Proceedings of the Winter Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled at 9.30 A.M. on Wednesday, the 16th November, 1977, in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair.

Present :- The Hon'ble Chief Minister, five Ministers, five Ministers of the State and 31 members.

Report of the Business Advisory Committee

Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up item No.1. In pursuance of Rule 230 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, I am report that I called a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee on the 8th November, 1977, to settle the business for the current Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. A draft Calendar for the meetings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly was prepared by my Secretariat and circulated to the hon. Members present in the Committee with a statement of business received from various Departments of the Government.

        I may inform the House that the present Session consists of only seven working days although it extends till the 30th November because  of the interposition of as many as four holidays, two recess days and two Sundays. It was therefore, the consensus of the Committee to allot two days for Private Members Business and the rest for Government Business which includes business of formal nature sought to be disposed of on the first and the second day, i.e. on the 16th and the 18th November. The two Private members days would have normally fallen on the 26th and the 29th November being Tuesday and Saturday respectively. It was proposed to convert Monday, the 21st November into a Private Members Day in exchange for Saturday, the 26th November as otherwise no Government business can be transacted on the 21st November for want to requisite notice under the rules.

        The final form of the Calendar after modification by the Committees is placed on the members, table. But in the meantime, I have received an amendment to this report by Mr. Humphrey Hadem. The amendment that he would like to move stands as follows that the provisional programme and list of business for the current Session Advisory Committee. Now, Mr. Hadem.

Shri Humphrey Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as already stated in the  report according to Rule 23 (1) every Tuesday and Thursday in  every Session shall be allotted for Private Members' Business. But in the provision, it is stated that provided that the Speaker may in his discretion allot any other day if these days are holidays or if any Government business is allotted on those or any of those days. The second proviso does not apply in this particular case. As stated already in this report, we have get so many holidays and moreover, Sir, according to the provisional list of business, we are having three weeks at a time and actually,  the Private members' business would have been six days altogether according to the rules. But is so happened that there is inter position of holidays which the proviso of Rule 23 (1) has clearly stated that if they fall on holidays, then other days will be allotted. Of course, Monday has been converted into a Private members day in view of the fact that Saturday, the 19th November has been  declared a holiday. But Sir, in  view of many Private Members' business, I would request the House through you, Sir, that at least some more days be allotted for Private Members and that is the reason way I move this amendment.

*Prof M. N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also lend my support to the amendment moved for the extension of Session or at least, returning this Calendar to the Business Advisory Committee with a request that few more days be allotted for Private member' business. As you know, Sir, the opposite of Private members' business is Government business and there are eleven persons in the House who are in charge of the Government business whereas, another forty seven of us, fall in the category of Private Members' business and it would be better if fewer days be allotted to eleven persons. Therefore, Sir, I would request the house on the very fact that we have got a majority of Private Members' business, more days be allowed to us then to the official business.

Shri S. D. Nichols-Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to support the amendment moved by Shri H. Hadem, M.L.A. If the Calendar as it stands today from the 16th November to the 30th November was to be without holidays, the Private members would have been able  to get four days. That means, Saturday, the 19th, Tuesday the 22nd Saturday the 26th, and Tuesday the 29th. Apart from the contention of the member that there are three weeks out of which, six days would have been allotted, at least, four days would have been allotted to the Private members. Unfortunately, holidays have come in and I would support that at least one more day if not two, be allotted for Private Members' business.

Mr. Speaker :- Will any Member of the Business Advisory Committee say a few words ? Now, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.

Shri Maham Singh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :-Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have got seven working days and the number of days allotted for Private members' business is two. Normally, they are calculated on the basis of the number of working days. The Private Members' business should be allotted, according to the number of working days. Now we have taken that if within a week, all are the working days, then in that case, two days are allotted for the Private members' business. In this particular case, we have allotted two days in the Calendar as the days for Private members' business. In this connection, I would like to inform the House that it is also depends on the volume of work that we have in hand and on that basis, a list of business has already been prepared by the Assembly Secretariat. The Business Advisory Committee has calculated the numbers of days that have to allotted to the Private members' according tot he allotted business received by the Assembly Secretariat and it was found that only two days are sufficient for the Private members' business. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I see there is no reason whatsoever to revise the Calendar and to add more days for Private Members' business.

Mr. Speaker :- It is really a very ticklish situation that the report of the Committee headed by myself has been rather under discussion and in fact this is generally not done. Generally speaking, when the Speaker places the report on the floor of the House, it is generally accepted. It is only towards the flag-end of the session when we find that there are a number of business which are absolutely necessary to be discussed in the House, then an hon. member may move an amendment for extension of the sitting of the House. I do not know whether Mr. Hadem would like to withdraw his amendment now and if he finds it absolutely necessary he can moved forward with a request for extension of the House towards the fag-end of the session. I do not think it necessary at this stage for the Business Advisory Committee to reconsider the whole issue. Mr. Hadem do you want that I should put your amendment to vote or you may like to withdraw it.

Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to withdraw the amendment moved by me.

Mr. Speaker :- Has the hon. member leave of the House to withdraw his amendment ? (Voices-Yes, yes).  So the amendment with  leave of the house stands withdrawn. Now I take that the report of the Business Advisory Committee has the approval of the House.

        Now I would like to bring another important point for  the consideration of the House. So far as this Assembly is concerned the Private Member days are utilised mostly for transaction of only two types of business namely, motions and resolutions and it has been the practice in this House to accord priority to motions over the resolutions. As a result of this, many important private members' resolutions could never be discussed in the past for want of sufficient time. I may inform the House that I have received notices of a fairly large number of both motions and resolutions dealing with matters of sufficient public importance for the present Session also; and I am afraid if we are to follow the usual practice these resolutions may lapsed undiscussed considering that three are only two Private Members' days. I would , therefore, like to propose in all fairness that the House would benefit most if these two classes of business be taken up alternately during this Session and, if the House approves, in future as well.

Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- For this session only.

Mr. Speaker :- Do I have the approval of the House ? (Voices- Yes, Yes).

Panel of Chairmen

        Now in pursuance of sub-rule (1) of Rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, I hereby nominate the following hon. Members to the Panel of Chairmen for the purpose of conducting the November Session 1977 :-

1. Mr. Plansing Marak.
2. Mr. G. Mylliemngap.
3. Mr. H. Hadem.
4. Mr. O. L. Nongtdu.

Ruling by the Speaker

       Before we pass on to item No. 3, I have an announcement to make. It may be recalled that during the November, 1976 Session of the Assembly, I reserved my ruling on the question of whether the group led by Shri B. B. Lyngdoh could be recognised as an Opposition Party by the name of A.P.H.L.C. I have thoroughly gone through the rules and procedure relating to recognition of a party as an Opposition Party inside the House and I am satisfied that the party led by Shri B. B. Lyngdoh fulfils all the conditions laid down by parliamentary conventions for recognition as an Opposition Party. I, therefore, regognise the party led by Shri B. B. Lyngdoh as the official Opposition Party under the name of A.P.H.L.C Parliamentary Party and Shri B.B. Lyngdoh as the Leader of the Opposition In the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

Shri H. Hadem :- On a point of clarification. This happened on the question of merger and so on and so forth, May we have some clarification from the chair on the question that there was no more A.P.H.L.C. 

Mr. Speaker :- That is not the question. There are certain important criteria laid down by parliamentary conventions and I gave my ruling according to my own understanding of practices and procedures.

        Let us pass on to item No.3. Minister in charge of Power.

Laying of Ordinance etc.

Shri S. K. Marak (Minister, Power) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to lay the Shillong Electric Supply Undertaking (Acquisition) Ordinance, 1977 (Ordinance No.2 of 1977).

Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to item No. 4. Minister in  charge of District Council Affairs.

Shri G. A. Marak (minister, District Council Affairs) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to lay the order of the Governor of Meghalaya under sub-para (3) of Para 16 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India for taking over of the administration of the Khasi Hills District Council.

Mr. Speaker :- Item No. 5. Chief Minister.

Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to present the Supplementary Demands For Grants and Supplementary Appropriation for 1977-78.

Government Bill

Mr. Speaker :- Item No.6. Minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs.

Shri Maham Singh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Assembly Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1977.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. I put the question that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Assembly Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1977. (The motion was carried by voice votes).

Shri Maham Singh (minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Meghalaya Assembly Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1977.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that the Meghalaya Assembly Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1977 be introduced. (The motion was carried and the Bill was introduced). (The Secretary read out the title of the Bill).

Item No. 7. Minister in charge of Power.

Shri S. K. Marak (Minister, Power) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to introduce the Shillong Electric Supply Undertaking (Acquisition) Bill, 1977.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that leave be granted to introduce the Shillong Supply Undertaking (Acquisition) Bill, 1977. (The motion was carried).

Shri S. K. Marak (Minister, Power) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Shillong Electric Supply Undertaking (Acquisition) Bill, 1977.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that the Shillong Electric Supply Undertaking (Acquisition) Bill,1977 be introduced. (The motion was carried and the Bill was introduced). (The Secretary read out the title of the Bill).

Election to Legislature Committees

        Item No. 8. Mr. S.P. Swer to move the resolution.

Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this Assembly do elect one number in accordance with Rule 242 (1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to the Committee on Public Accounts for the remaining term of the existing Committee to fill in the vacancy caused by the resignation of Shri S.D. Khongwir from the membership of the Committee.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that this House do now elect one member in accordance with Rule 242 (1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to the Committee on Public Accounts for the remaining term of the existing Committee to fill in the vacancy caused by the resignation of Shri S.D. Khongwir from the membership of the Committee (The motion was carried by voice votes). The Secretary will notify the date, time and place for holding the election, if necessary.

        Before we take up Item No.9, the Chief Minister has got one resolution to move. Now the Chief Minister.

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg leave to move the resolution concerning the providential escape of the Prime Minister, Shri Morarji Desai.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now I put the question before the House. The question is that leave be granted to move the resolution concerning the providential escape of the Prime Minister, Shri Morarji Desai.

(The motion was carried)

        Now, the Chief Minister to move the resolution.

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the members of the Meghalaya  Legislative Assembly assembled at a meeting of the House on the 16th November, 1977 do hereby express their deep sense of relief on the providential escape of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Morarji Desai, when the plane in which he was traveling crash landed on the 4th November 1977 near Jorhat in Assam and pray to the Almighty to grant him many more years of valuable service to the nation.

        The Members of the Assembly also do hereby place on record their homage to the members of the crew of the ill fated plane who made the supreme sacrifice of laying down their lives in the discharge of their duties and express their heart-felt condolences tot he bereaved families.

        The Members of the Assembly also convey their appreciation of the timely help rendered by the people from the villages situated near the place of the accident.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now I put the question before the House. The question is that the resolution moved by the Chief Minister be adopted.

(The motion was carried and the resolution was adopted).

        Now, we pass on to the last item. The Chief Minister to initiate the obituary references.

Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, with your permission, I would like to make an obituary reference to Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, National Professor and eminent Philologist who passed away on the 29th May, 1977 at the age of 87. Born in the year 1890, Dr. S.K. Chatterjee had a brilliant academic career after studying in the Calcutta University and some other prestigious institutions of United Kingdom and France.

        He was made Emeritus Professor of Comparative Philology in 1952 and later in  1965 the Government of India appointed him as National Professor in Humanities.

        Dr. S.K. Chatterjee was the Chairman of the West Bengal Legislative Council from  1952 to 1965. He had also held various offices of importance with distinction. 

        In his death we had lost an crudite scholar with a brilliant mind and varied talents.

        Shri Radha Govinda Barauah, owner of Assam Tribune group of newspapers and first Mayor of Gauhati Municipal Corporation, passed away on the 15th July, 1977 at the age of 77. 

        Born in 1900, Shri R. G. Baruah completed his College education at Dibrugarh. He helped in establishing the Imperial Bank of India, the first bank then in  Assam. He established the 'Baruah Press' at Dibrugarh and started publishing the Assam Tribune in 1939 as an English weekly and in 1945 he made the Assam Tribune as an English daily. He also published another Assamese Weekly, the Assam Bani and an Assam daily, the Dainik Assam.

        Shri Baruah was the main spirit behind the establishment of the Nehru Stadium at Gauhati. His contribution in the field of journalism, Sports, Arts and Social-Cultural activities was note-worthy deserving emulation. In his death we had lost a great lover of journalism sports and arts etc.

Mr. Speaker :- Any other hon. Member ?

Shri B. B. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to associate myself with the sentiments expressed by the Leader of the House on the passing away of these two very prominent citizens. In Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, we have lost a public leader and also a great scholar. In Mr. R. G. Baruah, as the Chief Minister had said, we have a very great social worker, journalist and sportsman. Sir, it is right and proper that we, in this House, express our sense of loss and also convey our condolences to the bereaved families.

Shri S.D. Khongwir :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to share the sentiments of grief expressed by the Leader of the House and also by the Leader of the Opposition on the passing away of Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee and Shri R.G. Baruah. In Dr. Chatterjee, we have lost a great scholar and in Shri R.G. Baruah, we have lost a really towering figure especially in the field of journalism and sports. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to express a sense of condolences and may God grant strength and fortitude tot he members of the bereaved families to bear the loss.

Mr. Speaker :- I also share the sentiments expressed by the Leader of the House and other hon. Members on the passing away of two great Indian personalities, viz., Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee and Shri Radha Govinda Baruah. Although many things have been said about their qualities of head and heart, I feel it is my bounden duty to contribute something more which the other hon. Members have not said. Both these outstanding personalities happen to be my close friends during their life time.

        I may inform the hon. Members that I came to know Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee for the first time about 20 years ago. I knew him then as a distinguished linguist of international repute and as a distinguished Presiding Officer because he was then the Chairman of the West Bengal Legislative Council. But it was in 1971 that I came into a very close contact with Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee when I was nominated as a Member to the General Council of the Sahatya Akademi. Coincidentally, it was in that year that Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee was elected President of the Sahatya Akademi, the post which had been held only by the distinguished scholars like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and Dr. Zakir Hussain. My association with him became closer when I had the opportunity to serve under his Chairmanship in the Expert Committee appointed by the Sahatya Akademi to examine whether Khasi language fulfils all the criteria laid down by the Sahatya Akademi for recognition. For us, the people of Meghalaya, it is really a great loss because while the case was being carefully examined by the said Expert Committee, its Chairman, Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, passed away. This case will be further delayed because the new President will be elected only in the next General Meeting of the Sahatya Akademi which will be held in February, 1978. As one who has been closely associated with him, I have the courage to say that it was under his affectionate guidance that the Akademi was nurtured and moulded into proper shape. I hope the dream of Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee that the Khasi language should be recognised by the Akademi will materialise very soon. It is unfortunate that we will be missing this erudite scholar on Austro-Asiatic languages in the next International Conference on Austro-Asiatic languages to be held in Shillong some time in December, 1978.

        As far as Shri Radha Govinda Baruah is concerned, it may be recalled that I came in close contact with him in the field of sports and cultural activities ever since 1953. His ambition had always been to place the whole North Eastern India in the cultural and sports map of India, and to this end, he dedicated his life with great success. He was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever come across so far. I should say he still is the guiding light for all sports lovers, social and cultural workers and journalist of North Eastern India.

        We are all grateful and highly indebted to them for what they had done in the service of the nation and today we bow down our heads in deep obeisance to these great souls and pay homage to their memories.

        I now request the hon. Members to be on their feet and observe two minutes' silence as a remark of respect to the deceased. May God grant them eternal rest and peace and fortitude to the members of their bereaved families.

(The House observed two minutes, silence)

Adjournment

        Since there is no other business for the day, the House stands adjourned till 9.30 a.m. on Friday the 18th November, 1977.

S.D. KHONGDUP

Dated Shillong

Secretary,

the 16th November,1977.

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.