Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative held at 9. a. m. on Saturday, the 29th June, 1974, in the Assembly Chamber.
Present - Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair-five Ministers, Two Ministers of State and Ten Members.
(To which oral replies were given)
Mr. Speaker :- (Not Put Member being absent).
(To which replies were laid on the Table)
States Buses in Meghalaya
Shri Plansing Marak asked :
115. Will the Minister-in-charge of Transport be pleased to state-
(a) The number of State buses in Meghalaya?
(b) The number of State Transport Buses playing in Garo Hills, Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Transport) replied :
115. (a) -13 (thirteen) buses.
(b) -3 (three) buses for Garo Hills.
2 (two) buses for Jaintia Hills.
2 Reserve buses as stand by for all routes.
Shri Jackman Marak (Chokpot S.T.) : How many buses have been placed in Khasi Hills?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Transport) : Six buses.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T. ) : What is the fate of the remaining 5 buses?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Transport) : The question was how many buses have been placed in Khasi Hills and my reply was that six buses have been placed in Khasi Hills.
Shri H. Hadem (Mynso-Raliang S.T.) : Does Government propose to increase the number of buses?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Transport) : Yes, Sir.
Shri D.D. Lapang (Nongpoh S.T.) :May we know the number of buses that have been indented by the Government?
Mr. Speaker : This is a new question.
Shri S.P. Swer (Sohra S.T.) : May we know the number of routes in Garo Hills where these buses are plying.
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Transport) : Two routes, etc, Shillong to Tura and Tura to Baghmara via Dalu.
Shri Dlosing Lyngdoh (Umroi S.T.) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, are these 13 buses in running condition?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Transport) : They are sometimes in order and sometimes they get out of order.
Development of Tourism in Jaintia Hills
Shri Onward Leyswell Nongtdu asked :
116. Will the Minister in-charge of Tourism be pleased to state-
(a) The steps taken for development of Tourism in Jaintia Hills?
(b) The amount of expenditure incurred so far on these?
(c) Whether any hotel has been opened in Jaintia Hills District by the Government?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Tourism) replied :
116. (a)-So far development of Thadlaskein Lake near Jowai Town has been taken up.
(b) -Rupees 31,220.
(c)-No. There is a proposal of Tourist Bungalows at Thadlaskein Lake and at Jowai during the Fifth Plan.
Shri H. Hadem :Mr. Speaker, Sir, what are the items for improvement?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Tourism) : I required notice.
Shri H. Hadem :May we know under which Department this improvement is done?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Tourism) : I required notice.
Shri S.D. Khongwir : Mr. Speaker, Sir, has the development of the Thadlaskein Lake has been completed?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Tourism) : Not yet completed.
Shri Dlosing Lyngdoh : When the Government proposes to construct Tourist Bungalows at Thadlaskein Lake and at Jowai?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Tourism) : During the Fifth Five Year Plan.
Shri Maham Singh (Mawprem) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, does not Government consider that one Tourist Bungalow at Thadlaskein Lake and another at Jowai would be too close?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Tourism) : It is a matter of opinion.
Extension of the Railway Line to Byrnihat
Prof. Alexander Warjri asked :
117. Will the Minister-in-charge of Transport be pleased to state-
(a) The progress of negotiation with Central Government for the extension of the Railway line to Byrnihat?
(b) Whether the Railway extension is conditional to the setting up of industries at Byrnihat or for direct supply of goods to Khasi and Jaintia Hills?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Transport) replied :
117. (a) and (b) -The Railway Ministry has decided to do a survey for extending Railway to Byrnihat. If there is a sufficient traffic it would be easier to persuade the Ministry to implement the scheme.
Taking over of Government Press, Shillong by the Government of Meghalaya.
Shri Winstone Syiemiong asked :
118. Will the Minister-in-charge of Stationary and Printing be pleased to state-
(a) The date of taking over of the Government Press, Shillong by the Government of Meghalaya?
(b) The total number of industrial staff presently working under the above Press (Community-wise)?
(c) Whether it is a fact that even after the Government of Meghalaya had taken over this Press, some members of the staff while drawing their salary from the Government of Meghalaya were still functioning as employees of the Government of Assam?
(d) If so, (i) Number of persons so involved?
(ii) Whether they are working in Shilling or at Dispur (Gauhati).
(iii) The amount spent for such persons?
(e) Whether it is a fact that the Government of Meghalaya had requisitioned 46 (forty -six) employees from the Government of Assam for absorption in the Government Press, Shillong?
(f) If so, whether all the persons were ultimately absorbed?
(g) If not.
(i) How many were absorbed?
(ii) The number of persons not absorbed and the reasons thereof?
Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh (Minister-in-charge, Printing and Stationery) replied :
118. (a)-21st January 1972.
(b) -The total number of Industrial staff presently working under the Government Press, Shillong (Community-wise), etc-
(c) and (d) -The Deputy Superintendent of the Meghalaya Government Press joined as Joint Superintendent of the Assam Government Press at Gauhati as a stop gap arrangement when the former incumbent retired. The other was due for promotion to the post of Joint Superintendent in the Assam Government Press as recommended by the Assam Public Service Commission but as he was willing to forego his promotion under the Assam Government, the Government of Meghalaya requested the Government of Assam to release him. Subsequently, however, as the officer was wiling to accept the promotion under the Government of Assam, the Government of Assam, if the latter are willing to meet the expenses of his salary from the time he joined the Assam Government Press.
Rupees 11,298 has been disbursed as pay allowances to the other between January 1973 to May, 1974.
(e) -No, Sir.
(f) and (g) -Do not arise in view of reply at (e).
Shri S.D. Khongwir :When the officer accepted the post in Assam Government?
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister of Printing and Stationery) :1st January, 1973.
Shri Winstone Syiemiong (Nongspung S.T.) :Was he paid from the Government of Assam?
Mr. Speaker : This question should have been asked by the Members in the Assam Legislative Assembly .
Prof. M.N. Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) : When the Government Press was taken over, was an inventory made for the goods taken over?
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister of Printing and Stationery) : I require notice for that.
Shri Winstone Syiemiong : Whether it is a fact that the Government of Assam requisitioned the services of 46 employees from the Government of Meghalaya?
Mr. Speaker : This is a new question.
Occupation of Tourist Lodge by Marriage parties
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh asked :
119. Will the Minister-in-charge of Tourism be pleased to state-
(a) Whether it is a fact that the Shillong Tourist Lodge is being used mostly by Marriage parties?
(b) Whether it is a fact that lately one marriage party from Calcutta occupied the whole Tourist Lodge as a result of which many foreign tourists could not be accommodated there?
(c) The number of tourists stayed in the Shillong Tourist Lodge in 1972-73 and 1973-74?
(d) The amount of rent collected form them?
(e) The number of marriage parties that hired the Shillong Tourist Lodge in the year 1972 -73 and 1973-74?
(i) The amount of rent collected from them?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Tourism) replied :
119. (a)- No. The Tourist Lodge was given to visitors coming from outside the State in connection with marriage parties on two occasions. They were also treated as tourists.
(b)-They were given only ten (out of 20 rooms) in the Bungalow. Not a single foreign tourist came for accommodation during the period in the New Tourist Lodge.
(c)-In 1972-73 - Not known as the bungalow was with Assam during this period.
In 1973-74-1,097 - From November, 1973 to March, 1974.
(d)-(1) Revenue from New Tourist Bungalow from 7th June 1972 to 31st March 1974-Rs.2,300 (Rupees two thousand three hundred).
(2) Revenue from Old Tourist Bungalow from 14th November 1973 to 31st March 1974-Rs.8,592 (Rupees eight thousand five hundred ninety-two).
(e)-1972-73 - Nil.
1973-74 - Nil.
(f) - Does not arise.
Shri H. Hadem : Does it mean, Sir, that marriage also come under Tourism.
Mr. Speaker : The question is about marriage party.
Shri H. Hadem : So, Sir, I am asking whether marriage comes under Tourism.
Mr. Speaker : As I ruled out last time, I should remind that when people come and registered themselves as tourists, what can the Government or the Department do?
Shri Dlosing Lyngdoh (Umroi S.T.) :Sometimes marriage party come by beating drums, etc.
Shri H. Hadem : That is argumentative.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Mawlai S.T.) : But the Government has categorically stated the visitors came to the Tourist Lodge "in connection with marriage parties".
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Tourism) : But that is on two occasions. It refers only to 1972-73 and 1973-74.
Prof. M.N. Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) : Since the Tourist Lodge was given to the marriage parties, they must have paid some rent. May we know that what amount of rent collected by the Government.
Mr. Speaker :Since this Question relates to the year 1974-75 the Minister-in-charge may not be in a position to answer.
Shri Stanley D. . Nichols Roy (Minister, Tourism) : I have got a ready answer.
Mr. Speaker : The Minister may have got a ready answer but I should not allow such answer which is not very relevant.
Prof. M. N. Majaw : It has been stated that on two occasions Tourist Lodge was given to the visitors in connection with marriage parties. May we know in which financial year that was done?
Shri Stanley D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Tourism) : During the 1974-75.
Allotment of Jeep to the Block Development Officer Songsak T. D. Block
Shri Choronsing Sangma asked :
120. Will the Minister-in-charge of Community Development be pleased to state-
(a) Whether Government has allotted a new jeep to the B.D.O. Songsak T. D. Block?
(b) If not, the reasons thereof?
(c) Whether the Songsak T. D. Block Officer has adequate staff?
(d) If not, the number of staff still to be appointed?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister-in-charge, Community Development) replied :
120. (a)-No. Sir.
(b)-Allotment of new jeep will be considered when fund is available.
(d)-Five numbers .
Shri Choronsing Sangma (Rongrenggiri S.T.) :Whether the Block, i.e., Songsak Block has got a new jeep.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister-in-charge, Community Development) : The Block has got a jeep but it is very old one.
Shri Choronsing Sangma : Whether the vacancies would be filled up?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister-in-charge, Community Development) : Certainly.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : When will it be made available to the Block?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister-in-charge, Community Development) : When the fund is available.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : My question is when the jeep will be made available?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister-in-charge, Community Development) : I cannot say definitely we have to place indents as we are not manufacturing jeeps.
Shri F.K. Mawlot (Nongstoin S.T.) :120 (d). What is the cause for inadequacy of staff?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister-in-charge, Community Development) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, because we could not find qualified Gram Sevaks and Gram Sevikas and also Social Education Organizer and Sub-Inspector of Statistics.
Shri Winstone Syiemiong (Nongspung S.T.) : What is the number of unfilled posts?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister-in-charge, Community Development) : 5 (five).
Shri F.K. Mawlot : (d), What is the category wise of vacancies?
Mr. Speaker : He has already replied to that.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister-in-charge, Community Development) : Gram Sevaks one, Gram Sevikas two Social Education Officer and Sub-Inspector of Statistics one.
Provision of Experts to the Meghalaya Public Service Commission
Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw asked :
121. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to state-
(a) Whether the Government has received any request from the Meghalaya Public Service Commission for expert to be present at all interviews of the Commission to assist the advice it?
(b) If so, whether the Government has provided the Commission with such experts?
(c) If not why?
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) replied :
121. (a) & (b) -Yes. Whenever requests were received, experts were provided by the Government.
(c)-Does not arise.
Shri S.D. Khongwir :121. (a) & (b), is it not a fact that at the time when the Commission was conducting the interview for the Garo Translator for the Directorate of Agriculture, a re-employed Khasi Office, has been deputed by the Government as expert to advice the Commission when this Khasi Officer does not know even a word of Garo Language?
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) : It is a fact, Sir, and it is unfortunate.
Shri S.D. Khongwir :Is it not a fact that the government sent an I.A.S. Officer instead of qualified and experienced principal to advice the Commission at the time when the interview was conducted for the posts of Principal in the Tura and Jowai Colleges?
Shri Williamson A. Sangma (Chief Minister) : I want notice for that question.
Tractors, etc, in the District Agriculture Office in Garo Hills
Shri Brojendro Sangma asked :
122. Will the Minister-in-charge of Agriculture be pleased to state-
(a) The number of tractors and bull-dozers in the District Agriculture Office of Garo Hills which are serviceable?
(b) The total expenditure incurred for maintenance of tractors and bull-dozers for the year 1973-74?
(c) Whether there is any practice to give tractors and bull-dozers to private parties on hire basis?
(d) If so, the rate changed per day?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) : replied :
122. (a)-Serviceable Tractors-9 numbers and Bull-dozers-2 numbers.
(d)-For tractors-Rs.21.00 for one harrowing per acre,
Rupees 39.00 for one ploughing per acre.
Bull-dozers-Rs. 48.00 per hour.
Shri F.K. Mawlot :122. (a), what is the number of unserviceable tractors?
Mr. Speaker : What do you mean by 'unserviceable' tractors'?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) :11 (eleven) unserviceable tractors, Sir.
Shri F.K. Mawlot : And bull-dozers?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) : One serviceable bull-dozer.
Prof. M. N. Majaw : (d), do these rates include P.O.L.
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) : Everything, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri F.K. Mawlot :122. (a), how many drivers were appointed?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) : I want to notice for that question.
Shri Maham Singh Mawprem : 122(b), what is the reason for this high cost of maintenance?
Shri Edwingson Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) : The high cost is due to the fact that most of the tractors are handed over to our Department by the Blocks and they are old, and replacement of a number of parts has to be done.
Shri Winstone Syiemiong : May we know what does the Minister mean by "everything" while replying to the supplementary question asked by Prof. Majaw?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, Agriculture) : It includes cost of P.O.L., pay of drivers and cost of maintenance.
Shri Maham Singh : How many condemned tractors and bull-dozers are there?
Mr. Speaker : He has already answered.
Shri Maham Singh : I mean the condemned ones?
Mr. Speaker : That is a new question.
Shri Blooming Shallam (Jowai S.T. ) : May I know the total number of unserviceable tractors and bull-dozers in the State as a whole?
Mr. Speaker : That is a new question.
Mr. Speaker : We pass on to the next item. Mr. Lapang to move his call attention.
Shri D.D. Lapang (Nongpoh S.T.) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to call the attention of the Minister, Power under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to an urgent matter of Public importance relating to the 'Non-supply of power connection by the A.S.E.B. to Industrial Units at Byrnihat'.
Mr. Speaker : When this matter had been discussed I do not know whether the hon. Member wants the Minister to reply to this point now or he will reply at the time when the Minister will wind up the discussion on the special motion moved by Prof. Majaw yesterday.
Shri. D.D. Lapang : Mr. Speaker, Sir, these are specific instances which are new points. So, it is better if you kindly permit me to say something more.
Mr. Speaker : I am only suggesting. The rule allows you.
Shri D.D. Lapang : Sir, in this regard I would like to refer to the letter issued by the Executive Engineer, Umtru Electrical Division, A.S.E.B. Byrnihat on the 4th June, 1974 in which he has stated that an amount of Rs.14,475.00 was accepted by the Board from M/s Meghalaya Plywoods. Here it is written that the same amount would be returned to the Meghalaya Plywoods Ltd. and in his forwarding Memo.to the Superintendent Engineer, Chandrapur Circle, A.S.E.B., he has stated thus : "As per verbal instruction of the Additional Chief Engineer, Gauhati all constructions/activities were suspended till further instruction from the higher authority. This letter was also forwarded to the Additional Chief Engineer, Lower Assam Zone, A.S.E.B. Ulubari Gauhati for favour of information intimating that this is further to inform him that all constructions/works relating to the industries in Byrnihat were suspended as per his verbal instruction on 18th May, 1974 until further orders.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, It is an admitted fact that Byrnihat area is one of the industrial areas accepted by the Government which fact is also very well known to the A.S.E.B. This fact needs to be brought to the notice of this august House that there are three industries proposed to be stated in Byrnihat viz., M/s Associated Beverages, M/s Jute Manufacturing Company and Meghalaya Plywoods. These are perhaps the first sets of industries in the State of Meghalaya where the local people will get the advantage of the benefit through employment and supply of raw materials to these industries. As I do not want to take much time of the House, I want only to bring these facts to the notice of the Minister with the hope that he will look into them.....
Mr. Speaker : It is a statement of facts and the Minister will have to make a statement on those facts.
Shri D.D. Lapang : This matter confused me very much. As far as the question of refunding the amount already deposited with the Board is concerned creates a lot of doubt in the minds of the people as it appears that the Board will not give connection any more to this Meghalaya Plywoods Ltd., which is just near the Power House. When the Company has invested a big sum of money to the tune of Rs.80 lakhs and when it cannot start the work for one or two months it means a great loss to the Company. The Company could have started its work but due to dislocation of power they could not do so till now. As a responsible representative of the area I take it to be a grave concerned and it should be taken up with all seriousness. It compels me to say, with due respect to the people that the A.S.E.B. is very much inside Meghalaya and I wonder at the attitude of this Board. I would request the Minister, through you, to take immediate steps in the matter. I would like the Minister to clarify the points raised by me and give some assurance so that these things will not have a bad reflection on the whole State.
Mr. Speaker : Now, I call upon the Minister-in-charge of Power to make a statement on this.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Power) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are three industrial units in the Byrnihat area of Meghalaya and their total load demand is as follows :-
(1) M/S. Associated Beverages - 200 K. W.
(2) M/S. Meghalaya Plywoods Ltd. - 500 K. W.
(3) M/S. Meghalaya Jute Mills - 350 K. W.
To cater to the above load demand, augmentation of the 33/11 KV Sub-station modification 1 extension or 11 KV feeder line is necessary. Preparation for augmentation of the Sub-station etc. as detailed above is under way and powers as per total load demand would be made available to the industries as soon as this work is completed, subject to peak load restriction from 5 P.M. to 11 P.M.
In the meantime these industries have been connected with the following loads for constructional purposes :
M/S Associated Beverages - 100 K. W.
M/S. Meghalaya Plywood Ltd. -15 K. W.
M/S. Meghalaya Jute Mills - 10 K. W.
Unfortunately, due to break-down of the Chandrapur Thermal station, there has been a severe load restriction to all consumers and no new connections were given to any. But in case of the above industries it has been decided that supply of power would be made available to them as soon as the augmentation of the sub-station of complete.
ASEB has regretted the issue of letter by Executive Engineer to Meghalaya Plywood Ltd.
Shri D.D. Lapang : Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I know when will the repair of the break-down be completed?
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Power) : The repair would be completed by the end of August, subject to a number of other factors.
Mr. Speaker : Let us pass on to item No.3 Prof. M.N. Majaw.
Prof. M.N. Majaw : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave of the House to introduce the Meghalaya Prevention of Begging (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved. The question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
(The motion was carried and leave was granted).
Prof. M.N. Majaw : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Meghalaya Prevention of Begging (Amendment) Bill, 1974.
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved. Before I put the question may I ask the Member in-charge to explain the principle of the Bill?
*Prof. M.N. Majaw : Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Bill which I have brought forward in this House is aiming at making the original Act i.e., the Assam Prevention of Begging Act which was adopted by Meghalaya Government effective in the State. As a matter of fact, this Assam Prevention of Begging Act, 1974 which is now called the Meghalaya Prevention of Begging Act is quite a powerful Act which gives sufficient powers being given to any Police Officer to apprehend any one found begging in public place. The Act also enjoins upon the Police that if anyone is found begging in public place the Police Officer should forward such beggar to the Court. The Act further lays down that the Courts would make enquiries to find out whether really the accused person had begged in public or not and if he was so found begging in public, he shall be sent to a certified institution. A certified institution is an institution where those vagabonds, immigrants and beggars are given some sort of shelter and training.
*Mr. Speaker : I think this House understands the meaning. But the only difference is the word "shall" and "may".
Prof. M.N. Majaw : I am coming to that, Mr. Speaker, Sir, but just to enlighten some of the hon. Members who might perhaps not know the meaning.
Mr. Speaker : But I think all the hon. Members understand the meaning.
Prof. M.N. Majaw : Now, as far as this State is concerned, there is no certified institution. And because there is no certified institution in the State, beggars are not apprehended. The Act states that if a beggar is found begging in public place, the Police Officer can arrest and send him to a Court. Then the Court shall hold an enquiry and on having found that he is guilty, it should forward him to a certified institution. But the main result could not be produced in this State because from the very beginning, we do not have more certified institutions for arrest of beggars in the State. So my intention in this Amendment Bill is to make compulsory on the part of the Government to either set up a certified institution of its own or to nominate and indicate some other institutions as an orphanage institutions so that that the Police Officer can arrest the beggars which are now found in large number in this city and other parts of the State. They are operating mostly in a gang, It appears according to some reports that we have received that there is a ring leader who collects all the earning of the beggars at the end of the day. There was certain interested party where the earning of beggars were concentrated. We can reduce the incidence of begging only by putting into operation the Meghalaya Prevention Act.
Mr. Speaker : Do you hold the view that once those institution are set up, they may invite genuine beggars to the State *where they can really serve in the genuine institutions?
Prof. M.N. Majaw : Yes, Sir, that is a right point. At the first sight it appears to be so but time demands that we must have those certified institutions of our own somewhere we can arrest the beggars and put them there. They should not have to work hard to earn this square meals in a day. But the fact is that the majority of the beggars are lazy. No.1 Many of them are hale and hearty but because of their laziness they beg. If they are put in any institutions they are compelled to work and I feel they themselves will stop begging and will go away from the State.
Secondly, Sir, if these beggars are rounded up, say, for example, on two or three or four or five occasions, the whole gang will collapse and the remaining beggars who are still operating as a gang will have also to leave the State. This is certainly a deterrent measure and I oppose this amendment Bill otherwise Mr. Speaker, Sir, while the Meghalaya Prevention of Begging Act is quite powerful it can never be implemented in the State. So there should be certified institution and beggars will continue if the act is not implemented.
*Mr. Speaker :You have not come to the point in which I want to seek clarification. Your contention is really a double -edged sword from the point of view of these really hale and hearty beggars, it is really very very essential to put them to task. But I say, whether it will not invite the genuine beggars who are disabled, dumb, deaf and blind to come more and more to seek refuge.
*Prof. M.N. Majaw : Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I point out that there are a number of cases even in Gauhati High Court when there are a gang of operators who catch young boys, maim them, cripple them, take out their eye-balls in order to turn them to pitiable spectacles and convert them to beggars. These are the people to form the gang and there are gang leaders who collect a big share of money from these poor beggars at the end of the day. So if we have a deterrent measures to prevent these maimed and mangled beggars and if we can lock them up, I hope we will be able to deter the other beggars also or at least the whole gang or the leaders of the gang to operate further in our State. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is pointless to have the Act when it cannot be implemented because there is no certified institution. My proposal is that the present provision of section 13 namely that the State Government may provide and maintain one or more certified institution at such places as it thinks fir, and may certify any institution to be a Certified Institution for the purposes of this Act. I want it to be made compulsory by the Government that they should have a Certified Institution and it that way I am confident we will be able to reduce the incidents of begging in the State.
Mr. Speaker : Now, I put the question before the House, the question is that the Meghalaya Prevention if Begging Amendment Bill, 1974 be introduced.
(The motion was carried. The Secretary read out the title of the Bill).
Now, Prof. Warjri to continue discussion on the special motion.
(At this stage, the Speaker, left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair)
Prof. Alexander Warjri (Mawkhar S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, yesterday I was referring to a news item published in the Assam Tribune dated 1st June, 1974 under the heading "A.S.E.B." serves notice to Shillong Electric Company Ltd. on arrear of outstanding dues ". I have read the first two paragraphs of the news appearing in the Assam Tribune and I would like to give some comments on this. As I have already said yesterday, it is high time that Government should not re-consider the case of granting license to the Shillong Hydro Electric Company Ltd. This Company has the monopoly for supply of electricity to Shillong Town and I understand that it will supply electricity within three miles radius from the D.C.'s Court . As it is at present, I think every Member of the House is also dissatisfied with the services rendered by this Company. I think the people within the Shillong Municipality which is under the Chief Executive Officer are also dissatisfied with the performance of this Company. I have also learned that hundreds of sanctions have been made by the Board for street lights but many too without bulbs. They have been reminded time and again about this but nothing came out of those complaints. There are street light posts which have been left for the last five years or so, without any bulb. For example, in the Hopkins Road where there are students' hostels and professors' colony, there is hardly any street light because no bulb are there. Time and again the Company has been reminded through the Shillong Municipal Board which is now under the Executive Officer and yet this Company has done nothing in this regard. There has been appeal also from the people of the Shillong suburbs for street lights connection, for example, in Lalchand Busti, Lawsohtun, Umpling colony, Nongthymmai and other places, but this company did not come forward to bring street lights to them. This company did not render any service to them although they fall within three a radius of three miles. Not only that, there are other things also. Whether our Government has got any benefit from this company and how much it has got so far from this company; I would like to know from the Minister-in-charge whether the Shillong Hydro Electric Company pays local tax to the Government or not. As I understand, Sir, many electrical goods were being brought from Calcutta and these are meant solely for the company. But these things are being sold by the company, as a dealer, to its customers without paying any local tax to the Government. Therefore, I feel that sales -tax, I mean local sales tax should be collected from this Company.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Power) : On the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is a special motion on the accounts of the Assam State Electricity Board. The Member who is speaking on a completely different company altogether which we have no jurisdiction or no account. Whether he is authorized to speak on the Shillong Hydro Electric and not on the Assam State Electricity Board.
Prof. Alexander Warjri : Yesterday, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I called the attention of this House on this news items and I was allowed to quote it and also there is that account which is connected with the A.S.E.B. So I took it for granted that it is well connected. May I have your ruling on that so that I can continue?
Another thing I would like to know is whether this company also pays electricity duty regularly to the State, and how much?
Shri Jormanik Syiem (Mylliem S.T.) : The point of order raised by the Minister-in-charge was whether the Hydro Electric company can be clubbed with the Assam State Electricity Board?
Prof. Alexander Warjri : May I connect this with the Shillong Hydro Electric Company?
Mr. Deputy Speaker : I request the Member to confine himself to the Assam State Electricity Boards statement and accounts.
Prof. Alexander Warjri : I have tried to confine within this but I cannot help it Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have to link it up as it is the A.S.E.B. that is supplying electricity to the Shillong Hydro Electric Company. As I understand, the major or the biggest load was supplied by the A.S.E.B. While the generation Station at Sunapani gives only 1200 k.w., the A.S.E.B. supplies 3500 k. w. and in winter it gives up to 4000 k. w. As expressed yesterday I am in favour of the bifurcation of this A.S.E.B. and pending that bifurcation, I think that something should be done in Shillong. Meanwhile, a kind of corporation - the Shillong Electric Corporation - should be established and nationalized. After all, it was the policy of the Government as far as electricity is concerned that electricity should be nationalized. It is not proper that this company should enjoy the monopoly for so many years. As has been mentioned here in this paper, this company has incurred such debts to the A.S. E. B. so much, because of the money sent monthly to Calcutta.
(voices- yes yes.)
A sum of Rs.29,000/- monthly is being sent to Calcutta. Why not let it stay here in Meghalaya?
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Power) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you have give your ruling on the point of order and yet the Member continues to talk something else and not on the Statements and Accounts for 1972-73. I would like to get a very clear ruling whether I am to reply to something which is outside the special motion.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : I would like remind the Member that the main point to discuss in the motion is to discuss the Statement and Accounts, 1972-73 of the Assam State Electricity Board as placed on the Table of the House by the Minister-in-charge on the 1st of April, 1974.
Prof. Alexander Warjri :Now regarding the point raised by the hon. Member from Mawhati, regarding the building of the new projects and other scheme for the supply of electricity or for the supply of power to the State and outside the State. I would like to give some comments on this. As had stated yesterday by the other Members and by me that the major benefit was not to be derived by our own people. Just now, we has a statement from the Minister that even in a place like Byrnihat, where there industrial units, power has to be supplied by the Hydro electric Projects from outside the State......
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Power) : On a point of order Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that was not the Statement. I would like to correct the Member that there was no statement that power was to supplied from outside, but the question was in the overall difficulty of power. It does not mean, that Byrnihat power was to be supplied from Chandrapur.
Prof. Alexander Warjri : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I stand corrected. Mr. suggestion to the Government is this. That we should not go in for a big scheme. We have so many falls, so many rivers within our beautiful hills of Meghalaya. Why don't we have small schemes which would electrify out villages and which will help the development of cottage industries and which will give employment to our people. Instead of going for these big projects, I would suggest that the Government should consider seriously about this proposal of starting these small schemes which I think will be more economical than these big projects. After all, our people should benefit first then we can think about others later. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, to conclude, I would first suggest that the A.S.E B. be immediately bifurcated, and that our own Meghalaya Electricity Board be formed, and we should not go in for big schemes but for small schemes. We look forward in the near future that all our hills, all our villages in these hills will be electrified. Thank you.
Shri W. Syiemiong (Nongspung S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as a matter of fact, almost all the points have been covered by any friend who spoke before me. So actually I have nothing more to say except on one particular point. That is, a kind of information that I would like to have from the Minister himself as to how much power is being spent on this State itself. I understand from page 34, the hydro electric that is generated from our State here, apart from the Thermal, the internal combustion diesel is to extent of 219 million K.W. H. and the total energy that is being sold outside is 334 million K.W. H. I want to know how much out of this is being spent; are being used in our State, because I understand Sir, a good amount of energy is being sent to Tripura, Assam, Bhutan, Nagaland, and even to Arunachal Pradesh. We are very happy because we have abundant source of supply so naturally we sent out side also. But first of all, we must try to fulfill our own State. I want to know how much we are spending or using in our State here out of this 215 million K.W. H. because it seems, as the hon. Member who has spoken before me said that even for the requirement of power by the Meghalaya Plywood the A.S.E.B. failed to supply. As a matter of fact, if all these energies are going to be supplied or spent properly, I would say that perhaps in the town of Shillong, Tura and Jowai we shall not be using any more fire-wood. As it is, our forests are bring depleted day by day because we have to cut and fell most of the trees for using in the homes. So when our energy supplies are abundantly available to the extent that power is being used outside the State, why not Government think of this not to electrify the streets but supply power to houses. As the hon. Member from Mawhati has already stated that in 1970-72, we are giving Rs.23 lakhs as loans, in 1972-73 Rs.40 lakhs as loans, in 1973-74 Rs.51 lakhs as loans and in 1974-75 Rs.40 lakhs as loans. Altogether it comes to Rs.118 lakhs, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we want to know apart from the achievements, what was the target at the initial stage when so much money is being spent for all these things. With these few words, I support the motion.
Shri H.E. Pohshna (Nongtalang S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while supporting the motion, I would like to say a few words, that is, the earlier the bifurcation of the ASEB the better. In doing this, I think the difficulties experiences which our Government has has in taking over the Shillong-Gauhati Road with respect to assets and liabilities will be much more difficult with the Electricity Board. Therefore, I think it is high time for the Government to take over and have its own Board and while sharing the assets and liabilities, we who are not mathematicians cannot imagine the crores and lakhs which our State will have to share as liabilities. The net loss on the last page of this book is horrible and it will continue to be the loss not to say about interest which will continue to be an arrest for years to come. If it is possible, we should have it right now-our own Electricity Board and we should also think about the new projects that will not involve itself in the expenditure of the present Board. The working of the State Electricity Board, at present, is very very unhappy. What is the use of having a common Electricity Board when there is no chance for employment of our local people. They are taking the power from our State, the areas are being used from the State, where as employment is always from outside. Therefore, I say that even from the employment point of view, bifurcation is a necessity. On the one hand, it appears that the Board is not having any interest in the areas outside Shillong and outside Assam. There has been failure of power in important days like Christmas and New Year in Jowai last year. Sometimes it is very very mysterious that we the people in the State while celebrating our functions, our big and great days, it appears that there is no interest on the part of the Electricity Board. It pains me that I have to say on that and I fully have sympathy with the Minister who, I know, is not at all responsible for all this failure. Last year while the people in Jowai are making merriment during the Christmas, all of sudden the power stopped. I do not know what is the mystery behind it. This sudden stoppage of power also happens always between 7.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. in many days of the year in Jowai. There is something wrong that the people are not happy. There was hue and cry inside the cinema hall because of sudden stoppage of power. Therefore, I would strongly support the motion that has been moved by the hon. mover. Why should the Minister-in-charge of Power take the blame of the Electricity Board which is not our own and why should we not take over it now before it is too late. I am afraid that accumulation of loss and interest will be there if this bifurcation is delayed. I think even the Minister-in-charge of Veterinary will also complain because it is reported that 2000 eggs that are being hatched at Umsning were totally damaged by the failure of power at Umsning. If it happens in the case like this, what about the hospitals. In Jowai Mission Hospital, they have two kinds of powers-their own and that of the Electricity Board because if anything goes wrong when the operation is going on, they can use the other source of power. It for the eggs, Umsning, the entire thing fails what about human beings, Therefore, I would request the Minister-in-charge of Power instead of wasting time to depend and get this and that information from the Electricity Board, it is better that Government should devote more time on the subject that the earlier the bifurcation of this Board the better. Thank you, Sir.
Shri H. Hadem (Mynso-Raliang S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in taking part on the discussion on this very special motion as moved by the hon. Member from Mawhati, I will not repeat the same observations made by him as far as figures and assets and liabilities are concerned. But I would like to stress on the failure and assets and liabilities are concerned. But I would like to stress on the failure of the working of this particular Department or this particular Company so far it is concerned with the amount of money given as loan by our State from year to year. And if we start right from the beginning, we could find that Government is always charging the people for the wanton destruction of forest, felling and cutting down of trees. You will find, Sir, that this Department not only wantonly destroyed or unnecessarily cut down the forests owned by the people, but did not even care to intimate the people that their trees will be cut down to as to use them for the electricity lines. And after doing that which also, Sir, instead of giving them the prevailing market price of tree is fixed at the rate of Rs.20, Rs.25 per trees, the ASEB paid only Rs. .15 P or sometimes Rs.2. per tree. But anyhow, Sir, our people are all along loping to get the benefit and they silently observe all the stages undertaken by the ASEB. But to our outmost distress we were surprised to find that we were not at all benefited. I would say that this is a fact. We all know that rural electrification is meant for rural areas, a fact which appears in the Budget Speech also. But it was found, Sir, that no benefit was given at all to the rural areas. In street lighting it was learnt that for the first four or five moths, it was to be given free at least for or five points somewhere on the roads but it was found that this is only a tricky promise; no where it was fulfilled and not only that, the street lights always failed. Sometimes during the time of taking our dinner, not less than four times a week, right from the start of taking out dinner, not less than four times a week, right from the start of taking our dinner power fails. Sometimes, the poor children will have to put the rice in their roses over, Sir. (Laughter) . This happened, Sir, and it is not a matter of joke. But this is true and it has been like that. Not only that, Sir, as my friend from Nongtalang had already said that during the Christmas -Festival or during the New Year Festival it was found that the power had been suddenly cut off. I may take this to be intentionally done, because had it been a break-down, it would not have happened frequently. But during the Kalipuja or other festivals, this occasion happen. I have seen from previous occasion, Sir, that the ASEB chose Sunday as the power-checking day. You know, Sir, what connection we have on Sunday. We use mikes for our church service and when the power checking is going on this particular day, we lose many good things. I may say, Sir, that the attitude of the ASEB as far as this power checking day is concerned, appears to be an anti-Christian policy. And over and above, Sir, we would like also to state that the transfer of the staff is so frequent within a year. This happened in my constituency at Mynso where in the same year I think not less than 6 times the transit was made. It so happens that there are some big losses in the Department who need the services of some of the best operators that they use to pay them so that these goods operators could serve them. Sir, I adhere to this observation and I hope that the Government will not waste time in taking over the administration as had already been expressed by the hon. Members that we should have our own Electricity Board Sir, you have probably heard the hon. Member from Nongpoh when he said that he was against the ides of opening up of so many factories in his own constituency, particularly in a place called Byrnihat. It was strange enough to see that as far as the free value is concerned, the ASEB said that they would be taking up the question with him. But they did not supply even the requisite power to one particular Industry, the Plywood Industry. Sir, to my utter surprise, yesterday, he was vehemently against that and today he brought a Call Attention Motion on that particular matter. Sir, I for one, would say that in dealing with this matter, the State Electricity Board will now do its best at least to show no partiality in distributing power to Meghalaya. I do not think that I will have to change from one stand to another stand. So, Sir, with these few observations I would request the Government to at least cut short their cooperation with the present Board so that we can have our own Board so that the benefit will not only go to some people but also to the whole of our State. With these few words, Sir, I feel that I have to appreciate the stand taken by the hon. Member from Mawhati for bringing up this matter for discussion.
Shri S.P. Swer (Sohra S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am glad that the hon. Member from Mawhati has brought this Motion before this House, and as many hon. Members have taken part in the discussion and also brought forward many points which demand the clarification from the Government. I also agree with many of the points raised by the Members about the performance of the ASEB.
(At this stage the Deputy Speaker left the Chamber and Shri H. Hade, occupied the Chair.)
But I also do feel that clarification be sought from the Government in respect of one point, and that is a very pertinent point which has been brought forward by the hon. Mover himself-that is about the loan given by the Government of Meghalaya to the Board. My question here is whether the loan is an investment towards capital capital formation or not. Why I ask this question is because on many occasions in this august House, the hon. Mover always urged upon the Government for capital formation of Assam but is also functioning for the State of Meghalaya, and we know also the fact that our State is carved out of composite State of Assam and it was there long before. And we know also the projects in our State which are under the administration of the Board, like the Umtru Project, the Umiam Project and Nangalbibra Project in Garo Hills; these are the realities which we have to take into serious consideration before passing any blanket remark against the functioning of the Board. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I fully agree that none is too happy withy the functioning of the Board. From the remark made by the Auditor , none of us, I believe is too happy with the functioning of the Board specially in respect of maintenance of accounts. Keeping of accounts of the Board as has been remarked by the Auditor, is really a sad affair. But as we know, even today many hon. Members asked the Government to expedite taking over to this statement of account there are so many anomalies that have to be looked into, and I think these are the difficulties that stand in the way or quick progress of bifurcation of the Electricity Board. This remark by the Auditor, in my opinion, should be an eye opener to the Government of Meghalaya before plunging into hasty bifurcation of the Board. Mr. Chairman, Sir, what I want to stress in this respect is regarding power consumed by the industries in our State. I have tried to see whether there is any provision showing separately the power supply to our industrial unit, but that is not shown. I think, as a suggestion in favour, we can urge the Board through the Government to see that separate units of consumption by our industrial units in our State be shown separately so that we can understand whether a separate Electricity Board of our own can function in a profitable way or not, otherwise if we have our own Board also it will have to follow the same was as the Assam State Electricity Board does. But, I do not mean to say that I do agree with the hon. Members who have raised the point in this August House that we should have our own Electricity Board, we should have it for our own State and have it properly managed . Having done so, we can provide ample employment to our people in the Board. As I said, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am very very glad that this Motion has been brought before the House for discussion. With these few words, I resume my seat .
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister, Power etc., ) : Mr. Chairman, Sir, I welcome the special Motion that has given us the opportunity to discuss the working of the State Electricity Board. Now the Member from Mawhati had expressed concern and amazement that large amount of interest is due to be paid by the Electricity Board and the question is how the A.S.E.B. will be able to repay the same. It is a fact, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that the amount of loan given to the Board had been large and the interest has not been paid and it can only be paid out of the surplus. The amount of loan has gone into investment in the various projects that have been established and it is only after the Board has earned a surplus that the loan can be paid according to the Electricity Act. There is a low priority among the charges of surplus-priorities No.9 and 10 under Section 67 and it is only after the Board has earned a surplus that the loan and interest will be paid.
A question was asked about the loan given by the Government of Meghalaya and I would like to report that the loans of Rs.78 lakhs that have been received by the Board so far, have been utilized in Meghalaya in the year 1970-71. As a matter of fact that the amount spent, the expenditure incurred in Meghalaya was more than the loan given in 1970-71. The expenditure incurred in Meghalaya for various project, capital and rural, electrification of Rs.46.65 lakhs, in 1971-72, Rs.48.31 lakhs, in 1972-73, Rs.78.97 lakhs, for 1973-74 the figures are provisional and the amount is Rs.33.1 lakhs. So adding all these, the total is more than the loan given. Now the member from Mawhati has remarked about one point, that there was no Assets Register maintained either in the Division or Head Office. I am informed that a Committee consisting of the representatives of the Governments concerned and the Government of India will be appointed to decide on the share of assets and liabilities.
Now the question of bifurcation which is to be done. This will be taken up according to the normal pattern of sharing of assets and liabilities of other State Electricity Boards that have been split, and this Committee would be going into this question. The member from Mawhati stated that the State Electricity projects are located in the Ri-Bhoi only and 5,000 acres of cultivation land have been inundated making the people poorer in that area, and very little power is supplied to the people of the Bhoi area. He also mentioned that the Umiam-Umkhen Project progress and how can the work be started without the permission from the Government of Meghalaya. The Umiam project, Stage I and Stage 2 have been completed and the areas submerged in Stage I, the maximum is 2,400 acres of land for taking over the areas, due compensation was paid to the people in that area and they have benefited from the roads which were opened and also due to the economic activities going on there. In the 2nd Stage, no submergence was involved. The area was full of jungle and this area has been opened up by good roads which has benefited the people of the area. Similarly in the Kyrdemkulai Project are also very little area would get submerged under it reservoirs. The opening resources are being utilized now by the people. No work has been commenced in the Umiam-Umkhen area. In fact, even, even the investigation work in the Meghalaya portion has been suspended following objections. Only investigation work in the Assam portion is in progress. The actual project work cannot be taken up till the Meghalaya Government agrees to the implementation of the project.
Now a question was asked about rural electrification and the number of villages electrified. Year-wise, the number of village electrified are :-
Regarding utilisation certificate, this has not been submitted to the Government as yet. Then the member from Nongpoh had mentioned about the loans and mortgages and so on. Expenditure on plan works is financed by borrowings from the market loans from the Government and loans from L.I. C. and the Board's internal resources.
Now regarding one question asked by the member from Nongpoh as to way the State Electricity Board has to provide security for the loans to the Government. Furnishing of security by the Board for the Government loan is not prescribed by Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948. Also a question was asked about electricity duty and the manner in which it was taken from the small scale industries. Electricity duty in Meghalaya is realized as per Meghalaya Electricity Duty Act. A question was also asked about the supply of electricity to the Meghalaya Plywood Ltd. This was already stated that it will be looked into and supply will be given to the industrialists who have started industries in the Byrnihat area.
A question was asked about the Barapani lake and the agreement with the District Council. The member from Nongstoin had referred to this. There was an agreement with the District Council signed on 14th August 1971. The fishery right over the Umiam lake was handed over to the District Council vide Sub-clause 2 (viii) of the agreement except in areas as specified in Sub-clause 2(viii) (e) where fishing was prohibited as a security measure. After the execution of the agreement the District Council issued a tender notice vide Memo No.DC.XXXII/f/3/37/328, dated 4th February 1972 for settlement of the fishery. Another tender notice was issued in October 1972 and again in February 1973. On receipt of these notices, the Board had not made any objection, but had only co-operated with the District Council by forwarding a copy of the notices to the Chief Engineer and Executive Engineer, Barapani. The Board had not at any time raised any question about the fishery right of the District Council.
The Board has executed no agreement with the District Council in respect any fishery right on the Umtru lake. Nevertheless, the Board had never raised any question on the fishery right to the District Council; it has only requested the District Council to modify the description of the mahals in their notice, in the interest of the safety of the dam and power house. This request had not, however, been compiled with by the District Council and their subsequent notices still carried the same description.
The member from Nongstoin wanted to know the number of villages that have been electrified so far, the number is 139 villages.
Shri Reidson Momin had made a reference to machinery and pipes at Nangalbibra and about the electricity poles between Nangalbibra and Tura, that were rotten and require replacement, and the non-functioning of street lighting in some villages. Regarding the old vehicles which are in the yard in Nangalbibra, these will be disposed of by auction together with the condemned materials. Steps are also taken for replacing all the electric poles and bulbs.
A question was raised by the hon. Member from Mawkhar about the arrear of about Rs.30 lakhs due to the State Electricity Board and he has also referred to frequent failure in power supply. He also wanted to know why the Umiam-Umkhen Project has not been started by the Government. As stated earlier, regarding the arrear bills of the Shillong Hydro-Electric Company, the arrear this Company owes to the Electricity Board is to the tune of Rs.15,31,940. "The Board, on 9th February 1974, decided that the Company should pay 50 percent of the arrear power bill by April., 1974, in 3 installments, failing which disconnection notice should be issued. When the Company failed to make a payment, disconnection notice was issued by the Executive Engineer, Shillong Electrical Division, to the Company. The actual disconnection in fact is done only with the approval of the Chairman. In this case, the matter, for actual disconnection has not been put up to Chairman. In the meantime, the Managing Director, Shri. S. Roy by a D. O. letter to the Chairman, has requested for further time to make payment. The whole matter has again been placed before the Board and its decision is being awaited. In this connection, it may be pointed out that the Board is authorised to issue such notices under Section 24 of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910".
Then Mr. Chairman, Sir, this morning the hon. Member from Mawhati had suggested that we should go in for small projects- what is known in the trade as Micro-Hydel Projects and not big projects, which would give better benefits and would be less expensive. Normally, small hydro electric schemes are comparatively costlier per kilowatt than the larger projects. Besides, when there is a fast rate of load growth, it would not be possible to meet the demand by taking up small projects, which would take almost as much time as bigger projects for construction. However, each hydel project requires to be studied for evaluation of its cost. As an example, the Umiam Project's cost of power is about 9 Paise per unit, while a bigger project like Umiam-Umkhen would produce power as a cost of about 6 paise per unit as estimated. So each project has its own cost and it would have to be evaluated but, by and large, small schemes are costlier than the bigger schemes per kilowatt. Now, another hon. member wanted to know the total amount of load in Meghalaya as compared to other States. The peak-load is 12 million K.W. and the yearly consumption is 75 million K. w. hours. A question was also raised about loans and what they are used for. These are used on Plan schemes in Meghalaya for capital works. Mr. Chairman, Sir, a suggestion - it was quite an ingenious suggestion was made by the hon. member from Mawhati that we should demand the division of assets and liabilities of the Electricity Board, when we go for bifurcation, only from 1970 onwards. Perhaps, the hon. member has not realized the implication. If the division of assets and liabilities is made only from 1970, that all the projects, which are now in Meghalaya, could not be divided. The fact is that, according to the rules and normal procedures of division, all the assets that physically within the State normally go to the Board of that State and there should be not too much difficulty in the division of assets and liabilities. Whatever, assets are there, we can be sure that the liabilities will be associated with the assets because we have 2-3 hydro electric projects in the State which would would normally come to us along with whatever had been spent on these assets. All the members had stressed the need for an early bifurcation and we had already announced and informed that this bifurcation that this bifurcation is now being done and we are in the process of getting personnel to men the Meghalaya State Electricity Board. The hon. member from Nongtalang had made a rather caustic remark including the hon. member from Mynso about the failure of power on festive occasions as if it had been done intentionally. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I cannot really have any suspicion on the personnel of the State Electricity Board that this would be done intentionally. Let me suggest, however, from practical experience that often during the festivals, higher connections or more connections are made for giving lights to various festival areas and, sometimes, the lines are over-loaded. It may be that, that is one of the reasons. It is unfortunate that in such important festivals power failure would recur but to suggest that it is done intentionally, I think, it is going a little too far. I will, however, Mr. Chairman, Sir, request the people in charge of supplying power to make special efforts and to put a maintenance man in the spot so that important festivals like Christmas and New Year, which are important events of the people of the State, are not disturbed.
The hon. Member from Nongtalang had made a reference to the 2 thousand eggs that had spoiled. It is very unfortunate that because of power failure eggs had been spoiled and there would be considerable loss to the poultry farm. This has happened more than once and it has been brought to me attention of the Executive Engineers of the A.S.E.B. I myself, when I was in-charge of Veterinary and inspected the poultry farm at Umsning I found it out and suggested that, in addition to the line and equipments being put in order, a stand-by power plant should be installed at such important institutions like the poultry farm. But power failure often recurs on no fault of the staff of the Electricity Board. That also the member should be very clear that power failure often occurs due to break-down of equipments or lightning which is prevalent in this State of Meghalaya and that there are other factors which are not under the control of the staff. But the maintenance crew should see that power failure is corrected. The hon. Member from Mynso Raliang had referred to wanton cutting down of trees and also that the cutting down of trees is done without intimating the owners. This is really very unfortunate that such things had happened. We will again lay down very strict instructions to the Electricity Board that they are not to cut down trees belonging to the people owning the land without proper intimation and going through proper procedures.
Regarding bulbs and street lights and also failures, I may assure that these are being taken up with the State Electricity Board and will be corrected. Reference was made by the hon. Member from Mynso Raliang that choice of Sunday was an act of anti-Christian policy. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very sorry that I cannot agree with his contention. The choice of Sunday has been selected by the State Electricity board because it is the only day which is free day for the Government, industries and most of the institutions. Therefore, shutting of power would make inconvenience to a very few and as such this day is more suitable for regular maintenance. Had they chosen any other working day, then, many institutions would have been affected. It is unfortunate that it affects certain religious functions. Nevertheless, it is not in pursuance of anti-Christian policy in any way. Also I do agree with the hon. Member from Cherrapunjee who suggested that some remarks of the Auditor General on some of the affairs of the account will stand in the way of smooth bifurcation. Whatever, the situation may be, I do not agree that it will stand in the way of bifurcation. This is a matter of finding out the correct personnel and a number of other things. However, it is a matter of regret that we have not been able to separate uptil now, as I said, earlier. Anyway, it is in the process and I would like to assure that by the end of the year the process will be completed. The hon. Member from Cherrapunjee has requested to show separately the utilisation of power in our State as well as in our industries. As I said earlier, this can be calculated and it will be considered as to whether it should be shown separately in the document of accounts of the State Electricity Board. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think I have already touched almost all the points raised by different hon. Members but the point which I would like to deal a little elaborately of the hon. Member from Mawhati. It is true that certain amount of land, not to the extent of what he stated, has been submerged on setting up of the hydro-electric project. Obviously, certain amount of lands would be submerged where ever a hydro electric project is set up. But if we utilise the power thus generated through this hydro -electric project for irrigation schemes and undertaken terrace cultivation, I am sure, that we will be able not only to produce crops equal to the output of the lands which have been submerged but also double that production of the crops which could have been produced in the lands that have been submerged by bringing more lands under cultivation by using power for lift irrigation. Also, it is the intention of the Government to try to take up multi-purpose project not only to compensate the loss of food production for the lands being submerged but also to produce double or even triple of what have been cultivated over that land. So, we should consider all aspects from the view point of total benefit rendered to the people whose lands have been submerged, but also for the benefit of our State and for the people working in various other fields of industries, agriculture etc. Now the Member from Nongtalang has made reference about employment potential and he has alleged that there had been little employment in the State Electricity Board to the people of Meghalaya. I do not have the exact figures but between 200-300 persons are from Meghalaya in the Board.
Mr. Speaker : Since this question will be solved in view of your statement that the Government of Meghalaya would set up a Board of its own, I do not think any further reply is necessary.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Power, etc.) : So with these words, I conclude my remarks on the special motion to discuss the State Electricity Board affairs. Thank you.
*Prof. M.N. Majaw : Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of clarification the hon. Minister has stated that investigation of the Umiam -Umkhen project by the Government of Meghalaya has been suspended for the time being and Assam has not yet started their Umiam-Umkhen project. I do not know what should I say, I have shown the photographs of the construction of the dam by the Assam Government. But I do not know whether my camera was wrong or something must be wrong definitely but construction is going on; that is a fact and it is simply for the House to appoint a Committee to go to the spot. I have seen concrete bags are lying there.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy (Minister of Power, etc.) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I stated that the investigation of the Assam portion is in progress and for that drilling work is also going on. I am sure Assam Government would not be so unwise to start construction without proper investigation and I think the concrete mixture and other things what the hon. Member has seen are meant for investigation and drilling.
Prof. M.N. Majaw : I do not know whether investigation should follow construction or construction should follow investigation but our common sense says that a huge construction of roads up to the place of dam has been carried out.
Mr. Speaker : It will be better for the Minister at least to go into the matter thoroughly to ensure that nothing is being done behind the back of the Government. The discussion on the special motion moved by Prof. Majaw is now closed.
Now, the next item of today's list of business is Motions. The first motion to be moved by Prof. Majaw. But before I ask him to move, I must observe that the form of the motion is well in order but the subject must be clearly understood. And that hon. Member should not touch anything to impede the power of the Chair or anything which is connected with my office. The subject matter is very good for a seminar or for a full discussion between the hon. Member and the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs. So. Prof. Majaw?
*Prof. M.N. Majaw : With your permission Mr. Speaker, Sir, I intended not to move this Motion today on account of acute shortage of time. We have only two days left for Private Members Business and I feel Sir, that discussion on these very important matters may be postponed, Perhaps, if you can give us the assurance that it would be taken up immediately in the next Session of the Assembly.
Mr. Speaker : Prof. Majaw, as I have already indicated that on this issue if you have anything to suggest, I am ready to invite you together with the Minister-in-charge of Parliamentary Affairs to have a discussion in my Chamber so that the position would not be embarrassed in this House. Let us now come to Motion No. 2 to be moved by Shri P.R. Kyndiah. But the Member is absent. Let is straight away take up Motion No.3 to be moved by Shri F.K. Mawlot. Now, I call upon the hon. Member to move.
Shri F.K. Mawlot (Nongstoin S.T) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the need of clear demarcation of the boundaries between the State of Meghalaya and Assam.
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri F.K. Mawlot :Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is very unfortunate that since the achievement of our own full fledged State, the ruling Party has accepted the State without knowing the boundaries or without having any ground demarcation of our boundaries. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have heard a lot of quarrels in the border areas of Assam and Meghalaya, Quarrels that have arisen out of extension of timbers and other forest produces as well as the cultivation which was carried on by the inhabitants in the border of Assam and Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have also spoken a lot of those things in this august House and I do not have anything in my mind to say more since I do not like to repeat the same words again,. At this stage, I would like to remind the Government and to urge upon the Government to immediately look into this matter and that is to have a proper cadastral survey of the land and to fix the demarcation pillars in the border areas right from the east i.e., Amjong Valley then we come to this famous areas near Dispur which is called Khanapara. Then we come to Arangdoga, Mallankhona in the Khasi Hills district and right to the west of Garo Hills, If the boundaries are settled mutually, it is well and good. But if that could not be done my request to the Government is to approach even the Central Government to intervene in this matter so that our boundary dispute will come to an end. We do not like to hear that there is fighting always or the unhappy incidents which take place in the border areas in the two neighbors States of Assam and our own State. The fact is that, we have inherited or we have come from the erstwhile State of Assam ; so that brotherly or sisterly feeling should continue between Assam and Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I repeat that I do not like, and myself especially, feel very bad that sometimes I have to speak against the Government of Assam and the Government of Assam to speak against the Government of Meghalaya. This is a very unhappy incident indeed occurring only because we do not have clear demarcation of our boundaries. Therefore, at this juncture, Mr. Speaker, Sir, once again, I would urge upon the Government to look into this matter immediately and to settle the boundary dispute between the two States amicably.
Mr. Speaker : Do you mean to say that there has been no proper demarcation of boundaries or is there a misunderstanding as to whether there is a boundary or no boundary at all?
Shri F.K. Mawlot : There is a misunderstanding, Sir. Assam is claiming that particular area which falls under Meghalaya and like wise, Meghalaya is claiming other portions in Assam and so on and so forth. The root of all this is because there is no ground demarcation, and this is the reason why such dispute or misunderstanding has been arising from time to time. With these few words Sir, I move my motion.
(At this stage the Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair)
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Mawkyrwat S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while participating in this Motion moved by my friend from Nongstoin, I would like to state that since this State came into being, certain section of the people of our State specially those living in the border wanted to know the clear demarcation of the boundaries of our State. We have heard and we have seen from the newspaper also that in certain places there were conflicts and confusions and classes. We have just recently heard that the Assam police have infiltrated well into the interior of our State from Kamrup district of Assam. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is also a fact that even this question had come up in the Parliament. The Government of India has appointed a Committee to go into the details of this inter-State boundary question Sir, we have seen from the Press Statement released by the Ruling Party, the APHLC, if I remember correctly; that there is no mention that there is a boundary dispute between the State of Assam and the State of Meghalaya i.e. in the Khasi Hills District and Kamrup District. Where as it is a fact, Sir, that there is a lot of misunderstanding here between those two districts that requires immediate attention by the State Government from the view of the Chief Minister of Assam, it is understood, that he has admitted that there are of course places which have not been demarcated properly because of the fact that all the new States which have been created in this north eastern area were carved out of the composite State of Assam. Sir, from that point of view, even the Government of Assam have admitted that they have not been able to demarcate properly. This matter was discussed that there should be proper demarcation and also assurances have been given by the Government that they should do it with mutual consultation with the Government of Assam. But uptil now, Sir, we have not seen that officers or Ministers of our Government, have ever met their counter parts of the Government of Assam on this subject. We neither have seen nor have heard nor have read in the news papers about the officers or Ministers to have made any arrangement for solving this problem of demarcation of the boundary. Therefore, this subject is a very important one in so far as it concerns the boundary disputes of our State. Our people are anxiously waiting to see that proper demarcation is done at an early date. Otherwise, Sir, those poor people in the border areas will not under stand under whose authority they are. Whether Government of Meghalaya or Government of Assam can exercise authority over them, is a great question to them. I have seen there are schools in the border set up by the people of our State and the expenditure is being incurred by the Khasi District Council but the border people do not understand, where they stand because Assam Police used the areas as their own territory. During the election time, a lot of people from the border used to come and cast their vote in Meghalaya, but I have seen the Assam Police from Kamrup District also used to come and claim jurisdiction over their areas. So this has confused our border people, under whose jurisdiction they are, they are at a lost to say. Sir, many years back in Jaintia Hills, there was demand for re-inclusion or retransfer of the two blocks from Mikir Hills ton Jaintia Hills as also admitted by Assam Government. This problem requires immediate solution. But it is regretted that there is no reference by the Government to the fact that there is a dispute between the Government of Assam and the Government of Meghalaya over the boundary especially between the Districts of Kamrup and Khasi Hills. But it is a fact that there is a dispute between these two districts. Of course, the question of merger of Garo people of Goalpara Districts is a separate question and it requires the intervention of the Central Government to solve this merger problem. But what I now want it to urge upon the Government to see that early demarcation of the border area especially along the Kamrup-Khasi Hills border be done right now and also to see that retransfer of those areas under the two blocks which are so present falling in Mikir Hills District, be also by retransferring them to Jaintia Hills District. Moreover, Sir the State Government should take immediate steps for mutual consultation with the Government of Assam or arrange for a talk at the Minister's level between the two Governments in order to solve the long-standing problem. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Shri D.D. Lapang (Nongpoh S.T. ) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as a representative from the area which is connected with the boundaries problem of the State, I feel that I will be falling in my duty if I will simply keep mum knowing fully well that the border trouble is a chronic disease of the people living between Meghalaya and Kamrup District. This question is not a new question that has been brought in this August House and I am rather happy that the hon. Member has brought forward this motion again. It is an admitted fact, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that this is a very urgent matter and I hope our Government will give top priority to this and the matter. We understand and that the Central Government have given their assurance that they will intervene in this matter to solve this problem. It is a matter of great concern if there is encroachment by one State into the area of another State-between the Government of Meghalaya and Government of Assam. The area taken forcibly by one State from another State should be looked into and such encroachment should be stopped altogether. It has come to my knowledge that the areas of Pillankata and some parts of Khanapara are under dispute and nothing has been done to settle the dispute. There is delay in solving this matter and therefore, I would request the Government to see that steps are taken to settle this problem. There may be some interested persons or officers who will not be agreeing to arrange for a mutual talk between our Government and the Government of Assam. There is a feeling of insecurity and the forcibly encroachment by the people living in the boundary line of both State is still there by till today. So I request Government to see that these things should not happen any more. We are glad that Government has constituted a Sub-Committee to look into the matter. In this connection, we know that it has appointed one Advisor who has got through knowledge of boundary dispute of our State but we have not known or seen any action that has been taken by the Committee. We have not seen or heard from the newspaper report as to how far they have proceeded in the matter. The people would really be happy to know if anything is done in this regard especially those living in the border areas. I hope Government is taking care of them and will not leave them without paving any attention to their sufferings. I would suggest that Government will again see and tell Assam Government to see that those interested persons from Assam will not create any further trouble and will agree to settle this matter in future. I have also the privileges to tell you here that there are some paddy fields that were cultivated by the people of Meghalaya for nearly 30 years ago in Pillankata area but they are now forcibly taken away by the people from Kamrup and these people from Assam used to demand from the people of Pillankata area all that they have grown in their fields. They used to say-"you have got no right over these field, these lands belongs to us." It is very unfortunate to know that such things area happening there and to see that Meghalaya Police cannot do anything over this area, where as the Assam Police, as you know have used their highhandedness and have the upper land hand in the area. So I would request Government to approach the Central Government to translate into action their assurance given to solve this problem that a Commission be constituted to look into the matter so that our people feel a little secure and wherever they go they may really know as to where they really belong. Thank you.
*Prof. M.N. Majaw (Mawhati S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I should also say a word on this motion as a large part of my constituency borders the three districts of Assam Mikir Hills, Nowgong and Kamrup Districts. Now, there is one aspect of this matter which has not been properly examined perhaps-the removal of records from Shillong to Assam. They are old records, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, dealing with treaties and arrangements made by the British Government and also indicating demarcation. It has been brought to my knowledge that a number of old records have been taken away to Assam when the Government has done in this respect for the return of these reports which are vitally necessary for our State. I know of one sister Government which was also carved our of Assam, which has appointed a special officer who is there in the Assam Secretariat, actually examining old records and quoting relevant record for that particular State. Have we done so? Have we appointed an officer to be present in the Assam Secretariat to sort out records relevant to Meghalaya. I would like to know this from the Government. We also know, Sir, from a certain friend in the Land Record Office that a few rivers especially along the Mikir Hills Border had been doctored our maps had been doctored in such a way to show that the rivers running in another direction. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have got information also of a party which was thrown there in a big local hotel where the particular officer was invited by the high persons of our sister State and the maps-maps relating to the Mikir Hills border -were doctored in order to show the direction and confluence of the river Umlet and river Umkhen. Then again, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, will this Government be prepared to take up those cases of land taken away from Khasi Hills for administrative control purposes only and placed under the administrative Control of Kamrup? There are old records and orders issued by the Government General in Council removing or detaching temporarily certain areas of Khasi Hills and attaching them temporarily to Kamrup for purely administrative purposes because of the distance to Shillong and the nearness to Gauhati. Will Government take up this case and take back the areas which were only detached temporarily out of the State which now constituted separate areas under separate State and there are many areas which fall under this category all along the Kamrup, Goalpara and Nowgong boundaries. Then, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, when will we finally get down to ground demarcation. We know that the Das Committee Report was not accepted by our Government, but in the absence of any agreement between the two Governments, the people living along the boundary live a life of insecurity, they do not know when they will fall. I know a case of one lady who possess a plot of land in Khanapara, whether she should go to the Syiem for a patta or go to Gauhati for a certificate in order to utilize her land or sell her land. I feel that this Government should exert utmost energy in persuading the Government of India to intervene if the Government of Assam is not sympathetic to at least finish the ground demarcation which is absolutely essential because boundary pillars have been shifted in certain areas in my constituency. In Ronbita which is in the boundary of Kamrup and Meghalaya, which actually falls within Meghalaya, certain officers of the Government of Assam have shifted the boundary pillars, but unfortunately there are rivers and shock of earth-quake, the survey officers of Assam have not been able to cross the river but can only draw a map to show that the river is elsewhere. These are very important matters and I feel that I should like to see more activities on the part of the Government than mere silence.
Shri Jormanick Syiem (Mylliem S.T. ) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in participating in this discussion, I would also join the Member from Mawhati that there are areas which were put in Kamrup only for administrative convenience. The area as all know, as Nongpoh and Mawtamur in which during the composite State of Assam, the people had been making representations after representations. Even then, the Chief Engineer had caused an enquiry to be made by the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup who himself went all the way to Rani godown when I was also present and also many people of this area. We met the people of this area and they were all Khasis and they wanted to be tagged to Khasi Hills. Now that Meghalaya and Assam have been bifurcated, this involves the inter-State boundary. So I would urge upon the Government to take up the matter with the Central Government because I know and I can foresee that more discussion with Assam will not help them in any way. So it is a fit case that our Government should take up with the Central Government in order to settle the inter-State boundary which involves an area, which is a Khasi area which the British Government for their own administrative convenience put under Kamrup. So with these few words, I will close my discussion.
*Shri B.B. Shallam (Jowai S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to take part in this discussion. I fully share the view and expressed opinion of the hon. Members who have spoken. I came from district which is also involved in this matter. As a matter of fact, only in the last few sessions, we have had discussion on this matter and the sufferings of the people specially those living in Blocks I and II in the Mikir Hills, as most of them are people belonging to Jaintia Hills, the Pnars. We had discussed this matter of the sufferings of these people-undue sufferings. It has reached a climax- intolerable stage. So I feel that we should urge upon our Government to see that assurances made by the Home Minister recently in the Lok-Sabha are implemented and that the assurance to appoint an Enquiry Committee to look into the whole matter is acted upon. I would say that mere demarcation will not help unless it is properly scrutinized and unless the people, say those who arte living in Blocks I and II who are purely Pnars, are allowed to go to the State where they belong, these problems will not be solved. So I feel that I should expressed my sincere thanks to the Home Minister who had given the assurance in the Lok Sabha itself for appointing an Enquiry Committee. I hope this assurance should be implemented promptly to go beyond the limit. So I feel with these few words, I will take my seat.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh (Pariong S.T. ) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to take part in the discussions of this motion-the Assam-Meghalaya boundary dispute. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there are State of Assam, there was a dispute between the local inhabitants of both sides. There was an inter-district boundary dispute between the district of Khasi and Jaintia Hills and Mikir Hills; there was a dispute between the districts of Khasi and Kamrup - and so on. The dispute was that there was no ground demarcation at all of the boundaries. The people and even the Government do not know the boundaries of the State. So the dispute was there. The officials of the Government of Meghalaya in the Forest and Land Settlement Departments do not know the boundaries because there was no land and forest activities or jurisdiction at all along the borders of Khasi Hills. I think in Jaintia Hills in the areas which they call Block I and Block II., there was a notification in 1952 showing that the areas were tagged to Mikir Hills. This shows that there was no land settlement from their side or from our side, but from the side of Kamrup, there was land settlement and it is now going on all along the border. Since there is no boundary demarcation at all, there was a dispute every now and then between the Assam people and our people in Khasi Hills. The Land Revenue Department of Assam have encroached into the hill areas and all the low lands have been allotted to the people of Assam-not only low lands, but also forest lands. Such encroachment in the rich forest areas took place right from Pillankata, Basistha, Ranikudam, Kharshai, Athiabari upto Mallangona. The Assam Government used to allot forest coupes to the contractors even without calling for tenders. They just asked, the contractors if they will like to take the coupes and if they dare go to the hills, they will be given the contracts to extract the forests in Khasi Hills. So in this way, there was dispute all along the border and rich forests have been extracted, specially in the Nongwah and Mawtanmur areas. I think that this extraction of timbers took place since 1969 and even in 1970 and 1971. In 1972, there was counter operation and on the objection from the local people, the contractors from Assam stopped for a month or two. But now again it continues till 1973-74 and within these 2 or 3 years, they have extracted timbers specially the precious sal wood worth crores of rupees. I think upto rupees 8 or 9 crores worth of timbers have been extracted but not only in this area that these things took place but all along the border. I have seen these things during my personal inspection in the border area of Kharshai, I found that the Assam Government has allowed certain companies to construct roads up the steep and they have bridged the river Synthi so that during the dry season they will intrude into the area which is very rich in sal wood, in the Rambrai Syiemshi. So far as the dispute is concerned enough. With the attitude of our Government, the Assam Government are coming up the hill slopes to certain areas where the people own those forests. In the so called map of 1876-77, the boundary of these encroachments. The District Council of Khasi Hills knows this fact fully well. According to the provisions of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and also the Re-organisation Act, 1971, the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills District Council comprises of the areas which is formerly formed the Khasi States and the areas of the erstwhile Khasi States extend beyond the U.K. & J. Hills District. That is the definition of the areas of the U.K. & J. Hills District council But, Sir, it is said that the boundary of the State is according to the notification and the map of 1876-77 in which there was no ground demarcation at all and which was never implemented at all, There was a political map in 1929 which has been circulated to all the schools in K. & J. Hills. Before I was born, boys and girls used to read those maps. But, those map which were based on the Notification of 1875-76. Sir, were prohibited because of uncertainties of the boundary and the maps drawn on that scale according to the Notification. And since, then, Sir, now about 20 years or so since independence, we never get the maps which have been authorized by the Government and these maps which I am talking are for Khasi and Jaintia Hills. So, Sir, there was a dispute and I must tell the House about it today, Sit, that in 1964, the District Council, Khasi and Jaintia Hills has referred this question to the Government of Assam and the Government of Assam have come to an agreement with the District Council to make a local enquiry and also to make a new survey and re-settle the boundary once for all. In 1963-64, Sir, the Assam Government, by the Land and Revenue Department and by the Forest Department have fixed A. S. (Assam Survey) pillars in certain areas in the border like the border of Pillankata. They fixed those A.S. Boundary pillars here and there which are about 4 inches in diameter and the word "A S" was written on them. But when the District Council, U.K. & J. hills in 1964 objected to that, the Assam Government stopped, and they did not continue to fix those pillars which they intended to fix their own direction falling within the purview of the Notification of 1875-76. So, when the District Council objected to that because the District Council of Khasi and Jaintia Hills claimed according to the Constitutional provision, that the area of the Khasi Jaintia Hills District Council comprises the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills District. That means according to the notification of 1875-76. But according to the definition in the Constitution, the U.K. & J Hills District Council comprises not only the District of U.K. & J. Hills but the erstwhile Khasi States also, So, in so far these areas are concerned which I will mention now- the Nongwah area is under the erstwhile Khasi State, Pillankata area is under the Mylliem , another erstwhile United Khasi States, the Kawaksing and Maiong reserves area under the Nongspung and Jirang Syiemships which are the erstwhile Khasi States. Also the Kharshai are, the Nongmynsaw are and those areas in Athiabari, Hahim and Malangkhona which fall under the erstwhile Rambrai and Jyrngam Khasi States, now called Rai Syiemship and Jyrngam Sordarshi. So, when the District Council of U.K. and J. Hills came into existence these areas were administered according to the spirit of the Constitution letters and figures which should have been mentioned in the Constitution with their limits of activities and administration. They have exercised their jurisdiction in all those areas where the former Khasi States existed. So, Sir, the question in all those areas where the former Khasi States existed. So, Sir, the question now before the Government is whether the Government will stand by that Notification of 1875-76 and claim those boundaries or not? I would disagree with the idea of Government claiming only the areas as defined according to the North Eastern areas Re-organisation Act, 1971 because the State has been formed with the three Districts of Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills. So, for that matter, Sir, the District Council of the Khasi Hills District has got jurisdiction over some other areas outside Meghalaya State since the Constitution declared it or described it. That is why the dispute arose. Sir. the Khasi Hills District Council has got certain other areas outside the State, but which may be beyond the jurisdiction of the State of Assam or the jurisdiction of the Central Government as they are within Bangladesh. Of course, there are areas also which are under dispute with Bangladesh. So, Sir, according to certain proceedings which should have been followed if at all we are going to trace the history of Independence. Sir, all these treaties, all these agreements, instruments and all these administrative notifications which have been set forth by the British Government lapsed under the Constitution of India. So, the purpose of the Notification of 1875-76, was only for the administrative convenience of the British Government. It is not understood how they are still standing? Unless they are rectified by the Union Government or incorporated in the Constitution itself? So whether this Notification of 1875-76 still stands or not that is the question. But Sir, the fact remains that the areas are being occupied by our Khasi People. If at all we are to discuss now the question of boundary with Assam State, Sir, we should consider the position when it was a composite State of Assam. The Assam Government have admitted that this area is under dispute and it must be re-surveyed. Orders have been issued by the Chaliha Ministry in 1965-66 and they have give those letters to the District Council Khasi Hills requesting the District Council to make a fix convenient time for arrangement of survey of the whole boundary. And they have stopped all operations as demanded by the District Council, U.K. & J. hills in 1964. They have stopped right from Malangkhona, Athiabar, Kharshai and then Rani Goddam, Nongwah upto Jagi Road, Sir. So this goes to show, Sir, that Government of Assam itself had admitted it, and now if you go to the border, you will not find even a single A. S. pillar. But in areas like Pilankata only, there are some A. S. pillars in some corners which might have been fixed in 1963-64. So Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the interest of the administration of the people in the State and in settled first of all. When we get our own State, I thought that this matter must have been be considered first of all. The boundary and territorial jurisdiction must be the first thing to be considered and to be made clear, before taking up the administration of the State. I wander that Government uptil now have not yet made any clear stand on the boundary. We have heard, Sir, that Government of India has announced that the boundaries in the eastern side, specially Assam and Meghalaya, will be dealt with by the Commission which will be appointed by the Government of India. But in so far as the boundary between the Khasi Hills District and Kamrup District is concerned, we have not yet heard any reference that this question will be looked into. We have heard only the question of merging of the areas in Goalpara inhabited by the Garos and certain areas in Kamrup inhabited by Garos and the areas in Block 1 and 2 under Mikir Hills, Even under the Notification of 1952 that part of Jaintia Hills has been tagged to Mikir Hills. If the question is going to be raised again, Sir. I do not see any difficulty specially with regard to the boundary of Khasi and Kamrup District which is very clear from the provision of the Constitution or from the point of view of administration, as the village administration is being looked into by the Khasi Hills District Council. In so far as development is concerned, roads have been constructed by the District Council of Khasi Hills. But extraction of the forest wealth. Sir, in that area is being done by Assam Government and they have been ordered to fell all the thick forests in the border areas. It is very much regretted Sir, that our Government have not been able to do much about it though I appreciate that they have sent some armed Police at Khanduli in Jaintia Hills, and at Langpih in Khasi Hills facing in Kamrup area and put them side by side with the local people who are engaged in cultivation. Sir, this is only to prevent any trouble there that might rise between the local people and the Nepalese graziers who have been settles there by the Kamrup District authorities. But the Government have not done anything on this though the area and Territorial Jurisdiction are in Khasi Hills. So, I would request the Government to see that immediate steps be taken to look after this and prevent extraction of our wealth from this border by the people of Kamrup. Sir, with these words, I resume my seat.
Shri H. Hadem, (Mynso-Raliang S.T.) : Sir, While taking part in this Motion, I would like to say a few words. As a matter of fact, this is a long pending question, right from the beginning of our State. Not only from that time, Sir, as has been stated by one of the hon. Members, but it was right from the beginning of the commencement of the Constitution, and during the composite State of Assam, this matter has been left between the two District Councils for amicably settlement. But so far as the District Council here in Khasi Hills is concerned- do not know what happened to the Garo Hills District Council -as already informed by the Government that some actions have been taken by both sides. So far as Jaintia Hill is concerned, sometime in 1958-59, some sort of an agreement had been reached, but the agreement did not materialize and it could not be implemented. But as the matter stands now, it has turned from bad to worse. May I bring to the notice of the House, Sir, that this year the Minister-in-charge of Revenue even had the occasion to visit the disputed areas right upto Khanduli and we were made to understand that the status quo is to be maintained by both sides. But no sooner than the Minister returned to his headquarters, the status quo remains in papers only, while the police from the Assam side- I do not know whether they are C.R.P. or not. - they have encroached further and further in this side of ours and upto Khanduli bazar. If this thing continues unchecked, I think we will be losing most of land inch by inch. We were assured by the Minister-in-charge of Revenue in 1972 that Government will not allow part of our area, even an inch of land of the State to go. But as it was happening at present, unless something is done and if the matter is not being pursued actively by the Government, I am afraid the other side is having due advantage every now and then. So Sir, while taking part in this particular Motion, I would urge upon the Government atleast to take immediate steps to prevent further encroachment on our State and to ensure that our State area will remain in tact as before, and to some extent, as it was during the British regime. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Revenue) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Motion moved by the hon. Member from Nongstoin, Mr. Mawlot is on the need of clear demarcation of the boundaries between the States of Meghalaya and Assam. I think that the attention of the House and of the Government is mainly on the process and the efforts for having a clear demarcation of the boundaries between the two States. As to the speech of the hon. mover, Shri Mawlot, I have got much appreciation for his responsible and statesman like attitude and approach to the question, responsibilities for peace, for security and happiness of the people who live on both sides of the border. Sir, within the same country it will be impossible to have a water tight division in which the people of one side will be inside the border of the State. Also Sir, even in the international boundaries, we have people of the other side. So also in our State there are people from the other side and our people on the other side and our people on the other side. For example, we have our tribal people living now or working inside Bangladesh. Because of recent incidents and recent occurrences, there is a State as the hon. Member from "Mawhati put it a state of insecurity for the people living in the border and also as mentioned by the hon. Member from Nongpoh, Mr. Lapang, for the people living in Pillankata and the member from Pariong about the people living in Langpih. So, when the hon. Member who moved stressed on the need for a clear and final ground for demarcation of boundaries, to drive away all ignorance and uncertainties but to ensure peace and security of the people living in the border areas, I had appreciated the approached of the mover very much, when he said that we were once in one State, but now we are separated and that the need is very great to maintain and continue our brotherly and sisterly relations. With this spirit, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I may inform the House that right from the start the Chief Minister, the Minister-in-charge of Revenue had taken up this question at the ministerial level, at the official level, and we have followed it up to find a solution of this question of demarcation and settlement of the boundaries, to remove the insecurity and unhappiness prevailing among the people living alone the border. Last year I had tried to meet the Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sinha, to have an understanding for a quick demarcation of the discussion with the leaders or the Chief Minister would do. I have followed it up by sending for the Chief Secretary of Assam for discussion. So I assure the hon. Mover that the Government is fully alive to the need, for a clear demarcation of boundaries between the two States in the interest of our own people who live along the border on both sides. As I stated, the problem caused grave concern, anxiety and confusion, because of certain psychological tension in the border. We had cases as referred by the hon. Member from Nongpoh of people of this side being challenged by the people living of the other side that they have no right to cultivate on their side and the people from this side saying that the people from the other side have no right to cultivate on this side, and sometimes there is a forcibly seizure of paddy fields and there is dispute. But that does not matter as the people of this side can cultivate on the other side. We are living in the same country and the question of forcible seizure should not be there. People of our own, the Khasi had migrated to Cachar District, so also the people of Mizoram, but there is no objection as we are living within the same country. Sir, as a responsible leader, I had very much apprehended the wording of this motion and the approach taken by the mover and also the other members who spoke in the need of a clear ground for demarcation to remove the fear and insecurity from the minds of our people who live in the borders, no matter on which side of the border. With this, Sir, I would again reiterate my appreciation to the mover of this motion. Other matters were raised which may indirectly have connection with this motion, like records. For the purpose of demarcation, records are necessary to be in the possession of the Government to know exactly the correct position of the boundary. Here Prof. Majaw of Mawhati constituency has expressed certain apprehension that records might have been removed by the Government of Assam from Shillong to Gauhati. Well, Sir, taking the nature of the experience of the creation of the State, we find it difficult to say because we do not have a neutral place in Shillong at the time of the creation of Meghalaya. Records, are under the Government of Assam, when they moved, they moved whatever records belong to them, even chairs and tables. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is a question of sorting out the records that pertain exclusively to the Government of Meghalaya and they should be returned to the Meghalaya Government and those records which are relevant to Assam should be kept with Assam. Because, of the nature of the boundary, we need duplicate copies, one to kept with us and one with Assam. So we are taking steps to have the duplicate copies of the records and for the purpose, we have appointed a Special Officer to deal with the question of sorting out the records. Again, Sir, not only on the question of knowledge of the areas but also on the country's history that we have selected one honorary Adviser to the Government. So, we are taking all steps in that direction. Of course, when we started the Department- we started it from a mere scratch- we did not have the personal and the staff and also the technical personnel for this purpose. So we have to go in for recruitment for survey works of the people with experience in land records and we are going ahead with experience in land records and we are going ahead with the appointment of offices. If we do not get regular officers we re-employ the retired experienced people. Therefore, with the co-operation of our Sister State of Assam we except that this matter of clear demarcation of ground boundaries will be made soon. Of course, there are other matters raised about certain historical introduction of certain areas which belonged to the former Khasi States like Nongwah which were taken and tagged to the Kamrup District by the British Government. It was stated that these were taken only for the purpose of administration and, therefore, they should be brought back to the original position to where they belonged. These matters are being looked into and, as a matter of fact, we have been negotiating with the Government of Assam not merely from the point of view of imperialistic or boundary expansion but from the point of view of convenience and happiness of the people affected. Even before the formation of the State of Meghalaya, we had taken steps on this line and we had representatives of Nongwah and Mawtamur areas who appeared before the Das Commission to represent their cases for convenience, comfort and happiness of the people concerned and to revert their areas back to the Khasi Hills District. This matter will be further pursued in order to bring about an amicable settlement of all questions of boundary adjustments between the two States. Sir, so far as this motion is concerned I think it will be enough to say that we have complete understanding in the House of the very great need and urgency of the matter and that with this understanding on this question and in other matters also, good relationship with our sisters State of Assam is being maintained. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Now let me come to Motion No. 4 to be moved by Shri W. S. Syiemiong.
Shri W. Syiemiong ( Nongspung S.T.) :Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the food situation in the State as well as the spiraling rise of price of all essential commodities.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Motion moved. Now you can raise a discussion.
Shri W. Syiemiong : Sir, in the present context of affairs in the world, if I may say so, I think there is no other question which is uppermost in the minds of the people and of the Government as this question of rising price. Apart from a few oil rich Arab States and some socialist countries, I think the question that is most important and pressing with all the Governments now is about inflation or scarcity of essential commodities and the rise of prices. As far as I know, right from Japan to U.S.A., England, France and all those affluent countries, all these are suffering from a certain amount of inflation and this condition is still worse when we come to under-developed countries like India. About some months back, I think all of us will recall, that a very serious incident had taken place at Gauhati itself over this question where hundreds of people have died. More recently, in Bihar as well as in Assam, this question has caused so much problem to the Government of these States that even up to this day it still, Sir, for a very backward State like Meghalaya this problem poses the biggest question although here nothing has been stated and nobody has protested so far. But it does not mean that the problem is not there. So, I would say, Sir, that the problem in this State is much more acute because it so happened that in this State nothing is produced but I wish to say, let us decide now and let not the Government do nothing in this regard. But I feel that the Government should to a certain extent do something to check the price rise of essential commodities. During the last few months this question had been raised in many meetings and committees and, if I am not mistaken, even in the District Branch of the A.P.H.L.C. and these had experienced concern about the price rise. So it is nothing new and here I am not going to talk about academic economics, what I am going to talk about is the economies that concern a layman, a mother of a child and a house wife who could easily understand because the last incidence would be upon her. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would say that this question being not a new one, the Government should be more keen and try to do something before the situation develops into a sad affair. We understand the reason that in our State, as the hon. Member from Mawhati yesterday said, there is a great scarcity of essential commodities, especially rise, and there is even a threat of starvation. We under stand also that recently in Garo Hills the Supply position of essential commodities is not at all good. So, this Government should and must do something to help the people in those places. But then, Sir, I think that while expressing or highlighting the problem, we must also go through the reasons behind it. Whatever reasons that I find the fact remains that the Government could do nothing with the F.C.I. The quota of rice which we receive from the F.C.I. for Khasi Hills district is only 36 quintals whereas the actual requirement of Shillong only would be more than 20,000 quintals per month. Even for this meagre quota that we receive from F.C.I. there is irregularity of supply and less weight than the actual quantity. Always there is shortage of 19/20 quintals in weight. Therefore, I think the Government should do something and take up the matter with F.C.I. otherwise whatever quota of rice allotted to this district will not be received in full. Because in the F.C.I., as a news paper report has rightly said recently, not only honest people are there but quite a good number of dishonest people are also there. Naturally with the connivance of the traders and the people in the Government the F.C.I. is apt to create havoc.
Now there is another problem of hoarding and profiteering by the traders. Of course, we cannot deny the fact that our traders who mostly belong to our people, are not above profiteering and hoarding. The Government, therefore, must be vigilant and try to under take some surprise check in the godowns of the big traders so that no hoarding can take place. Another problem which the Government must take into account is that the margin of point which generally the traders and businessmen drive for the materials which are brought from outside the State should not be disproportionate. I will cite an example such as building materials. There is no proportionate rate for these for these materials between Gauhati Shillong. So also cloths. If you purchase the cloth at Gauhati the price is good whereas if you purchase the same cloth at Shillong it will cost you a very high price. So I would like that Government should see that some sort of arrangement or check be made so that the price between Shillong and Gauhati should not have so much of difference. Another problem is regarding weights and measures. I will challenge if any Hon'ble Minister can come with me to Bara-bazaar, particularly in the fish market. If you purchase 1 kilo of fish, I am sure, there will be always 300 grams or so less. So there must be a check. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Government should not take all these problems very lightly because in our State there is no procession or agitation. Should the Government take it lightly for the simple reason that our people do not agitate, however, poor they may be, because of their sense of dignity? But it you go through the statistics which have been prepared by our own Government, you will find in July 1973 the price of rice was Rs.1.60 per kg. in the month of May it has become Rs.2.80 per kg, the price of course rice in July 1973 is Rs.1.55 per kg. in the month of May it has gone up to Rs.2.70 per kg., the price of sugar in July, 1973, was Rs.3.70 per kg. in the month May, it has gone up to Rs.4.25 per kg. The price of fish per kg. sometimes goes up beyond Rs.15 even. So also the price of pork, beef, etc, has gone up. But as you know, most of our people do not earn more than 10 rupees per day. You may say they wear good clothes and shoes etc. But I can tell you that these shoes are made of motor car tyres which they purchase from the cobblers at Rs.16 or Rs.17. Because in the twentieth century a man without shoes is something to be looked down, so also with his clothes. The people are not putting on good clothes but are covered simply with rags, ugly rags, just to save the dignity from being looked down upon by the society. Government must understand and should be serious about this problem. Unless the Government would come to their help or do something in this matter, I am afraid serious consequences will develop. There should not be any lame excuse that this is a backward or semi developed State that these problems are premature and cannot be attended to. I say Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that our Government should do something to seize this problem off the hands of our poor people so that they may contribute to the welfare of the society or can live like real man otherwise, the price of our Independence, of our Hills State, would be no value to our people. Our people, even the common man in the villages, do not know what type of Government we are having. But the most important question to him is how to fill up his belly. If he cannot fill up his belly you cannot expect of him to favour this type or that type of Government. Therefore, I would request the Government to pay special attention to this question lest the day may come when it would be too late to awake, and when such a day comes, it would be a sad thing, a sad day for all of us. With these few words, Sir, I move my motion.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Mawkyrwat S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to associate myself with the mover of this motion. Sir, this motion is to discuss the food situation in the State and also the spiraling rise in the prices of essential commodities in the State. In this connection, as we all know, Sir, the food situation in our State is deteriorating. Of course, in the winter months our people, the common man especially does not find so much difficulty in getting his daily food. He can sell his goods and produces which he locally grows. But in these days Sir, during the summer months right from the month of June upto October the people in the State are facing great difficulties to obtain their bare necessities of life. Here, Sir, as in the previous regime of the Government of Assam, lots of supplied were received from Assam; we used to get our daily requirement of consumer goods either from the open markets or from Fair Price Shops approved by the Government. But now, Sir, we entirely depend on controlled commodities i.e. on items that were being supplied by the Food Corporation of India like rice and atta. Sir, rice and atta are the most important commodities for sustaining our livelihood. There is a lot of dissatisfaction I must say, in the allotment of the quota of both these commodities is that were procured by the Government. Allotment of quota made by the Government is not enough for the State. Sir, we are thinking that in the winter months we will be getting a quota which we feel would suffice the requirement of the State. But now, Sir, instead of demanding a bigger quantity of rice and atta and other essential commodities, we are getting lesser quota every week. We remember, Sir, that in the winter months in Shillong, the allotment of rice and atta the people and consumers was better than it is now. We learned that the quota of rice per head per week is about 1.75 Kg. in those winter months but now, it has come down to 1.50 Kg. in April and this time, it has come to less than that; it is only about 1.25 Kg. per head per week. As such, this clearly indicates that we are confronted with the scarcity of all essential commodities in the State. This shows that out Government are not sincere in this respect. They do not feel that the difficulties that our people have been suffering from. As one hon. Member has rightly suggested that this happened because there were no demonstrations nor agitations from side of the people. Sir, I would request the Government not to be complacent but to try to procure more quota during these summer months before the harvest comes otherwise there will be acute scarcity of food stuffs in the State. Moreover Sir, those essential like rice and atta found their way out of this State and were being smuggled outside the State. From what we have heard, even though we have no proof because we have got no machinery to investigate, that there were leakages of those commodities outside the State. Those commodities which were brought inside the State were, in collusion with certain traders and big businessman going out again of the State and they were sold and they were sold at black-market. Sir, we have also heard that the Government are sending foodstuff as relief measure to the suffering people in Garo Hills who are facing acute scarcity of food. Rice lifted from Shillong and because it has to pass through Assam, Sir, on the way a large part of it is being smuggled to other places. I do not know whether the Deputy Commissioner of Garo Hills District has exercised any vigilant check on the movement of this item, and I wonder whether it teaches there is an exact quantity or not. Sir, I would request that Government should apprise this August House of the exact quota of rice lifted from this place that reaches Garo Hills District and those needy people there. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also request the Government to take remedial measures in the State to solve this burning problem of the day. Sir, in the Supply Advisory Committee of this district, many a time points were raised requesting the Government to provide a buffer stock for at last 3 months requirement or 6 months requirement whatever the case may be in order to ease the food situation in the lean months. But it seems the Deputy Commissioner of this District is trying his very best to cut down allotment from those people whom he considers that they do not need rice winter because in the winter months after harvest, they can get their rice locally grown and other commodities. Now, Sir, during these months, our people in the interior are facing acute hardship in obtaining their essential commodities like rice and atta as unlike the town are, the position is different in the villages. Here, we get a higher quota of rice and atta whereas in the villages they are receiving less than what the people in the town used to get. So Sir, on this point the Government might think that those people in the villages might have got rice of their own. But in fact they never have rice of their own except of course a few well-to-do people. I would request Government to see that at least the quota of rice should be increased for the villages. Sir, there is also transport difficulty and because of this transport difficulty rice and other essential commodities sent from here could not reach the villages in time. People in the villages cannot also procure them in the open market outside their State. Sir, in this connection may I remind you that several discussions were taking place inside this House about the Gauhati Shillong road? Many demands have been put forward for the taking over of the State Transport along this road and that the monopoly of this Assam Meghalaya State Transport Corporation should be abandoned. Without proper transport facilities it will be difficulty for the Government to carry or bring essential commodities from one part of the State to another and from outside the State to our far-flung villages. Then there is lack of honest distribution of these essential commodities of the State. We are to depend on the Government to supply us these essential commodities, but unless there is efficient distribution to the people, I am afraid people may die of starvation. Therefore, I would request the Government in this respect to see that in the matter of distribution, the officials, especially those of Supply Departments, should be instructed not to delay anything in issuing permits, in issuing quota of rice, atta and other essential commodities to different villages. Government also should check that these essential commodities reach their destinations. Otherwise, Sir, it is feared, they be turned out to be black market commodities. I also request Government to check the rising prices if Government can only exercise a proper and critical judgment to control prices. I believe it can have many ways and means how to tackle this problem and control the rise of prices. Government should take immediate steps to solve this problem. With these few words, Sir, I support the motion.
Shri D.N. Joshi (Shillong Cantonment) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while taking part in this motion, I have certain observations to make regarding the supply position of essential commodities and the price rise in the market. Sir, as my friend who just spoken before me has said that the price and other essential commodities supplied through the fair-price shops up is quite true and on account of that, the price of rice has gone to 1.75 per kg. Now the quota has been raised because of the fact that people are busy in their fields and have to eat more especially during the sowing season. The worker, labourers and cultivators have to eat more than before in summer season as I said and therefore the quota of rice and other essential commodities should also be therefore, the quota of rice and other essential commodities should also be increased. But it quite strange that the Government instead of raising the quota of essential commodities are reducing them and so the people are to do to the open market to buy their necessities at very fantastic high rate. There is no proper control on the pattern of prices in the open market. Only that week, I had to go to market to buy some rice for my own family and you will be astonished to hear that I had to buy at Rs.4.75 per kg, for better quality of rice. Yesterday, I purchased some mustard oil, but to my utter dismay I found that the quality of mustard oil in the bazaar is below standard. I maintain that it is not fit for human consumption and the Inspectorate of the Government should make a proper check on the quality of mustard oil soil in bazar. I think the staff of the Inspectorate are at one with the traders and therefore, they never look to the quality of mustard oil that is being sold in the market. They never check whether the essential commodities are fit for human consumption or not or they are fir for animal consumption only. Due to our dire necessity we have to purchase things much below the standard. Today we do not get good mustard oil, good dalda in the market. Previously the fair-price shop use to supply dalda at reasonable rate and the Deputy Commissioner use to issue certain permits to those people who deal in dalda and they use to get dalda from the authorised dealers. But now the Government have reduced supply of dalda to those dealers and instead it has gone to the black-market and the price is increasing every day. Only yesterday on enquiry, I found that a tin of dalda is selling at Rs.190. Can you imagine that this has gone up from Re.1.25 to 1.90. Can you imagine that this has gone up from Re.1.25 to 1.90 within a few days. I request the Government to check it properly. Then now on pure ghee which at the chilling plant it is selling at Rs.18 rupees per kg. This chilling plant run by the Government is not in a position to cope with the demand of the people of Shillong and its suburbs in the matter of butter and ghee and they have to pay high prices because they do not get from the Government. If the Government have, they sell butter at the rate of Rs.15 per kg. and ghee at the rate of Rs.18 per kg. if I am not mistaken, but the bulk of it, I believe goes out to fetch better price from the dealers outside and here in Shillong, we are made to purchase ghee at Rs.25 per kg. Why should it be so when it is happening before the very nose of the Government. Coming to fish, I know there is a quota that comes from Bangladesh to Shillong, as a matter of fact, there is an additional quota for Gauhati also from Sylhet, but the quota meant for Shillong also finds its way to Gauhati, a portion of it, because the price prevailing in Gauhati is more than what it obtains in Shillong. It is higher than Shillong, therefore, the people in charge of it, they take the bulk of the quota down the Gauhati to get higher prices thereby our people are made to suffer, they are deprived of their loop holes in the system of supply here in the Border areas bordering Kamrup, bordering Bangladesh. There are people who have got license to lift the quota of rice, atta and sugar to be supplied to our people in the Border Areas, but most of the commodities that go there, through the license holders finds their way outside our State because the price fetches outside the State are higher than what they get inside the State. The poor consumers who are supposed to get the quota from the licensed dealers are deprived of their commodities and they have to buy from the market at a higher price. There should be a proper check, while not a single grain of food stuff is allowed to cross over to Meghalaya from Kamrup by the Government of Assam, why should there be no such affective check from our side? merely constructing one check gate by one big bamboo pole for that will not satisfy our purpose, it only hinders the convenience of the people. Once I was coming from Barapani after attending a meeting there by a taxi and my taxi at 9 p.m. in the evening was detained in Mawlai. There is a big gate constructed actually for detaining me there (laughter), but the officer concerned there, said that he had to check in that gate because there may be some commodities coming to Shillong from outside. I said, if it comes from outside, it is good. It will increase our quota. He said, no. Some of the people indulged in smuggling commodities from Kamrup through Shillong to Bangladesh. I asked him how much they can carry in a taxi, we were actually detained for 10 minutes. So I fail to under stand why this Government of ours is strengthening the hands of the Assam Government which does not want a single grain of commodity to enter our State and Government instead of encouraging our own people to bring things from the outside, they have put a gate at Mawlai which shows that they do not want anything to enter Shillong. In these hard days of scarcity, it is really surprising.
Again, Sir, the sugar in our ration in Shillong is not supplied in time, where as the quota is fixed and it has to the consumers. This should be given in time. Sometimes they bring atta on the 3rd day, they will bring rice at the fag end of the week and after selling to 4 or 5 people, they will say that the shop is closed, and asked them to come on Monday. On Monday morning, one or two people get and others- they will say it is finished. Such things are going on. Proper check should be affected so that our people are not deprived of their essential needs.
Coming to education Sir. In education, we require cheap paper to be supplied for use of our students in the schools. Now the price of paper has gone so high that it is beyond the reach of the common people so our people especially the poorer class are suffering. Their children are not getting the amount of quantity of paper they require for use in their schools and at home to do their home tasks or school tasks. Only the children of the high officials and Ministers who go to the big schools where tuition fees also are abnormally high, they can afford. But the common people cannot afford to buy the exercise books on such high prices. Therefore, I urge upon the Government to take effective steps to supply paper at a subsidised rates to these schools where the children of poor people of our State read, so that they may come up to become worthy citizens of tomorrow, to run the administration of our State, to make it a beautiful State, to make it a prosperous State. With these few words, Sir, I ask the Government to be vigilant enough in the matter of supply, so that whatever we can get should not go out or should not distributed out of the State, and if possible Government should try their level best to bring such commodity at a reasonable price to be available in the market for the consumption of our poor people.
Shri H.E. Pohshna (Nongtalang S.T.) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while taking part in the discussion, I associate myself with the views of the mover and also of the hon. Members who have just spoken. This subject is a subject of the poor people, of a poor man, of the daily labourers and of the people who are working in the offices how to get their daily bread. Therefore, it is not a very big subject as will be evident from their absence from the House during discussion of this motion. Most of the members in the Treasury Bench think that it is a very very dry subject because it touches the house of the poor man the orphan, the widows, the poor cultivators and the poor labourers, with their very very little income. Considering the present price of rice, dal, salt which has gone beyond expectation from 3 annas to 1 Rupees, it is really very painful. I remember in the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister in 1972-73, the Government has given an assurance to open Fair Price Shops to supply food stuffs at very cheap rates to meet the demand of the poor people. But where are those assurances? If we go to the Fair Price Shops, the quantity of rice is a very limited. In winter it is more in quantity because the price of rice is a little lower. Coming to the month of April, the quantity decreases in the Fair Price Shops. Coming to the month of June, it is almost a shortage, It appears as if there is a conspiracy between the big traders and the Supply Department. When there is sufficient rice, please give top the ration shops, but when there is not sufficient rice, please give little quantity to the Fair Price Shops. What is this? Sir, the hon. Member who has just spoken before me said that he has to purchase rice at more than Rs.4. per Kg. If we go to ration shops for few kilos of rice, the people have to wait for hours and hours together to get rice. But if you go to the open market, there is plenty of rice. The rice supplied through the ration shops is also of inferior quality. On the other hand, we cannot give them sufficient medical aids at the same time, we cannot give them sufficient employment. Therefore, Sir, I do request the Government to honour its own assurance that they have given on the floor of the House- of course not during this session but in the previous session- that they are going to open Fair Price Shops for the supply of salt, mustard oil, not to say of rice which is a permanent one. Coming to other very essential commodities for those who are not well-to-do but who require some shelter for their families. Where are the C.I. sheets Where has it disappeared ? What is the quota of Meghalaya allotted by the Government of India? If we go to the border areas now you will find that people are applying for C.I. sheets at the cost of Rs.300 to Rs.400 per bundle. It appears that during the refugee days, during the conflict between Bangladesh and Pakistan some C.I., Sheets were sent and these are coming again in India. In Jowai for the last 3 years, we have not got a single C.I. Sheet. Where has it disappeared? Now, for the poor man to think of construction of a new house is beyond his dream. If he buys C.I. Sheets at the open market, the rate is somewhere in the vicinity of Rs.700. Who supply the C.I. Sheets in the open market? When is it as a controlled commodity?
It is also very very difficult to get the paper. Therefore, Sir, I just make this mention although I know that our Supply Minister knows very well about these things which are going on in our State. I would request the Government to examine thoroughly and to compare the demand and supply position of rice in the State. In summer the people require more ration rice, but it is strange that in summer people get short supply rice not to say of the border people whose trade has entirely become dead during the summer. In summer where from they will get rice? They have to work hard to get their daily bread, and when they are to go to Government Fair Price Shops, they are only wasting their time. But they have to go to the Shop in the open market and pay high price. Sugar is very very sweet. I am told that in the other side of the border the price of 1 kg. of sugar is Rs.18 . It is natural that the price is very very attractive to smuggling. Now we are complaining that there is shortage of rice, there is shortage of sugar, when truck-loads of sugar are coming Shillong. Why in the open market sugar is plenty and why in the Fair Price Shops it is almost nil. What is the force behind this plot endlessly but at least our Minister knows these things very well. But we only want to draw the attention of the Government to this very important subject. As I have said, this is a subject of the poor man, this is the subject of the bigger census of the State; this is the subject which deserves of the bigger census of the State; this is the subject which deserves special consideration of the Government. If the poor people do not get their daily bread, what is the fun talking about a welfare State. The people cannot send their children to study industries because the parents cannot spare any extra money. This is the back bone of the entire progress and development of the State, the fact remains that the people are going half empty stomach and half naked. For cloth we do not say much because everybody knows that a man with a poor income of Rs.300, nothing is left to buy cloths. So no balance of money can be set apart for purchasing cloths. Therefore, I request the Government to consider this motion very seriously and see that the problem the poor man receives top most attention of the Government.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Discussion on this motion will continue on Monday. The House stands adjourned till 9 A. M. Monday, the 1st July 1974.
|R. T. RYMBAI|
|The 29th June, 1974||Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.|