PROCEEDINGS OF THE MEGHALAYA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY HELD AT 9 A.M ON THURSDAY, THE 25TH MARCH, 1976 IN THE ASSEMBLY CHAMBER SHILLONG.
Present : Mr. Speaker in the Chair, Minister and Ministers if State and Members.
Mr. Speaker : Let us take up unstarred questions.
(Replies to which were laid on the table )
Installation of deep tube wells.
Shri Manindra Rava :
62. Will the Minister in charge of Public Health Engineering be pleased to state:
(a) The number of schemes proposed to be taken up for installing deep tube wells in the State during 1976-77?
(b) Whether all these are new schemes?
(c) If so, their names?
Shri S.K. Marak, Minister in charge of Public Health Engineering Department :
62 (a) - Six number of schemes are under investigation.
(b) - yes
(c) - (1) Kharukol, (2) Barengapara (3) Dalu (4) Babel Para, (5) Purakhasia (6) Tikrikilla.
These schemes can be implemented only if funds are provided under the 20 Point Economic Programme.
Shri S.D. Khongwir : 62 (a) . Whether there will be any financial involvement with regard to the investigation of the Schemes?
Shri S.K. Marak, Minister P.H.E : Yes, Mr. Speaker Sir.
Shri S.P. Swer : May we know the estimates of these schemes?
Shri S.K. Marak, Minister, P. H. E : The estimates for these schemes are under preparation.
State Dispensary Buildings
Shri D. Lyngdoh :
63. Will the Minister in charge of Health and Medical be pleased to state
(a) Whether it is a fact that the State Dispensary buildings at Lawmei, Nongkhlaw, Patharkhmah and Shella badly need re-construction?
(b) If so, when do Government propose to reconstruct the half collapsed buildings?
(c) Whether Government allotted any fund for the repair and maintenance of the said buildings during the last 4 years?
(d) Who is the officer directly responsible for the repair and maintenance of all the State Dispensaries in Khasi Hills District during the last four years?
(e) When were medical Officers posted to the above 4 (four) State Dispensaries?
Shri S.K. Marak, Minister in charge of Health :
63. (a)- yes
(b) In the next financial year if funds permit.
(c) - Yes.
(d) - The Civil Surgeon, Khasi Hills is responsible for repairs and maintenance of Department buildings. The Public Works Department are responsible for the rest.
(e) - Lawmei, ( Diengiei)-24th September 1975. Nongkhlaw-22nd July. Shella-25th October 1968. Patharkhmah- No doctor could be posted yet.
Shri G. Mylliemngap : 63. (a) When were these buildings constructed?
Shri S.K. Marak, Minister in charge of Health : I require notice for that question.
Shri S.D. Khongwir : 63(b) Whether there is any fund proposed in the budget?
Shri S.K. Marak, Minister in charge of Health : Mr. Speaker Sir, we have asked the P.W.D. to submit plans and estimates for this.
Mr. Speaker : Has any fund been provided in the budget?
Shri S.K. Marak, Minister in charge of Health : A lump sum amount has been allotted?
Shri G. Mylliemngap :63 (d) Who is looking after the P.H.Cs?
Shri S.K. Marak, Minister in charge of Health : That is a new question.
Shri G. Mylliemngap : In reply to (d) it is stated that the Civil Surgeon is responsible for the maintenance of the departmental buildings. My question is who is looking after the P.H.Cs? It is not a new question.
Shri S.K. Marak, Minister in charge of Health : That are looked after by the P.W.D
Interview for the post of Assistant Engineer
Shri H.E. Pohshna :
64. Will the Minister in charge of P.W.D be pleased to state :
(a) Whether it is a fact that the applicants for the post of Assistant Engineers were asked to appear for interview in Calcutta during the month of January, 1976?
(b) If so, how many appeared for the interview and how many have since been appointed with their names?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah Minister in charge of P.W.D:
64. (a) Yes
(b) - 15 (fifteen) appeared for the interview and 6 (six) have been appointed. Names are given below.
Shri O. N. Sivasankara Pillai
Shri Bright Singh J. T
Shri K. G. Madhusoodanan
Shri Arun Krishnaswamy
Shri A. Abdul Vaheed
Shri Ananda Kundu
Shri S.D. Khongwir : 64 (a) What is the significance in asking these candidates for interview in Calcutta?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah Minister in charge of P.W.D : All these candidates are from Southern and Northern India. So we thought that the best place would be in Calcutta.
Shri Maham Singh : How many persons are there in the Interview Board?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah Minister in charge of P.W.D : There are 3 persons. They are the Special Secretors to the Government who is also the Commissioners as the Chairman, one Member who is the Chief Engineer and Secretary, P.W.D. and a Member Secretary who is Additional Chief Engineer and Additional Secretary P.W.D.
Shri Maham Singh : How many appeared in the interview?
Mr. Speaker : 15
Shri S.D. Khongwir : Was there any Meghalayan who appeared for these posts?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah Minister in charge of P.W.D : We are so much in dearth of Meghalayan candidates and we had to appoint 6 persons under regulation 3 (e) of M.P.S.C.
Shri G. Mylliemngap : How many of them joined?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah Minister in charge of P.W.D : 6 were selected and 6 joined.
Shri Maham Singh : What travelling allowances were allowed to these candidates by air or by train?
Mr. Speaker : Whether these candidates were allowed any travelling allowances?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah Minister in charge of P.W.D: I require notice for that.
Heinous Crimes in the Border Areas
Shri Samsul Haque :
65. Will the Chief Minister be pleased to state :
(a) Whether the Government is aware of the fact that heinous crimes like cattle lifting, dacoity, etc., take place every now and then in the Border areas, especially under Mahendraganj P.S ?
(b) If so, what measures have been taken to protest the life and properties of the people?
Shri W.A. Sangma, Chief Minister :
65. (a)- Yes.
(b) - Security measures have been tightened up and patrolling by the Security forces and V.D.P. have been intensified along the border to prevent recurrence of such crimes in future.
Shri G. Mylliemngap : (a) Whether any arrest has been made?
Shri W.A. Sangma, Chief Minister : Mr. Speaker, Sir, these are the Bangladesh nationals who came and go away. As such, there were no arrests made.
Closing of State Dispensaries :
Shri Samsul Haque :
66. Will the Minister in charge of Health be pleased to state
(a) Whether the Government is aware of the fact that some of the State Dispensaries are going to be closed for want of requisite medicines?
(b) If, so, what steps has been taken to prevent this?
(c) Whether a proposal for upgrading the Mahendraganj State Dispensary in Garo Hills has been taken up?
Shri S.K. Marak, Minister in charge of Health :
66. (a) - No
(b) Does not arise.
(c) Under consideration of Government .
Approach road to Jakrem Hot spring
Shri W. Syiemiong
67. Will the Minister in charge, Tourism be pleased to state -
(a) When was the approach road to Jakrem Hot Spring constructed?
(b) How much land was acquired for this purpose?
(c) Whether payment has since been made?
Shri D.D. Pugh, Minister in Charge of Tourism :
67. (a)- In 1973-74
(b) - Steps are being taken to acquire 777 sq metres of land for the approach road, parking lot and footpath and another 4077 sq, metres of land around Hot spring
(c) - Not yet.
Mr. Speaker : Let us pass on to the next item. Before I ask the Chief Minister to reply to the cut motion moved yesterday ; let me read the letter from the Governor.
|" Raj Bhavan|
|March, 24, 1976|
|Dear Mr. Speaker Sir,|
I thank you for your letter No. AS 3/ MLA/ 76/ 1262, dated 19th March, 1976 informing me of the motion adopted by the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly at its meeting held on 18th March, 1976 in regard to my Address. I take this opportunity of sending you and the Assembly my best wishes.
|With kind regards,|
|Sd/- L.P. Singh,|
Now the Chief Minister to reply to the cut motion moved by Mr. D.N. Joshi, yesterday.
Shri W.A. Sangma, Chief Minister : Mr. Speaker Sir, the reply to be given had already been given by my friend , Mr. Lapang, yesterday. It is a fact that there has been congestion in the jails not only in Meghalaya but throughout the whole north eastern region and to some extent all over the country. These matters have come up for discussion in this House on a number of occasions. I have had the occasion to inform the hon. Members about the various actions contemplated to ease the congestion in the jails in the State. I am happy to inform the hon. Members in so far as the District Jail is concerned, we have been able to find alternative accommodation for those mental prisoners. All the 36 mental patients have been removed to a rented house and another 25 juvenile delinquents will be removed to the correctional school at Sohiong this month. As far as the number of non criminal lunatics is concerned, 17 more females were left. We are making arrangements in the same complex and as soon as this is completed these also will be removed. I am very happy to say that the construction of sub jails at Simsanggiri, Williamnagar and also Nongstoin is been taken for that purpose. As far as the Tura jail is concerned, we have acquired new plot of land measuring about 200 bighas at the cost of Rs.10,000. Once the construction is completed, the congestion will be eased. There was also mention about leakage of the roof in the Shillong Jail. I am happy to inform the hon. Members that it has been repaired. There was a complaint about food. Mr. Speaker Sir, a committee has been constituted for this with the Deputy Commissioner Khasi Hills, Superintendent, District Jail, Shillong and a Civil Surgeon and on their recommendation, we have improved the diet. The committee found that the present scale provision of 2800 calories for the prisoners doing labour and 2253 for non labour prisoners which compares favorably with the 2000 to 2400 calories laid down in the Model Prison Manual of the Government of India and as such it will not be correct to say that the food supplied in the jails is not adequate. In fact, on the recommendation of this committee, we have also allowed additional items like fruits and tea during the winter. So I believe, Mr. Speaker Sir, there is a marked improvement in the administration of jails in the State and once this correctional school is started at Sohiong, Mr. Speaker Sir, all the remaining female prisoners will be removed and along with this there will be less congestion. As far as the Jowai jail is concerned, the site was located but unfortunately the PHE objected as it is within the Catchment area of Jowai Water Supply Scheme. We are trying to find out alternative site for the jail. Once the jail construction started in Jowai, there will be further decreased in the congestion in Shillong because at present both male and female prisoners and others of the particular district are being accommodated here. Therefore, with these measures being taken by the Government, I am sure the hon. Mover of the cut motion will be satisfied that the Government is not sitting idle regarding this matter. As such, I would request him to kindly withdraw the cut motion.
Mr. Speaker : Since the hon. Mover is not here, cut motion is deemed to have been withdrawn.
I put the main question. The question is that an amount of Rs.19,31,000 be granted to the Minister in charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1977 for the administration of the head "256-Jail". The motion is carried and demand passed.
Mr. Speaker : Grant No.19. Minister Printing and Stationery.
Shri Grohonsing Marak, Minister P & S : Mr. Speaker Sir, on the recommendation of the Governor, I beg to move that an amount id Rs.35,81,000 be granted to the Minister in charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1977 for the administration of the head "258- Stationery and Printing"
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved. There is one cut motion in the name of Mr. S.D. Khongwir. Mr. Khongwir to move.
Shri S. D. Khongwir : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the total provision of Rs.35,81,000 under grant No.19, Major Head - "258-Stationery and Printing", at page 115 of the Budget, be reduced to Re.1, i.e. the amount of the whole grant of Rs.35,81,000 do stand reduced to Re.1.
Mr. Speaker :- Cut motion moved.
*Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker Sir, as a small State we are trying very hard to earn more revenue at the same time to spend less. But here in the case of the Government Press with regard to the number of staff that is being entertained in this Press, it is a well known fact that we have got excess number of staff in this Press. If I am not mistaken Mr. Speaker Sir, the excess number is of the order about 100 to 150 both ministerial and industrial. We also know that most of the excess staff are idle. They are not doing any work but still on the first day of everyday of every month, they are drawing their pay from the State Exchequer. That is obvious and they have got every right to do it. But my intention in bringing this cut motion is to pin point this very fact to the Government because I understand that most of the staff had already written to the Government asking the Government to release them to go back to their parent Government i.e., the Government of Assam. I do not know Mr. Speaker Sir, what happens to release them to go back to their several requests made by the staff of this office. As a result a lot of confusion among the staff stationed here in Shillong and at Gauhati of the Government of Assam. I have here there were many cases of suppression is in the case of an officer who is at present stationed in Gauhati who is more junior than the officers who are stationed here in the State of Meghalaya. This junior officer who happens to be now under the Government of Assam has been promoted to the post of Superintendent of the Press there in Assam. Whereas Mr. Speaker Sir, the most senior officer who is here in Shillong has been denied this right of promotion. Mr. Speaker Sir, in the Government Press in Shillong we have got a part from the idle man power, idle plants. These machineries which have been installed in this Press since 1967-68 have been kept idle and nothing has been done to these machineries. I would like to pose this question before the Government what the Government proposes to do with regard to these idle plants.
Mr. Speaker Sir, while speaking on the idle man power, I am really indeed very sorry to learn that at least one person on this Government Press, a very senior officer here in Shillong, was definitely not idle and not inactive but was very active in the sense that in a span of about 2 or 3 years, he was able to take down materials from Shillong without the consent or the knowledge of the Government to Gauhati-all type materials to the extent of about 4 to 5 metric tonnes. I have come to learn that the cost of these type materials is about 12,000 to 13,000 rupees per metric tonne. So my intention in bringing this cut motion is to disapprove of this policy followed by Government in retaining this excess staff. I do not know why Government cannot write to the Government of Assam and ask them to take away this excess staff from Meghalaya.
(Voices - Government has done this)
I do not know whether Government has done this. So Mr. Speaker Sir, after this slight interruption, I would like to pin point this matter of retaining excess staff by the Government of Meghalaya which is causing the State exchequer to spend a lot of money on them and also strain the economy of the State as a whole.
Mr. Speaker : You said that these type of materials were taken down to Gauhati without the knowledge of the Government.
Shri S.D. Khongwir : That is my contention Sir.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to support this cut motion. It is a fact that there are excess staff in the Government Press. But in spite of that, the machineries are lying idle and there is nobody to operate them. I do not know what is the reason for this as there is not much of printing to be done that even Government publications had to be sent to the private press. I will state one example. We have seen that the electoral rolls for last year were given to private presses for printing and this involve quite a lot of expenditure. Sir I feel that these machines in the Government Press should not be allowed to remain idle since we have even staff in the excess. Sir, with these few words, I request the Government to look into this matter and I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker : Will the Minister reply.
Shri Grohonsing Marak, Minister P & S : Mr. Speaker Sir, in the first instance the hon. Mover of the cut motion has mentioned that he disapproved the Government policy in the matter of retention of excess staff in the Government Press. I would like to inform the hon. mover through you. Sir, that it is not the policy of the Government to do so i.e., keep excess staff. Mr. Speaker Sir, I think the mover of this cut motion is aware if the fact that we have been inherited this Press from the erstwhile Government of Assam and in the process also 384 staff and officers were taken. Of these, three are gazetted officers and the rest are non gazetted. After we have shifted the volume of work we have in the meanwhile been able to send back 35 persons to the Government of Assam and now there are 176 more which are yet to be taken back by them. This matter has been referred to the Government of Assam but at this stage they have refused to accept these, 176 persons. But whatever the case may be Mr. Speaker Sir, this matter is still being vigorously pursued and it will be taken up at higher level between the Government of Meghalaya and the Government of Assam.
Regarding the suppression by the Junior officers it is a fact that there is a suppression by junior officers stationed at Gauhati of our three officers here in Shillong. I would like to inform the hon. Mover that this service has not yet been bifurcated. It is still a joint cadre. So whatever promotions are there they are given at Gauhati and they are offered to those serving in Gauhati. Now regarding these three officers who are still in Shillong we have received their applications regarding their promotion and after scrutinizing, we found that these three officers are the senior most even to those promoted in Gauhati. Therefore this matter has been taken up with the Government of Meghalaya this matter is being considered and we are still awaiting for a reply.
Now I will come to machines in the Government Press. I would inform the hon. Member that some of these printing machines are more than a hundred years old. Also some of the machines are claimed by the Government of Assam. So this matter is still under consideration and at this stage I cannot say which machines will be retained by us and which machines will go to Assam. Lastly, the hon. Member also charged that type of materials have been taken down to Gauhati with the knowledge of the Government. Sir, I do not have any knowledge about this and I could give no information . But I will enquire into this matter. So with all these facts, I would request the hon. Member from Mawlai to kindly withdraw his cut motion.
Shri S.D. Khongwir : Mr. Speaker Sir, I understand that there are some matters which are to be decided upon mutually between our State Government and the Government of Assam. For example, I think by implication the Minister had admitted that there are 176 persons excess staff in the Government Press. Also it seems the Government is doing its level best to send these people back to Assam, Mr. Speaker Sir, with regard to suppression also the Minister admitted that our officers stationed at Shillong are more senior that those promoted at Gauhati as this service has not yet been bifurcated. This is also done. So I urge upon the Government to take this opportunity in trying to settle up the pending issues with the Government if Assam and if the Government of Assam fails to agree to our terms and conditions, then perhaps we also cannot agree to their terms and conditions. it is something like a bargain.
One more point Mr. Speaker Sir, before I agree to withdraw my cut motion, I would like to point out to the pay of the senior officers who are serving here in Shillong. I understand that the junior officers promoted in Gauhati are getting a higher scale of pay, whereas the senior officers in Shillong are still drawing a much lower scale of pay.
I would also request the Government to see if there is any possibility or feasibility according to the rules and regulations, to kindly see that there should be pay protection at least to the senior officers here in Shillong. Since the Minister had made an appeal to the mover of the cut motion to withdraw it. I withdraw the cut motion.
Mr. Speaker : Has the hon. Member leave of the House to withdraw his cut motion? (Voices - Yes, yes)
The cut motion is with leave of the House withdrawn.
Now I put the question before the House. The question is that an amount of Rs.35,81,000 be granted to the Minister in charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1977 for the administration of the head "258-Stationery and Printing".
(The motion was carried and the demand passed.)
Now the Minister in charge of P.W.D. to move Grant No.20
Shri P.R. Kyndiah, Minister P. W. D. : Mr. Speaker Sir, I beg to move that an amount of Rs.1,92,000 be granted to the Minister in charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1977 for the administration of the head "259-Public Works".
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved. But I have received two cut motions. The first cut motion stands in the name of Shri Rowell Lyngdoh .
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker Sir, I beg to move that the total provision of Rs.1,92,33,000 under grant No.20 Major Head "259-Public Works" at page 121 of the budget be reduced to Re.1 i.e., the amount of the whole grant of Rs.1,92,33,000 do stand reduced to Re.1.
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker Sir, in this subject in fact, I have only a few points to submit in this House because we will be having another chance to discuss these matters pertaining to road construction under the head "Roads and Bridges". We have seen in the budget here, the amount earmarked under this head is mainly for the direction as well as for the administration of this particular Department. But whatever it might be, the administration of the department has got a link with the maintenance of roads and other construction in the State. Mr. Speaker Sir, we have seen that when compared with the proposal in the fifth Plan, this Government had proposed to construct about 260 K.M of roads annually to bring the kilometer age by the end of 1981 to the level of road construction in other State in the country. But we have seen Sir, from the review of the implementation of the schemes that every year we could construct only to a very limited length not even fifty per cent of the proposal. Mr. Speaker Sir, therefore it may also have a link with the administration of the departments. After all, it is the personnel, the officers who are to implement the road schemes. Therefore it has got a link with the performance of the personnel of this department. Mr. Speaker Sir, of course I have said earlier that we have got in our State high officials the departments of the rank of Chief Engineer, Additional Chief Engineer and the Superintendent engineers who are really sincere in their works and who can supervise the road construction in the State. But Sir, it is a fact that there are many officers below those ranks whose performances are not satisfactory. Mr. Speaker Sir, why I say this because this is because for the last many years, I have come to learn that the cost of maintenance for roads in our State including buildings is much higher here than anywhere else and it seems that it is so high because there is lack of supervision or because of the inability of officers on the inefficiency of the officers in the field. That is why the department has incurred higher amount than it should have been. Mr. Speaker Sir, therefore, I would submit that the Government should impose stringent measures so that those officers in the field right from the rank of S.D.O, downwards are implementing the works carefully and sincerely in the field. And also that they must do the works carefully and sincerely in the field. And also that they do the work with restraint so that the cost of maintenance for roads and buildings in the State may be reduced to a considerable extent and the length of roads in the State can be increased to reach at least the target which we have proposed in the Fifth Plan. Sir, therefore in this connection, I would request the Government to look into this. Moreover, Sir, I may say that the performance of the officers of the department are very inefficient even with the present emergency in which we are expected that the work in the departments should have been improved. But then, understand Sir, that employees in this department especially those who are dealing with bills etc., and who are always in contact with the contractors generally are not satisfactory. There is always scope for doubt about the integrity of these employees. Mr. Speaker Sir, I understand that bills of the poor contractors, generally are lying pending ,longer, while the bills to be paid to the bigger contractors are being disposed of promptly. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would say that there is no uniformity in the workings of this Department. Moreover, Sir, it gives scope for doubts and suspicions that there is corruption though, of course, when we speak about corruption they, from the Government, would always call upon us to cite examples of or give proof. After all Sir, we are taking about the personality and possibility from this side of the House and that because we have got imagination. But I am sorry when I point out these things once the Minister in charge had a chance to reply this time, under Town and Country Planning, by charging us instead that our line of reasoning is mostly a figment of imagination and that it is preposterous then our people will have sent us to this House, Mr. Speaker Sir, why we want to know these things is because we have heard and seen that such things always happened in this Department as well as in other Departments. We want to check inefficiency and corruption. We also want to check this inefficiency and corruption. We also want to check this poor performance by the Department of the Government. Sir, I would, therefore suggest that the machinery of the Government would improve if we pay more attention and that the Government should direct those officials who are sincere and efficient to pay more frequent visit to the site and restrain their subordinate officials from any type of corruption or influence by unscrupulous contractors and even that of the small unscrupulous contractors also.
I now come to another point, Mr. Speaker Sir, and that is the present divisions of the Public Works Department. We have nothing to point out on the divisions or circles in the Department. We have nothing to point out on the division or circles in the Departments. Now we have got about 3 circles under the Superintendent Engineer. I have some thing to say on the P.W.D. Divisions. Mr. Speaker Sir, here in the Khasi Hills District we have got about 6 or 7 P.W.D. Division and, out of these, the area which falls under one division, i.e., the Shillong West Division which consists of 4 P.W.D. Subdivisions.
Sir, in this Public Works Department Division the people of Mairang and Patharkhmah have found some inconveniences and as such, they have expressed their grievances because its headquarters is here in Shillong. It is very inconvenient for them because they have to come to Shillong from Mairang Sub-division and Patharkhmah Sub-division. So, Sir, if the Government would listen to these inconveniences and grievances of the people, the shifting of the headquarters to some other convenient place in the Mairang area would be all right. Alternatively, I would propose that another new Division be created at Mawkyrwat which will consist of the present two Public Works Department Sub-divisions and also the Balat Sub-division and Nonghyllam and other areas which may be sliced from the present Nongstoin Public Works Department Sub-division so that a new Public Works Department Division could be set up at Mawkyrwat which is centrally located. It will come in line also with the present proposed district to be set up at Nongstoin. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would therefore, make a suggestion to the Government that along with the administrative divisions of the State there should also be a re-consideration.
Mr. Speaker : Administrative organisations or political divisions?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh : In a sense, Sir, that we have to divide the State into districts and sub-divisions. So, Sir, along with those administrative divisions, we should also reconsider this division of the Public Works Department. With these few words, Sir, I move the cut motion.
*Shri S.N. Koch : In support of the cut motion moved by the hon. member, Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh, I can only say that I cannot approve of the actions of the Government, especially of this Department, because by the policy of the Government this Department has become a constant source of corruption which is becoming a normal part of social life specially of those connected with the Public Works Department.
Mr. Speaker : A constant source of corruption? By whom?
Shri S.N. Koch : By the officers of the Department and also the contractors Sir. They go for construction works with a profit motive. That cannot be denied and that is the first consideration. The second thing is that right from the beginning to the end we find in the tender itself it is written that the Executive Engineer or the undersigned is not bound to accept the lowest or the highest rates of the tender or the quotation. This is the first stanza or the first policy taken by this Department of the Government under which either the staff themselves or the Government invites corruption thereby an organisation is exercised in such a way that the persons who are interested in the work would try to catch the man with so many power or a person omnipotent so that the rates may be either 1 per cent less or 1 per cent over. And even then the undersigned is bound to accept it. So the moneyed contractor is seen rushing to the authority concerned and trying this way or that way because it is declared in the tender itself that he is not bound. It is rather a subjective matter and not objective decision.
Secondly, Sir, what happened after Meghalaya came into being? The policy taken by the Government is that the poor section of the people be given a chance because they do not know how to get business. That is greatly welcomed by the people but, subsequently what happened when this process is under execution? We find that the persons who are given the works are not the best. This is done by whom? By the Public Works Department. It is by wrong policy. Then there is also another power vested in this Department and that is the power of the measuring roads or tapes. There are now some hundreds of tribal contractors who are Class I contractors and hardly they can get Class III works because they have no money, because there is Government policy. The case should be considered sympathetically. The executive Engineer or the S.D.O. or the Chief Engineer is not helping the poor contractors. These Public Work Department officers are doing and acting like octopuses and they are now sucking the blood of the poor contractors. These things are being done on the poor contractors. These officer will go to the sites only when they are provided with cars, or jeeps and only that, but when they are being provided with so many things (laughter). Then that officer will go to the work sites. Moreover, the poor contractor has to visit the officers house for about 20 or 30 times. The officer will say, look here. I have no time. The poor contractor will beg and request him saying 'Sir please help me. The officer will say "Uhhu your work will take time. The poor contractor has already spent say about Rs.7,000 or more. Whereas, the value of the work is about Rs.3000 only. And, the poor man who has constructed the work having no other alternative but to beg and request the officer to at least try to get his bill passed for Rs.7000 if nor more by calculation as it is known to the people and the hon. Members with this 40:60 per cent. What is this 40:60 per cent? By this, it will mean that 60 per cent of the money will go to the offices and 40 per cent of the money will go the contractor. So, the contractor must have spent from his pocket about Rs.4000, So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would request Government that this policy be done away with, otherwise, it will be sad state of affairs with the poor contractors, and I once again request Government to check this because there is no other power to check this corruption.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister PWD) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I intervene? It is not the policy of the Government to encourage corruption. The policy is to root out corruption.
Shri S.N. Koch : I do not say that Mr. Speaker, Sir. The policy of the Government which the Government have adopted is not always correct. That is what I am trying to say. Of course, my suggestion may or may not be accepted and what I say is to request Government to check this sorry state of affairs.
Mr. Speaker : Do you mean to say that all contractors and all officers are sharing the profit in the manner you have stated. But I think the best policy for the Government is to do away with this. If you say some officers are doing, then I request you to please come and inform the Government of course not inside the house but outside. But if you generalise the corruption of officers in the Department, I think you cannot convince anybody by any stretch of imagination.
Shri S.N. Koch : Mr. Speaker, Sir, of course, since this comes from the Chair I should not challenge. But the question whether I can influence or not is one thing, but what is prevailing, I think, is a fact. And, I would say that Government has its agencies in the Police Department in the Anti-Corruption Department and Sir, of course we can inform. But in any case we are giving out views to the Government, because unless we discuss all these things in the House.
Mr. Speaker ; I have allowed you to do. But I just cannot believe that the whole setup in the Department is like that.
Shri S.N. Koch : Not the whole set up, Sir.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister P.W.D.) : From the why the hon. Member was saying, it was a whole-sale condemnation of the set-up of the Public Work Department and the contractors. This is unheard of.
Mr. Speaker : Actually, that is what I say. Whole-sale condemnation is uncalled for.
Shri S.N. Koch : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think what is happening in Public Works Department is not unknown to anybody. But what I am saying is that we should do away with this policy.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister P.W.D.) : What policy?
Shri S.N. Koch : The policy of measurement, Sir. So, we can do this thing. Because, when the buildings will be constructed, the Public Works Department men know that thing are required, what materials are required and when the buildings are constructed these will be measured. And of it goes in this way then in extra work the officer will have the chance to exercise his discretion. That will reduce corruption. Sir, I think we should have one construction Corporation so that measurement of works will be improved instead of giving it to the individuals. And, in this respect, I believe Government has not taken any step to help the public institutions by giving Government assistance for undertaking construction of reads etc. With these few words I resume my seat.
Shri Jormanick Syiem : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to oppose the Cut Motion moved by the hon. Member from Mawkyrwat. In opposing this Cut motion, Sir, I would say that nobody could deny the achievement of our Government in the matter of road construction. It has been noticed by outsiders and tourists who have come to this State of ours. Compared to some other States, I think, we have made a very big progress in the matter of road construction. In spite of shortage of technical know-how, we have been able to make this much progress in the course of 4 years. Of course, there are certain drawbacks which are worth mentioning, which probably are not noticeable to the Members of the public in the matter of taking up of certain works like construction of bridges. It is noticed that some minor bridges are being reconstructed. But the more hazardous bridges are those of Byrnihat, Umsning, Umsaw Nongkharai, Umshyrpi, Mylliem and Umiew. These are very hazardous to the traffic as well as to the pedestrians but there seems to be no preparation by the Department for extension or for reconstruction of these bridges. May I appeal to the Government, through you. Mr. Speaker, Sir, that those dangerous bridges should be looked into. Apart from this little bit of drawback I would like to say that the Government of Meghalaya has shown enough progress especially in the matter of roads and building works and we have seen that placed which were not approachable for so many years, even a hundred years, now we can go even with jeep and first-class cars and if this is not an achievement I do not know what it is.
Now, as regards the policy of appointing the contractors I give full credits to the Government for having encouraged the local tribal contractors. They are given concessional rates and also the works which formerly used to go to the people from outside. It is a good sign that some of our local contractors are very competent to undertake the construction of goods roads and bridges although some have yet to learn the work. There are some who have fallen into the temptation of carrying out works in "benami" transaction which I think the Government should not encourage because if they just take contract in their own names and give it to others it means they are cheating the Government as well as not getting enough benefit from the works that have been given. As regards corruption, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think it is a very common affairs to be seen all round. It is true that the P.W.D. is getting very big blame for that but it is also the fault of the members of the public who encourage corruption and we, as representatives of the people, should also see that is not encouraged. It is also for the Government to see that once such things are brought to the notice of the Government, suitable action is taken against such officers if it is proved that they have really taken to corruption. Apart from this, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not want to say anything against the P.W.D. In fact, whatever efforts they have made are being appreciated by all including the villagers who have had no chance to get such communication to their remote villages. Therefore, I would like to say that the Government deserves every credit for the works conducted through the Public Works Department and as such I oppose the cut motion moved by the hon. Member from Mawkyrwat.
Shri Plansing Marak : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to oppose the cut motion. The purpose of the Mover of this cut motion is to disapprove the policy of the Government with regard to the construction of roads and bridges and also the administration of the Department. I believe, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Government is following the policy laid down by the Government of India with regard to the policy laid down by the Government of India with regard to the construction of roads and buildings. Now the policy laid down by the Government of India which is being followed by the Government is this (i) Special road schemes, (ii) New road scheme, (iii) Roads to administrative needs (iv) Roads for connecting important villages and other markets (v) Roads connecting other districts and States, (vi) Roads connecting places having special projects such as industries, irrigation power projects, tourists centres, special needs to town areas such as Shillong, Tura, Jowai, Nongstoin and Williamnagar. In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government of Meghalaya has not in any way deviated from the policy taken from the Government of India. Today we can see the remotest places where there was no road before the creation of Meghalaya, new roads are coming up with new diversion and creation of new bridges. Now to prove that our P.W.D. is doing excellent works I can cite a few examples. Tremendous development of roads and buildings has been carried our by the P.W.D. and even if we cannot appreciate the performance of the Government in other matters at least we can see the glorious performance of the P.W.D. in Meghalaya. Last time I had the opportunity of going to Bhoilymbong through the road constructed by the Government to see the famous Devil's Gate. I went to Nartiang to see the famous monolith and the famous temple of the Jaintia King through the road constructed by this Department. I have gone up to Rymbai village through the roads constructed by this Department and I could see the beauty of the places where I would like to be the Doloi. (laughter) I have also gone to Mawsynram and even up to Mawsynram Cave which has been connected with the main road. So this Government has covered this State of Meghalaya with roads and bridges even to my heaven, Balpakram, a place where my soul will rest after my death, there is a good road (laughter).
Now it is up to me to choose whether I go to Tura via Gauhati-Shillong Road or via Nongstoin or via Balat. All these roads came after the creation of Meghalaya. Therefore, I think the activities of the Department are tremendously going on in full swing in executing there works. In those places where formerly there were no roads, now we see there are roads and places where formerly there were no roads, now we see there are roads and a number of roads which were not black-topped before are now black-topped. Formerly when we came through the trunk road, that it is from Tura to Shillong, we used to get dirt and our dresses were all covered with dirt, but now you can come with clean and fresh dresses, with nice suits and good dresses yet you will not be covered with dirt and dust like before. Previously when I used to come through Gauhati to Shillong, I remember I used to get all the dusts on the road but now without fearing the dusts and dirt, I used to come with clean dresses. It is the same case while I travel to Rongjeng. Previously I used to be covered with dust, that was before the creation of Meghalaya when the road condition was like that but now the road from Tura to Rongjeng is a good one, it is nicely black-topped and you can wear your nice dress, nice suits and travel from Tura to Rongjeng without any more fear of dust or dirt. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I believe our Government has done and is doing good work and at least we should admire the performance of this Department.
Regarding administration side, I want to say that since the creation of Meghalaya a number of Divisions and Subdivisions with efficient staff have come up. My hon. friend from Mendipathar has charged the Department of corruption and that there was partially in allotting contract works to the contractors. He said the contract works have been given to nontribals, but I think we ourselves and our own people are responsible for all this. I will cite an example. I have seen a number of persons came to me to get financial recommendation because they are to obtain the recommendation from any M.L.As. As such we are finally capable to give our recommendations, But now I know some of these fellows who came to me did not have money and an M.L.A. is always an M.L.A. and if you cannot or do not give any recommendation in favour of those fellows, then when election is coming they will say alright this man has refused to give me financial recommendation, next time when election comes we will not cast our votes in his favour any more. So Sir, I was afraid that election is also coming near and I was compelled to give those recommendations or certificates which I was a little bit capable of. But what they did? These fellows went to the P.W.D. and they got contract works up to the value of 2 per cent or 5 per cent and most of the contracts were with the non-tribals and in this way there is trouble because the majority of the contracts in Garo Hills are non-Garos or non-tribals. On investigation, into the facts of the report that the contract work used to be given to the non-tribal and not to the tribals, I went to meet the Executive Engineer, I wanted to fight with him personally as to why the non-tribals, the non-Garos, non Hajongs, use to be allotted all the contract works. He will show the list and say look here this list is so and so, there are so many Sangmas, so many Maraks, so many Momins and what not, but at the time of receiving money they go away somewhere. So it is those people who are responsible, it is our selves. We should not blame the Government for all this. That is why my hon. friend from Mendipathar did not know, he did not discourage those people to do so. It was his duty since he knows too much about the corruption of this Department. But I regret to say that inspite of all his knowledge about this corruption, yet not a single instance have he ever brought to the notice of the Minister concerned. So how he came to known about all these things. It may be that he himself is associated very much with the things. It may be that he himself is associated very much with the underground payment of those contractors. I believe once he came to know about all these corrupt practices, it is his duty to bring it to the notice of the Department for checking and correcting them. Therefore, I would like to conclude by saying that developments of roads in Meghalaya is rather too fast and it is even faster then the flying arrows. With these words, I oppose the Cut Motion.
Shri H.E. Pohshna : Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to support the Cut Motion. I would like to express my thanks to the hon. Member who has just spoken before me. He has admitted that there is corruption, but corruption is not brought to the notice of the Government. Therefore, I would appeal to all the hon. Members that since it has been stated by him that all these things had happened in Garo Hills, they should really be brought to the notice of the Government. But I would like also to say a few words that all these things are due to the slackness in the administration side and that is why we are offering suggestions. I have found that the officers of the P.W.D. are not always available in their respective headquarters or it may be that they have no headquarters at all. There are instances whenever there are landslips or road blocks, the report about that would not came from the Officers or Sectional Assistants or Overseers, but from the public themselves. All this is due to the fact that muharrirs, overseers and sectional officers are always found in the town and not in their respective places. There are instances that whenever we go on the road we find labourers are working on muster roll, but there is no people to supervise the works are properly maintained especially in the hilly tracts during summer season, all the muharrirs, overseers or sectional officers should be at the proper place where there is work . If they are not found to be there, then it will be very difficult for the Government to know how the work is in progress. Therefore, once again I would request the Minister that something should be done in this regard. I used to find that those muharrirs, sectional officers or overseers used to search for those contractors. Why I say like that because I have found in Jaintia Hills, in the bazar place, the roads are overcrowded with muharrirs, sectional officers, accompanying those contractors. Instead of the contractors accompanying them, they accompany the contractors. This appears that no body used to remain in the field to supervise the work. It is always found that whenever the contractors go to their work then those officers will also go there. It may be to get advantage since those big contractors have got jeeps and they can take them anywhere they like, but they will never follow those who have not got jeeps. With these few words I would request the Minister-in-charge of P.W.D. to specifically look into the matter for the administration of the Department under his charge. There are many divisions, so many sections and subdivisions and so I once again request all those officers who are in-charge to be always available at their respective places.
Shri S.P. Swer : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I stand to oppose the cut motion. Sir, I was expecting very much from the hon. Mover who moved this cut motion and what I was expecting was that he would come forward with suggestions differing the present policy of the Government for road construction. I thought he would come forward with the policy that Government would construct straight roads instead of curve roads in steep terrains.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is not what we were discussing about. We were discussing on the performance of the Department.
Shri S.P. Swer : Mr. Speaker, Sir, but I have found that his statement does not at all disapprove the policy of the Government for construction of the roads. Sir, the hon. Member from Mendipathar observed that the whole P.W.D. is corrupt. It is a fact that we cannot clap with one hand. We have to use both hands for clapping and I do not rule out that there may be some officers some where who are in collaboration with the contractors.
Mr. Speaker : There should be collaboration with the contractors but not for making money Collaboration should be there for making roads and bridges.
Shri S.P. Swer : Yes Sir, it is with the collaboration of officers that the roads and bridges can be constructed properly but there may be cases for making money. But Sir, the hon. Member did not cite specific instances but simply generalised that all offices are corrupt. Such general Member also observed that the present procedure of the P.W.D. in makings bills for payment to contractors by measurement is wrong. The statement of the hon. Member in this connection suggest that the Public Works Department need not maintain any record at all for contractors and the Department as well. The P.W.D. maintains records of all the works in their measurement books. And bills are prepared and paid to the contractors after satisfying the quantity and quality of work done. Maintenance of the measurement book is the main record for verification and other purposes. Thus the measurement book enables the Executive Engineers above the S.D.O., or those above the Executive Engineer to see and verify works actually done. So until and unless these measurement books are kept then it is very very difficult to verify and it may lead to and encourage greater corruption. These records are kept in the department. Sir, to charge against the officers of the P.W.D. that they do not go to work-sites, until and unless they are provided with jeeps by the contractors, is not a correct statement at all. Because I know that in every subdivision there is a jeep and the S.D.Os, the Assistant Engineers, the Overseers are moving in their own jeeps while going to work-sites. Therefore, Sir, it is not correct at all to say that until and unless contractors bring their jeeps or conveyance, the P.W.D. Engineers do not go and supervise their work. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I oppose the cut motion.
(Mr. Deputy Speaker in the Chair)
Shri Edward Kurbah : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the cut motion moved by the hon. Mover from Mawkyrwat. I am not accusing the Government or the Department but I want to point out the defects which have been going on in the administration of this Department. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for the information of the Government and the Department concerned, there are loopholes in the matter of construction of bridges in some areas. I got the information that during the course of construction of bridges, there is a game of black-marketing which is going on where the bridges are constructed. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, of course, the local people of these areas are getting benefits of having cements, rods, sands at cheap price but I do not know whether Government is aware of that. In some places where bridges are being constructed, the people are getting the materials for building their houses and compounds. But I do not know whether the money which the people paid for those materials is going to the Government or not. I would like to point out that if Government takes serious steps to check this especially those people who are incharge of purchases, they will find that such things are going on. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, another point which I would like to bring to the notice of the Government is that there are some contractors who are being neglected by Government while allotting works on the basis of the tenders submitted by them. In the matter of road construction, I find that the work allotted to contractors who are living far away, is not at all satisfactorily done. I would like to suggest to the Government that as far as possible, Government should try to give preference to those local contractors. Secondly, if the local people are not forthcoming, the work should be give to other contractors. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, another point which I would like to bring to the notice of the Government is that for the roads which have been constructed, there should be a given to other contractors. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, another point which I would like to bring to the notice of the Government is that for the roads which have been constructed, there should be a follow-up programme. After the first stage of construction, there should be a follow-up programme. After the first stage of construction has been completed the second stage should be taken up as soon as possible. Even spoiling should be done at least when the roads have been constructed after one year, then after one or two years it should be followed up by spoiling so that these roads may be motorable. As we have seen, out of so many roads which have been constructed, some of them are not motorable and especially during during rainy season no vehicle can ply on these roads, In this way, Sir, I would suggest that Government should take serious steps that after the road is constructed, them soling should be done immediately so that the damage of the road will not be so much. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, another point which I would like to bring to the notice of the House is that there are so many contractors which executing their works have yet to finish construction of the roads.
Of course, there are many contractors but in some areas there are only one or two. So most of the work is allotted to these few contractors Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is a very serious matter. How can one contractor do all the work which is meant for other contractors in different areas. This also I feel should be carefully looked into by Government. If a work is allotted to one particular contractor or person then the work should also be executed by him and not by any other person. Such kind of proxy should not be allowed, because a contractor who execute many works at the same time cannot supervise all the works at the same time or properly. It is very difficult to look after such road, that road or other road and so on and so forth.
Another point which I would like to bring to the notice of House is about the construction and maintenance of road. Government is constructing so many new roads, but the maintenance Of such roads is very very bad. They are not looked after properly nor any repair work done. Invariable we found that the officers incharge of such roads do repair work only when they know that a Minister is passing through that particular road. Then you will find many muster rolls workers toiling and repairing the road and when the Minister passes he will find that the road is in good condition and we will say that it is satisfactory. But what about those roads which the Minister may not have the opportunity to visit. The improvement of such roads will take time and the people will suffer a lot. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would suggest to Government that roads after being constructed proper maintenance should be done so that people will not face any difficulty especially during the rainy season.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have nothing more to say since most of the members have taken part. But I will mention here one more point which I have forgotten. Sir, you will find that there are some places or villages which are not connected by any roads. There are no roads at all. This Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is for the information of the House, the Minister concerned and the officers. There are places like Patharan and Mawtenen. These places are very backward. These places are connected by one private road constructed by one Bah Kren. So if this road is constructed it will go through Mawlyndep upto the river Khri. But if one want to use this road, then permission should be obtained from that contractor. So Government should take up this road as it will solve the problems of these people leaving here and also for transportation of timber which is available there. So Government should consider constructing this road which will reach not only upto the river Khri but could be extended up to Nongkhlaw. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this connection, I think there is a proposal from Government to construct a road from Mawmaram to Nonglyput. Also there is another proposal for constructing another road linking Nonglyput to Umsning. This is in the Budget. I do not know if there is a another village of the same name, but there is such a proposal. So I would suggest to Government that this Nonglyput road should go through Kynroh because this is one of the important poling stations in Sohiong Constituency. This road could then go to Bhoi area and finally Umsning. It will thus serve the people of these areas very much. So Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with these few observations, I hope our Government will sincerely look into this matter so that people living in the rural areas will have equal benefit as other parts of of the State.
*Shri Humphrey Hadem : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with your permission, I would like to take part in the discussion. I have a few observations to make, Sir, in this cut motion. I, first, of all, would like to say that I stand to oppose it. Sir, many contradictory remarks have been expressed by the members while lending their support to the cut motion. The hon. Member who has just spoken has suggested that Government should have a follow-up programme. If this is to be so, then it means that Government had to spend the entire amount which is meant for the whole State for one particular road and at the same time also he argued that there are some parts of the State, may be in his constituency, where there are no roads at all. So, Sir, I do not know if the contention of the member while discussing this cut motion, is that the whole Budget under the P.W.D. should be spent only for one corner of the State. I would like to say, Sir, that the policy so far followed by our Government is, I think, very acceptable not only to us, but by the State as a whole. Of course, everybody would like to have roads through their areas or villages, and if we are to construct all-weather roads, then it will take a very long long time, years together may be, for the Government to do so. Government construct roads for a specific purpose in mind, and that is to help our people, especially for the purpose of agriculture. So I hope, Sir, the Government will not lose heart as the present policy that it is following is very viable. I hope that in due course though we are only 4 years old now, all the anxieties expressed by the hon. members will be fulfilled and will be covered by the schemes already under consideration of Government. Secondly Sir, it was stated that roads are properly maintained and looked after only for the purpose of visits by the Ministers. To this, I have nothing to add but only to advance a suggestion, and I think in that case, it is for the hon. member to meet the Minister, to be familiar with him so that after one month he will be able to visit the road again and help proper maintenance of the road. Thirdly, Sir, what I would like to point out is regarding the remark about non-availability of quarters for the staff of the P.W.D. which was pointed out by the hon. Member from Nongtalang. On this he has specifically cited an instance that on a bazar day all the overseers, Muharrirs and officers are crowding the contractors as they could not find them except on bazar days. But here, they have been found loitering after they have done their works. There may be exceptions here and there but to generalise that they were not doing the works is not correct because if we pass such a remark, I am afraid that those who are working sincerely will be losing heart.
Shri Maham Singh : Whether he was referring to the work on the road or somewhere else?
Shri Humphrey Hadem : I think to the work cited by the hon. mover himself. Actually Sir, it is the duty of the authority which supervises the work to see that the work is speeded up and completed within a fixed time. As such, they are doing the work even to meet them personally in those places where they can be found. This is a matter of opinion as already stated by me. But I have and verse opinion on what has been expressed by the hon. mover. Last but not the least, I would like to suggest that for maintenance of muster roll a proper check both at the spot as well as in the office should be made for the betterment and proper maintenance of the roads and works done by the departments concerned, with these words, I oppose the cut motion.
*Shri D.N. Joshi : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while supporting the cut motion brought forward by my friend, I have certain observations to make. Sir, just now, my friend from the other side has referred to the proper maintenance of the muster roll and in that connection, Sir, I have to point out a very striking thing which came to my notice that while giving appointment to the work-charged people sometimes, especially the non tribals, who are Meghalayans, were given appointment and in the paper it was stated that they were appointment as work-charged men but later on they were found to be outsiders. I have the occasion to bring these facts to the notice of the Minister concerned. As for a particular instance, Sir, the Minister was very much astonished to find that the persons born and brought up in Shillong were treated as outsiders and they have been thrown out of employment. The Minister again informed that they will be observed. So Sir, I want that such type of irregularities should not be there while giving appointment to our people.
Another point, Sir, here in Shillong in my own locality, the works of the P.W.D. is not very satisfactory. Some years back the roads were constructed leading from the junction. Some years back the roads were constructed leading from the junction of the T.B. Hospital to the cremation ground. Now this road is in a very bad shape and the Minister, P.W.D. had occasion last year to go there personally on foot and he had seen the condition of the road and that road has not been repaired. The Lower Mawprem road leading from Garikhana to Bishop's Falls are to be widened on account of heavy traffic but that was still in the files. Nothing has been done and I want that Government will be up and doing to take up that particular road because it is not important only from that point of view of increasing the traffic for the local people, it is also important from the point of view as it leads towards the Bishop's Falls and Beadon's Falls, and the roads leading from Upper Mawprem to Lower Mawprem when the roads leading to Bishop's falls is in a bad shape. Now, the Minister has assured me and I believe that he will stick to his assurance.
But now, I would like to speak about my own Constituency since I belong to the Cantonment. Sir, there are roads which are maintained by the State Government and these roads pass through the Cantonment area but they are also in a very bad shape, I had the occasion to urge upon the Government to take up these roads which are equally important to our civil population barring the Cantonment population. Sir, the Danjan road leading from Garrison Ground to Police Bazar and below the Garrison ground is very narrow and it should be widened and two way traffic should be allowed. There is one Trazing road which is there from the time of the Britishers, it is in a very bad shape and the road leading towards the T.B. Hospital must be made a one-way traffic road after properly reconstructing it. Then only it should be opened.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) : What about those in the rural areas?
Shri D.N. Joshi : Well, Sir, let me then come to the Diengpasoh road. In 1972 I had urged upon the Government to take up this road because this is a very important road. But since there are litigations and cases pending with the D.C.'s Court or with the D.C. himself - I do not know, must be with the D.C. - only certain surfacing work has been done every year. But proper construction has not as yet started. Therefore, I would again urge upon this Government to take up that road seriously and immediately.
With regard to other roads in the rural areas some of our friends have pinpointed the difficulties and also the shortcomings of the Government. However, I hope that the Government will rise to the occasion and so the needful. With these few words, Sir, I support the cut motions.
*Shri Akramozzaman : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in supporting the cut motion I wish to speak on only one or two points here for the immediate attention of the Government and of the P.W. Department particularly, Sir, the other day in reply to some questions of some hon. members it was stated that the P.W.D. lets no encroachment on P.W.D. lands. We know that no person shall be allowed to encroach. That is a fact. And when there is a culvert under construction two objectives may be in view of the P.W.D. that this culvert may give passage of water which is going to be blocked by the construction of the road, and so the paddy fields on the other side of the road may not get the water. The other point is that the water may not overflow as we have heard what the engineers also say. So these are the considerations while constructing the culverts. But the thing is that, in my constituency, two instances are very much glaring and these have attracted the attention of the people as a result of which petitions have been submitted to me for forwarding them to the Government.
Now, Sir, in the village near Shyamding a person excavated a fishery tank and it was found that he has encroached upon the P.W.D. land. Action against him was taken as a result of which he had to fill up the excavated portion of the road upto the road level to again from a part of the road. This is really to be appreciated. But about 6 miles away, near Bhaitbari there was a culvert which usually provided flow of water to the other side, to the paddy fields of Sali crop. where 3-4 persons plant their crops it not more than a hundred bighas of land. Suddenly it was found that one person has excavated one fishery tank here. Moreover, Sir, the land is not a patta land; it is a khas land and his encroachment was such that it was almost at the point of the culvert and he has stopped the flow of water be a cemented bund as a result of which the 100 bigha paddy field has been affected so much so that its produce has not only become 1/3rd but also in some portions of it no paddy can any be grown. This matter was brought to my notice and they have submitted one petition which was forwarded to the Executive Engineer, Tura North Division. In the meantime, it is also learnt that the Executive Engineer, Tura North Division had visited the place and that he had suggested an alternative that they should cut another culvert at their own expense. I do not find the reason or the difference of justification because while one person at one place was asked to fill up the excavated portion to the level of the road, another person, at another place, without the prior permission of the P.W.D., had blocked the culvert and had caused damage to the paddy fields. So, Sir, administratively this is very wrong. The fact is that the very existence of that culvert provides a constant flow of water. It is the only source for irrigation the paddy fields.
Another point is that it is known to everybody that the Phulbari-Medipara-Garobadha Road is the life-line for supply of essential commodities and other things to the north-western parts of Garo Hills. But one portion of it at the 13th Km the road is every time under flood water and everybody knows that this portion should be improved and in some places it is so narrow that there is no passage for two lorries. They can pass only when one is backed to a wider part. So I would draw the attention of the P.W.D. Minister and the Government in administering a policy of equality that the Government in administering a policy of equality that the maintenance of everything should be under the same category. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, P.W.D) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at the outset I must say that the hon. members from all sections of the House have shown an extraordinary interest in the affairs and working of the Department. I think the number of participants has gone upto 10. In any case, I have listened with rapt attention to the various remarks and observations made and some charges also were there. This is as expected observations made and some charges also were there. This ia as expected since the Public Works Department is a big spending Department and so it is a target of attention. But I would like to take this opportunity to clear some of the doubts and confusions that exist in the minds of some of the hon. members by way of clarification. In the first place, I would like to deal with the remarks made by the hon. member who moved the cut motion when he said that the Department could not construct the kilometer age of roads as envisaged in the 5th Plan. As you know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir the 5th Plan was drawn up on a tentative basis. It is not a financial allocation. Whatever allocation that has been earmarked in the 5th Plan is all tentative. Now, for instance, the Public Works Department has been tentatively given an outlay of Rs.24.5 crores. We are now on the threshold of the third year of the Plan. But due to the financial constraint which is prevailing in the country and also in the State, the amount that was coming to us was not on the basis of the 5th Plan allocation. If we divide Rs.24.5 crores by 5, this should be about 5 crores per year but in the first year of the Plan, we got only Rs.3 crores. So, also in the second year. In the third year, we have fared better. We would get about Rs.3.25 crores and there was an assurance from the Planning Commission and Government of India that there would be an increased outlay and the Government is taking steps to see that these assurances given by the Government of India and the Planning Commission are adhered to. So, in so far as work is concerned, it is not possible, therefore, to complete the kilometer age as we would have wished. It may be seen therefore in the matter of construction roads etc. The shortfall is because of the financial constraint. But the remark made by the hon. Member he has made it perhaps in a different context altogether - when he said that this is linked up with the performance of the staff. But amplification, this means that the working of the staff of the Department is not satisfactory, otherwise, we would have been able to complete more roads. This is the construction of the hon. Member who moved the cut motion. I would like to state here, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that the P.W.D. is very fortunate to have a very good set of officers and when I say this, it is not only my statement but. I have had occasions to share the thoughts with some other people from outside the State also and we are proud that we have among us some of the very excellent officers who are good engineers and who are forward-looking and who are keeping up with the modern technology of road engineering. And in that respect, I think the hon. Mover of the cut motion also agrees with me when he had expressed a deep sense of appreciation on certain category of our officers like Chief Engineer, Addl. Chief Engineer and the Superintending Engineer. But he was not happy with the working of the other officers of the lower ranks, I presume he includes the Executive Engineers and below. Now, by and large, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the officers of the P.W.D, have done magnificent works. When I say this, I know that there may be some officers who are not up to the mark or who have not been able to discharge the responsibilities as we expected them to do. In fact, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the House should know that we as a Government are conscious of the need to streamline the administration and to strengthen the activity of the Department. In a few month's time, we had the occasion to take action against some officers who we found are not discharging their responsibilities well. So, to that extent, I would admit that there is no cent-per-cent efficiency. There is still certain room for improvement; there may be some loopholes here and there and after all, human, materials cannot be as we would like them to be. Therefore, on this, I can assure the hon. Member who moved the cut motion that we are conscious and we are aware our responsibilities. But by and large, I can tell him, through you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that the officers whether in the Secretariat, or in the head of the Department or in the field are doing a very commendable work as pointed out by Mr. Plansing Marak.
Now, another remark that has been made by the hon. Mover is that the cost of roads is much higher. I agree cent-per-cent with him on this. When I say this, I do not attribute it to the inefficiency of the staff of the Department. When I say this, I say it on the basis of certain factors. Making a road in the hills' terrain is a very expensive affair. The terrain is steepy and making road and it needs to be cut through rocks and different terrain etc and then comes alignment. This has to be done properly. All these are involved in the cost of the roads. The again, in the State of Meghalaya we have maximum amount of rain. In fact, some of the areas in our State are in rainiest in the world. So, the rainfall concentration is also there which adds to the cost of making the roads. Then again certain areas in Meghalaya, are wind-swept areas. This also adds to the cost of the construction of the roads because we have to think of the wind velocity also sometime Particularly in Garo Hills another factor is involved which I would like to bring here. It is an area which is criss crossed by rivers and therefore, construction and making of a road involves making a number of bridges Wherever we go, we will see that there are a number of bridges and we need to make more bridges. So all these factors add to the cost of making roads in Meghalaya. Therefore, I do not agree that the high cost of building of roads is because of lack of supervision, or of lack of ability on the part of the officers. I admit, as I said earlier, that there is room for improvement. Now, before I proceed further, I would clear a certain remark made by the Mover when he said that I had the occasion to state in this House, as if to attribute to him my inability to appreciate his point of views. When I mentioned the other day about his being too imaginative when I said that, I said so in the context of a very good spirit of trying to bring home to him about the incorrect statement that was made by him. I mean that a presumptuous statement he made in the context of house building scheme and land development schemes in which he said that only the outsiders would be benefited. It is just the other way round Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, and therefore, I would request the hon. Member not to take hustle but to take the matter in a good spirit.
Now, I will come to the other point of the hon. Member about the employees in my offices who are not only inefficient but also some of them are in league with the contractors to the detriment of the State exchequer. I do not know how far this malady is prevailing but I can assure the hon. Member through you. Sir, that whenever any matter of this mature comes before the Government, the Government immediately takes care to see that suitable action is taken. In fact, I would like to take the Members of this august House into confidence on one instance. To the contrary of what the hon. Member he has said, I have had the occasions a few months ago when an hon. Member of this august House sitting opposite me giving me an information elating to the work of certain officer of my Department. When he said so I told him well this is a good information but why don't you give me something in writing. I did not ask a full proof of the case because it is not possible for him to give but what I wanted is that something in writing about the prevailing corrupt practices which would help our Department for enquiry. Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir, I can tell you that the hon. member was very responsible and very responsive and he agreed to give in writing. I can tell you that the matter was enquired into and we found that there were certain element of truth and we took action accordingly. So cooperation is really needed. I must really appreciate help this Department got from this hon. Member in a very concrete manner. I have cited this instance to say that we need co-operation it the sense that in comes in a concrete form. Now the other day the Hon'ble Finance Minister made a very good statement which is incumbent on the part of the Members of this House whether we belong to this group or that group to work with a sense of co-operation. But sometimes some approaches are made which give a different image of Meghalaya and the manner in which it is made that many give rise to thinking that this Government is party oriented. I can tell the hon. Member from Pariong that in the matter of distribution of works we have given a standing order to the officers. Executive Engineers, S.D.O.s to the S.E.s or to Chief Engineers that the distribution of work must be done strictly on merit basis. There is no room for A.P.H.L.C. bias, H.S.P.D.P. bias or Congress bias but it should be only merit bias. This is our policy. I can tell the hon. Member from Pariong whom I respect very much that in fact some of the members belonging to my party have accused that the Department distributes works only to these contractors who have sympathy for the Opposition. I do not agree with them either. I can tell you that our policy is strictly based on merit. If there is any demerit we are here to rectify and correct the situation. I would like to say this with full responsibility and full emphasis that I can command, that we will adhere to this basic principle.
Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to say about the payment of bills of the contractors. There has been a very wrong motion that the big contractors are given preference in getting payment first and small contractors are given side-treatment. I do not know how far this is true but I will always welcome suggestions. But I can tell you what I do in my capacity as a Minister. I have given strict instructions to the officers-in-charge of my Department that the first and foremost preference should be given to those small contractors. However, my instructions may not be carried out with all seriousness and so I am open to suggestions. But I can tell you only this that I have given strict order that the small contractors should be given first preference specially in these days of financial hardship, Now the hon. Member has raised another point of which I am fully aware. That is about corruption. I would like to say that the word corruption I abhor very much and I believe every one of us should condemn this corruption. We are here for a clean administration and wherever there is corruption. It is the duty of the Government and the members of this House to come with heavy hands.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, sometimes we came across certain allegation, certain charges against certain officers or employees and we are faced with a dilemma because charges of corruption or of inefficiency or whatever the case may be, were not of sufficient proof for us to take action. Because whatever it is we have to look at the problem from another point of view of the other side. Sometimes the charges are of such a nature that one has to hold his heart and see whether such and such alleged officer who have children whether he has really done so much as to warrant action or just to give a warning. In any case when cases are substantiated, I cannot say fully substantiated, we have to take action. We have never been hesitant to take action even today. We are bound to take action because as you know we are committed to root out corruption as I said earlier when I intervened, during the speech of Mr. Koch.
Now, I will come to another point which was dealt with by the Mover of the Cut Motion. He had made a suggestion which I think deserves due to consideration. That is in regard to the problems faced by the people of Mairang and Patharkhmah Sub-divisions and he had made a suggestion for creation of new Division it Mawkyrwat. As you know Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in constituting Division, and Subdivision we are guided by the work-load. The Finance Minister, the other day had mentioned in his reply to the points raised by the hon. Member from Phulbari in regard to E.&D Department that we have to have certain fund, certain amount of money and certain number of schemes which should justify creation of Division. In any case, we need to realise that we are committed to bringing the administration closer to the people. Whether it is Administrative Division or Public Work Department Division. It is our duty to see that administration is brought closer to the public. We should feel that it is our duty, it is our bounden duly and it is our responsibility. Now the Government is examining this proposal very very carefully. Some time ago I remember of a phrase used by the Ex-Home Minister, Shri G.L. Nanda, when he came to Shillong in 1966 when we discussed about the Hill State problem. He said "we are furiously thinking. In this case also we are furiously thinking. There are so many points raised and in so far as the points raised by the hon. Member from Mendipathar are concerned, I have had the occasion and even the Speaker, himself had made certain observations with replied to the various charges leveled against the Department. Now I can only say that the Public Works Department is not an octopus as he had the occasion to express when he was referring to the work of this Department. On the other hand, the Public Works Department, in the last few years has done a spectacular job in the interior. In fact the works are self evident that those who have eyes to see they will see, those who have ears to hear they will hear, those who have hearts to feel they can feel. It is really not correct for me to say more. Here again I would like to dwell on the point raised by hon. Member from Pariong when he made a reference to the road projects that we have been taking up in the State and when he said that I was trying to say something as if the Public Works Department is confining itself only to the urban areas of Shillong, Tura while in the interiors they remain as they were. But I think this is far from correct. If you go through the figures and facts of the budget estimates they will give a different picture altogether. Improvement of Shillong, or Tura or Jowai or for the matter, is a matter concerning not only Public Works Department, but also of the Town Committees, Municipalities and other Departments are also there to help build the headquarters wherever they are. Today what Shillong is because of the concentration of not only Public Works Department but of other Departments. In fact in the development of Shillong even Agriculture Department which sounds quite strange enough is sharing in the development of Shillong in a sense that it has a scheme called Town Compost Scheme where night soil is utilised for compost and through that process a number of tractors and vehicles are given to the Shillong Municipality we can not compare Shillong with the interior areas in so far as this Department under my charge is concerned. The weight of financial outlay is very obvious when we are to open up the interior of the State. In doing that as the hon. Member from Kharkutta constituency, Shri P.S. Marak has correctly pointed out, we have to be guided by certain priorities. I have had occasion to intervene the other day when I said about priority, I will emphasize again today that the first priorities are on the schemes and project which are called spill over road schemes of the Fourth Five Year Plan.
All these schemes which have been taken up in the Fourth Plan should get first priority. Then we come to the new schemes i.e., the replacement of weak link removal of deficiencies in the existing system such as bridges, missing road links and improvement of law grade surfaces. This is the second priority. And then we come to the question of administrative units, new districts and sub-divisions. We are committed to see that the road link with the headquarters of the districts, sub-divisions and the administrative units are taken up as this is very important. In fact, the other day I had the occasion to see a new road link from Nengkra to Williamnagar which is under construction. This road covers the distance of about 15 to 20 K.M. and also eases the communication in that area. We also intend to do likewise for connecting the roads to headquarters of other administrative units and sub-divisions and Districts. Then the third priority would be given to the villages having a population of more than a thousand and fortunately for us, because of our diversification of population of more than a thousand and where we have very very small villages, the Government of India have agreed that a cluster of villages with aggregate population ranging from 1000 to 1500 can be treated as entity. And this has also received our priority. But in view of the difficulties that we have due to financial constraint we have not been able to go ahead as we should be. But I would really like to know that if there is any village having a population of 12,000 population is connected by road link. I will highly appreciate if the member gives me such information. I think that was mention by some hon. Member- I think it was by the hon. Member from Pariong. So, Sir, now looking at the whole picture far from being an octopus as mentioned by the hon. Member, Shri Koch, I think the public Works Department is the Public Winning Department. Because it is winning everywhere it goes. Shri Koch has also mentioned about the manner in which that tenders have been called for. He said that the Public Works Department allow the the officers to accept the tender received whether it is low or not. But Sir, I would like to inform the hon. Member, through you, that it is the rule which is being accepted through -out the country. If we are to go by the lowest tenders then there will be a cut-throat competition and there will be no end to it. We have to give some powers to the Chief Engineer and some powers to Executive Engineers Sub-divisional Officer and Additional Chief Engineers. Unless we do that, there will be a riot of confusion. Sir, this is not only in the case of Meghalaya.. It is an accepted practice perhaps through -out the world. But if any hon. Member finds that a certain officer is taking advantage of his position, I will be very happy to know about it and I can assure the member, through you Sir, that suitable action will be taken against him. So, this is what I have to say so far as that point is concerned.
Now, the hon. Member from Mylliem has landed the work of this department and he also made a pointed reference to the need of construction of bridges or widening of bridges at Byrnihat, Mylliem and Mawlai and so on. Now these roads come at National High-ways No. 40 and No. 44. and we are also very conscious of our responsibility here. In fact, there is already a proposal for having a new bridge at Byrnihat and we are also now thinking if funds are available to have a new bridge near Mawlai and also widening of bridge at Mylliem. But Sir, so far as these bridges are concerned we have to take it up with the Government of India and since we are as much concerned as the Members himself, I hope he would give us that confidence that we will take up this matter as we are taking now and I hope something would happen positively in a near future.
Now, Mr. Jormanick Syiem has also raised the point on 'Benami' contractors. This is a very difficult problem Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir. It is such a gigantic problem not only relating to the P.W.D. but also to some other departments as well. Our policy is to see that the word 'Benami' is stamped out. The main difficulty is the implementation. It is not easy also to substantiate. It is not also easy to prove it. But, nevertheless, I believe that if we will get the same co-operation that we received in abundance in the last few years, then this gigantic problem can be solved to a large extent. Here again, the question is of a close co-operation amongst the members of the House, because I believe that every where there is good and evil thing. But wherever the good is more, the evil shrinks. We want to expand the area of the good so that the area of evil is shrinked to nothingness. Now in this case I can assure the hon. Members of this House wherever a case of this nature will come up, I will take a strong action. Now Mr. Plansing Marak had sung the glory of the Public Works Department, if I am to use his words correctly. Any way we are not singers although there is a sound of music. So let us confine ourselves to verbal singing. Now I would like to deal with the matter and I think it is a very responsible suggestion which had come out from the tongue of the hon. Member from Nongtalang i.e., so far as the muster roll labourers are concerned. This is the problem which had been brought to my attention during the last Session by the hon. Member from Pariong. There may be lapses here and there but it is not easy to pint point or locate. In fact, when I went on out on tour, I always made it a point to check whether muster roll labourers are there on the road. But even then, this kind of problem needs continuous and constant vigilance. I can assure the Members through you Sir, that the Government is vigilant and will continue to be vigilant in this very important matter, to improve the efficiency of the P.W.D. Now in so far as the other point raised by the hon. Member from Nongtalang is concerned, they have been met fully and squarely by the replies of Mr. Hadem, I do not need to go into detail. Now Mr. S.P. Swer has already given a very good suggestion of the need of Measurement Book which is an essential requisite for any building work. So any talk of not having this measurement book is surely out of context. Perhaps it is a figment of imagination. Then I share with the remarks of Mr. Hoping Stone Lyngdoh, when he said and spoke of the need to open up the interior of our State. This is where there is a need of giving priority. Any way up to day, during the short span of our time, I believe much has been done to start road construction in the interior. For instance, Mawkyrwat area of Pariong area or Nongspung area, there is a full activity of road construction. If thee is a gap here and there, it will be activated at the earliest opportune moment. Now really, work construction goes on in full swing in the western area. It is a process which has already attracted attention, but, of course, we have not the magic want that we will do everything at the same time. Even the area towards Nongkhlaw, Patharkhmah, Rambrai, Myriaw, Laitkseh, Nongspung, etc., are or are going to be in the road map and we have so many road projects in the western area. Therefore, I do not see any reason for pessimism. On the other hand, I would expect from the hon. Members to give a little appreciation to the officers so that they will have the vitality to go ahead. I really think that this Department has done very well and magnificently if I may say so myself.
In so far as certain suggestions about the culverts collapsing and about the sectional assistants in league with the contractor, I am happy for this information. This is really as kind of co-operation that I like, when matters have been brought openly, I do not need to say anything on that. I always say that there are always black sheep everywhere, so we expect that this is a natural state of affair and when information on specific kind comes in this manner, our duty is to enquire and look into and we will try to rectify any mistake and take action. In a way, I am indeed very happy that Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh has given us this information. But in so far as supervision is concerned, again, I do not agree that there is any lack of supervision. I have seen our offices even of the rank of Chief Engineer, Additional Chief Engineer and Executive Engineers and other are working in the field. They are very mobile. I have had the occasion to see them while working and the hon. Member from Mawlai will share with me that when the bridge work on the river Umkhrah was taken up at that time, one of the top engineers of the Department had the occasion to be at the site during the monsoon time when the river was turbulent at 12 o'clock at night.
Shri S.D. Khongwir :- 12.15 a.m. (laughter)
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, P.W.D.) :- Thank you for the correction. Our officers in the Department are not status conscious. There is no status consciousness. Whenever there is a problem, they go to the site, they become field officers themselves. This one instance out of a variety of instances which I cannot have the time to enumerate.
Now again I come to the remarks made by Shri Edward Kurbah. He was spending of black marketing in cements, sand and bricks, Anyway, I do not know, normally the work or a project is given to the contractors and the contractors if they would like to share the spoils somewhere, I do not know that is up to them, but then, if this material belongs to our Department, then it becomes a very serious matter. I have not been able to find out from the speech of Shri Edward Kurbah whether the materials belongs to our departments or not, when the matter has been brought to the House, we will look into it.
Then I come to another very interesting remarks by Mr. Edward Kurbah which is a thought provoking remark. He said that when a road is made, it should be immediately followed by soling and blacktopping. For this, even a lay man, I am myself a lay man, I am not an engineer, I know that at least when a road is constructed the earth is cut, the rock is cut and we allow the earth to harden and to settle down, that is after a certain period of time, when it is hardened then we start on the second process but to think of soling and blacktopping immediately, this is something that I just cannot imagine. It is not possible. Mr. Edward Kurbah was referring to a road from Mawmaram to Nongthliew and I have been there and I can tell you that the road goes through an area which is full of soft soil. It is not rocky, for instance, like the area which is full of soft soil. It is not rocky, for instance, like the area in Jaintia Hills from Jowai to Syndai, that earth is very hard. But this road from Mawmaram to Nongthliew is of soft type of soil which becomes slushy in the rainy season also.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- It is good for cultivation.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, P.W.D.) :- Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh is an agriculturist himself and so he has helped me in that. Anyway this is something in which we all have to think.
Now I refer to the statement made by my ever smiling friends Mr. D.N. Joshi. He has said that the working of department is not very satisfactory which means, in effect, that it is satisfactory but not very satisfactory. Now Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to the work that we are to take up in the Cantonment area, I for one would really like to see that this town of Shillong is having the treatment of a balanced development. In fact, when I speak of Shillong, I always thought of Cantonment, then always thought of Mawlai, then of Nongthymmai because Shillong in that way is an entity. (A voice Upper Shillong). Upper Shillong is a bit far and there are so many villages in between there. But this is Greater Shillong. (A voice-Lawsohtun). But I had dealt with Lawsohtun fairly and squarely the other day. Now, taking up works in the Cantonment area, as very well known by the Members has a certain handicap because of certain constitutional provisions. But even then, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, our department had not been hesitant to take up works whenever it is considered necessary. Now let me tell the hon. Member, through you, Sir, when we are planning to ease the congestion of Shillong and also the need to have a balance development of Shillong as an entity, we had difficulty in doing that because we do not have an outlet from inside the Municipal area, to a certain strategic area. But the Government was vigorous in pursuing this matter with the Cantonment authorities and ultimately thanks to the goodwill which is a specialty in the State of ours, we were able to make a very good road passing through Cantonment area known as Luckier Road. We have that road now. And then we have also not fallen behind when recently we took up a slum clearance scheme and environmental improvement in Naspatighari which is affecting partly the Cantonment area and we make a very good road. I think the hon. Member from Cantonment will associate with me in this very good work of the department. Despite the various handicaps, we are progressing. So our policy is to see that the whole of Shillong is getting a fair treatment of a balanced development. I think it is important to assess the attitude of our mind, it is not so much of what we have done and what we are doing to do. The important thing is now we look at when there is need of development of roads even roads is Cantonment we have to do wherever possible. Jhalupara road is very much in my mind. I live very near to that area. In upper Mawprem also, we are aware of the need for a road. In fact, I have, therefore, though that something would be done-not that all will be done but something will be done. This is so far as Mr. D.N. Joshi is concerned.
I am very happy and thankful to the hon. Member from Phulbari Shri Akrammazoman, who has brought certain points for our considered. I for one think that the whole Government machinery would not like to see any animals in the implementation of our policies. Whenever there is an anomalous position, we will have to see that it is rectified. So I think with this statement Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member from Phulbari will be satisfied. It appears that I have dealt with all the points raised by the hon. Members. I would not like to take the time of the House but I must, in conclusion, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that I am very happy for the very valuable suggestions given and thought provoking suggestions and even certain thinking to see thinks in right perspective. All these are really helpful to my department. So these few words with all the in humility that I can command, I request the hon. mover not to insist on his cut motion.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in view of the assurances given by the Minister-in-charge and the good intention of the Minister and the Government to look into the grievances. I also feel that he will look into the functioning of the offices so that they ran effectively and efficiently and in view of the fact that we will have ample time to discuss the subject of roads and bridges in future, I withdraw my cut motion.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Has the hon. Member leave of the House to withdraw his cut motion? (Voices : Yes, yes).
The cut motion is, with leave of the House, withdrawn.
Now there is another cut motion in the name of Mr. Edward Kurbah.
Shri Edward Kurbah :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have already spoken today and my cut motion also relates to the same subject. I think the Minister has already taken note of the points I raised. I think I will not move.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Since the hon. Member is not willing to move his cut motion, I put the question before the House. The question is that an amount of Rs.1,92,33,000 be granted to the Minister in charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1977 for the administration of the head "259-Public Works".
(The motion was adopted and the demand passed)
The Chief Minister to mover Grant No.21.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the recommendation of the Governor, I beg, to move that an amount of Rs.13,40,000.00 be granted to the Minister-in-charge to defray certain charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1977, for the administration of the head "205-Other Administrative Services-I-Civil Defence and Home Guards".
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Motion moved, and I have received a cut motion which stands in the name of Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh. Mr. Lyngdoh to move.
Shri H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the total of Rs.13,40,000.00 under Grant No.21, Major Head "205-Other Administrative Service-I-Civil Defence and Home Guards", at page 133 of the Budget be reduced to Re.1. i.e. the amount to the the whole grant of Rs.13,40,000.000 do stand reduced to Re.1.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can discuss.
*Shri H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in fact I want to move this cut motion only to raise a discussion on the works and administration of the Home Guards. Sir, we have heard a lot about the Home Guards and Civil Defence, especially during emergencies where they are to do specific duties for protection of the life and property of the civil population. But at present we do nto hear much of this organisation and we do know that is their work and activities. Sir, I do not know why so much amount i.e. Rs.13,40,000.00 is to be granted to the Chief Minister to meet the expenditure of this organisation. Sir, we do understand that this Home Guards and Civil Defence is very necessary provided they are utilised in the proper manner. The duty of this organisation is to protect the life and property of the civil population especially in the rural areas. This is also applicable to the towns. But in towns because of the well organised police force and which is also very active. I do not think there is need for Home Guards. But these Home Guards are very much necessary in the villages which have got no police force to look after their interests. So I feel that if at all these Home Guards are organised they should be in the villages. Why I say this is because from experiences we found that in the villages of our State there is no such organisation and the people are not aware of its activities. Just the other day we have just referred to the encroach of the people from Bangladesh. These encroachers extract our limestone quarries and coal mines which are found in the border areas. Of course, the Border Security Force is posted there and it is their duty to check and detect such occurrences in our territory. May be the BSF is conniving with them in extracting our wealth. I do not know, but the Government says that the matter is under investigation. Because of these people our State is being exploited and thousand of people engaged as worker are active in extracting the coal and limestone and we are losing very much. Not only that, Sir. These encroachers are causing a lot of difficulties and inconveniences of the people living in the border through cattle lifting, dacoity and even cutting of trees in the villages, and also looting. So our villages in the border areas are not very well protected even though the BSF are there. We find that the outposts of the BSF are very far from each other and they cannot cover all the villages with the result that such crimes occur and cannot be checked. For this purpose we require to have Home Guards and at present there are no such Home Guards to help our people. So, Sir, it is very necessary to have organised Home Guards in the border areas. We may regroup the small villages under one section or unit and for the big villages one unit of the Home Guards should be there. These Home Guards will look other the safety of the live and property of the inhabitants of the locality.
And now Civil Defence. We have already discussed the situation in the border which is lying near the Kamrup District of Assam and also other areas. In this regard I would like to say that the Assam Home Guards are very much active in the border. The Assam Government have sent these Home Guards in uniform just like military personnel to frighten away our people. This happened in Mawtamur area, Langpih and in Rambrai Syiemship. They help the encroacher and also escort the contractors from Kamrup to extract timber from our forests. But in our villages there are no such Home Guards. So, if we organise these Home Guards and Civil Defence in our villages in the border areas it will help our people very much in looking after the peace and safety of the villagers. So we do nto know what for this amount is to be spent. We have got one clarification from the Chief Minister about the present institution of Home Guards. But as I have said before if at all the Home Guards and Civil Defence are to be organised, then it should be for the protection and safety of rural inhabitants and looking after their welfare. If this is the intention of the Government then I see no reason why more grants should not be given to this Department. But if this is not so, then I do not think that we should allot more grants to it. These Home Guards should not be left to idle along in the State Library, in Tura or Jowai and it is not necessary to maintain such a force. It seems that the policy of the Government is just to copy what is going on in other States and maintain them just for the sake of maintenance. The Government seems to be merely sleeping in this matter and I do not see any reason why this organisation should be maintained.
In my opinion these Home Guards and Civil Defence should be maintained only if they are to be properly organised and utilised in the service of the inhabitants of the rural areas especially in the border areas of the State. With these few words, I move this cut motion.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support this Cut Motion and in supporting this, I would say at the outset, that there is a provision here, both under Civil Defence and Home Guards for advertising the publicity, Rs.2,000 for Civil Defence and Rs.3,500 for Home Guards. Sir, we were thinking with the publicity and duties and function would have been known everywhere, whereas we the people in the interior, even here in the town have not yet known about the functions of this Civil Defence and Home Guards Department. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. mover has stated that the establishment of this Department may be only in certain places or mostly in the town. Now, what is more necessary is that the Civil Defence in the form of Village Defence Party and other organisations should have been established every where. If possible, in every village in the State so that not only that they will defend the bad elements from outside the State or outside the country but also to perform such duties here within our State. To check bad elements like thieves, riots and other unwanted elements. Mr. Speaker, Sir, under this Civil Defence here in Khasi Hills, I do not know in other places, but at least in tow or three constituencies in the western part of the District, I have seen nowhere that there are those Village Defence Parties or organisations under the Civil Defence Department. Many of the villagers have come to us to help organise these Village Defence Parties. Since we understand that the Government also has appointed some members from this House to be in that, we expect that Government would have done the same and looked into the matter. I would request the Government and the members who have been appointed by the Government to organise this Village Defence Party to contact the representative of every constituency for that.
In the case of Home Guards Sir, we have seen in some places, training was imparted for some time and thus, they are really useful and also I remember the Government have deployed those Home Guards in the border areas to assist the police authorities. But then, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is not enough because we have seen in certain areas where they have organised those Home Guards, there are hardly few members and it seems that they cannot accommodate more because of lack of finance and they could not organise because of lack of fund. As such, the officers of Home Guards of this department are idle. Of course we expect that with this amount, to the tune of 13 lakhs and something, it would suffice to raise more units under this Civil Defence and Home Guards Department. I would request the Government to increase the number of trainee Home Guards in every training centre or that the officers of the department should go and impart the training to those Home Guards everywhere in the State. I am glad that the Government had once imparted such training at Mawkyrwat. But of course, this is only once. I have not seen they are continuing till now after they have given training once in Mawkyrwat. Now, they have only certain personnel to be employed on daily basis in the border areas. This is appreciable but then it does not continue any more. Recruitment of those Home Guards has come now to a standstill. Only old Home Guards are there but most of them left the organisation. So we expect that the department re-organise this and continue to organise those Home Guards atleast in my place where there are many people who like to join this organisation. If the department wants to strengthen this organisation Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would submit that they should train more as the hon. mover has stated.
(At this stage, the Deputy Speaker left the Chamber and Mr. H. Hadem, Chairman, occupied the chair). We should send more Home Guards to the border areas because of the existence of bad elements from another country who used to come even defying their own authorities, into our territories to steel our timbers, limestone and other forest wealth as well as mineral wealth. With these few words Sir, I support the Cut Motion.
Shri Plansing Marak :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to oppose the cut motion. Now, the Civil Defence and Home Guards Department is the scheme of the Government of India and the organisation of this Department is made according to the prepared schedule given by the Central Government. Now, I do not know about the functions of the Civil Defence and Home Guards Department here in Khasi Hills. But I found that in Garo Hills the personnel belonging to the Civil Defence and Home Guards, are doing more works in keeping the society out of thieves, and dacoities as the hon. Member has just stated to fight and check against bad elements. The work in the Civil Defence and Home-Guards Department is to see that there is peace and tranquility in the State. Now, this Civil Defence and Home-Guards department do the work and function in peace time as the secondary force to help the police, to assist the Police. But in time of war, they become semi-military. When there will be bombing, fire, etc. during the war, it is the duty of this Department and its personnel to look after all these happenings etc. Mr. Chairman, Sir, whatever it may be, I have nothing more to say. But for one particular reason, I oppose this cut motion. That is because our State is full of unemployed youth. We have to give employment opportunities to many of these youths who are roaming about in the streets and at the same time, Sir, these Home-Guards and Civil Defence personnel at least have to maintain "sawadhan" and "Bishram" and they know how to handle rifles and how to deal in the emergency. If we do not have such kind of personnel, I am afraid, we could not cope with the situation during the war or emergency. These personnel which have been trained by this department during the last emergency, who have now left the force will be recalled. The service of such personnel will be useful in time of war. Therefore, for this particular reason that this department is going to give employment opportunities to the unemployed youths in the State, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I oppose this cut motion.
*Shri W. Syiemiong :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, actually I had thought of not saying anything on this particular motion but the hon. member from Kharkutta had raised one pertinent point that the Home Guards & Civil Defence is functioning very well in the Garo Hills and that he was satisfied but here in Khasi Hills it is noted that nothing is visible. I am sure that this is a very important Department and we are also aware of that. In fact, Rs.13 lakhs have been provided for this Department and we also know that "Eternal vigilance in the price of liberty" But, as it functions at present, I think it is better that this Department be scrapped; even if the money comes from the Government of India, better scrap it because nothing is invisible here. I quite agree with the hon. member from Mawkyrwat when he said that even in Shillong we do not know of its existence. We only know that there is some wailing of sirens at 10 O'clock and so we know that it is there, but, apart from t hat, we never know of this Department or that it is doing anything at all. So naturally, we feel that this Department should be scrapped and instead use the money from the Government of India in other forms or utilise it for creating posts to give employment to the unemployed youths. But as it is being utilised now, I think it is better that this Department be scrapped and that is why I support this cut motion.
Shri Edward Kurbah :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to take part also in this cut motion moved by the hon. Member from Pariong.
Mr. Chairman :- You support or oppose the cut motion?
Shri E. Kurbah :- I support the hon. Member from Pariong. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in view of the observations made by the hon. Members in the house, I would also like to point out to the defects of this Department in organising Civil Defence parties in different areas. As I have already heard, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that in most areas in Khasi Hills, there are no organisations at all of such Home Guards. Mr. Chairman, Sir, once I happened to go with the Minister to my area at Nongthliew village and the people of that village had demanded that, since the police outpost is very far away and that if there is any indifference in the village, one police outpost should be opened in that area. One of the Ministers I remember, had already told the people that in place of encouraging to open a police outpost, he had suggested that "I would encourage you, the people, to organise a Village Defence Party so that the people, when they hear about the police, they are very much afraid, when they realise the works of the Village Defence Party they will not be afraid".
Shri Williamson A. Sangma, (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to intervene at this point. I would like the hon. Member to know the difference between the Civil Defence and Home Guards and the Village Defence party. It is entirely out of track what the hon. member is talking about. It is only the Civil Defence, as it is here, and not a Village Defence Party. I would also like the hon. member to know the concept of these two organisations, the Home Guards and Civil Defence.
Shri E. Kurbah :- If there is no Civil Defence Party in the village?
Shri W.A. Sangma, (Chief Minister) :- Then there is no scope for discussion.
Mr. Chairman :- The matter under discussion in the House, according to the notice given in the cut motion, is only for the policy of the Government and the organisation and overall administration of Civil Defence and Home Guards. So, I think the Civil Defence and Home Guards are combined.
Shri W.A. Sangma, (Chief Minister) :- He was speaking about the Village Defence party.
Shri E. Kurbah :- Then I would only substitute that one by encouraging the Government to open more organisations in different villages.
Shri W.A. Sangma, (Chief Minister) :- Of what?
Shri E. Kurbah :- Of Home Guards because the hon. Members from Garo Hills have stated that in their areas there are so many organisations in the villages by the Home Guards and Civil Defence. So I would request the Government to encourage organisation of Home Guards in my area and also in various areas in Khasi Hills because up till now we have not heard what these organisations are for. If these are set up in different areas, especially in Khasi Hills it will be of great help to root out the evil practices in t his State. With these few words, Sir, I support the cut motion.
Mr. Chairman :- May I now call upon the Chief Minister?
Shri W.A. Sangma, (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is very unfortunate to give my observation that, in the first place, neither the hon. mover nor the supporters of this cut motion have understood these two organisations. They have mixed up the Civil Defence and Home Guards with the Village Defence Party. Secondly, Mr. Chairman, Sir, they have not also understood the duties and functions of these organisations. Therefore, the entire discussion is out of track. Home Guards is not to substitute the Police. These two organisations have been constituted as laid down by the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs. The purpose of the Home Guards is to have a force a trained and disciplined force so that during the emergency or during times of peace or war, it would be possible to get these personnel at short notice. Again, there is a difference in the functions and duties of these two. The Civil Defence is confined only to the approved towns. In Meghalaya, there are only two approved town and I have had occasion to reply earlier also that these are only Shillong and Tura. These personnel are to be utilised, generally speaking, during war times in air-raids and to take various Civil Defence measures in those approved towns. Therefore, we cannot think of setting up Civil Defence organisations in the villages. In fact, we have been requested to have one for Jowai Town. But it is not an approved town. I myself took up this matter personality.
Therefore, it would not be correct to say that the Civil Defence Organisation has not been extended to the rural areas. There is no scope for that. Now, as far as the Home Guards Organisation is concerned, they are to assist the Police as an auxiliary force in the maintenance of law and order but, they cannot replace the police. And, in spite of our best desire, we cannot also go on recruiting Home Guards. There is an authorised strength for Meghalaya. For Meghalaya the authorised strength is 2,308. Out of this, we have trained 1,775. The remaining 533 would be trained. Apart from that, Sir, there is no scope for us to utilise the services of the Home Guards throughout the whole year. It is only on certain occasions, on certain emergencies that the trained persons of the Home Guards can be called upon to extend their help. They will assist the Police in the maintenance of law and order. It is only such special occasions that their services can be requisitioned. There services can also be requisitioned during the election times, for strikes and may be, for works in connection with the extending of relief to the flood affected people during floods. Therefore it would not be correct to say that we just recruit them and they will just sit idle also. Unless there is occasion, as I have said earlier, their services cannot be requisitioned, because this is a voluntary force, they do not get monthly pay. It is only when the are called upon, they will be given T.A. and other facilities. Even the uniforms given to them during the training, will be taken back after completion of the course. We know from each village how many have been trained so, we know how to requisition them when necessary. It is suggested that these persons shall be requisitioned and their services utilised for guarding the border in as far as the boundaries of Meghalaya-Bangladesh border area is concerned. We cannot simply just send the Home Guard to perform the duties of a guardian of the border. It is only an organisation which is responsible for keeping vigilance on the border like the BSF which should attend to that duty. So, we cannot send them for guarding the border I do not know whether what the hon. Member from Pariong Mr. H.S. Lyngdoh who moved the Cut Motion said that Assam was using their Home Guards to guard the Meghalaya-Kamrup border is correct or not. I have no information of this. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I cannot replace the Police by the Home Guards to maintain law and order. As I have mentioned earlier, they are to be recruited as auxiliary forces to assist the Police. Therefore, only for certain types of jobs or works we can utilise the services of the Home Guards who have been trained. Also so I told earlier, we should have an authorised strength and their activities are also confined. And, their services can be utilised only during war-time. The entire amount of expenditure for them is on the Admissible Items and is being financed by the Government of India and though we spent from our own budget it is to be reimbursed. Since the authorised strength is limited we cannot, in spite of our best desire, go in a big way. Moreover, the Civil Defence Service is a little technical and, apart from that, we have to train our officers in Nagpur Civil Defence College, in Poona and also Indore and in Tele-communication centres. We have to do this, because when there are occasions to utilise their services, we could have a trained person. I would therefore, request the hon. Members to know the concept of this Organisation as well as its duties and functions. I am sorry that the hon. Member from Mawkyrwat, Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh confessed that he does not know what are the duties and functions of Organisations for lack of publicity. I do not know how can he even for a moment stand to participate in the discussion in this House about that of which he does not know. He said that there is no publicity. Alright, I would advise the Directorate or the Department concerned to see that there is publicity so that the people would be able to know what this Organisation is for and what are its duties and functions.
Shri H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, for the information of the hon'ble Chief Minister. Last year there was a trouble at Pilangkata near Khanapara with the Government of Assam. So, to guard the area, they used the Assam Police and the Home Guards. So, we contacted the Deputy Director Civil Defence and then we went there and we checked from the Assam side, we found that the road had been damaged and they also destroyed the bridges. So, the Deputy Director of Civil Defence promised the people that he would raise an organisation there.
Shri W.A. Sangma, (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I already covered the points. Unless the Police sends for the requisition for the services of the Home Guards we cannot just send them. They cannot substitute the Police. You see, they are only to assist the Police. It is only when the police ask for their services that we can send them.
Shri H.S. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, the Deputy Director, Civil Defence, Shillong promised the local people there to arrange a Civil Defence Unit there so that they would be of service in case of fire etc.
Mr. Chairman :- I think that is clear. The Chief Minister had made it very clear. But the Deputy Director of Civil Defence, Shillong might have made a mistake, and that is why that has got no sanction from the Government.
Capt. W.A. Sangma, (Chief Minister) :- In fact, Mr. Chairman, Sir, for our own safeguard and interests, I think every village should have some sort of Organisation by themselves. Because we the hill people in every village that means all the able-bodied persons used to defend ourselves. But as I have told again and again, we cannot organise Civil Defence Organisation in every village.
Mr. Chairman :- The time is up. So, we better continue tomorrow.
Capt. W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, just one movement. In face of what has been stated, I request the hon'ble Member who moved the Cut Motion to kindly withdraw the Cut Motion.
(Voices - To be continued tomorrow')
Mr. Chairman :- The time allotted is upto 1.30 p.m. If the House wants to extend the time then it is up to the House. Otherwise.......
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, just one clarification....
Mr. Chairman :- Excuse me. You see the time is up.
Shri H.S. Lyngdoh :- At least one minute.................
Mr. Chairman :- The House stands adjourned till tomorrow the 26th March, 1975 at 9.30 a.m.
|25th March, 1976.||Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.|