- The total length was 42 miles and 18 miles respectively.
Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- May we know if the Government fixes a probable date for the completion of any work it has undertaken?
Mr. Speaker :- That is too general. You can say for this particular road only whether the Government has fixed any probable date for the completion of the entire work.
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is very difficult to fix the date for the completion of this particular road. This road is being financed by the Government of India, and as such we cannot say definitely when is will be completed as we are entirely depending upon the Central Government for every stage of the work.
Non-receipt of pay of the P.W.D. Staff of Mawsynram subdivision
Shri Winstone Syiemiong asked :
|5. Will the Minister- incharge of P.W.D. be pleased to state-|
(a) Whether it is a fact that the P.W.D. staff of the Mawsynram Subdivision under Mawsynram Division have not, till date, received their pay for the month of May, 1973?
(b) If so, the reasons thereof?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh [Minister of State, incharge of P.W.D., (R&B.)] replied :
5. (a) & (b) Sanction had been accorded on 21st March 1974 for redrawal of the pay which was lost by the Head Assistant of the P.W.D. Subdivision on 2nd June 1973.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh asked :
|6. Will the Minister- incharge of P.W.D. (R & B) be pleased to state-|
(a) Whether it is a fact that the Puksora Bridge under Balat P.W.D. subdivision collapsed in the last rainy season?
(b) The year when the construction of the said bridge was completed.
(c) The names of the engineers and contractor, supervising constructing the bridge.
(d) The total amount involved.
|(b) -The 20th March, 1966.|
|(c) -Sectional Officer, Shri. M. Bhattacharjee, Subdivisional Officer, Shri. P.C. Mech., Contractor, Shri. H. Nongrum.|
Employees serving under North -Eastern Council
Shri Winstone Syiemiong asked :
7. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to state the total number of Meghalaya employees currently serving under the North -Eastern Council in (i) Gazetted posts, (ii) Non- Gazetted posts as on 31st December, 1973?
Capt. William A. Sangma (Chief Minister) replied :
(ii) -Eleven Meghalaya employees only and three of them were previously in Meghalaya Government.
Call Attention Motion
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to the next item in today's list of business, i.e., the call attention motion given notice by Shri P.R. Kyndiah.
*Shri P. Ripple Kydiah (Jaiaw S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to call the attention of the Minister-incharge of Supply under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of this Hose relating to "there exist in Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills Districts particularly Shillong a serious situation arising out of extreme scarcity of cement which is the basic building material. Building works have come to a standstill including a number of public works. Cement is being sold in black Market at the rate of Rs.30 per bag". By way of clarification, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to say that the scarcity of cement is very extreme in Meghalaya even though Meghalaya itself is a cement producing State. As you know, Sir, there had been a lot of references in the newspapers about cement black-marketing in Shillong.
Mr. Speaker :- Let the Minister reply only to what has been reported in the newspapers and Mr. Kyndiah may seek further clarification after wards.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols -Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, With the promulgation of the Meghalaya Cement Licencing and Control Order, 1973 which came into effect from July 1973, the requirements of cement for the general consumer in the 3 districts were met through the Government appointed dealers, 10 in Khasi Hills, 2 in Garo Hills and I in Jaintia Hills. The number of Government dealers has been recently increased to 5 in Garo Hills and 3 for Jaintia Hills. The quota earmarked for each dealer was supplied by Assam Cements and distributed on permits issued by the Deputy Commissioners. In addition to the quotas allotted to the dealers, other requirements for hospitals, public institutions, small industrial undertakings were supplied directly by the Company against their free sale quota on recommendations of the Deputy Commissioners.
The Company's factor in Mawmluh suffered occasional mechanical break-down resulting in low production capacity. The major break-down of the Motor of the Raw Mill occurred in the middle of October 1973 and thereafter the production capacity was sliced down to about 100 to 120 tonnes per day. Since the 7th March, 1974 another break-down occurred and production was totally stopped upto 22nd March, 1974. Production has again been resumed from the afternoon of 22nd March 1974. It is hoped that about 300 tonnes per day will be produced out of accumulated Clinker.
The requirements of cement for Central P.W.D. Umroi Air Field, A.S.E.B. for Kyrdemkulai Project, Meghalaya P.W.D./ P.H.E., A.I.R. were met directly by Assam Cement against the quotas covered by the release orders of the Regional Cement Officer, Calcutta. These parties are treated as priority consumers and the bulk of the production was supplied to them. As regards cement being sold in the black-market, the Company is observing strict vigilance but there are also other sources of leakages. Black-marketing could be stopped if all consumers co-operated during this period of scarcity and instances of malpractices are brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioners and the Government. Now when the factory has gone into full production and if there is no break-down it is hoped to overcome the existing scarcity conditions.
Mr. Speaker :- What steps Government have taken to prevent those leakages and malpractices?
Shri S.D.D Nichols- Roy (Minister, Industries) :- No Specific instances were brought to he notice of the Deputy Commissioners and the Government.
*Prof. M. N. Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- If my ears had served me well I had heard the expression of regular break-downs that took place and mechanical break-downs many times on the previous occasions also.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols -Roy (Minister, Industries) :- The wording perhaps, may be changed to occasional mechanical break-downs and that is my correction.
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah (Jaiaw S.T.) :- In view of the scarcity of cement that is prevailing in Shillong, I would like to know whether this is a problem only in Shillong or in some other places and other States as well. Because as you know, even important public works like the one which I am concerned in Student Field of Shillong which is within my constituency. Though the works had been started for quite a number of years, we do not know what is the reason that it has come to a standstill because of the inadequate supply of cement. May we know from the Minister concerned the quota for public works.
Mr. Speaker :- You mean the quota for the various Government Departments or only for public works.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir I have some figures showing the supply of cement to the various sectors of the State. In the months of October, November, December 1973, January and February 1974 and upto 6th March 1974 the Meghalaya Public Works Department in the 3 Districts of Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills, was supplied 1394.5 tonnes from October 1973 I can give the figures month by month supplied to different departments.
Introduction of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya (Members' Salaries and Allowances) (Amendment) Bill, 1974
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to the next item.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya (Members' Salaries and Allowances) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that have be granted to introduce the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya (Members' Salaries and Allowances) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
The Motion is carried. Leave is granted.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Bill.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya (Members' Salaries and Allowances) (Amendment) Bill, 1974, be introduced.
The Motion is carried. The Bill is introduced.
(The Secretary read out the title of the Bill).
Debate on the Governor's Address
Mr. Speaker :- Next item.
I have here a list of 13 hon. Members who would like to participate in today's debate on the Governor's Address. But before I call each and everyone of them, may I have the sense of the House that as soon as this list is exhausted, the House stands adjourned till 3 p.m. so that the Chief Minister will be able to reply at 3p.m. Is that the sense of the House?
(Voices- Yes, Yes)
Now, Mr. Singjan Sangma. You have 10 minutes,
Shri Singjan Sangma (Tura. S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I take this opportunity to participate in the discussion of the Governor's Address. Many of the hon. Members have spoken and while doing so they have touched the most vital and important points on the matters which have been incorporated in the Address. Now it appears to may that no more points are left for me. But whatever the case may be I wish to speak something more. It is no doubt that the main policy of the Government has been laid down in the Address of the Governor based on which various developmental programmes will be executed through different agencies of the Government in different fields with a view the shaping the destiny of this State of ours. The main policy of the Government, I believe, is to make a radical change in matters of raising the standards of living of the people as a whole. Now, if we go through the contents of Addresses of the Governor right from 1970 to 1974. We will find that a repeated mention has been made for taking up of schemes for the development and improvement of Shillong, Tura and Jowai Towns and also regrouping of villages in Garo Hills. Though the policy has been laid down by the Government from time to time which has been revealed in the Addresses of the Governor on different occasions in regard to taking up of those schemes, but it is surprising to note that no visible sign from the side of implementation of the said schemes can be witnessed during these past two years. Similarly, in the matter of implementation of the schemes with regard to regrouping of villages in Garo Hills nothing has been done as yet. I, therefore feel that this really indicates that no importance is being given by the Government to carry out its own declared policy for the good of the people. So, I appeal to the Government to take up these schemes as early as possible Sir, in connection with improvement and development of Tura Town, I would like to point out that there are many approach and link roads in different areas of Tura Town which need special attention of the Government for their improvement. Of course, these approach roads and link roads are being taken up by the Tura Town Committee. But it is regrettable to say that for want of sufficient funds and adequate staffs at its disposal, we cannot expect good motorable roads from that Committee. This is the reason why both the people and the administration are facing difficulties and as such whenever any fire accident take place somewhere within the area of Tura Town no help can be given to the people by the administration. So, I feel that construction of motorable roads is inevitably necessary wherever possible not only to give better amenities to the people but also from the administrative points of view. I therefore, appeal to the Government that these approach roads should be taken up by the Public Works Departments itself in the interest of the people.
As regards water supply scheme at Tura, I would like to say a few words. The execution of water supply scheme at Tura, for supply of drinking water to the people living in Tura Town has been completed about three years ago. Though the execution of the said scheme has been completed, yet there are still more areas which are to be connected with pipelines. So, in order to supply drinking water to the people living in certain areas of Tura Town, I would urge upon the Government to take up the scheme of extending the pipelines particularly to the areas of Akonggiri, Cheranggiri, Matchakolgiri Ringrigitim, so that the people living in those areas also can enjoy the same facilities as that of the people living in other areas of Tura Town. In this respect I would like to to point out that there is an old water supply scheme in existence.
And considering the inadequacy of drinking water supply, I would request the Government to maintain this old existing water supply so that the water can be supplied to the other areas of the Town area. Sir, we understand that topmost priority is being given by the Government for the improvement and development of agriculture emphasis is being given by the Government for the development and improvement on horticulture also. It is no doubt that agriculture is more important than industry for the simple reason that industry depends on agriculture. So, I feel that industry cannot be progressed until and unless agriculture is based on sound and firm footing. With this end in view, we understand that the Government is taking up various schemes of Agriculture in different shapes and forms to increase food production and thereby make our people self-sufficient. Many schemes particularly the minor Irrigation projects have been taken up by the Agriculture Department. Out of many such projects, I would like to point out one particular project and that is the construction of a bund over the Denggra stream at Boldamgiri under the Zikzak Development Block and the construction of which has been completed about 3 years ago, it is also a fact that a huge amount of money has been spent by the Agriculture Department for the said purpose. But it is regrettable to note that just after completion of the said project when the first monsoon rain came in, the main foundation of the said fund has been washed away causing more difficulties to the poor cultivators than ever before. (Bell rang) .... In this particular matter may I know from the Minister-in-charge of Agriculture whether this project will be taken up again or it has been totally abandoned.
Mr. Speaker :- You have one minute's time more.
Shri Singjan Sangma (Tura S. T.) :- Mr. Speaker Sir, I am coming to the most important point.
(Voices -- the Deputy Speaker should be given five minutes' time more/laughter)
Shri Singjan Sangma (Tura S. T.) :- Though I have many important points to say but since the time does not allow me, I would like to touch one point only. Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Governor in this Address at page 15 paragraph 25 has made a reference to the border dispute including the incidents that took place in Goalpara, which runs as follows "Meanwhile following the recent incident at Goalpara involving a large number of tribal people, refugees have started entering the Garo Hills District from Goalpara and arrangements have been made to offer relief to them".
Mr. Speaker :- As the Presiding Officer, I would only advise that it is better to avoid such controversial matters.
Shri Singjan Sangma (Tura S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, many of the hon. members have expressed their views on this incidents and the issue therein. In this connection may I know what relief measures have been so far given to those suffering humanity who have to leave their hearths and homes and whether any relief camp has been constructed food-stuffs supplied and medical aids given to them and whether the Government have moved the Government of India for any financial assistance for these refugees? I believe that this august House is fully aware of the fact that during the year of 1971 when so many thousands of refugees from Bangladesh come to our State, the whole administration was out to help the Bangladesh refugees and as a result of which our plan money could not be spent as revealed by the Governor in his Address at page 2/3. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, when our own people who are the citizens of India wanted shelter in our territory is it not our duty to see that they may not be suffering for want of food, shelter and medical facilities. Now I believe, this august House is more anxiously waiting for the detailed information in regard to this problem.
(Bell rang) ......Thank you.
Prof. P.G. Marbaniang (Laitumkhrah) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the Motion of Thanks to the Governor's Address moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh. While congratulating the Governor for having laid down the Government policies to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the people of our State, I would like to make a few observations. First of all, I am happy that our Government Offices will be shifted to a more central area and they will be in one compact building. But here I would like to remind the Government that, as it is, the Government servants are not satisfied with their service conditions. The shifting of offices is meant for efficiency for them to be able to work better. But if their service condition is not at all upto their expectation, if I say will not bring any good results. I am referring to their being still on deputation term from the Government of Assam. It is 4 years now that they have been on deputation and I do not know how many more years they will be. If our Government cannot separate the services, I would suggest that these Government servants should be given the usual Deputation Allowance as admissible under the rules.
Secondly, Sir, the basic ingredient for the economic development is communication - more so in the Hill State like ours - where there exist hills and difficult terrains. Our State has no Railways, no Waterways and no Airways. We have for the present to depend entirely on roadways. The construction of roads and their maintenance are expensive and also road transport has become expensive today due to the rising prices of fuel. Regarding other means of communications I must congratulate the Government for its keenness to complete the Umroi air-ways. Also I must congratulate the Government on the steps that it has taken to extend railway heads to Byrni and Jogigopa in Garo Hills. But the most important thing which I wish to congratulate the Government is for enabling the NEC., i.e., the North Eastern Council, to take up the most important means of communication which will do very well in our State and that is the Rope-ways. The Government should try to speed up the rope-way project reports. I am sure this will be of great help to the people of our State here and it will be able to reduce the cost of transportation and also ensure regular transport of goods.
Thirdly, Sir, I would like to refer to para 13 of the Governor's Address, Page 9, i.e., on the shifting of the Assam Capital. It is true that our economy has badly been affected by this shifting of capital. I am happy that the Government is aware of this fact. But bringing some Central offices will not be able to solve the problem. Apart from giving employment to the educated unemployed youths, other categories of people who have been affected like small traders, house owners and petty tea sellers will not benefit much. Therefore, I would like to suggest to the Government that it should be seriously setting up of industries in and around Shillong and on the outskirts of Shillong. We have heard so much about the Meter Factory, I do not know what steps have the Government taken to re-open it. Because if we do not re-open immediately, I am afraid, the expensive machines will be spoiled; they will get rusty and would not be of any use to us. Regarding other industries about which we have heard in the Governor's Address last year and year before the Government is going to set up an Industrial Estate. This, if the Government really takes up seriously, I am sure will help our economy for the set-back suffered due to shifting of the capital of Assam from Shillong.
Fourthly, I would like to refer to para 14 on page 10 of the Governor's Address on the subject of Education. We, are happy that the Government is really thinking of laying a foundation. Ours is a new State; we have to start with a clean slate. We have passed the Bill on Board of School Education here in this august House and all the Members who participated were successful to lay a firm foundation of education in our State but unfortunately, Sir, I do not know whether this Board has ever met even once since it was constituted. Whether it has recruited the staff? It has also been stated that the Higher Secondary and High School Leaving Certificate Examinations for 1974 would be conducted by this Board. Sir, you are also an educationist. Do you know that no programmes of the examinations have yet been notified. We have been given to understand that the examinations would be conducted some time in the second week of April but no programmes have yet been notified. The candidates do not know how to prepare their lessons; how to face the examinations; they do not know whether there will be a gaps or it will be a continuous from Monday to Saturday.
Prof Martin Narayan Majaw :- Both the Ministers are absent.
Mr. Speaker :- There are other Ministers; it is their joint responsibility.
Prof. Peter G. Marbaniang (Laitumkhrah) :- If this is the state of affairs in education, I am afraid we shall have no bright future. Coming to the questions of teachers, some of my friends have spoken about private tuition but I must remind them that the teachers are the worst paid employees. We have done nothing for them; they have been left to their fate. Primary School teachers are the men behind the wheel, and I am afraid, if they are to suffer how the wheel will move. If the teachers who are supposed to build up the future generation are to think whether they have got any food for them or not, how can we expect better education for them? If he is also a cultivator and all the time he has to go to the field to look after his potatoes and all, where is the time for him to think about his students?
Now coming to the University. It has so far conducted the B. T. Examination but here also the things are not going in the right direction. There have been complaints.
Mr. Speaker :- Regarding University, you can give suggestion only because the University was formed under Central Act and not by State Act.
Prof. Peter G. Marbaniang (Laitumkhrah) :- I am only suggesting about the moral standard of examination and I want that there should not be any unfair means in the examination. Then comes college education. There has been a long pending grievance of the language teachers. The language lecturers are not treated as lecturers as they do not have the master degrees since we do not have master degrees in Khasi or Garo although now we are trying to do. Nothing has been done for these poor teachers.
Mr. Speaker :- What type of teachers. Those who are regular in service or the new tutors?
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister for Finance) :- For the information of the hon. Member I should say that it has been done before.
Mr. Speaker :- May I know from the Minister for Finance whether it has been done in case of those who are serving for long period or for the new recruits also?
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Reply will be given later although an interim reply has been given by my colleague.
Prof. Peter Garnett Marbaniang (Laitumkhrah) :- Then, Sir, I come to the Half a Million Jobs Programme. It is good for giving employment to the educated unemployed youths. But what I would like to know is whether it is really possible to impart training to the teachers for 10 days only, according to this 10-days training programme, and then send them for teaching. What I mean to say is that if we really want to lay a firm foundation of the educational system, let us do it properly and certainly not by putting things here and there because that will be very bad and we will not be able to give real education as we have promised to the people. Then, Sir, I would like to state that there is only one Government College here in Shillong because, as it is, we do not have a Government College in Shillong. The Lady Keane College might be (Interruption) ......
Mr. Speaker :- There is no Government College. But may I know from the hon. member whether he thinks that the Government College can run better than any of the existing colleges.
Prof. Peter Garnett Marbaniang (Laitumkhrah) :- I do not want to argue on that point, Sir. But there is a need for a Government College in Shillong.
Mr. Speaker :- Yes, there is a need for a Government College but whether it should be a general or a specialised college?
Prof. Peter Garnett Marbaniang (Laitumkhrah) :- Sir, if you mean "specialised" by way of engineering or research then that would be better, of course. But if the Government cannot introduce even a general college, I do not know about the other type of college.
Before I sit down, I just want to refute the amendment moved by the hon. Member from the opposition about the municipal elections. In this connection, I would like to inform this august House that I happen to be a member of the Shillong Civic Welfare Association. This relates to the Municipal Affairs in Shillong. This association has prepared for delimitation .....
Mr. Speaker :- They cannot prepare.
Prof. Peter Garnett Marbaniang (Laitumkhrah) :- Well, Sir, after consulting with the local durbars we have submitted to the Shillong Municipal Board but we do not know whether it will be accepted or not. But we, from the Shillong Civic Welfare Association are considering that the Government has not been able to finish the delimitation and, therefore, we feel that it is not yet an opportune time to hold the Municipal elections and also we, as embers who are present here, must know that the work is being done by a Government officer.
Mr. Speaker :- I have listened very carefully and I find that the members residing outside Shillong are against those members coming from Shillong.
Prof. Peter Garnett Marbaniang (Laitumkhrah) :- That is because we are directly involved with the affairs of the municipality. Any way it is not that we do not want that the wards should be properly delimitated. Then only we can have the elections and the enumeration (Bell rang).
Mr. Speaker :- Only one minute.
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I intervene on two points that were raised by the hon. Member on the Meter Factory?
Mr. Speaker :- Yes.
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols-Roy (Minister, Industries) :- I would like to inform the hon. Member of the steps that have been taken for the re-opening of the Meter Factory. We had referred from time to time in the House about this and study have been made and two or three technical experts had come to study this factory to find out how best to re-open it and what particular product mix should be introduced into this factory to make it an economically viable factory. Unfortunately, the report from the experts indicates that because of lack of a tool manufacturing shop anywhere in the north-eastern India, i.e., Gauhati, Shillong, or any other nearby area that can undertake tolls manufacture, it has not been possible to open this factory. However, the Government is pursuing this matter for finding out the possibility of having a tool room in this region. Then reference has been made on the establishment of an industrial estate in Shillong and the Government is considering the question of establishing a Watch Industry and for getting the project report on this Watch Industry they have written to the Hindustan Machine Tools Company.
Mr. Speaker :- Now I will call upon Mr. Raisen Mawsor. Mr. Mawsor has some difficulty in expressing in English though he can write very well and he would prefer to speak in Garo. However, I would request him to make his speech in Garo. Here is of course the English version of his speech. You will have 10 minutes or less than that.
Shri Raisen Mawsor (Mawthengkut Scheduled Tribe) :- (An English Translation of the Speech of Shri Raisen Mawsor).
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the amendment moved by the hon. Member from Nongtalang.
As a representative of the people living along the Khasi-Garo boundary, I have decided to speak in Garo as I have thousands of tribal Garo brothers and sisters in Mawthengkut Constituency.
I whole-heartedly support the demand of the Garos in the Kamrup and Goalpara District of Assam, and I make bold to support them in their own language. Their demand is justified, and as the hon. Member from Jaiaw has indicated, the APHLC, in the days when it was a faithful servant of the people, had several times supported the demands of the Garos and other tribals in contiguous areas.
But, unfortunately, the hon. Member from Jaiaw forgets to inform the House that the Leader of the APHLC as soon as they were tempted by the offers of minister ship in the new State, suddenly forgot our Garo brothers in Goalpara and Kamrup and agreed to a Hill State without them. The North-Eastern Areas Re-organisation Bill was introduced in Parliament after detailed discussion with the leaders of the APHLC, and it is these leaders who agreed to this Bill wherein the boundaries of the new State were already defined without Garo areas of Goalpara and Kamrup.
Now, instead, these leaders are trying to white-wash themselves by supporting at this late stage the demand of the Garos after having ignored them for several years.
The HSPDP instead has always stuck to its principle and has always continued to support these just tribal demands.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Lyngngam area, of which I am the representative here, is one of the most backward areas in the State. Though it covers an area over 250 square miles, there is not a single dispensary anywhere. I demand on behalf of my people that the Government should immediately open 4 or 5 dispensaries in the Lyngngam area. What is the sense in being a public servant or a Minister when they cannot even provide medicines for the sick and dying ?
We have no schools or roads, except for the Lower Primary Schools of the District Council. Roads which are supposed to be the arteries of the hills, are for us in the Lyngngam area only jungle paths for wild animals. It seems that the Government does not care to do anything for the Lyngngam and Mawthengkut area because they have twice rejected the Ruling Party during the Assembly elections. When will these leaders of the APHLC realise that a clever politician should particularly help those who oppose them? But who can teach these "clever" people? Roads in other part of the State are paved with bitumen, but nothing of the sort exists in the Mawthengkut - Lyngngam area. Even the much-boasted Shillong-Tura Road has not been completed. It may be the Government has decided not to build more motorable roads because of the rising price of petrol.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to refer to those graziers who have come from foreign countries and do not belong to this country. I am happy that in the last December Session of the Government had at last yielded to the demands of the Opposition to take action against the foreigners and outsiders through the Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill. But I do not know when this Government will obtain the assent of the President to this important Bill, so as to put it into effect, throughout the State, against foreigners and outsiders. These people, having illegally entered our hills, do not obey the laws of our villages or our Syiemships. They allow their animals to roam at will through our fields and gardens, and if we try to catch or drive away these animals, the foreign graziers even take up knives and daos to threaten us. I demand that the Government should drive out immediately all these foreign graziers from our State.
There should also be, Mr. Speaker, Sir, agricultural schemes for the Lyngngam area, particularly land reclamation and irrigation projects, none of which have ever been taken up there. Besides, cottage and major industries must be set up there, particularly a paper mill especially when there are so many bamboo plantations.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am a representative of the people who are very poor and backward. But I demand that the Government must especially help such weaker sections of the community, because it is these very people who have made us M.L.As or elevated others to minister ship. This Ruling Party will be judged by its achievement towards the poorest persons or society.
Mr. Speaker :- Now Prof. Alexander Warjri. You have got only 15 minutes.
*Prof. Alexander Warjri (Mawkhar Scheduled Tribe) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir I would like to join with the mover of the motion of Thanks to the Governor's Address. At the beginning, I would to suggest only a few points. First of all in page 4 of the Governor's Address regarding agriculture where agriculture products like Ginger, Cotton and other agricultural produces are mentioned, we all know that these products are growing well in Meghalaya. We know that Ginger is cultivated all over Meghalaya. It is an admitted fact, that the growers could not find good markets for this product. I wonder why the Government had not done anything to met the growing necessity of growing Ginger. Why Government has not started the scheme to develop the cultivation of ginger. We know that one Ginger Dehydration Station was started at Umsning. But I understand that this station has stopped after the death of one engineer who was supposed to run the Ginger scheme. This Engineer was supposed to go to England for further training in Ginger scheme, but unfortunately, he met with an accident and died. Then I came to know that the whole plan for development of this particular product, i.e., Ginger has been abolished. So this has affected all those assistants who were employee in that station. Even those people who have already cultivated ginger could not sell their ginger and even if they sell, they sell at cheap rate. So, I would to request that Government should see into this. Then, Sir, coming to Land Reforms, I would like to say that the other day I met some people of Umsning village who told me that they would like to get housing loan from the Government but Government would not give them loan unless they have some records of right. So, I feel that land reforms is essential in order to help people to get financial assistance or loan from the Government. But why people are afraid of this, I do not know. But the Land Reforms Commission, as envisaged in the Governor's Address is not to give that right. It is only to record or to find out ways and means by which record of rights can be established. I want just to point out that unless people have some records or right, or if they do not have what we called their pata, then it is not possible for them even to get a small amount of loan or help from the Government. Now coming to M.I.D.C., I have heard one hon. member has asked about the ownership of the Komorrah Lime Stone Company and so on and so forth. Now regarding ownership, I know very well that Government is trying to find out from among tribals or from among the people of Meghalaya who would like to take up or run these industries. But I am sorry to say that very few have come up so far to start these industries. Of course we should have industries in order to boost up economic production of the State. I am not against bringing other people to start these industries, form outside the State. But I am against bringing people to work in these industries from outside the State. What I mean to say is that labour in these industries should be from our hills. And therefore, our hill people should be trained to run such industries. But I am afraid if there is nobody from our hills to man these industries, then people from outside will have to be brought and then what will happen to our industries I do not know. I am afraid if people are brought to work in these industries from outside, the industries may collapse. Therefore, I would suggest that first of all, before starting any industry, we should try to send our own people from here to get proper training in these particular industries. We have seen in the circular of the Government that the Government will pay half and those companies who would like to start these industries would pay half for running these industries. But the first thing is that we should send some people of our own to get training in this field. Then I come to shifting of capital. On this subject, I would like to speak that shifting of capital by the Government of Assam has had a great repercussion in the town of Shillong. Also, Sir, the Arunachal Pradesh Secretariat is also going to be shifted soon.
Mr. Speaker :- Only Secretariat.
*Prof. Alexander Warjri (Mawkhar Scheduled Tribe) :- No, the whole thing belonging to Arunachal Pradesh is going to be shift. Therefore Sir, with the shifting away of this capital, population also will shifts. This means shifting of population and it will have a repercussion on the Municipal election of the town.
Now we understand that for sometime, the Government was trying to bring about the delimitation of the Wards. But delimitation depends very much on the population is as I understand and, therefore, we will have to wait till the population settled.
Mr. Speaker :- But supposing at that time some other officers will come. Are you in favour of the incoming of other population?
*Prof. Alexander Warjri (Mawkhar S.T) :-What we are interested is that the population is going to be shifted. That is a known fact. We do not know whether others are coming or not. Taking all that, we should try to see to the stability of the population. Municipal Board as it is at present.
Mr. Speaker :- There is no Board at present. You can say the Municipal Administration.
*Prof. Alexander Warjri (Mawkhar S.T) :- I have nothing to say about it.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Edward Kurbah. You have 10 minutes.
Shri Edward Kurbah (Sohiong S. T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while participating in the debate on the Governor' Address, I would like to associate myself with the following points for the information of the House and for the interest of the public. Since there is no time, I would discuss at once the following points :-
Mr. Speaker :- You have 10 very precious minutes if only you know how to utilise them.
Shri Edward Kurbah (Sohiong S. T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, with regard to the P.W.D., I see that the progress of work is very slow. Many roads were budgeted in the past year. But the signs of improvement were very slow e.g., Umbir-Mawmih road, Shillong-Diengpasoh road, Sohiong-Nongspung road and Mawmaram-Nongthliew road. I would, therefore, request the Government, through you, to see that tenders for these roads should be called in order that the work should be implemented speedily.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, now I come to the most important point and that is the land compensation in connection with P.W.D. roads. I am sorry to say that the payment of land compensation is very very slow. The land owners were badly affected by the opening of the P.W.D. road e.g., the diversion of the Mawngap-Mairang road. The people have been crying for payment of land compensation of the roads which have already been opened two or three years back, but uptil now no land compensation has been paid to them by the Government. So is the case with the Mawmaram - Nongthliew - Mawmih road. Though this road has been constructed for 5 years ago, yet no land compensation has been paid and the people are crying for it. When they went to the officers concerned, they were told that land compensation would be paid very soon. But even uptil now, no land compensation has been paid to them. So, Sir, I would request the Government to see that land compensation due to be paid to the land owners should be disposed of as early and as quickly as possible.
Now I come to agriculture, we know that agriculture is the back-bone of our economy because the majority of the people of our State are cultivators. But I would point out that the supply of fertilizers this year was very much short of the requirement and not in time. Secondly, I feel very much for the farmers who work hard in the fields for getting good fruits from their hard labour. When the crops or produces are harvested and when they go to the market, the price of their produce is very low e.g. potatoes. Last year the price of potato was very cheap from the very beginning. Then the price of potato went up only towards the end of the season. Sir, it seems that the Government does not think seriously about the hard labour put in by the people by fixing the price of potato at higher rate.
Now I come to the grants given by the Agriculture Department for lift irrigation, land reclamation, terracing, soil conservation and so on. I see from my past experience in the Block or in the Agriculture Department that people who received the grants from the Government did not utilise them for improvement of the land. But they only want money for themselves. I have already seen some of those who inspected the land for reclamation and improvement, but they did not mind to see that the land is really improved to increase food production. I would like to bring to the notice of this House how these grants are distributed. Some of those who are incharge of distribution of the grants instead of giving the grant to the right person to improve the land, the grant goes to a wrong person e.g., distribution of grants in the Blocks. Some of the staff have mutual understanding with the farmers who want to get the money whereas the land is not improved at all. Sometimes when grants were disbursed to the farmers, the right person did not get the grant as his grant had been already given to some other person. So in this way, the B.D.C. made recommendation and I would suggest to the Government that before making any recommendation for the grant to the farmers, it should be properly examined.
Now, I would like to come to another point and that is with regard to Water Supply. In order that our people may be healthy, good drinking water should be supplied to them. But I feel, Sir, in this connection that most of the people do not get good drinking water especially of the rural areas.
(Mr. Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair)
In Shillong, of course, we have got the Mawlai Water Supply Scheme and others the work of which is going ahead and nearing completion. But in the rural areas we have seen that even the most thickly populated villages were rejected and not thought about. For example, the Mawngap-Mawphlang Water Supply Scheme which I have already reminded the Government again and again right from 1972 up till now. All things in preparation for the said scheme have been completed but up till now there was no sanction of money to be allotted for the scheme. Again, Sir, the Mawngap-Marbisu Water Supply Scheme which the Minister himself had visited. This is also a most thickly populated place where there is great difficulty to get drinking water. Now, the people of this area are crying for drinking water. I am anxiously waiting what the Government will do in this regard and on what ground the scheme has been delayed.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, now I would like to come to Communications especially in the Blocks. Failure to utilise the money in implementing different schemes by the Blocks is there. For example, construction of roads received either through Crash Programme or under the Half a Million Jobs Programme or under the Fourth Plan. Also Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, many of the bridges or roads which were constructed in the past by the Blocks were temporary and are not made permanent and it was also presumed that these roads and bridges could not be constructed because money has been misappropriated. So Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, roads and bridges were only a matter of imagination and name but never a reality.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would therefore request the Government that they should also see with regard to utilisation of money for the development of rural areas. I would also like to point out the defect in the supply of electricity in the rural areas. The supply of electricity in the rural areas has badly affected our people. For example, in the Mawngap-Marbisu village in which I am staying the people have complained every month about the sudden rise in the fee of consumption of electricity. The price has superceded the price which was in existence during the past two years. I used to pay Rs.5 only for one month. But now I have to pay Rs.16 per month.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :- You may have consumed more power.
Shri Edward Kurbah (Sohiong S. T.) :- It will be difficult for the Minister to understand the situation as he never visited this part of the State. Since my time is up, and before I resume my seat, I would like also to remind the Government to extend the supply of electricity upto the following villages e.g., from Sohiong to Weilyngkut and Nongbsap. Thank you.
Shri Nimosh Sangma (Dalu S.T.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion of thanks as moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh. Sir, at the very outset, I would like to thank the Governor for the trouble he has taken to come here and address this House. I welcome the Address he delivered and I am happy that he has clearly laid down what the Government is going to do for an all-round development for the whole State. He has also explicitly pointed out some of the features of developments, plans and programmes of the Government in the different fields, like education, agriculture and others. I hope the Government will take all necessary steps to implement all these plans and programmes in the very near future. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while participating in the debate on the Governor's Address, I would like to deal with only one or two points. First, I would like to come to the border areas adjoining Bangladesh. Here, the Governor has already mentioned that the economy of border areas has been greatly deteriorating day by day since many years. The hon. members will realise that this trend could not be reversed and border economy re-established on a sound footing. Sir, I am glad to learn that the Government is aware of the difficulties of the border people who are living adjoining Bangladesh and in my opinion I, think this is one of the most important tasks for the Government. Development of block areas is one of the most important and urgent tasks of the Government. Soon after the going back of the Bangladesh refugees, the economic conditions of the people living in the border areas are very much deteriorated. As you know, Sir, after the liberation of Bangladesh, the refugees had gone back to their homes and our people who are living in the border areas who left their hearths and homes during the refugee influx have also gone back to their respective homes. But to their utter sorrow when they went back home, they found nothing remains there. Some of the houses have been demolished either by the refugees themselves or by the Mukti Bahini. So Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, whatever these people have, like cows, goats and other domestic animals have been lost. So after going back to their homes it has become a stupendous task for them to rehabilitate themselves there and uptil now they are living in perpetual debt. And I am sorry to note that the actions taken by the Government to develop these areas are root adequate and satisfactory. They continued suspension of trade with Bangladesh has further aggravated the situation as well as the economic conditions of the people of the border areas. The economic prosperity of these areas is traditionally associated with Bangladesh. So Sir, through you, I would like to request the Government to take up necessary steps to revive and reopen the trade with Bangladesh. Over and above all these, another thing which is a heavy blow to the economic condition of the people is the non-payment of compensation to the border people for destruction of crops and other things belonging to the people of these areas and also due to non-payments of bills for the construction of refugees' sheds in spite of the assurances given by the Government. However, I am very happy that the Government has realised all these things and on realising the difficulties of the people, the Government has set up a separate Department, exclusively to deal with the problem of the border areas. And I do hope that with the creation of this new Department the Government will be able to render valuable service to the people in re-establishing the economy of the border areas.
Secondly, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to come to the development of Tura Town. As the hon. Member from Tura constituency has already pointed out, the development of Tura Town is a very very important matter and the Government should have taken early action in order to fulfill the aspirations and feelings of the people. As we all know Tura is the headquarter town of Garo Hills District and it is the important town especially for the Garos. But now I feel that the Government is neglecting to develop this town. Uptil nothing has been done for its development and improvement. Tura town of today is what it was before 1969. It has become now a neglected town. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I could not also see in the Governor's Address any mention made about the development of Tura Town this year also. It is really very much disappointing to note. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this regard, I would like also to mention the assurances and promises given by the Government, in 1973, and that there was a proposal to construct a one hundred bedded Hospital at Tura but that work has not been started uptil now and the same is the case with other projects and schemes which the Government has promised to do. (Bell rang) .... As the time is very short, with these few observations, I resume my seat. Thank you.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh (Pariong S.T.) :- The Address of the Governor that has been placed before the House is in fact the categorical statement of what the Government had brought also in the last year. But Sir, the categorical statement of the Governor in fact is only on paper but in the field there is nothing in reality. Speaking right from what you have seen regarding the law and order situation, no doubt there is no rioting or big demonstration here in this State but practically the law and order position in the State is not as we expected. If you look at the agricultural development, as promised by the Government last year, or for that matter the industrial development and so on, you will find that everything is on paper. Ours is a new State although we have spent three years and now we are on the threshold of the Fifth Five-Year Plan. We expected that the aspirations of the people will be fulfilled. We were told that the Government was new. We have seen in the last year's Budget Speech that the Government promised to set up machinery for the general administration, social development of the State etc. I do not want to blame the Government. But Sir, I would like to refer here that the Governor's Address so far as the economic policy statement is concerned, does not give us any light as to how the Government will bring about the economic stability of the State in the next Five-Year Plan. Sir, no doubt there is no comparison of our State with the rest of the country. We are economically better regarding rise in prices and other day to day necessaries of life. But apart from this, the economic condition of the people in other respect is very very bad. There is no economic statement at all which really is attractive to us in conformity with the aspirations of the people. Rather we have seen that sales-tax will be imposed which will very very badly affect our economic life in the future. I think the Government could have realised taxes in other ways without affecting the economy of the State. Another thing, Sir, regarding the development approach in the Fifth Five-Year Plan. We have seen that they have stated only thirteen crores of rupees will be spent next year. Government should have stated here in their approach to the Fifth Five -Year Plan as to what will be the economic programme, development programmes and others. There is nothing as such rather at page 2, Sir, of the Speech we have seen that out of Rs.38 crore only Rs.37.44 will be spent. It has been stated regarding road condition here in the State that 13 kms. of roads per 10 sq. kms have been developed. But, Sir, as the hon. Member has already stated, Mawthengkut which comprises about 2,000 sq. miles there we have achieved only 3 miles per 100 sq. miles. We have during the Fourth Five-Year Plan wanted to take up as many as 13/14 roads; feeder roads, link roads for Nongstoin Subdivision. But the money that was provided was spent by the Government, I want to know, whether it was spent properly or not. Out of 13/14 roads only 2 roads had come up i.e., one from Mawshynrut-Nongshram and another from Mawshynrut-Hahim in the Nongstoin Subdivision. So Sir, I agree with the hon. member from Sohiong that the money was misused. Apart from this Sir, I do not see any scope in the Address to meet the aspirations of our people for the next five years. Coming to Agriculture, we have seen that there is little scope for wet paddy cultivation in this State that is in the river valleys apart from those who are doing cultivation of potatoes and other horticulture. Sir, we do not see anything for improvement right from the border of Cachar District upto Goalpara. Even in the table and where people have been cultivating for centuries together but none of those river valleys have been irrigated.
You cannot find even a single minor irrigation in the District of Khasi Hills. In the slopes of these hills we have seen rich forests and now they have become bare. We have heard about the jhumming statement here (laughter) and it seems that jhumming is increasing. We have heard that since last year the Government is going to re-group villages and the people are willing and Mr. Mawsor has also stated that the people are willing. We have heard many pronouncement on the control of jhumming but the years have gone by and nothing was done. So Sir, there is no prospect at all and I do not see any prospect of agricultural development.
Sir, we know that industries are very important and we are thinking that our industries have a good prospect because of the natural resources which are available. We know that more lands will be taken in the Byrnihat area for establishment of an industrial estate but what is the approach of the Government in this industrial development? They do not say whether it will be in private sector or in the public sector. So, we do not see any approach or any outline that this industrial development will be done either in the public sector or in the private sector. I am afraid if this is brought under the private sector the whole of Byrnihat will be covered by the outsider industrialists.
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
Regarding the cement factory, we know that it has been taken over from the Assam Government. We also know that the management of this cement company is being manned by the people from outside. But considering the fact that these people from outside are controlling this company we just cannot imagine why almost everyday there is break-down of the machineries. Sir, it is our experience when we approach the Deputy Commissioner for cement permits and we are often told that there is no supply but if we go to Barabazar or Iewmawlong we find cement sold at much higher rates. So, Sir, we suspect that these people who are controlling the cement factory, supply cement only to the black marketers.
Mr. Speaker :- Do you mean to say that the black-marketers on with the people running the factory?
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- May be so, Sir. These people in the control of the company may also stop the machines or make it 'katcha' when the stock of the black-marketers are full and again make the machine running when the stock have been sold out and on the other hand they will ask the Government to bring in some experts from other parts of the country. It is a double game and again to them I will give one example. The Assam Government I think paid 3 or 4 lakhs of rupees to the outsider - advisers. So, Sir, what are the rates that the Meghalaya Government is paying for repair of the machines ten times they said. Therefore, Sir, we suspect that there is a policy to bring in more outsiders into the cement factory. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the time allotted to me is very short and I do not like to take much time but there is no clear indication as to what kinds of industries and also how many industries will be set up at Byrnihat. If we are going to set up the timber industry, paper pulp industry, etc., the resources are there all over the State. Why can't the Government establish some factories at Jowai for the benefit of the people in that area and also another industry at Nongstoin. (Bell rang) Now, Sir, I come to another point which I have always raised in this House and that is on the question of the bored boundary. Mr. Speaker, whenever I speak about this insecurity in the border areas due to border dispute or relations of our people with the people of Assam State, the hon. Members used to laugh and the Government always have repeated that there is no trouble in the border but we know that right from 1972-73, there had been violation and that the intruders had come from the Kamrup or Goalpara districts to the Khasi Hills district. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I welcome the speeches of the other hon. Members. It is rather a pity that two M.L.As, have been chased away by the Assam Police in Mawdiangsnam area. We have always been aware of these but now we are more aware since two M.L.As have been chased by the Assam Police not because of anything but because of suspicion of certain things pertaining to the border dispute and not only of the demand that the area is contiguous and should be tagged to our State but because there is a border dispute. Thousands of refugees have been brought there in Garo Hills. Where is our police force to help our people Sir,? (Bell rang) . Government is not aware of these things but always say there are no documents.
Mr. Speaker :- This subject has been discussed again and again and the Chief Minister has not replied yet.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- I want to know why we have never heard that Government has ever taken up this case with the Government of Assam and why the Chief Minister has not yet raised this question. We have not heard that the Government has taken up this matter with the Government of India, but of course we expect to hear about in the reply of the Chief Minister.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Samarendra Sangma. You have 10 minutes.
Samarendra Sangma (Salmanpara S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address. In the Governor's Address.
Mr. Speaker :- Will you please speak louder as there is a power failure?
Samarendra Sangma (Salmanpara S.T.) :- In the Governor's Address, we have a clear picture how our Government is trying to develop this backward State of ours. Firs of all, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to speak something about the Border Schemes for the border development of our State. Regarding the economic difficulties of our border people, our Government is trying its level best to help the border people of our State and to raise their economic condition. Mr. Speaker, Sir, during 1972-73, for this programme, there was a provision of Rs.5.00 lakhs and during 1973-74 it was Rs.18.00 lakhs and for 1974-75 there is a provision of Rs.50.00 lakhs. This shows that there is an increasing allocation of provision. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, what disturbs me as being a Member of the border area Constituencies is that though there is an increasing allocation for the economic development of the border areas, actually we do not see any visible improvement there. This year 1973-74, the provision is Rs.18.00 lakhs, but up till now nothing is done in the border areas practically. The Members of the border areas are quite in the dark as to the schemes or plans that Government is going to take up for the economic improvement of the border people.
Mr. Speaker :- I do not understand your speech, this remark nothing, nothing do you mean that Government has done nothing at all?
Samarendra Sangma (Salmanpara S.T.) :- Sir, what I am trying to say and stress is that improvement is not visible.
Recently I came to know that there are some schemes under the Veterinary Department in some sectors in the border areas and there is a scheme for pig rearing and all these schemes are meant for the border areas from Dalu to Moheshkhola. This pig rearing scheme is going to be taken up, but I heard that these schemes are consolidated only with two or three villages while we thought that we are rendering help to the entire border areas. This will certainly bring an unhappy trend in the border areas. Another thing, Mr. Speaker, Sir, is that there are some goat rearing schemes from Dalu and other sectors, but so far I know, up till now nothing is done as yet and this financial year will end within 6 to 7 days. I do not understand how our Government is going to utilise this amount within this very short period. Is it the way how we are trying to develop the hard hit border people?
Next, I want to speak something about employment. Particularly I like to hear about the crash programme which is being taken up in the Blocks with the intention of providing some employment to the rural population. Actually I was touching this crash programme during the last two years also but the condition is the same. The very idea, as far as I know of the crash programme in the block to provide employment to at least 100 persons in the rural area throughout the whole year and they will get a lump-sum amount of Rs.100 each per month so that the villagers will be able to maintain and engage themselves for the whole year. We have in the Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills Districts so many Blocks and if we properly and timely implement the crash programme, we will be able to provide employment at least to 100 in each Block, thus we will be able to save hundreds of persons and get employment for them in the rural areas. But actually, I find that only for 2 or 2½ months they are being employed in the Blocks. I do not know what are the reasons, what are the insurmountable difficulties as the entire amount is being borne by the Central Government. Are we not in a position to see that the schemes are being taken up for the whole year in time and properly so that the villagers are engaged and given scope for maintenance for the whole year. I request the Government to see and pay special attention to this matter so that it will help our rural people to the desired extent, at least not less than 4 thousand rural people will be benefited, if we implement the schemes properly.
Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to speak something about communication. It is very gratifying to note that our Government is giving top-most priority on communication and I think it is also the policy of the Government to complete first of all road construction which was undertaken for the last three years. I mean the incomplete ones. I am surprised to see that the road from Ampathi to Porokhasia via Salmanpara has not been completed. It is also disheartening to note that many culverts on the said road are still incomplete even though construction is going for the last three years. I think due attention is not being paid to complete this road. In my area this is the only road by which people used to market their produces, agricultural produces. At one end of this road there is a Porakhasi market and in the middle there is Ampathi market but people find it difficult to carry their products because the road is yet not completed. There is no regular flow of agricultural produces to these markets along this road as the road is not completed. The poor people are facing a lot of troubles all the time. Therefore, I would request the Government to see that this road is completed soon so that people can bring their agricultural produces along this road to the markets. (Bell rang) The gap of 10 k.m. from Chapagiri to Porokhasia on the said road is still remaining (bell rang) incomplete. I requests the Government for due action.
Sir, one minute more.
Mr. Speaker :- No, I have given already you one minute.
Samarendra Sangma (Salmanpara S.T.) :- Then with these few words Sir, I thank you.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Maham Singh.
*Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the amendment moved by the hon. Member from Nongtalang regretting that the Governor's Address makes no reference to food problem and economic development of our State. We know the performance of the Government with regard to separation of the judiciary, election to the Municipality, flood control, supply of power, supply of mineral produces to Bangladesh, procurement of food-grains and regrouping of villages in Garo Hills. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this connection, I wish to say that there have been serious lapses on the part of the Government and it seems that the Government also have forgotten the promises they have made to the people. It seems that the Government also have forgotten the various plans and schemes that they have undertaken to bring about rapid development in the State of Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, every time we have been reading the Addresses of the Governor to the House right from 1970 onwards when we got our autonomous State. The Government have made many promises and have chalked out plans and programmes for implementing certain schemes and works for the benefit of our people. But Sir, as one of the hon. member who has just spoken before me has said that Government has done nothing in respect of the schemes because the very same people have been administering this State of ours. Even in respect of regrouping of villages in Garo Hills, the Government has not done anything up till now. But we have seen schemes have been initiated only on paper and there are also very important projects which the Government has not taken up at all. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we therefore find that the Government has not done anything to implement these schemes which have been shown in the Governor's Address. But we continue to have this Governor's Address without implementing these schemes.
I also want to say that we are very much surprised to see that Municipal election has not been held up till now. We are also surprised to know Mr. Speaker, Sir, that some of the Members have said that municipal administration is running in a much better manner than when the Board was there. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it so happens that one of the Members from Jaiaw was the Chairman of this Board for many years. He was himself in that body for many years ........
*Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of clarification. When I was Chairman of the Municipal Board at that time the Board was under Assam.
Shri Maham Singh :- In other words, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to say that Assam Administration was more democratic than ours because what happened, the Government of Assam had held Municipal elections and that also with the representatives of the people. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is all the more surprising to find that our Government has not held any Municipal election up till now whereas we are all elected to this House by the people as their representatives and we cannot deny the right of our people to elect their representatives in all the local bodies. So Sir, should we not take the people into confidence? Are not they also the citizens of Shillong? Should we say that because Municipality is running very effectively under the Chief Executive Officer, therefore, we should deny the election rights of our people or should we deny all democratic rights that are obtaining in all these local bodies? Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would submit that we are wedded to democracy, to run the administration of our country according to democratic principles, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have been pressing the Government that even the Sub divisional Development Board or Block Development Committee should be manned or run by the representatives of the people and not to be nominated by the Government. We continue to press for all these things because we want that people should participate in all development aspects of the State. One member has mentioned about the Civil Welfare Association and I would submit that it is not a legally recognised body or association.
Mr. Speaker :- I want to know from you what do you mean by legally recognised?
*Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- Under the Constitution, Sir, it is not a legally recognised body.
*Mr. Speaker :- You mean to say that it is not a constitutionally constituted body?
*Shri Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not a constitutionally constituted body and cannot enforce its decision on the people.
*Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah (Jaiaw) :- May I intervene Mr. Speaker, Sir,?
Mr. Speaker :- No. No Association can enforce its decision on others but they have their right to give their opinion.
*Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah :- Since I am very closely associated with this Civic Welfare Association, I may inform the House that this Association is a body comprising of headmen of all localities of Shillong and it is a representative body.
Mr. Speaker :- That is not the point. The Leader of the Opposition has said that it is not legally recognised. Perhaps what he wants to say that it is not recognised by the Government according to the law, according to the Constitution.
*Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- According to the Constitution or according to the Municipal Act.
Mr. Speaker :- It is a private organisation.
*Shri Maham Singh :- It is just a welfare organisation, Mr. Speaker, Sir. In this connection, one reason has been given by one of the hon. Members that this is a body, that is, the Civic Welfare Citizens Association. Another reason that has been given by the same hon. Member is that the elections cannot be held at present because there is a heavy out-going of the citizens from Shillong. Many have migrated away to Gauhati. I would submit, Sir, that this reason is also untenable and cannot be accepted. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member had referred to Assam. But I would submit what is the case here? What actually is being done by the Government of Assam is that they had held the elections in the metropolitan city of Gauhati in spite of the fact that there had been heavy influx of population into Gauhati.
Mr. Speaker :- But Dispur is outside the Gauhati Corporation.
*Shri Maham Singh :- But then all those people who have gone there have not settled only at Dispur. Mr. Speaker, Sir, they had settled all over Gauhati. I would submit that they did not wait until their names had been incorporated in the electoral rolls, but they had held the elections. I would submit further Mr. Speaker, Sir, that in a particular capital of the State, there is no stability of population. There cannot be stability of population. If we continue to give reasons of this nature, then in that case we will not have any Municipal Elections. It is high time to say goodbye to these Municipal Elections and subordinate bodies. Another reason is that the Central offices are coming to Shillong. With the coming of the Central offices, there are so many people that are coming up to Shillong. The electoral roll will again be recast. In this way it will continue. I would submit that these reasons are also not tenable whatsoever. Another reason that had been given is that the delimitation of the Constituencies had not been completed. I would submit that this also is a serious lapse on the part of the Government. They have not implemented many plans and schemes. They have failed even to implement the delimitation of the Constituencies in the Municipality for more than a year. In 1972 they had made a promise that the Constituencies of the Municipality will be delimitated. Two years, nothing has been done, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Now I would submit that this is a very serious matter. I do not know when the Government will wake up from their slumber. You may recall, in spite of the fact that there has been very disturbing circumstance before the elections were held in 1972 when the political condition was of such a nature that it was very very disturbing, the elections has been held in February and March, 1972 within a brief period of 3 months. I fail to understand how our Government has failed to take up this petty matter within a period of two years.
Mr. Speaker :- I do not think it is a petty matter when the whole House is seized of the whole problem. It appears to be a big problem.
Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- The House is seized of the matter on account of the failings of the Government, it would not have come up before the House. The Board would have been functioning by this time. But at least it has come up as a big problem of the year because we find that the Government is incapable to carry out its own duties. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, at present because the Municipality is functioning smoothly under the Chief Executive Officer and, therefore, to say let us not disturb, is not a correct thing to do, and to say let us not have any Board. While we would like to have a categorical statement from the Government whether they want to preserve and strengthen all these democratic institutions or to destroy them. Whether they want that all levels the administration should be run under democratic principle or we should do away with all these representatives of the people. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is also another matter which I would refer over here that in other respects, we find that the Government has adopted a novel practice in which the Government officers had participated in the party meetings of the Ruling Party. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this connection, I would submit that the officers have also attended party meetings of the Ruling Party. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would submit in this connection that the same privileges also should be meted out to us.
*Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I would not accept such general remarks unless specific case is made available to the Government.
*Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- Specifically, yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I have got an information that even high officials have been called to the meeting of the A.P.H.L.C. Party.
*Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I explain that it is the democratic principle and practice that myself also while I was in the Congress Cabinet as its Member, I attended its Party's meeting and discussed certain important matters in that meeting. It is a parliamentary practice everywhere in India that officials of the Government were being asked to assist their Ministers and give information on various issues.
*Mr. Speaker :- From what has been stated now, it appears that officers might have been called by the Ministers to attend to some important matters and they were not as if they were attending party's meeting.
*Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- But this is a parliamentary practice, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Whenever the Minister is to give reply to any query relating to a particular department officers are also called to assist and discuss about the information that a Minister should give in course of his reply.
*Shri Stanlington D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Can we also have the same privileges.
*Shri Maham Singh :- Can we also have the same practice and enjoy the same privilege as enjoyed by them?
*Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- The Leader of the Opposition has succeeded me. He may recall that in the Assam Government when there was any discussion in a particular Committee even Officers are being called.
*Shri Stanlington D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- Can we have the same benefit of officials of the Government attending our party meeting?
*Mr. Speaker :- I think this matter cannot be discussed here because any officer can participate in the deliberations of any party outside the House. But inside the precincts of the House each and every officer is expected to assist their Ministers, they are not expected to give their assistance to somebody else except to their Ministers.
*Shri Stanlington D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) :- In the party room?
*Mr. Speaker :- There is no party room inside the precincts of the House but there are Parliamentary Party rooms.
*Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has been stated just now by the Hon'ble Chief Minister that I have succeeded him, I may inform the House that I have never asked nor called any officer inside my parliamentary room.
But as suggested by the hon. member from Mawlai that if such privileges and benefits be given to the Ruling Party, we may also be given the same rights and benefits.
Mr. Speaker :- Well you may have the same privileges when the time for you comes.
Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I may submit that with regard to the Municipal Election if the Government are actually keen towards development of our own State according to the democratic principles, I would submit that they should hold the election to the Shillong Municipality as soon as possible. I am also happy to see that Shillong Municipal Election has found a place now in the Governor's Address. But in the other Addresses of the previous occasions, Shillong Municipality was completely left aside, despite the fact that misappropriation of money was rampant. There are time also that this Municipality was run by the representatives of the people, by the Ward Commissioners who were very efficient indeed. Therefore, I feel that holding of an election does not depend only upon the necessity of having able and efficient administrators. We have many from our own people whom we can elect as our representatives.
Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will come to another matter which has been a subject of grave concern to all of us and which has received the attention of the Government from the very beginning and on which the future of our State would depend. Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is with regard to the University, i.e., the North Eastern Hill University. As far back in 1970 this University should have started functioning but because of certain difficulties this University could not function properly and for that reason our youths are suffering from a great disadvantage in matters of studies of various branches of learning. This has been the case with all the States that do not have a University of their own. Fortunately at present the NEHU is functioning but in a very cramped and small residential house at Jaiaw. I would submit, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that up till now the site has not been located since it came into existence in 1970 up till today in 1974, Mr. Speaker, Sir, they have not been able to find out a suitable site.
*Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Proposals were there since 1970 or earlier than that. As far the site for this University is concerned, the site has been located and it is very incorrect to say that we have not been able to find out a site.
*Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- By 'Site' I mean a plot of land in which the University is to be located. So far as the site is concerned, I think there has not been any mentioned about a plot of land. Land has not been acquired. Of course, we know that it will be located at Shillong and we know that it will be located in Meghalaya but in which particular place nothing is known to us.
Mr. Speaker :- Shillong will be the location.
*Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- but in which plot of and it will be located? I feel, Sir, that in this connection many people are interested in having the building for the University, they are interested in getting compensation for the land and that is why a suitable plot has not been able to be acquired.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- You may donate your plot!
*Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- Of course, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am ready to donate any plot of land if only I have enough land to accommodate the University.
I have not completed half an hour, Mr. Speaker, Sir, So I would submit only one thing that the Government is asking me why I could not donate lands for the Hill University. Sir, the Government has got plenty of lands, the Forest Colony is a very suitable plot for the establishment of the Hill University's buildings', the Government has many other lands where they allow other people to encroach. The Chief Minister informed the House that a site for the University has been selected and let us wait for him to disclose. I hope, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that it will not be at a heavy cost of Rs.80 lakhs and I hope that the Government itself which has got plenty of land, like the Forest Colony within two miles from here will be able spare it for the University because that land is very suitable for the University. Besides this plot of land, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are other Government lands in Upper Shillong and other places which can be utilised or given to the University. As a matter of fact the Government has given lands to the Military and the B.S.F. and, as such, I do not see any reason why they should fail to give land to the Hill University which is very important and necessary for the State of ours. (Bell rang) Mr. Speaker, Sir, there has been a lot of intervention and I may be given two minutes more. I want to touch another important matter in respect of industries.
Regarding industries, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would submit that there was no policy laid down by the Government for the industrial development of the State. No policy has been envisaged in the Governor's Address with regard to Industries. What industries will be taken up by the Government, what industries will be given to the local people, what type of industries, what industries should be given to the private sector. All these things, have not been envisaged in the Governor's Address. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would submit that if we want to solve the unemployment problem of our youth, we should not depend on this office or that office coming to Shillong but for the development of our State economically as well as for solution of the unemployment problem what is most required is the building up of industries. Many major industries can be taken up by the Government itself. Two cement plants can be constructed by the Government at Jowai and other places. Then again, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has been mentioned in the Governor's Address that there has been an invitation of foreign people, that is entrepreneurs, to set up industries in the State of ours. Of course I do not object to people who have got collaboration for private sector industries but there is one thing which I would like to give a note of caution that we should be very careful in dealing with then so-called industrialists. I have got experience, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that these people have come here not for the welfare of our people or to build our State but many of them are concerned with getting loans from the Government. As a matter of fact, I have got a personal experience with regard to this matter and I would submit that in dealing with this most important matter let us not be mis-guided.
Shri Pritington Sangma (Kharkutta, S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while supporting the Motion of Thanks to the Governor's Address moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh, I want to make a few observations. Sir, I understand that our Government I fully aware of the importance of agriculture because we consider agriculture as the main backbone of our economy. I am very glad, Sir, to note that our Government is coming forward with various schemes to bring about the development in our newly born State and to help our poor cultivators. Sir, we are all aware of the fact that though we are politically free today in the sense that we have achieved the full-Statehood of our own yet we are economically dependent, we are to depend on our sister States like Assam and West Bengal and other States for our food supply. The reason is that our agriculture is yet to be developed to a great extent. Sir, we know that there is a scope for the development of agriculture. There are waste lands as many of the hon. Members has pointed out in the Bhoi Areas, waste lands and low lying lands are also plenty in Garo Hills. These lands can be brought under cultivation if schemes are properly implemented. Sir, in this connection I would lie to mention one thing that our Government instead of going to bring the low lying lands under cultivation, they are going to the hill tops for terracing of the hill tops, they are not going for the low lying lands or waste lands. I have seen on the road side, the Soil Conservation Department has done terracing on the hill tops and does not try to bring under cultivation the waste lands or the low lying lands. I think it would be advisable for the Soil Conservation Department and Agriculture Department to make the waste lands cultivable first and after finishing all these plots of low lying lands and waste lands we can very easily to go to the hill tops for terracing. I do not understand why the Departments concerned go to the hill tops first, I leave it to the guess of anybody. Sir, I again want to bring to the notice of this august House one thing regarding the proposed bund construction at Dilma in Garo Hills which is to be constructed long before during the Provisional Government. Our hon. Member, the then Agriculture Minister paid a visit to that area and had made promises for the construction of this bund. Again last year also our present Minister paid a visit and made promises to the people. Now what happened to the Agriculture Department is that they could not take up the scheme. They have prepared the scheme and after that it went to the SFDA first then the scheme came back to the Agriculture Department and then now to the Embankment and Drainage Department. I do not know what is the reason for such sending of scheme this way that way in a zigzag way; nobody is sure as to who would implement the scheme.
Of course, any way, I would appeal to the Government, either the SFDA or Agriculture Department to implement the scheme and thus redress grievances of the people as soon as possible.
Now one thing about electricity. We generally used electricity for beautification of our houses and towns and also for industries. But here I would like to point out rather, I would suggest the Government that it would do well if the electricity is used in the field also. If we extend electricity to the field for the construction of lift irrigation then we can utilise the waste lands where irrigation is not possible. In this way we shall be able to improve agriculture in our State. I am glad that the Governor in his Address made a mention about SFDA. Although this Department is working in Garo Hills but I am sorry to say that this Department is yet to show its activities. Practically at present it is doing nothing for helping the people. So I would like to appeal to the Government to come forward to implement various schemes under this Department so that it will go a long way to help our poor cultivators.
Coming to Industries, Sir, I would like to congratulate the Government for bringing forward many good schemes in order to bring about industrial development in our State. I may make a mention about the Industrial Estate to be set up at Mendipathar. But I am sorry to say that there are many who are willing to open industries like shoe, shop, plastic, etc., making in this Industrial Estate, they do not have the managerial skill nor technical know-how. Therefore, I feel it would be good if the Government opens some sort of training institute attached to this Industrial Estate.
Coming to Garo refugees, I do not see any reason why these refugees should come to Garo Hills. They are the citizens of our own country; they are not Pakistanis. They are Indian citizens why they should come. They are coming because the Assam Government is trying to suppress their legitimate rights. Why Assam Government is preparing bunkers, trenches along the border and the people are feeling insecure and streaming into Garo Hills; Therefore I would appeal to the Government to make arrangement for their honourable return to their hearths and homes. Thank you, Sir.
Shri Onward Leyswell Nongtdu (Sutnga, S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Members raised the issue of land reforms. I think the Government rightly deserves congratulation, because in the Governor's Address there is a mention about the constitution of Land Reforms Commission. So Sir, this is the need of the day. Everywhere in India land reforms has been taken up. So I feel this it is very necessary for our State also to have a Commission to study the system of land tenures. But while speaking about the land reforms I feel that in order to be economically viable it is proper to have another Commission, like Agrarian Reforms Commission so that the poor cultivator who may get a plot of his own for the first time as a result of the land reform, will be benefited economically. The Government has also done well by constituting a Board of Secondary Education. Since it is aware of the fact that the standard of education in the State is deteriorating. That is why this Board was established. It is also gratifying to note that the Government have arranged to place the services of the Sub-Inspectors of Schools at the disposal of the District Councils. This will facilitate proper supervision of schools under District Councils. I feel that so many Commissions have been set up in our country for the studying and making suggestions to improve the standard of education of the High Schools, it is also the need of the day to constitute such Commissions to study the system of education at the lower primary stage. We cannot expect that the standard of education can only be improved at higher level. So Sir, I feel that it is better if a Board for Primary School Education is constituted to give guidance to and also conduct examinations for the primary schools throughout the State without affecting the control and management of the State. Sir, I feel that the Government also deserves congratulation because there is a mention in the Governor's Address about the project for improving the breed of cattle. It will also be better if the Government will see that good fodders are grown by the farmers for their cattle. Planting of good fodder may be taken up in the State so that the cattle breeders can see for themselves how to grow fodder and how to feed their cattle, because as it is at present there is little space left for the graziers to let their cattle loose and feed in the open fields. So, Sir, growing of fodder or man-made fodder is very necessary to give food to the cattle and also for the benefit the cattle breeders by producing more and more good breeds of cattle.
I also feel that the Government deserves congratulations because there is a mention about the establishment of new industries in the State such as the clinker-cum-cement factory and the thermal power station in Garo hills and also the Timber treatment plant which is coming up at Darrenggiri in the Garo Hills. These are the few factories which the Government proposes to set up during the coming 5th Plan. With these few words, and before I resume my seat, I support the motion of thanks as moved by the hon. member from Nongpoh.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Jackman Marak.
Mr. Jackman Marak (Chokpot, S.T.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion of thanks moved by the hon. Member from Nongpoh, while going through the Governor's Address I find it to be a clear statement of the activities and achievements of the Government. However I have not been able to find one important problem, i.e., rice position. It is our great responsibility to solve this problem. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to mention this in this august House for the benefit of the people in the border areas. I think all the hon. Members have come to know what is happening in the border areas; the people are falling on the verge of starvation and I have presently visited some bazars of the border areas before coming to Shillong. I required about the present price of rice and I was told it was Rs.2.50 per Kg. and the price of paddy at Rs.50 per maund. This is terrible and horrible problem to the border people who are living there.
Mr. Speaker :- What you mean to say is that whereas the cultivators are selling paddy at the rate of Rs.50 per maund, they are purchasing rice at Rs.2.50 per Kg.
Shri Jackman Marak (Chokpot, S.T.) :- Yes, sue to the current belief that famine is going to take place this year. So speculation and hoarding is going to take place unless the Government considers the rice position. So, Sir, the Government should take effective measures immediately so that the people of the border area may not face starvation. Another thing, Sir, is that I would humbly request the Government, through you, that while allotment of rice quota is being sent to Garo Hills, proper distribution should be make to the respective fair price shop centres. Sometimes, such distribution of rice is going somewhere else and we do not know this but this is known to the officers concerned. So, the Supply Officers in the Garo Hills should be active while receiving the quota of rice.
Another thing which I am concerned about is the road communication. The Shillong-Tura Road via Nongstirgang and Rongjeng should be improved sand made a motorable road. It is not possible to go to Tura by this present road as it is not safe. I was coming by taxi and I was afraid to come out of the car because some of them told me not to come out of the car.
Mr. Speaker :- Are you afraid of being arrested. I am ready to give you protection.
Shri Jackman Marak (Chokpot, S.T.) :- If I am arrested then they may give me some blows.
Sir, another road is the Dalu-Baghmara Road.
Sir, before black-topping is done of this road, it should be done well first. I want to point out here that the whole length up to the 21st mile of this road before reaching Sibbari, is very zig-zag and full of curves. I suggest that this should be diverted. This is my suggestion. Ministers are always going to Baghmara, so they must have seen it also. Another road is the Chokpot-Sibbari-Siju road. This is a very very important road. So I request the Government, through you, Sir (bell rang) that construction of this road should be started. It is not only for the benefit of the villagers but from the security point of view also. In future, there may be troubles, and at that time, there is no alternative road except this.
Mr. Speaker :- May I point out to the hon. Members that we are living in the same country and we never expect that such kind of troubles will ever happen. Let us hope that whatever misunderstanding and sad occurrence that have taken place will be solved at Government level and let us wish that things will be better.
Shri Jackman Marak :- Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Your time is up. I cannot be partial to you.
The House stands adjourned till 3 p.m. today.
(The House reassemble at 3 p.m. after tea break with the Speaker in the Chair)
Mr. Speaker :- Now, I will call upon the Chief Minister to reply to the debate on the Governor's Address.
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am indeed very grateful to the hon. Members who have participated in the discussion on the Governor's Address and raised their points. Because it gives an opportunity to the Government to make observations and at the same time to clarify the Government's stand on various issues. I find that as many as 31 hon. Members have participated in the debate on the Governor's Address, of which 17 belong to the Ruling Party and 14 belong to the different opposition groups.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as an individual, I am a little bit disappointed when I heard observations made by some hon. Members that the Government have not dealt with the various issues in the way they should have done. The Governor's Address contains two parts. In the first part it deals with a brief review of the past and also the law and order situation as well as the various activities of the Government. Secondly, it gives a broad indication as to how the Government would like to proceed with regard to the development of the State as a whole. It also dwells upon certain basic and important policies of the Government. On an occasion like this when the hon. Members have the full opportunity to know about the Government's thinking with regard to its functioning in the past and also of the policies to be followed in future, I had expected the hon. Members to be more elaborate with regard to finances and funds of the Government. They should have come forward with more concrete suggestions as to how the Government could have avoided over-spending so that allocations could be made appropriately in future for future planning and developmental programmes, etc. The hon. Members should come, while criticising the Government, with concrete suggestions as to how the State could serve more effectively in the field of development. I have gone through all the points raised by the hon. Members but it appears to me, as usual, that they are more interested on certain issues that immediately affect their own constituencies. They have not been able to give a concrete picture of the problems of the State as a whole. I want to say that the hon. Members should have not taken this opportunity to place the problems of their own constituencies only or those difficulties they were confronted with in the past. I would say Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are other occasions when those problems can be dealt with in detail. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am standing here today as the Leader of the House; in other words, as the head of the Government. I am also as eager as anybody else to serve the State in the best possible way. Whether I am on this side or that side, it is my primary duty to have a full knowledge of the State as a whole and to chalk out plans and programmes to serve the people and the State as a whole. We have got our own problems, the problems which are peculiar to the State of Meghalaya. There are some problems which are also the problems of the country as a whole and as such, it was my sincere expectation that the hon. members would help the Government to note these problems as far as practicable. Sir, I am sure it is not only by mere criticism that the Government can be made more effective. Criticism is no doubt welcome but at the same time, when you criticise any particular approach of the Government or deal with a particular situation, the hon. Members both from my side and that side should be in a position to say with conviction as to how that particular situation or problem should have been tackled. Before I make a reference to the observations made by the hon. Members, I would like to cite an instance as an example. There was a general criticism about the programme of the Government for grouping of villages, especially in Garo Hills. It was criticised that this particular programme had been mentioned in the earlier Governor's Address but nothing tangible has been done in that respect, I agree on one fact that the Government has realised the evil effect of jhum cultivation. At the same time, the Government was also seized of the problem of sparsely populated small villages throughout the State and more particularly in Garo Hills. If you, Sir, are good enough to go through the speeches of the Governor in the past years, you will find that we had not made any statement that we have made progress in this particular programme. In fact, it is a hard job to convince the Government of India to realise the gravity of this problem. Recently I had the occasion to discuss with the Planning Commission with regard to plans and allocations of funds for the first year of the 5th Plan. On the basis of the advice of the Programmes Adviser, the amount is perhaps going to be allotted for this particular programme. But Sir, only an amount of Rs.62,00,000 was earmarked. I therefore, along with my colleague, the Minister of Planning, took great pain to convince the Government of India for the allocation of funds by the Planning Commission in view of the urgency and gravity of this problem. The Union Planning Minister was kind enough to immediately raise made allocation from Rs.62,00,000 to Rs.1,00,00,000 and if we can make progress in the field of development, he assured that additional amount would be made available. In respect of the grouping of villages I will try to give a picture about it to the hon. Members who do not come from Garo Hills where the problem is very acute.
Grouping of villages is an accepted policy of the Government linked up with economic development programme. But we have certain basic difficulties. There are a number of villages which we want to group together along with economic development programme. I would like to inform the Members that we have got more than 300 clan chiefs in Garo Hills. The land is held jointly by the clan. If there is objection from the clan, we find from practical experience in some places that there is no possibility of taking measures for agricultural development. And it is not possible to go in a big way way for agricultural development in the land belonging to some of the clans. So we have to bring those families to the lands belonging to a particular clan, where there is much potentiality for agricultural development. In the first instance, we have to persuade the chiefs and the clan to allow these people to come and settle down there. Therefore, it is not an easy task. Therefore, when we criticise about it, the social and cultural background of the people should be understood properly. Whatever it is, we have never stated that appreciable progress has been made in this regard. We stated in the last Governor's Address that the Government of India has agreed in principle to accept this proposal and we are going to start some pilot projects. I may inform the House that we have started in that way. So it may not be possible for the hon. members to appreciate as far as physical achievement is concerned in this regard. But I would request the hon. members to see whether the Government is really serious about these problems and whether a beginning has been made. It has been severely criticised, specially from the friends in the Opposition, that during the last 3 years, nothing has been done and that the same thing has been repeated in the Governor's Address only for the sake of repetition. The hon. member from Cantonment, though I was not present inside the House, had the occasion even to remark that the Governor's Address is a mirror of failures and not of success. Yes, it is a mirror, but I will not agree that it is a mirror which reflects only the failures on the part of the Government. If the hon. Member goes through the Address carefully, he will realise that whatever had been stated in the past Addresses, in those fields, appreciable progress has been made. I would, therefore, in my personal observations, like my friends in the Opposition to think that they are on this side .......
(Prof. M.N. Majaw :- And you here).
If I want to be there, today itself I will be there. What is the role of the Opposition? We do not follow very strictly the British system of parliamentary democracy. But I would expect the hon. members there who would like to snatch away .......
(Shri Maham Singh :- No, we do not want to snatch)
You tried last time. Let us be guided by one question. If I were a king, what should I do? The attitude of the friends in the Opposition should be there. If today I replace Mr. Sangma's Government, in what way should I proceed?
(Shri Maham Singh :- We do not want to be kings. We want to be servants)
For that matter, the Chief Minister is the humblest servant. I consider myself to be not a boss but the humblest servants. I would like my friends there to realise once they come here to consider themselves to be the humblest of servants.
(Prof. M.N. Majaw :- We are already humblest of servants.)
I would like the hon. members to realise as to how we should proceed in the various fields of activities. I am saying this Mr. Speaker, Sir, not because of my displeasure with the criticisms put forward, but in my desire to be more effective in the service of the people whom we represent. Specially in a small State like ours, it is very essential that we must try to help each other and whatever defects you find in the Government machinery, in the Plan programme, in the service of the people of the State you would do well if you come forward with criticisms, point out the defects both in the plan programme and in the Government machinery, which is responsible for execution, and give us concrete and alternative suggestions. But I regret to say that I have not been able to get such suggestions from the hon. Members. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is stated that during the last 3 years, nothing has been done. I would very much like that we make satisfactory progress. But here I would like to request the hon. Members from both sides of the House to appreciate under what circumstances we have been functioning for the last 3 years, (Prof. M.N. Majaw - Very badly), and consider whether it is possible, within a short spell of time, to perform miracles. I may say that India has completed 25 years of Independence and it was expected that lot of improvement should have been visible. Yes, in certain aspects we made quite appreciable progress, but not in many fields. Today we talk about rise in prices. We discuss about a particular problem relating to our State also. We talk about rise in prices in the context of the country as a whole. Therefore, it will be realised that in spite of our best desire and intention, it is not possible always to proceed with that speed as we would desire in trying to bring about all-round development of the State as a whole or in taking a particular problem. I would, therefore, in the first instance, like to request the hon. members to have a patience. If there was negligence on the part of the Government, I would like to point out only criticisms and observation is not going to help the administration. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will deal with certain points raised by the hon. Members. My colleague Mr. Manindra Rava, mentioned about the crime incidence in Garo Hills. There were three cases in the Phulbari Police Station. On 20th January 1974 at about 11 p.m. about 10/15 Dacoits armed with Daggers, etc and disguising themselves by painting their faces black committed dacoity in the house of the complainant Md. Saifur Rahman at Haribhanga. They removed cash and ornaments worth Rs.800 and assaulted inmates of the house. One Badsha Mia who come to rescue the inmates was severely assaulted and he later succumbed to his injuries. Police took up investigation and with the cooperation of Lakhipur Police arrested 8 persons. The case is pending for production of accused persons from Goalpara and Test Identification Parade.
(2) Phulbari Police Station Case No.1111(3) 74 under section 302 Indian Penal Code.
On 8th February 1974 about 11 p.m. Rambot Sangma was found lying dead near village Dakop. The unnatural death case was registered and during enquiry the case turned into murder. During investigation accused Tom Sangma and Bishwanath Sangma who were arrested have judicially confessed their guilt.
(3) Phulbari Case No.18 (2)74 under section 460 302 Indian Penal Cod.
On 24th February 1974 at about 10.30 p.m. unknown culprits committed murder by cutting the neck of Bubad Hussain Pradhani, Goalpara, Gumai Jhora while he was sleeping with his 3rd wife Salima Bibi. So far Salima Bibi, Abdul Ali of South Salmara, first husband of Salima Bibi and Junal Ali Sarkar of South Salmara have been arrested. The accused Salima Bibi has judicially confessed to the crime.
Charge Sheets in cases 2 and 3 mentioned above will be submitted shortly. From the above facts it will be seen that there has been no inaction on the part of the Police.
Regarding Agriculture, the hon. Members from Mawhati has challenged the figures about food production. He asked how the figures of the expected production of foodgrains from 1.17 lakh tonnes in 1969-70 t 1.45 lakhs tonnes by the end of the Fourth Plan is arrived at? He also indicated that this figure included the food imported from elsewhere. The reported production of foodgrains as 1.17 lakh tonnes in 1969-70 is correct. this figure was arrived at on the basis of Statistical Survey taken up by the staff of the Agriculture Department. The figure includes -
The figure of 1.45 lakh tonnes in 1973-74 is the estimated production expected to be achieved by the end of the Fourth Five Year Plan. This figure is estimated on the basis of increased acreage as revealed on the basis of sample survey conducted through World Agricultural Census Scheme. Shri Plansing K. Marak suggested that the number of power tillers should be increased, seeds should be supplied in time and subsidy for land reclamation should be stopped and work should be taken up departmentally. It is not possible for the Government to provide power tillers to all the farmers. So it fact that the farmers themselves may arrange to purchase power tillers either individually or in groups for which institutional finance is available. The Government is taking all the possible steps to ensure timely distribution of seeds. Regarding the point that subsidy for land reclamation should be stopped and the work be taken up departmentally, the Government has already taken up that matter. Then the hon. Member from Selsella Constituency has suggested that steps to increase food production in the State should be taken. In this connection I may inform the hon. member that effort is being made to increase food stuff production in the State, and irrigation is going to be expanded for the purpose as is practicable. It was also complained about not taking up the Flood Control Scheme. In this connection, I must inform the House that the schemes for Jigabari and other areas has been taken up by the Assam Government and all plan and estimates are still lying with them and it takes a number of years to get the plan estimates from the Government of Assam and now we have prepare fresh estimates and steps have been taken for this purpose. The hon. Member from Mawlai constituency wanted to know about the irrigation programme of the current year. The Irrigation Programme of the current year are -
A. - FLOW IRRIGATION
(a) Survey work -
1. Tyrso Valley Irrigation Scheme in Khasi Hills ...
2. Umiap Valley Irrigation Scheme in Khasi Hills ...
3. Umsallang Valley Irrigation Scheme in Khasi Hills ...
4. Khallong Valley Irrigation Scheme in Jaintia Hills ...
5. Kwai Valley Irrigation Scheme in Jaintia Hills ...
(b) Irrigation project undertaken-
1. Romgadatgiri M.I. Project in Garo Hills .... ....
2. Thalong M.I. Project in Garo Hills .... ....
3. Baldamgiri M.I. Project in Garo Hills .... ....
(repairs and remodeling)
(c) Subsidy is also being provided during the current year for flow irrigation projects. This amount allotted in cash is 6 lakhs for Khasi Hills, 6.90 lakhs for Garo Hills and 2.50 lakhs for Jaintia Hills. Such subsidy is proposed to be stopped from next year as the Irrigation Wing of the Department is being strengthened to take up such work departmentally. A mention has also been made regarding Lift Irrigation. No Lift Irrigation Project is undertaken this year but pumps for the next year's programme will be purchased this year. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member from Mynso-Raliang Constituency has mentioned that Lift Irrigation should be taken up in suitable areas. In this connection I would like to inform the House that action has already been taken for the same. The areas proposed to be covered under Lift Irrigation for 1974-75 are :-
Name of the Projects
Area to be benefited in acres
1. Kynshi Lift Irrigation Project in Khasi Hills
2. Myriaw Lift Irrigation Project in Khasi Hills
3. Pynthor Wah Lift Irrigation Project in Jaintia Hills
4. Kwai Lift Irrigation Project in Jaintia Hills
5. Treriat Mynsong Lift Irrigation Project in Jaintia Hills
6. Simsanggiri Lift Irrigation Project in Garo Hills
Mr. Speaker, Sir, a men ton has also been made of the supply of fertilizer. Regarding supply of fertilizer Government is making all out efforts to obtain fertilizers and have them distributed in time. Miss P. Marak has suggested land reclamation and control of jhuming. The Soil Conservation Department is already taking action on this line. She has also suggested survey of the low-lying and the waste lands for irrigation. Engineering Wing of the Department of Agriculture is being strengthened to take such work of an extensive scale. Shri G. Mylliemngap spoke on soil testing form proper use of fertilizers. We have already one mobile unit at Shillong and two laboratories one at Shillong and the other at Tura for such work. These laboratories are proposed to be strengthened further during the next plan for extensive soil testing work. He also suggested to expedite setting up of a State Level marketing federation. Framing of bye-laws is now in the final stage. It is expected to start functioning from the next co-operative year, i.e., June 1974. He also requested to look after a hail - storm affected families. Test relief schemes have been undertaken in such areas. Shri Reidson Momin suggested survey of reclaimable areas by an Expert Committee to increase cultivable lands. The Government is initiating steps through various Departments like Soil Conservation and Agriculture to bring in more land under cultivation. He also wants Government to take suitable steps for protecting crops from wild pigs and other animals. Government is giving license to approved 'Shikaris ' for killing such animals. He said that in case of crop failure due to drought and other natural calamities, test relief measures should be taken. Government have been extending help by way of test relief and gratuitous relief in such contingencies. Shri Jormanik Syiem stated there was shortage of fertilizers. From records it appear that there is no shortage of fertilizers as such. However, ammonium sulphate was not available to the extent demanded but there was enough urea as substitute for ammonium sulphate as both supply the nitrogen requirement for the crop. Further, as nitrogen content of urea is double to that ammonium sulphate, urea proves to be more economic to the farmers. The Government have no information on black marketing of fertilizers. Shri Hover Hynniewta enquired whether Fertilizer Corporation of India has got their own distributing agent and whether these agents are functioning. Yes, there are 7 agents of the F.C.I. but so far as our information goes, for the last few months, they were given no fertilizers by F.C.I. for reasons not known to Government. Shri R. Lyngdoh wants to know the relation between D.C. B.D.Os and the B.D.C. Sometimes it becomes necessary to take certain schemes which are considered important and have wide coverage in the interest of development of the area. But usually the recommendation of the B.D.C. is respected and honoured. Shri Plansing Marak mentioned that regrouping of villages should be done only in areas where reclamation for wet paddy cultivation is possible. While due attention will be paid to develop areas where paddy cultivation can be done, it is not practicable to confine only to such areas for regrouping of villages. From projects taken up in the Garo Hills District, it was found that if properly cultivated and some amount of fertilizers and manures added, terraces can yield as much as an average settle cultivation. Wherever possible, effort are being made to develop land for permanent cultivation and both for terracing and reclamation of low lying lands. A committee for preparing a Project Report for regrouping of villages in Garo Hills was formed in early 1972 and the Committee submitted its report during that year. Work on this basis has been started since 1973-74. Shri Cecil Marak remarked that measures for permanent agriculture should be taken early to control jhumming. The Department of Soil Conservation have been taken steps for preparing lands for permanent agriculture for the people, who practice jhumming to encourage them to abandon jhumming and cultivate on land prepared for permanent cultivation. Since 1969-70, 3957 hectares of land have been terraced and 3089 hectares of land has been reclaimed for permanent cultivation at the cost of Rs.52.06 lakhs. During the year 1974-75 the Department has a scheme of setting up 700 jhummia families of the State on lands prepared for permanent cultivation and a provision of Rs.72.05 lakhs has been made for the purpose, 1400 hectares of land are expected to be developed for the 700 families at a cost of Rs.24.80 lakhs.
Now, some hon. Members made certain remarks about forest and industries. Mr. Pohshna said that quotation called for supply of materials to Bangladesh is not in conformity within procedure. The advertisement never appeared in Meghalaya Gazette. Government has selected inexperienced people for supply to Bangladesh and the allotment to Jaintia Hills was more than Khasi Hills though Khasi Hills is much bigger in area. I may inform the House that detailed reply will be given in the answers to Assembly questions on this subjects.
The order from the Government of India was received very very late. Hence a short quotation notice has been given to the public. The notice is meant for the districts of Khasi and Jaintia Hills since the supply is to be routed only through Tamabil. For any supply from Garo Hills, Divisional Forest Officer, Tura is to issue quotation notice. In this case the media which reached the people earliest i.e., the local papers, have been utilised. For ballies, the suffering border people have been given work. Not much skill is required to process the ballies. For sawn timber only experienced people are allotted work. It is economical to allot work work to the suffering people around the supply points. All the scheduled and registered forest contractors of the Utilisation Division have been given work. The timber have already been passed.
The mover of the amendment, Mr. Pohshna, complained that there are no rural industries set up in the State except those set up along G.S. Road.
There is a rural industries project approved for Garo Hills Districts. Steps are being taken to appoint necessary personnel to implement the project. Under this programme help will be rendered for setting up small industries in rural areas in the Garo Hills, which has been selected for a Rural Industries Project. The Industries along the G.S. Road do not fit in to the definition of rural industries. Some private sector industries have been set up for manufacture of different products at Byrnihat as there is locational advantage. Industries in the interior are also coming up and are also planned. A timber treatment plant is being set up in Darugiri. Processing of Cinnamon leaf will be done in the interior areas. Some industries are also being planned for the industrial estate in Shillong.
Shri W. Syiemiong said that there is not much interest in setting up big industries by capitalists and so small scale industries should be set up and he wanted to know what has been done about this. For setting up small scale industries by entrepreneurs, help is available from the Directorate of Industries, District Officers under the Directorate and small Industries Service Institute in the matter of identification of projects. Financial assistance under the Aid to Industries Act, is available from the Industries Department, and the Directorate renders help in getting financial assistance from financial institution, in procurement of building materials, raw materials, etc. Further, a package of incentives including refund of sales-tax for a period of 5 years, 15 percent capital outright subsidy, 50 percent transport subsidy, power subsidy, etc., are given. It would not be correct to say that only the capitalists are setting up industries. Those industries put up in Byrnihat area by entrepreneurs are far from the category of capitalists.
Shri D.D. Lapang, stated that the Government should encourage industries like printing, canning, etc., and if established, local people should be given preference. The matter of setting up a large fruit canning factory in the Khasi Hills District and elsewhere is under examination. There are a number of printing presses. My colleague has already replied about the Cements, so I will not touch the subject again.
About transport, it was suggested by the hon. Member from Rongram to open routes for bus service like-
(a) Tura to Damra via Resu,
(b) To Simsangiri via Songsak.
(c) Tura to Shillong via Nongstoin.
Opening of additional routes will depend on the availability of vehicles. It is, however, clarified that the intention is to implement the existing services and not to replace them. It was suggested by Shri G. Mylliemngap, that the G.S. Route should be taken over by the Government. Negotiations are being held with the officials of the Assam Government for taking over the G.S. Route. All attempts are being made to finalise the same quickly.
The hon. member from Cantonment had made an observation that Procurement Department has not been opened in Meghalaya. He apprehended that if production of rice is 1.4 lakhs, then it is presumed that rice is going out, taking average consumption as ½ kilo per head. He also pointed on that no F.C.I godown has been built at Shillong. A beginning has been made to procure paddy/rice in Garo Hills. As against the target of 20,000 quintals about 2,500 quintals of paddy have been procured. It is felt that no Procurement Department is necessary at present. The work will be done through F.C.I. It is understood from Public Works Department that F.C.I. godowns in Shillong will be completed soon.
The same observation was made by the hon. Member from Nongstoin about taking over of the G.S. Route by the Government of Meghalaya. I have already replied on this point.
Mention was also made about the jute mill in Garo Hills by Mr. William Cecil Marak. A jute mill has been agreed for Garo Hills and a private party has secured a licence for a Cotton yarn mill. The exact location will depend on the studies being made by the consultants.
Mention also was made by Shri S.D. Khongwir about setting up of the new industries in the State, which will help inflow of outside people to our State. But, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not correct to say that new industries will help inflow of people from outside. In fact the industrialists have been told to recruit local people and we have also told them that training facilities for the local people should be provided so that they are better equipped to work in these projects. Small scale units form the base in any industrialisation programme. In the Governor's Address, various measures to promote growth of small scale units have been briefly mentioned. These are industrial estates, package scheme of incentives, etc.
Government is also sufficiently aware and has taken proper safeguards to ensure that establishment of industries by outside entrepreneurs is not to the disadvantage of the local people. If outside entrepreneurs are to be totally banned, I am afraid, very small number of industries will come up. It is not because of lack of incentives, but because it takes time for an entrepreneurial class to come up. All industrial units which are coming up whether at Byrnihat or elsewhere by outsiders are such units where local people have not come forward to set them up, but attempts are being made to involve them. Except for token participation in equity capital in Associated Beverages, no Government loans have been given.
Mention has been made about the improvement of town planning in Meghalaya. Systematic work on town planning in Meghalaya started with the joining of a Town Planner in February, 1972. The Town Planner is yet to be fully provided with suitably qualified personnel as there is a big dearth of such personnel. Meanwhile some works have been done with the limited staff. Considerable progress has been made in consultation with the Chief Town Planner of Government of India on drafting of a Bill on Town Planning. Arrangements have also been made with the Survey of India to prepare an up-to-date base map of 80 sq. km area of Greater Shillong based on aerial photography. Posts have been created since September, 1873 for opening three offices in the three district headquarters and they would be filled up very soon. Meanwhile Government have taken ad-hoc measures. A Committee has been set up to held in preparing district headquarter plan for Jowai. The committee has selected sites for various purposes in Jowai. Detailed design of a Circuit House at Jowai has been completed. An Assistant Town Planner has been posted at Tura since April 1973. He has prepared detailed layout plans for Civil Hospital and the central market at Tura. He is also helping various authorities at Tura in preparing schemes.
Mention has been made about the separation of the Judiciary from the Executive. The question of separation of the Judiciary from the Executive is under active consideration of the Government. As the first step, we have created the posts of District and Sessions Judge and the Assistant District and Sessions Judge for Shillong. The District Judge has already joined and he is being invested with necessary powers for trial of offences punishable with death and imprisonment for a term exceeding five years, and also to hear both civil and criminal appeals within the district of Khasi Hills. The Assistant District Judge has not yet joined and the matter is being taken up with the High Court.
Regarding separation of the Judiciary in the entire State the matter is under examination by the Government along with re-organisation of the Courts. It may be mentioned that the new Code of Criminal Procedure Act, 1973 shall come into force from 1st April 1974 and the separation of criminal justice in Meghalaya has to be examined in the light of this new law. Since the separation of the Judiciary is a complicated matter especially in Meghalaya, in view of the different types of court administering justice under different rules, it will take some time to completely separate the Judiciary from the Executive.
Now, I will come to the most controversial matter of land reform. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I know that there is a lot of controversy about it. But I will make it very clear as I did in the past. It is not the intention of the Government to do away with the social customs and practices which have been the age-old system in Meghalaya. I think we all agree that the farmer and actual tiller must have assured interest in the land which is under his cultivation. Sir, recently, I had the occasion to tour in certain part of Khasi Hills District in Meghalaya. I went from Umling to Patharkhmah then to Jirang and then back to Mairang. I came across a very vast paddy field at Umsong areas and I found streams flowing along the paddy fields. I was given a memorandum in which these cultivators complained that they have been cultivating the land for many years and have improved it but somebody else came and claimed that this improved land belongs to him. So in the absence of any document to prove that this land is under his cultivation, it is difficult to prove that the land belongs to him. I was told that the man who claims that the land belongs to him has asked the people to pay revenue and taxes. We talk of development of the State. We as well as our friends are also very eager to achieve that objective. It is very easy, of course, to talk about the agricultural development and self-sufficiency in food production. But what are the schemes to be taken up in order to increase food production. It is only by intensive cultivation that food production can be increased.
Through whose activities? It is only through farmers and actual tillers. The land under a particular tiller should be improved and farmer should be assured of his interest in the particular land. But in the absence of any record of rights though the land under the particular farmer has been developed with his own sweat or with the help of the Government, if somebody comes and claims that land, how can you expect the farmer to take interest in the land to improve production? Can he allow himself to be at the mercy of somebody else? There has been a lot of talk about.......
Mr. Speaker :- I think I will request the Hon'ble Chief Minister that the subject which is under the Commission should not be discussed but you can only clarify.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Because such points have been raised, so I think it is my duty to clarify.
Mr. Speaker :- I think the hon. Member from Mawhati has raised about the Terms of Reference and not on the actual recommendation which will come afterwards.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Whatever it is, if do you not want me to proceed on that line, I would make only a general observation. If a farmer is not assured of his interest in the land which is under his cultivation, I don't think, Sir, we can make any progress in the field of agriculture. I think that this particular field of agriculture a person who produces something from the land must be assured of his right to that land or business. Otherwise, there will be no incentive. But while saying so, I must make it very very clear, as stated by the Governor that there will be a way out to ensure interest on land to the farmers without doing away with the social structure. Therefore, it should not be presumed that since we are seriously seized of this problem the Government is going to do away with the very social structure of the State. But since you have prevented me to speak on this ....
Mr. Speaker :- I have not prevented you, Mr. Chief Minister, I have only pointed out that since the Commission is still seized of this matter, this House cannot discuss details which is under any Commission or any Court of Law or any other Court holding judicial or quasi judicial powers.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- May I point out, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Commission was never set up by this House.
Mr. Speaker :- The Commission was set up by the Government. The House has taken cognisance of this fact and for that matter it may be constructed that it has the approval of the House.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Nongstoin S.T.) :- We cannot just presume that the House has approved it, Mr. Speaker, Sir, when it is not finally approved.
Mr. Speaker :- You mean to say that the House has not approved of the appointment of the Commission? A Commission is primarily set up by the Government and in this case the Government has already detailed the terms of reference while instituting the Commission and if this House is to consider the pros and cons of the question then the work of the Commission will be hampered.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) :- We opposed even the setting up of the Commission.
Mr. Speaker :- You may oppose the setting up or even the High Court or any other Courts but they exist according to the law of the land. You may oppose to the setting up of the Commission but the Commission is there. It is a fact.
Shri Akkramozzaman (Phulbari) :- I think the House has voted for the expenditure on the Commission. So when it has approved the expenditure, it has approved the setting up of the Commission.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I a very grateful to the hon. Member from Phulbari for raising this pertinent point. Whatever it may be, I think we are all anxious to bring about a right development in the field of Agriculture in order to increase food production, whether it is referred to the Commission or not. We have agreed that if the present system of holding the land jointly is continued, each individual farmer should have the record of rights and it should be thought out how to assure land to the cultivators. Not only that, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is linked up with other developments. Just this morning or even yesterday some points were raised about land to be acquired for the University. I think it was the hon. Member from Mawhati who had said that there might be unscrupulous land-holder who might claim heavy compensation. Now, can this be proved unless there is record of rights or some other document? The same thing can happen in respect of road construction. For one plot of land there may be 3 to 4 persons claiming compensation and it is very difficult for the Government or the authorities concerned to decide as to who owns the plot of land. Because of these handicaps, there is delay in the execution of the work.
As far as construction work on the Umling-Patharkhmah road is concerned, the road was to be have been completed during the 4th Plan but it could not be completed because the process for determination of compensation took a long time. Only after going through this long process it was settled and the amount of compensation came to about Rs.75,000 and the road has to be taken up in the 5th Plan. So, we should not be only one-sided and we should look at the problem only from one aspect. We should rather try to examine the circumstances preventing .....
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- On a point clarification, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is under the programme of the Commission and I think it is the duty of the Commission to reply to that.
Mr. Speaker :- Actually, that is what prompted me to point out to the Chief Minister that all these problems will have to examined by the Commission. This House will have ample opportunity to examine the reports later. The Government's stand has been made clear in the terms of reference. Whether the Commission works in line with the terms of reference or makes a departure from them, this House will get the opportunity to scrutinise. The Chief Minister has tried only to enlighten this august House in order to assure the hon. Members, who may have any doubt about the intentions of the Government in setting up this Commission that it is not for doing away with the customary laws or for any other bad motives to see that things but are done for economic development of the State. That is what the Chief Minister wants to explain to the House. I think, I have understood you correctly?
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :-Yes. well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, while we are interested in the all round development of the State as a whole, we have to see that things do not stand in the way of execution of our plans and programmes.
Now, Sir, mention was made on mis-use of the border trucks. I think it was Mr. Syiemiong who had appointed out earlier that trucks bearing the numbers MLG 205, MLG 206 and MLG 207 were being mis-used and that the driver of truck No. MLG 207 in particular had been guilty of misbehaviour. It had also been stated that the Deputy Commissioner Khasi Hills, had promised to transfer the driver of truck No. MLG 207 but nothing had been done so far. From the information available in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Khasi Hills, it appears that the Deputy Commissioner had issued specific warning to all border truck drivers that severe disciplinary action would be taken if any driver is found guilty of mis-conduct, etc., vide letter No.DC.1/5/73-74/3 dated 4th March, 1974. Now, the truck No. MLG 205 is not stationed at Mawngap.
Shri W. Syiemiong :- Even yesterday it was still here.
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :-- Then it might have stopped over-night on its way to the border hats. Anyway, I will enquire into it. Truck No. MLG 207 is attached to the Nongstoin Block. There was a complaint, the driver's explanation had been called on the alleged carrying of non-border produce. The driver's explanation was received on 2nd March 1974 in the Deputy Commissioner office and it was decided that disciplinary action would be taken against the driver.
Now I will come to education. The hon. Member from Mawhati mentioned about the State Library. As a matter of fact, the State Library has been taken over by this Government on the basis that Meghalaya will have the entire collection of books in the Lending and Children Section and 1/3 of the books in the Reference Section. Section of this 1/3 in the Reference Section had been made by a team of officers, from the register maintained by the State Library.
Mention has also been made about the site for the N.E.H.U. As has already been stated earlier, the site has been tentatively selected but I will not disclose it at present.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- The price has gone up probably.
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Now, point regarding the appointment of Principal of Tura College and the Headmistress, Tura Government College Girls' High School has been raised by the hon. Member from Rongram. Now the appointment of the Principal, Tura Government College is being finalised. Regarding the Headmistress, Tura Government Girls' High School, Shrimati Christinola D. Marak had actually been performing the duties of the Headmistress of the Tura Government Girls' High School with effect from 22nd March, 1971 and is continuing till date in addition to her duties. The matter of allowing her to hold full charge of the post is under process.
Mention has also been made about the 3 training Centres in the State for pre-primary education. The need for setting up these training centres in the three district headquarters will be considered as and when necessary.
The hon. Member from Mawlai has mentioned about the employment in the office of the D.P.I., Assam at Dispur. The question of absorption of employees of the Assam Directorate to our Directorate will depend on the creation of additional posts in our Directorate and absorption of the employees of the Assam Directorate can be made against the posts so created strictly on the principle adopted by the Government. There are 7 lady employees under the D.P.I., Assam at present serving at Dispur. Out of these, action is being taken to requisition two L.D.As.
The hon. Member from Laitumkhrah mentioned about the 10 day training which was given to the candidates selected for appointment as teachers under the 'Half a Million jobs Programme. In the first instance, this training is only an orientation course. However, if necessary the trainees will be taken and once they are appointed, they can also be called again for further training.
Now, I will come to a very controversial point about the election to the Shillong Municipality. It is a fact that my colleague has given the assurance that the elections to the Municipality of Shillong will be held up as soon as the delimitation of the Wards is completed. The question has been raised by the Leader of the Opposition and it was strongly urged that in a democracy that established democratic right of the people should not be denied and that the elections should be held. It was also said that we should be complacent only because the office of the Shillong Municipality has been put under the charge of the Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not only we who believe in democracy; the entire country believes in a democracy. I am not going to advocate the argument one-sided. I think that argument and opinion have come from my friends in the H.S.P.D.P. also that after the administration of the Shillong Municipality has been taken over through the Chief Executive Officer things have improved. But let us be practical about it. We are all democrats and we would like to have a democratic set up both for civic and civil administration. But sometimes even when the democratic set-up is functioning, the people are not satisfied with that set up and there is resistance from the people. Let me give an example of what happened in Gujarat. I am not going to say whether the action of the people who moved for the dissolution of the Gujarat Assembly and the Government are legally recognised or not. I do not know. But when there is pressure from the people-though in the beginning the Government was very firm even when there is no breakdown of the Government the imposition of the President's Rule had to be resorted because of the pressure from the people.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- But here there was no resistance :
Mr. Speaker :- What the Chief Minister wants to drive at is that democracy thrives through public opinion.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I am just going to reply because it was contented by the Leader of the Opposition that the so-called welfare association, being not legally and constitutionally recognised, their opinion should not be given any importance.
Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) :- That was not my point that it should not be given importance, I mean to say that it should be a legally constituted body.
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I was trying to reply that sometimes we have to yield to public pressure, whether it is legally recognised or not. Here I am not going to say that whatever has been done through the Shillong Civic Welfare Association on that basis alone we should postpone the elections. I am not going to say that only because of that elections cannot be held. Now, it was also argued that the shifting of the capital should not be the reason for postponing the elections.
Here I would like to make a few observations. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has been compared with the Corporation election at Gauhati that in spite of the fact that the capital had been shifted to Dispur the election could be held there whereas here, because of the shifting of the capital from Shillong to Gauhati election to the Municipality could not be held. Let us try to understand the problem. The electoral rolls in respect of Assembly and Parliament elections are prepared on the basis of the latest census figures. So according to my opinion, it is not easy to prepare the electoral rolls of the civic bodies like the Municipality. Now, with the shifting of the capital, we know that at least about 30 to 40 thousand voters also have to move down to Gauhati. Now it was also argued that though a large number of population has shifted down to Dispur, yet there are those in-coming. Well, it is there. Those people must have come recently and then they may not as yet be eligible for the election because they may not have the right to vote in the Municipal election because they must be included in the voters list. Suppose now without thinking of fresh enumeration, if we decide finally about the delimitation of the wards and also of the voters, there will be scope for impersonification of voters. Voters may come from Dispur to Shillong and it is very easy for them to do so. In this case, hundreds of eligible voters may come to Shillong to cast their votes. So these are the things which must be taken into consideration. But what I am going to say is that election to the Shillong Municipality is not going to be in definitely put off and the earliest possible opportunity will be taken to hold it and all points raised by various organisations about delimitation of the wards as well as enumeration of the voters and distribution of the wards will be taken under consideration. Once this is completed, we will not make any further delay. Therefore, I would like to make an earnest appeal that we should be patient about it. Well, circumstances are inevitable that sometimes in spite of the best desire of the Government it is not possible to carry out a particular responsibility and it may not be possible to hold the elections because of the fact that many things are yet to be prepared. So we have to be patient. It will not also be correct to say that the Chief Executive Officer has got a free hand in running the Shillong Municipality. He has got to work under the Government which is a popular Government. He is only an agent and he does not have the electoral power to conduct the elections without the consent of the Government. There is a popular Government which will give him the guidance. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think it will not be possible for me to give all the minute details here. So, I would like to request the hon. Members to be at least patient. Suggestions put forward by the hon. members are welcomed and Government will look into all these things and see that various departments of the Government function smoothly to carry on their work as quickly as possible.
Now I would like to come to the shifting of the capital from Shillong. There has been a lot of discussions on this subject. But I would like to remind the hon. Members, through you, Sir, that when we, all on this side, or that side, asked for separation from Assam, we wanted to have our own State. I think right from that time we realised that it is our desire that we shall not allow Shillong to function as the capital of both the new States- the Hills State and the State of Assam. We all know of the movement for a separate State and the demand that Shillong must be the capital the separate Hill State and we are all prepared for it.
Shri Maham Singh :- So we have no regrets now.
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- No regrets at all. But the way the question is posed before this House seems to show that some amount to regret there.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- No, no. We have no regrets.
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- We also know that with the shifting of the capital, there will be a temporary setback on the economy of the capital itself. So, in the Governor's Address Government had already indicated last year about the advise effect on the economy of the capital and also measures taken in this regard. I agree with the observations made by some hon. Members that even with the establishment of new offices of the Central Government, the economic setback cannot be solved. But it is ... means of some other programmes that it can be improved. A lot of industries are proposed to be set up in around Shillong and a lot of development will be made for tourist attraction. But it is not likely that every section of the community will be affected by the shifting of capital. I would, in this regard, welcome more suggestions from the hon. Members as to how this problem can be tackled more effectively and as soon as possible. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to come to a very important problem and that is border problem. As usual when this particular question is discussed in this august House, as expected my friends from the opposite group blame the A.P.H.L.C. for not taking up this particular question relating to border dispute between Garo Hills and Goalpara and Kamrup. It was contended by my friends from a particular group that this should not have been accepted at the time the autonomous State of Meghalaya came into being or when Meghalaya was raised to Statehood. Now I want to touch on this point. The move for the merger of Garo areas of Goalpara is an issue which existed even before the hills people could think and dream of a separate Hill State of their own. From 1953 onwards this move for merger of Garo areas was there, it was there since pre-independence days. Infact during the hectic move for the creation of a Hills State, some people said "Do not accept Hills State unless the Government of Assam and the Government of India are agreeable to merge these areas with the Hills State". This suggestion came from the Garos of those areas and not from anybody else. My reply was that how can we link up those areas which are not within the District Council. The demand for a separate Hills State was there for a long period of time. Previously, there was widespread agitation for merger of those areas with the District Council and for boundary adjustment. In was in 1947 after meeting the Committee headed by Late Gopinath Bordoloi that it was decided that full autonomy should be given to every hill district of Assam. In order to bring such autonomy we demanded those Garo areas in Assam which are contiguous to Garo Hills to be tagged with Garo Hills and that they should be brought under the Garo Hills Autonomous administration. But unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as it felt outside the terms of reference of the Committee, that Committee could not entertain. Therefore, it will not be correct to say that this is a new movement and of recent origin. But the Bordoloi Committee has expressed regret for not being able to entertain this demand. The Committee also that there should be an occasion in future for the settlement of district boundary. As such, a provision has been made under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India. I may also inform the House that it was under this provision that re-demarcation of district boundaries had been made and it was this provision that has authorised the Committee to redefine the jurisdiction of the autonomous bodies. My colleague in the opposition may re-collect that there was a move in the Garo Hills by the non-Garos to exclude certain places and the Government of Assam was very prompt to appoint a Commission under paragraph 14 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India. This demand for exclusion of certain areas from the Garo Hills district was based on apprehension. There was a lot of propaganda when the District Council was to be established and the non-Garos were reluctant to live there. Another Committee was appointed and, if I am correct, the Chairman of that Committee was Mr. Hareswar Das and I was elected a Member to represent the Garos since this demand for the exclusion of these areas was based on apprehension, because of the propaganda of the non-Garos that they are going to be made Garos and that they will have to adopt the customs and traditions of Garos, then we thought it is our responsibility to explain to the people and, if I am correct, my colleague, Mr. Zaman and myself moved from place to place, from area to area to explain things to the people. Subsequently there came another demand from the sane people for the inclusion of their area within the District Council of Garo Hills and withdraw their earlier demand. The Government was satisfied with this development and accordingly issued instruction to the Deputy Commissioner to take necessary action on the matter. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we worked day and night, moved from one place to another and ultimately when the Commission found that their cause is not genuine and that the people have withdrawn the demand for exclusion, all those contiguous areas were annexed to the District Council. Therefore, it will not be correct to say that this movement is of recent origin. It has a history of its own. Some of the hon. Members have stated that.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Nobody has stated that from this side.
Capt. Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Therefore, I would like to make it clear to my friends that it cannot be linked up with the Hills State movement. I do not know whether my friends who have made such a statement also associated themselves with those merger questions before the Hills State movement was there. As I have stated, I was very much involved right from the inception. I was involved in sponsoring the cause of merger because of valid reasons. I am glad that with the help of my colleagues like Mr. Zaman and others the question of exclusion of non-Garos from Garo Hills areas could be settled amicably even though there were few cases where the minority non-tribals had expressed dissatisfaction. I remember, even as Chief Executive Member of the District Council I could not quench the thirst of the non-tribal people and I do feel that they also have a share in the administration. At times of course there were complaints that I have adopted a merger policy against the interest of the non-tribals. But there is no such policy except a policy by which some concession and some preferences are given to the non-tribal brethren of Garo Hills on a similar footing as are given to the tribals of the State and country as a whole. There was no attempt as alleged, on the part of the District Council to force the non-tribals to live according to the customs and way of life of the tribal people. In fact after the District Council came into being, I asked my colleague about primary education. Why they don't have Bengali as the medium of instruction, as there is a history behind it also during the days of composite State of Assam, Bengali School in Garo Hills have to adopt Assamese instead of Bengali as the medium of instruction. Because unless that was done, schools were deprived of any grants and other facilities. After the District Council came into being, primary education came under the District Council under Article 351(a) of the Constitution. I cannot exactly remember what was the medium of instruction in Garo Hills then. But the position is so different in those areas bordering Goalpara and Kamrup Districts inhabited by Garo right from the very beginning, there had been a heavy pressure to impose Assamese as a medium of instructing on those Garos unlike other Hills areas where Roman script was being used. These Garo tribals have been asked to use Assamese scripts. Therefore, I say that this movement is no longer a new movement. It was there even before the Hill State movement took shape. Those problem were there already and it was because of the happenings at that time that the hills people of those areas had been asking for a separate Hills State. Even they went to the extent of demanding merges of those contiguous areas to preserve their customs, culture and their own rights and interests. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was very much involved in this movement. But today, I am on a different footing as the Head of the Government. Therefore, I will confine only to the statement made in the Governor's Address - "While my Government wish to maintain cordial and good neighbourly relations with the Government and people of Assam, my Government view with regret all unilateral action and reaffirm their faith in a peaceful and negotiated settlement of all outstanding issues keeping in view the linguistic, cultural and educational rights of the minorities and the right of every citizens to live and work under conditions of peace". Sir, as pointed out this morning by a number of speakers, including the Deputy Speaker, it is a fact that hundreds of families have crossed over to Garo Hills as refugees. This was not for the first time that Garo Hills has to keep refugees of our own country. In 1960, during the language riot, at the same place, Resubelpara, and also in Dilma area we kept hundreds and hundreds of families. Today, for the same reason and because of the constant pressure on these people to issue the Assamese script all these incidents have taken place. In 1960, the Garos of those areas of Dilma and Resubelpara collected rice, dal, salt and gave them home and shelter. Not only that, arrangement had been made to organise volunteers to guard them for their safety. The same thing is happening here today. As it has been correctly pointed out, we have to give shelter, food and everything to the refugees who came over to our State from the erstwhile Pakistan. Yes it is our human obligation to look after them. If today I give all facilities of relief to the refugees, including shelter, medical and everything, tomorrow I will be charged by the Government of Assam that because you give all the facilities to these refugees they are coming. So I must strike a balance. I shall very much like that a situation is created in Assam so that these people can go back to their own homes. Of course I must inform the House that we have made correspondence with the Government of Assam and I have received two letters on this from the Chief Minister of Assam and I have also sent my reply to him in which I have suggested that this movement should not be taken simply as law and order situation but something more than that. So the best thing to do would be to send for the leaders of this movement and discuss with them the situation threadbare and come to a negotiable settlement. On the district level two Deputy Commissioner's; the Deputy Commissioner of Garo Hills and that of Goalpara met together at Dilma on the 15th of this month. Assurance has been given from the other side but these people could believe it. In fact thereafter also more people came with all sorts of stories. Therefore, this problem cannot be settled at the district level, it cannot be settled by the two Deputy Commissioners because it involves more than that. The incident that has taken place on the 11th February had frightened them and they feel insecure. I kept the Government of India informed about this and I will be the happiest man today if the Government of Assam does not regard this situation as merely a question of law and order. I have gone through the statement of the Assam Chief Minister in which he stated that there is no dispute about the boundary between Meghalaya and Assam because the boundary has been already demarcated. As far as Block No. I and Block II in Jaintia Hills are concerned, it was agreed that though these blocks had been transferred to Mikir Hills in order to form the new district, the Government agreed to reopen it and it is now under process. Therefore, Sir, it is not correct to say that the boundaries of the State have been demarcated. Everything has not been well demarcated and the same is with the case of Mawtamur area. A Commission headed by Shri Das has been set up and we have not accepted its reported. So we are not in the view that there is no boundary dispute. I accept it. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is no use, whenever a problem comes, to consider only some of its aspects. Here I am trying to to find out a solution to the problem and solve it in its entirety. At the same time I would like to give an indirect reply to the hon. Member from the H.S.P.D.P. who said that this problem is due to the Hills State Movement. To this my answer is that there are a number of territories which have also become State. But though the definition of jurisdiction of the newly created States have been provided in the Act, yet there are still disputes about some areas, and there is a demand for inclusion of areas on linguistic basis and some other counter demands. So it is not correct to blame the A.P.H.L.C. I would also like to fall in line with the hon. Member Shri Humphrey Hadem. As I said, Sir, this move of merger was there right from the pre-independence days. According to the traditional belief of the Garos territory was much bigger than what it is now. Late Sonaram Sangma fought for this in 1918 and he filed a case with the Hon'ble High Court of Calcutta on this question. For the administrative convenience some of the Garo areas were handed over to the Zamindars and before Zamindary system was abolished some areas were attached to Garo Hills and the rest taken backs to Goalpara. But as I pointed out, in the interest of the development of the people, some law and order problem and also on the basis of language consideration of the State reorganisation Commission was set up and the State Government also passed resolution after resolution. That is why Reorganisation on the basis of language started. Therefore, just to reorganise the District boundary there should not have been any difficulty especially before Meghalaya came into being. We believe in the welfare State and we believe in the preservation of language and culture of each and every community. On that consideration the question of merger cannot be linked up with the movement for the Hill State. It is entirely up to the people and the Government of Assam and the Government of India. I have traced the history of this movement. I have to do it because there has been an allegation baseless and motivated, that the Government of Meghalaya was behind this move. Sir, it is not true that Meghalaya, as a Government, was behind this move, I was there before Meghalaya come into being and it is unfair to say that this move was sponsored by the Meghalaya Government. This move was there for the last 25 years whereas Meghalaya as an Autonomous State came only three years ago. It is unfair, it is baseless and motivated to involve this Government in this movement. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would request this august House to consider the background and to defend the stand taken by the Meghalaya Government. We want to maintain good relationship. One thing which we must be proud of is that the creation of the Hill State of Meghalaya was a much bigger issue compared to the boundary adjustment. All along during the struggle we had believed in democracy, non-violence and we had the patience for a long time even on the face of provocation. So without bloodshed, without loss of property or without injury to anybody we have achieved our goal and that is also with the good-will of the people of the Government of Assam and a country as a whole. When it was convinced that there was no other alternative than to live separately as brother and sister, it was found better to have two set-ups. After all, two set-ups mean two administration in the same country. It is a question of adjustment. Therefore, we believe that the aspiration of the people under GNC should be recognised by the people and the Government of Assam and the Government of India, without following further bloodshed and further deterioration in the situation which may ultimately force the two States of Assam and Meghalaya to have some sort of misunderstanding. I think some solution must be found out. That is my request to the people of Assam and the Government of Assam and also to the Government of India. This is a very unfortunate situation. Having known the history, I hope there should not be any misunderstanding. As a Government I must make it very clear and say that this Government is not involved in this. But the Assam Government is very much involved in this because it concerns their people and their area. There must be some solution, although we realise their difficulties. Therefore, the best thing would be to find out a solution without further loss of time. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are some other points which have been raised by the hon. Members and I may be excused for not giving the reply to all the points. But this much assurance I may give that all the points raised have been accorded and will be attended to and whatever possible action will be taken. May I request one thing before resume my seat?
Let us put our heads together and try to solve the problems of the State as a whole. There are various problems and let us try to find out a solution. Let us also study the circumstances which prevent us in our march towards development of the State and the people and without hesitation let us put our hands together to remove those difficulties which stand in the way. As human being we are bound to make mistakes; after all a Government is also manned by human beings.
So whatsoever is done cannot be guaranteed to be correct. But it is no use simply to find fault. If our supreme desire is to build a prosperous and peaceful State, let us join hands together to solve the problems.
Before I conclude I would like to add here that there have been some propaganda and some feelings of doubts and apprehension on the part of the non-Garos of the State of Meghalaya. As I said before, you will be free to adopt your language, culture and everything and your interest will be well protected. But in spite of such assurances and desire of the Government, there will be one or two persons who on this or that plea may try to create a bad situation. I request all of you to be vigilant. For example, I have not been able to get the correct report of certain instances that took place at Tura. According to my information, some people came from outside the District and the State with a view to creating tension among different communities. Such things may happen more along the border of our State. Such false reports have been published in the paper by interested persons. But proper action has been taken by the Government.
Recently it has been alleged that the non-Garos are being taxed by the district authorities of Garo Hills. No such taxes can be imposed by such executive body. If there are some activities. I mean about the people who try to create tension - it will be good on the part of the leaders to bring to the notice of the parties so that they may choose to take proper action. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, once again, before I resume my seat, I thank all the hon. Members for having taken interest for the welfare of the State through their participation in the discussion on the Governor's Address. I hope, in future, we shall be able to jointly put our heads together and try to understand the problems of the State as a whole without giving importance to minor things. It will be possible for us to find out the basic problems facing the State and find out out how best they can be solved so that solution of these problems can help us solve subsequent problems, and also to locate the difficulties in the different parts of the State as a whole. Regarding the specific difficulties of each constituency, we will have ample opportunity to consider when we discuss the budget speech of the Finance Minister. Therefore, let us divide our activities during the debate. Let us try to know the basic problems of the State as a whole and try to put our heads together to find out their solution. These are the basic things which can be discussed during the debate on the Governor's Address and I hope in the next budget session and in future, we shall try to solve such problems.
Though I could not touch Public Works Department, Health Department and many other things I want to say on one more point, Mr. Speaker, Sir, and that is about Rs.38,00,000. Actually only Rs.30.44 lakhs have been spent. Well, there are many still which await clarification. All these will be discussed in the budget speech of the Finance Minister in detail. Mr. Speaker, Sir, once again I thank the hon. Members for the interest they have taken for the welfare of the State. With these few words I resume my seat.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to seek on clarification. During the replies, the Chief Minister has also mentioned about the Flood Control in Garo Hills and he said that the scheme for Gijabari is still pending with the Government of Assam.
Mr. Speaker :- May I remind the hon. Member that this is not the question hour. The hon. Member from Nongstoin will have ample time during the next session. So, in the light of the Chief Minister's reply to the debate, may I ask from Mr. Pohshna whether he still insists on his amendment or he would like to withdraw it?
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, prior to that, may I make a brief observation? If wrong information inadvertently has cropped up in the reply of the Chief Minister, may we not seek clarification from the Chief Minister?
Shri Williamson A. Sangma, Chief Minister :- I have already replied to that.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Not on this point, Mr. Speaker, Sir. But if advertently a wrong information is given in some other matters, may we not seek a correction?
Mr. Speaker :- You may point out the mistake. If the Minister finds that there is really a mistake or wrong information he may correct such mistakes after verification.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :- Well, we can give them the opportunity to correct mistake.
Shri H.E. Pohshna :- Mr., Speaker, Sir, our Chief Minister has replied and we are expecting a real reply but I want only one information about Garo and Jaintia Hills border. I want to get the information from the Chief Minister on the tribal people living in these areas who want to join our area, and also in view of the fact that though the Chief Minister as the Leader of the House has gone to these areas.
Mr. Speaker :- The question is that whether the Government of Meghalaya will claim the contiguous areas inhibited by the Garos. The Government will take up the matter with the Government of Assam. It is an issue yet to be tackled by the Government. If I understood you correctly.
Shri H.E. Pohshna :- Then I withdraw.
Mr. Speaker :- Has the hon. Member leave the House to withdraw this amendment?
The amendment to the motion of thanks stands withdrawn.
Now I put the question. The question is that the Members of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled in this session are deeply grateful to the Governor for the Address which he has been pleased to deliver to this House on the 20th March, 1974.
(The motion was adapted)
Mr. Speaker :-- The House stands adjourned till 9 A.M. tomorrow the 26th March, 1974.
Secretary Meghalaya Legislative Assembly