PROCEEDINGS OF THE BUDGET SESSION OF THE MEGHALAYA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ASSEMBLED AT 9.30 A.M. ON THE 22ND MARCH, 1976, WITH THE SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR.
Present - Eight Minister, three Ministers of State, Thirty Members.
Mr. Speaker : Let us begin the business of the say by taking up starred questions No.2 in the name of Shri Rowell Lyngdoh. Absent and since he has not authorised any one, let us come to unstarred question No.25.
(Replies to which were placed on the table)
License under the Drugs Cosmetics Act.
Shri Humphrey Hadem asked :
25. Will the Minister-in-charge of health be pleased to refer to the replies to Unstarred Question No.27 dated, 17th December 1975 in the last Winter Session and state -
(a) Whether the License issued to the 9 licensees under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules are valid for one year only?
(b) If so, whether the same has since been renewed and upto what period?
Shri Sanford K. Marak, Minister Health replied
25. (a) - No
(b) - Does not arise.
Shri Maham Singh : For how many years these licenses have been issued or rather , for how many years these licenses are valid.
Shri Sanford K. Marak, Minister Health : These licenses are valid upto 31 December.
Mr. Speaker : Are they renewable every year?
Shri Sanford K. Marak, Minister Health : Yes Sir.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : When will these licenses expire?
Mr. Speaker : 31st December.
Shri Sanford K. Marak, Minister Health : It depends on the Rules of the Drugs and Cosmetics and all the licenses expire on the 31st December, 1975.
Shri Maham Singh : In that case, they are valid only for one year?
Mr. Speaker : It differs from one case to another.
Shri Maham Singh : In reply to 25 (a) it was said ' no' Sir, but for how many years they are valid.
Shri Sanford K. Marak, Minister Health : Mr. Speaker Sir, it expires on 31 December e.g., if it is issued on November this year even, it will expire on 31st December.
Mr. Speaker : That is information.
Shri Humphrey Hadem : Whether the licenses have been renewed for this year?
Mr. Speaker : Whether these licenses have been renewed after 31st December, 1975?
Shri Sanford K. Marak, Minister Health : Mr. Speaker Sir, there are so many licenses and that depends on each case.
Shri Maham Singh : In which case there are so many ....
Mr. Speaker : Whether these 9 licenses have been renewed till 31st December, 1975.
Shri Sanford K. Marak, Minister Health : These will be valid up to 31st December, 1976.
Mr. Speaker : Unstarred Question No.26.
Mobile Dispensary for Border Areas.
Shri Samarendra Sangma asked
26. Will the Minister -in- charge of Health and Medical be please to state :
(a) How many times the mobile dispensary meant for the border areas visited the border areas under Zigzag Block, Garo Hills during the year 1975-76?
(b) The names with designation of the persons posted for the said mobile dispensary for the border areas?
(c) The nature of services rendered by the mobile dispensary in the border area on the Zigzag Block, Garo Hills?
Shri Sanford K. Marak, Minister Health replied
26. (a)- Nil
(b)- Dr. R. Bhattacharjee- Medical Officer
- Shri W. Momin - Male Nurse.
- Shri T.B. Chetri- Driver.
- Shri W. Marak- Handyman.
(c) Presently, the Medical officer is concentrating Small pox Active Search and giving medical care in the Baghmara and Maheshkhola as there is no doctor available. He attends the weekly markets and renders medical care to the people coming from the different villages of the border areas.
Shri Maham Singh : 26(a) Sir. Since when the Mobile Dispensary was placed for operation in the border areas?
Mr. Speaker : The answer is nil.
Shri Maham Singh : In any case, since when it was placed in the border areas? 26 (c) Since when was there this eradication of small pox operation started....
Mr. Speaker : I think that is a continuing programme.
Shri Maham Singh : Since when such programme for eradication of small pox started in Baghmara and Maheshkhola are?
Shri Sanford K. Marak, Minister Health : Government has been trying to eradicate this particular disease right from the inception of the State.
Shri Maham Singh : On a point of clarification....
Mr. Speaker : In question you are to seek information and not clarification.
Shri W. Syiemiong : From the reply of the Minister, do we understand that in that case, since eradication of small pox started from the inception of the State at Zigzag Block, this mobile dispensary has never been there before?
Mr. Speaker: You cannot put the question in that manner. You can say whether it is fact that small pox eradication programme ahs not been started in Zigzag Block?
Shri Sanford K. Marak, Minister Health : The reply is clear at 26 (c)
Shri H. Enowell Pohshna : Why?
Mr. Speaker : The answer is nil. if you want to seek further clarification you can have a discussion on this matter. The answer is nil - it means nil.
Elephants Caught in State.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot asked
27. Will the Minister in Charge of Forest be pleased to state :
(a) The number of elephants caught from the there Districts of the State during 1973-74, 1974-75, 1975-76?
(b) The revenue derived there from?
Shri Grohonsing Marak, Minister Forest replied
27(a)- 1973-74- 71
(Upto February 1976)
(b)- 1973-74- Rs. 32,968.00
- 1974-75- Rs. 35,385.75
Shri Francis K. Mawlot : 27 (a) , who are the parties who have conducted the catch?
Mr. Speaker : That is a new question. This is an unstarred question and this should have been put right from the very beginning.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot : (b) Whether this amount is to be shared between the State Government and District Council?
Shri Grohonsing Marak, Minister Forest : Yes, Mr. Speaker Sir.
Shri W. Syiemiong : May we know how were these elephants disposed of?
Shri Grohonsing Marak, Minister Forest : It is up to the Mahaldars.
Shri Maham Singh : Whether the shares which are due to the District Councils have been paid?
Shri Grohonsing Marak, Minister Forest : Yes, Mr. Speaker Sir.
Shri W. Syiemiong : Do you mean from year to year because it refers to 3 different years together.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot : May we know the number caught from each district in reply to (a) Sir?
Shri Grohonsing Marak, Minister Forest : In 1973-74, from Khasi Hills-29, Garo Hills 42 total-1. In 1974-75, Khasi Hills-1 and Garo Hills 23 total-24 and in 1975-76, Khasi Hills-1 and Garo Hills-54. Total-55.
Mr. Speaker: Let us pass on the next item. Mr. P.G. Momin you will get 13 minutes.
Shri Pleader Gare Momin : Mr. Speaker Sir, it has been a great privilege for me to have this opportunity to speak and to raise certain observations on the budget speech which the hon. Finance Minister has been pleased to deliver on the floor of this House on the 19th instant. While participating in the Budget Discussion Mr. Speaker Sir, at the very outset of my speech, I must express my profound happiness on the Government's efforts for taking taking up various schemes with clear vision and firm determination to push through all the developmental activities of the State and the people as a whole, as may be seen from the Budget Speech. However I would like to express my keen desire to acquaint myself with some of the developmental schemes already implemented and are being implemented with special reference to the water supply problem in our State. Mr. Speaker Sir, all the hon. Members of this House are quite aware that these water supply schemes are taken up by the Public Health Engineering Department since the very inception of the new State of Meghalaya. The main function of the department in the execution of the various projects under the "National Water Supply and Sanitation Programme" both in the rural and urban sector. I would like to emphasise that under these projects, there are different schemes which are being undertaken by the P.H.E. Department - namely, all urban and rural water supply schemes, urban sewage and drainage schemes, water pollution control schemes and conversion of dry latrines into sanitary latrines. However, Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to concentrate myself mainly on one of these schemes which is known as the Rural Water Supply Scheme. It is quite clear that the aims and objects of the Government in implementing these rural water supply schemes are to improve and promise the living conditions of the people in the rural areas by eradicating water borne and filth borne diseases and by providing them with pure drinking water. In this context, I would like to say something from the statistical data. It is a fact that the people from different parts of the State are crying for good water facilities. I am glad to mention there are 4586 villages with a total rural population of 10 lakhs in our State at present, and these statistical data show that the per capita cost corresponding to the Rural Water Supply Scheme comes to Rs.500. Therefore , if the total areas are to be covered up by these rural water supply schemes then the entire cost will come to Rs.50 crores, whereas I am glad to mention on the floor of the House, that only the Fifth Plan Rs.5 crore have been set aside in the hands of the PHE Department to take up and implement these schemes. I would like to bring to the notice of the hon. Members of the House that at this rate it will take another 50 years to cover the entire rural water supply schemes. Even assuming this entire amount of Rs.50 crores is made available to the Government, particularly speaking , there are certain practical difficulties confronting the departments in course of implementation of such schemes. For instance, there are some areas where there are no good water sources, non-availability of power and electricity for taking up pumping water supply system and thirdly unwillingness and inability of the public to maintain such schemes after their completion. These are some of the factors which hinder the progress of the schemes although the Government is trying its utmost ability to reach these schemes to every nook and corner of our State. I have no doubt that it will take many years to reach these schemes to all part of the State. Therefore, the Government and the people of the State as a whole will have to march long way to achieve the goal with enough patience and tolerance. Mr. Speaker Sir, however, I could not forget that the P.H.E. Department has made remarkable achievements in the past. It is gratifying to mention that till today, 112 rural water supply schemes have already been taken up so far and out of which 55 schemes have already been taken up so far and out of which 55 schemes have been completed and more schemes are coming up. I would like to congratulate the P.H.E. Department for these remarkable achievements. No doubt Mr. Speaker Sir, in the areas and in the villages covered by the rural water supply schemes, the public have luxury of water facilities with street water taps at their doorsteps and in some cases even inside the houses unlike in some other states of the country where under rural water supply schemes only hand tube wells and ring wells are taken up. In this respect, I would like to endorse our Government policy and implementation of rural water supply schemes which is far better than that of other States. Mr. Speaker Sir, however, while congratulating the Government for its remarkable achievements I may also remind the House about certain drawbacks and shortcomings of the department. At the first instance, Mr. Speaker Sir, so far the rural water supply scheme has been implemented in our State, according to my knowledge and information no sedimentation tanks and filter system have been provided along with the rural water supply schemes. As such, it may be mentioned that water supply schemes implemented in the rural areas are not of hygienic type. Therefore, it is not free from water borne diseases. I presume, Mr. Speaker Sir, if such facilities in the rural water supply schemes would be very very costly and sophisticated and it may be difficult on the part of the Government to cope with the demand in view of limited funds at their disposal on the one hand, and also it will create so many complications in maintaining the schemes since the maintenance of such schemes in the rural areas is given to the local people from the date of its completing. However, I would like to request the Government to look into this aspect and if we really want to improve the water supply scheme and if we are really willing to extend out help so that the poor people (bell rang) in the rural areas can derive the real benefit, Government should give due consideration to this aspect in future. Secondly, Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to mention also the delay involved in processing and also in implementing the schemes by the P.H.E. Department should be upgraded to a major department with a full fledged Chief Engineer and Secretary and also Superintendent Engineers for quick processing of the schemes and effective supervision over the activities of the department considering the duties and responsibilities which are going to be expanded in the says to come. Thirdly, Mr. Speaker Sir, I am very happy to learn from the Budget Speech that the estimate for Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme has been raised during the current year from Rs.439 lakhs to Rs.816 lakhs and that the Government is taking steps to take loans from the L.I.C. of India. In this respect, however Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to request the Government that it should come forward in taking loans from the L.I.C. of India and also from the World Bank for financing not only urban water supply but also for Rural Water Schemes by preparing self financing water supply ands sewage schemes. Then Mr. Speaker Sir, the Government should also create suitable atmosphere and environment so that we can get keen co-operation of the public as well as the District Councils to pay taxes fro paying both maintenance and capital costs. Then Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to extend my recommendation to the Government that (bell rang). Please give me little mote time.
Mr. Speaker : Only one minute.
Shri Pleander Gare Momin Provision should be made to the department staff and officers to get themselves trained not only in the filed of specialised technical courses but also in Business Management and Administration. Techniques so that they can run on semi-commercial lines also these schemes effectively. Then Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to recommend further to the Government that s it appeared today, the P. H.E Department is being set up on purely temporary basis, as a result of which the staff and officers of the department do not know their existence and their future fate. Therefore, since the tasks and responsibilities to be performed by the departmental staff and officers are very difficult in nature, I would requests the Government to give due consideration so that this Department can be made permanent. (bell rang)
Mr. Speaker : You can leave the rest to order friends. I told you at the very beginning that you get 13 minutes, but you have already taken 17 minutes.
Shri Pleander Gare Momin : Since the time does not permit me to speak further, I resume my seat.
Shri Edward Kurbah: Mr. Speaker Sir, at the very outset, I would like to congratulate the Finance Minister for delivering the Budget Speech to this august House. Since the time is short, first of all I congratulate the Government for taking up very seriously the proclamation of Emergency by the President and the announcement of the 20-Point Economic Programme by the Prime Minister in our State. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am really very happy because the Government is working hand in hand with the Central Government in implementing the 20-Point Economic Programme. But Mr. Speaker Sir, there are, of course some points which need the attention of the Government for taking into consideration while implementing the different schemes which are introduced in our State. Mr. Speaker Sir, now I come to one particular department and that in Public Works Department. With the visits of the Cabinet Ministers and State Ministers to different areas of the State, it seems that the Public Works Department are seriously implementing and completing the different categories of works with regard to road construction. But Mr. Speaker Sir, besides the Public Works Department, some roads are being constructed by the Block Agencies, some by the D.C., the Public Works Department and some by the District Councils. We have seen that in many places in our State, most of the roads are not maintained properly especially the ones that are constructed by the Block agencies and the D.C. the Public Works Department for years and years together. Of course, the roads are motorable, but very little fund is allotted for their maintenance. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Block constructed these roads, but the funds are very limited with the result that they cannot maintain then and there is no other agency which could take up maintenance. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would suggest if it is possible, that there should be co-ordination between the Government and the different agencies concerned. Even though the road were constructed by the Blocks out of their limited funds, I would request the Government to look after their maintenance. So I am referring to those roads which have been completed. So I would request the department concerned, that it is the the Public Works Department, as it is the only department competent enough to do so with the complement of officers and muster rolls. The Department could look after the maintenance of the roads by taking up repairs and other connected works so that the people living in those areas will be benefited as they will be bale to transport their marketable goods to central places like Shillong and so on and so forth.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to suggest that roads in my constituency should be improved. Of course, the road from Mawmaram to Mawmih has been constructed out of funds provided by the Government, but I regret to say that the road Mawmih to Nongthliew is not at all connected and the people living in these areas are facing a lot of difficulties. So if, this road is completed quickly, then the people will be able to transport their goods for selling to central places. Mr. Speaker Sir, in this connection the Minister of the Public Works Department has not yet come to this area and I would request him to visit this area and see the road or himself and its importance as the people living in these areas are growing plenty of potatoes which need motorable roads in order to transport it for selling goods.
Now Mr. Speaker, I will come to another point and that it the working of the different staff of the Police Department. Many times, Mr. Speaker Sir, I used to come to Shillong from my own constituency, in fact almost everyday, to meet and discuss various problems with officers of different departments, Mr. Speaker Sir, in course of my journeys, in several occasions, I used to see the policemen standing on the roadside. I do not know what is their intention or what are their activities. But it seem their main intention is to stop and check the vehicle on some pretext to other and thus causing a lot of inconveniences to passengers. These poor people are coming for far away places and they have to use the only means of transport available which is not adequate numbers. But I used to see that when these vehicles reach Upper Shillong or Third Mile; this happens invariably on market days, the police used to stop the vehicles and caused a lot of inconveniences. Since the drivers are afraid of the police sometimes they had to ask the passengers to get down in the 7th Mile and the poor people have to walk on foot right up to Shillong. Mr. Speaker Sir, I really sympathise with these travelling public because some of them are invalid who come to Shillong for medical treatment and others come with their good for selling in the market. And if there are no policemen then it is the Mobile Court. So in this way the police are harassing the people and it is a very sad affair. the facts is that there is not adequate number of buses (bell rang )
With your permission Sir,
Mr. Speaker : You will be allowed "till they reach Shillong"
Shri Edward Kurbah : O.K. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like that in every market day, some of you at least from that side go there and you will realise how many people are coming to Shillong on foot because they are afraid of the police and mobile court. Sometimes the driver asked then to get down because they are afraid of the police. In that case, it is very difficult for the people and it would be better if the Government, if they are to control overloading in the vehicles, they are to send more buses and vehicles on market day, like Iewduh so that the people can come direct to Shillong without much difficulty.
Mr. Speaker : I think your time is up. You will have time to discuss this during the voting on demands for grants. Mr. Dlosing Lyngdoh now you will have 13 minutes.
Shri Dlosing Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to participate in the discussion of the budget speech of the Finance Minister. In this connection let me congratulate the Government for their endeavour to translate the idea of our great leader, Shrimati Indira Gandhi into action. Sir, the 20-Point Economic Programme of our beloved Prime Minister is the only device which enabled to give food to the hungry homes of the homeless, clothes to the naked, freedom to the bonded, land to the landless, education to the illiterate and a smiling future to the down trodden masses of our Country. Mr. Speaker Sir, in the implementation of these economic programmes, I would like to give only a few suggestions for the speeding up of these programmes. Mr. Speaker Sir, in these days atomic age, I may suggest in this august House, through you, to the Government and our country men to avoid one phrase usually used by all of us that is "I am sorry I was late". If we are late to do or to implement the work, if we are late to implement the 20-Point Economic Programmes, if the nurse may say I am sorry Mr. Patient I was slate to dress your wound, if the cultivator may say I am sorry mother earth, I was late to sow the seeds in time, Sir, I do not know what will happen. Mr. Speaker Sir, if this Assembly may happen to say we are sorry ladies and gentlemen, we are late to pass the Budget in time, I do not know what till happen. Let us decide by ourselves. So Mr. Speaker Sir, I hope that our Government will take up honestly and sincerely the implementation of the 20-Point Economic Programme of the Prime Minister for the interest of the people in general and the weaker section in particular. Mr. Speaker Sir, since the time is very short, I may mention a few words only on education which is one of the 20-Point Programmes of the Prime Minister and also one of the three points of our Chief Minister (Laughter)
Mr. Speaker Sir, under para 19 of the budget Speech, I understand the intention of the Government is to speed up or to take a very serious view of the Education Department. Mr. Speaker Sir, I understand as most of the hon. Members of this august House are coming from this noble profession of teachers and professors, let me suggest the Government through you to approve of the U.G. C. scale of pay to the teacher's of non-Government colleges to implement the present revised pay scale to the non Government primary and secondary school teachers immediately. Who knows Mr. Speaker Sir, most of the hon. Members in the near future may go back to either noble profession. Let us make hay while the sun shines and take up this for the interest of the people and for the interest of our citizens serving in this important Department.
Sir, I will now say w word or two on water supply, that is on P.H.E. Department as many of my friends have already mentioned. On page 18, of the budget speech, we have seen that this particular Department has made a very good achievement in the past. I do not know I have the occasion to see about 90 percent of the work taken up by this Department in the State and I do not know whether the achievements are very good or the achievements are very slow. it depends on all of us who have seen and who have heard about the progress report. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am sorry I have to fall in line with my colleagues who pointed out about the unsatisfactory implementation of the schemes by the P.H.E Department in the filed of rural water supply scheme as mentioned in this budget speech Volume No.2 page 285 on Rural Water Supply Scheme in Khasi Hills. I do not understand how it is possible whereas in the whole Bhoi area or in the whole Sub- Division there is only one scheme-item 5 on Bhoi Area Water Supply Scheme which is quite different from other parts of the district of Khasi Hills. In this particular area, I do not understand why there is only one Water Supply Scheme to feed 458 villages. I do not know Sir, but this is what the department has stated that they have done a great achievement in the past. But I think they have not impressed us, in the future, if this report and their intention in the coming financial year. So Mr. Speaker Sir, I suggest through you to the Government to put in more efforts for better achievement in the future in this particular subject and I may also suggest to the Government, through you, Mr. Speaker Sir, to add some more hands in this Department, especially officers who are capable to acquaint themselves with the hills areas because the Government policy is to take up gravity when the people have to climb hills and sub-mountains. So, Mr. Speaker Sir, if we have to improve the activities of this particular Department, I would suggest more hands. I would also like to mention that this particular Department, according to the information I have received cannot take up more schemes because of the stiffness of the Finance Department. They say that they have submitted schemes, but the schemes were turned down by the Finance Department. I do not know whether this is due to the stiffness of the Finance Department. They say they have submitted schemes, but the schemes were turned down by the Finance Department. I do not know whether this is due to the stiffness of the Finance Department or that they have submitted improper plans and estimates. So, Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to know how these things happen if other Departments can get the concurrence of the Finance Department. The P.W.D. has got it so why not this Department? There must be something in between. I can only hope that the Government will look into it for the benefit of our people in the near future. Lastly, Mr. Speaker Sir, I would also like to mention the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme. My colleague who is sitting next to me had mentioned that he was grateful for the increase of the amount for the scheme. But Sir, this will not do. (Bell rang)
The people want an increase in the volume of water and completion of the scheme not only the proposal. Mr. Speaker Sir as the time is up, I thank you and resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker : Now, Mr. Fuller Lyngdoh. You have 13 minutes.
Shri Y. Fuller Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker Sir, at the outset, I wish to offer my congratulation to the Finance Minister for the frankness through his speech delivered before this august House, the real intention of the Government in the implementation of their policies has been laid bare. Sir, if we look at page 2, Para 4 of the speech we read "Before any land reforms can be considered it is necessary to carry out a cadastral survey and have record of rights". This is a statement Sir, I should say has given us a clear vision of what the Government have in respect of land reforms, though in the Governor's Address they have stated that only cadastral survey and records of right would be done, yet here it is seen that the Government have something more with regard to land reforms. Sir to have cadastral survey and record of rights in respect of land are more welcome by we the members from this side but to go beyond that at this stage, I humbly submit that I for one will not fall in line with the Government because as we have seen, the people of our State are strongly against any attempt to bring about land reforms. I would, therefore, suggest to the Government through you Sir, than in respect of land reforms, cadastral survey and record of rights can be done and nothing else. Sir, in the matter relating to the setting up of rural banks I should say that it is high time to make necessary arrangements for speedy implementation of the schemes. There are places in the rural areas of our State like Umsning, Mawkyrwat, Mairang, Markasa, etc, where the opening of banks will be of great benefit not only to the people but also to these commercial institutions. In this connection Sir, I would urge upon the Government to take keen interest so that the people will have the benefit from these commercial institutions. I would suggest that a kind of survey be done in this respect so that the bank authorities can be moved for setting up of rural banks in the State. Another point Sir, is on health and I would like to say a few words with regard to the opening of primary health centres. I have seen that the Government have made an endeavour for the construction of buildings for housing the primary health centres in places like Pomlum, Sohiong and other places. But in places like Patharkhmah where the need if far far greater, no attempt on the part of the Government is seen up till now. As we have heard that only 2 more primary health centres will be taken up this year. I am afraid whether out of these two, Patharkhmah Primary Health Centre should be one. In this connection, Sir, I would request Government, through you, that priority must be given to those places where disease are rampant as Government have pledged to fight this enemy, that is disease. I hope, they will accept my humble suggestion and with these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker : Mr. Nimosh Sangma?
Shri Nimosh Sangma : Mr. Speaker Sir, as I stand to participate in the Budget Session I must first of all thank our Finance Minister for the troubles he has taken in preparing this voluminous Budget and for the speech that he has delivered in this august House. While participating in the discussion, Sir, I want to refer first to some of the steps and the achievements of the P.W.D. Here it said that Meghalaya had a total road length of 3,350 Km, out of which 900 Km. were surfaced, 2,000 Km. graveled and 450 Km. kutcha road.1,5000 Km. of new roads will be constructed and 300 Km of roads will be surfaced during the Fifth Plan period. Sir, while I am looking through the schemes and the projects that have been up by the P.W.D. I am really happy that P.W.D in Meghalaya is going ahead with good progress in the construction of roads and bridges. And, I hope the tempo of this development will go in this way. Specially, I want to refer to the works in Garo Hills. In Garo Hills we have a net work of roads constructed and most of the distant and backward places have been made accessible by road for the public. When all the roads will be completed, I think all the local agricultural produces will find their easy way to the market places. So, this is a very good sign especially for the Garo Hills District because all the inaccessible places are being connected by important roads now. Here, I would like to make special reference to some of the roads which lead to the southern part of Garo Hills District. As you all know, Sir, there is one very important road that goes from Tura to Dalu. This is one of the oldest roads in Garo Hills and this road is the most important road for the people of those areas. But now I find that this road is not properly maintained. In many portions, the road is being broken and there are some gaps even in the middle of the road. So, as it is one of the important roads, I would request the Government to take necessary steps to improve and develop this road. Secondly, Sir, the Dalu-Baghmara Road and the Dalu- Purakhasia road. There was a proposal from the Government that since the border roads are very very important both from the defence and communication points of view, these roads will be black topped very soon and this proposal was there since 1972, may be. But I am sorry to say, Sir, that uptil now, nothing has been done to black top these roads instead, these roads were very much neglected now. So, in connection with these roads also, I would like to invite the attention of the Government to develop these roads because these roads are very very important and if possible black top them immediately. Boulders, gravels and some other constructing materials are lying all along the road but I do not know what is the difficulty or defect that the work cannot be executed. I hope that the Department will take necessary action as early as possible. Again, there are some new roads that are being constructed in the border areas. One is Dimapara to Daku bazar. It passes through some fertile agricultural fields and this road is equally important. And, there is another road which is being constructed that is Gasupara to Chokpot. This road is also very important for the people living in the backward areas. These roads, of course, are being taken up by the Government and the works are in progress. But the progress that is being seen is not very much satisfactory. So, here also I would request the Government to take necessary action so that these roads, these important roads, can be completed as early as possible. And, while constructing these roads, I want to bring one thing to the notice of the Government and that is Gasupara which is between Dalu and Sibbary and it is one of the important places and the population there is quite big. Every now and then officers and sometimes Ministers go there but it is very unfortunate that there is no place to take shelter or to take rest. Therefore Sir, if one I. B. could be constructed there, I believe, it would have been very much convenient both for the public and for the officers also. Sir, as you know, previously there was one I. B. run by the District Council but that was unfortunately, blown off by the enemy troops during the year 1971 and it is no more there. So I think, Sir, one I. B. is very much necessary and I would request the Government to take up a scheme for construction of one I. B. or Rest House, whatever it may be, at Gasupara.
Mr. Speaker : Are you trying to asks the Government to construct a Rest House for the people or an I.B. Because I. B. is meant for inspection by the P.W.D. officers.
Shri Nimosh Sangma : Mr. Speaker Sir, as I said this place is very important. As for instance, very recently the officers from Bangladesh and the officers for Indian side met there but there was no place to sit for consultation. Therefore, if there has been an I.B, it would have been helpful for both the officers and for the Public also.
Again Sir, I have seen an R.C.C. bridge is being constructed at Dalu over the Bhogal river. It has been started long ago but the work seems to be very very slow and the progress is not satisfactory. Therefore, I wish if this bridge also could be completed before the monsoon sets in this year and I hope the Department will see to it and take necessary action to expedite the work. Again there is one parallel road from Dalu to Baghmara and this road passes through very important agricultural fields. Sir in order to bring the agricultural produces from these places this road requires development. Lastly, I would like to mention that it was the long felt desire of the people of Dalu that the P.W.D. divisional building there be electrified and the I must thank the Government as it can be seen that this time some money has been allotted for electrician. I hope, the work will be done as early as possible. With these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker : Mr. S.D. Khongwir. You will get 17 minutes.
Shri S.D. Khongwir: Mr. Speaker Sir, if I am not mistaken I think we are less than the quorum.
Mr. Speaker : We are more than a quorum. Only this side is more than a quorum.
*Shri S.D. Khongwir: Thank you, Sir, Mr. Speaker Sir, I will be failing in my duty if I do not congratulate our Finance Minister who had undertaken tremendous stress and strain to bring forward this budget and I am sure, Mr. Speaker Sir, that he must have been burning many many midnight oil and I think he will continue to do so for coming few days until the 31st March when he will pass the Appropriation Bill and that time his cup of toil and sweat will be removed from him . And Mr. Speaker, Sir, I hope the Finance Minister, after we have passed the Appropriation Bills, will be very happy again and he will make an announcement to the Department saying that this budget tells you what you can afford to spend but you cannot afford spending more. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would also like to remind in a short time, and that has been the practice, that the hon. Finance Minister will not forget, after we have passed the Appropriation Bill, to invite the hon. Members to either lunch or a dinner. (Laughter)
Mr. Speaker : That is outside the House not inside.
Shri S.D. Khongwir : Now Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to deal with water supply. We find as page 9, paragraph 18, which speaks about Water Supply not only in Jowai but also in Greater Shillong. Mr. Speaker Sir, I cannot understand how this estimate, the same estimate which has been prepared about a couple of years ago, can shoot up from Rs.439 lakhs to Rs.816 lakhs. I do not know, Mr. Speaker Sir, who are the people responsible for this estimate but in a span of a couple of years how it can shoot upto 100 percent. Here in the same paragraph there is also mention about the scheme i.e.," the scheme has been technically approved and steps are being taken to tie up its financing with Life Insurance Corporation of India". Mr. Speaker Sir, I understand that Greater Shillong comprises if two different areas. One area of the Municipal area of Shillong and the other area are the areas outside of the boundaries of Shillong Municipality. Sir, in respect of this portion, here is says that financing is from the Life Insurance Corporation of India. I would like to get the clearance from the Government as to which authority will be contracting this loan from the L.I.C? With regard to Shillong Municipality, are we to understand that it is the rate players of Shillong that are to contract a loan for their benefit with the L.I.C? Or is it the Chief Executive Officers who is in charge of the affairs of the Municipal areas? Certainly now, Mr. Speaker Sir, and I do not think he has got the authority to contract a loan with the L.I.C. on behalf of the rate players of Shillong Municipality. If I am not mistaken there is a provision in the Act that it will be lawful for the Board, that is the Municipal Board, to raise a loan from any source, but as it is now, Mr. Speaker Sir, we do not have a Board legally constituted in the Shillong Municipality. So it cannot be possible for the Board to contract a loan with the L.I.C. Therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to pose this question to the Government for clarification later on that with regard to this particular Board of the Municipal area who is the appropriate authority to contract a loan with the L.I.C.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to say only a few words with regard to functioning of the Assembly Committees vis a vis this State Government. As we are all aware Mr. Speaker Sir, this House has elected two very important Committees. One of the P.A.C. and the other is the Estimate Committee. I also, Mr. Speaker Sir, happened to be one of the Members of the first Estimates Committee. So about the powers and functions of this Committee, I would like with your permission, to read some excerpts from the book "Practice and Procedure of Parliament" by Kaul and Shakdher 2nd Edition. Sir, I do have your permission to read?
At page 706, first paragraph, on the Public Accounts Committee it says "Recommendation of the Committee are treated with respect by the Government and most of them are accepted and implemented. In the event of any disagreement between the Government and the Committee in regard to any recommendation contained in the report of the Committee, the Government have at the first instance to praise the Committee of the reasons that may have weighted with them in not accepting or implementing a recommendation. The views are considered by the Committee which may if deemed necessary, present a further report to the House. In this event of a difference of opinion between the Committee and the Government remaining unresolved, the case is referred to the speaker for guidance.
Again Committee on Estimates, at page 719, 6th Paragraph , it says "Although technically the recommendation of a Parliamentary Committee are not formally described as directions by the House, they are in practice regarded as such, by a long standing convention. The recommendations of the Estimates Committee are generally accepted by the Government and acted upon". So these are the relevant excerpts from the book.
Mr. Speaker : But all these conventions are followed in all democratic countries.
Shri S.D. Khongwir : Yes, but I would like to say that in this connection there is something with regard to the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister when I do not find indication whatsoever except for on or two instances with regard to Health that the Government has considered and are willing to implement the recommendation of these Committees, both the P.A.C. and the Committee on Estimates. So, I would suggest to the Government, Mr. Speaker Sir, to kindly clarify on this point because these Committees are generally regarded as a Miniature Legislature. The functions of these two Committees and their recommendations are very important and it is necessary that the Government should consider them and try to implement their recommendations.
Next, Sir, I would like to deal with another point with regard to Soil Conservation. Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not know much about the functions of this Department. As I have seen in page 6 paragraph 11 while I was reading the proceedings that have been supplied to us, I mean the proceedings of the Garo Hills District Council. I have found startling revelations about the functioning of this particular Department. I have noted that in the two years 1974-75 and 1975-76 about two hundred lakhs have been expended. Now I would like to read out a few lines.
Mr. Speaker : You mean the proceedings of the Garo Hills District Council?
Shri S.D. Khongwir : Yes Sir.
Mr. Speaker : From which page.
Shri S.D. Khongwir : Page three, Mr. Speaker Sir, the hon. Member, Shri Mason T. Sangma while discussing said "Mr. Chairman Sir, let me also mention Soil Conservation Department. This Department is giving no benefit for the people. This Department is also spending huge amount of money by digging the terraces in the hilly areas where water is not available and with the absence of follow up schemes they abandon". No.2 Shri Willipson Marak, M.D.C. said "Large amount is being spent for terrace cutting but it has not given any satisfactory result as the selection of plots is not done correctly. It should be selected where irrigation facilities are available. I request the Government to see into it so that money may not be unnecessarily wasted.
No.3 at page 12 of the Garo Hills District Council's proceedings it has been referred by Shri Binod Koch that this Department is simply digging the terrace in the hill areas where water is not available. Then again at Page 13 to which Shri S. Momin has referred that "this Government has spent thousand of rupees for digging terrace for the hill areas, but uptil now no water has been available to the people of this area. People are disappointed now and they say that this area. People are disappointed now and they say that this Department cannot give any facility for getting water'.
My last point, Mr. Speaker Sir, i.e. very very relevant at least to me. On my way to Tura, I have also seen this work as mentioned by the hon. Member Shri Roshan Marak. They are doing this programme and the work taken by the Soil Conservation on the road side can be seen by anybody passing through that road. To me, Mr. Speaker Sir, it was really an admiration of the first sight. I fell in love with this place. But Sir, when I read the proceedings of the District Council, I was very much disappointed. Mr. Speaker Sir, we very much welcome this programme taken up by the Soil Conservation. But what is the use of taking up this work by the Soil Conservation Department when the progress is very very slow. Mr. Speaker Sir, I have just pointed out the workings of this Soil Conservation Department.
Then about something concerning our stomach Mr. Speaker Sir, at page 12 of the Budget Speech on the very first time on the supply of essential commodities, there was an intensive drive made by the Government to eliminate ghost ration cards. May we understand Mr. Speaker Sir, whether this drive against the ghost ration cards refers to the old cards or whether it refers to the new cards which were introduced about two or three weeks ago. Therefore, I would not like to discuss more on this point at this stage. As I have a cut motion on the grant relating to this subject I will discuss more on this point at the time of cut motion.
Shri Upstar Kharbuli : Mr. Speaker Sir, while taking part in this debate on the Finance Minister's Budget Speech, I would like to point out only a few points. Sir, as the time available is very short, let me come to the main point. First of all we are thankful to the Finance Minister for bringing out this Budget Speech. In the speech, he has tried to enumerate about the rate of growth of the various sectors in respect to the economic situation of the country. Sir, it would have been better if the State Government would have taken more trouble to give us more information about the rate of growth in respect of economic situation relating to our State and this would give us a clear picture on how we stand on this footing. Mr. Speaker Sir, now I would like to come to the institutions for financing people in the rural areas. Here the State Government have congratulated the Central Government for having tried to expand the credit facilities or the financial help through such institutions to the people in the rural areas. But Sir, I want to inform the Government that in the Western part of the Bhoi area, the people complained that when they approached the Bank or the financial institutions they were told that such institutions cannot give financial assistance to the people living beyond the radius of 15 kilometres. They explained that such Branch can extend its activities only within the radius of 15 kilometres. Therefore, if the Government will stick to the yard stick, I am afraid that it many villagers will not be able to derive benefit from such institutions. So, I would like to suggest to the Government through you Sir, that the Government should establish more branches of Apex Bank in the rural areas to extend financial help to the people of mainly in the rural areas.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I now come to another point i.e., forests. In the speech of the Minister I find that at page 12 it has been mentioned that the Government have established Forest Development Corporation to extract timbers from the forests. Here, I feel that the Government should reverse the process. The process of extraction of timbers is already there. But without any clear budget how can the Government go on with the scheme of re-afforestation. I am afraid Sir in so many ways we may destroy our forests. In this connection I would like to say Sir, that the Government should have first formulated a scheme for re-afforestation of the forests. In this way it would have been more mechanical and systematic.
Sir, I would like to come to the subject of education now. At para 19 in Page 9, I find that the Government have intended to bring about better system of education in the State. But I feel that there is one vital thing which the Government have chosen to neglect and that is the welfare of the teachers in the schools and colleges. There is no mention as to what is the fate of our teachers because I feel that unless the teachers are being looked after that incentives to teach may not be there and then the suffering will be to the children who come to these schools and colleges. So, I would suggest that Government should also let the House know what are the measures proposed to improve the lot of teachers of the schools and colleges here.
I think I have just one more point which I would like to touch and that is regarding transport, which comes at page 12 para 28. I do not know if what is written here is the real intention of the Government because on the second sentence it is said "our aim is to operate it at least on no loss basis". Of course the State Government undertaking such as this commercial organisation, it has to be operated in business line but if our aim is to operate it at least on no loss basis. I think this is very dangerous, if it is only for what the Government intends to do, because this means that though they did not say anything about the gain, if they are determined to operate it at least on no loss, it may imply that they mean to operate it at the maximum profit possibly and I feel that that should not be the policy of the Government, any nationalized undertakings should be run in such a way as to give maximum benefit to the common man by not expecting too much by way of profit. So, I think Government should at least qualify by saying on "no loss no gain" basis instead of saying only "no loss basis", because as it is at present, I do not know that service will be expanded the next year and in spite of our best efforts the question of bifurcation of the Assam and Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation could not be settled. So judging from the quality of the service or the mode of cooperation of this Department from the number of vehicles that are lying idle without any maintenance, I am afraid that all these must be only promises which may never be fulfilled. So, Government should be cautious as to the operation of this particular Department in order to afford the benefit to the common man. So with these few words, Mr. Speaker Sir, I resume my sear. (Mr. Deputy Speaker in the Chair.)
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Now, Mr. Syiemiong. You will get 17 minutes.
*Shri W. Syiemiong : Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I do not know exactly how to start on this present speech of the Minister, Finance. Everybody has been congratulating the Finance Minister and I thought at the first instance, I would congratulate him because I think, as the hon. Member from Mawlai has said, that he must have spent sleepless nights and labored a lot to produce this budget. In that, I think if I praise him or congratulate him, I shall be too much of one sided, because it is duty bound on him to bring the thing. I had another feeling the other day, that must go ahead and condemn this Budget Speech, but then when I went through the Budget speech itself, I remember that there are certain achievements and for that, I feel that I should not be so biased, I therefore, decide now, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, to simplify and to commensurate with him in this budget because he, himself while presenting this budget at para 42 of page 16, had expressed that he very much regrets to bring this deficit budget. But if I have to congratulate him, I will congratulate him because of his unique distinction in bringing for the last 5 years deficit budget in this House. This is always his achievement. I have been thinking perhaps, that this being the last year, at least some sort of a balanced budget will be brought or some what a little surplus that with all the help of the emergency power so at least the proposed amount allocated to our State will be better but the margin now is even bigger, and then, now only that, Sir, as he said in the last line of the same para at this stage it may reach a deficit which will show the feeling of helplessness. I do not think Finance Minister is helpless as a matter of fact, if he had exercised a little more thinking, probably we can reduce this deficit budget to a certain extent. I understand that this State is a deficit State in every respect, having the majority of resources from the Central Government and we have small resources of our own. But I think then, if we could only limit and exercise a little bit of thinking the deficit, even if we have to go to Delhi, Delhi will, be more convinced of their demands because of achievements, so naturally they will say let us give them more. As I have said , as a lay man, I cannot tell that there are certain spheres where this Government will realise money from the people or even from the office. I was once serving in some Central office and I remember from the time while I was serving in that office, the Government of India will put forward some directives for economy drive, I am not going to spell out what are the economic drivers, the Finance Minister knows it very well-later the Government of India out of that, saved quite a lot. As a lay man, I can only say as some people pointed out somewhere outside, if Government can economize in certain spheres in its expenditure, perhaps this deficit would not have been so large. As for example, the Public Works Department they say and all of us must have seen on the road side, plentiful stone for soiling and metal ling these stones which have been collected after due tenders have been called, have for years together, been lying there. Nobody took care of them. There is no implementation and no use of the stones and ultimately after 3 or 4 years they vanished and if they work at all the masonry is less than the price we have to pay. They call for tenders and these are cases of lakhs and lakhs of rupees to be spent every year.
Sir another instance which I can site is that Government have started the State Transport Undertaking and it quite helpful indeed to the people. We all remember that only 2 or 3 years back, the fleet of transport buses was nicely maintained. But suddenly now. They look so rotten like some rotten old bag. They are so worn out that if you ask the people, they say that they will have to ply them in the hilly terrain. While we agree to that, Sir, but then some people, the people who work there tell us that the main difficulty is that these buses have got no shelter. There are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 12 months a year. So they are there are without any shelter without any roof at all. Naturally the wind, sun and the rain do havoc and everything becomes rusted and old. These buses are very much costly and they cost more than 1 lakh but within a few years now, I think quite a number of them have been condemned. Sir, I, therefore, call upon the Government to kindly see to this. These may be small things, Sir, but then this being a smart State and out of these small thing, we will be able to save something. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, as for raising taxes, I also quite agree with the indirect statement, Sir, as for raising taxes, I also quite agree with the indirect statement made by the Finance Minister in the same paragraph. While expressing his helpless ness, he also said that we are awaiting the report of the Meghalaya Taxation Resources Enquiry Committee. But even then he said that perhaps it will not cover up the entire deficit. I quite agree because the people are poor and backward and any direct and direct taxes will tell upon them. I do not know whether the Government has though of stating some new scheme which will certainly bring some resources to the treasury of the State. For example, if I may say, why does not Government start thinking by establishing one mini steel plant. May I say that mini-steel plants in different States of the country are very much wanted by the private sectors. This does not require much capital as, I do not think it will cost less than half crore of rupees and if we can start such one or two plants, it will not only result in solving employment problem but it will also boost up resources of our State. Almost everyday you will find truck loads of cars going down carrying metals to Assam, Bihar and Bengal to feel mini steel plants. Why can't we establish this mini steel plant so that we can have C.I rods and nails which can be used locally in the State. These are some of the industries which can raise resources.
Then fertilizer plant- in fertilizer plant, petroleum is not much required to produce fertilizer. It is a coal based fertilizer plant and we have ample resources of coal here? There is a ready market in the State and the excess we can sell outside. There is one such fertilizer plant at Namrup. This year we have sufficient supply of fertilizers but in previous 3 or 4 years there was hue and cry of fertilizers. We want to give priority to agriculture and naturally I think this is a must. We must have it. Then Sir, I am sorry to say that even if I propose that this be taken up but if the old characteristics of this Government of slowness and lethargy continues, this will be mere daydream. We look at the review of implementation of development schemes of the year 1975-76 also. There were quite a number of industries proposed to be set up in the State. But these remain on papers only and I think I quite agree with the hon. Member from the treasury benches who some time back did not say naturally our Government schemes do not progress, do not advance and do not accelerate in the development schemes not even like Assam Government going lahe lahe but ours is going piche piche. So, naturally I am afraid whether they will keep up with the pace of development. Now I say about slowness, Sir, I can only cite example. We know about investigation of criminal cases. The investigation of some criminal cases was still pending for 7, 8, 9 or 10 years and many could not be disposed of just because investigations have not been completed.
Then about land compensation cases. During the last 3, or 4 years we have been howling from this side, rather asking the Government to please settle these compensation cases. The excuse of the government is that we have no officers. I quite agree. But lat year they did not recruit quite a number of them, and those which are pending for the last few years still remain pending till this day. There are roads which have been constructed for the last 7 or 8 years but the people have not received a single pie as compensation till today. Our Government always give priority to agriculture. I had a sad experience the other day about agriculture. The Government has advised us to have the soil of our garden and field sampled and tested. I personally went down to collect soil sample from my place and have gone to the Block Development Officer on the 9th of last month. I was given to understand that they will finish it within 3 or 4 days time that means on the 13th or 14th. So I went to collect the report and I was told to come after one week. What happened Sir. After one week I went to enquire but they told me it is not finished. They told me to come again. After two weeks I went again but still it is not yet finished but they told me it will definitely be finished on the 2nd of this Month. This month I went again with full hopes. But sad to say that they find it difficult to finish my sample. So what is the use if they take so many samples and could not finish my sample. So what is the use if they take so many samples and could not finish any of them. So this is their excuse. Also they said that they have got so many chemical mixtures and this will take time. If this be the condition, Sir, then what is the use of telling the people and asking them to have their soil tested in order to improve agriculture. So, how can they improve their agriculture when from the Government side they are not doing anything. So after the 2nd, even though the planting season is over, I had to plant my potato without having my soil tested. So if that is the case on my part, then what is the case of other I could not imagine, when Government cannot fulfill their part of the bargain. Just giving assurances to the people will not be enough. So, Government have failed in their promises. Very often also we find this is happening in the offices also, even small offices. So many small cases could not be disposed of. There is undue delay in giving them their pay or honorarium whatever the case may be. There is delay for months which causes hardships. I am not going to speak on Public Health Engineer. My hon. friend from Mawlai has spoken on this I fully agree with what he says. But I will come to another point, Sir, and that is the credibility gap. The credibility gap between the promise and implementation of schemes by Government I am not going to cite anything, but from my own experiences, I will cite from papers given by the Government itself right here. From the many promises it has made in the Public Works Department and Power. If you go through this review of implementation of development schemes for the year 1975-76 and compare them with the implementation schemes for the year 1976-77 you will find that there are no differences. Take for example the case of Public Works Department. The roads which have been proposed to be constructed for 1975-76 is about 214 kilometres but for the year 1976-77 it is expected to be 117 kilometres. The difference is almost 100 kms. And regarding the other promises made here, especially for power, you will see that for the year 1975-76 they have declared that they would electrify 125 villages, but then this year they say they will be able to electrify only 62 villages. So there is always a difference - a gulf of differences
So I wonder, if we can rely on the promises made. Also look at the statement on soil conservation. You will find a lot of difference between promises and implementation. There is a gulf of differences everywhere. And there was a promise in 1975-76 (bell rang). I have made personal arrangement with Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh that I could also take his time and he will take the remainder.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : How do you calculate?
Shri W. Syiemiong : If I have more to say after my time is exhausted then I will take some of his time.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : I will give you another three minutes.
Shri W. Syiemiong : Last year, Sir, in the Minimum Needs Programme a statement has been made by the P.W.D. that every village having a population of a thousand or more will be connected by roads. But I find that this is not so and even in my constituency there are four villages having this much of population. But I have not seen even a single road connecting the four villages and about other constituencies, especially in the interior, the less said the better. You will see also in the Minimum Needs Programmes for the year 1975-76 during the Five Year Plan the target was to electrify five thousand villages; but if you go through this and check you will find that the achievement during the last three years is very negligible. So, I wonder If the target will ever be reached.
So Sir, I do not know what to what extent we can take to be true of what is mentioned in this Budget Speech of what Government intends to do or is going to do. What is the worse Sir, is that they have given in correct figures. I would not like to use the word "lie" as I did last time; but I will use the word "incorrect" which is very parliamentary. There is a note somewhere here where it was stated that help is also given; grant in aid also given by the Health Department to non-Government dispensaries and hospitals. I took the trouble to go through this voluminous budget, but there is no grant-in-aid mentioned here. No grant in aid, for the Khasi Hills Presbyterian Hospital of the Jowai Mission Hospital or the Ram Krishna Mission Hospital, the Ganesh Das Hospital or any other hospital. But mention has been made that it has been given. This is a mere cursory glance and I found it, and I do not know how many more are here in this volume.
Shri Sanford K . Marak , Minister Health : Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, we are giving every year. This year we are giving them.
Shri W. Syiemiong : Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, the Minister is convinced. I am also quite convinced and I will be very much convinced if he is able to show me here as to where is the amount. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, this is just an example. I have one more observation to make Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I wonder why this Budget Speech is silent about the unemployment problem which is very conspicuous. By unemployment, I mean both in the rural and urban areas. Our people in the rural areas do not have work the whole year through. There are slack periods when they have nothing to do. Previously the Government have come up with a crash programme of road construction and bridge building and many other. In my constituency also there is a lot of improvement to be done but now this crash scheme has been left out. No mention has been made for any construction on the rural areas as well as in urban areas. In previous years, at page 5 of 1975-76 budget speech something has been mentioned about unemployment . Also in 1974-75 unemployment has been mentioned. But this years budget it is conspicuous by the absence of the reference of unemployment as if there is no unemployment in the State. Going further on what the Government has promised with regard to the Half Million Jobs Programme which is a scheme formulated by the Government of India. This is a very sad affair and it is a very sad promised jobs under the Half Million Jobs Programme but have not got any employed up to date. There are a number of them and I have got a list here, but since time is limited, I would not like to go into the details (Bell rang)
So, Mr. Deputy Speaker thank you for your three minutes.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. Joshi, your turn now.
Shri D.N. Joshi : Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I think I will be given more time since my friend, Mr. Kharbuli has spoken only for 14 minutes. At the very outset, I must thank the Finance Minister for having prepared this budget in which we can see working and the intention of the Government for this coming year.
Now, Sir, coming to Agriculture, I find that what the Government proposes to do and what it has so far implemented is not very consistent. Since the very inception of this State as a full fledged State, promises had been made, schemes had been prepared for doing away with jhum cultivation. Now, leaving aside the period from the creation of an autonomous State and also four years have elapsed since we achieved our full fledged State, well, the disease of jhum is still continuing and nothing tangible has yet come to prove that the Government has been very effective. As we have just heard from the proceedings of the District Council in Garo Hills that terrace cultivation has been taken up in areas where there are no facility for irrigation whatsoever. So I would urge upon the Government that if they are sincere enough and honest to bring a radical change in so far as agriculture and terracing in this State are concerned. I had the occasion to go to Himachal Pradesh and hilly areas of U.P last winter and I was surprised to see that in those difficult terrains also effective terrace cultivation has been done and the yield from agriculture is more than satisfactory. Why then in this part of the country, while nature is so bountiful, we have not been able to provide enough water and not having good cultivation if the Government is not keen enough to see that jhumming cultivation stopped totally. It could be done Sir, if stern measures are taken, maybe the Government is afraid of becoming more unpopular in the estimation of those people who will be affected, if scientific cultivation is effectively introduced in the State. Now, coming to agriculture Sir, the budget speech of the Finance Minister says in Page 5 Para 9 "Food grains production is likely to increase from 1.4 lakhs tonnes in 1975 to 1.5 lakh tonnes this year". Here I find that the statement seems to be incorrect. So far as I remember, in 1974 in the Address of the Governor on the floor of the House, we were keen to learn that by the end of the Fourth Five Year Plan, that is March, 1974, the yield of crops in our State would be to the tune of 14 lakh tonnes. But here it appears to be 1.24 lakh tonnes. Again the other day when we went through the Governor's Address, I find that the target for the next year is 1.35 lakh tonnes. But here it has been shown as 1.40 lakh tonnes. So, I find no consistency in these two statements. Sir, this should not have been there and the target for food production for the next year ought to be more than 1.50 or 1.60 lakh tonnes. I feel that we should not go back rather we should go ahead and this is what I want to urge upon this Government.
Coming to animal husbandry, I have gone through the budget speech and I could not find anything proposed to be done from the side of the Government for the amelioration of the difficulties experienced by the existing local grazers. I say the existing local grazers. The Government have talked about this big scheme bringing in of expertise technical know how from foreign countries. They have got a scheme and they have already started schemes with foreign collaboration in our State. The grazers were feeding and supplying the entire milk product of our State even to our sister State of Assam. But they have not been taken into consideration-their lot has been taken into consideration. On several occasion I had drawn the attention of this Government to the plight of the grazers. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I demanded that grazing reserves should be planned and created for those existing grazers of our State so that there would not be scope for any destruction of outstanding crops by the local cattle if planned grazing reserves are made. There should be no scope for litigation between the brethren living in the areas. In this last part of the century, at least, planned and scientific development of grazing reserves should ,be done. But to my dismay, Sir, this budget does not have any scheme to have the grazing reserves in the whole of the State for maintaining reserves in planted manner not only for domesticated animals but for wild animals also.
Sir, coming to health, Government has confessed that there is a dearth of medical personnel, six students have admitted in different medical college in the country. For the last few years some of our boys belonging to the minority community were selected. But unfortunately they were not with seats in any college to proceed with their studies. Even this year certain students were selected for proceeding with further study but no seats could be provided by our State. Unfortunately, in spite of their best efforts to approach the officials of the Government and the Minister the boys so selected could not be admitted in any college in the country. So, I am afraid if the Government is complacent on dearth of medical personnel as they say, it will always remain there unsolved.
So I urge upon this Government to see that those who are eligible-those who have proved their worth in colleges in respect of those subjects necessary for proceeding with medical studies-should be given the chance; and once selected, they should not be let down.
Now, Sir, I come to education. Many of our hon. Members have already spoken and I coming from a teaching professional cannot but touch upon this point. Everybody knows Sir, that our teachers of M.E. schools and high schools live below poverty line. Now the Government have accepted the revision of pay scales as recommended by the Pay Committee constituted by the Government of Assam. They have accepted and the Government offices have already drawn their pay and allowances according to these revised pay scales. But in the case of the High school and M.E school teachers under the deficit system and also the primary schools where the Government have come up with schemes to make primary education free and compulsory, these recommendations have not been given effect to. But in the budget proposals in the big volumes which I had gone through, I do not come across any scheme to implement those recommendation in the case of teachers. The other day I put questions and there also the reply from the Government was it is engaging the serious attention of the Government" only; and since there is no mention about it in the budget proposal, at least one year will go away which the Government may consider but by then, Sir, we all know that the teachers are the builders of the nation and we all know that they are poorly paid. So, Sir, they should be adequately paid to enable them to make both ends meet so that they can do full justice to their services. We cannot expect good education to our children and we cannot get that amount of dedication from the under fed and poorly paid teachers. Therefore, Sir, I want that this Government should seriously consider the plight of these teachers and give them the award as recommended by the Assam Pay Committee. With regard to the teachers of the private M.E. schools and high schools under the deficit system, increased amounts should be given to them.
Coming to the college teachers I would like to say that nearly 20 States of our country have already come up with proposals to award the recommendations of the University Grants Commission to the college teachers, in spite of the dialogue-there were so many dialogues-between the heads of our State and the college teachers and the assurances they got from the Government, despite all these the Government have not yet come up with any scheme in the Budget for 1976-77. So, Sir, I demand and urge upon the Government that the college teachers should be given the benefit of the recommendations of the U.G.C. as soon as possible when the Government of India have already promised that 80% of the total expenditure for another 5 years will be borne by the Centre. I do not find what impediment is there in implementing these schemes for enabling those poor teachers.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. Joshi your time is up.
Shri D.N. Joshi : Some 3 minutes more Sir, as I have already requested and which was left by my friend for me. So these schemes should be implemented and the teachers given the pay scale as recommended by the U.G.C. forthwith. The delay in this matter will not spell good for our children who are under the care of these college teachers.
Next I come to P.W.D. So far as the road construction are concerned, I am afraid the working of the department are not up to the mark and I, as a public representative, am not at all satisfied in so far as the construction of the new roads is concerned. Even here, under the very nose of the Government, for the road on the western side of Shillong at Lawsohtun schemes were drawn up in the 5th Five Year Plan and an amount of Rs.2,50,000, was earmarked, but, up till now that road has not been touched. As a matter of fact, we had occasion to go along with the P.W.D. Minister to that part last year but since there was an objection from the public as the road would go through their lands to had to be stopped. But, Sir, the road would go through their lands it had to be stopped. But, Sir, this road is for the greater benefit of the people of the locality as well as of the town. If a handful of people who are interested only in getting compensation out of the scheme come in the way, I say that the Government should be bold enough to steam roll them and if there are other impediments we should try to remove them by fresh enactment so that the Government could get the road constructed for the benefit of the common masses. Therefore, I urge upon the Government to take up the construction of roads in right earnest. Sir, in the Budget proposals I have found (bell rang) the purchase tax. Sir, we know that the high price is there and the people are grunting under it and to add fresh taxes directly or indirectly in the form of purchase tax will be too big for them it will come to the consumers. Therefore, I believe (bell rang) that it will be a heavy blow to the common people. Just a minute Sir.
(A voice : Half a minute)
Now with the passage of time and since the creation of our State the Finance Minister had presented, as he is now presenting, budget proposals and the deficit amount is increasing from year to year. When we have a deficit budget why Government has come with a proposal for meeting the expenditure on children's education where Government has given an advance of Rs.300 to the lower categories of Government employees. (Bell rang) Instead an outright grant of Rs.300 should have been provided in the budget so that these will really help the lower categories of Government employees because it will affect them in repayment . Therefore, I would urge upon the Government to make an outright grant of Rs.300 instead of an advance of Rs.300 to the lower paid Government employees.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. D.D. Lapang. Before you proceed I will say that since Ira Marak is not taking part in the discussion you will get enough time. You will get 29 minutes.
Shri D.D. Lapang : Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, at the outset I would take the opportunity of saying "thank you" to the Hon. Finance Minister for enabling us to express our views in the various performances of the Government. And also many of us have got the chance to pass constructive and beneficial criticism and also last but not the least, we have been permitted to give valuable, feasible and acceptable suggestions. While congratulating the Government through the Finance Minister who made the speech with lots of promises, aspirations and full of encouragements, I have firm belief Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, that in the coming years, much achievements will be made which will be better than what had been done last year. In the first page of the Speech, I have seen this line, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, which relates to the Emergency and the 20 Point Economic Programme declared by the Hon. Prime Minister, Shrimati Indira Gandhi that out State Government like other State Government had welcomed both, that means they have accepted the Emergency and the 20 Point Economic Programme. We are really very happy that out Government is trying to do its best. While expressing my regret for not being able to get sufficient time at my disposal to express my appreciation on a number of achievements of the Government as mentioned in the speech, I would express my apology to the Government to allow me to express some of my suggestions and also some criticism which I feel are necessary. I would like to deal first with medical Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir. It is very gratifying that 69 students are now under training. We have been confronting with the need of doctors especially the need for doctors in the interiors areas, where there are no private doctors and private pharmacists. From experience it is found that the present set of doctors refused or are not willing to go into the interior. Many of them do not like to go to the interiors because they do not have any incentives from the Government side. I have learn that some doctors even had gone to the extent of resigning from their posts because the Government do not allow them to do private practice and because the Government do not extend any incentives to them in the interior. I would suggest that Government may kindly look into the matter and to see that things are set right and improved immediately. There is also one thing which is not satisfactory to note and that is the Civil Hospital in Shillong and other Civil Hospitals outside Shillong also are not provided with sufficient quantity of medicines. If patients are admitted to the Civil Hospital and generally, they are poor men from the villages who cannot pay for outside medicines, these poor people find it very difficult for they have to purchase medicines from out side. The doctors in Civil Hospitals will just give them a prescription and tells them to get the required medicine from the private shops. This puts them in great difficulty as they are poor. So, Government should see that, medicines are provided for the Civil Hospitals. If I may Say Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I came to know that even private firms refused to supply medicines to the hospitals and dispensaries due to non-payment of bills. This is very serious. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I would suggest that the Medical Department should look into this matter sincerely.
Now, another thins is regarding ambulance. We have got 3 or 4 ambulances in the Civil Hospital and also there are some ambulances in the Jowai or Tura Civil Hospitals. I suggest to pool these ambulances together as to enable people to use them easily rather than going from place to place.
The Police Department always come to the rescue. I express my thanks to the Police Department when they had every time come to our rescue. The grievances of the people in the interiors are very serious. When these ambulances or Police vehicles go to the interiors to bring the dead body to the Civil Hospital fro post-mortem examination expecting that the poor villagers will take the dead body to the village all on their own. There are hundreds of such cases Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir. It happened once at Amjong. The Police Car had been sent to take the dead body to Shillong for post mortem examination, and after completion of the post mortem examination they left the dead body there at the Civil Hospital and that poor man from Amjong found it very difficult to take back the dead body on such a long way hundred and hundreds of miles. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I suggest that after the Government vehicle took the dead body from the villages for post mortem examinations, they should have the courtesy of taking back the dead body from where they have brought it, so that this will help the poor people a lot. I suggest Sir, that some more public health centres be opened in difficult places especially in a place where it is very much necessary and that is Barato, a place from which our hon. Minister Agriculture etc., hails. There is a very old dispensary there, but I think this is a deserving case. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, in suggesting that I do not mean to gain favour from the hon. Agriculture Minister but this is very much essential-public health centre there is a must.
I also extend my sincere gratitude to the Government that a Homeopathic centre has been opened in the Shillong Civil Hospital. This is very important. The medicines are very cheap and anybody can get it. This will help the poor people a lot. I really congratulate this, but there is one thing more. Sir, and that is Kaviraji medicine. Tribal herb is a very important medicine I would suggest that Government should try to arrange a seminar of Kaviraja from Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills. In that seminar they will have the opportunity to exchange views among themselves. And why not, in the interest of public, some dispensaries of Kavirajis be opened. This will help the people from interiors also who do not know where are the doctors and where to get medicines. They can easily get the medical assistance from these Kavirajis.
Now coming to the conditions of the Civil Surgeon's office, Shillong I would like to comment that the condition of this office is not at all satisfactory. It is so congested with papers, files and other articles that it reminds us of go downs. We know that charity begins at home but it appears not very relevant seeing the condition of the Civil Surgeon's Office Shillong. So let us start from scratch; let us try to make this office as a model of health and sanitation. However, I am very happy that the Government is going to set up a leprosy centre. So long we did not have such leprosy centre. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, you will be surprised to know that as many as 600 lepers are living in my constituency alone. So long we were agitating on this but nothing came out, I have had the occasion to visit one place where the leprosy patients are roaming about. Instead of allowing them to roam about it is better to engage them in some constructive work and at the same time they will undergo treatment in a leprosy centre. This is being done in one of the leprosy centres in Madras. I am very much grateful and I would extend my gratitude to Mother Teresa who was very kindly opened a leprosy centre at Nongpoh and it ahs already started working.
Now, setting up of a State General Hospital in the capital city is a matter of great urgency and I understand the Government is considering this aspect. It is very essential especially for those people who cannot afford to go to hospitals outside the State for medical treatment. Of course for those people who are financially solvent it is not a problem. They can go to Vellore, Delhi, Calcutta for their medical treatment. So it is essential for the poor people to have a State General Hospital where they may get the facilities of specialties who would be brought to our State.
Now I would like to say something about the Police Department. While appreciating their activities I am constrained to say that there are some instances where the Police Constables are taking the advantage of emergency. They are misusing their powers and instead of giving service to the people, which is expected of them as guardians of law and order, they are taking undue advantage of the situation. Therefore, I would request the Government to see that the meaning of emergency should not be misinterpreted. In this connection I would like to point out that the V.D.P. is a very important branch in the Police Department. So long the branch was very much neglected. As you know this branch provides policemen with uniforms, lathis, torch etc. I would also like to suggest that some more outposts be established at Mawhati, Umden and other places. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, it is very unfortunate that I have to mention about the officer in charge of Nongpoh Police Station. As you know, this Police Station is one of the most important police Stations in the State because it is situated on the national high way. The Officer in charge of that Police Station has to deal with the people from both higher and lower strata. But the attitude of the present O.C. is very much un called for and his anti leader attitude is not at all acceptable. Once the people were so agitated that they wanted to raid the police station but due to our intervention such thing could not take place. But I find the attitude of the officer had not been changed at all. I wrote a letter to the S.P. telling about his lack of manners and negligence of duties, I told everything to A.I.G.P. also but I do not like to narrate the whole story since it would not be a happy one. But what I would like to suggest is that one efficient officer should be posted at Nongpoh Police Station.
Now coming to the question of taxation, I would point out that the poultry farms are really facing the hazards of unjustified taxes on eggs. They are to pay taxes for medicines for making food, and then again at the time of selling eggs they are to pay 6 per cent tax surcharges of one per cent. Actually these eggs are considered as vegetables and vegetables are not taxed. Then why there should be tax on eggs? So, I would request the Government to see that this kind of doubles taxing and sometimes treble be stopped.
Now, I will come to industries. I will not waste my time. I have had the occasion to visit the last industrial Exhibition. I am very happy that this kind of exhibition will educate our people. It provides with an opportunity to meet certain Industrial Units and it is really a publicity forum for industrial activities. But here, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, so far my knowledge goes the Department is not allotted sufficient funds. Now if we want to invite private industries here, the Government should see that these entrepreneurs will come and demonstrate their articles to the people for their education. And also I would like to suggest that the Government should try to start a demonstration centre in the Industries Department so they will be able to demonstrate to our people the various Industrial Units through exhibitions. Because it may not always be possible to invite the private entrepreneurs for organising exhibitions. In this connection, I would point out that grants in aid are given for exhibition of indigenous industries. But there we find only the primitive articles like spanners, hammers, spades etc. are being exhibited. We are crying for modernization on the hand and we are exhibiting only the primitive articles on the other. Why not we give training for modern articles to our people to our own people to manufacture modern articles. So if the Government can change the policy right from all those primitive tools, implements and machineries by substituting them with modern ones such as Electric operated machineries drills, mortises, Planner etc. I think we will be able to help our people. Then another thing is with regard to Cement Factory, Sir, I have seen during the time of Assam Government a post of the Managing Director for which there were many educational hurdles to be qualified by the interested candidates to fill up the post. But Sir, according to the advertisement the local people will not be able to reach that standard of qualification required for the post. In my opinion, the post of Managing Director does not require technical knowledge and if a man of our people who have got enough administrative knowledge or enough business knowledge may be able to run better than the one who possesses technical Knowledge . So why not take our own people and why a man whose place is so far far away be given this post? He has got technical knowledge, but he may not have technical interest at al in side our State whereas our people may lack that technical knowledge yet they will be able to manage the factory well if they are given the post. They know better than a man who comes from outside the State in all respects. So why not give them a chance just as a trial venture. Moreover the sales policy of this Cement Factory is not very much satisfactory and then may I request the Government to kindly look into it all. Then Sir, another thing, I have seen in the Budget estimates there is no provision for the Industrial and labour and Cooperative Societies. I would therefore, suggest that since these are very important branches some provision should be made for them in the budget estimates. I hope Government would consider all this and something would be done.
Then coming to Forest Department Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, in so far as checking on the destruction of crops by wild elephants this Department has completely failed. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, the Forest Department has completely failed to check on the damage caused by these wild elephants of the crops of our farmers in the State. In this connection, I have met the officers of this Department times without number and I have been trying to get licenses for the local people for shooting the wild elephants with rifles to be provided to them. Otherwise how can a poor man buy a rifle now when its cost is ranging from Rs.3000 to Rs.4000. So I would like to suggest to the Government that, let the Government buy rifles and keep them in the Deputy Commissioner office and then give them to anyone who has got a shooting license for shooting those wild elephants. Unless this is done, I am afraid that hundreds and thousands of people are starving every year due to the damage caused by these wild elephants of their crops. Year by year they cannot reap anything out of their cultivation due to the destruction caused by these wild elephants and therefore they got no incentive to grow more crops. So we cannot sit complacently here while many people are the above reasons and so I suggest to the Forest Department to kindly look into this matter immediately and solve the problem faced by our people there. I suggest to the Forest Department that they should give cultivable lands to the cultivators on rental basis. In this way if the Government can rent out some cultivable lands to the cultivators, I believe it will benefit both the cultivators and the Government itself. Then coming to the Forest Development Corporation, I really congratulate the Corporation in general, for its wonderful performance and the Officer in charge of this Forest Development Corporation in particular, for this hard pains and painstaking efforts in running this corporation to the entire satisfaction.
Then I come to Corporation Societies. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir. It is really very gratifying to note that the Government is trying to open more Cooperative Apex Banks in the State. I have heard also from the Managing Director that at Nongpoh also they will open one such Apex Bank. I hope this will really meet the needs of the people. But according to the latest procedure of this Department, I know they can organise cooperative societies only when there is a population of 5,000 in the area. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, it is very difficult in the scattered villages of the rural areas to get a population of 5,000. In the villages how can you get 5,000 people, it is practically impossible. If this 5,000 population is the criterion for organising Societies, then I believe it might encourage our people to give a wrong statement because they very badly want to have a society in their area. They may give a false in statement by saying that they have got population of 5000. Therefore, I would like to suggest to the Government that this should be rectified and examined if the demand for a society, is really justifiable in any village in the rural areas.
Then it has come to my knowledge Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that the L.I.C. from the Divisional Office level has moved the Finance Department to allow them to open group insurance which means that the low paid Government servants can get insurance through the Government for the safety of their children. Many States in India like West Bengal and others have accepted this policy while our own State is still sitting over the matter.
Therefore, I would appeal to the Government especially Finance Department to see that such life insurance policy or any insurance scheme is also accepted in our State so that low paid Government employees like the Police personnel etc, will be able to get such benefit and life insurances facilities.
Then coming to Supply Department I want to say that this Department has been able to gear up its activities in the implementation of the 20 Point Economic Programme. The Supply Department have been able to check too many ghost cards in one place and if I am not mistaken at Nongstoin about 10 to 15 thousands ghost cards and villages have been detected recently. This is really very appreciable on the part of the Supply Department to have done so in a short period of time at it is also a matter of great satisfaction to see that the Supply Department have done their best to make available essential commodities and that the market price checked in time. Moreover Sir, the hostellers in all the 87 hostels have got much benefit from the Supply Department by giving them rice, etc., at low price. But Sir, the quota allotted them are far below sufficiently. They are still depending on black market and on the open market to buy their essential commodities. They do not get fair quota, so the guardians of these hostels are bound to raise their monthly fees and the students will always be at their mercy. So I would request the Government that full quota should be given to the students staying in the hostels.
It is really very much appreciable to see that warm clothes will be supplied to the people at low price. The Supply Department has also moved the Central Government for supply to those cloths through Co-operatives Societies. Cloth like saris, dhotis etc., are not used by our people. We want trousers and shirts and so I would like to request the Government to see that what are really using in our fashion should be supplied to us. Government should supply cloth which is really worth using by our people.
Then I come to Transport Department. I do not understand why this gate at Byrnihat was erected and it is standing there in our soil till now. Of course, half portions belongs to Kamrup District of Assam and another half remains with our State. So the joint responsibility is involved there. I think this falls under the purview of Supply Department to see and check on the supply side to and coming from the other States. But people are facing difficulty especially many people from Khanapara, Pillang Kata and other places whenever they want to bring their gate to do so. So why can we not remove this gate that there will be no more difficulties for our people. I would request the Government to see, therefore, that this gate is removed as soon as possible so that our people will not suffer.
Then I come to power now. I really praise this Department in so far as Kyrdemkulai hydel Project is concerned. But I would like to get a clarification from the Minister-in-charge as to whether the division of assets and liabilities between the Meghalaya State Electricity Board and the Assam State Electricity Board has been completed or not because as I understand a lot of things could not be done last time on this subject. Therefore, it would be very much appreciated if the Government can give us the reply in the affirmative to that this time.
Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I would like to speak on the power crisis at Shillong. Sir, the present Shillong Hydro Electric Ltd is the oldest Company of this region, but it has failed to supply power sufficiently to the people of Shillong. The people are facing lots of troubles in Shillong due to power shortage. Sir, at times even the Press had to stop the work due to power shortage and the news paper could not be published in time. Moreover, Sir, there are many street light posts in different areas which are in a collapsible condition causing risk to the nearby houses. These posts are very very old and the Company has done nothing to change these posts. So, I would like to suggest to the Government through you Sir, that this particular subject should be taken up by the M.S.E.B. so that the people will not not suffer from power shortage.
Sir, with regard to education, I understand that the scholarships to the 1st Year students reading in the polytechnic School have not been given till today and I would like to request the Government through you Sir, that more encouragement should be given to such students so that we will have more engineers and more technical hands in our Government. Moreover, Sir, regarding relief works, nothing has been done in our district. Sir, on the other hand, for fire victims, the Government give only Rs.25 as a relief to the victims which is considerable very very less to meet the necessary expenditure for the persons concerned. There was an instance where a man from Mawdem got only Rs.25 as a relief for fire accident. In his case, even to go to Mawdem from Shillong, it costs him about Rs.39. So this relief of Rs.25 is nothing for him. So, I would like to request to the Government to look into this matter and increase the amount of such kind of relief. But Sir, as I have no more time at my disposal I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Now Shri Raisen Mawsor. You will get only 9 minutes.
Shri Raisen Mawsor : Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, while participating in the Finance Minister's Budget Speech, I would like to draw the attention of the Government to the following points. Sir, the Agriculture Department is the most important department and the people in the rural areas are 90 percent agriculturists. Almost all of them fully depend on agriculture. But Sir, in this connection, no major scheme has been taken up by this Government to improve agriculture in our State. So to say, Sir, so far as officers or a survey team have visited our rural areas to investigate into this matter. Therefore, I would like to suggest to the Government through you Sir, that the Government should send some officers to investigate or survey the rural areas and should try to get a good plot of land to start the Government farm. So that such farms may help the Government to produce more agricultural crops in our rural areas. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, last time the Agriculture Department distributed seeds to the farmers of my area. The seeds were brought from outside. But the farmers complained that the seeds are not good. But the Agriculture Department told them that they have consulted the experts and they have found that the seeds are good. Accordingly the farmers planted the seeds. But Sir, during that year there was no good harvests. The seeds supplied by the Agriculture Department did not yield any fruit. So, Sir, I would like to inform the Government, through you, that this is a very serious matter and the Government should look into this matter very carefully. Otherwise there may be every chance of starvation in our State. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, there is also jhumming control and grouping of villages scheme in my area, undertaken by the Soil Conservation Department. Last time this department also distributed paddy seeds to the farmers of my area and they also brought the seeds from outside. That time also the farmers also complained that the seeds are not good. Even though the farmers sowed the seeds but there was no yield at all. But when the farmers sowed the local seeds the harvest was very good. So Sir, I would like to request the Minister-in charge and those officers concerned to look into this matter carefully, because, if such thing happens then we will lose one harvest year.
Now Sir, I will come to Communication. Sir, the border communication is still untouched by the Government. There has been no proper development of this particular aspect of the matter. So I request the Government to look into this matter. Sir, I remember that there is one road from Maheshkhola to Darangiri and the tender has been called for the construction of this road. But till now no construction work has been started. Sir, this road is very important. So this road may be joined with Nongdaju and Balpakram. So I request the Government that the construction of this road should be taken up first. Sir, at present we have one road from Sonapahar to Hahim and another road from Mawshynrut to Hahim. So, I suggest that the Government should take up construction of these roads. We have to go via District Kamrup and from Kamrup again before we reach Mallangkona, we have to go through Dhupdhara in Goalpara District, and if people and there will be so much difficulty. So, I request the Government to construct one road joining road Aradonga to Mallangkona as early as possible.
Sir, I will come now to industries. I have got a complaint about industries. Every year there is a grant given by the Government to the poor people, but the ones who enjoy this are not the people from the rural areas, as they have no one to help them. Nobody in the real areas get this grants because they can meet the officials or the M.L.As and other concerned people and so they receive the grants, and the deserving people living in the interior because they have no time to meet the officers, or the M.L.As or even to come to Shillong, they do not receive this grant and so the people who really get the grant are the people who live in Shillong, whether they deserve it or not. If the rural people come to Shillong for this grant, on receiving it, they will spend 200 or 300 rupees and if they get the machine, they will sell it. The people in the rural areas who are expecting to get the grant, because they have not time to come to Shillong to meet the officers personally , or to meet the M.L.As or members who distribute the machine or grant every year, could not avail of the grants (bell rang). The people in the rural areas will say that it is not use sending the application, it is a waste of time. By this, I do not complain against the Minister, but I complain against the officers, the field officers who are to distribute the grants or the machine to see that he deserving people should not be deprived of the grants. So I suggest to the Government to look into this matter. Lastly, Sir, regarding the hydel powers, I remember Sir, I have discussed about this many times in this House. There are good rivers near Balpakram in Garo Hills. There are other rivers also which can be tapped as has been done with the Umiam (Barapani) Dam. I met the Chief Engineer and some officers ad I requested them to make an investigation and in fact, I have also met the Minister Power if I remember alright. I talked about it, but one year has passed now but no officer (bell rang) ever went there. So Sir, if they can construct a dam like the Umiam Lake the benefit will go not only to that area, but to the State as a whole. So I request the Government to look into this matter also.
Once again, I want to remind the Government about the land owners who have paid the land compensation, they have not been paid for the last 12 years or so in the last two years. Government said that no other could do that, but now in Nongstoin. (Bell rang)
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Your time is up.
Shri Raisen Mawsor : But if we meet the land compensation officer he would say that no papers came to him and no records are available with him, (bell rang) they are still in Shillong. With these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. Brojendra Sangma, you will get 13 minutes.
Shri Brojendra Speaker : Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, with your permission, I am very happy to take part in the general discussion on the budget speech made by the hon. Finance Minister. Also I will offer my congratulations to the hon. Finance Minster for his wisdom and for bringing forward the developmental programmes and policies of the Government which will be implemented during this current year towards the economic development of the people of the State as a whole. However, Sir, at first of all, I would like to remind the Government, through you, that the developmental schemes with so many projects which with allotment of money alone may not serve towards the upliftment of economy of the people in our State, unless all the developmental programmes are implemented in time and also money should be released as early as possible to the respectively departments so that they can execute the work properly without any delay. Then only, we can work out the economic problems of the people in our State in our future.
Sir, coming to another point, I would like to say a few words n agriculture. Sir, there are vast areas of land which have not been reclaimed properly, like Karukol, Nengkong, Rongru Asim, Rongara, Rewalk and others. If Government can provide bull dozers and other relevant materials to reclaim these areas properly, I think it will be a great help to the hard hit borders people. So I would request the Government top provide irrigation facilities to those places. Again, I would like to suggest to the Government that our people especially in Garo Hills, do not know how to use fertilizers in their fields up till now, and subsequently the production of food grains in decreasing automatically in our State. I would, therefore, request the Government, through you Sir, that practical demonstration may be arranged, where such practical demonstrations can be done along with the farmers. In a demonstration centre, one Extension Officer may be appointed and 2 or 3 demonstrators may be appointed. Seeds and fertilizers, tools and plants be provided free of cost. By doing so, if they show better production, then automatically our farmers will try to follow the same procedure and gradually our State will; become self sufficient in food grains. I am quite sure the area of cultivable land is sufficient enough for the day to day life of the people of our State. I think there will be no question of extra expenditure since we have one Extension Officer in each block who can be entrusted with the work of practical demonstration. So, I hope Government will agree with me to implement this proposal.
Secondly, I would like to touch on soil conservation. I understand that the Soil Conservation Department is really a progressive department in our State and it is really necessary to replace jhumming systems as well as to regroup the small villagers in our State. But one thing, I would like to suggest the Government, through you. Sir, that instead of continuing cutting terrace in many places, I would advise the Government that the existing terraces where we have already reclaimed should be taken up as follow up schemes and the department concerned directed to educate the farmers. Until and unless the farmers themselves could realise the advantage of terrace cultivation. The schemes drawn up by the Government will not be properly implemented and the benefit will not go to the economic upliftment of the people but will rather be a wastage of public money. Sir, our Government, I hope will agree with me to implement this scheme in such a way that it will render services to the people.
Thirdly, I would like to say something on education. With regard to financial assistance to Government aided M.E. and H.E. schools, I would like to stress that grants in aid to these schemes should be given in such a way that sufficient number of teachers can be appointed in these educational institutions. Non recurring grants also should be given in such a way that maximum number o institutions can derive the benefit. But it is found that while making such non-recurring grants to the educational institutions some educational institutions get the maximum benefit while others are getting less. So Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with these few words, I conclude my speech and resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Now, Mr. Pohshna. You will get 18 minutes.
Shri H.E. Pohshna : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while I have a mind to congratulate the Finance Minister for this brilliant Budget Speech he has made on the floor of this House-but if I fully congratulate him, I will have to congratulate his regret too. Therefore, I would simply express my thanks to the Finance Minister for the way of approach by which he has presented the budget. In his concluding speech, he says like this "I seek the co-operation of all the hon. Members and through them of all the people in the State to take Meghalaya to the new era of prosperity". This is the spirit which the people of the State want that the co-operation of the hon. Members and the people be invited to co-operate with the Government. Sir, the Budget as a whole is deficit Budget and coming to page 20 of the Budget in the Annexure, I cannot help but express my praise to the Finance Minister for the very very good mathematical work he has done and which has been shown here. Looking here we see the net result on Revenue Account to be (-), (+), (+), (+), Outside Revenue Account, (+), (-), (-), (-) and then Net excluding the Opening Balance, (-), (+), (+), (-). The Opening Balance is (-) 112.90 and the Closing Balance is (-) 470.42. Therefore, Sir, I am really very grateful to the Finance Minister for his figures in the Annexure which he has given and judging by this, it involves at the same time diplomacy and efficiency. I agree with what the hon. Member from Nongspung has stated on the last sentence which reads "...... At this stage I am leaving the deficit largely uncovered".
Our Finance Minister always presents us with a deficit Budget. But on top of that he used to come up with Supplementary Demands and I hope that this year he will not come again with Supplementary Demands, even though it has been stated here "At this stage I am leaving the deficit largely uncovered."
Sir, with the limited time allotted to me, I will try to be precise or not say much. Moreover, the hon. Member from Nongpoh has mentioned many things, especially about the total failure of the Forest Department. But I have very much to say on the Synopsis of the Jaintia Hill District Council in which the Minister of Agriculture and Minister of State for Border Areas are also members. If you go through the pages of the Synopsis you will see that in the third paragraph it is stated that the members are very much disappointed; including the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister of State for Border Areas on the failure of the Government to accommodate the suggestions made by the Council in many aspects of the last year's Budget.
In education also the members expressed their concern for the condition of most of the school buildings in the district and also the non-construction of Government College buildings. With regard to medical, the members expressed deep concern regarding the management and control of Civil Hospital, Jowai. I really appreciate the idea, that the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister of State for Border Areas chose to criticise the Government outside as they could not do it here on the floor of the House by expressing their regret or disappointment on the functioning of the Government. Here in the Synopsis also it has been mentioned ............ "It is also felt that the capacity of the Hospital at Nongtalang which is the only Hospital in the border areas should be raised from ten beds to fifty". In this connection I fully appreciate their idea of raising the strength of beds, but I regret to say that they have failed to mention that at present there is not even one bed in the above named hospital. Last time our Finance Minister was there in Nongtalang and the people made a representation for improvement of the Nongtalang Hospital. Instead I was told, I do not know how far it is true, that the hospital had to be closed. So when the hospital had to be closed, then what would happen to the patients. Whether they have been sent to the jungle or some other house or with families I do not know. It is really good that they have to choose the way to express regret on this. I have myself visited this hospital and I must say that it looks more like a Central Jail surrounded by high walls and the buildings is in a State of collapse. On the northern side of the hospital there is a big landside. The building was constructed by the Public Works Department long ago but no care was taken to re-construct it. It is good that the Jaintia Hills District Council has also expressed regret, as no action has been taken for the construction of a District Jail in spite of repeated requests. Coming to agriculture, where the Minister, Agriculture, is also a member, it is mentioned here as ..... "it is regretted to see that many tractors and power tillers are lying idle in the godowns of the Agriculture Department". It seems that there is nobody to wake them up. They are not doing any work at all. You will see this if you go through the synopsis which I think all the members have got a copy.
In transport again it is seen that ...... "the members expressed their dissatisfaction regarding the management of the State transport and requested to provide more buses on different routes to ease the congestion of passengers and to revive the daily bus service from Jowai to Khliehriat". In communication we see that "No compensation was paid to the people although roads, have been constructed. Government is requested to pay the compensation due to various parties .....". In communication it is not so much, but still something is there.
Again in veterinary where the Minister himself is a member it reads "The members expressed their disappointment regarding the absence of piggery, goat and sheep farm in the district". Also in public health it is mentioned that : "The workings of the Public Health Engineering Department is not satisfactory". This I do not understand because on one occasion I have been invited to the inaugural ceremony of the Greater Jowai Water Supply Scheme. This scheme was implemented by the Public Health Department. Praises of the good work of the P.H.E. were expressed where many members were present in this function including the members of the District Council. Also another function at Jarain where three or four Ministers were present for the opening ceremony organised by the P.H.E. Department. It was a big occasion and many of the members were present and even a photograph of the Chief Engineer was taken and the people including the Ministers were very glad and happy. Now they say the work of the P.H.E. Department is not satisfactory. It is strange indeed. They also said that .... "Huge expenditure was incurred for the water supply scheme at Nongbah but no water was available to the public". They did not mention Dawki as likewise, there is no water in Dawki and Muktapur also. I am very grateful to the District Council which has expressed this. In miscellaneous matters they said "The members welcome the proposal of opening of ropeway from Lumshnong to Badarpur. Government is urged to implement the Cement Factory in the district. The working of the Fishery Department is not satisfactory. The SFDA so far is a department in name only". I express my thanks to the members of the District Council who are also members of the Cabinet for mentioning that the SFDA is a department in name only. Therefore, I am very grateful to the Finance Minister for expressing his regret, and also the great regrets expressed by the Jaintia Hills District Council which included the Minister in the Cabinet and Minister of State and I also join hands with them in this regret. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will come now to a very very important point since we have got no time to go into the details of the matter. Here is a big volume of this budget - a very beautiful English indeed, must be the best English literature of Meghalaya. But though the various schemes are there in the budget, what about their implementation and that is a challenge for us. Implementation of the various schemes is a pertinent and important question, and I request the Finance Minister to see properly to these things. I need not mention what are those schemes. They had been mentioned by the Jaintia Hills District Council. For example, under Public Works Department it has been stated "During the current year it is proposed to complete 117 kms of new roads and surface 35 kms of existing roads". I agree to that in so far as the length of the roads is concerned, the roads are really there ! What about the condition of the road? Are the roads passable by vehicles especially rural areas? In spite of the fact that the Public Works Department is doing its best to improve the roads still the roads are not in good condition. If I can cite an instance Sir, if you go from Dawki to Muktapur, I am happy that the Minister, Industries has gone there last month, what will you find? This road is more than 20 years and during the past few years, the road is a little bit better than as it is now. We have seen that ambassador cars can ply, truck can ply and jeeps can ply on this road. But I am sorry to inform the House that the more the Public Works Department works, the more landslides and at present the road is blocked. Even the bed of the river side has come down. I will not go to the details. If we want to go from Dawki to Muktapur, we cannot go in cars, etc., because of the blockage and the bad condition of the road. I would like to draw the attention of the Minister, Public Works Department to this. The road has been widened, improved but what is the reason that vehicles cannot ply? Something is there, and someone is responsible for it ! It is due to the negligence of the field officers from the Sectional Officer to the S.D.O. Public Works Department. Sir, there are instances of negligence, carelessness and indifference on the part of officers. With regard to the metal collection on the same road, it was told that the overseer had completed measurement, but when it is checked by the higher authorities, it was not approved for this and that reason. Sometimes the middle portion of the road is best when investigated by the Sub-divisional Officer. But when investigated and checked again by the E.E. he said "no" and it was not approved. It may be because of the said reasons which have affected the quality of the roads. It is for the Government to explore. Last time I was very pleased with the Minister, Public Works Department when he visited my Constituency by car. But if he comes now, he cannot come in the same car why? Two miles from the termination of the road explosive drilling was done in a portion of the road but it is difficult to understand how again the contractor covered that portion with earth. These are the things which the Government want to get the co-operation from all of us. Again the words of the Finance Minister are there " I seek the co-operation of the hon. Members" yes, I am ready to give my full cooperation to the Minister, Public Works Department in respect of the roads in my area.
Sir, coming now to coming to excise and taxes, on these subjects I would request the Ministers of Excise not to min much and that is regarding the complaints that has been made time and again by the people of Jowai for the shifting of the Distillery and the liquor shop from Umshyngiar. I am not going to say much about it. That has been a long pending question since the time of the Government of Assam that representations were made. During the time of the first Minister, Excise of Meghalaya also, representation was there. During the term of the present Minister of Excise also, representation is there. I would request the Government to look into this. We have heard in this budget speech that the request of the Finance Minister is for co-operation. If we want the people to come forward and co-operate with Government we must see also to what he people asked and what they wanted the Government to do for them.
Mr. Momin and some other members have praised about the working of the M.S.E.B. Mention has been made that they have done beautiful works under the State Rural Electrification. Yes, we cannot deny the fact. Many villages have been electrified in the rural areas. But I would like to mention here that in the border areas, right from Dawki upto Muktapur, Umkrem, Umsyiem and other places in the border areas no electrification is being done by the M.S.E.B. I would request Government to make an enquiry as to the reason why entire distance of one mile of crow fly from Sohkha to Nongtalang upto Dawki the Electricity Board is not going to electrify early? it appears that they can go on with the works only in places where there are good roads and beautiful maidans and that the M.S.E.B is afraid of the jungles. (bell rang)
Sir, I must submit before I come to a conclusion on my discussion on the budget speech that Government must take this matter into consideration. Now, coming to the Mineral resources Departments, I am very happy to find that coal industry is becoming very favourable and profitable in the State. It has gone to Gauhati, Silchar and Agartala and now even upto Bangladesh.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Your time is up.
Shri H.E. Pohshna : But I would suggest to the Government to see that this industry should not be monopoly of some one in the State and as far as practicable not to give any scope for monopolisation (Bell rang)
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Your time is up. I have given you already 2 minutes extra and it could not be given more. Now, Mr. Mylliemngap.
Shri G. Mylliemngap: Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, first of all, I congratulate the Finance Minister and the staff connected with the preparation of the Budget. I can just imagine how much effort they have exercised in getting the figures prepared and in preparing the Budget speech. On the close examination of the Budget and the Budget Speech you will see that the budget this year is 20-point oriented and with all the difficulties the Finance Minister could bring a deficit budget of Rs.357.85 lakhs. We all know that our State is having limited resources and it is the general terms and conditions of the Central Government that financial assistance from the centre comes in relevance to the State resources. I feel that if the Taxation Enquiry Committee report were ready, it would have been more helpful and it could have helped the hon. Members more effectively in their discussions and in participating in the budget discussion. In this connection, I won't say anything regarding the taxes specially in the absence of this report from the Taxation Enquiry Committee.
Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I just want to bring home some of the points and point number one is on rural electrification. Here I feel that rural electrification is not only to electrify the dwelling houses of the people. I think we have to educate the people the preliminary knowledge of this scheme which will make them more electricity minded by extending the power to different villages in the State. Therefore, I suggest that extension works by the Electricity Board to educate the people about the preliminary knowledge of what electricity is, should be taken up. But it is unfortunate, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, where far flung villages have been electrified whereas the villages around Shillong are plunging in complete darkness. The villages on Mawshbuit, Mawlynrei and Lawsohtun are still in complete darkness, whereas villages 100-200 miles away even outside the State, have got the benefit of this power from our State.
Shri Maham Singh : Outside the State also?
Shri G. Mylliemngap : Yes, outside also. To be brief, Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, there is a stress for agricultural credit and the Government wish to maintain the flow of credit. But, in this respect the credit cannot flow unless there is enough circulation of money. Therefore, we have to educate our people and even to bring them to task if the loans are not paid back. I suggest that there should be a sort of co-operative court to go into the co-operative dispute and to have a separate dispute and to have a separate police which will handle the co-operative cases and other allied matters.
I will now make a brief mention of Transport Department. There has been an anomaly in the definition of "G.S. Road" especially Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, my wife has a local taxi in the permit they have written "Shillong Region" and with this, as it is usual, the taxies are plying on the G.S. Road and also upto Nongpoh. But one day it so happened that the taxi was punished and fined for plying at Mawlai, i.e., at the Mawlai gate. That was some time in the month of December and it was very unfortunate to see that, according to the charge sheet the taxi is not to ply on the G.S. Road. I do not know what this "G.S. Road" is. According to me, the G.S. Road is right from the motor station up to Gauhati and if we say that the G.S. Road is within the Shillong Municipality or if we cannot give it a clear definition, I feel that the police o transport authorities get a chance to harass and punish the people who are in the transport business. Besides, there have been harassment n many occasions and I so not know where the fault lies. If you happen to have any public carrier you will find no summons or no intimation but there is every likelihood that one fine morning you will get a warrant of arrest. That is the usual practice and I do not know where the trouble lies.
Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, if I may be allowed to speak more tomorrow, I will say a word on the Fishery Department. there has been a proposal fro enforcement of a machinery to check wanton destruction of natural fishes. This is very important item of sports which can attract many tourists from inside and outside our State. But I do not know to what extent this enforcement will help because I have seen with my own eyes that even the police trucks go to the river side with dynamite and destroy the natural fisheries. Sir, what happened on the 21st February 1976 with the police truck No.MLP.188.
Shri W.A. Sangma, Chief Minister : Have you reported it to the authorities?
Shri G. Mylliemngap : No and it was only very recently, I was thinking there was no enforcement on fishery. Well, the truck No.MLP.188 went inside the Byrnihat forest road and dynamited the river. At Kyrdemkulai river, there has been regular dynamiting of this river and nobody bothers as if it is nobody's business. Therefore, I feel that if the police and the authorities like those at Kyrdemkulai can dynamite the river, why should there be any restriction to use dynamite in other rivers in other States by the public. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I just want to make a little mention about ...
Mr. Deputy Speaker : Mr. Mylliemngap, the time is up and you can continue your discussion when the House resumes its next sitting. The House now stands adjourned till 9.40 a.m. tomorrow, the 23rd March, 1976.
The 22nd March, 1976
Meghalaya legislative Assembly.