PROCEEDINGS OF THE BUDGET SESSION OF THE MEGHALAYA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ASSEMBLED AT 9.30 A.M ON THE 20th MARCH, 1976, WITH THE SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR.
Present :- Eight Ministers, Three Ministers of State, and Thirty One Members.
Mr. Speaker:- Let us start the business of the day by taking up unstarred question No.22.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
(Replies to which were placed on the table)
Allotment of Government Jeep to D. I. of schools.
Shri Brojendro Sangma:- asked
22. Will the Minister- in charge of Education be pleased to state -
|(a)||Whether the Deputy Inspector of Schools of Simsanggiri and Nongstoin Civil Subdivision will be provided with Government Jeeps?|
|(b)||If so when?|
|(c)||If not, the reason thereof?|
Shri P.G. Marbaniang , Minister of State in charge of Education:- replied
|22.||(a) (b) and (c) The offices of the Deputy Inspector of Schools of Simsanggiri and Nongstoin Civil Subdivision are newly established offices. The necessity of providing the Deputy Inspectors of Schools concerned with Jeeps as under consideration of the Department.|
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- 22(a) Is the provision of jeep to the D.I a deviation from the normal procedure?
Shri P.G. Marbaniang , Minister of State in charge of Education :- I didn't get the question.
Mr. Speaker :- Is provision of a jeep to the D.I. of Schools a deviation from the normal procedure?
Shri P.G. Marbaniang, Minister of State in charge of Education :- No Sir.
Shri Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker Sir, have the other D.I of Schools in other areas have been provided with jeeps?
Shri P.G. Marbaniang, Minister of State in charge of Education :- Yes, Sir.
Slaughter Houses in the State.
Shri M. N. Majaw :- asked
23. Will the Minister in charge of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary be please to state :-
|(a)||What progress has been made in the setting up of modern and hygienic slaughter houses in the State?|
|(b)||Where are these slaughter houses to be set up.?|
Shri E. Bareh, Minister of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary:- replied
|23.||(a) M. I. D. C. is being entrusted with the task of preparation of a project report and commissioning the project if it is found feasible.|
|(b) Mawiong, near Mawlai is the site provisionally earmarked.|
Shri S. D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker Sir, since when the matter has been entrusted to the M.I.D.C.?
Shri E. Bareh, Minister of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary :- Since a few months back , Mr. Speaker Sir.
Shri S. D. Khongwir :- 23 (b), Mr. Speaker Sir, has land been acquired for the purpose.?
Shri E. Bareh, Minister of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary :- The land will be acquired after the feasibility report is obtained.
Payment of Arrear Salary to School Teachers
Shri Shamsul Haque :- asked
24. Will the Minister in charge of Education be pleased to state :-
|(a) Whether the Government proposes to pay the arrear salary to the school teachers accordance with the revised pay scale recommendation by the Pay Commission.|
|(b) If so, whether teachers of all categories of schools, i.e. Government Aided H.E. and M.E. Schools will get the benefit of it?|
|(c) When the payment may be expected?|
Shri P.G. Marbaniang , Minister of State in charge of Education:- replied
|24.||(a) and (b), The proposal to extend the benefit of the revised pay scales of the teachers of the deficit High Schools and M. E. Schools is under consideration of Government.|
|(c)- Does not arise.|
Shri H. Hadem :- 24, Sir, when will the consideration be finalised ?
Shri P.G. Marbaniang, Minister of State in charge of Education :- When a decision is taken, Sir. (laughter)
Shri H. Hadem :- At what stage the consideration is at present ?
Shri P.G. Marbaniang, Minister of State in charge of Education :- It is under consideration right now.
Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1976.
Mr. Speaker:- Let us pass on the next item. Finance Minister to move.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh, Minister, Finance :- Mr. Speaker Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1976.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved and now I put the question before the House. The question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Finance Bill., 1976.
(The motion was carried and leave granted )
Before I ask the Minister to introduce the Bill, let me read a message from the Governor.
15th March, 1976.
In exercise on the powers conferred by Clause I of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I, Lallan Prasad Sing, Governor Meghalaya, hereby recommend to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1976.
Sd/- Lallan Prasad Singh,
Will the Minister introduce the Bill?
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh, Minister, Finance :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Bill.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now I put the question before the House. The question is that the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1976 be introduced.
(The motion was carried)
(The secretary read out the title of the Bill)
Let us pass on to item No.3. Finance Minister to move.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh, Minister, Finance:- Mr. Speaker Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Purchase Tax Amendment Bill, 1976.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now I put the question before the House. The question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Purchase Tax Amendment Bill., 1976.
(The motion was carried and leave granted )
Before I ask the Minister to introduce the Bill, let me read a message from the Governor.
15th March, 1976.
In exercise on the powers conferred by Clause I of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I, Lallan Prasad Singh, Governor Meghalaya, hereby recommend to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the introduction of the Meghalaya Purchase Tax Amendment Bill, 1976.
Sd/- Lallan Prasad Singh,
Will the Minister introduce the Bill?
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh, Minister, Finance:- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Bill.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now I put the question before the House. The question is that the Meghalaya Purchase Tax Amendment Bill, 1976 be introduced .
( The motion was carried )
(The Secretary read out the title of the Bill.)
Let us pass on to item No.4. Mr. Reidson Momin to initiate the discussion on the budget.
Shri Reidson Momin :- How many minutes so I have Sir?
Mr. Speaker:- You have 23 minutes as everybody else and Mr. Hopingstone will get half an hour.
Shri Reidson Momin:- Mr. Speaker Sir, at the outset I would like to congratulate our Government and particularly the Finance Minister for presenting this voluminous and very ambitious budget for the year 1976-77. Sir, I have not been able to go through the details of the provision of the budget but I am satisfied with the speech our Finance Minister had made on the policies of the Government and certain economic steps taken in connection with the economic programme enunciated by the Prime Minister.
I would, specially like to refer the co-operation at page 6 Para 12, Sir, today the co-operative sector is being assigned a very important role in the economic development of the country and particularly so in the context of the economic programme as enunciated by our beloved Prime Minister. She had recently made a statement that through this economic movement it will take us forward to attain the economy of the nation. Sir, our Finance Minister has also joined the chorus with the Prime Minister and he has made a very significant statement as stated at para 12 of page 6. In the past the co-operatives were associated with certain elements of vested interest and even with men of dubious nature. But, today, I am glad to say that co-operative societies have changes and projected figures of healthy image in the State. This is, of course due to vigorous checks by the Government by streamlining the administration and also be taking deterrent steps towards those who are engaged in undermining the movement of the co-operative societies. Sir, I must admit that he co-operative societies have been better after we got our own State and they were established in rather a hasty manner which is detrimental to the function of co-operative societies in the State. anyway I am glad that a master plan has been prepared for the reorganisation and revitalization of these co-operative societies, and it is now being implemented in right earnest by the Co-operative Department in collaboration with our Government sponsored Apex bank. Sir, it is necessary that these schemes are implemented as expeditiously as possible so that we may have a viable society which can deliver the goods to our agriculturists which is the crying need of the hour. I would suggest to the Government to implement more vigorously this master plan for reorganisation and revitalization of the co-operative movement. It is indeed a matter of great satisfaction to me to day that the Government is now paying attention to the co-operative societies, the role in the consumers sector as well. This will greatly help the weaker section of the people who are in dire need of assistance from the Apex Bank through the co-operative societies. I am very much impressed Mr. Speaker Sir, by the major action taken by the Government in the co-operative lines, firstly housing and secondly marketing. In the field of housing it is a fact that in the rural areas we need funds to construct houses and the organisations for housing co-operative will fill the long felt vacuum in the country side. Lack of marketing facilities is another handicap for our people in the rural areas, particularly the border areas due to the absence of marketing facilities. Marketing , in fact , is the buyer's market, it is not the grower's market. Sir I wish the newly constituted marketing Federation is the Government should devote its time to the marketing products of the villagers and see to the interest of the growers. I am glad Mr. Speaker Sir, that the Apex Bank is trying its utmost to maintain the flow of credit to the agriculturists . But the progress has been hampered because of accumulation of over dues. The non- official and official leaders should come forward to solve this problem of over dues so that we can make more and more financial assistance available to our agriculturists. Mr. Speaker Sir, I personally feel in this respect that the commercial bank have not been able to come forward and render help to our agriculturist except by our own Apex Bank. It is doubtful also whether in future they will come to our rescue. But the Apex Bank which is our own and which has its own branches in all important towns and villages of the State will come into close contacts with out agriculturists in the country side. The main solution lies in reducing the over dues so that the flow of credit to our agriculturists can be made as soon as those loans are repaid or recovered. It may be necessary also to extend these loans to the agriculturists to meet the growing need of our farmers. So far as my district is concerned , I have observed that the co-operation Department is running short hands and I, therefore, request the Government to recruit more people into our banking system to strengthen the Apex Bank and also to render help to our farmers.
Sir, I have said allot about Co-operation. Now I would like to come to page 9, Para 18 and that is about water supply. Sir, this Department of Public Health Engineering has been the target of attack by many hon. Members of this august House. But it seems many of us did not take into considerations the difficulties of this Department. Sir, I personally feel that there is something wrong in the Department because plans and schemes have not been implemented in time. I feel, it is due to lack of certain organisational matters or factors and then I feel that this particular department should be completely independent of other departments to which it is tagged. I would therefore give my suggestion to the Government or I rather request the Government to consider this point that a separate wing completely independent may be created and then extra hand like Additional Chief Engineer and Superintendent Engineer may be appointed so that this department will be able to function properly in future and will be able to give or rather satisfy our people through their own department. Sir, it is stated here in the speech of the Finance Minister that greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme and also Jowai Water Supply Scheme. This scheme has been started in 1972 and it is not in progress but why after these long four years, the scheme has not been completed. therefore, as I said it may be due to the fact that they do not have the required staff to implement the scheme. As such these schemes has not been completed even for the last 3 or 4 years. Then again many hon. Members of this august House have vehemently criticised the Government regarding the Shillong Water Supply Scheme as well. The original estimate was Rs. 439 Lakhs and it is now increased to rs.816 Lakhs. Sir, because of theses certain elements and factors, now we have to spend some money but if timely action was taken to strengthen the Department, I think the scheme must have been completed by now. I therefore, earnestly request the Government to look into this and give due consideration to my request, to see that thus particular Department in future functions efficiently as we would like it to be. So Sir, I do not have much to say and with these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Before I call upon some other hon. Members, may inform them that I will allow 40 minutes for Mr. Akramozamman, 45 minutes for Mr.. Hopingstone Lyngdoh and 30 minutes for Prof Alexander Warjri. the rest will have 23 minutes. Now, may I call upon Mr. Akramozamman.
Shri Akramozamman :- Mr. Speaker Sir, I am glad that I shall be able to take part in the budget discussion though I was not very hopeful owing to my illness. Sir, last year, when we were discussing the budget the political situation and the economic situation of the country was almost horrible. But after some months due to the dynamic leadership of our Prime Minister , the country has stood the test in the political field and also in the economic field. And, sometimes we believe that there is nothing which cannot be changed by the Government, or, probably, the circumstances can be change when this is proved by the declaration of emergency and the 20 - Point Economic Programme of the Prime Minister. Sir, I should also quote the same line of our Prime Minister here before I take up the discussion. The Prime Minister as well as our Finance Minister have said that there is no substitute for hard work and there is no magic which removes poverty. These can be achieved only if the people have a clear vision and observe strict discipline. Under her leadership the country is going from strength to strength and the great masses of India supported by her dynamic leadership. So with these words, I am glad to see the budget allocation this time and I should say also a radical step has been taken by the Government of Meghalaya in molding the budgetary estimate towards the implementation of the 20 - Point Economic Programme of the Prime Minister. It is also good to know that almost 38 percent or 39 percent allocation has been made for implementation of the 20 - Point Economic Programme of the Prime Minister. So, in this respect I am also of the same view as the Treasury bench for implementation of the 20 - Point Economic Programme of the Prime Minister. In this connection I which to say one thing particularly, on the question posed by the Leader of the House when he was going to reply to the debate on the Governor's Address. He posed the question as to how many of us can understand the implication of the 20 - Point Economic Programme of the Prime Minister. I also believe in the philosophy behind it. Economy is a sign which may not have a cent percent result of achievement but yet it is nearing cent per cent. It is a concrete formula but no such formula of the economy can bring results, proper result by adding those or that. So this is very correct as the Leader of the House said as to how many of us could really understand the full meaning of this. I was of the same view but in this I would suggest one thing which was not done till now by the Government or which may be done but I am not posted with the information. Sir, the Government has constituted the Co-ordination Committee so that participation of the people in this 20 - Point Economic Programme may be there. This may or may not be there. But I have not seen a single meeting organised by the Co-ordination Committee to go to the people in the village level to indicate what is the implication of the 20 - Point Economic Programme of the Prime Minister, I have not seen any poster or pamphlet issued by the Government to take the people into confidence.
Shri W. A. Sangma, Chief Minister:- Sir, we have already translated into Garo and Khasi languages the 20 Point Economic Programme.
Shri Akramozamman :- Sir this 20 Point Economic Programme. According to me, is a total war on poverty and here is Meghalaya where our people are the most backward, I should say, they must get the full implication of this 20 Point Economic Programme. I want to put some suggestions to the Government I believe the Government will agree with me. I have worked with the masses. Even if you go to the villages, you will see that the people do not understand the full implication of the 20 Point Economic Programme. This is a fact and if is also a fact that all the elements here are not yet distinguished. I hope this factor should also be taken into account and therefore, I believe that posters and even if necessary, seminar and meetings organised by this Co-ordination Committee should be held to explain to the people about the idea of this 20 Point Programme. I think participation of the people of Meghalaya will be greater than in other States because judged from all aspects, social and economy, we are poorer than any other citizens in any part of the County. So, why should we both take the people' s active participation in full. Now this is my humble suggestions to the Government that they should ensure peoples participation in the programme. Sir, we have the publication of calendar after the enunciation of the 20 Point Economic Programme and we have spent nearly 6 rupees per copy of the calendar but there was nothing mentioned about the 20 Point Economic Programme. I believe this could have been nicely depicted in the calendar and thereby wide publicity could have been given through circulation of the calendars. But is seems the Publicity Department did not take this opportunity to educate the people about the 20 Point Economic Programme. However, once again I would like to assure that from our side, both collectively and individually we shall extend our fullest co-operation in the implementation of the 20 Point Economic Programme. and other programme.
Sir, we are glad to see the overall national growth rate as has been mentioned in the first paragraph of the Budget Speech. There has been a reference to the national growth, viz, the national income 5.5 percent in the agricultural sector 8 per cent and it is 4.5 percent in the industrial sector. But there is no mention about the growth rate in our State. We do not know the percentage of growth rate of Meghalaya. We are in the dark as to what utility we are getting out of spending money in various sectors. Therefore, I feel there need for improving the Statistical Department. The Statistical Department has miserably failed to collect the necessary data of budgetary expenditure incurred under the various heads and that of utility there to. I would, therefore request the Finance Minister and particularly the Leader of the House to kindly take all measures for improving the working of the Statistical Department so that we will get a correct figure of growth of income in agricultural sector, industrial sector and also over all growth of income in the State. I do not like to go further in this regard.
The other point which I would like to discuss is land reforms. Of course I am quite aware that there are some difficulties to make any progress in land reforms (the Deputy Speaker in the Chair) in the absence of the cadastral survey. However, at the same time I cannot but mention that I had been insisting for the lat few years on the abolition of Jotdari system in the Garo Hills. I got assurance also from the Finance Minister and the Leader of the House. But so far nothing has been done to abolish this Jotdari system of land. Many of us may know that this Jotdari system is a subsidiary way of acquiring rights over land i.e., on the basis of dweller ship. In Assam this system of land tenure has been abolished along with the abolition of Zamindari system but here in Meghalaya this system still exists; right from Porakhasia upto Mahendraganj. So it is my earnest request to the Government that they should take some steps, and the State Government quite competent to do so, to abolish this system which is a stumbling block to the operational side of the land reforms. In this connection I would also request the Government to take up some crash programme besides cadastral survey to gear up the speedy action in land reforms. But there is no such mention in the Governor' s Address. Only it has been stated that action will be taken in consultation with the District Council. But I would like to say that atleast for abolition of Jotdari system consultation with the District Council is necessary.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh, Minister Finance :- Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, since the question of land settlement is involved consultation with the District Council will be necessary.
Shri W. A. Sangma , Chief Minister :- Sir, for the information the hon.Member, I would like to say that so long there were some difficulties in abolishing this jotdari system. In some case the owners of the lands were not living within the territory of Meghalaya, they were staying elsewhere. So I would like to say that the action will be taken only after all the legal implications have been examined.
Shri Akramozamman :- Thank you Sir. Now there is another point which has been mentioned in Para 4 about the problems of the Housing site. Here of course , I shall have to deal with elaborate details in view of the acute suffering of the people. it has been stated that our problem is not housing site rather our problem lies with financing the scheme. But there are some places where the problem is not only the finance but also with housing site. While saying so I keep in view some flood affected places in Garo Hills. Under the 20- Point Economic Programme some Housing Co-operative , has been organised for construction of houses in Mendipathar where the problems is acute. But there are some other places in Garo Hills, especially the flood affected area, where the problem is very acute.
Shri P. R. Kyndiah, Minister Co-operation :- May I intervene Mr. Deputy Speaker? In so far as the organisation of Housing Co-operatives is concerned, it is expected that the official operators would take the initiative. Of course the Government would give all the assistance and also help. Just mentioning that only Mendipathar should be given help will not do. it is not a single instance. We would like to take away the organising of the Housing Co-operatives in order to see that those areas which are really in need of housing facilities get the benefit.
Shri Akramozamman :- Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I do not want to say only for some parts of the places in the State, but we should select those places where there is acute necessity when the co-operatives are ready to do so because here in the Budget Speech is mentioned that 7 Housing Co-operatives Societies have been established to facilitate house construction. These co-operatives will take up their schemes are implemented in those laces where there is acute necessity. We should consider whether such and such places is really in need of such housing facilities or not. So, I believe if due consideration is given to the implementation of these schemes, the problem of housing will be solved to some extent. Sir, another thing which I wish to make out here is with regard to these co-operatives and banking facilities in our State. Here is page 3 it has been mentioned " As regards credit deposit ratios these were 12.4 in December 1972, 11.8 in June , 1973 and 9.7 in December 1973. So Sir even within a period of three years there was a decline to the tune of near about 2 per cent of credit deposit in our State. And if we take the all India average it was about 66.4, 69.2 and 70.4 , it is increasing only from 66.4 to 70.4. It appears that we are lagging behind with regard to credit deposit in out State. So this is the case in 1973 and this year, of course the Finance Minister said that " we are seized of the problem and steps are being taken to enact a suitable legislation during the current Session". In this statement it appears that the diagnosis of the disease in our State has already been found out in 1973. But in the year 1974-75 during these two years completely we have not taken any action at all. So I think speed is also required to implement the schemes. The problem would not be only because of lack of fund , but speed also was not there. To solve the problem we must see that speed is also there in the proper implementation of the schemes because in our State we are still far lagging behind in this matter. But I am very much thankful for the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister, because to me, it is better late than never. One more thing in this regard is that there are many difficulties faced by the national Banking Institutions to give financial assistance to our people. Sir, how can we give financial benefit to the fullest extent possible to our people especially our agriculturists who constitute bear about 88 per cent on the total population of the State when there are many difficulties faced by the National Banking Institutions ? We have got the o-operative Apex Banks of Meghalaya in our State which is working well up till now, but I know its funds is very limited. Yet I am glad that this Apex Bank is the only one which use to give credit facilities to our agriculturists to the maximum extent possible. So what will be the investment of other Nationalized Banks in so far as our agriculturists in the rural areas are concerned. The activities of these nationalized banks and other co-operatives societies are yet to be seen and I believe when funds we flowing from their side our agriculturists in the rural areas will be very much benefited. here it is also mentioned that the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank will opens 6 more branches, but Sir, I want not only 6 but another 12 or 15 branches should be opened . This Government in the Treasury Benches may reply that the activities of the Apex Bank are to be extended for the first year, second year, third year and so on. Form the present trend of activities of those Co-operative Apex bank I have seen there is no improvement and no chance of credit facilities even after three or four years. So I would appeal to the Treasury Bench that in future not only 6 branches will be opened because here it is said that "steps are being taken to enact a suitable legislation during the current session". We know that the gaps between the flows of funds from the Nationalized Banks and the development of economic activities are far better because more Banks are coming in to give financial assistance. We must see that the gap between all these problems faced by the agriculturists and the speedy flow of finance from the Nationalized Banks is bridged in our State. But at present the overdue position of the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank is not so much. The Finance Minister has stated that stringent measures will be taken for the realization of the overdues. I do agree with him but to whom these stringent measures shall be applicable. I believe stringent measures will be applicable to those willful defaulters. According to my study from what I have seen so far, the percentage of those defaulters constitute most probably about 25 percent and here about 75 percent constitute as a failure to recover the dues. It is also the duty of the Agriculture Department to see how money given by Bank is realised from the agriculturists and to see how far they are benefited by this money and how much more they require in future. These are the things which must go side by side otherwise no improvement will be made. Sir, it is also the duty of the Agriculture Department to see how best this money is utilised for agricultural purposes. if this is done. I believe the volume of overdues would not have been so much; it will be diminishing . So Sir, in order to improve the lot of our agriculturists who constitute about 88 percent of the total population of the State, some sort of co-ordination between the Agriculture Department and the Co-operative Societies and Nationalized Banks should be brought about so that they can work together. Sir, in this respect I would like to narrate a fact that when the season came in for harvesting rabi crops, there was a programme to take wheat cultivation. In this connection some co-operative societies of my constituency and some co-operatives societies of Tikrikilla constituency volunteers to take part in the cultivation of wheat. And these co-operative societies are altogether eight in number. They sent requisition to the Agriculture Department for supply of good seeds and for tractorising their fields, and pumping water etc. Sir it was a tremendous task. the proposal came in the month of September 15th and by the 21st November it was found that the distribution of seeds has not been done as yet. Moreover, Sir, to have an over all position from the co-operative side from the bank side and from the agriculture side, there was a meeting held at Phulbari on 8th January. But unfortunately after the meeting, the activities of the Agriculture Department and other departments have been dwindling down. There were also discussions about the activities of the different departments and co-operative societies. So, after that what happened, all these three agencies which were supposed to be at the top official level, were having a meeting and , unfortunately , after that meeting I had to meet the Secretary of the Society and tell him that I am drowning , please help me. I have exactly uttered these words - " I am drowning, please help me to get out water". Sir I do not know what is the link between the local organisation and the agricultural societies, and other societies. Then what happened was that the pumping sets were not supplied and it was a difficult cult year for all the cultivators. yesterday I got the information that about twenty bundles of wheat have been allotted, i.e,. at least a quintal, and it is a fact that about ten to fifteen mounds of wheat have been given by this Co-operative Societies. Sir, I am at a loss to know how the people could participate in such matters and it has been found from the distribution of seeds that the seeds are taken by the co-operative societies and after that sowing is also done, which comes to about 90 per cent. But when the time comes for harvesting, only 20 percent of the harvest, will go to the farmers and the rest will go to the other parties. therefore, Mr.. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if we are to improve the lot of the majority of the people who suffer like this, then I would like to request the Government to kindly take keen interest to see hat the co-ordination in between Co-operatives and Apex Banks and Agriculture Departments is maintained properly.
Sir, now let me come to another point. Sir, in Garo Hills, there was the the reorganisation of the Co-operative Department. Master Plan was taken up and it was also approved by the Cabinet in the latter part of 1973. But Sir, till now this matter plan has not been completed. From this Sir, we can easily understand that even after the approval of the Cabinet in the latter part of November, 1973, this organisation of master plan has not yet been completed. In this way the progress of Governmental works has been very slow. I do not know what steps have been taken by this Government to look into this matter. In this connection I would like to request the Government and the Minister concerned to kindly see that the man power in the co-operative departments is increased. In Garo Hills, Sir, it has been found that the officers are overburdened with work load and there are many officers in other districts where auditing and supervision of the office works are still pending. Here Sir, one important point is that the fate of our co-operative societies is very miserable. of course, the Government has taken steps to improve the position of these co-operative societies. But here the difficulty is that the income of the service co-operatives is very much limited. They are getting only 2 1/2 percent of the total share of interest from the Apex Bank. but Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, even to maintain their office, this 2 1/2 percent is not enough for them. So I would like to request the Government to reconsider this matter and justify the ratio of percentage between the Apex Bank and Service Co-operative Society.
Sir, now I pass on to another point. it is about the Irrigation and Flood Control Department. Sir, there was a Flood Control Division. But this Division was abolished. They were saying that the work load was not so much with the Flood Control Division and there was no justification to maintain the Division. But Sir, when we are brought in major confrontation of roads, buildings and other embankments of the Rongrai Valley Irrigation Scheme and the same was implemented in 1961. I know Sir, that this scheme was undertaken by the Central Water Power Commission which is connected with the construction of embankment of Phulbari with the suggestion of one Mr. Suri who is now the Chairman of the Brahmaputra Flood Control Commission. But Sir, so far this scheme has not been completed. I also have heard from the engineers that construction of roads and embankment is very difficult and in the case of construction of embankment under Rongrai Valley Irrigation Scheme, the investigation has not been completed and it will continue for some time. In this connection Sir, I would like to request the Government to kindly re-examine the matter with the help of the Chairman, Brahmaputra Flood Control Commission. As they have much known to us, they may kindly be requested to examine this scheme before we start construction of this embankment. Moreover, Sir, besides this, the Government should also take into consideration the supply of water to the field. So Sir, when this matter will be taken up. I think there will be sufficient work load to maintain the Flood Control Division.
Now Sir, I want to go ahead with another point. it is also mentioned here about the development of fishery in Garo Hills. Sir, one pertinent question came up last year. We know very well , and I raised this point also on the floor of the House regarding the boundary lines between Goalpara and Garo Hills with special reference to the boundary lines from Mauza 5 to 6. This has become a common property of the State of Meghalaya and Assam. Sometimes this falls under Assam and sometimes it falls under Meghalaya. What happened ? The lessee of Jangiram and other Beels in Meghalaya obstructed the flow of the fishes to the part that falls within Meghalaya. This is quite illegal and there was a representation for the people against this. I have taken up this matter with the Revenue Minister also to see that there should now be flow of fishes from the rivers to the beel. That has been done by them and as a result of which Phulbari , which is renown as the best market in fish not only in Meghalaya , but in the whole of north Eastern Region, is growing without fish and the price of fish at Phulbari is more than the price of fish at Shillong itself. Sir, this is a very vital question and we must take it up with the Government of Assam, so that in future these things should not happen. This is very much objectionable under the Central Fishery Act.
Sir, I now come to another point which is about industrialisation of our State. Sir, one thing is that we must not establish industries for the sake of industrialisation. Industrialization must also aim at socilaisation and this can be taken up, keeping is view three things, socilaisation of industries namely, one industry must set up in the public sector and it is is not possible, it should b organised in the co-operative sector and the third sector is the private sector. it has already been mentioned in the Governor's Address and also in the speech of the Finance Minister, the most of the priorities have been given to private sectors and I have not seen any mention even in the leaflets that some industries would be set up in the public sector.
Shri S. D. D. Nichols Roy, Minister Industries :- In the Governor's Address it is very clearly laid down and we also spoke that most of the industries are in the joint sector.
Shri Akramozamman :- Sir, I may read page 9 of the Governor's Address - " Letters of Intent for a Mini Paper Plant, Oxygen and gas Plant and a Tannery have been received by private entrepreneurs ". So these three industries are also in the private sector and not in the joint sector. So, I believe that instead of the operation of the jute mills in Garo Hills being given to the private firm, this could have been done in the Public Sectors. I feel this could have been done easily, but in this respect, the most horrible thing that are found are the feasibility report of the jute mill prepared by the M.I.D.C. Now the only thing is that when there is a negotiation with private sectors the project report should not be misleading. As mentioned in Paras, 2,3, Chapter 2 of this leaflet, there are no hats within 30 miles from Garobadha to Ampati where the factory is to be established and that just is available in Rajabala bazar. I believe, members from Garo Hills know that Rajabala is next to Garobadha. This is really a very interesting factor. of course, as I represent Phulbari, it does not mean that I should exaggerate. This place compares favorably to Mendipathar and Bajengdoba. So, this is obviously ideal place for locating the jute mill as the requirement of land will be about 40 acres and what a strange thing is that it will not be available within Phulbari area. Most probably it has been decided that the mill is going to be established in a place where the production of jute is more. Of course the mill will survive, but greater benefit will go to the jute grower of Assam because in the border, the hats are not far from the mills. As such, the benefit will go to the jute growers of Assam and not to the jut growers of Meghalaya. Another factor has also been overlooked in the project Report and that is the distance of Phulbari from the railway head that is 219 Kilometres. it has been stated in the book that Dhubri is only 20 kilometres from Phulbari. How misleading this report is that the railway head at Dhubri is only 11 miles. The most important factor is that the jute is harvested in the rainy season and the question of railway transport must be taken into consideration and that is why we have seen that the majority of the jute mills in West Bengal are established on the bank of the river Krishna but here Krishna river is near the Jangiram Rivers, though much nearer to Phulbari than Rongram and that navigation is quite possible on the Jangiram river. These areas are the largest jute producing areas, so these jute mills can easily be brought under the co-operative sector as is the case with the ginning mill n the cotton growing areas. With these few words, I hope Government will take this factor into consideration while establishing jute mills. I believe that the Industries Department should have examined the feasibility of the place for establishing the jute mills. I do hope that the suggestions that I have made may be taken into consideration by the Government, considering the objective of improvement the general economic condition of the poor people. I am confident that there will be no dearth pf co-operation from members of the Ruling Part and this side. With these words, I resume my seat.
Shri Deputy Speaker :- Now Mr. O. Nongtdu.
Shri Onward Leyswell Nongtdu :- Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I am grateful to the Finance Minister for the Budget Speech made by him in this august House which gives us ample scope to know the functions of the Government and also the financial position of different departments. I would like to dwell on a few subjects only. Firstly. from the finance Minister's speech at page 7, I find the Government has taken action to develop the forests in our State and in this connection , about 1,000 hectares are taken up every year for plantation. Forests being the main source of revenue in our State, it is apt that more funds would be provided to this Department. But as it is at present though plantations are taken up in different parts of the State, the exploitation of the present plantation may take time and it is necessary that exploitation of the present reserved forests would be taken up. But if exploitation of the present reserved forests are taken up, I find especially in the biggest reserved forests of the State like Saipung and Narpuh reserved forests that there is no communication for extraction of valuable trees from the forests . So in this regard, I feel that there should be close co-ordination between the Public Works Department and the Forest Department and while constructing roads in the State, the P.W.D. should consult the needs of the Forest Department so that this particular department may be relieved of the responsibility to construct roads. As I have seen in the budget , there is very little amount provided for road construction by the Forests Departments. So, Sir, if the P.W.D. will come to the aid of the Forests Department , it will help the department to exploit the present reserved forests. With regard to exploitation of forests in Jaintia Hills, construction of road may take time.
If ropeways can be constructed from the motorable points to reserved forests, it will help to exploit these reserved forests. At the same time, employment to the local people will be made available Sir, at present, we have seen that reserved forests in different parts of the State are not taken care of properly. They are just left like that and people are doing jhumming right inside the reserved forests of the State and even private parties are taking advantage of exploiting the reserved forests of the State. It so happens that in many cases, in Khasi Hills and in few cases in Jaintia Hills, private parties utilised the reserved forests for the purpose of private gains. So I appeal to the Government to see that proper care is taken to really reserve the forests and whether exploitation can be made or not. If proper care is taken , the reserved forests can also be made as wild life sanctuaries. At present, we have seen that most of the wildlife are going to be extinct from the State because as I have said earlier that jhumming is being done right in the reserved forests of the State. If these things can be checked, then wild animals and birds can live and increase in number in their natural habitation. It is gratifying to note that Government has taken care to develop forests in the State and a body has been created last year which is known as the Forest Development Corporation, and I hope this Corporation will really help the development of the State. But Sir, in this respect, I have seen from the budget that a small amount of only Rs.2. lakhs is being made as share capital contribution to the Corporation by the State Government . it should have been about Rs. 6 or 7 lakhs so that this Corporation can run properly. I know that the Corporation is taking up teak and pine plantation seriously in different parts of the State. So unless this Corporation is given more funds, it will not be possible for the Corporation to function in a proper manner. So, Sir, in this respect I appeal to the Government to see that since the Corporation has been entrusted with major developments of forests in the State, the Government should also see that the Corporation is based on a sound financial footing (At this stage, Shri H. Hadem, Chairman occupied the Chair).
I would also like Mr. Chairman, Sir, to make a few observation in connection with education in our State. Education is one of the very important subjects and is duly emphasised in every welfare Government all over the world. As it is today we see that the standard of education in our State is not up to the mark and even the Government is aware of this fact and it is really a disgrace. Government has constituted and Education Commission to study and suggest to the Government ways and means to improve the standard of education. In this regard I would like to make certain observations . I have seen that in different parts of the State the location of school is not being properly looked into. Some Government Schools are located in the most interior parts which makes it impossible for the villagers to send their children to those schools. In other cases the schools are located too near to each other; and whereas there are other areas which do not have any schools especially Government Schools, M. E. Schools of High Schools. So they are deprived of the benefits of education due to the lack of Government Schools. So location of schools, I think, is one of the very important points in education, because by properly locating the schools , the students will be attracted to come and study there Sir, I also see that a number of schools are coming up in different parts of the State, but I feel that these mushroom schools will not contribute to the improvement in the standard of education but will rather adversely affect it. It will also affect the enrolment of the existing M.E. Schools in the State. So, Sir, I would request the Government , through you, to see that while giving permission to different organisations all these aspects should also be given due consideration so that no unwanted schools should come up as it will not be for the benefit of the public but rather be beneficial to those who organised such schools. I have seen also, Sir, that, as it is at present, there is very less participation by the parents of children going to school. They are not given a chance to participate in the administration and education especially in the interior areas. This is also true even in colleges. There should be a Parent - Teachers Conference and this should be held from time to time in every M.E. Schools and High Schools and if possible in colleges also that parents will have an idea as to how education is being imparted to their children and also help them understand the usefulness of education. They would also understand the need and the importance of having the children to study at home. In the interior areas we find, Sir, that school- going children are engaged more in household works rather than in doing their studies. They use to attend to household duties which is more strenuous and no importance is attached to home studies. So parents should be made to understand and this could be done only through parents participation in education.
Also in many cases, Sir, accommodation is not properly provided even in Government Schools. I find in many cases that Government M.E. and High Schools are not given proper accommodation even in Shillong itself. I do not know why there is such a problem, may be due to the shortage of funds. But I have seen that many buildings are coming up for office accommodation of different departments, but very little fund is allotted in the Budget for buildings of Education Department. You must be aware Sir, since you are from Jaintia Hills that the buildings for Jowai Government College which should have been started about three years back is yet to be constructed. This college is still holding its classes in a rented building. The same is the case with the Government M.E. School at Sutnga. The buildings has collapsed about two years back but till date nothing has been done about it. The students are accommodated in a mission building which is very small and is inconvenient both to the students and teachers alike. So, if the standard of education is to be improved, it should be done simultaneously including accommodation which is one of the factors which will help the teachers to give proper training in the school. But as we see today, even the pay of teachers is not very satisfactory. I should say, Sir, that the pay of teachers should have been more than the pay of the Government employees which require same minimum qualifications. The teachers may also be given proper training so that they are ready to teach the students in a proper manner and I think by this time, it is very necessary to raise the minimum qualification of teachers , especially in the primary stage. You know Sir, as it is today, minimum qualification for L.P. School teachers is M.E. or Class VI passed. But I find it is not upto the mark. This minimum qualification should be raise. To teach the small children is more difficult to teach the students of the High schools and colleges. If education is the primary stage is neglected, it will be very difficult to raise the standard in the M. E. School or high school stage. So Sir, I feel that the qualification for the L.P. School teachers must be raised at a very early date and their pay also will have to be revised and re-fixed to fit in with the time and qualification. I have seen in some other parts of the country, there are correspondence courses also in different subjects, even to qualify in the matriculation examination. But here in this State we do not have such scope to study. We have seen our people in the interior areas do not get a chance to schools or do not have a chance to read. If we can introduce such correspondence course it will go a long way to solve the education problem and it will encourage them to take such courses. At present, we have so many people in the State who are blind, lame and dumb. I think it is time for the Government to look into this question and to start at least one school in the State for the handicapped (Bell rang). I have not seen in the budget speech of the Finance Minister or the Governor's Address that such schools is going to be established. So I appeal to the Government to look into this matter also. (Bell rang).
Mr. Chairman :- Your time is up.
Shri Onward Leyswell Nongtdu :- Just a few more minutes Sir, I would like to mention about reforms of examinations etc.
Mr. Chairman:- Only two minutes and no extension of time.
Shri Onward Leyswell Nongtdu :- Thank you Sir. At present the marking in the examination is being held for the different classes. But I find that it is my personal experience that the marking that is being done is not very correct. It is very difficult to give some marks to the same standard work of the different standards. Instead of this, a clear and weekly assessment of the work of the students should be done on the basis of his assessment promotion may be made. Subjects like agriculture and industries may also be introduced in the schools and colleges and these may be made compulsory for the students of our State. It would have been better if a talent test is introduced in the school stage before admission to new classes and if such a test is set up it is necessary for the teachers also to be trained properly. It is very essential Sir, that students desiring admission to a higher class should sit in such talent tests first, so that the square pegs, as it said, could be placed in square holes. As it is today, we have neglected moral education also. I feel that moral education is very necessary to help the students in various ways. We have seen here in Shillong in some schools, it is being made compulsory subject (bell rang) With these few words. I resume my seat.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. K. M. Roy . you will get 23 minutes.
Shri K. M. Roy Marbaniang :- Mr. Chairman Sir, I am very glad to take part in the discussion on this budget as presented by the Finance Minister yesterday in this august House. I will not dwell on any particular subject. In the first instance , what I would like to speak is about the spirit laid down in the budget speech of the Finance Minister. Since the inception of our State, generally , Mr. Chairman Sir, we do not have much direct Taxation especially in the Khasi Hills. But all along we have been accustomed only to free taxation. From time immemorial our Chiefs , Sirdars of every Elakas are living only on toll from the markets and hats. But I am very glad to note that in the budget speech of the Finance Minister, at page 13, he has specifically mentioned about Meghalaya Taxation and Resources Enquiry Committee which I hope the members of this Committee are very much acquainted with revenue and financial matters. I expect also that in course of time they will suggest a lot to improve in income and revenue of State which shall be tapped by the Government in future, so that our State will be self supporting in the coming years. Mr.. Chairman Sir, personally I am glad that in the budget there is no proposal for new taxation and I hope the people in the State are very much happy and pleased with the Finance Minister in this respect. But Mr. Chairman Sir, I am not so happy to know that we are running the State with deficit financing . However, I hope in the coming years we shall be very much cautious not to depend very much on grants , shares , loans and borrowing money from the open market as stated by the Finance Minister in his budget speech. But Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would remind this august House that though we have started from a scratch and yet within three years since the inception of Meghalaya I am glad to say that now we have been able to set up our offices in different departments with commendable and appreciable progress. Mr. Chairman Sir, with regard to the aims and objects, as stated by the Finance Minister, I am very much in line with him. I am also glad about the development which has been attained with regard to many other subjects. With regard to cadastral survey I am glad that it will be taken up in the near future so that we may be having the records of rights in our State also. Otherwise, as it is now, though many of the hon. Members who have spoken before me and stated about the banking facilities, our own people do not and cannot have the bank credits as other people in the rest of the country are getting to day because our people do not have the records of rights in their own land. In this respect Sir, I must urge upon the Government to implement the cadastral survey in a befitting manner so that we shall not be deprived of the facilities offered by the banks.
The Government has decided to create more districts , more civil sub- division and more administrative units in the State so that the development works in those areas may be implemented as quickly as possible, especially with a view to improve the economic condition of the people. But Sir, in my opinion, the present decision which has been arrived at by the Government is no sufficient. Therefore, I would urge upon this Government that more districts, civil sub- divisions and administrative units should be created to bring the administration nearer to the people. With regard to the better development of the certain areas I would like to cite certain examples. There are areas in the Mawsynram Development Block which are so backward to the extent that, if I may be permitted to say, some people are still half naked. So, Mr. Chairman Sir, I would request the Government to seriously look into this matter and have a new thought to create some more districts, sub-divisions, etc, and administrative units, the geographical conditions and the topography of the areas are also to be taken into consideration keeping in view the importance of having the facilities and amenities like education of their children besides communications not only to the local people but also to the officers and their families posted in the such areas. I have also cited and example in my speech during the debate on the Governor's Address that some of the States in the eastern part of the Country :-Like Tripura, Manipur and Nagaland where they have several districts, sub- divisions and circles also. therefore, Mr. Chairman Sir, as I have earlier stated though the Government has come up with such a bold decision to create more districts, sub- divisions and administrative units, in my opinion, they should have created some more so that facilities may be given to the people who are backward and in need of such civil sub- divisions.
Now Mr. Chairman Sir, I come to come subjects which have been laid down in the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister. At the first page, he has stated the proclamation of emergency and announcement of the 20- Point Economic Programme. In this respect Mr. Chairman Sir, I am also one with the hon. Members who have spoken during the debate on the Governor's Address. But, it is a sort of magic that within a few months the administration in the whole country has changed a lot. I would like to cite one instance. While travelling from here to Delhi we found the changes in the administration of the railways has gone to the extent beyond imagination and it quite commendable which, when compared to previous months, before the declaration of emergency, the railway was so bad that one would decide never to travel by train. So Sir, there has been a lot of changes after the announcement of emergency.
Regarding the economic programme and especially the 20- Point Economic Programme, as laid down by the great lady of the present age Mrs. Indira Gandhi, I would like to say that this has been made a great impact, but what I feel is that we have to meet the expenditure from our State Plan Money. So I would like to state that the Central Government should come forward with additional fund for the extra money which will be required for the implementation of the 20- Point Economic Programme, through the State Planning Board and so money has to be adjusted and , as such, find allocation of some of our schemes will have to be reduced.
Mr. Chairman Sir, regarding banking facilities I am not at all happy because whenever our people go to these banks they are not getting credits either for trades or agricultures. This is because, as I have stated earlier, our people do not have the records of right on their own lands.
Now I come to agriculture and irrigation. I am also glad in this respect that Agriculture Department has started doing some lift irrigation or gravity irrigation so that the food grains for which we have to depend mostly from outside could be produced in our State and we may become self sufficient in the next few years. I urge the Government to start doing these irrigation works in the border area of Bangladesh also.
Regarding Animal Husbandry, I am glad that the Government has taken serious steps for the implementation of animal husbandry and poultry in many respects. Now, they are supplying improved variety of pigs and cows to the people in the rural areas also and they are also supplying chicken of better quality than what we are having in our villages.
Regarding Soil Conservation also the Government have improved in many parts of Garo Hills and the western part of our district also. I have seen many portions of the land have come up with young trees and they have also taught the people to do terracing in the sloping areas.
On Co-operation Mr. Chairman Sir, I am glad that they have started this Housing Corporation in some areas. But in this respect, I would stress and urge upon the Government to give due weightage also to the people in the rural areas so that those people who cannot afford to get their own houses may also get the chance of having their shelter through the Housing Corporation.
On Fishery, I do not know Mr. Chairman Sir, as it is at present probably we are living only from the fish which are coming from outside the State and other parts of the country. Actually, if this Department takes serious steps, there are lots of places in our areas specially in the border of Bangladesh where good fish can be reared and there are many suitable places also where different types of fishes also could be reared . So I would urge upon the Government, through you Mr. Chairman, Sir, that the Fishery Department should take the serious steps to improve the fishes as well as the lakes specially in the border of Bangladesh to that we shall not depend mostly on the fish coming from outside the State as well as from other parts of the country.
Regarding Health, Mr. Chairman Sir, this is a very very important subject which the Chief Minister had clearly stated some time back that we have got 3 main enemies in our State and one of the three enemies is disease. I would request the Government, through you Mr. Chairman Sir, that they should see that in all dispensaries primary health centres, proper care should be taken with adequate number of medical men and staff and also to see that the buildings are constructed in a proper manner and not in a way as they have done now. I find that there are 2 or 3 Primary Health Centres where the buildings have not been constructed in a proper manner and these are not fit even to stay inside. Some of the doctors and nurses used their gumboots and umbrellas, even inside their rooms because the rooms are leaking very much causing interruption in the work. This is inside the rooms and not outside Mr. Chairman Sir. The Government should have taken care to see that it is constructed and covered properly, so there should be any leakage and the doctors and nurses shall not have to use umbrella even in inside their rooms.
Regarding the water supply, there is a cry about the shortage of water supply, especially in Shillong town and I need not say much about this. I hope the Government shall take serious steps implement the Shillong Greater water supply scheme as quickly as possible so that we would not hear any more hue and cry about the shortage of water in Shillong.
About Flood Control and Irrigation, as some of the speakers have mentioned that this Department has been abandoned and has been tagged to some other Departments of the Roads and Building Divisions. Mr. Chairman Sir, this Department is very important. I have found many villages in our State have been eroded by some turbulent rivers and besides that no steps have been taken uptil now in many of these areas, which had been eroded by the river especially in summer Mr. Chairman, Sir, through you I suggest that the R & B Department should have taken this work seriously to check the erosion of those villages which have been eroded very badly by the water in summer, otherwise, many of the people of those villages may have to flee away from their houses in the near future and the Government may have to help them with adequate money for rehabilitation.
Regarding P.W. D. Chairman Sir, I would like to congratulate this Department also because they have been doing lots of work during these past few years and they have improved also to a certain standard which in former years they never have done. But, regarding construction of the bridges both minor and major, this Department should have taken into account formation, elevation and leveling so the motorists moving over these side bridges will not endanger their lives. In some areas I found that the bridges are like speed breakers and if you do not drive your car carefully, you may meet an accident and your car my be broken. So, I would urge upon the Government, through you, Sir, that this Department should have taken care about the construction of bridges both minor and major and proper leveling should be done so that the leveling of the bridge may be at the same level or higher than the road formation.
Mr. Chairman:- You will have half a minute more.
Shri K. M. Roy Marbaniang :- Yes Sir, I understand. Now, I come to supply. In this respect I also I think I would congratulate the Government through the Supply Minister because in Supply, nobody can deny the fact that we are having sufficient qualities of essential commodities, if not in plenty. But we get whenever we require. And, the prices also have come down very much. Mr. Chairman Sir, as I said, I would like that the Supply Department would continue to do the same thing in future also and we do hope that if we can irrigate more places like the border areas then within a short time we shall not require to one for food from outside our State. With these few words, Mr. Chairman Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Francis K. Mawlot.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Mr. Chairman Sir, at the very outset I would like to offer my congratulation to the Finance Minister who had taken the pain in the preparation of this beautiful piece of Budget Speech. I must also congratulate the Government on many steps which they have thought necessary and proper for the speedy implementation of the schemes which were not considered or not executed in the pat years, now the Government have come out with proposal for execution during this financial year. Mr. Chairman, Sir, for example the Government have come forward with the scheme for setting up of correctional homes in the State. I had the occasion of mentioning this matter in the Governor's Address and at that time I was accusing the Government for the non- establishment of such homes but now I am glad, Mr. Chairman Sir, to see in this Budget Speech, at page 9, that the Government have come forward with the proposal ; rather, a scheme to set up one correctional home for delinquent children at Sohiong and two destitute homes for women, one at Shillong and another at Tura.
Mr. Chairman :- So you have withdrawn your accusations.? (Laughter)
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- It means so. Sanction has already been made in this respect and I only which to have the chance again to congratulate the Government for the effective and speedy execution of the scheme.
Mr. Chairman :- Before or after the general election? (Loud laughter)
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- It makes no difference whether I will then congratulate the Government as a member of this House or as an ordinary citizen of the State. If the construction is completed before the general election, I will have the chance to congratulate them as one of the members of this House but if it takes time and cannot be completed before the general election then of course other new Members will have to examine this scheme.
Now coming to page 5 , paragraph 9, of the Budget Speech the Finance Minister had rightly given the figures of production. Well, Mr. Chairman Sir, I said rightly he has given the figure. That does not mean that increase of production was satisfactory or that I am fully satisfied with the increase of production . But to some extent I am happy that the increase was there as has been shown in paragraph 9 but one thing Mr. Chairman Sir, which I would like to inform the Government is that to develop the economy of the people through agriculture , we need a good number of technical persons who are in a position to help the villagers, the farmers to utilize properly the fertilizers and other appliances for the increase in production.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, in the Agriculture Departments there is a Wing, the Engineering Wing for the purpose like irrigation, construction so and so forth. But Mr. Chairman Sir, it is regretted to note that the Engineering Wing of the Agriculture Departments is not fully equipped with technical persons. The number of technical persons we have is not enough to meet the necessity and so my request to the Government is to see that first of all technical persons should be increased in he engineering wing of the Agricultural Department so as to enable the engineers to visit places to make necessary assessment, Mr. Chairman Sir, this year the Agriculture Department has taken up some new irrigation schemes but the schemes could not be completed in due time because of the fact that the engineers could not spare their time to supervise the work as desired. So, Mr. Chairman Sir, if some technical persons are attached to the engineering Wing, the Department will be in a position to assess what type of action is necessary for the areas in Garo Hills, what is necessary for the area bordering Goalpara District or what will be applicable to the areas bordering Bangladesh.
Mr. Chairman Sir, let me come to the page 6 of the Budget Speech. In this respect I may be allowed to read out paragraph 10. "It is through animal husbandry and dairy schemes that supplementary employment can be given to the agriculturists and their economic conditions improved. Steps have been taken to expand State cattle farms, some poultry farms and the Saitsama sheep farm, the Indo- Danish Project has taken up extension work of artificial insemination " Well, Mr. Chairman Sir, I agree with the Finance Minister that it is through animal husbandry and dairy scheme that the economy of our people can be improved but for such improvement we need people for assistance from the Department concerned. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in this respect I am sorry to note that the performance of the Veterinary Department is not up to the mark. It is not satisfactory. Though the establishment is very big with highly qualified persons, as far as the executive part is concerned, I should say it is not satisfactory Mr. Chairman Sir, during 1975-76 i.e., last year and from 1974-75 they started construction of offices, residential buildings and so on in Nongstoin sub- division. the construction work was started in 1974-75 and continued till 1975-76 but it was done in a haphazard manner. I had the occasion to visit personally one such proposed Chilling Plant at Nongstoin and I found the work was done in such a way that even if the man touches the wall by his hand, the wall will immediately collapse.
Mr. Chairman :- Then how it stand at present ?
Shri F. K. Mawlot :- Yes, Sir, that is a wonder. Luckily the location of the building was a little below, surrounded by hills from all sides. As I said I had the occasion to visit the place and with my finger when I touched its wall, which is cemented wall, I found that it was like touching a plate of rice....
Shri Edwingson Bareh, Minister, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry :- May I intervene Mr. Chairman Sir? I may assure the hon. Member that I will go to that place next month and check up all these irregularities. But I wish that he should also be present and accompany me.
Shri F. K. Mawlot :- Mr. Chairman Sir, I do appreciate the alertness or rather readiness of the Minister.
Mr. Chairman :- He requested you to accompany him and I think you will have to do so.
Shri F. K. Mawlot :- Yes, I appreciate the readiness on the part of the Minister to personally verify the construction at that place and to see that such things are corrected and I am ready on my part too to accompany the Minister and also to show him, if the officers concerned do not like to show him the place. I volunteer to show him the particular portion of that construction. Mr. Chairman Sir, here I have got a photo which I have taken of the place, but it is too small and cannot be seen from a distance. Those who would like to see it, they may see because I will place it on the Table of the House so that they can see. For example , here is the floor of the piggery farm and some constructions for keeping pigs. But Sir, what happened ? After keeping the pigs only for 1½ day, all the cement disappeared and all those rocks or boulders kept there as soling stones from underneath the construction also have come up and given way.
Mr. Chairman Sir, as I said the wall itself is so soft as anything and when I talked to the Director of Animal Husbandry ......
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Mawlot since you have introduced that photo on the floor of the House, according to the rules, I think you have to exhibit it.
Shri F. K. Mawlot :- Yes, Mr. Chairman Sir, this is ready as an exhibit. But Mr. Chairman Sir, when I brought this matter to the knowledge of the Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, he complained that last year he had cleared for tenders for the construction works and no local people were available. He said no local contractors were forth coming. But to my surprise Mr. Chairman Sir, people from Nongstoin did not know anything about such advertisement of invitation of tenders. Even though if local people are not available, any one who was entrusted with the work, should see that he executed the works according to the terms signed in the contract. If no terms and conditions works according to the terms signed in the contract. If no terms and conditions were laid down within such contract, at once the work should be stopped. I told the Director not to make a single payment to such contractors who did not execute the construction works according to the terms and conditions of the contract, but I don't know whether this has been done or not and whether this has been brought to the notice of the Minister by the Director or not and I wonder whether payments were not made.
Shri L. Bareh, Minister, Veterinary, Animal Husbandry, etc :- We have not paid them.
Shri F. K. Mawlot :- That is good and final payment should be made only after necessary corrections are made.
Then Mr. Chairman Sir, in the same office of the Sub- Divisional Officer, some appointments were made by the officer in charge of that office. Normally as we have seen, it is always the practice with other Departments that whenever they recruit personnel or appoint, they intimate to the District Selection Committee and it is the duty of the Selection Committee to conduct the interview.
Shri Edwingson Bareh, Minister, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry :- May I intervene Mr. Chairman Sir, ? Here the appointment of these two persons was made an ad-hoc basis and they are subject to regularisation of the District Selection Committee because the services of two persons was required immediately for that office. That is why ad-hoc appointments were made and advertisements were given and proper interview was conducted and they were appointed on the ad- hoc basis subject to regularisation by the selection Board.
Shri F. K. Mawlot :- I thank the hon. Minister for the information. But I would like to tell the hon. Minister of the way the interview was conducted.
Shri Edwingson Bareh, Minister, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry:- The Local M. D. C. of the area was one of the persons who interviewed the candidates.
Shri F. K. Mawlot :- Nevertheless Mr. Chairman Sir, application were also invited from the interested candidates and there were a number of candidates and the day was fixed for the interview. But when the interview was held the SDVO was not in position to judge as to who was eligible for the position. Finally he conducted a sort of lottery. Mr. Chairman Sir, there...
Shri Edwingson Bareh, Minister, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry :- Mr. Chairman Sir, how the hon. Member came to know this, when he himself was not present there ? When one of the local representatives was there how can the lottery be conducted.
Shri F. K. Mawlot :- Mr. Chairman Sir, the question of how do I know or how do I do not know does not arise. It is my duty to try to find out at least if the Government has really done something good, which I may then praise the Government . But if there is any mistake, it is my duty to bring to the notice of the Government.
Mr. Chairman :- But this was only ad-hoc appointment. So do you think there was any harm ?
Shri F. K. Mawlot :- Whether there was anything harmful or not, that I cannot say. I am just telling the Minister that the interviews were conducted. And out of 8 persons only two were selected because of these two no decision could be arrived at as to who would be better between them. Therefore a lottery was conducted. So Mr. Chairman Sir, to me this is very irregular. Another thing, Sir, before this took place, a boy from Barpeta was brought as peon in the office of the SDVO. This boy Sir, was quietly appointed, but the worst Sir, is that the boy did not get his pay for three months . The Police of Nongstoin in a friendly gesture asked the S. D. O. about the non- payment of salary to the boy. In this connection , the answer was that the mother of the boy had taken the money from the SDVO and that the money has to be realised from his pay. But Sir, I do not know how far it is true. According to me this is also very very irregular. Well, Mr. Chairman Sir, I will not blame the department concerned. let them also find out the loop holes and it is up to them to correct all mistakes.
Sir, now let me come to Forest Department. Now our District Councils are making efforts to acquire forests, which are already there and some plots have also been taken by the District Councils to grow trees and to convert them into forest. I appreciate the Forest Department for they have taken steps towards the increase of 6 forest in the State. But Sir, what I want to point out here is that the areas bordering Kamrup in the Khasi Hills District are covered with very thick forests. But now because of lack of communication from our Side, the Assam Government have allowed contractors from Assam to exploit timbers from areas within our jurisdiction. For example, Sir, the area of Nongwah, Kyrshai, Nowapara, Nongumpha and in the border of Kamrup, are still within the Khasi Hills District. Nothing could be done by the village people to stop the extraction of timber, because of the fact the Government of Assam have sent the police personnel to defend and safeguard the contractors whenever any confrontation is met. So Sir, this has been discussed in the House previously. So, I don't have to narrate it again. But in this connection I would like to request this Forest Department and the young and energetic Minister- in- charge of Forest to visit these areas and see for himself the damage done to the territory of our State. And it is my wish that I should be able to appreciate the action taken by the Government.
Mr. Chairman Sir, Fishery is also one on the most important factors contributing to the economic growth of the people in the State. Well Sir, unfortunately the terrains are so difficult Sir that the construction of lakes and ponds are quite difficult. There is a keen interest on the part of the Fisheries in ponds or lakes. It is also difficult on their part to meet the requirements. On the other hand, the Fishery Department is also trying to develop fishery by way of economic grants. But Mr. Chairman Sir, I do not know whether the Government will welcome this kind of development which I may be allowed to propose. The rivers in the State of Meghalaya have great potentiality for the development of fishery. Now the Bangladesh people according to change of season, close the rivers. When another season comes then only they will open the river. There are seasons in which fish come up for breeding and at that time they just close the river so that the fish cannot come to our side. At Ranikor there is no fish at all. The Bangladesh Government have blocked the river and the fish from Bangladesh have not come to our side. But Sir, we have done nothing to preserve fishes in the rivers at Dudnai, Balat, Ranikor and other places can be tapped seasonally , then there will be a great potential for the development of fisheries. From each river, at least, we can get five mounds of fish per day. Let is also utilise those fishes which have been able to investigate into this matter. But this will involve a good amount and I do not not whether this will be possible on their part. Well it is my suggestion only.
Mr. Chairman Sir, at Paragraph 17 of the Budget Speech there is a mention about the up gradation of hospitals and dispensaries. Mr. Chairman Sir, If I am not mistaken it is about two years back that the Government had proposed to upgrade the Nongstoin dispensary to a 30 bedded hospital. But Sir, till now there is no right of the Health Department taking any action on this particular matter. I do not know what is the difficulty or simply it may be a delay on the part of the department. As far as water supply is concerned, Mr. Chairman Sir, I would like to impress upon the Government that the functioning of the Public Health Engineering is also not satisfactory. For example, the Nongstoin Water Supply Scheme and the Williamnagar Water Supply Scheme, these two Sub- Divisional headquarters were not given the benefit of the water supply supplied by the Department so far inspite of the fact that the scheme for Nongstoin should have been done long long ago. Mr. Chairman Sir, the Nongstoin Water Supply Scheme was initiated by the Government of Assam since long back. Investigations were made and completed and the only work that remains to be done is to tap the water and to bring it to town for distribution. This also to some extent was done, but I do not know what is the reason behind that the work that had been started since 1972 ( If I am not mistaken) has taken such a long time which is to me, an undue delay. So, Mr. Chairman Sir, if the Department finds that delay was caused because of the efficiency of the officers action against those officers should have been taken. If there is any difficulty on the part of the Department to approach the local people on the problem of land, there is no District Council to sort it out for them and there are always the villages Durbars, ( Bell rang), the village headman or representatives who are always ready to extend their help so why did the Department hesitate to seek their assistance ?
Mr. Chairman Sir, as regards the policy of the Government for the development of industries. I have nothing much to say, but just a word of caution that large scale industries should not be taken up hurriedly or should not be proposed by this Government to establish hurriedly because of the fact that at present, we do not have enough persons (bell rang)
Mr. Chairman :- Your time is up.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot :- Of qualified technical personnel who know about the management and not those who have only a little knowledge about the management. So, I suggest to this Government that taking up of large scale industries should be postponed for the time being if necessary and ( bell rang) young men from our State could be sent out for study (bell rang) so that when they come back they can serve and meet the requirements of industries.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman Sir, though I have nothing much to add to the observation that have been made by many hon. Members, nor to observe anything on his budget, because when we look at the over all provision of the budget, Sir, we find that the total estimate on expenditure is a big amount which is about 10050 crores including the deficit budget of Rs.4.71 crores. Considering the size of the State, if we can implement all the schemes properly, it will greatly benefit our people but of course it remains to be seen how the Government would implement the various schemes as provided in the budget. Sir, I come to the Housing Co-operatives Societies under the 20- Point Economic Programme which is referred to at Para 4 of the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister. Here as well as in the last Address of the Governor, mention has been made that the problem is not one of the House sites but of finances for house construction. On this, I fully agree with the Finance Minister and with the State Government who had realised the problem of finance for construction of houses for the homeless people of the State. I am glad also now that the Government have set up as many as 7 Housing Co-operatives. May be there Housing Co-operatives are being set up to help finance the construction of houses for the rural areas also because here in Meghalaya housing loans as well as assistance was not available for the past many years and people really suffered for not having proper housing facilities for their families. Mr. Chairman Sir, I am afraid that these 7 Housing Co-operatives as has been stated here may not be sufficient to cater to the needs of the people in the State because these 7 Housing Co-operatives may not be able to cover all the areas of the State. It may not be possible to as it or to finance the weakest section of society Sir. Mr. Chairman Sir, of course in future the Government may organise some more housing co-operatives for helping the poor rural people in getting the opportunity of having this finance for construction of their Houses.
But Mr. Chairman Sir, when I look at this problem, the problem of finance, through the Government have stated like this like that the problem is of finance and not of house sites or lands. But contrary to that , just a few months ago, I have seen the advertisements inviting applications from the homeless people to construct their houses in the housing colony at Lalchand Basti and it is understood that the Government ha purchased the land to provided Housing facilities in the Colony. I am afraid that this Housing Colony is so suitable not to the local people of the State because the ;local people of the State do not want to colonies themselves. Moreover Sir, I am afraid that if such type of colony is set up in the town, the local people or the local poor homeless people will not be benefited but the homeless people who come from outside the State will be more benefited. We have seen after Independence there were tribals and non- tribals refugees from the then East Pakistan. But we have seen that there were no tribal refugees in the colony expect the non tribal refugees who have been allotted lands in the colony of Umpling. Here also I am afraid if we have set up such colonies in the town the local people would not get these housing facilities but instead the people coming from outside the State. Therefore, Mr. Chairman Sir, I would request the Government to abandon the scheme of setting up housing colony in the town . But if all they want to make the colony, they should make it in the villages where the weaker section of the society can get the benefit of the this scheme. Moreover, Sir, I have seen that this Housing Department has been advancing loan for outright purchase of houses including land in Shillong. Sir, this involves allot of money because of the cost of land as well as the cost of the buildings. But then the Department has given this loan for outright purchase. But who will derive the benefit ? I understand that many local people, poor people and low paid employees do not get the benefit from this type of loan but only well to do people specially the non- tribals from inside and outside the State who get this benefit. I think the Housing loan which is provided by the Government is, in principle to help the homeless, poor and economically backward people. But if the major portion of the loan is given to the well to do people, then less money is available for distribution to the lower State. Therefore, I would request the Government to look into this matter and discourage grant of housing loans beyond certain limit, and at least those higher income groups should not be given housing loans and proper enquiry should be made on those people who have got Housing in Shillong and elsewhere in the State. That is why it is contrary to the Statement which has been made that our problem if not of house sites. The local people in the State do not have a problem of house sites because at least they have got a plot of land. Therefore, Mr. Chairman Sir, I would request the Government to give more help and assistance to the weaker section of the society.
Now I come to another point on financial institutions. Here also I already started the establishment of branches is very lopsided. As per the figure which has been given out of 18 branches , which were opened during June, 1974, only 4, as shown in the figure are in the rural areas Mr. Chairman Sir, this is really a very sad story. We expect that Government should persuade the bank authorities to open more branches in the rural areas. Mr. Chairman Sir, out of these 4 branches, also there is lopsidedness in the setting up of banks in the rural areas because in the whole of the proposed West Khasi Hills District, there is not a single nationalized bank. There is already a Sub- division at Nongstoin, but now nationalized bank has been opened. Of course, there are centres Mairang and Nongspung which are very suitable for opening of a nationalized bank to solve the financial problems of a agriculturists of those areas. As we know potatoes that we export to other State is mostly produced in these areas like Mawkyrwat, Nongspung and Mairang. These are the main areas which produce potatoes in large quantities and which bring little revenue to the State Exchequer from agriculture, Mr. Chairman Sir, I would, therefore request the Government to persuade the bank authorities to open more banks in the rural areas Sir, on agriculture I appreciate the steps taken by the Government for setting irrigation, as well as tube well irrigation. But Sir, I find that the government has paid no attention to the cultivators for improving the potato cultivation. Of course on paddy cultivation something has been done by this irrigation. So I would request the Government to look into this potato cultivation which also needs irrigation as it is grown in the uplands of Khasi Hills and also in Jaintia Sir, Government is taking up new irrigation projects and I hope that both major and minor projects will be taken up to provide irrigation for the development of potato cultivation in the hills.
Mr. Chairman Sir, now I will come to Soil Conservation. In this connection, Government has done something like controlling of jhumming as well as encouragement of afforestation. I would stress on afforestation as it is very important subject and Government should pay more attention to this. because this Sir, State has been exploited right from the time of the then Government of Assam and till now trees have been cut down and timber exported to other States in India. Due to haphazard cultivation even grass does not grow properly nowadays. So unless this Department lay more stress to have more afforestation projects then Sir, I am afraid that a time will come when the whole of this area will become one vat desert. Mr. Chairman Sir, this area covers right from Mawphlang upto Nongstoin and Langrin Elakas Sir, these area are now devoid on any vegetation and the hills and have been cleared up with the result of the erosion of the Soil is more prominent here than any where else in the State. This has created another problem and that is with regard to the supply of water and it is extremely difficult to get sufficient water even during the rainy season not to speak of winter months. This is due to lack of forests. I would , therefore, request the Government through you, Sir, to pay special attention to this problem by undertaking special schemes in the State and provide more funds to carry out afforestation schemes in this part of the State and elsewhere in the State.
Then Mr. Chairman, Sir, I will cone to co-operation which has found place in para 12 of this Budget Speech. Here I appreciate the Government when it says " The recovery of overdue will receive stricter attention from the Government and effective steps will be taken to realise them". Mr. Chairman Sir, during the last few years we know that there are many Co-operative Societies in towns as well as in villages which have defaulted by misusing the loans from the Government. They have just spent the money by distributing it among the office bearers, I meant like the Secretary, the Chairman and so on. But they have failed to, distribute the money among the members nor repay the loan taken from Government . Mr. Chairman Sir, nothing has been done about this and they are allowed to escape scot- free as no action has been initiated by Government. I appreciate therefore, that now Government is taking this up and is going to recover the overdue from the defaulting societies. Mr. Chairman Sir, I feel that had Government taken action last year or during the last few years then the money would have been realised by now. I know Sir, atleast in my constituency there are a few defaulting societies- the Service Co-operative Societies which have taken loans from the Government amounting thousand and lakhs of rupees but have never given loans to the members for their use, but the amount is utilised by the Secretaries and Chairmen of those societies. So action must be taken against them otherwise the economy of the State as a whole will be affected. Mr. Chairman Sir, I know the Government is coming up with a new type of scheme and that is the reorganisation and revitalization of primary level societies under the master plan prepared by the Reserve Bank of India and it is expected to be completed by the end of the next financial year. I would request the Government through you, Sir, to see that the defaulting societies are not absorbed in this new and reorganized scheme. Such societies should actually be suspended and separate action should be taken against them. If they are allowed to merge in the new reorganized society , then, I am afraid , they will be more of a burden than any help with the result they will adversely affect the functioning of the new set up. This will also affect the benefits which should have accrued to the cultivators. Sir I request Government to look into this matter properly before they establish these new reorganized societies.
Mr. Chairman Sir, on community Development I would say that only now the people of the State have come to realise its importance. They are now enthusiastic about it and now are concerned with development.
So long we were under the then Government of Assam, the people have not understood the real concept of development and they were afraid to allow their places to be developed least Government will take away their lands. Money had just been spent like that and there is no sign of development . Only during the last few years , Sir, through this Community Development and the block agencies at least something has been done in the villages. people have fully realised now. They want development . It is only during the last few years that the people of the State as a whole have got the impression and acquired the enthusiasm to develop themselves. In this way, if Government can provide more funds through the block agencies, I think we will be able to help develop our villages and the State as a whole.
Mr. Chairman:- Was it not too late for them to realise now ?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Of course, it is too late if we refer to the money already spent in the past. But it is not too late now for the development. We have just attained our full -fledged State a few years back. Therefore it is not too late for our own Government to spend money and to channelised the funds through the block agencies. I could say that it is only the block agencies who could go the every nook and corner of the State as well as to each and every village. But all the department in the State, through one concerned with development but then they do not have a chance to penetrate into every nook and corner of the State. They do not meet the people of every area. Therefore, Sir, I would request that funds should be channelised from all the departments to these block agencies to be implemented by them in the interest of Public services. Sir, for example take the case of those minor irrigation schemes which the Agriculture Department have implemented. People are looking forward to such schemes for development of their fields. But actually, they do not know where is the Agriculture Department because it is far away from them. But they approach the block agencies, the Block Development for guidance as well as for helping them. Mr. Chairman Sir, I would also stress that since the Government ha thought it fit and proper to associate public representatives with the implementation of schemes by the Block Development agencies by appointing them Chairman of Blocks this has really created enthusiasm in the mind of public to develop themselves and to help the development of the whole State. Therefore, I would request the Government to provide more funds and to channelised funds from other departments to these agencies.
Mr. Chairman Sir, I would come now to another point and that is Education. On education, we have seen that the Government had of course stressed the need of equipping young people with necessary knowledge and skill for their successful career in life and thus as has been stated programme at the primary level has been chalked out with the assistance of the National Council of Educational Research and Training and they have given impetus to the State . But I am sorry, Sir, to find that there are certain schemes which Department has provided in the State especially the one what is called Audio Visual Aid Media. Government through the Education Department has provided certain schemes through this Audio Visual Aid Media. I know for instance , they have distributed electric radios and equipments regardless of how the school is. Sometimes, some schools do not have even buildings as many hon. Member have stated. But then how can those sophisticated equipments be supplied to the schools. Here, find that there is a great contradiction to the Chief Minister's replies to the Governor's Address when he said that we do not mind to start a school under the shade of trees. But I wonder how can these sophisticated equipments could be supplied even in school which has no electricity at all. Therefore Sir, I feel that all these things should be properly examined to see what type of equipments should be supplied to what type of School. In fact, we need some more text books. We know Mr. Chairman Sir, that have in the State, we have the heaviest rainfall in the worlds and thus we required good building for education. If we do not have a shelter I think we can not conduct the classes. Moreover, Sir, the school sessions are mostly in the summer seasons in our State while during the dry season we generally, go to the fields for cultivation and we have got some work to do for production of our food stuff. Therefore, Sir, I would request the Government to properly examine this and provide necessary facilities to the schools. I know that we ought to run after modern things but I say we have not come up to this standard of the western countries where teaching is done through television and radios. But here we have to teach face to face and through a teacher only. Therefore Sir, on this point, I would request the Government to look to the fate of the lower primary school teachers. In this budget speech we have seen that the Government has provided something like 7 lakhs for the payment of the arrear pay to the lower primary school teachers. In fact, I understand that the District Council in Khasi Hills. I refer to the Khasi Hills District budget only. Sir, as a matter of fact, they have calculated that due to this revised scale of pay that has been implemented by this Government the amount of arrear pay due to the lower primary School Teachers, should have come to neighborhood of 17 lakhs of rupees. But in the provision, it has been provided something like 7 lakhs only. So there is a difference in the amount. I am afraid those teachers will not be able to get their arrear pay.
( bell rang)
So I would request the Government to look into the matter and provide more funds in this coming year. Sir, on supply of essential commodities we have found it is a very encouraging statement from the Government that they shall bring about intensive drive to eliminate false ration cards. Of course, this encouraged us and the people in the State. In the last few days, we have seen in the newspaper that the S. D. O., Nongstoin has carried out some raids to detect this ghost village. Mr. Chairman Sir, I would like to point out also that there are villages which have submitted a list of the actual figures of population about 15 or 18 years and yet on the same population the issue of ration cards is based and so they naturally receive ration less than the actual population which is existing at present . Mr. Chairman Sir, I would request the Government to look into this.
When the S. D. O., of Deputy Commissioner of every district should carry out raids of detection of ghost villages and Ghost cards ( Bell rang) Another minute Sir. I would also like to say that there are certain centres where they have complained that there is inflated population. But when this is reported to the Deputy Commissioner no action is taken though the fact remains that the population is really inflated. I have once reported this to the Deputy Commissioner so that he can look into it or take some action against the permit holder who has indulged in such crimes but up till now no action has been taken even though it is about a year now. So, Sir, I do not know whether action is taken only for certain centres or for all areas in the State. ( Bell rang )
With these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Chairman :- Now, Prof. Warjri.
Prof. A. Warjri :- Mr. Chairman Sir, I would also like to take a part in this debate on the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister. First of all, I would like to congratulate him for this Budget Speech which clearly reveals to us the economic situation in the State during the past few years and also tells us what income is expected for our State and what expenditure is likely to be during the year 1975-76. In my speech today I would like to touch upon a number of points. I remember that a few days back I had already spoken at length on the emergency and the 20- Point Economic Programme. So I do not think I will talk any more on these.
Mr. Chairman Sir, in his budget speech, the Finance Minister at para 5, has stated " There has been steady progress in the operation of the Commercial Banks, but it is still not satisfactory. Our people largely have not been able to obtain bank assistance because of their rigid attitude and unhelpful work procedure. Theses should be reoriented if social objectives are to be achieved ". Mr. Chairman Sir, here I would like to join with the Finance Minister in expressing my dissatisfaction in the working and attitude of the nationalized banks towards our people. In the last few years, we have noticed quite a number of banks have started in Shillong especially. Many of them are called by the name of some other States. I do not know the procedure on how banks can be started at a certain place. I wonder if a bank which starts in a certain place has first to get the permission of the State Government or not. We do not know for what purpose these banks have been started here in Shillong, but alas ! We see that, in most of these banks, our own people are hardly employed. It may be that our people may not be fit as managers and so we see them bring the managers from outside. But with regard to other posts, I cannot see why these could not be given to the sons of the soil. I wonder also what these banks have been started for ? Some of them have even branches in the rural areas. I presume that it would be for the economic upliftment of the people of the State but, on scrutiny of the whole affair we find that percentage of our people to enjoy the facilities from these banks is really very limited. Excuses here and excuses there are found in not giving the credit facilities to our tribal people. Take for instance, the question that had come up before the august House for a number of times regarding the loans to be advanced to the educated unemployed youths under the Half- A- Million - Job - Programme. Very few of them got. In dealing especially with the State Bank, many cases are still pending. Though the Government have done everything, have sponsored and stood guarantee for them and have gone to the extent of subsiding 10 percent for the trucks, yet quite a number of these young people have not been able to get. If the banks would just say- straight and simple - that would not get, then they would understand and that they would not have to go to the bank time and again. But, Sir, they were given hopes and, as a result , these young people are just roaming about hoping against hope that the banks would give the money or the cheques in order to be able to purchase the trucks. This is one of the examples.
Then we have also seen that banks have been started in various places in the interior. But I have come to know that quite a number of people do not get assistance from these banks because the people have nothing to pledge with. I have come to know they cannot pledge with their land. This is one of the difficulties.
I appreciate the difficulties from the banks' side but Sir, when outsiders come to start the banks here especially in the interior, they should know these difficulties. I suggest that from their side and from the Government side they should sit together to solve these problems. True, we are already taking up the land reforms; but meanwhile , especially the banks that are there in the interior should be able to help the people somehow or rather. I join also with the Finance Minister in congratulating the Central Government when he said that the Central Government is to be congratulated for starting up rural banks. Meghalaya fulfills most of the conditions for establishing of rural banks. This is good thing for us and I hope that with the starting of the rural banks, our people will be able to get these credit facilities especially for agricultural purposes. I agree with the Members from Phulbari who has stated that if there is so much delay in starting this rural bank schemes, or if the leading banks which had gone to the interior find so much difficulty, I think it is high time that our State take up the matter and start on its own the rural Apex banks every where in order to help these people. The banks should spread all over our State and instead of 6 this may be increased to 12 or even more than 12.
Regarding agriculture also I have touched during the debate on the Governor' s Address. Only one suggestion Mr. Chairman Sir, I would like to make is this. In my discussion with some Agricultural Officers I gathered that there is a need for the establishment of a Potato Research Centre- cum- Seed Farm with an area of about 1,000 acres. In fact I have been asked to help to find a place for this Seed Farm. I hope that the Government have already done something from their side in order to make this Potato Research Centre- cum- Seed Farm possible, which is very important.
With the introduction of Kupri Jyoti which is found to be very ideal for our people and if we have to buy this seedling from outside from time to time then it will be too costly. But is the Government can help develop a seed farm of this kind this special type of potato can be made to acclimatize with the conditions here and it will become a potato especially adapted to the State especially in these regions where potato is being grown. In my tour towards the border to an area beyond Smith to dynshing village. I have noticed that there are vast stretches of land in which nothing is being grown though the land looks fertile. Of course it is upto the Officers to see the conditions of the soil, but I feel that something should have been done there because that area is a potato growing area.
Regarding animal and husbandry, I am happy to know the progress made and I cannot but take my hats off to the Department and the Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department. We have to appreciate what they have done in the course of a few years. Before we got the Hill State there is nothing worth seeing except the farm at Umsning or navy Bungalow and the farm at Upper Shillong. But now, the achievement by the Department has become really gigantic. The project at the Upper Shillong Farm, known as the Indo- Danish Project and the project that is going to be started at Kyrdemkulai are the 2 major ones being the smaller ones here and and there at Jowai and Tura and elsewhere in the State. The Indo- Danish Project will finally change our entire livestock in the State for better milk production. Keeping of much cows so far is not popular among our people. But now it has become more and more popular and more people are coming for advice from the Veterinary Department and also the production of milk has increased. However, I would make certain observations. In the reply of the Minister -in- charge Animal Husbandry and Veterinary to a question today regarding the slaughter house for Shillong, the construction of a slaughter house is on the way. The MIDC is being entrusted with the preparation of a project report and commissioning of the project it is is found feasible. And I hope it is feasible. And, Mawiong is the site provisionally earmarked. I really appreciate that this matter has been taken up or will be taken up as soon as possible. But before taking up the construction works, I would also like to request the Government on a point which is very very important and that is the supply of cattle to that slaughter house. What is the use of having a slaughter house if we cannot have beef cattle. While going along the G.S. Road to Gauhati we come across herds of cattle driven up from the other places to Shillong. not to speak to the inconveniences of the motorists these cattles are so thin and sickly, so dirty that some of them die on the way, and the lot that reach Shillong are slaughtered, not in the slaughter houses as we do not have any slaughter house and the meat sold in the market are not checked or examined and the population of Shillong is to purchase any kind of meat. I think it is by the mercy of God that we are still saved from epidemics and other intestinal problems. There is no proper checking so that we may get wholesome meats in the market. More over I wonder, how long can we depend on the supply of those cattle from the plains. very often when I meet those Veterinary Officers , I discussed about the problem and the need for opening ranches in our State for the purpose of nearing beef- cattle. As I am informed the Central Government is unwilling to sanction such scheme. This may be due to some misunderstanding or may be that the people from the Central Government have not really understood the need of the beef eating people of this State. I therefore, request the Government to take up this matter to persuade the Central Government. Because once this scheme comes into effect, once the schemes started in time, it will help the beef eating population of the State which, I believe, is almost 90 percent of the total population and as they are able to get fresh and wholesome meat. Not only that, a meat processing industry also can be started even for exporting outside the State. This will add to the income of the State.
Then another thing Sir, which concerns the Veterinary Department is an appeal to the Government to open milk collection centres in other parts of the State. For Khasi Hills of course, there is milk collection centre at Umsning (Naya Bungalow) and at other place along the G. S. Road. As I understand there was also a milk collection centre at Latyrke in Sutnga Constituency. This is, as I know, the only milk collection centre of Jaintia Hills. I also understand that there have been some difficulties regarding misuse of vehicles by the employees. But just because of that I do not agree that the whole scheme should be abandoned that the whole centre should be closed down. I think Garampani is also quite another suitable place for opening a milk collection centre.
Regarding the Community Development Project I would like to urge upon the Government to concentrate more on those areas which have not yet been touch up till now. The Lyngam area for example is one of the most neglected areas in the State. So far due to lack of communication the people of that area remains the same as they were many years back. Then there are other parts where I toured, viz., Lyngsning area which is still very backward. For example, there are roads on both sides of the river for a number of years but there is no bridge to connect these two roads. Also I would like to touch a little on the urban development. I think it is proper for me to take this opportunity to congratulate the Government for what they have done especially in Shillong. The roads have been made spacious, potholes have been removed and adequate lighting arrangements have been done and in fact the face of Shillong has been changed. Apart from that number of bridges have been constructed not only in my constituency but in other parts also. But I have some suggestions to make for more improvement. Such beautiful roads have been constructed yet we find something is lacking especially in the matter of sanitary arrangement. There is no bathroom no latrine for the public. True, sometime back, we had 4 or 5 latrines especially in Bus stand but those have been misused by the public. I have a suggestion however to make. There are a number of people who live by cleaning and sweeping many of whom are searching for jobs. So why not build some latrines and rent them to sweeper to look after them ? I know the public would like to use these urinals and latrines. The public will willingly pay 10 paise or even 25 paise for usage. This will solve the unemployment problem at least of these people. Also we find that the motor station, the latrine is rotten. We cannot even think of going there and so when the people go to the motor station and feel the call of nature they cannot go to the backyard of the motor station. Therefore, I hope some thing should be done, not only in the motor station here, but in the motor stations in Jowai and Tura and Nongstoin and at other stations. I have seen there are no sanitary arrangement provided in Tura, Cherrapunjee, Nongstoin motor station, some one may say, why not go to the jungle for urinal purpose, my answer is that by the time he or she comes back the bus would have already left. Then also proper sanitary arrangements should be made in cinema halls. I have seen latrines and public urinals in the cinema halls which are not properly made or taken care of in a proper way. Then I come to the urban improvement scheme. Sir in most of the playground especially in Polo ground latrines or urinals for the public are non existence. So I think it is good and proper if some latrines or urinals are provided in Pologround and other playgrounds where sports and games are being held.
Then I come to street lighting in town of Shillong. I am happy to notice that right from Malki bridge upto Laitumkhrah road is lighted with fluorescent lamps. yet is many other places we find either lights are too near to each other or far from each other. I do not know what system had been followed but I think something should be done in such a way that lights are evenly spaced. Here in Shillong also we witnessed lately the activities of the town and County Planning Department. I have told the Minister in charge of Public Works Department also and it seems there is not co-ordination between these two Departments i.e., Town and Country Planning Department and the Public Works Department. The Secretary of these two Departments is one and the same person, yet we find no co-ordination at all between them. I think the Town and Country Planning Department should gave consulted the Public Works Department as to what footpaths should be taken up. Some footpaths are already earmarked by the Public Works Department for widening to serve as motorable roads and as such it would be a waste of money to take up the same work twice.
I am happy to see that the Government have taken up the slum clearing scheme. But I may tell you from my own practical experience that there are some difficulties that come as a result of this. You know a footpath is now being repaired at Malki and I believe that these being the dry days sooner or later that road would have to be taken up again because I have seen there are pipes buried about six metres below the road. Here in the town where the Public Works Department is executing some works pipes which have been laid were tagged along a wall when a road is repaired or constructed. Today for example while I was coming to the Assembly, I happened to pass by a road and I have seen that those pipes were buried beneath the surface of the road. The cemented road was made much thicker. As I started before that these being dry days, that road may be destroyed again at any moment and with have to be repaired again. Therefore, I think immediate action should be taken and these pipes should be removed or placed somewhere in a drain and covered with some stable. That would be the best thing other wise it would be unnecessary expenditure on the part of the Government.
Then another things which I would like to say which is not mentioned here in the Budget, viz., the two categories of people the custodians of the law and the law breakers what I mean to say is about the Police and the Prisoners. We have heard from quite a number of speakers about the activities of the police personnel who had done well as far as our State is concerned. myself being a representative from a place where a Police reserve is located, I can claim to know well about the condition there. it is really a shock to me to find that these custodians of law are housed in wretched houses, and the room where some of them dwell in is only hardly 4 by 5 ft. So I urge the Government to provide better housing facilities to the Police Personnel. I know quite a number of them are staying outside the Reserve because of lack of accommodation and the wretched condition in the reserve.
Mr. Chairman:- You say 4 by 5 ft, is it just like a coffin?
Prof A. Warjri :- Yes Sir, something like that. Of course the height is more.
Then now I want to speak something about the jails . Mr. Chairman Sir, little improvements have been made inside the jail compact. There was a time when during the day time we can see starts above the roof but now we can no longer see those stars during the day time.
Now the broken cemented concrete floors have been repaired. bath rooms have been repaired. But there is no proper arrangement for water supply. Sir, I know that there is plenty of water inside the jail compound. In this connection I feel like saying -" Water, water everywhere but not a single drop to drink" Actually there is sufficient water inside the jail compound which can feed not only the jail but also the Police Reserve. In fact during dry season the people of Jail Road used to draw water from the pond in the jail compound. I suggest that Government immediately take steps to provide pumps to draw water from the pond for use in the jail and Police Reserve and thus the Municipal pipes line to the Jail may be diverted to Jail Road. I therefore, would like to request the Government through you, Mr. Chairman Sir, that this matter should be taken up immediately. Then again Sir, on water supply I would like to remind the Government about some schemes have long taken up which the Government have not yet completed. The Government have not even started this scheme. The Finance Minister knows very well about the scheme that was taken up a few years back for Umsning and the villagers nearby. Sir, till now nothing has been done and nothing has appeared so far. When this scheme was taken up at first, the total expenditure for the implementation has been estimated at Rs.30,000 but by this time the new estimate has been calculated at Rs. 3 Lakhs. I, therefore, urge upon the Government to take up this scheme as early as possible. Mr. Chairman Sir, I am also very grateful to the Government for taking necessary action for the supply of water to the constituency. In two places water tanks have been installed and the whole scheme has been taken up with the help of some M.L.A. and also with the help of the PHE and the Municipality. Sir, I actually was made to understand that this scheme is meant for taking the water from the Crinoline Falls right to Mawkhar. But as it is now the scheme has brought water to Barabazar tank from which some water is to go to Mawkhar. As I found now this supply of water has been less and less and the whole area of Mawkhar, Wahingdoh, Umsohsun, Riatsamthiah, Mission Compound and others are again facing acute scarcity of water supply. It is no use to have big tanks only. What we want is water.
Then Mr. Chairman Sir, I would like to touch a little on education. Mr. Chairman Sir, my first point is that there is a hostel at Laitumkhrah which is meant for the plain tribal students. But when I asked some people at Laitumkhrah nobody knows who are staying in that hostel who is the Superintendent in charge of that hostel. I, therefore, would like to request the Government to look into this matter and see whether this particular hostel can be utilised for the Khasi and Garo students coming from far away places.
And then I would like to appeal to the Government to take into consideration the scale of pay of college teachers once and for all. if the college teachers cannot be given the U. G. C. or the pay scale demanded by teachers let Government decide its own scale and impose it now on teachers. It is time Government do something on this long pending affair.
Then Sir, while coming to industries, I have noticed that the Government have decided to set up industrial estates at Mendipathar and at Shillong. I am happy to see that there is no mention of Byrnihat. I am happy to note that the Government at last decided to establish industrial estates of Shillong also. Because it is the people of Shillong that need employment more than the people of rural areas. Here we see young men and women roaming about here and there in Shillong in search of employment. So, it would be commendable on the part of the Government if something could be done for these young people at Shillong. In this way many industries will grow up in this area also. But the more important matter which I would like to mention here is the utilization of meter factory at Shillong which for the last four years has been remaining idle. So let us use this meter factory for some industrial purpose. The last but not the least, Mr. Chairman Sir, I would like to touch on excise and taxes, especially excise. Here in this matter, the Government has also given careful consideration to the 12- Point Programmes on prohibition. It has been found that in one of the local papers, the Shillong Times and advertisement has been inserted for the sale of liquor and I do not know to whom this paper belongs to or to which party. All I am interested is that it has gone against the 12- Point Programme in prohibition. Therefore I would like to urge upon the Government to take immediate action against such papers as this is not permissible under the 12- Point Programmes on prohibition. Another point Sir, which I would like to mention here is that the Government should abolish bars near the educational institution in Laitumkhrah there are there such bars which should be abolished by the Government as it is very near the educational institutions. And then Sir, I would like to urge upon the Government that more constables should be appointed to help the functioning of the Excise Department.
Mr. Chairman :- Now the time is up. The House stands adjourned till 9.30 a.m. on Monday the 22nd March, 1976.
R. T. Rymbai,
|The 20th March, 1976||
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.