Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held at 9 A. M. on Friday, the 28th June 1974, in the Assembly Chamber Shillong with the Speaker in the Chair.
Question and answers
(To which oral replies were given)
Mr. Speaker :Let us take up starred questions.
Starred Question No. 9-Not put, Member being absent.
Starred Question No. 10-Not put, Member being absent.
Starred Question No. 11- Not put, Member being absent.
Starred Question No. 12.-
Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill, 1973
Prof. M. N. Majaw asked :
12. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to state the stage the Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill, 1973, has reached ?
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) replied :
12.-The Meghalaya Residential Permit Bill, 1973 has been referred to the Government of India for obtaining the concert of the President. This is being awaited.
(To which replied were laid in the Table)
Mr. Speaker :Now, unstarred questions.
Training Services, etc, of the Gram Sevaks
Prof Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
96. Will the Minister-in-charge of Community Development be pleased to state-
(a) The type of training a Gram Sevak receives and the period thereof ?
(b) The number of Gram Sevaks in Meghalaya ?
(c) The number of Gram Sevaks in the State ?
(d) Whether a Senior Gram Sevak is entitled to promotion ?
(e) If so, to what post to posts, and after how many years of experience ?
(f) The basic pay of a Gram Sevak ?
(g) The basic pay of a Senior Gram Sevak ?
(h) Whether there are any vacant posts of Senior Gram Sevaks in the State ?
(i) The designation of the Officer who appoints Gram Sevaks and Senior Gram Sevaks ?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister-in-charge of Community Development ) replied :
96. (a)- Training relating to Agriculture, Livestock management Public Health, Co-operation, General Extension and Social Education is imparted to the Gram Sevak trainees. The duration of the course is 2 years. Another in-service training of 10 months duration is imparted to the Gram Sevaks who are already in service relating to Agriculture, Agri-Extension, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry.
(e)-Does not arise.
(f)-Rs.125-4-145-(E.B)-4-165-(E.B.)-5-200 p. m.
(g)-Rs. 140-6-170-(E.B.)-7-2-5-(E.B.)-7-275 p.m.
(h)-Yes. There are 3 vacancies one each in Khasi Hills, Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills.
(i) Deputy Commissioner.
Shri H. Hadem :96 (i), Whether the appointment has to go through the District Selection Board, Sir ?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Community Development) :All the appointments are to go through the District Selection Board, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :96 (h) : When will those vacant posts be filled up ?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Community Development) :We have to instruct the Deputy Commissioner to see to them.
Prof. M. N. Majaw : How can the Gram Sevaks be promoted if there are no vacancies ?
Mr. Speaker :That is argumentative.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :To which posts will they be promoted ?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Community Development) : Gram Sevaks can be promoted to the posts of Senior Gram Sevaks.
Reports on alleged adulterated fertilizers
Prof. M. N. Majaw asked :
97. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to refer to the modified replies to Starred Question No. 6. asked by Shri S. P. Swer on 1st April 1974 and state whether fertilizer experts report has since been received on the alleged adulterated fertilizer seized from the Shillong Co-operation Marketing Society Ltd. ?
Shri Williamson A. Sangma asked : replied.
97-The Hon'ble Member will please refer to the replies to Starred Question No. 6 during the March Session of the Assembly, 1974 in this connection in which the requisite information has been furnished in the House.
Shri H. Hadem :May we be refreshed with the reply, Sir, since the original reply was given during the last session of the Assembly.?
Mr. Speaker :You have to refresh yourself . We should not waste the time of the House.
Shri H. Hadem :Excuse me, Sir. But we have not received the starred question referred to in the reply.
Mr. Speaker :But starred questions have been received by each and every member.
Allotment of Standard Cloths
Shri Singjan Sangma asked :
98. Will the Minister-in-charge of Supply be pleased to state-
(a) The total quantity of Standard Cloths like dhotis, sarees, long cloth, etc, has been allotted for the State of Meghalaya?
(b) The mode of distribution of these cloths ?
(c) Whether the distribution of such cloths is confined only to urban areas ?
(d) If not, how many centres or shops have been organized or opened in the rural areas, district wise with the names of locations of such shops or centres ?
Shri Stanley D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister-in-charge of Supply) replied :
98. (a)-The total quantity of controlled cloth allocated by the Government of India to Meghalaya is 40 bales per month.
(b)-The distribution is done through Co-operative Societies.
(c)-No, It is meant for both urban and rural areas .
(d)-At present, nil.
Shri Maham Singh :98 (d), Whether the Government intends to open any centres or shop in the rural areas.
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :Mr. Speaker, Sir, it depends on the organisation of co-operatives societies.
Mr. Speaker :Does Government intend to open ?
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :It is still under consideration.
Science Classes in Jowai Government College
Shri H. Enowell Pohshna asked :
99. Will the Minister-in-charge of Education be pleased to state-
(a) Whether the Jowai Government College started Science Classes ?
(b) If so, the arrangement made so far to expedite starting the same ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State-in-charge of Education) replied :
99. (a)- No, Sir.
(b)- The North Eastern Hill University had been moved for permission to start Science Classes, and about a week ago permission was received.
Shri H. E. Pohshna : 99. (b). In view of the fact that permission has been obtained from N.E.H.U., will the Government start Science Classes from this academic year ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State-in-charge of Education) :Efforts are being to start classes in July-August, 1974.
Small pox epidemic areas
Shri Samarendra Sangma asked :
100. Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to state-
(a) The total number of persons who died of small pox in the State during the year 1973-74 till date ?
(b) The places in Meghalaya declared as small pox epidemic areas ?
(c) The preventive or protective measures so far taken by the Government in those places for complete eradication of small-pox ?
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister-in-charge of Health ) replied :
|100.||(a) - 1973 (calender year)||
. . .
|1974 (calender year)
upto 2nd June 1974.
. . .
|(b) Garo Hills District -|
(i) Phulbari and Bhaitbari areas in Selsella T. D. Block.
(ii) Mahendraganj area in Zikzak T. D. Block.
Khasi Hills District-
(i) Burnihat area in Bhoi Area T. D. Block.
(c)-Preventive measures or protective measures taken -
(i) Timely detailed epidemiological investigation and confirmation of diagnosis done for the individual small pox cases by Civil Surgeon, Medical Officer-in-in-charge of P. H. Duties and Medical Officer, Epidemic duties in the affected areas.
(ii) Notification of small-pox cases by District Health authorities.
(iii) Timely contentment measures instituted in affected areas by conducting mass anti-small-pix vaccination to the public and also so to near by and contiguous villages by National Small pox Eradication Programme Staff.
(iv) By conducting active house to house search for hidden small - pox cases for one week in every month.
Black-topping of Bajengdoba-Resubelpara-Mendipathar-Damra Road.
Shri Salseng Marak asked :
101. Will the Minister of State in charge of P.W.D be pleased to state -
(a) Whether Government proposed to black op the Bajengdoba-Resubelpara-Mendipathar-Damra Road.
(b) If So, when ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State in charge of P.W.D) replied :
101. (a) - Yes.
(b) - The work will be taken up after observing the formalities.
Site for construction of a stadium in Shillong
Prof Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
102. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to refer to the replies to Unstarred Question No. 92 asked by Shri Sanlington David Khongwir during the Budget Session 1973 and No. 67 asked by the same questioner during the Winter Session 1973 and state -
(a) whether a site a has now been selected for construction of the said stadium in Shillong ?
(b) If so, where ?
(c) Whether Government proposed to financially assist private parties for construction of the stadium ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State-in-charge of Education) replied :
102. (a) - No Sir.
(b) - Does not arise in view of answer to (a) above.
(c) - No Sir.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- 102 (a) Does Government intend to finalise selection of the site for the stadium as early as possible?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State-in-charge of Education) :- Efforts are continuing Mr. Speaker, Sir. But we cannot forecast how soon we will find a site.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- Was the Garrison Ground also thought of as a site ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State-in-charge of Education) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the hon. member had cared to go through the replies given in the previous session on this very question where we have then stated that Government was anxious to get the Garrison Ground. A reference was also made to the Army Authorities. But recently, when the question was replied to in the Winter session, 1973, we have received the reply in the negative.
Shri Maham Singh :- What are the site taken into consideration by the Government at present ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State-in-charge of Education) :- If we do not have to think of it, we would have got it.
Shri Maham Singh :- Besides the Garrison Ground, are Government thinking of any other site ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State-in-charge of Education) :- We are thinking of all possible sites where we can put up a Stadium. We are looking around.
Members of the Managing Committees of the Pine Mount School
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked
103. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to state the names of the present Managing Committee of the Pine Mount School, Shillong ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State-in-charge of Education) replied :
|Deputy Commissioner, Shillong||
. . .
. . .
|The Headmistress, Pine Mount School, Shillong.||
. . .
. . .
|The Civil Surgeon, Shillong||
. . .
. . .
The Bishop of Assam
. . .
. . .
|Shri B. Sarma, Legal Remembrancer||
. . .
. . .
|6.||Dr.(Miss) N. Chaliha, Retd. Supdt., Ganesh Das Hospital.||
. . .
. . .
|Mrs. S. Dutta, Dy. D.P.I., Women Education, Assam||
. . .
. . .
|Md. M.A. Islam, Conservator of Forests, Assam.||
. . .
. . .
|Mrs. Narmada Choudhury, Ex-Vice-Chairman, Shillong Municipality.||
. . .
. . .
|Asstt. Headmistress, Pine Mount School||
. . .
. . .
|Shri S.P. Barua, D.I.P.R., Assam||
. . .
. . .
|Shri K. Dutta, Additional D.P.I. (Hills), Assam.||
. . .
. . .
|Shri G. Gilfellon, Crinoline Falls, Shillong||
. . .
. . .
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Does Government intend to change Members of the Managing Committee who are from Assam ?
Shri D. D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) :Mr. Speaker, Sir, the question of reconstituting the entire Managing Committee is receiving active consideration of the Government.
Shri Maham Singh :What is the term of the present Member of the Managing Committee ?
Shri D. D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) :3 years.
Shri Maham Singh :When will the term expire ?
Shri D. D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) :The term expired on the 31st July , 1974 and pending reconstitution, it has been extended by D.I.P. until further orders.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Do these officers of the Government of Assam still occupy the same posts as indicated against the names of the Members of the Managing Committee ?
Mr. Speaker :On that a reference has to be made to the Government of Assam.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :But Mr. Speaker, Sir, since the reply has been given stating the office of the persons, we know that a few of them have been changed.
Mr. Speaker :This reply is based on the fact that at the time they were appointed they were holding these posts.
Shri Maham Singh :Is the new Managing Committee likely to be reconstituted ?
Shri D. D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) : I have already replied and the Government is thinking of reconstituting the Managing Committee.
Shri Maham Singh :How soon ?
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :As soon as possible.
Headquarters of the Ri-Bhoi Administrative Unit
Prof. M. Narayan Majaw asked :
104. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to state-
(a) Whether it is a fact that the final selection of the location of the Headquarters of the Ri-Bhoi Administrative Unit will be decided by the Ri Bhoi Durbar ?
(b) If so, whether the Government intends to consult only the Ri-Bhoi Durbar in this matter ?
(c) Where is the office of the Administrative located at present ?
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) replied :
(b)-No. But the view of the Durbar will also be taken into consideration.
(c)-The office of the Administrative Officer of the Ri-Bhoi Administrative Unit is at present at Umsning purely on a temporary basis.
Making all-weather Road to Chokpot and opening or Chokpot Sibbari and Chokpot-Siju Road.
Shri Jackman Marak asked :
105. Will the Minister-in-charge of P. W. D. be pleased to state-
(a) Whether it is a fact that the Government proposes to make an all weather road from the 12th mile of Tura-Dalu Road to Chokpot ?
(b) Whether the Government proposes to declare open the Chokpot Sibbari and Chokpot-Siju Roads ?
(c) If so, when ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State in-charge of Public Works Department ) replied :
(c)-As soon as the roads are completed.
Shri Jackman Marak :105 (a)-When Government proposes to make an all-weather road from the 12th mile of Tura-Dalu Road to Chokpot ?
Shri D. D. Pugh (Minister of State, P. W. D.) :The stretch from the 12th mile of Tura-Dalu Road to Chokpot is already an all-weather graveled road.
Water Supply Scheme for Shillong
Shri P. Ripple Kyndiah asked :
106. Will the Minister-in-charge of Public Health Engineering be pleased to state-
(a) The scheme and amount so far involved in augmenting water supply at Shillong ?
(b) The progress of Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme ?
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister-in-charge of Public Health Engineering) replied :
106. (a)-The Public Health Engineering Department have so far taken up three schemes for augmenting water supply to Shillong namely (1) Umkhen water supply scheme, (2) Crinoline water supply scheme and (3) Diversion of Crinoline water to Bara Bazaar reservoir from Barik at an estimated cost of Rs. 7.69 lakhs and Rs. 1.90 lakhs respectively.
(b)-The L.I. C. has agreed to give loan for financing the scheme and survey is expressed to commence shortly. Preparing of detailed map of Shillong for improving the water distribution system has been entrusted to the Survey of India.
Water Supply Scheme at Chokpot.
Shri Jackman Marak asked :
107. Will the Minister-in-charge of Public Health Engineering be pleased to state-
(a) Whether the Government propose to take up Water Supply Scheme at Chokpot ?
(b) If so, when ?
(c) The total number of proposed Water Supply Schemes in the State ?
(d) The number of schemes completed so far ?
(e) Whether Tura Water Supply Scheme has afforded good result ?
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister in-charge of Public Health Engineering) replied :
(b)-During the 5th Five-Year Plan.
(c)-Eighty four nos. of water supply schemes and one drainage scheme were taken up during the 4th Plan. All the 5th Plan Schemes are not so far finalised. During the year 1974-75 it is proposed to take up 74 new rural water supply schemes.
(d)-During the 4th Plan, 49 nos. of water supply scheme were completed and water is being supplied to the public. The lists of the schemes to be taken up during 1974-75 are laid on the Table of the House.
Co-operative Societies in the State.
Shri Parsva Nath Choudhury asked :
108. Will the Minister-in-charge of Co-operation be pleased to state-
(a) The total number of Cooperative Societies in the State ?
(b) The total amount of loan granted to them so far ?
(c) Whether the loans have been properly utilized by them ?
(d) If not, what steps Government propose to take in this matter ?
Shri Grohansingh A. Marak (Minister of State, Co-operation) replied :
108. (a)-One thousand and sixteen only.
(b) -The total amount of agricultural loan sanctioned by the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank Ltd. to the Agricultural Co-operative Societies for seasonal agricultural operation is Rs. 135. 50 lakhs. The total amount of other types of loans so far sanctioned by Co-operative Department to Co-operative Societies up to 1973-74 comes to Rs. 14,40,000,00.
(c) The loans have been utilised for the purposes for which they were granted. The financing back and other financing agencies obtain utilisation certificates from the loanee Societies.
(d)-Does not arise.
Shri P. N. Choudhury :108 (a)-Whether all these societies are functioning.
Shri G. A. Marak (Minister of State, Co-operation) :Yes, Sir.
Members of the State Sports Council.
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
109. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to State-
(a) The names of the members of the State Sports Council ?
(b) When was this Council set up ?
(c) The number of meetings and settings held in the last two years ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State in-charge of Education) replied :
109. (a)-The Notification Nos. SS/EDN 260/71/37, dated 26th October 1972 and No.ESTT. 9/731, dated 9th August 1973 are placed on the Table of the House.
(b) -The Council was set up on 15th December 1971.
(c)-The Council met two times during the last two years.
Shri P. G. Marbaniang :109(c)-When did the Council last meet ?
Shri D. D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) :On the 5th November, 1973.
Payment of pay, etc., of Enumerators on the 1972 General Elections
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
110. Will the Minister-in-charge of Finance be pleased to state-
(a) Whether the pay and allowances of Enumerators engaged in the revision of Electoral Rolls for the 1972 General Elections have been paid ?
(b) If so, when ?
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) replied :
(b)-In March and April, 1972.
Staff of the Pine Mount School.
Shri Upstar Kharbuli asked :
111. Will the Minister-in-charge of Education be pleased to state-
(a) Whether it is a fact that Pine Mount School, Shillong is a Government School ?
(b) If so, whether the teaching staff including the Headmistress of this School fall under the category of Government servants and whether they are entitled to pension benefits, etc. ?
(e) Whether it is fact that there are several posts of teachers which have been in existence for more than five years but are still temporary ?
(d) If so, why ?
(e) Whether it is fact that in the matter of confirmation of teachers seniority has not been taken into account ?
(f) If so, whether Government is taking any action to regularize such matter ?
Shri Darwin D. Pugh (Minister of State, in-charge, Education) replied :
111. (a) -Yes.
(b)-All the staff of the Pine Mount School including the Headmistress and the Office Staff are Government servants. But the teaching staff and house staff are not at present entitled to pension benefits, etc., as the posts have not been made pensionable.
(c)-Yes, Sir, there are 11 (eleven) such posts.
(d)-The School came under the Government of Meghalaya only when Meghalaya became a full-fledged State in 1972. Since then and until recently the matter could not be attended to. However, it is now receiving the active attention of Government.
(e)-Teachers in the Pine Mount School were confirmed against the posts they were appointed to. Teachers who were appointed against temporary posts were not confirmed.
(f)-Yes, Sir. The matter is under the examination of Government.
Shri Upstart Kharbuli :111(b)-Is Government still considering to make the posts pensionable ?
Shri D. D. Pugh (Minister of State, Education) :Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Dearth of accommodation/beds in Civil Hospital, Shillong
Shri Upstart Kharbuli asked :
112. Will the Minister-in-charge of Health be pleased to state-
(a) The number of beds in the Shillong Civil Hospital ?
(b) Whether the Government is aware of the fact that there is dearth of the accommodation /bed in the Civil Hospital
(c) Whether the Government is considering the question of sanctioning more beds in the Shillong Civil Hospital ?
(d) If so, the number thereof?
(e) Whether Government is aware of the fact that the doctors and the staff of this Hospital are overworked ?
(f) If so, what steps Government has taken to improve the situation ?
(g) Whether it is a fact that at present there is no qualified Surgeon to attend to Surgical cases in the Civil Hospital ?
(h) Whether it is also fact that a medical attendant to the Central Jail at Mawlai is deputed from the Shillong Civil Hospital in addition to his normal duties in the Hospital ?
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister in-charge of Health ) replied :
112. (a)-One hundred and fifty.
(d)-About 50 beds more.
(f)-The matter is under consideration.
(h)-There is no Central Jail at Mawlai. The S.D.M. and H.O., Shillong has been instructed to attend the Special Jail at Mawlai periodically in addition to his duties.
Pottery at Mendipathar
Shri Salseng Marak asked :
113. Will the Minister-in-charge of Industries be pleased to state-
(a) Whether action has been taken by Government to revive the establishment of the Meghalaya Pottery at Mendipathar ?
(b) If so, when will it start functioning ?
(c) Whether the Government has constituted a Board of Directors ?
(d) If so, names of the Directors?
Shri Stanley D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister-in-charge of Industries) replied :
(b)-As soon as the terms and conditions offered by the Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. (a Government undertaking are accepted by the undertaking.
(c) & (d) -As this is a private under taking constituting of the Board of Directors is in the hands of the undertaking itself .
Suspension of one Head Overseer in the office of the Shillong Municipality
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
114. Will the Minister-in-charge of Local Self-Government be pleased to state-
(a) Whether it is a fact that one Sanyal a Head Overseer in the office of the Shillong Municipality was recently suspended for alleged misappropriation of money ?
(b) If so, the total amount involved ?
Shri Sandford K. Marak (Minister-in-charge of Municipal Affairs) replied :
Mr. Speaker :Question are over.
Mr. Speaker :We pass on to item No. 2.
I may inform the that House I received an intimation from the Finance Department on the 24th June, that they propose to present the supplementary demands for grants and supplementary appropriation for 1974-75to regularize advances from the Contingency Fund taken during 1973-74. Therefore, in pursuance of Rule 230 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee was held on the 25th June, 1974 to consider how the new item can be accommodated in the calendar for the meeting of the Budget session of the Assembly which was earlier appropriation by the House.
The Committee decided that the supplementary demands for grants and the supplementary appropriation for 1974-7 may be presented on from the Contingency Fund taken during the 1973-74 may be presented on the 28th June, and the discussion and voting thereon and introduction consideration and passing of the Meghalaya Appropriation (No. III.) Bills, 1974 may be taken up on the 1st July, 1974.
I hope this has the approval of the House.
(Voices- Yes, yes).
Let us pass on to the next item. There is a calling attention in the names of Prof. Majaw and Shri P. N. Choudhury.
Shri M. N. Majaw :Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to call the attention of the Chief Minister under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to a news item published in the Shillong Herald of June 12, 1974 and 'Hindustan Standard' of June 11, 1974 under the captions (i) Smuggling through AMSRTC Detected and (i) Smuggling from Meghalaya Continues.
Now, Sir, the importance of this subject is very apparent in the first title under the caption 'Smuggling through AMSRTC Detected' standing for Assam-Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation. According to the headlines of the news item that appeared in the 'Shillong Herald' two trucks of the Assam-Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation were detected by the Supply staff of the D.C's office at the Mawlai Gate, and on examination they were found to contain the goods which were being smuggled illegally from Shillong to Gauhati, and most surprising is in the first case that these two trucks belong to the Corporation in which the State of Meghalaya also is a partner which has its sale monopoly over the carriage of goods along the Gauhati-Shillong Roads. There have been many occasions in the past when complaints had been received on the poor functioning of this Corporation. But one never thought that the Corporation or its officers would descend to such a low activity as to indulge even in smuggling. I make this statement in view of the fact that the goods were booked by the servants of the Corporation here at Shillong to be carried in an official manner as though this Corporation were including in smuggling and giving its blessings also to smuggling. Among the goods smuggled were also imported milk powder, and these goods trucks of the Corporation were used for smuggling. Secondly, the smuggled goods had even booked by the officers of the Corporation. We felt it very necessary to draw the attention of the Government to this and ask for its explanation.
Mr. Speaker :Mr. P. N. Choudhury, have you got anything more to add ?
Shri P. N. Choudhury :Mr. Speaker, I have only one point more to add. Sir, normally, these goods like rise and wheat and powdered milk were packed in gunny bas in the present case these were packed in tea chests as appeared in the paper report presumably to avoid detection. So, all these things were booked against proper official receipts. This presupposes that the State Transport authorities had a hand in this and the press report said there is an allegation that State Transport officers are also involved in this matter. This is a very serious matter which needs to be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken.
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :Sir, it is a fact that two trucks No. ASX-1946 and ASX-1773 of the AMSRTC were seized by the Deputy Commissioner, Khasi Hills, Shillong on 7th June 1974 and 8th June 1974 at the Mawlai Supply check-gate while proceeding from Shillong to Gauhati. Police cases No. 29 dated 8th June, 1974 and No.32 dated 8th June 1974 have been registered at the Shillong Police Station. The cases under investigation. In case No.29, dated 8th June 1974 one tea-chest box of atta and one tea chest box of flour were seized. In Case No. 32. dated 8th June 1974, 4 (four) tea-chest boxes milk powder were seized.
According to the report from the Station Superintendent, AMSRTC Truck No. ASX 1946 was sent to the party's godown for loading along with the relevant booking documents. 85 baskets and boxes of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables were booked for transportation from Shillong to Gauhati by one Khasi lady of Bara Bazaar, Shillong. This truck was seized at Mawlai gate and was found to have carried one tea-chest box of atta and one tea-chest box of floor. The party had declared while executing the forwarding note that the contents are fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. The booking of the consignment was done accordingly.
Truck No. ASX 1773 carried a consignment of 6 (Six) boxes declared to be fresh fruits as it contents which were booked accordingly. Four of the boxes were detected to contain milk powder.
It appears that the consigners themselves have declared the consignments as fresh and vegetables.
2. The Government is not aware that there have been attempts by unsocial elements to smuggle essential commodities outside the State. In view of the scarcity conditions prevailing in Assam, utmost efforts were made by the Government to foil and present these activities. This has had a sobering effect and has hindered the activities of these unsocial elements. It should, however, be conceded that it is difficult to ensure and arrange hundred per cent fool proof preventive measures. Attempts may be made by traders to transfer essential commodities from surp us areas to scarcity areas with a view to make undue profit. We, however, feel that we have achieved a large measure of success in that we have been able to maintain a adequate supplies within the State and a number of case (five) of smuggling were registered under Shillong Police Station.
It is now a fact that the AMSRTC imposed certain illegal restrictions on carrying of essential items from Gauhati to Shillong. What the Corporation has done was to enforce and maintain its monopoly operation in Gauhati-Shillong Road.
For the benefit of the Members, I will give the oases detected for smuggling.
Mr. Speaker :Is that also mentioned in this news item ?
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Supply) :No, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :In that case you need not inform the House on what is not asked for.
Now let us pass on to item No. 4 Minister-in-charge of Finance.
Supplementary Demands for Grants and Supplementary Appropriation for 1974-75.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to present the Supplementary Demands for Grants and Supplementary Appropriation for 1974-75 to regularize advances from Contingency Fund taken during the 1973-74.
Introduction of the Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :Let us pass on to item No. 5. Minister-in-charge of Finance.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) :Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to leave to introduce the Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :Now, let me put the question before the House. The question is that leave be granted to the Minister-in-charge of Finance to introduce the Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation (Amendment), Bill. 1974.
(The motion was adopted).
Now, before I ask the Finance Minister to introduce the Bill, let me read the message from the Governor.
"Raj Bhavan Shillong, dated
21st June, 1974.
In exercise of the powers conferred under Clause (i) of the Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I, Lallan Prasad Singh, Governor of Meghalaya hereby recommend to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
L. P. SINGH.,
Governor of Meghalaya,
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :Motion moved is that the Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 1974 be introduced .
(The Secretary, read out the title of the Bill).
(The motion was adopted and the Bill was introduced).
Introduction of the Contingency Fund of Meghalaya (Augmentation of Corpus) Bill, 1974.
Let us pass to item No. 6. Minister-in-charge of Finance.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to leave to introduce the Contingency Fund of Meghalaya (Augmentation of Corpus) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :Motion moved. Now let me put the question before the House. The question is that leave be granted to the Minister-in-charge of Finance to introduce the Contingency Fund of Meghalaya (Augmentation of Corpus) Bill, 1974.
(The motion was carried and leave was granted)
Now, before I call upon the Minister-in-charge of Finance to introduce the Bill, let me read a message from the Governor.
dated 27th June, 1974.
"Raj Bhavan, Shillong,
In exercise of the powers conferred under Clause (I) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I, Lallan Prasad Singh, Governor of Meghalaya hereby recommend to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Contingency Fund of Meghalaya (Augmentation of Corpus) Bill, 1974.
L. P. SINGH,
Governor of Meghalaya,
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Finance) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg, to introduce the Contingency Fund of the Meghalaya (Augmentation of Corpus) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :Motion moved is that the Contingency Fund of Meghalaya (Augmentation of Corpus) Bill, 1974 be introduced.
(The motion was adopted and the Bill was introduced).
(The Secretary read out the title of the Bill).
Now, let us pass on to item No. 6 (a).
Meghalaya Excise (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) :Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Excise (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :Motion moved is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Excise (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
(The motion was adopted and leave was granted).
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Excise) :Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Meghalaya Excise (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :Motion moved is that the Meghalaya Excise (Amendment) Bill, 1974 be introduced.
(The motion was adopted and the Bill was introduced).
(The Secretary read out the title of the Bill.)
Now, let us pass on to item No. 7. Prof. M. N. Majaw.
Meghalaya Land and Revenue Regulation (Amendment) 1974.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Land and Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :Motion moved is that leave be granted to the Member-in-charge to introduce the Meghalaya Land Revenue Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
(The motion was adopted).
The Member-in-charge to introduce the Bill ?
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Meghalaya Land Revenue Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :Before I put the question to the House, will the Member-in-charge explain to the House the principle of the Bill.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a an amendment to the Meghalaya Land Revenue Regulation which was adopted from the Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886, adopted first by the Provisional Assembly of Meghalaya and subsequently by the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly in 1972. So, the origin of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation goes right back to 1886. Now, in 1886 when this Assam Land and Revenue Land Regulation Bill was passed, it was passed with 171 Sections, and at the very time when it was introduced in 1886, the British Government then in power, has subsequently excluded certain sections of this Regulation from operation in certain parts of the former State of Assam which included the State of Meghalaya. This was made applicable in Garo Hills on the 4th October, 1928 and in Khasi and Jaintia Hills on 16th March, 1929. Now, in this Khasi and Jaintia Hills were included former Khasi States 25 Khasi States and when Government used the words Khasi and Jaintia Hills, it never included the Khasi States. The former Khasi States were excluded completely from these Hills in 1929 on the 16th March, 1929. Earlier in 1928, in Garo Hills about 99 percent of this Regulation was not extended, the sections that were extended to the Garo Hills, Khasi and Jaintia Hills were only sections 1 and 2, 69, 94 and section 144 (a). Now, that was the position only in the Khasi States. It is my contention and it is also illegal that when a regulation was extended to other areas, it was not extended to these Khasi States. In one of the Sections not even a title was extended to the former Khasi States. Now, in 1962 on the 9th June, the Government of Assam extended sub-section (2) and (3) of section 12 to the Khasi Hills excluding the former Khasi States, and as we all know, on the 17th August, 1948 an Instrument of Accession was signed on behalf of the Government of India by Shri Rajagopalachari and on behalf of the former Khasi States by the Elakas Chiefs.
Mr. Speaker : Do you know the date ?
Prof. M. N. Majaw :There were many dates. The Instrument of Accession was accepted by the Government of India on the 17th August 1948. A lot has been said on this Instrument of Accession. I beg leave of the House to bring it in this discussion because of the relevancy that it has to my Bill I have said in this Bill, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that if Government extends any of the provisions of this regulation to any of the areas formerly known as the Khasi States, prior consent of the Elaka Chief together with that of the Elaka Durbar should be obtained prior to such extension of any of the sections of this Regulation to the former Khasi States. Why I have had to bring this Instrument of Accession and why I have to bring this Amendment Bill is although the British Government did not extend any of the sections to the former Khasi States and although the Assam Government did likewise, low and behold, there was a Provisional Assembly in the year 1971 when the Meghalaya (Adaptation and Application of Laws) Bill, 1971 was passed, and this Bill states very clearly under Section 4, in this manner : As from the appointed day those laws mentioned under the second Schedule of the Amendment to which they have been subjected before the appointed day should be applicable to any parts of Meghalaya thereof on the adaptation as subjected to modification directed by the schedule itself stands repealed.
Mr. Speaker :I think Prof. Majaw, you are reading from the Act and not from the Bill.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :I am saying, that the Bill has subsequently become an Act. The proposal is like this : Many laws, and many acts that were adapted from the Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886 by virtue of Section 4 of the Meghalaya (Adaptation and Application of Laws) Act, 1971, the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886 was adapted and became an Act. Then there is the Meghalaya (Adaptation and Application of Laws) Acts, 1971 which was extended to the whole of Meghalaya and it is also shown under sub-section (2) of section 4 that as from the appointed day if such laws as are referred to in sub-section (2) in the schedule were applicable unless otherwise provided to the whole of Meghalaya except Shillong. It means in other words, that this regulation which had not been extended to the former Khasi States neither under the British Government nor under the Assam Government was extended in 1971 to all the Khasi States except those areas which fall within the town of Shillong as the Autonomous State of Meghalaya has no jurisdiction over the town of Shillong. Of course, in making the regulation applicable to the State, what happened was that a distinction was made between those sub-sections which will apply to the State and those which are coming into force at once. Now the sections that were applied to Meghalaya were section 12 sub-section (2) and (3) sections 69,94,144A, 147 (a), 147(b), there are also other Sections like 148, 149,150, 151, 154 , 154A as inserted and Sections 155, 156 and 157. It is stated here in this Act that this Act shall apply to Meghalaya and this alone has come into force at once except Shillong. Now these Sections deal mainly with the recovery of loans. Suppose the Government give loans, then how can Government recover that loan due to it as under this Regulation, it is stated that loans due to Government may be treated as a kind revenue that in lieu of recovery of the loan, Government is empowered to take over the lands and sell either movable property or immovable property in order to realise the loans given to a particular person. There are many sections under this Regulation dealing with this matter. Now all these were extended not only to the areas under the former Khasi States but also to all the Khasi areas. There is no distinction made in this Act excluding the former Khasi States and when applying Section 12 to the State of Meghalaya I would like to enlighten this House on section 12 sub-sections (2) and (3) which have been applied in this State in the sense over which no person has a right to become a proprietor, landholder or settlement holder under this Regulation. The State Government may make rules to provide for sub-section (2), the ejection of any person who has entered into his land and the disposal of any crops or any buildings or any construction erected without authority on such land. Now, I know that there is a contention of the Government to the effect that this Regulation only applies to Government land and does not apply to private land. Before I attempt to refute that contention, I shall furnish the historical part of it. My point is that after the Autonomous Government and the Provisional Assembly has adopted the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886 in 1912, this august House was presented with another Bill which subsequently became and Act called the Meghalaya (Adaptation and Application of Laws) (Amendment) Bill, 1972. Now this Bill, which becomes and Act had only one difference with the previous Acts it, the sense that the previous Acts did not cover Shillong and this Act covers Shillong. As far as Shillong is concerned, there were definite reasons, definite grounds for ejection of persons unlawfully occupying Government land, unlawfully occupying municipal areas. There are grounds and that is why in my Amendment Bill today, I have excluded Shillong. I have a statement of objects and reasons on page 2, that the areas of Shillong, however, will still fall under the Regulation because we adult there are merits in the case as far as Shillong is concerned. But when the Meghalaya Land Revenue Regulation (Amendment) Bill was first brought in the Assembly, there was also a statement of objects and reasons given by the Minister-in-charge and the said statement of objects and reasons was as follows :
"Before the creation of the Autonomous State of Meghalaya, Section I and Section 2, sub-Sections (2) and (3) of Section 12, Section 69, 94 and 144 of the Assam Land Revenue Regulation Act of 1886 were examined to the areas formerly known as the Khasi States "
This was clearly state by the Minister-in-charge in his statement of objects and reasons in 1972 when the Bill was brought in the House, that is the Meghalaya Land Revenue Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 1972. But he put the whole case in the negative, instead of putting the statement of objects and reasons in the positive. In the positive, it would have read, "none of the sections of the Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886 would be extended to the areas known as the former Khasi States. That would have been the way of putting it. But here we find that before the creation of the autonomous State of Meghalaya these Sections were not extended to the whole State. As a matter of fact, none of these Sections were extended to the former Khasi States before the creation of the autonomous State of Meghalaya. Even here when the Government stated or rather when the Minister-in-charge stated that before the creation of the autonomous State of Meghalaya, Section 2 was not extended to the former Khasi States. It means the whole Regulation was not extended, because Section 1 is the title and Section 2 is the extent . So the title and the extent were not extended to the former Khasi States, which means the whole Regulation was not extended. Then apart from the objects and reasons stated in the previous Act, (the Meghalaya Adaptation and Application of Laws) Act, 1971 had extended the Regulation to the whole State of Meghalaya except Shillong. So now in 1972, the Government came out with a clear statement that this Regulation had not been extended to the former Khasi States before the creation of the autonomous State of Meghalaya. Secondly after the creation of the autonomous State of Meghalaya, the Regulation was extended to the whole of Meghalaya with the exception of Shillong. Now this Bill is regarding the extending of the Regulation to the whole State itself and this is the purpose of the present Bill, that is to ensure uniformity of application of the provisions of Assam Land and Revenue Regulation which were were applied to the autonomous State of Meghalaya. So the position is very clear as far as the legal and historical aspect is concerned and from the point of view only about 10 percent of the Regulation was made applicable to the K. & J. Hills, excluding the former Khasi States and in 1962 of course, the Assam Government extended the Section for the ejection of people. Sub-sections (2) and (3) extend to the Khasi Hills and on a concession made by the Government the Regulation was not extended to the former Khasi States prior to the creation of the State of Meghalaya. Now I must humbly submit that the earlier Government were not entirely devoid of wisdom. In their wisdom they have though it fit not to extend the Regulation to the former Khasi States. What was the special reason that this Government thought it fit to extend this Regulation to the former Khasi States. What was the special consideration for doing this. As I said earlier it did not extend to Shillong, and so in my amendment Bill I also though it fit to leave Shillong and let it continue as was determined in the existing Act.
Mr. Speaker : I think the hon. Member must also understand that the greater part of Shillong falls within the erstwhile State of Mylliem.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :I will come to that Sir. I am talking in general. There is some anomaly of course. But as far as speaking in general is concerned, except for Shillong in all other areas- and we are not convinced why after having a full-fledged State why Government should think if necessary to extend this Regulation to the former Khasi States. Now there is a contention of the Government that this Regulation does not apply to private lands. It applies only to revenue lands or Government lands. So I am sure that most of the Members must be thinking -I could almost see it written in their faces - what is that so-called Professor talking about, that this Regulation applies to Government lands and private lands. As I said, Mr. Speaker, Sir, my contention is that this Regulation extends also to private lands. First of all, ask the wisdom of the earlier regime that did not extend this Regulation to the former Khasi States.
Mr. Speaker :Even Shillong' where the greater portion falls within the Mylliem State, this Regulation was applied.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :With the Municipal and Cantonment Limits Sir, it was applied. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Chapter 2 of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886 refers to the rights of the people over land. I may read from that Regulation, Section 4, and this chapter applies to all lands except the following :
(a) lands included in any forest which constituted a forest reserve, under the law for the time being in force (b) any land which the State Government may, by notification, exempt from the operation of this Chapter. That was done by the British Government and followed by the Assam Government.
Now, when the Autonomous State of Meghalaya and also this State of Meghalaya did not exempt any part of Meghalaya from the operation of this Act, it means that this Chapter, where you get the definition of rights over the land, applies to all the lands in Meghalaya. The Meghalaya Land and Revenue Regulation, as it stands today, applies to all lands, excepting the lands included under the reserve forests ..............
Mr. Speaker :It is a matter of interpretation.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :But I would submit very humbly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that when the words " This Chapter shall apply to all lands" are used, it is a very exclusive subject. But since the Government has not issued any notification excluding the former Khasi States it implies that this applies everywhere.
Mr. Speaker :In other words, Prof. Majaw, you want to bring about a difference between the former Khasi States areas and the so-called British areas.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :But the intention is to respect the particular tribal institutions. Mr. Speaker, Sir. In my statement of objects and reasons I have started: "The object of this Bill is to restore the extent and applicability of this Regulation to its pre-1971 position, while empowering the Government to make changes in Elaka areas with the prior consent of the Khasi Chiefs and their Durbars, out of deference to traditional tribal institutions......."
Mr. Speaker :I want to get myself clarified as well as the House as to whether you are aware of the fact that in the appointment of Chiefs and Headmen under the District Council the Chiefs of the former Khasi States and the Chiefs of those erstwhile British Elakas were brought at par. In other words, they have brought about a uniformity.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Mr. Speaker Sir, int r-se, yes, among themselves to be brought at par ; and even in the matter of appointment of dismissal of chiefs, we have definite ruling from the Supreme Court. One of the hon. members of this House himself fought a case and it went right up to the Supreme Court. I am not holding any brief for the personages of the Syiems or the Chiefs of Elakas but I still feel that this institution should be respected. When we fought for a separate Hills State one of the objectives we had in mind was to preserve our distinct cultural identity.
Mr. Speaker :In all the proceedings I find there is no difference. As a matter of fact, both sides of the House have expressed the same opinion.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :And, therefore, I hope they will agree to my Bill because the intention of this Bill is not merely to raise a particular Chief or the whole lot of them to some exalted position. That is not our intention. Our intention is to show that in such a crucial matter, even the omnipotent British Government, ruling over a huge empire, did not dare to extend this regulation to the former Khasi States and even the Government of Assam, with which we had to fight politically to secure for ourselves a separate State, never extended this to the former Khasi States. But how did the Government of our own dare to extend this to the former Khasi States ; how did they take that decision ?
Mr. Speaker :Let me try to put the whole thing in a nut -shell. Your contention in brining this amendment Bill is to respect the local institution but, at the same time, this House wants also a clarification. While respecting the status of the Chiefs of the erstwhile Khasi States, will you not also think of raising the status of those of the British areas which, at that time were more or less areas under the direct control of a foreign power. Is it not only the duty of this House or of this Government to raise the status......
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Certainly Sir. In fact that is one of the points I have written down. I am coming to it. We certainly do not oppose a change. I could have introduced a Bill. Mr. Speaker, Sir, today and could have proposed an amendment with a categorical statement that they shall not be extended. But I only put in two provisos and in the second proviso, it is written "Provided that the State Government may, by notification, extend any of the provision of this Regulation to any of those areas formerly known as the Khasi States in the Khasi Hills District only after obtaining the prior consent of the respective Elakas Chief (Syiems, Lyngdoh, Sirdar or Wahadadar) together, with that of the Elakas Durbars of those very areas to which this Regulation is proposed to be extended". The intention I had is that we will then talk to these Durbars or Chiefs asking them to exercise their democratic rights while taking momentous decisions affecting the life and culture of the people. Why not respect their democratic feelings ? Perhaps they would also agree to the same had the Government first consulted the Durbars and the Elakas Chiefs and then having obtained their consent and brought the Bill here in this House to which all of us could have agreed. But, I remember, in 1972, Mr. Speaker, Sir, when the Meghalaya Land and Revenue Regulation (Application and Amendment ) Bill was introduced, we had to fight and the hon. Member from Nongkhlaw also took up cudgels with the Government and demanded the original text and stated that the hon. Member, then the Minister-in-charge of Revenue, did not have a copy of the original regulation and he had brought only the Application and Amendment Bill and when we demanded, it had seemed that nobody had it in the House.......(Interruption)
Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I point our certain parts of this Regulation. I have asked earlier that Chapter IV extends to all lands, and when Section 12, Mr. Speaker, reads "In the case of any land over which no person has any right of a proprietor, land holder and settlement holder. " I submit that these are raj lands in the case of which no singular person can claim that he is the owner of the raj lands.........
Mr. Speaker :The community owns. There is an owner.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :But then, Sir, there is no single person-singular number -who has rights of proprietorship or as a land-holder or settlement holder. The State Government may make rules to provide for ejectment from unauthorized occupation in such land. Without authority on such land I submit, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this Regulation empowers the Government with dictatorial powers to eject the people from raj lands.........
Mr. Speaker :As you said correctly, even a foreign Government did not do that. How can you except a popular Government to do that against the wishes of the people ?
Prof. M. N. Majaw :But sometimes expectations become fact. Now, before, the autonomous State of Meghalaya came into being, this regulation was never extended to Khasi States but now it has been extended throughout the whole State without consulting at least the Durbars. Mr. Speaker, Sir, being an authority on our culture and tradition you know very well that we are a people who have good good manners, good manners ingrained with sucking milk from mother. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, with this tradition that we have got good manners, one would have expected that the Government manned by our tribal people would have gone to at least some people as mark of respect to consult with them about extension of this Regulation throughout the Khasi States. Even the British Government or the Assam Government did not do what this Government now is trying to do. What would be your opinion about this Government as if the lord so I impose the law, I am supreme in the State therefore I impose it. A Government can govern better and more happily if it does not take consent of the people at all time through the process of governance. Then the problem of the Government will be easier even in such crucial matters.
Mr. Speaker :I think Prof. Majaw, there is no need for lengthy oratory on your part to convince the hon. Members.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are Members who have been convinced but there are a few who are yet to be convinced. (Laughter)
Mr. Speaker :Prof. Majaw, there are many Sections which you have been explaining but you have not said anything about those two sections to which you really intend to bring an amendment.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :I am coming to that. As far as these sections are concerned, Section I was in to changed by the Meghalaya Land Revenue Regulation Application and Adaptation (Amendment) Bill, 1972 . The whole Section I was changed which reads as follows i.e., in place of Assam Land Revenue Regulation it would be Meghalaya Land Revenue Regulation, etc. But so far as Section 2 is concerned, a number of clauses have been enumerated in this Section wherein it has been stated that it will "come into force at once" in the whole State of Meghalaya. Here, I would like to add a proviso to the effect that 'It will come into force at once excepting the areas formerly known as Khasi States in the Khasi Hills District". Now under sub-section (3) it has been stated that the "State Government may by, notification direct that any provision of the Meghalaya Land and Revenue Regulation, with the amendments to which it has been subjected to, immediately before the 21st day of January 1972, shall extend to and shall come into force in the State of Meghalaya or any part thereof on such date as the State Government may appoint in this behalf and different dates may be appointed for different areas of the State'. Mr. Speaker, Sir, here I want to add a proviso stating that "provided of this Regulation to any of those areas formerly known as the Khasi States in the Khasi Hills District only after obtaining the prior consent of the respective Elka Chief (Syiem, Lyngdoh, Sirdar or Wahdadar). together with that proposed to be extended". Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the contention of the State Government which was expressed in the statement made by the Hon'ble Minister of Law in the earlier Session that the Instrument of Accession was a deal letter and he took quite a lot of pains in reading out the findings and rulings of the Supreme Court. But I submit.......
Mr. Speaker :It appears that the subject would be very interesting in a seminar of Common Wealth Parliamentary Association or Indian Parliamentary Association.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Any way, it is relevant here also. Now, may I submit with due respect to the learned Judges of the Supreme Court that those findings are only observations, i.e., dictum de dicto in terms of law. So, whether the District Council has the authority to appoint or to dismiss, the Supreme Court definitely gave a ruling to the relevant matter. But, whether the Instrument of Accession dead letter or not I humbly submit that the Instrument of Accession is not a dead letter. Now, I will support this contention of mine by quoting from the Constitution. Article 363 of the Constitution says- "Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution but subject to the provisions of Article 143, neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall have jurisdiction in any dispute arising out of any provision of a treaty, agreement, covenant, engagement sanad, or other similar instrument which was entered into or executed before the commencement of this Constitution by any Ruler of an Indian State........" Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the relevant5 words here in the first case "neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall have jurisdiction in any dispute arising out of any provision of a treaty, agreement, covenant engagement....." and this Instrument of Accession falls within this category.
Mr. Speaker :But the Parliament has got the powers.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :The Parliament has adopted the 26th Amendment of the Constitution and while doing so, it did not amend this part of it. This relevant portion of the amendment was brought in after the 26th Amendment to the Constitution and the third relevant part of this Article has been continued in operation. I may humbly submit, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this Instrument of Accession has never continued in operation. It was only continuing on Kashmir only to some extent. But barring Kashmir, the Instrument of Accession which was signed between the erstwhile rulers of the British Dominion and the erstwhile rulers of the Indian States. On 14th August, 1947 those Khasi States were absolutely independent.
Mr. Speaker :Enough has been said on this and I understand your contention is that these are the amendments you intend to bring in the body of the amendment, that is to respect the institutions of the erstwhile Khasi States in view of the fact that the Instrument of Accession that had been signed between them and the Government of India is still in operation. This is your contention, is it not ?
Prof. M. N. Majaw : I just want a closing argument Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the very important and relevant point. I may point out now to the constitution of the Chief of Elakas. All these Chiefs of Elakas were elected. I can find no example in this world where the former rulers were elected, they were elected either by myntris, the clan or by the people themselves whether directly or indirectly. That is the reason why Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel agreed to a provisional Constitutional Instrument of Accession between the Khasi rulers and the Government of India. So I say this was done on the basis of the will of the people or the will of the clans since they are merely the persons that can enjoy the rulership because of the hereditary practice. Therefore, I fail to understand why cannot this Government respect the democratic institution that is engraved in the Constitution itself. By adopting the amendment that I have proposed nothing will be lost by way of Ruling Party had depended upon the will of the public than to the will of the Government in so far as this respect of the matter is concerned.
Mr. Speaker : In fact, the whole contention is to respect the institutions. In that case, you can come forward with the argument to respect the customary laws of the land tenure system. But the whole argument which you have come forward is to respect only the Ri-Bam Syiem.
Prof. M. N. Majaw : Because the time is too short other wise I would have come to that. Obviously, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this land Revenue Regulation Act has come into existence in our State and the people are aware of the fact that this is the only area where no revenue is paid on land what so ever.
Mr. Speaker :Nobody would pay also.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :But Mr. Speaker, Sir, even though this Land Revenue Regulation Act has not so far been put into operation in our areas the Damocle's Sword has already been hanging over our people.
Mr. Speaker :You will have time to discuss this if the House grants you the leave to introduce the Bill. Now, I put the question before the House. The question is that the Meghalaya Land and Revenue Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 1974 be introduced.
(The motion was adopted and the Bill was introduced.)
Let us come to Item No. 8 Prof. M. N. Majaw to take the leave of the House to introduce the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg for leave of the House to introduce the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 1974
Mr. Speaker :Motion moved is that leave be granted to introduce , the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
(The motion was adopted)
Now, I call upon the hon. Member to introduce the Bill.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker :Motion moved. Before I put the question before the House, may I ask the hon. Member to explain the principles of the Bill ?
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Mr. Speaker, Sir, here I can be very brief and I am sure I have the sympathy of most of the Members of this House that it might be a matter of prestige, of course, on the part of the Government to accept it or not. But Sir, this deals with sub-section (4) of section 4 of the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Bill, 1971. This Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Bill, 1971, states that sub-section (4) of Section 4 is dealing with the permission required for the purchase of land by the non-tribal from tribal or by the non-tribal from the non-tribal. This has two types of cases. First is the purchase of land or transfer of land from tribal to non-tribal of which permission has been given under the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Bill, 1971. One of the most glorious sub-sections of the Act is that after an order is issued on an application for such transfers within six months, permission shall be deemed to have been given . That is is any order is issued within six months. Now, I would submit Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this defeats the very purpose of the Bill. The purpose of the Bill is to regulate to non-tribal. As a matter of fact, this Regulation of 1971 was brought on the floor of this House in order to fill up certain lacunae not allowing sub-section (4) of section 4 in accordance with the Supreme Court's ruling that the District Council cannot control or transfer land. A particular case was fought in the Supreme Court as to whether the District Council has got any authority under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution on the sale or transfer of land from tribal to non-tribal or from non-tribal to non-tribal. But the fact remains that the District Councils are not competent authority disposal or transfer of such land. Then, Sir, 3 to 4 months later, the provisional Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya passed the Meghalaya Transfer of Land Regulation Bill, 1971 which ostensibly aims at regulating transfer of land from tribal to non-tribals of from non-tribal by filling up the lacunae under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution where the District Council had been delegated with limited powers to transfer land or to control land in the State of Meghalaya and this is the reason why this State Government has come forward with this Regulation in 1971. The intention of the Government is to protect and safe guard the interests of the tribal community and to protect those areas from exploitation. Well, Sir, it had been the intention of the farmers of the Constitution as well to regulate to enact certain legal measures for protecting the interest of the small tribal communities. As such, it is something like shutting up of the front door and opening of the back door. (laughter).
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we know from our practice that we have had to hunt for applications and petitions lying with the benign Government. We know how long it normally takes for a file to pass from various grinding hands and fingers until we came to a fruition of the orders issued by the Government. To chase up for such petitions and then to bring them to fruition, of course, will takes a long time. The average time taken for a petition to come through all procedures laid down by Government from the lowest rung to the highest rung back from the highest to the lowest, is normally one year. My intention is only to remove this slow act and if the Government extends the period up to three or five years the file may get lost. Then if within six months an order is issued, it shall be deemed that permission is granted by the Government and that within this six months time, it is presumed that the file is disposed of. Otherwise, it may happen that the file may be missing. I remember one M. L. A. of Bihar Legislative Assembly once said that Government will reply that active consideration is taken by the Government and that they are actively searching for the lost file. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we find that files are misplaced or lost. It takes a person many years to deal with these matters.
Mr. Speaker :At the same time when Government say they require notice, a Member never gives fresh notice........
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw :That is helpless, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have just brought this amendment to deal with sub-section (4) and let this Act be silent about time factor so that the Act will operate nicely. Otherwise if the Act is not silent about time, then this sub-section (4) defeats the very purpose of the Act itself. So, I put my amendment to the House for consideration Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :I put the question before the House. The question is that the Meghalaya Transfer Land (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 1974, be introduced.
(The motion was adopted and the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 1974, was introduced)
Let us pass on to items No. 9. There is a pending motion which could not be completed in the last session which was moved by Mr. Francis K. Mawlot. I may refresh the memory of the hon. Members that in this particular motion Mr. Mawlot, Prof. Majaw and Mr. S. P. Swer had already participated in the last session, and at the time when Mr. H. S. Lyngdoh was about to rise from his seat to participate the time was up. Now Mr. H. S. Lyngdoh may get a chance to speak.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :Mr. Speaker, Sir, the need for appointment of more Sub-Deputy Collectors in the State is very great. We have heard on a number of occasions in this Assembly through the Cut Motions on P.W.D. side and also on Land Revenue when all hon. members have mentioned about the need of these Sub-Deputy Collectors in the State for speedy payment of compensation and indeed the need is very great at the present moment. Sir, in Khasi Hills District, we know that there are many land compensation cases pending to be paid to many people.
Mr. Speaker :Since it is a pending Motion resolution, most of the hon. Members have forgotten what they have already spoken during the last session with regard to pending cases of land compensation. Enough had been said and pleaded for the immediate appointments of Sub-Deputy Collectors to speed up compensation work. I think it is better that I call upon the Minister-in-charge to reply because there are so many motions which are to come up today.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :At least give me time as I want to speak only a few words on this subject. Sir, in order to refresh the House and the Minister also before he replies to it, in Khasi Hills we have only two S.D.C.s in connection with payment of land compensation. In my assessment we need at least 5 S.D.C.s and all along there was only one S.D. C. in Khasi Hills and now again he is being transferred. I do not know why Government has not appointed more S.D.C.s.
Mr. Speaker :May I remind the Members that appointment of S.D. Cs. and E.A.Cs is recommended by the Public Service Commission and in this connection, may I remind that the Public Service Commission had already advertised for these posts. I think I am correct.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :So, Sir, with these few words I conclude my speech.
Mr. Speaker :Now the Minister-in-charge to reply.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Revenue) :Mr. Speaker, Sir, on this question the House has had occasion to discuss in various forms during the general discussion on the budget and also by way of question right, from the previous sessions and also during this session. Sir, the other day during the discussion of the budget we had instances cited by hon. Members from all sides of the House of the long pending cases of compensation. There are cases which were pending for 18 years or 15 years or 5 years and so on. For those very very long pending cases-extra ordinary long - there must be extraordinary circumstances, may be because of legal problems or otherwise those cases are pending for so long. Nevertheless, we had noticed that there are general cases also, without being special or otherwise, that were long pending due for payment of compensation. The reasons are (1) just at present, when we took over the administration, we found a number of S.D. C., one L.A. O. under the Deputy Commissioner and one S.D. C. under the S.D.O., Nongstoin Sub-Division engaged in land acquisition and compensation cases in Khasi Hills. Then again, though we have the posts of those officers, we have only 4 at present in position, attending to various matters and therefore, one reason is that, we admit, that we do not have at present adequate number of officers even in the existing posts already created before. Another reason is the increase in Governmental activities involving land acquisition which is very very great during the last few years, e.g., the construction of roads, construction of dispensaries, construction of various public buildings for public purposes by the Government. Then again, the work for acquisition of lands for the needs of the Military, for the needs of the Air-Force and also some Central Government Agencies. The work undertaken had increased to a very great extent during the last few years. It is a matter of satisfaction, of course, that the work of development and administration is rapidly expanding, but the consequently problem involving this land acquisition case is also very very difficult for us. Then again, Sir, the interest nature of the Land Acquisition Act is very very complicated and protected process that there should be time for objections and time for hearing and so on which is also one of the reasons for the delay in the disposal of land acquisition cases. Of course, this is a Central Act which really is meant to ensure that justice in matters of dealing with land of the people is done. So we are all aware and we also admit that we have a very very serious problem of acquisition land matter in our State. So for this reason Government had taken one very special steps as on emergency, that is, the recruitment of officers now to be known simply as E.A. Cs., no longer as Civil Service Class I and Class II, but Civil Service officers and out of these Civil Service Officers, allotment should be made for revenue purposes, election purposes and so on. So. hon. Members may therefore agree that Government is not sleeping over the matter but has gone in for emergency recruitment as the Speaker has already informed. Advertisements had been made by the Meghalaya Public Service Commission and in fact the last date of application was 31st May. 1974. Therefore, we expect that the Commission will be able to recommend the names of the selected candidates as the Meghalaya Civil Officers. The effort of the Government to ease this very problem is that the C. D. Department has recently released two B.D.Os who were S.D.Cs to the Personal Department for utilising in the Revenue or in other departments, these are now to be posted and if one or both of them can be brought to revenue work. (At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and Shri H. Hadem, Chairman, occupied the Chair.) it also will help a lot to solve the problem. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in view of fact that the Government has made efforts and shown considerable concern and anxiety to solve this problem, and add in fact, taken steps to take other officers from other Departments for this work, that will really solve the problem to a large extent. The recruitment of officers through the Public Service Commission is already in good progress and very soon perhaps, before we meet in the next session, these officers must have been recruited. Of course, it will take a few months for their training and by next years, we will have quite a number of officers who will be seized of this problem and they will expedite the question of land compensation. So this is what I have had to say on this motion moved by the hon. Member from Nongstoin.
Mr. Chairman :So the discussion on this particular motion is now closed. Let us now come to special motion to moved by Prof. M. N. Majaw .
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the Statement of Accounts (1972-73) of the Assam State Electricity Board on the Table of the House by the Minister-in-charge on the 1st April, 1974.
Mr. Chairman: Motion moved, The hon. Member may start the discussion.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Mr. Chairman, Sir, this is no the first time that we have had occasion to deal with the somewhat pet subject of ours, the Accounts of the Assam State Electricity Board. I must say that although we have been informed that Government has taken steps to finally have its own Board, there are certain problems which will still arise because of the constitution of this Assam State Electricity Board and the relations between our Government and the Government of Assam over this Board. Primarily, we are concerned here today with the accounts.
May I draw the attention of this House Mr. Chairman, Sir, to page 4 of the Statement of Accounts where we are shown what the Board owes and what are its debts. There are borrowings from the State Government, borrowings from L.I. C., borrowings from N.E.C. borrowings from bonds, interest on borrowings, deposits, sundry creditors, liabilities and provisions and other liabilities. The total comes to Rs. 10,731 lakhs as the total liabilities of the Board and if we go into the details, we will be somewhat amazed to find at page 4 that the interest on Government loans flone by the end of 1972-73 was Rs.30,24,98,453.59 Paise an amazing sum of money of Rs. 30 crores on interest alone. Then we have the depreciation to the tune of Rs. 1,34,44,269.08 P. We the people of the State have adhere in this vast amount of money and the loans given by the Government of Meghalaya to the Assam State Electricity Board. Now, with the oassing of the Budget day before yesterday, the total amount of grant comes to Rs. 118 lakhs. Between 1970-72, we gave Rs. 25 lakhs, and 1972-73 Rs. 40 lakhs and in 1973-74 Rs. 15 lakhs and now we have come forward with the handsome sum of Rs. 40 lakhs. It makes the total of Rs. 118 lakhs given as loans I submit, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that this famous Board the Assam State Electricity Board has no courtesy or courage or power to return the loans taken from the Central Government and from the Life Insurance Corporation for so many many years. How can this Government expect this Board to return the loans given by the newest and smallest State in this country with no discredit to others States. How can this Government expect the Board to return Rs. 118 lakhs to us. When we have decided that we are to constitute our own Board we would like to know from the hon. Minister-in-charge whether with the setting up of this Board and the bifurcation of assets and liabilities are we going to get the money back. Every year when we met in the Budget Session we notice that handsome sums of money are given to this Board as loans. But I submit Mr. Chairman, Sir, that the absurdity of it is that the sum of money is wasted, I am not convinced in any way that this vast sum of money we have loaned to the Board is being properly utilized to the extent that it should be utilized. Have we in the State of Meghalaya any electrification by the Assam State Electricity Board or electrification schemes of such a large amount of Rs. 118 lakhs. Can Government enlighten us on this ? If we leave out this Rs. 40 lakhs, still there remain Rs. 78 lakhs. Can Government enlighten us how this amount of Rs. 78 lakhs has been utilized by this Board ? Surely the money that we have loaned to the Board was meant for this State and not for another, I presume so. But can Government show us the quality and quantity and the extent of work accomplished by this Board. Will it amount to Rs. 78 lakhs ? We remember, Mr. Chairman, Sir, long time ago before the dam was built at Umiam that we would be cooking rice with electricity at 8 paise per unit. So we should give our lands and paddy fields. We will not need firewood or kerosene any more, but we will get electricity at 8 paise per unit. But thanks to the Management of this Board that today in the interior, we are purchasing electricity at 40 paise per unit more than the charge of the Hydro Electric Company. Here in Shillong, we pay 31 paise per unit, and when in time, we pay 29 Paise. But the promise at that time was 8 paise per unit. That was the offer to our farmers in the Bhoi area. The Assam Legislative Assembly though very badly of the functioning of this Board that it went to the extent of setting up an Assembly Committee to investigate into the operations of this Board and it would make a very a entertaining reading to go through the report of the Assam Legislative Assembly Committee on this Assam State Electricity Board on the mal-functioning of it, on the disappearance of funds and on the non-existence of receipts and vouchers. In this statement of Accounts placed on the Table of the House by the Hon. Minister, we find at page 41, Annexure I, that no provision has been made for stock found damaged (Rs.19.61 lakhs) and stolen (Rs. 0.12 lakhs). Then revenues have been over-stated ; that is what the Accountant said due to excess billing and inclusion of interest on areas at compound rate. If we go further, at page 42 we find a very interesting reading. This is on the general comments on accounts. It says that the Board under took to maintain its initial accounts under Commercial System of Accounting with effect from 1st April, 1966. But the Board has not complied any accounting manual laying down the detailed procedure of compilation of accounts. We have a Board which does not have detailed rules on accounts. This is an amazing situation. Now are they going to function ? Then we see in the general comments on accounts that sundry creditors, ledgers are not kept upto date. The balances as per financial ledgers were not reconciled with the divisional records. Then we see another interesting item. Assets' registers showing full particulars of the individuals assets namely, location, date of commissioning, value, etc., are not maintained either in the Divisions or in the Head Office. Under the North Eastern Areas Reorganization Act, we are to share the assets and liabilities from 21st January this year. But an Ordinance was brought out and the life of this dying Board was extended upto 1975. When the assets, registers are not being maintained either in the Division or in the Head Office, I ask this Government how they shall be able to assess tomorrow if they do not have registers in dividing the assets and liabilities between Assam and Meghalaya . It had stated here clearly, at page 42 that the assets showing the particulars of the value are not found either in the Division or in the head office and then any registration of land has not been made and completed. So, the Government will not know which land and which building and whom they belong to. As lands had not been registered, so they could not be verified and so title deeds were not available. Further, we come to page 43. These are excellent reading for dullness. We have got money spent against many of the divisions but they are not reconciled and adjusted for years together.
Mr. Chairman :Which para is it ?
Prof. M. N. Majaw :Para G, small items of galore, in this again obsolete, unserviceable and certain assets have not been included. It makes a long and interesting reading Mr. Chairman, Sir. But the most important thing is that when you have total liabilities of 107 crores of which interest alone on loans from the Government are 30 crores at the end of 1973 - what it is today, God alone knows. I doubt if the Board has done something in this regard, but as far as 1973 is concerned, 30 crores is the accumulated interest. Now, Mr. Chairman, Sir, how are we going to share these liabilities and assets. This is the most important thing to be considered. I will deal with the activities of the Board later on. But now we are dealing with the accounts, liabilities and assets. There is no registered and the liabilities are a vast a ocean of money gone down the drains for which the Assam Legislative Assembly had appointed a Special Committee to investigate into these matters. How and on what basis this will be shared, and the North-Eastern Areas Reorganization Act clearly states that the assets and liabilities shall be divided. It means that we are going to have our own share of the assets and liabilities incurred by this Board for its mal-functioning for the corruptions in the Board, for wrong use, for wastage of public funds, crimes committed by other persons. For this, we will have to bear the responsibilities when these assets and liabilities are divided. We will not merely get the assets that come to us from 1970-72 only but we will get the assets right from the beginning. So, we have the vast liabilities to bear right from the inception of this Board, even before Meghalaya is created for crimes committed by others. We will have to bear in this little State of ours this amount. As such, we have often stated in this House why do you give the loans to this Board and we have also stated in the past, is it really necessary to have such a huge and vast Board particularly in the context of its functioning. I can speak certainly in a way of functioning. There was a determined proposal to set up the Umiam Umkhen Project but for the determination of the people thousands of paddy fields would have been inundated. Do you think people will eat fish and drink water ? We are talking about food starvation. The whole of last night and yesterday I was out in my constituency distributing rice sent by D.C. , together with his staff and people are starving because of shortage of food and paddy. Here the Assam State Electricity Board after ravaging all the fields of Assam come to us asking for our land. What whether our people will eat fish and drink water. Then, the tourist lodge at Umiam. How much are we drawing from this tourist lodge at Umiam by setting up the dam in order to provided cheap electricity for the poor man. I do not know why Mr. Chairman, this Board has to always look towards the Bhoi area for their projects which are being under taken. But I may say that the blood of the Bhoi people has been sucked enough. We set up one dam at Umtru and most of electricity goes down to areas outside Meghalaya and another one at Umiam and the areas in the Bhoi got very very little of that electricity. Most of it goes to other States. But the projects are generally to be located in the Ri-Bhoi. We are losing our paddy fields and for that our people are facing starvation for lack of food. I think, Mr. Chairman, Sir, in this great Umiam Umkhen project which is still to be implemented and money is being spent on investigation, may I point out that there are 3 stages. In the first case, about 5,000 acres of land will be covered and paddy fields will be covered and many lands and paddy fields will be inundated. Of course Government declare that it would not set up a Hydro-electric dam in the Tyrso Valley. I submit Mr. Chairman, Sir, that we are the servants of our people and our people are not prepared to give their lands. So we have to defend the rights of people. I was told in the last Session that the Project is only under investigation. I totally refute this contention. For this I even propose that an Assembly Committee go with me and see whether this is merely under investigation or under construction. I can say that it is no longer under investigation but under construction. I have taken photographs where the workers and surveyors are working tramping the people's paddy fields and their consents. What right has the Board to sent it people tramping the people's paddy fields under their feet destroying the food-grains of the people. I can say that stage III is under construction and it is no longer under investigation. You will find day and night workers are drilling and construction the dam. Now I invite the Government to go with me, if they are not prepared to go by road then by helicopter because the roads are not prepared and you will find that hundreds of workers are actually working and constructing this dam. They have not of course, crossed the inevitable boundary of Meghalaya which runs along the river in Mikir Hills of Assam side.
It is a part of the Project, what is called the Umiam-Umkhen Project and stage III was no longer under construction and they have come into our areas without the permission from the Goanburas or Headmen. They roamed about in the villages and destroyed paddy fields, but now they have been chased out as they were trespassers. But many times they came back and each time they came, they destroyed the crops while pretending to construct roads. They said that in doing so, they will give the villagers schools, roads, hospitals, etc., but out people would not accede to this bargaining. Has the Government ever told us that if we give them paddy fields they will give us schools, road, hospitals, etc ? In Mawsynram and Cherrapunjee no such condition is made that no paddy fields were destroyed before roads, schools or hospitals were constructed. Has the Government ever involved a huge loss in terms of food supply by allowing the construction of a dam at Sohiong where by such construction many of the paddy fields were under water and destroyed. Mr. Chairman, Sir, we have got another paddy field that is called 25 Lalungs, of course they are from Assam side. They came from this growing paddy are to bring rice to the Mawhati Bazaar, Nongpoh, Umden and they used to walk four or five days and they used to sleep on the way till they reach their destination. We feed ourselves, we feed our people with rice that came from that area at Umswai which is within Assam. But if the dam is constructed there as they have already taken up construction, these markets of ours will dry up. There will be no supply of rice. Can the Government give us the statistics as to how much of rice comes to these bazaars from Umswai alone ? But we who move in the area know that a considerable amount comes and so I would strongly recommend that Government at least should take a decision to completely cut itself off from the Assam State Electricity Board No. 2 that it pursues the Government of India to bring an amendment to the North Eastern Areas Re-organization Act which the State of Meghalaya shares the liabilities and assets and liabilities with Assam before that because these things are committed to the State before this is done. According to the North-Eastern Areas Reorganization Act, we are to share all the liabilities and assets which come to crores and crores of rupees.
Shri D. D. Lapang :Mr. Chairman, Sir, while looking to the account of the Assam State Electricity Board, we are also very much interested about the performance of the Electricity Board of Assam. Now, Sir, it is very much regretted to note that there is a slow practice in so far as the performance of the A.S.E.B. in Meghalaya is concerned. It is my contention to say that this is very much to our disadvantage that the A.S.E.B. is the joint concern where as the Meghalaya Government has nothing to do. When we see from the accounts and performance and from the outcome, our Meghalaya is simply without having any benefit out of this Board. Mr. Chairman, Sir, so far as the rural electrification is concerned, it has been noted in the report in the previous Session that a number of villages should have been electrified. Normally according to the scheme, about 30 villages are to be electrified. But if my memory does not fail me, only 7 villages have been electrified so far. We do not know where has all the money gone when only 7 villages were electrified instead of 30 villages. It is also regretted to know, if my knowledge does not betray me, that this Board never gave utilisation certificates to the Government or to the A. G.'s office. There is a very great manipulation in this department and we see that our Government is joining hands with this Board by extending loans and advances. As stated by the hon. Member from Mawhati, they have not shown any account for this programme meant for Meghalaya Hills Areas. In this way, money is manipulated and there is no actual performance in our Hill areas. The hon. Member from Mawhati has also stated that Rs. 40 lakhs have been extended during 1974-75. I would also like to refer that even in Stage No. 1 of the project they have take loans from L.I. C. and it has been mortgaged and the money taken is being extended to the Namrup Extension project which does not fall under the jurisdiction of Meghalaya and the mortgage is being done here and also another Project in Stage 2, also is under proposal to mortgage. I do not know whether they have decided or not that they will also mortgage for rural electrification of Assam villages and we are mortgaging this here also without benefit. We see that the repayment of this loan is due since 1972-73 but it comes to my knowledge that there is no repayment at all. So it is a great liability and we are not certain about the security and also the actual expense on this Project and in the few years to come, there will be great liabilities to our newly born State. I would also like to refer to the Electricity Duty Act, 1964. I would like through you, Mr. Chairman, Sir, to say that this Act is not to the benefit of our industrial units. This Act states that the rate of electricity will be charged at a minimum of Rs. 5 Per-Horse Power and that must not be done in a meter reading. Now in our hill areas there is one seasonal industry known as Bonemeal industry at Burnihat. But under the Electricity Duty Act the Assam State Electricity Board collects a sum of Rs. 5 as minimum charge for the whole year and the people have to pay this tax to the A.S.E.B. I would like, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that Government should look into this matter. Regarding the Controlling Board, we have got only one man from Meghalaya and that is the Secretary, Industries where as there are no non-official Members. There are 6 or 7 Members and all of them are not from our Government but from the Government of Assam, and as we have got no say they will look more to their own interest than ours. Here I can give a proof, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have given a particular notice to call the attention of the Minister tomorrow and the calling attention will not not give me scope to discuss anything about it simply to hear the reply of the Minister, so kindly let me refer to a letter issued by the Additional Chief Engineer, Gauhati. We know, Mr. Chairman, Sir that we have got no authority here and the order should be issued from Gauhati for our Meghalaya. It is told that it falls under that Assam Lower Circle, but we have got no say here. Here we have got the Chief Engineer's Office but we have got no authority and the order was issued by them from Gauhati on the 4th June, to our Industrial unit at Burnihat, that is the Plywood Factory. Sir, this Plywood Company had tried its best to invest Rs. 80 lakhs to start an industrial unit from last month and it has also paid Rs. 14,000 for electrification. But this A.S.E.B. does not serve the interest of Meghalaya. They have refused to electrify and not only that, they have refunded the money saying that they will not give electricity to the industrial unit at Burnihat. Although the Umtru Power House is quite near to the factory yet it has been deprived of the right for electrification particularly for the interest of the Bhoi people. So I am fully convinced that I will place myself in a false position if I encourage the Bhoi people to part with their land and paddy fields for this purpose. So, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would request the Government through you, to look into the matter especially the question of bifurcation which should be given topmost priority. We would like to see that this Board is bifurcated not only on the floor of this House but is done practically. We would not like to sail in the same boat any more with the A.S.E.B. When we know that it is a sinking boat in so far as the interest of Meghalaya is concerned.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the Motion. As rightly pointed out by the mover of the motion, the Government of Meghalaya have a share (financially) but we have no hand in the affairs of the A.S.E.B. We have got a lot of our share. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I want to know how much we are benefited by putting our own share in the A.S.E.B. It seems that the Government of Meghalaya is not aware or is not acquainted with the output and input theory. Mr. Chairman, Sir, we have given loans which amount of Rs. 1,18,00,000 to the A.S.E.B. Will the Government let this House know to what extent the people of Meghalaya have been benefitted by this loan. Mr. Chairman, Sir, before allowing the A.S.E.B. to construct this dam at Umiam which is known as the Umiam Project, there was also an agreement with the District Council that power will also be given to the District Council for distribution. Well, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I do not know whether the District Council has ever approached the A.S.E.B. for it or not as the rate is so high, higher than that of the Hydro Electric Company I think the District Council will not be able to offer this power to our people the rate of which being almost double that of the Hydro Electric Company. Mr. Chairman, Sir, how many villages in Meghalaya have been electrified from the Umiam project. In the agreement with the District Council, it is also stated that the District Council can grant lease for fishing in the lake. I remember some time last year, that it in the year 1972, the District Council has called for tenders for fishing, that means net fishing in the dam, and if I am not mistaken, the A.S.E.B. has raised objections as a result of which the District Council could not catch any fish from the dam.
Mr. Chairman :Are you sure there is such a lease executed between the A.S.E.B. and the District Council ?
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :Yes, Sir, there is an agreement between the A.S.E.B. and the District Council.
As the hon. Member from Nongpoh has said about bifurcation, I also fall in line with him. I want that Government should come forward with an explanation with regard to the bifurcation and why it could not be done so far. Even at this stage Government has not come forward with this clarification. Mr. Chairman, Sir, with these few words, I support the motion.
Shri M. Reidson Momin :Mr. Chairman, Sir, in the first place it is very unfortunate that this statement about the Electricity Board has been brought forward. I do not actually like to discuss it, but as the hon. Member from Mawhati who is also a member of the Public Accounts Committee, has brought it forward I feel that unless this statement of accounts has been examined by the P. A. C, this could not have been discussed in this House. However, since the Chair has allowed it, I would like to participate in the discussion regarding the working of the Electricity Board. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the hon. Member from Mawhati has accused the Government of inundating a large number of villages and paddy fields. But in order to improve out country or our State we have to sacrifice certain things. I do not know why the hon. Member from Mawhati has accused the Government and has spoken vehemently about that. He has said that Government is trying to deprive the people of their cultivable lands by inundating their paddy fields....(interruption)
Prof. M. N. Majaw :On a point of clarification, Mr. Chairman, Sir. The Board is not the Government, it is an autonomous body.
Shri Reidson Momin :Anyway, it does not matter, as one of hon. Members who has spoken before me said that there is something wrong somewhere in the working of this Board. I feel rather ashamed to admit that only one Thermal Power Station was set up in Garo Hills, i.e., at Nangalbibra and it has not been functioning well for years together. I was informed that previously the Nangalbibra Project was to give power of about 2 X 60 M. W. and that certain machineries had been installed there without any infrastructure. I think, if my memory does not fail me, it is about 10 to 12 years now and all these machineries; boilers, steam-pipes, etc., have become rusted to such an extent that they are irreparable , thereby the people have been deprived of not only power but also that this Board has wasted a huge amount of public money. Again Sir, talking, about rural electrification, the Nangalbibra Project supplies power to Tura also and then, on its way right from Nangalbibra down to Tura, certain villages have been electrified rather street-lights put up and I cannot say that those villages have been electrified because only a few numbers of bulbs have been lighted - I think the number comes to only 6 or 7 - but that too after a number of years, say, 3-4 years. Now none of the bulbs or street-light are burning. It is indeed a shameful affair and if one goes along the road from Tura to Bajengdoba or from Tura to Rongrenggiri or along the main line, he will find certain electric posts have deteriorated or so rotten that they are about to fall down . I have on previous occasions also spoken about these electric posts in Garo Hills but so far there was no remedy. So unless the Board takes note of this fact and replaces the posts, I am afraid, one of these days a serious accident is likely to take place in and around Tura or along the main line between the Tura and Nangalbibra. The again, it is a shame indeed that in Tura we sometimes do not get power because of power failure for hours together. I think some of our Ministers who have visited Tura had this experience and that inspite of reminding the authorities there has been no improvement. So, I would request the Government to look into this and try to improve the working of this Electricity Board and as the hon. Members who have spoken before me have suggested , we should do well to bifurcate this Board from Assam so that we will be having our own people and they will be benefited. Thank you, Sir.
Prof. A. Warjri :Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to take part in the discussion regarding the A. S. E. B. and its accounts as presented to the House. As I understand from some quarters, Government is already active on the question of bifurcation of the Board and I hope that this will come up very soon. It is high time time that this bifurcation should have taken place considering the benefits we derive from this Electricity Board. As it is now, I would like to know how many villages have been electrified, how much benefit we have derived. From the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister the number of villages electrified is nothing in comparison with the developments that have taken place in Assam, with respect to rural electrification, not to speak of industries in Assam. Regarding industries in Meghalaya, we have quite a few but even those few very frequently have to close down. I know very well, not to speak only of Khasi Hills of an industry in the Garo Hills, at Mendipathar, i.e., the Meghalaya Potteries, which has to be closed down very often because of lack of electric power or break-down of power. As a matter of fact, this power which could be brought directly from Meghalaya itself, has to be brought from the Thermal Power Station at Namrup. It is not know why this power cannot be taken directly from the source i.e., from Meghalaya itself. We know very well that power generated especially from the hydro projects is more constant than those from the thermal power stations. Essentially being a member and a representative from the town, I am much concerned with the supply of electricity in the town. We have seen the power supply service rendered by the Shillong Hydro Electric Co. Ltd. I went very often to meet the people of the Shillong Hydro Electric Co. Ltd. and their complaint is that there is not sufficient power being supplied by the ASEB. Now I would like to draw the attention of the House to a publication in the Assam Tribune of June1,1974.
"The ASEB serves notice to the Shillong Hydro-Electric Co. Limited on arrear of outstanding dues - The Shillong Hydro Electric Co. Limited which has been supplying electricity to the consumers of Shillong, is at present found to be in the red facing an arrear outstanding of 'about Rs. 30 lakhs to be paid to the ASEB and the Government.
Meanwhile, the ASEB authorities have served a notice to the SHEL mentioning that if before July, 20 next it cannot clear the outstanding arrear against the Nongthymmai Power House amounting to Rs. 14,10,883.96 till April 18 last, power supply to that Power House will be disconnected. The ASEB regretted that inspite of serving necessary steps to clear the outstanding arrear bill."
I am afraid, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that if this case is true that by the 20th . . . . . . .
Mr. Chairman :Time is up and you can continue tomorrow. Now, the House stands adjourned till, 9. A. M. tomorrow the 29th June, 1974.
R. T. RYMBAI
the 28th June, 1974
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.