Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held at 9.30 A.M. on Monday, the 21st November 1977 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Speaker in the Chair.
Present :- Ministers 6, Ministers of State 5, Members 31.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business by taking up Unstarred Question No. 3.
(Replies to which were laid on the Table)
Taking over of the Road to Rongara BSF Camp Garo Hills
Shri Brojendra Sangma asked :
3. Will the Minister in charge of P.W.D. be pleased to state -
|(a) Whether the approach road from the P.W.D. road to Rongara B.S.F. Camp in Garo Hills has been taken over by the P.W.D. ?|
|(b) If so, since when ?|
|(c) Whether Government has sanctioned any grant for improvement of the said road ?|
|(d) If not, when sanctioned will be made.|
Shri E. Bareh (Minister in charge of P.W.D. (R & B) replied
|(b)-Does not arise.|
|(d)-No development grant is sanctioned by P.W.D.|
Shri S.P. Swer :- Whether there is proposal that the road to Rongara B.S.F. Camp be taken over by the Government ?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- There is no proposal at the moment, Sir.
Tura-Dalu and Mitapgiri-Sibbari Road
Shri J. C. Marak asked :
4. Will the Minister in charge of P.W.D. be pleased to state -
What is the progress of the Tura-Dalu Road from the 12th Mile to Chockpot ?
Whether it is an all weather road ?
What is the reason that prompted Government to construct the road from Mitapgiri to Sibbari ?
Whether the Government proposes to complete the construction of the road from Gawapara to Chockpot ?
Shri E. Bareh (minister, P.W.D. ) replied :
The road formation along with bridges and culverts has since been completed. Surfacing work on this road has also been taken up.
-The scheme is a Border Areas Development scheme for the betterment of the border people. At present only reconnaissance survey for 6 Km out of a probable length of 20 Km. has been taken up.
-At present no such proposal is under consideration of the Government.
Shri P. R. Kyndiah :- 4 (b)- Whether the Government aware that during summer season the road is not passable vehicles including light vehicles ?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- On all the roads in the State only earthwork has been completed. There may be occasions that light vehicles may not be able to pass. It is already a fair weather road.
Shri Jackman C. Marak :- 4 (b)- Whether heavy vehicles and light vehicles can go to Chockpot during summer ?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- It is an all weather road.
Shri P. R. Kyndiah :- Whether the Government is aware that here is public representation that the road from Rongara to Chockpot should be taken over and completed by the Government ?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister P.W.D.) :- This is a new road Mr. Speaker, Sir, and we have not included it in the Fifth Plan. We may include it in the Sixth plan.
Shri P. R. Kyndiah :- Whether the Government is aware that a part of the road has already been started ?
Shri E, Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- it is only a preliminary survey.
Shri K. M. Roy Marbaniang :- When do we expect that the surfacing work will be completed?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- I cannot fix the time Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- The reply of the Minister to Mr. P.R. Kyndiah's previous question the Minister is aware that there is a public representation was not replied to.
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D) :- There is a public representation but it all depends on the fund position. We will see whether we are in a position to take it up.
Mr, Speaker :- Not only the fund position. In the matter of road construction, there are different phases e.g. the time take for the earth to settle down, etc.
Shri H. Hadem :- May I know what is the fund position at present ?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister P.W.D) :- I want notice for that question.
Shri S.P. Swer :- When was the road from the 12th mile to Chockpot completed ?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- I want notice.
Mr. Speaker :- Item No. 2. Mr. Jackman Marak and Mr. H. Nongrum.
Shri Jackman C. Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to call the attention of the Chief Minister under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business to a news item appearing in the 'Statesman of 5th November, 1977 under the caption, " Concern over influx of Bangladesh Refugees".
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Apropos the news-item under the caption "Concern over influx of Bangladesh Refugees" appearing in the 'Statesman' dated 5th November 1977, Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs denied that there had been influx of refugees from Bangladesh as was reported in a section of the Press in their Press Note dated 8th November 1977 appearing in the Statesman dated 9th November 1977. This was also confirmed by the Government of Meghalaya in so far as reported influx of 2,000 Bangladesh refugees into Meghalaya is concerned when they reported that no such influx had come to their notice. However, the Centre had assured that if any one gives evidence of refugees entering India, the Centre would be taken to prevent the influx.
However the problem of influx of Bangladesh nationals ingot India is nor a new one. It is as old as the partition of the country in 1947. In order to effectively check any incidence of influx of the people of the Bangladesh, the State Government in coordination with the Border Security Force authorities have been taking measures to prevent unauthorised entry of such persons. There are a large numbers of border Outposts, 48 in number manned by B.S.F. all along the Meghalaya Bangladesh border and they are charged with the responsibility of prevention of infiltration from across the border as well as border crimes. In addition, the State Government is maintaining 4 Police Stations, 1 Outpost, 9 Patrol Posts and 4 Watch Posts in the border to check infiltration. Selected officers have been posted in these places for the purpose. From the second half of December, 1971 upto October, 1977, a total of 7,963 Bangladesh infiltrators were detected in the border. Of them 6,896 were pushed back, 1,052 were prosecuted, 12 were in custody pending investigation one escaped from custody and two died in custody. Out of the persons prosecuted, 961 were pushed back subsequently after conviction.
It will be seen from the above figures that our forces in the bordering areas have been effective in dealing with the cases of infiltration which came to their notice. However, with many of our Border Outposts along the 423 kms long frontier, 4-5 miles apart, and in view of the difficult terrain and topography of the hilly regions along the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border, there can be little doubt that a few number of illegal entrants may have managed to sneak through the B.S.F. lines at the border and thus escaped detection. Besides, it appears a number of people who infiltrated into other States like West Bengal and Assam reached Meghalaya through Indian routes and might have taken shelter with their relatives and friends who are already well settled, particularly in certain pockets of Shillong Town. The officers and men of the Police Stations as well as Outposts in the interior places and border areas, and Shillong in particular, have been keeping close vigilance and any specific information of infiltration received is promptly looked into. From experience, most of the allegations were found to be baseless and the materials to prove the allegations were not forth coming from any traditional institutions, However, in order to effectively detect any Bangladesh nationals to enter Meghalaya and also to effectively detect any Bangladesh infiltrators who may have managed to enter India and are taking shelter inside India, the Government have appealed to all persons and local organisations to render assistance to the Police and the authority and to give any information regarding the presence of foreign nationals in the Indian soil.
The Police officers off all the posts have also been asked to seek the assistance of headmen of local organisations and other traditional in their efforts to check infiltrations and other traditional institutions in their efforts to check infiltrations from Bangladesh to Meghalaya. The matter was also discussed in detailed with public leaders by the Chief Minister in the Conference held on 14th October 1977. It is a hoped that with the active co-operation of the public and the authority in power the problem of influx of Bangladesh nationals could be effectively tackled.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to item No. 3. In the last session, a motion which was moved by Prof. M. N. Majaw could not be completed and the Chief Minister who was to reply to the motion could not have sufficient time. Will the Chief Minister reply now ?
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- My colleague, Mr. Upstar Kharbuli, will reply.
Shri Upstar Kharbuli (Minister of State, Finance) :- Sir, with your permission, I would like to reply to the points raised by our friend, the hon. Member from Mawhati, on the motion moved by him during the lat session of the Assembly. Regarding the dearness allowance the Government have since released all the installments of dearness allowances on the basis of entitlement with effect from 1st July, 1974 covering the living cost index upto the calendar year 1976 to the State Government employees. The benefit is also extended to the employees of aided schools and colleges with effect from 1st April, 1975. However, 50 percent of the area due upto the end of October 1977 shall be deposited in the General Provident Fund account of the employees, contribution to which has been made compulsory of aided schools and colleges who have no provident fund account, 50 per cent of the arrear shall be invested in suitable small savings. The Finance Department had already issued the office Memorandum bearing No. FEP. 7/77/35 dated 7th November, 1977. The hon. Member from Mawhati also raised a point about house rent allowance. He mentioned somewhere that the house rent allowance given by the Assam Government was at the rate of 10 per cent of the basic pay, but I would like to inform the House that the actual rates paid by the Government of Assam are as follow. (Voices- we cannot hear).
For category of staff whose pay is above Rs. 300 and below, the hose rent allowance paid by the Assam Government for those who are staying in rented houses in the urban areas ; with a population of 12,000 or more, if they are staying in rented houses, they are supposed to meet the house rent out of their own pay upto the extend of 10 per cent of their pay and anything exceeding that upto the maximum of 10 per cent will be compensated by the Government. Then for those staying in their own houses under this category, they are entitled to 5 per cent of pay other then urban areas with population of 12,000 or more. For people who occupied rented houses they are to pay the actual rent in excess of 10 percent of pay subject to a maximum of 5 per cent of pay. For those who are occupying their own houses, they are entitled to get only 2½ per cent. For the staff whose pay is above Rs.300 the allowance paid by the Assam Government for those staying in rented houses the actual amount of rent paid in excess of 12½ per cent of their pay subject to maximum of 7½ per cent of their pay and for those staying in their own houses 5 per cent of their pay other than urban areas with a population of 12,000 or more. For those staying in rented houses, the actual rent in excess of 12½ per cent subject to a maximum of 5 per cent of their pay for those who are staying in their own houses 2½ per cent of their pay. As against this, the house rent allowance paid by our Government is as follows.
For those who are residing in and at places within the radius of 8 kms of Shillong, they are being paid allowance at 7½ of their pay and for those residing in localities falling within the Tura Committee area and residing in localities within the radius of 8 kms of Deputy Commissioner's Court, Jowai and all villages surrounding Jowai but falling within radius of 8 kms of Jowai town.
The Government employees living in their own houses are also eligible for house rent at 7½ per cent of pay. In Assam such category of employees are entitled to house rent allowance of 5 per cent for those urban areas and 2½ per cent for those residing in areas other than urban areas.
There was also a proposal suggested by the hon. member regarding the grant of winter allowance to Government employees. The Central Government, however, are giving winter allowance to their employees for six months in a year, while in our State, we are giving only for 5 months. In this respect, it may be stated that winter allowance to Government employees is admissible for 5 months beginning from October and ending in February. But the Central Government, however, allow this allowance for 6 months in a year. In the matter of pay and allowances, the State Government have adopted the recommendations of the Assam pay Commission. In respect of winter allowance, the Commission has not considered any change necessary in the existing orders relating to sanction of winter allowance.
Regarding the delay in payment of pension, speedy sanction of pension to retired Government employees has always been the concern of the State Government. With that end in view, the Government have evolved certain procedures to simplify the expedite sanction of pension and have also amended the Assam Services (pension) Rules, 1969 adopted by the State Government accordingly. These modifications came into effect from 1st September 1976. Prof. Majaw has cited the case off one Shri Crossmilland Iakais retired L.P. School teacher, who, since 1968, has not been able to receive his pension. This particular case figured in the discussion at a meeting held on 12th August 1977 with the Head of Departments to review outstanding pension case. It was pointed out that the delay is due to his Service Book being incomplete and the Education Department were asked to take up the case on a priority basis with the Accountant General. the position of the case is as follows-
The pension papers of Shri Iakais were sent to the A.G. on 2nd June 1976 with the request to sanction provisional pension pending finalisation with the Government of Assam on the question of overstay in service for the period from 12th April 1967 to 30th September 1968. A.G. however to refuse to comply on grounds that there are wrong entries in the Service Book of incumbent and also that he was not confirmed in the post. The D.P.I. is taking necessary action to make the Service Book complete and the Government of Assam have also been requested repeatedly to regularise the period of overstay in service by the incumbent. No reply has been received from the Assam Government as yet. In this respect, I may also mention that there were altogether 41 cases of periodic pensions but through discussion between the Finance Department and the Accountant General this number has been reduced to 28. However, such things are proposed to be settled quickly and such things are coming up in the meeting to be held in December, 1977. Then the hon. members from Mawhati as well as from Jaiaw have also raised the point about rationalisation of pay scale. Well, in this connection all I can say is that the Government in difficulty to undertake such a task at this stage. The State Government have however, provided an amount of Rs. 14.33 crores for the period from 1979 to 1980 and from 1980 to 1983-84 for grants of D.A. and revision of pay scale in the estimates submitted by the Seventh Finance Commission. Another point raised by the member was the establishment of a Special Cell and bifurcation of Audit and Accounts. As stated earlier the Government have accepted the recommendations of the Assam Pay Commission, 1973 and for the implementation of this recommendation the State Government have set up a department known as Finance (Pay Cell) Department responsible for the fixing of pay in the revised scale of pay of all categories of employees except the gazetted officers and also for looking into the anomalies arising out of the revised scales of pay. As regards, the question of bifurcation of Audit and Accounts this has also been taken up on the recommendations of the Task Force on Treasury System and Accounting set up by the Government of India in June 1977. I think this is all.
Prof M. N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am happy of course the Government has at last decided to pay the arrears of dearness allowance with effect from 1.7.1974 as we have demanded in this august House during the last session. We may even say in Latin "Post hoc, propter hoc". i.e. "A subsequent action may be called the result of a previous action". Perhaps if no earlier action had been taken in this august House, then the question of giving these arrears of D.A. would not have risen today. However, better late than never. The Government have made an announcement, and I have with me a copy of the announcement and the memo number of that announcement is FET77/77/35, dated, 7-11-1977. In this connection I would like to ask the Hon'ble Minister of State on what basis they have made out these various categories of dearness allowance that does not seem to have much rationality in the various percentage of dearness allowance. For example, we will notice that they have divided the pay scale into four categories i.e. the pay up to Rs. 388 and then from Rs.388 to Rs.900 and from Rs.900 to Rs. 1,600 and from Rs.1,600 to Rs.2,100. But in all these four categories we notice that, barring the first, the other three have a maximum ceiling which is unreasonably reduced in 1976. And this dearness allowance as shown in this letter, is inclusive o f other D.A. already sanctioned by the Government, from 1974 onwards' and once in 1975 ; and again in 1976. Now the question is, for example, from Rs.900 to Rs.1,600 the ceiling in 1974-1975 for D.A. is Rs.120 per month and then in 1975 the ceiling for D.A. is Rs.240 per month. The dearness allowance from 1.7.1976, however, onwards comes down to only Rs.145 per month. So may we know whether the Government is following any price index and if so what is the price index in Meghalaya today ?
Shri Upstar Kharbuli (Minister of State for Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has already been stated that he D.A. has been calculated on the basis of the price index for the calendar year 1976, and we must also remember that prior to this final arrear D.A., the Government employees have also been paid adhoc D.A. which has to be adjusted when the final calculation will be made.
Prof, M. N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, my question has not been replied to. My question is. "What is the price index of Meghalaya today? " We have been maintaining the Directorate of economics and Statistics and they should be able to work out what is the price index now, and what was the price index at that time.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Majaw, that was your own question and you have repeated it again. But I think there are two issues involved here. That is what I could understand from your speech. The rate of dearness allowance is based on the Assam Pay Commission. But it appears to me that the hon. Member wants that the Government should, by implication appoint their own Pay Commission in future. These are separate issues and this should not come under the purview of this motion. I think it is better to close the discussion on this motion.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :- I under the provision of Rule 283, while exercising the right of reply, want to say that since the Government have issued three office memorandum for the rates of D.A., I only want to have a simple reply. For example, the previous price index for Delhi was 184.1. What is the price index now here in Meghalaya ?
Mr. Speaker :- As I said that his calculation was based on the price index of 1976, if I understand aright.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :- But these Government servant are living even today !
Shri Upstar Kharbuli (Minister of State for Finance) :- This will be taken up later on.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :- But from 1976 onwards there must be a base for this calculation-the prices of char-coal milk, vegetables etc, have gone up.
Shri Upstar Kharbuli (Minister of State for Finance) :-As we are following the Assam's Pay Commission, this has been calculated on that basis.
Mr. Speaker :- These are the two separate issues and it seems that Prof. Majaw wants to know about the present price index.
Shri Upstar Kharbuli (Minister of State for Finance) :- And this is not the issue of today so that it could be calculated on today's price index.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :- Which was the base year here ?
Mr. Humphrey Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, both the hon. Members did not address the Chair ;
Shri Upstar Kharbuli (Minister of State for Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the base year was 1949.
Prof M. N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not want to waste the time of the House. But the only thing I want is that the Directorate of Economics and Statistics should work out all these things so that the Government servants, who are living human beings can live happily. The Government must help these employees to rise above their standards of living, the Government should have a separate Pay Commission. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- So, the discussion on this motion is closed. We have as many as 20 motions and I do not know how many of you will be able to take part in these motions. But I would like to request the hon. Members not to take much time of the House. I hope the hon. Members will be as brief as possible and perhaps there are some motions which aim only at getting certain clarification and there are some other motions which need full discussion. I think it is up to the members concerned who will move these different motions to understand what they really want so that the House will really get the benefit from their motions. Prof. A. Warjri to move the motion No.1.
Prof A. S. Warjri :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the State of affairs prevailing in the Government Press at Shillong at present.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion on it.
Prof A. Warjri :- At the outset I would like to remind the House that it is exactly one year since the new Government of the State has been informed. It is providential that this is current session started exactly on the same date as last year, i.e. on the 16th November on which date the notorious Mendhipathar Conference was held.
Mr. Speaker :- I think the work notorious is not parliamentary.
Prof. A. Warjri :- If the word unparliamentary, then Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will withdraw it Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know how our friends on the other side celebrated their anniversary. Many things have been happening since their defection. But still I wish them many happy returns of the day.
Now coming to, my subject- the Shillong Government Press- it was the expectation of every one that during this one year of administration by the mighty Congress Government money would flow into the coffers of the State full to the brim. And this was the main cause of the defection. It was promised that by joining the national ruling party, money would be pouring into the State treasury and if money had really been pouring into the treasury of the State, I am afraid that the treasury must be having holes on all sides. Since last one year on attempts have been made to improve the conditions prevailing in the Government Press in spite of the money promised that will be flowing from the centre. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I remind the House that he building in which the Government Press is housed was built about 100 years back and it has remained so till today. I believe that if an impartial Inspector of factories from outside has to come and inspect the Shillong Government Press, he would immediately recommend the closing down of the Press. it seems that he department that is running this very important organ of the Government did not care to know or implement the laws laid down in the Factory Act which have been amended from time to time to suit the modern conditions in the factories or may understand that the Government Press is not governed be the Factory Act. the building itself constructed in such a way that there is no ventilation worth the name and since the last 10 years no white-wash has been done on the walls of the Press. The floor is so dirty and covered with lead power which is very very injurious to health. I do not know whether the House is aware that almost 30 per cent of the workers there are suffering either from T.B. or from cancer or from other diseases which have been caused by lead poisoning. The mono Section which should be segregated from the other sections has been placed just right in the middle of the building with no ventilation and no exhaust pipe to take out the deadly lead fumes. the men working there are daily breathing the same air. The usual three months periodical medical check up that uses to be attended properly by the Assam Government now has been discontinued. It is really a shock to learn that even in the Machine Section there is no first aid box and accidents are bound to happen. It is a pity that the poor employees of the Government Press working there are wearing the same clothes day in and day out, the same coat they wear at home as well as in the Press. No over all or aprons have been provided for these workers. Even the over all that have been provide to the men in the machine Section have been made in such a way that none of them fits any of the workers. It is really a surprise to know how the men in the Compositor Section and in other Sections can do the work properly with the poor lighting conditions. The whole building is so congested and crowded and it would be impossible for the workmen to give their best of the work they are doing.
Then another point, one of the most genuine complaints by the workers in this storage of water. While the main Secretariat on one side and the Additional Secretariat on the other side enjoy water to the point over-flow, there was no water in the Press especially in the last week of the month. I do not know whether this is a fault of the Municipality or the P.W.D. Sufficient water is necessary for the running Press. Not to speak of washing hands, not to speak of drinking but especially for running these Sections like Offset Section, Standing Section and the Book Binding Section, Standing Section and the Book Binding Section, water is necessary for running these Sections. I would like to request the Government to take up this matter immediately. I would also to like to request that taps be provided with basins in other Sections for the workers to wash their lead contaminated hands before they take their meals and be provided with better quality soap. The present Nirmal soap that has been supplied to the workers is not even fit for washing utensils. I would also suggest that each worker be given a good soap, say, Sunlight soap every month.
Another thing that Government should take up is improvement of the sanitary arrangements. Description of the conditions of the sanitary arrangements goes beyond any imagination. I would also like to recommend that Government should take up immediate replacement of old and useless machines by modern and sophisticated machine for a better turn-over. But at the same time I suggest that immediate appointment be made to those posts for which men are necessary to man certain machines which have just recently been bought. I would like to know from the Minister in charge of the Press.
Mr. Speaker :- I think there is no Minister in charge of the Press, but the Minister in charge of Printing and Stationery.
Prof. Alexander Warjri :- Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Whether it is a fact that the Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent of the Government Press are getting special allowance for running the over time work. the three Assistant Superintendents are not getting anything for doing the same work and if this is so, I think it is a gross injustice.
Lastly, I would like to suggest to the Government that in order to improve the Press and to fulfill the conditions laid down in the Factory Act that new modernised multistoried building be constructed and be completed in a phased manner. I would like to immediate construction should be started in the open space near the A.Gs Office. And that this new building should have proper ventilation and proper lighting. I am saying that he construction should immediately be taken up near the A.G's office in the open space in order to save lakhs of rupees worth of paper and stationery that are now being stored in the building which at any time may collapsed or gutted by fire. A store room at present is in such a building that papers have been stacked to the fullest limit together with articles like mobil oil, lubricants, etc., and if fire breaks out there, I do not know what would happen to lakhs of rupees worth of paper that is being stored there. For the time being till the new building comes up Government should try as much as possible to improve the working conditions in the Press and besides what I have suggested earlier, I would like to suggest that these things be taken up immediately. No. 1, cleaning and white-washing from the floor to the ceiling and that the sweepers be instructed to sweep the Government Press not at 10 o'clock, when the workers have come there for work but to start at 7 o'clock in the morning.
Mr. Speaker :- I think that is not the duty of the Minister to tell them or to give the instruction. It is the duty of the officer in charge to look into the matter.
Prof. A. Warjri :- Then proper ventilation and better lighting arrangements that is No.2 No.3 appointment of a Section in charge for the Offset Section in which, for many many years, there has been nobody as in charge there to fill up the vacant post. No.4, appointment of a doctor for the workers as required under the Factory Act, No.5, appointment of a Labour Welfare Officer. No. 6, renovating the reading Section with new furniture and curtains. No. 7, provision for first aid box in all the machine sections. No.8, electric heating system should replace the burning of charcoal in order to prevent paper from smudged with coal dust. No. 9, the question of absorption of over 60 employees who would like to go bank to Assam and who have expressed the desire to go back to Assam should be taken up immediately. The solution to this is overdue since the 31st December, 1976 and I think now, both the Government being Congress, it would not be difficult to solve the question, thus the vacant posts can be filled up by our own boys who are roaming about the streets without any job.
Mr. Speaker :- I think that is a wrong approach. New appointment can be made from among the trained ones and not from those who are roaming about the streets.
Prof. A. Warjri :- But Mr. Speaker, Sir, I remember some of the employees have recently been recruited from the open market and I do not know whether that has been done according to what you have stated just now. But there are a good number of them who are not only non-Meghalayans but are the non tribals from outside the State. I do not know if the policy of 40 : 40 per cent is being followed tat the Government Press at Shillong (Bell rang and lastly , what I would like to say is the question that he press industrial workers should also enjoy the same facilities as enjoyed by the other Government servants. Why I say this because, whenever the employees ask something from the authorities of the Government press they are reminded that they are the Government servants who should follow the same rules as other Government servants. But when they ask them another thing, they say they are industrial workers, they cannot enjoy the same facilities as the Government servants. I would like to urge upon the Government to settle this problem faced by the industrial workers. For example, those industrial workers who have been named as Government servants are not enjoying the same privilege as the other Government servants. Even yesterday, when it has been declared a holiday for other Government servants these poor industrial workers have to come to their work and this same privilege was not given to them.
Mr. Speaker :- This is a very very difficult question to be decided by the Government. There are certain people who took up, certain types of job despite the fact that they know that they have to work twenty four hours. The doctors also who works in the hospitals have accepted to attend duty for twenty four hours. This is the nature of job.
Prof. A. Warjri :- Not only the industrial workers but the ministerial workers also are suffering. They are not being given those facilities. I would like to impress upon the Government that this group of workers should not be treated only goose amount the swans.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion moved by the hon. Member from Mawkhar. He has certainly quoted the very harrowing type of conditions prevailing at he Government Press and I suspect even our young Minister of State has been taken a back or shocked by these revelations. Of course, he will come up with the reply that Government is short of funds. Government has already assured the industrial workers of a new building, new press; but hey are short of funds. One of the reasons why they are short of funds, Mr. Speaker, Sir, with regard to the Government Press, is that this Press has been turned into a very lucrative hunting ground for certain unscrupulous business men. Fro example, the Department of Printing and Stationery when they want some job printing to be done, although the Government Press is capable of printing that particular work, it is entrusted to those businessmen. And the officer of the department will be persuaded to issue a letter saying that the Government Press is too busy or otherwise pre-occupied and then tenders are called for and then this particular family which has two furniture shops in front of this Assembly, will submit their bogus tenders, and by pretending that hey do not like the work, they quote a much higher rate. This particular family has become tremendously rich and they have not set up another big furniture shop besides purchasing four private Ambassador cars. Work is entrusted by the Printing and Stationery Department at a much higher rate to certain vested interests. This has carried on for a number of years. This particular family of unscrupulous businessmen has been able to acquire lakhs and lakhs of rupees from the Government Press. This is the existing procedure now being adopted by the authorities, by calling four of rive tenders and then issuing the work to one family which has immense finance. If the Government can at once stop these nefarious activities, I am sure they will have sufficient funds to provide for the Government Press.
*Shri D. N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have also some observations to make with regard with the Government Press. Sir, I know for a fact that there are many people in the Government Press Sir, I know for a fact that there are many people in the Government Press who have expressed their willingness to go back to Assam. There are also many people who are now at Gauhati, people of Meghalaya serving under the Government of Assam who could be brought back to Meghalaya. I know there was an arrangement at the time of bifurcation that people should opt either for Assam or Meghalaya. They should be given an option whether they they like to go to Assam or to come to Meghalaya. Now I learn that the Government of Assam had set up certain conditions at the initial stage. Whatever new conditions are there, only the question of adoption should be taken up. They had set up new conditions that with certain machines they are going to take back some people to Assam if they are willing to take back some people to Assam if they are willing to go back to Assam. So this condition is a new thing which set up at the initial stage. But now the stage has come which seems that there is a dead-lock in that respect. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I urge upon the Government to take up the matter in right earnest with the Government of Assam so that the people who are willing to go back to Gauhati may go and fill up the vacancies by our own people and in case of failure to persuade the Government of Assam, let our Government ask the Centre for arbitration and adjudication and bring about an amicable settlement with the Government of Assam. One day I had the occasion to go to the Government Press, I found that there is no water in the Press.
Mr. Speaker :- The hon. Member should avoid repetition.
Shri D. N. Joshi :- The only point I want to lay stress is that in case of our failure to persuade the Government of Assam to absorb all those people who are willing to go down to Gauhati, the matter should be brought to the Central Government for adjudication.
Mr. Speaker :- Now the Minister to reply.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Minister of State, Printing and Stationery) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I welcome the suggestions and also I am grateful to the hon. Mover of the Motion who has narrated the matter thoroughly. It is not a shock as Prof. Majaw has said nor I was taken a back because I personally know what is prevailing inside the Government Press. Of course, the hon. Members from Mawhati is right when he presumes that what I shall reply will be paucity of fund. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not surprising when we find that there are lacunae, so many draw-backs in the management of the Government Press here in Shillong because of the fact that the building itself was constructed in the early quarter of the century and as such, the building remains congested. With the increase in the number of machineries and number of workers and also with the increase of the workload inside the Press congestion could not be avoided. The hon. Member himself has pointed out that it is due to paucity of fund that we could not raise certain buildings in order to house the Government Press. Of course this is the wish of the Government, but as you know Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Planning Commission had rejected our proposal of enlarging the Government Press. I know because I have gone myself inside the Press ; I have seen every nook and corner of the building and of course, I agree with the hon. Mover of the Motion that there is a lot of room for improvement. The congestion is there and especially water supply which the hon. Mover was trying to stress upon is unfortunately a problem which is really very acute inside the Press. Till last year we have only one tap inside the Press and of course, this year we have installed another tap, but then space is also another question.
Prof M. N. Majaw :- Is there any water in the tap ?
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Minister of State, Printing and Stationery) :- Yes Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have got water in the tap, but hen in a very irregular way also. As you know Mr. Speaker, Sir, then problem of water in Shillong does not make victim of only, the Government Press, every citizen of Shillong, also faces the same problem. Even hospitals which require water throughout the 24 hours were not supplied with water regularly. We know the problem of water supply in the Government Press and we will try to improve it somehow. The hon. Mover was also saying that 30 per cent of the employees in the Government Press are suffering from T.B. and this and that disease. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I disagree with him. There are of course a few persons who are still on long long leave, there may be some people who are suffering, and there are some who have tried to do some business. But to say that 30 per cent of the Government Press employees are suffering is wrong. I do not agree with him in this respect. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, you cannot say that because of the congestion inside the Press that the people got infection as the hon. Mover has said.
Another point which he has mentioned was that the mono section was placed in the centre of the building without any exhauster. Well, as I said earlier, the Press is very much congested, it needs improvement and we will have to find out ways and means to renovate the building completely if fund position allows us. Many machines were brought when we did not have rooms to put them separately and so we are compelled to put them in whatever available vacant space inside the Press. Of course it is not very healthy to put them when there are no exhausters, no ventilation inside the Press. But I do not agree with him that ventilation facilities inside the Press are very poor. Then another point which he has mentioned is about the medical check up of all the Government Press employees every three months as was the practice during the time of the Government of Assam. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will check up on this and if it is necessary, we will have to do it because workers must have medical check up. Of course the first aid box was in the mono-linotype section. They require first aid any accident may take place at any time. Then there was a suggestion for supply of over all to all employees. In the mechanical sections we have tried to provide overall and of course this will be continued and if possible to supply overalls to all workers of the Press in a phased manner. As we cannot do it at once and for all, but in a short tome we may do so because of paucity of fund and this cannot be done now. But then this question also will be taken care of in a phased manner.
Then another interesting point is that the Nirmal soap is not fit for the use of the workers of the Press. Well, the Press workers are not supposed to take bath inside the Press. What they need is only to wash their hands before they leave their work. If we are supply them with very costly soap I do not know how the Press will survive. If we are to follow literally what he mover said each and every worker should be supplied with one cake of sunlight soap every month. I do not know whether it will be less costly but I am afraid it may be costlier. This I leave for the time being and we will examine whether Nirmal soap which the Press workers are using is really injurious to health. With regard to sanitary arrangements, this also falls in the same category because of the ramshackle conditions of the buildings we could not provide any sanitary arrangements to the workers. They have to go outside for easing themselves.
Only machines have to be replaced by modern sophisticated one. We would like to have new machines.
Mr. Speaker :- The hon. member said that these sanitary latrines should be properly looked after and take care. I do not think you suggested commodes and all that.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Minister of State, Printing and Stationery) :- I know that a number of Press workers want to have one or two sanitary latrines. That also is difficult. We understand their difficulty and it will be our duty to see that they are taken care of.
Are the replacement of old machines, we would also like to have modern sophisticated machines but he main difficulty is funds. Funds bind our hands. If we have enough finds we would have done. I will be the first man to be happy if I can see that he whole set up of the Government Press is replaced with new sophisticated machines. About the special allowances being given to the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent for their over time work while other members of the staff were denied. This is not true. The Press workers are given equal treatment if they have over worked. The three persons who were mentioned are also getting over time allowances.
I have visited the compound of the Government Press and I have see that there is a space just adjacent to the A.G's office. That space was vacant because the old Store building was gutted by fire and no building was raised in its place. The Public Works Department has already prepared the plans to have a new building just at the spot which the hon. member mentioned.
About 60 employees who were willing to go down to Assam, it is our wish to release them. But as you know, there are complications : the Government of Assam is placing its own demands ; they have their own way of putting the demands to which we also could not agree readily. If we could have done that, may be the same hon. member would again come to the House charging us for the hasty action. So we want to take action cautiously so that it does not effect the young boys and girls of ours. I am also grateful to the hon. members who have taken part in the discussion, Mr. Majaw and Mr. Joshi. Their points are almost the same which I have already replied to. Of course the suggestions listed at the fag-end of the speech of the mover are those which he mentioned in the general discussion.
Prof M. N. Majaw :- On a point of information. What I have asked was regarding job printing which is being given to other concerns not to the Government Press which cannot do the job where huge sum of money are involved. Job printing was given to the private companies not to the Government Press.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Minister of State, Printing and Stationery) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have no knowledge of that. This is not the concern of the Press. We cannot force any of the Government departments to give job to a certain family. I do not know which family the hon. member refereed to.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- It is quite serious because he is the Minister in charge of the Printing and Stationery Department. We will raise it later at a more appropriate time.
Prof. A. Warjri :- I would like to make some observations regarding water problem. I think it is not true to say that other parts of Shillong are suffering. I have already mentioned that on both sides there are two buildings which enjoy water whereas in the Government owned building there is no water for various works. Regarding exhaust pipes I am sorry to say that here is no water and in the Mono Section when I used to go there every day, U find no exhaust pipe. And then the soap which I have tried myself, does not produce any leather. About the over time allowances, I would request the Minister to kindly checked whether this is true or not and if it is these also are entitled to have allowances. I wonder that the Minister is complaining about fund. There should be fund for white washing the walls.
Mr. Speaker :- You are asking the simplest thing.
Prof M. N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has been admitted that the condition of the building is indiscernible. At least when funds are being allotted every year for maintenance what happens to these funds ?
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Minister of State, Printing and Stationery) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we will look into all this complaint. Of course for the Government Press building it is the Public Works Department to look after.
Mr. Speaker :- I think this is usual thing that each Minister should not try to throw the responsibilities on other departments.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Minister of State, Printing and Stationery) :- Unless we have the whole building renovated it will be difficult to white wash.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :- 10 years no white washing.
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Minister of State, Printing and Stationery) :- We will see that the building will be white washed. Because of the congestion it is difficult to clean the floor. All the complaints made today in this House will be looked in to.
Shri Jormanik Syiem :- The Hon'ble Minister has said that the Public Works Department has prepared plans for the vacant land, whether this building is meant for the Press or for some other purposes ?
Shri Francis K. Mawlot (Minister of State, Printing and Stationery) :- Yes for the Press.
Mr. Speaker :- The discussion is now closed. We will take up Motion No.2 to be moved by Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the policy of the Government in the constitution of the District Planning and Advisory Boards.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on consulting the Government notification, I find that he names are given not as boards. Actually, these should be District Planning and Advisory Councils and therefore, not Boards.
Mr. Speaker :- I think they are the same.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- Though this is a small matter, it is important because it gives the attitude of the Government on certain things, especially on planning which is supposed to take care of planning and development in the different districts. Now, in the Gazette of October 6 and in the Gazette of October 13, there are listed a few District Planning and Development Advisory Councils. I would first refer to the Councils notified for the East Khasi Hills District and the West Khasi Hills District. There are two or three peculiar anomalies which I would like, to bring to the attention of the Government. Number one : 4 MLA and one MP have been left out completely out of the two Advisory Councils. I have searched for the name of Shri Rowell Lyngdoh ; it is neither found in the East Khasi Hills District Advisory Council nor in the West Khasi Hills District Advisory Council though nor in the West Khasi Hills District Advisory Council though he represents a constituency in the West Khasi Hills District. The name of Shri Y. Fuller Lyngdoh, M.L.A. Mairang, is not found in either of them though he represents a constituency in the West Khasi Hills District, Shri Hoover Hynniewta, another M.L.A. of Nongkhlaw, is neither in the West Khasi Hills Advisory Council in the East Khasi Hills District Advisory Council. Shri Winstone Syiemiong is also not found in either of them and another name, M. Syiemiong is in the East Khasi Hills District Advisory Board, although he represents a constituency in the West Khasi Hills. However, I take it merely as a printing mistake, but whatever it is, this mistake is one which could have been corrected. And then we find an important member, elected by the people in March, 1977, Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh, M.P. His name is found either in the East Khasi Hills Advisory Council nor in the West Khasi Hills District Advisory Council it is a shame that his Government would leave out 3,4 or 5 important M.L.Aa and an M.P. from these important Planning and Development Advisory Councils. And then what is most striking is that in all the Advisory Councils, both East and West and also the Advisory Councils for the Garo Hills, both East and West, a party which has been in existence since 1960 and still is in existence has been completely left out. Mr. Speaker, Sir, had the party representatives not been listed separately. I think I would have nothing to say. But if we examine the list of the members of the District planning and Development Advisory Council for the East Khasi Hills District, we find the Chairman and the Secretary who are Officers of different political parties. We also find the names of the Secretary, D.C.C. Khasi Hills Secretary, City Congress Committee, Secretary, District HSPSP, President, PDIC, Secretary, PDIC, President and Secretary, CPI. These are party representatives.
Mr. Speaker :- Is PDIC a party ?
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- They have assumed PDIC as a party. However, they have been listed along with the other known parties like the Congress, the HSPDP and the CPI whereas the APHLC, which is an existing party as the 13 MLAs on this side exist ; and yet it has been totally ignored from the Advisory Councils of East Khasi Hills and West Khasi Hills Districts, and also the East Garo Hills District and the West Garo Hills District. So far as Jaintia Hills District is concerned I find that party representatives have not been listed. So I will not say anything there. The attitude, therefore, of the Government in ignoring important MLAs and an MP and also the whole party is tragic. I would not have expected the members of this Government who represent an honourable party-we presume it is honourable party-we presume it is honourable from past experience-to have ignored these members and this party which has every right to be represented in these Councils. if this Government believes in getting the cooperation of the State, at least one section of the people of the State, represented by a very important party. Had this notification come out before September 13 or September 12, perhaps there may have been some justification in saying that the APHLC had merged and so on and so forth. But this notification came out on October 13 Gazette and October 6 Gazette, well after the Supreme Court has exonerated the stand of this party and has started very clearly that he APHLC is in existence, stays and that it gets back its symbol. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I take this opportunity of bringing this motion before the House and if the Government is prepared to undo the mistakes it has done let them say so and let them judge it on the basis of their own notifications given in the Official Gazette of last month.
Prof M. M. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I support the Motion moved by the hon. Member from Shella. I am surprised on further thought to find this deliberate exclusion of elected representatives belonging to certain parties. Now, I would like to add that the hon, member, Shri H. Nongrum, M.L.A. Langrin has also not been put in the West Khasi Hills District Council Advisory Council. And further Mr. Speaker, Sir, as far as the West Khasi Hills is concerned all of us know very well that there are certain parties which are considered formidable in that area. I am referring to the Hill State People's Democratic Party. The Government has also left the A.P.H.L.C. from that Council. Neither the General Secretary nor the Chairman of that area has been nominated. Mr. Speaker, Sir, they have tried to make out their own Council in order to control everything themselves through their own party forums. This is the common malady even all over India where the Congress Party has ruled. Mr. Speaker, Sir, if you read the news papers we will all be enlightened on what happened during the emergency under MISA, which I define as " The Maintenance of Indira and Sanjay Act". And during these days Mr. Speaker, Sir, what things have been done ! We should not be surprised that now they were trying the same tricks in this State also.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am indeed very grateful to my colleague in the opposite for bring this Motion. Though initially he made some mistake in the wording of his motion he has corrected the same while moving the same. There are two District Planning Boards, one is a small body and it is limited to only few representatives and the other one is the District Planning and Development Advisory Council which is a larger body. As far as East Khasi Hills is concerned, it may be that we do not have anybody in the official jurisdiction. If you go through the list, you will find a very long list and almost all the M.L.As belonging to the A.P.H.L.C. are elected like Mr. Jormanik Syiem, Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh, Mr. K.M. Roy, Mr. D. Lyngdoh and so on and so forth. Therefore, it may not be correct to say that we have not considered the problems of the A.P.H.L.C. I know the democratic function, unless and until there is absolute co-operation in the service of the people in the State as a whole their problems will not be solved.
(At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and Shri Plansing K. Marak, Chairman, took the Chair).
I would therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, submit that there was a sincere attempt on the part of the Government to include various groups or parties. Whatever programme and whatever scheme we take up for the development of the State as a whole it will not benefit the people without their cooperation, and no Government can think of running their administration and carrying out development programme without such cooperation. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am prepared to accept the suggestions for inclusion of a person in the East Khasi Hills Board. The meeting of the Advisory District Planning and Development Advisory Council was convened but for want of forum it could nit be completed. And in Jaintia Hills also a meeting has been held for inclusion of certain persons in the Advisory Council. So, now I would like the members also to take interest and attend the meeting so that they can give their views.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, why the P.D.I.C., H.S.P.D.P. and even C.P.I. of all the Districts are nominated and why the A.P.H.L.C. members are completely left out ? This is the main point I want to raise.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- it is not a fact.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh :- We were asking for the reason why this black-out ?
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Because there is no M.L.A. to co-operate.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh :- If so why did you avoid ? What is right to be done, the Government must do.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, in the West Khasi Hills District also most of the M.L.As have been left out of the list. Mr. Chairman, Sir, it seems that they are going their administration with their party only. Almost all the M.L.As neither from the A.P.H.L.C. nor H.S.P.D.P. are included in the list except one M.D.C. but all M.L.As are left out.
There is no Mr. M. Syiemiong, Mr. Chairman, Sir, in this House.
Mr. Chairman :- I would request the Chief Minister to reply the question raised by Prof. Majaw.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, of course it is not absolutely obligatory that all the elected representatives should be the members of the District planning Advisory Council. But if this is the desire of the House, I will have all the M.L.As included. But as I said, I would request that every member of the District Planning Advisory Council should take interest in attending the meetings. In the Garo Hills, East and West Khasi Hills, for want of quorum, meetings could not be held and only in Jaintia Hills, a meeting could be held.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- May I ask whether after this notification, notices had been served on the members. And if so, on what date the meeting was called after this notification ?
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- On 10th June 1974 by the District Planning Advisory Council of East Khasi Hills.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- We are talking about 1977, Sir.
Prof M. N. Majaw :- This is what is called the morning after the night before.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I am sorry that on a number of occasions, meetings could not be convened. In fact the Government was thinking-I think when we were together-whether it was worth to have these District planning Advisory Councils at all. The Government has decided that it should be allowed to continue and to see that, in the near future meetings are convened. So I would request the hon. Members to kindly take interest to attend the meetings.
Shri W. Syiemiong :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, may I know who is that Mr. W. Syiemiong, M.L.A.?
Mr. Chairman :- I wonder whether he is an M.L.A. or somebody else.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- It is a printing mistake, Sir.
Mr. Chairman :- It means you yourself Mr. Syiemiong it may be a printing mistake.
Shri H. Hadem :- How can it be so ? If it is a printing mistake, whether the Government is prepared to issue a corrigendum ?
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I have said that. How many times the reply should be given to a particular question ?
Prof. M. N. Majaw :- Here I feel one issue must be stressed and that is the insinuation that we are not concerned or not interested in attending meetings. It has now been proved that no such meetings were held nor notices issued. There is a press which takes down these proceedings and carries them outside to the public. I totally repudiate this announcement that although we are sitting anthem Opposition, as if we are not interested in the welfare of the State.
Mr. Chairman :- The discussion on the motion is closed and I think the hon. Members are satisfied with the reply given by the Chief Minister. Now I would request Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh to move the motion No.3.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the policy and principle of nomination to the District Councils.
Mr. Chairman :- Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, just now on motion No.2, we have illustration of a big chance that has come to our State in the matter of the Government relationship with the people and the parties. Sir, another point, I think which is far more serious, very surprising and very shocking is about what happened in the exercise and the implementation of the provisions of nominations to the District Councils. Sir, nominations to the Legislatures, either to parliament or State Assemblies in normal course had been for consideration of several criteria. One may be of giving representation to certain minority groups who could not come directly through elections to Legislature and Parliament. No.2 it may be to have representation of certain expertise, experts or exceptional scholars who can contribute to the deliberations in the Legislature. But here, Sir, in the nomination to the 3 District Councils, the reason was not because of giving representation to any group of people nor for getting representation of experts. Here it was done for one particular reason alone and that is because of the smallness of the size of these Councils in order to avoid instability and insecurity during the terms of the Councils. Nominations were provided for the purpose of giving stability and security. In practice, it is the majority of the Councils that recommends to the Governor and the Governor under the rules is bound to notify them. For example, in the Jaintia Hills District Council, the elected representatives consist of only 16, it is a very small number and if two or three parties get 7, 8 or 9 then they are in a very insecure and very unstable situation. Therefore, nominations were provided and the Councils will recommend the names for nominations, that means that a party that gets only a simple majority may have a chance of adding three more so that it will have stability, so also in Garo Hills, there are three and here there is one. Therefore, we know a few months back, certain action taken by the Government was most shocking and most surprising which was against the very principle of stability. They deliberately denominated two members to create instability. Sir, the principle of nomination is to bring about stability and that nominations are made on the recommendations of the Councils. But here, the Government had no recommendations from the District Council to denominate any member but they did it high-handedly and arbitrary sitting here in Shillong, because of certain political reasons, because they want instability. What they have done also in the Khasi Hills District Council, they want to destabilise and do away with democratic functions, but to bring about Administrator's rule. This is what has come about in the last one year. It is a big chance in the attitude, a big chance in the relationship of Government and representatives of the people. Sir, we had functioned from 1972 to 1976-over six years-with the District Councils having different parties. In Khasi Hills District we had a small party of 11 members running the Council and the Government had never tried to destabilize or denominate the members and that was the tradition of Meghalaya before this changes. What Mr. Majaw has said of Congress practice all over India came to our State. The parties support is the only inspiration for any member or leader and woe to such party whose opinion goes against the ruling party. Thus came a big change in Meghalaya. I do not know whether we will have this year as wet year in the history of Meghalaya's, but even then let us hope that it will be only one year here that may be recorded somewhere in the corner of the history of Meghalaya. When one party is completely left out, another party will be brought in and the Chief Minister had to give an assurance-an assurance that this would never happen and even as to say that when we would like we will change. But here we are speaking on the fundamental aspects of the thing and we are very very unhappy with apprehension for the State of affairs in the State with the new trend that happened and which has been brought in here in Meghalaya. Mr. Chairman, Sir, narrow-mindedness has been brought through this change of the parties in Meghalaya. This is very very unfortunate Mr. Chairman, Sir, and I would still say that as Chief Minister has found it in his own way, let us for a moment forget about the different names of parties and let us say that we are one people in the State and let us try to see how long we will follow and work hard and also let us see that we will lay foundations of the State on a solid rock, the rock of responsibility. Because, on this rock we can bring back the beautiful name of Meghalaya, the name of harmony, peace and co-operation and firmness all around and let us again see that the foundation for Meghalaya and for our future i.e. for the future of our children and the future of our people who reside in Meghalaya will be brighter and I would appeal seriously to the Chief Minister and other Ministers as well, let us, for the sake of our State and the people, sacrifice ourselves and maintain peace and harmony so that he people of our State will be happy and prosperous. This is my request and there is still time for the Government to do as they have promised in the matter of framing policy, in the matter of constitution of planning boards etc and undo what they have tried to do in the case of Jaintia Hills District Council.
*Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to participate in this particular motion since it appears from the speech of the hon. Mover that it refers to the Jaintia Hills District Council. Of course, Sir, as already stated the Council of the Jaintia Hills District was constituted with 19 members of which 16 were elected and 3 were nominated by the Government. As already stated they were nominated according to the rules and recommendations of the District Council. But it so happened during that time when the party in power of the District Council has got them majority. So the A.P.H.L.C. and on the resolution brought by the party in power 3 members were nominated on the recommendations of the District Council and by implication on it means that the party is in the majority. It so happens that there are some changes and it seems to be a party change where one of the nominated members remains or I mean becomes a member of the Congress Parliamentary Party and on what principle he returned to the original A.P.H.L.C. Parliamentary Party. But it was very strange, Sir, it is against the general policy where nomination made once can be denominated. It was very strange here in this particular case, that only two members belonging to the A.P.H.L.C. have been denominated while the other one who belongs to the Congress party was not denominated, when actually even that one was originally nominated on the recommendations of the A.P.H.L.C. the ruling party of the District Council. So Sir, we would like to hear something from the Government ; what clarification the Government will give at this stage. We have seen that nothing have been done in the Khasi Hills District Council in view of the change of the nominated members of one party to another party. Nothing has been done. But it is very strange that only the Jaintia Hills District Council has been tackled during these years. So we would like to hear the clarification given by the Government especially in this respect. Of course, Sir, we would like to know the reason why in the notification nothing has been said-why the other two Councils were not touched while the same thing occurred even in the Khasi Hills District Council. So Sir, for that reason I feel that I am bound to support the motion moved by my friend.
Shri H. E. Pohshna :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, in the motion by the Leader of the Opposition regarding nomination in the District Council, the hon, Mover also mentioned about Jaintia Hills District Council. Sir, since a particular mention has been made about Jaintia Hills, I do not want to correct the hon. Mover but the hon. Mover of the motion has passed particularly remarks especially about the District Council for Jaintia Hills.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, most incorrect and the Leader of the House also made some remarks on the floor of the House. I never was against the formation of the Jowai District Council.
Shri H. E. Pohshna :- I am glad to hear the hon. Members talking about the principle of nomination and they have said that it is mainly for the stability of the Executive Committee. But I doubt whether the stability of the Executive Committee is really good at this crisis in the District Councils, especially in the District Councils of Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Everybody knows that the Executive Committee which is running the District Council in Shillong is the most unstable where the minority group is ruling the majority. Also with regard to the Executive Committee which is ruling in Jaintia Hills District Council, it has been mentioned in the paper that the A.P.H.L.C. Executive Committee is running the District Council in Jaintia Hills but after a week we will hear that it is run by the Joint Parliamentary Party and it is also a fact that there are only three members of the District Council who belong to the A.P.H.L.C. group which claims to be ruling in Jaintia Hills District Council. The parties which themselves are unstable are blaming the Government on the policy and principle of nomination. I would also like to request the members who claims themselves to be very stable in the District Council to strictly follow the principle and policy of nomination. For example, Sir, in the House of 16 members there are hardly four or five members belonging to A.P.H.L.C. and the other Members belong to H.S.P.D.P. and other groups. If it so then where is the stability ? Sir, I was expecting something big and something new from the members who moved the motion to give suggestions that will guide the Government regarding the policy and principle of nomination but instead they are justifying their own stand. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I do not know how long the Executive Committee in Shillong will last and how long the Executive Committee of Jaintia Hills will last. But the fact is that the present Executive Committees governing the District Councils are very very unstable both in Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Therefore, I will request the mover of the Motion to bring some guide-lines of the new principles and policies in respect of nomination and to know the very reason for the wrong which brings about the unstable Governments in the two District Councils of Khasi and Jaintia Hills. It is very easy to blame the Government on the policy of nominations of the District Council members. As far as Jaintia Hills is concerned nomination to the District Council has been done according to the rules framed by the District Council itself and the Government is only to accept the advice of the Council in making nomination. Therefore, Sir, I do not see that there is anything very serious and very constructive in the motion and as such I oppose it.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to participate in this motion to discuss the policy and principle of nomination of nomination to the District Council. Sir, nominate the members to the District Councils, it has been provided of course in the Constitution of India. itself under Para 2 of the Sixth Schedule. The Governor shall nominate the members of the District Council not more than four in each District Council and the term of their office is at the discretion of the Governor. But Sir, when we are to go to the principle of our democracy that we understand in India now, it is little strange that some of the nominated members as we have just heard in the Jaintia Hills District Council, the Government have nominated two members out of three and I do not know what principle we should take then. It has also been brought to our notice that those members have been denominated because they have crossed and re-crossed the floor of the District Council. But we also know that in Garo Hills District Council and Jaintia Hills District Council there are many nominated members which have crossed and re-crossed the floor. So, if we take only on that principle then we will find that all the nominated members of the District Councils will be denominated. Therefore, Sir, we would like to get a clarification from the Government as to the principle of nomination and denomination. Thus, when there is instability in either of the District Councils the Government should see that such District Councils maintain stability by following the rules laid down by the District Council itself. Therefore, I would like to request the Government to clarify this matter once for all.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to say a few words. I do not want to waste the time of the House. The Mover of the Motion has referred to the District Council of Jaintia Hills at Jowai. As a matter of illustration I was trying to find out the basis of reasons for nominating or denominating a person. What is the basis of nomination ? The hon. Member from Mawhati has made it very clear about the provision in the Constitution of India. The Government is legally competent to nominate or denominate a person as provided in the rules. Now, in so far as nominations are concerned, we should all agree that the basic principles to be followed is the democratic will of the Council. It is on that basis that a person or persons are nominated as Member of the District Council. Now the hon. Member from Nongtalang had mentioned the principle on this question. Now, I would say that this principle of following the democratic will should be the paramount consideration that this House takes cognisance of. When we came across the nomination which is an unprecedented act, I do not know if such a thing has happened in the history of the House here. There must be some basic consideration for which the Government was compelled to do. I was trying to find out whether the basis and principle of democratic will in this case of the Jowai District Council is not followed. The principle was not consulted, it was done by the Government. Neither do we find that the members who were denominated were victims of serious sickness or tantamount to the immobility in the discharge of their duties. They are not persons who are nongrata. They are as good as any other members of the Council. The denomination as pointed out by Mr. Humphrey Hadem was done only in the case of two out of three. We are not asking here or rather questioning the power of the Government. We are only questioning the motive of the Government. We are only questioning the motive of the Government on it. I think this House is ready to answer. The act was obviously politically motivated. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, this House had a duty to fully assess the reason for which this unprecedented act was done by the Government, and these are the very few remarks.
Mr. Chairman :- Who will reply whether the Minister, District Council Affairs or the Chief Minister?
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak (Minister, District Council Affairs, etc ): First of all, I would like to say that these Autonomous District Councils which were in the composite State of Assam are meant only to protect the interest of the tribal people. The farmers of the Constitution of India have got this Sixth Schedule which we all know to protect the interest of the tribals and to bring about development in the whole area. I was listening attentively to what Shri B.B. Lyngdoh has expressed and I was expecting that he will give us some new ideas through the Government to amend some of those rules, of the District Councils, if there are certain lacunae and difficulties in the rule itself. But I found there has been no suggestion or any mention about that. I do appreciate the cooperation that the Government should get from the other side, I mean the entire House which reflects the entire State of ours. So the main target and the main point of this Motion is about denomination of the members in the Jaintia Hills District Council. Some members have said that crossing and re-crossing have been done during this year. Of course for this I would like to say regarding Garo Hills District Council. I would like to say how many members would like to start from the very beginning. Therefore sub-paras 1 and 2 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India lay down that the District Councils for which the Autonomous District which has more than 30 members of whom not more than 3 shall be nominated by the Governor and the rest shall be elected. This sub-para (a) of the Sixth Schedule provides that nominated members shall hold office at the pleasure of the Governor. From time to time the other hon. member who have just participated in this motion have expressed about this pleasure of the Governor and somebody has clearly charged the ruling party. The hon. Members themselves realise the pleasure of the Governor also under Rule 3 or Rule 6 of the Assam Autonomous District Council Rules which the Government of Meghalaya also adopted and which was amended in 1951 which states that a member can be nominated by the Governor and such a member appointed by the Governor shall hold office at the pleasure of the Governor. Now, of course, according to the strength of membership in Garo Hills and the Khasi Hills District Councils, we have got 30 members in the Garo Hills and 30 members in the Khasi Hills District Councils. Of course, the Jaintia Hills District Council which is smaller, has got only 19 members, 16 of them are elected and the rest are nominated by the Governor on the advice of the Council. But the rules are a little different in the Jaintia Hills District Council whereas they remain the same in the case of Khasi and Garo Hills District Councils in so far as nomination is concerned. In the case of the Garo Hills District Council, it is stated that the Council should consist of 30 members, 27 of whom shall be elected on the basis of adult suffrage and the remaining 3 shall be nominated by the Governor on the advice of the Council. For the Khasi Hills District Council, it is stated that it should consist of 30 members, 26 of whom shall be elected on the basis of adult suffrage and the rest to be nominated by the Governor. The rule does no t say that the rest shall be nominated by the Governor on the advice of the District Council. Now, the rules of the Jaintia Hills District Council vis-avis Rule 6 of the Assam and Meghalaya Autonomous District Council Rules as has been amended by the District Council Act, 1972 which inter alia provides that the District Council of the Jaintia Hills District should consist of 19 members of whom, 16 persons shall be elected on the basis of adult suffrage and the rest shall be nominated by the Governor on the advice of the Council. The rule also further says, in Rule 2 or Rule 7 of the Sixth Schedule as amended by the Jaintia Hills District Council Act 1 of 1972, that a nominated member shall hold office at the pleasure of the Governor. Now, as the hon. mover of this motion has already stated the purpose of this nomination which has been laid down in the Constitution is to keep the stability in running the administration of the District Councils. We all know that whichever party gets the majority after the election to the District Council, that party in power will have to advise and nominate the requisite persons and advise the Governor to appoint a nominated member. From that point of view we understand that these nominated persons i.e., the M.D.Cs should always see and think for themselves whether their activity or approach is at the pleasure of the Governor or not. Now, mainly this motion is for the Jaintia Hills District Council and so far as it is concerned, I may inform the House that three nominated persons are with the ruling party. That means, that in the Jaintia Hills District Council, the stability of the Council in running the administration is still there but after 2 out of the 3 nominated persons have defected there occurred and instability in the Council much to be displeasure of the Governor and hence, they deserved to be denominated from their membership of the Council. I would like to quote an instance in the Mikir Hills District Council. In view of the above provision of the Sixth Schedule under the rules it is clear that a nominated member shall hold office at the pleasure of the Governor. However, in the case of the Mikir Hills District Council versus the Government of Assam, in the A.I.R.. 1954's notification issued by the Government of Assam, the terminating term of the nominated member before the expiry of the life of the Council, i.e., the Mikir Hills District Council was challenged and notification was upheld by the High Court. The denomination has been done because the representation of the District Council's members of the Jaintia Hills District Council. They were eleven in number, four of them have crossed the floor twice and the remaining seven have requested the Government to nominate those two persons.
Mr. Speaker :- You mean to say that they have crossed the floor twice ?
Shri G. A. Marak (Minister, District Council Affairs) :- It may be a little bit topsy turvy. Well I was trying to explain and I think, they will follow me. This authority which was upheld by the High Court is based on the fact that the nominated member of the District Council shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor. I would like to mention in this context, that the Gauhati High Court has also decided that it depends on the exercise of the Governor's pleasure to nominate of denominate a member of the Council. In the exercise of the pleasure, the Governor has a principle in his own mind which has to satisfy him personally. Under Article 217 (3) in the of members, it is a matter which has also to come under his discretion. On the other hand, he has to exercise his displeasure on the aid and the advice of the Council of Ministers and not alone. Therefore, this power may be exercised in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the body of the Ministers on the basis of rules of business framed under Article 163 of the Constitution. I think the hon. Mover has moved this point which I have clarified regarding nomination matters.
Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the course of the discussion on the Motion moved by my friend on the opposite, Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh, to whom I have just listened from my own Chamber, when he made a reference to me, that I was always adhering to democratic principles. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the hon. mover of the Motion knows about the position of the Jaintia Hills District Council. In a House of 19 members, 16 are to be filled by election through adult franchise and 3 by nomination according to the provision of the Rules. Out of the above 16 elected members, 10 were elected on the ticket of the erstwhile A.P.H.L.C. which, being in the majority, formed the Executive Committee of the said Council. The Executive Committee thus formed tabled a resolution to recommend names to the Governor for the information. The Council adopted the resolution and on its advice the Governor nominated 3 members which joined the Ruling Party. The then A.P.H.L.C. As you all know I am going to make any comment on the ruling of the Supreme Court about the merger of the A.P.H.L.C. with the Congress. It is not within any competence to do so. I accepted the verdict given by the Supreme Court In the judgment it is stated that though the bigger chunk of the A.P.H.L.C. had decided to merge with the Congress if the other group would like to continue they could do so. This is the order and I am not going to dispute about it. I submit to the Supreme Court's verdict. Now, as stated by Mr. B. B. Lyngdoh, let us try to find out how democratic norms function. We shall do this with reference to the merger issue. On the merger of the A.P.H.L.C. with the Congress out of the 10 elected members of the A.P.H.L.C. to the Jaintia Hills District Council. 2 agreed to merge with the Congress and signed the form, only one did not agree. The 3 nominated members also agreed to merge and signed the form. The Executive Committee of the Council therefore continued to function as an Executive Committee belonging to the Congress Party in the Council. That was sometime in November 1976. Towards the end of June this year, 3 of the said 9 elected members of the then A.P.H.L.C. who merged with the Congress defected from the Party to form a separate group. Together with them, 2 nominated members also defected to join their group, 6 members of the erstwhile A.P.H.L.C. continued to stay with the Congress and they, therefore, formed the majority out of 10 originally elected on the ticket of the then A.P.H.L.C. Therefore, as the hon. mover has said, the main purpose of the nomination being to maintain a stable Government or Executive Committee, the nominated members, according to the democratic norms, should not have crossed the floor. They should have remained with the Congress Party. One nominated member still remains with the Congress group. The question, therefore, in which of them has not been able to follow the democratic rules. It is the 2 persons who have crossed the floor in spite of the fact that they had come to the District Council through the nomination on the advice of the ruling group formed then by the elected members. The majority o these elected members who originally were responsible for the nomination of the nominated members had a right in conformity with the democratic norms, to request for the denomination of these 2 nominated members who defected. The Government also does the right and proper thing in terminating the nomination of the said 2 nominated members. Therefore the question of injustice having been done to them does not arise at all what had been done is in pursuance of the principles of democratic norms.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we do not like to go in to the details very much. What is being brought here is because the Minister himself from the bottom of his heart has given the list in which he has stated that those nominated members should see that their activities should be for the pleasure of the Governor and then immediately after that he stated that this matter is not in the discretion of the Governor but on the advice of the Council of Ministers. The view now being given by the Government is that the role of all the nominated members and their activities should be to the pleasure of the Government. It is very clear. Whatever ruling party is there in the State, Members should act with their eyes, ears and hearts to see that they do not annoy the Government. It is very very clear from the reason given by the Minister in charge from the bottom of his heart. Now it is for this House and the people Mr. Speaker, Sir, to see whether a despotic type of Government is to be established in our State in which all should act for its pleasure. That was the remnant of what happened in the last 20 months in India. All should act, should think, should write for the pleasure of the Government. That was the dark period of history in the country, that was being brought out and made known gradually the Shah Commission and other Commissions. the Chief Minister for the first time has stated that he claimed that every one should act for their pleasure. the democratic freedom in the State and the country is for every one to act according to his own conscience. This is a very crucial discussion that we have to decide in the State and in this House and soon we are going out to seek the mandate of the people as a whole. I would just say a word about the Minister in charge referring to the expectation that I would give some suggestion or idea on the need to amend the rules. What the Chief Minister has stated on this nomination that the rules and principles have been laid down in accordance with the democratic principles. If I am not mistaken it was the very same Chief Minister as Minister of Tribal Areas in 1958 who had taken the initiative to change the rule that the Governor would not nominate according to this will but on the recommendation of the Council, i.e., the majority members of the Council. So I am not disputing the rules neither the spirit nor the principles on which the rules are framed and which have been decided right from 1958. Therefore, I have no suggestion but I charge that this action that has been taken was against the spirit of these rules. It is not a democratic norm. It is most autocratic and despotic against these members who do not support the Ruling Party in the State. Therefore they have to be nominated. It is no longer the pleasure of the Governor, no longer the pleasure of the Government. Sir, I was surprised that the leader of the House had added more complications to this by bring again the question of merger and saying that there has been merger, the bigger merger and the small remain. The decision was not that. The decision is that the merger of A.P.H.L.C. was not there. The A.P.H.L.C. exists and continues. It stays. if there is merger there is no question of merger of a foot or a head or a hand. There is no question of part merger. The merger should be full and thereby losing completely its identity. Whether this question was brought to support the argument that the two had not followed the democratic principle. Right Sir. There was a member in the Khasi Hills District Council who was nominated by the H.S.P.D.P. and he crossed the floor joining the Congress. There is in the Assembly or in the Council or in the Parliament that freedom of the members crossing the floor. Nothing was thought about this floor crossing and there is no rule yet though the Government of India is under contemplation to bring the laws. So on the question of crossing of defection there is no rule yet. Therefore when at the time of the change that came to Jaintia Hills as stated by them 7 remain in the Congress and 11 are in the joint parliamentary party who are running now the District Council. It is to take away 2 from 11 to de-stabilise its functions. So it just the reverse of the democratic norm what this Government has done in this matter, all for the sake of their own partisan members in the District Council who have been reduced to 7 to come back to power by removing 2 from the ruling party. This is the disease that has come lately into the State a very serious disease. I would like to see even a stronger word about the attitude, the callousness and the indifference to public consideration so long as it suits the party anywhere they do not mind. this is the thing to which we would like to draw the attention of the House. Let us hope at least some effects may have on the leaders of this House, on the members of the Ruling Party for the interest of the people for the long term and permanent future of the State.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Ch9ief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, what the hon. Member has pointed out, by addressing directly to me about my maintaining the democratic norm and principle. Before you close the discussion I still maintain that in denominating we have considered the democratic process and as I have stated, I would repeat for the record that out of 11 members in the District Council who recommended their nomination, only four left the Congress. Therefore, if we are to set the democratic norm, I think 7 members have a right.
Shri B. B. Lyngdoh :- Ina House of 19 ?
[A voice : They are elected members] (Interruption).
Mr. Speaker :- it is a matter of opinion. The discussion is closed. Now Motion No. 4 to be moved by Shri Rowell Lyngdoh.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- I beg to move that this House do now discuss about the acute scarcity of cement in the State.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved, you can initiate the discussion.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Actually I have only a few points but I also believe that the whole House is aware of the scarcity of cement in the State, the sufferers mostly are those private persons in their daily life, private institutions as well as Government institutions. The scarcity continues for the last so many months. When we enquired in to it the Government officials simply replied that it was due to the break down of certain machinery in the factory, and that is why, there is scarcity of cement in the State. But I wonder whether it is the failure of the Company or the factory to produce cement or also it is the failure of the Supply Department to regulate the supply. Of course it is both. First of all Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is a break down every time in that factory and this really put the consumers and the distributors into great difficulties. Sir, in this I feel that the Government must examine the management of the company because the scarcity of cement will not only affect the people here but will also effect the revenue of the State. During the last few years or during the life of this company, the promoters or rather the people who organised the factory earlier have foreseen that they will be able to supply cement to the State of Assam, as well as our own State with the cement from Mawmluh Cherra Cements Factory. But due to constant break down and failure in the supply of cement, other States naturally cannot wait indefinitely for cement which is not forth coming from this factory and so they have set up, their own factories. As such Mr. Speaker, Sir. we understand that the Government of Assam also has been setting up its own cement factory. This is because of the failure of supply from this factory here in our State. Therefore, there must be certain undesirable elements which want to pull down the efficiency of this company. I would urge upon the Government that it should, with all the machineries at its command, to enquire into the causes that have led to the constant break down of the factory. Of course, we depend upon the Government to enquire into these things. Sir, we also want to know, during the period of break down, the quantum of cement produced on a n average daily production. We understand, Sir, from the people in the street that they used to grumble because the quota that is being sent outside the State is generally the same even during the time when there is a breakdown of the machineries in the factory whereas in Shillong and other parts of our State the quota is cut down. That is why there is scarcity and when we turn to the supply side we find that whenever the people go to the Deputy Commissioner's Office for permits they are told that there is no cement available. But when you go to the shops in the open market they say it is available without permits but at the rate of Rs. 30 per bag. So I do not know whose failure it is-whether of the Supply Department or they do not get cement from the factory. But if they do not get from the factory, how this cement at Rs.30 per bag is available ? Moreover, Sir, I would like to point out that there are certain areas of the State which are really suffering for want of cement and these are within the West Khasi Hills District. Those people in the area cannot approach the District Headquarters there because of the distance and so they have to come to the Headquarters of East Khasi Hills District but whenever they come to Shillong to ask for permits, the Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills, refuses to grant them permits because they belong to the West Khasi Hills District. And if they go to Nongstoin, they would have to cover three days' journey and there also they cannot get cement. This is especially true of the people living in the border areas near Bangladesh and also the people living in the border areas near Bangladesh and also the people of Maharam Syiemship, Langrin and Nongspung Syiemships. The people who really plan to constructs or repair their houses, after they have sold their potatoes, find that they cannot get cement and so it puts them into great difficulties. It is also the same with institutions like schools and churches or temples. They generally get help from the District Council and from the development Block with regard to private schools in the rural areas but on many occasions the officers would misuse the money granted by the Government Departments like the Block agencies and the District Councils. Because of the scarcity of cement, the Secretaries and members of the Managing Committees of the schools have to utilise the money before the end of the year, in whatever why they can and so the money is being used for purchased of undesirable materials. Sir, we would also like to know how long this scarcity will continue. Of course, the officials would say it will not take much time or that it will take only a few months. But now the scarcity has been continuing for so many months. Therefore, would request the Government to find out these things. How much is the production ? How much is being sent to the distributing centres outside the State ? How much is being allotted to the distribution centres within the State ? In the matter of distribution, I would suggest, Sir, that in every important centre, there should be dealers. As it is now, even in Nongstoin also, the people are not sure of getting transport subsidy and because of this uncertainty the dealers do not take the cement to that area. I would suggest that they should appoint dealers in some centres in the West Khasi Hills like Mairang, Mawkyrwat and also other areas. Moreover, there is a general complaint that in the cement bag supplied from the Company there is a leakage so that a portion of the cement is always leaking out of the bag and that the dealers may do something to either increase or decrease the amount of cement in the bag. So this is the general complaint that there is less weight when you measure the bags which they have received. With these few words I resume my seat as I would expect that other hon. Members may also bring out some more points.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, just to add a few words to the motion moved by the Member from Mawkyrwat in addition to what has been stated according to the information of the Members. The mover stated that M.C.C.L. had a break down of over a month or so. This scarcity of cement in the State is the responsibility not only of the Industries Ministry or the Industries Department. If the Supply Department merely depends only on the supply of the cement from the factory at Cherrapunjee and if the factory breaks down from time to time and if the Supply Department feels that it is not its responsibility it is falling in its duty. It is the duty of the Supply Department to see that there is enough cement in the State. If the factory is running well then we have surplus of cement in our State and cement may be sent to other States but if and when the factory breaks down it is expected that the Supply Department will immediately bring cement from other parts of the country, as other States are doing, and especially when it was well known about the break-down at Cherrapunjee. Immediately the Supply Department should have arranged to bring up cement from Gauhati or from other adjoining States. I am sure that if the situation is brought to the notice of the Cement Controller immediately, arrangement should have been made to bring up cement from other parts of the country which have got surplus cement. this is what I would like to mention Mr. Speaker, Sir. Also if and when the factory breakdown and does not get enough cement in our State, it is the duty of the Supply Department and the Minister-in-charge to look into the matter so that cement is brought from pother parts of the country and supplied to the people of our State.
Mr. Speaker :- The Minister in charge, of Industries to reply.
Shri Maham Singh (Minister Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is unfortunate that there has been some break down in the Cement Factory this year and this has led to a great hard ship to the people for we have not been able to supply the allotted quantity of cement to the public as well as to the rated contractors. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as has been stated by the hon. Member from Shella about the allotment of cement, there has been during the last one year scarcity of cement all over the State. So far as the State of ours is concerned, the total allotment of cement i.e. from April to June, 1977 was 10,500 M.T., but during this period i.e., from April to June 1977 there was a dispatch of only 7,162 M.T. and therefore a short fall in supply of 3,338 M.T. During the period from July to September 1977, the total allotment of cement was 8,500 M.T. and the short fall in supply was 2,460 M.T. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the cement manufactured from this factory of Mawmluh-Cherra Cements Ltd. is supplied to all the North Eastern States south of the Brahmaputra, that means it includes, Mizoram, Nagaland and other States. The total quantity of cement supplied to these States is much more than the quantity of cement allotted to the other State during the same period. The total quantity of cement supplied in our State from April to June this year is 7,162 M.T. and for the other States it is 6,998 M.T. and also out of the total quantity of 11,440 M.T. produced from July to September 6,084 M.T. have been supplied in this States of ours and only 5,356 M.T. have been supplied to other States. So from this factory at least the majority quantity of cement produced during this period has been supplied to this State of ours. Now with regard to the break down of the factory, Mr. Speaker, Sir, unfortunately this year it has been for quite a long period that the factory had to be stopped and there was no production of cement. This is due to the fact that the machineries have become a little old and initially keeping of spare parts was not contemplated. But now of course we have repaired the parts and at present we are producing almost up to the full capacity of the factory. In this connection Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would further state that after a few months the expansion of the factory will go into production.
It is expected that during the next month, there will be a trial run of one kiln of the expansion and there will be full production of additional 350 tonnes of cement very shortly. But with regard to the distribution, the hon. Member from Mawkyrwat has made a remark that whereas cement from the stockists is not available, yet it is available in plenty at a price of Rs.30 per bag. With regard to this, there is a tightening up in the supervision of the supply of the cement from the side of the Supply Department. This matter will be looked into Mr. Speaker, Sir, as there has been a complaint from the hon. Member that cement is available at a much higher price and not at the controlled price. But with regard to the break down of the machinery, the Government is very much concerned with the very long shut down during this year. This matter is also being looked into, as I have stated that very shortly we will have greater production of cement from this factory. I hope there will be no scarcity after a very short period of time. So with these few words Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would, say that we will do our best to meet the demands required by the people with regard to this commodity in our State.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- The Minister has not clarified whether he has accepted the responsibility during the break down that the Government should have brought cement from elsewhere.
Shri Maham Singh (Minister, Industries) :- I have already stated that allotment of cement for each State is made by the Cement Controller It has not been possible to arrange the short supply due to the break down over here from other States. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is scarcity not only in this State but there is scarcity in other States also and shortfall in other State. However, this matter will be examined but I hope that there will be no necessity as we are going into greater production after a few months when the expansion of this factory will be commissioned.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, since the Minister has stated that the factory is going into production very shortly and that it will be producing to the full capacity, I hope that the allotment policy will be revised by taking up the matter with the Controller of Cements. I think the Government should see that when the factory is running at full capacity, there should not be any scarcity in the State. Secondly, Sir, the Minister has not stated anything about the distribution centres. Whether the Government proposes to set up distribution centres in other places also. In West Khasi Hills District, we have only one dealer at Nongstoin. Whether the Government will approve this dealer so that he will get transport subsidy thereby he will buy the cement at the rate as has been fixed by the Government. We also want to know whether Government proposes to open some more centres like Mawkyrwat and Mairang.
Mr. Speaker :- These are only suggestions. So the discussion on this motion is closed.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion No.5 stands in the name of Shri Galynstone Laloo and Shri B.B. Lyngdoh. I have checked up and I found it is a printing mistake.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the relief measures taken by the Government for the people affected by the hailstorms on the 3rd week of October, 1977, in the East and West Khasi Hills Districts.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, most of the members here somehow or other are experiencing the incidence of hailstorm in our State. Regarding that particular area, the Ri Bhoi area of the north-east, we have had the experience in 1963 when I was their representative and also we had experience in 1974. They were very serious cases. But the hailstorm which affected this area on the 20th of October this year was unique. I have never experienced in my life such intensity of hailstorm. On the 22nd which was Saturday. I was returning from the West and heard about it and on Monday we visited the area and we saw the extend of the damage. it would have been unbelievable if we had heard about it from others. The extend was such that even the stalks were completely destroyed. Even the markings of the paddy fields were destroyed and such intensity we could never imagine specially in the two areas of Umroi and Umtrew. Therefore, on return, we wrote a letter to the Revenue Minister bringing this very serious incident to his notice. Since we know that the hon. members representing that area, Mr. Dlosingh Lyngdoh and Mr, Rowell Lyngdoh representing the western areas. I would not discuss at great length about the degree and extend of damage that has been caused and I would like that Government should really come in a much bigger way than usual in such calamities to the relief of the affected people who, many of them, would go without any provision for food for the next six months or so. I would like to draw the attention of the Government to this and I hope the hon. members representing the affected areas would throw more light and give better suggestions to the Government. So with these few words, I resume my seat.
*Shri Dlosingh Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very glad that the hon. Leader of the Opposition has brought forward this before the House to discuss a very important and burning incident which occurred during the last few weeks in both the East and West Khasi Hills Districts. Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the 20th of October, 1977, hailstones have affected vast areas of both East and West Khasi Hills as mentioned by the hon. Leader of the Opposition. I will discuss only the East Khasi Hills District where the Bhoi area was affected to a very great extent. The extent of this damage only in Bhoi area is about 29 villages with a population of more than 10,500. And 1,355 families have lost their crops on that date, i.e. 20th October, 1977. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have informed the Government, the district authorities on the 21st October, 1977 about this event and also the Block Development Officer and the S.D.O., Nongpoh, then the Hon'ble Chief Minister and all other agencies about this sad calamity that happened in the Bhoi area. But I am sorry, Sir, the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Hon'ble Minister Revenue, have not got time to visit this area even today. And may be also the Agriculture Minister has not visited this area. I do not know how and it seems that our Government has not got a heart to extend relief to the affected people of this area. We remember that in the previous Government when there was a fire incident in the Jirang village Minister after Minister rushed to the village with relief measures of different types and we also remember that when there was a fire incident in Lumshyiap village, several measures have been extended by the previous Government. But I do not know only why the present Government has not been able to undertake relief measures or even to visit the affected village where the people are starving and they may face famine in the area. Today, Sir, is the 21st November, that is about one month and a day and the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Revenue have not been able to visit the area. I am grateful to other officers who have visited the area in time and they have prepared a plan so far as my knowledge goes-relief and rehabilitation Programmes and schemes to help the affected people of the area, but even today Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know why a singly relief measure has not been taken up by the Government. I am grateful to the Minister of State, Cooperation, who had called a meeting of Officers and different headmen recently.
(At this stage the Speaker, Sir, left the Chamber and Shri Plansing Marak Chairman took the Chair). I do not know whether through this meeting they will take up test relief measures or through this meeting they want to get the information. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would request the Government through you, to send immediate relief to the affected villages of the Bhoi area as well as the villages in the West Khasi Hills District as the other Government had done before and even today I also would like to request the Government to grant permission or clearance so that the non-official organisation can send help to the affected people of the area. Mr. Chairman, Sir, from the local relief committees and also from the village elders they have sent schemes, they have sent petitions day after day to send relief specially food-stuff because our people in the Bhoi are largely depend on agricultural produces, and the solely depend on their paddy and other crops. But Mr. Chairman, Sir, now there is no more crops and the standing crops including vegetables, ginger even pineapple, have been totally destroyed by the hail storm on 20th October 1977. Most of the villages of Umeit, Lumshyiap are now facing difficulty to get rice or any other grains. Now there is no more grains in their house and at this time of the year they expect to get a new harvest but at the time of getting new harvest the hail storm had damaged or taken away from their hands their paddy crops and now they have nothing to eat. I am afraid that if this delay is sending help to the affected people of Bhoi area continues the people will face starvation and death. The people will face different types of diseases and famine may break out in the area and the people may die. I therefore suggest to the Government to send immediate help to the area so that our people will live, so that our people will get food to eat and their families may not suffer. I would also suggest Mr. Chairman, Sir, through you, to the Government to send immediate relief and rehabilitation programmes to the areas so that people can get works and they can get money to purchase rice or any other food stuff from other villages or from the market. As you know, Mr. Chairman, Sir, in the villages there is no more food and there is no other way to get food and also at this time there is no work which will make it possible for the villagers to get money and to purchase food. Sir, with the permission from the Chair, as the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Minister Agriculture and Minister Revenue have not got time to visit the area. I would request them to see this photograph of the damaged fields by themselves so that they may be able, to think and consider about the sufferings of the people in the area. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would also request the Government to send immediate help with a different type of rehabilitation programmes such as loans to the cultivators relief and rehabilitation loan schemes, gratuitous relief grants or relief and rehabilitation grants to the areas so that they can start their cultivations to send seed subsidy or free seeds to the cultivators so that they can start their fresh cultivations. I would also request the Government, through you Mr. Chairman, Sir, to give works to the people there in the villages through afforestation of the village land or Raj land. Improvement of the play-ground, irrigation and reclamation so that they can get work. I would also request the Government to construct roads or bridges so that the people can get money to purchase food. I would also request the Government to send tractors and power tillers to the fields so that fresh cultivation can be started. In that area, Sir, potato can be grown and it is time also for potato if there is help from the Government at a proper time and suitable seedling so that they can start planting them in their paddy fields. which have been damaged by the hail storm. I am very grateful to the officers who have visited the areas on the 24th, 27th and 29th and I am also grateful to the S.D.O. Nongpoh who has time enough to have the Government approved shops at 17 centres for the affected areas under Ri Bhoi Sub-Division but the quota which as been granted to the area is not enough. Mr. Chairman, Sir, yes they have allotted two kg. per head per week but this quantity rice of is too small for a cultivator. A cultivator may eat half a kg. of rice or more per day. So the quantity allotted is very less. So, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I will request the Government through you, to allot more quantity of rice to these cultivators and I would suggest about five kgs per head per week. This may help the villagers or the cultivators specially to get enough food to start their work for the new crops. I will not take much time of the House, Mr. Chairman, Sir, since the hon. Member from the West Khasi Hills District may also like to express his opinion about the damage done in the West Khasi Hills. So Mr, Chairman, Sir, with these few words, I hope the Hon'ble Chief Minister, the Hon'ble Minister of Agriculture and the Hon'ble Minister of Revenue may kindly visit the area to see for themselves the sufferings of the people and the damage of cultivation of the people of 29 villages in the Bhoi area.
Prof. M. N. Majaw :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I also rise to support the motion moved the hon. member from Umroi. Sir, we have had occasion in by the past to speak of tribulations and mishaps that the people of the Bhoi area have faced. Sir, this time the tribulation came down from the sky that rained hail down upon them. There also have been many other calamities and tribulations-sometimes in the form of diseases, sometimes in the form of lack of drinking water etc. And there are vested interests of certain persons who are interested in the distribution of such funds (i.e. gratuitous relief to those areas) who are more concerned in filling their pockets only. I would like to inform the house that there was a time in 1974 when a similar hailstorm devastated the "Myrdor" area, as a result of which some great persons of the area filled their pockets with relief. The funds given as relief then never reached those affected people of that area. After wards a particular "great" person bought a jeep out of that money and the jeep was called " Ka jeep phria" i.e. "hail storm jeep" So, Sir, I only hope that this time there will be no more jeep, buses or trucks purchased by such persons out of gratuitous relief given by the Government ; and let there be no such jeeps, buses or trucks "known as "ka jeep phria". It is certainly most wicked to take advantage of the miseries of the people. But I would like to request the House, specially the Government to ensure that whatever is being chanellised this time will be distributed correctly to those people to whom the money has been allotted. I would recommend that independent agency or persons be entrusted in the area to distribute such funds. Sir, already politics has entered into this incident. A few day ago a meeting was called by the Minister of Cooperation and he selected the names of the villages and the Headmen of the villages who were invited to that meeting, very scrupulously left out the three villages in my constituency of Mawhati. I do not know for what reason or perhaps because I am no longer in the ruling party, these three villages in my constituency have been left out. I also know that when the village of Mawbri in the Raidiapnar was affected, this particular Minister who also present there and he was also affected by the hail-storm on that day. But the villages of the Iapnar area have been carefully left out because they have never supported the Congress Party. But, Mr. Chairman, Sir, we should not have any politics here in this matter of distributing funds. Therefore, I would like to request the Government, through you, Sir, that this matter should be seriously considered and also see whether these funds should not be distributed by non-Ministerial agencies. Moreover, Mr. Chairman, Sir, aid should have been immediately rushed to meet the essential needs of the affected people. The Hon. Member from Umroi has given a list of official suggestions and it has been brought to our notice that very little has been done and God knows whether something will be done to meet the difficulties of these poor people.
Shri Jormanik Syiem :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to participate in this Motion and I will add only a few things. The previous speakers have stated all the points which I really wanted to say and I do not like to repeat. It is a system of the policy of the Government even during the British. days that relief should take top priority. It is for the officers to attend immediately, and one who does not take up relief measure immediately will be reprimanded. This calamity has taken place over a month ago, to be precise, month and one day. But uptil now we have not heard much of the relief measures that have been adopted although the people in these affected villages are in great distress. They were expecting help or something to turn up to give them relief. Now, if we go on delaying in this way then I do not know what sort of relief would be given to them. Here Sir, some people might have already faced starvation especially the small cultivators. I would therefore appeal to the Government through you Mr. Chairman, Sir, that relief should be given immediately to the people in distress, even on humanitarian feeling. I would also add that relief be given not only to the actual cultivators but let us not forget that some land owners who got benefit from their paddy land. Now by the on slough of hailstorm land owners however small a quantity they may get with the crop of what they would have got if there is no such calamity. I would appeal to the Government, through you, Sir, although actual cultivators need more immediate relief, land owners also should be considered what relief would be given to them so that they may resume, reclaim and improve their small cultivable lands, by giving gratuitous relief or help in the form of agricultural loan because some of them cannot do out of their own pockets as they can expect to do if the Government could also help.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Sir, I have only a few words to add here. As the Member from Mawhati has stated that we are expecting that the Government will look in to this matter and will really help them. But Sir, sometimes such help goes to the wrong persons. So, I request the Government to look into these things and if possible, whatever aid they are extending from the Government should be channelised through village leaders and village headmen so that the aid should be given to the real persons. The West Khasi Hills District also is affected by the hailstorms. In some of the areas, Sir, hailstorm took place on the 20th and in some other areas on 21st there were hail storms and have affected Kynshi valley and areas of Tihnongbah, Lawbyrtun and on 21st also, hail-storm took place in Mawkyrwat area specially at the valley called Phodlangdew and other villages. I have enquired from the B.D.O. concerned and he stated that he reported the incident to the District authorities and I hope the District authorities have taken up, the matter with the Government. I would expect that the Government would consider this matter and should not leave out those places which have been affected. These are the only points I would like to add.
Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to add a few words on this motion. Mr. Chairman, Sir, we know that the last hail storm has created great calamity in the affected areas as mentioned by many hon members who spoke before me. But what I would like to add in such a situation is this. That any help from the Government, if it is given in time, is much more valuable than any amount of help when it will be given later i.e., at the time when they have lost their immediate need. The value of rupee one is greater than that of rupees ten when it is given in time. I had found by experience that relief measures taken for the affected people because of natural calamities on many occasions, involved certain schemes and those schemes were implemented but not cater to the need of the affected people. By that, the relief does not go to the affected people. Now I would like to give an illustration. Suppose a road is to be constructed as relief measures for the affected people where most of them are women and children. It so happened that items of work in that road construction consist of walls, culverts and these women and children cannot be employed. Masons and skilled labourers have been employed for the construction of this road. Therefore, the relief goes to those who work and not to the affected children and women. This is one aspect of the matter which I would like to suggest to the Government to consider carefully in the matter of giving relief to the people, to the affected people which I hope, in the near future, Government will come to the rescue of those affected people in the East and West Khasi Hills Districts. But I would like to make one suggestion to the Government since the area affected is the Bhoi area which is the granary of our food grain, if the whole region as stated by the hon. Member representing that area, has suffered from inn a total destruction of crops, we understand, this will affect not only the people of that particular area but also will affect the people of the whole district. I would suggest the Government that this area be declared a famine area, and whatever help possible from the Government, should be rushed to that area immediately. This is my suggestion to the Government which, I hope, every relief sent to that area will really reach the affected people.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I will not speak but will make one point for consideration of the Chairman that we will have five minutes and according to the time schedule, we will have only one more private members business and the earlier suggestion was that the House should be extended.
Mr. Chairman :- I would like to inform the hon. Member that extension of the sitting of the House is at the discretion of the Speaker. I can not agree to that.
*Shri H. E. Pohshna :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I agree with the hon. Member who has referred to the hailstorm that had happened in many parts of the State especially in Khasi Hills I have seen with my own eyes the damaged caused in the Bhoi area and the people are really in great distress. Even in the church services, appeals have been made and I feel that the grant of relief should go to the victimized people of Umroi in the Bhoi area. Therefore, Sir, I agree with the mover of this motion that proper survey ahs to be made to what extent the damaged has been caused. But while doing so, I would appeal that there should be no other hailstorm. The hon. Member from Mawhati, while mentioning about the suffering of the people caused by the recent hailstorm, has thrown another hailstorm on the Congress Party as if we are the causes of the hailstorm. Therefore, Sir, in a matter like me this, we should confine ourselves to the relief of the people. We should not make a platform to attack this party and that party, of the Ministers, the members of the H.S.P.D.P. or to the lonely M.L.A. It should be a joint effort, our full co-operation is to see that whatever area has been affected within the State of Meghalaya it is the damage to the State itself. Therefore, I would appeal to the members of this House that while extending their full co-operation, while giving their contribution they should do that with a sense of sympathy for the people suffering from the hailstorm but not to make another hailstorm on the floor of this House to attack the Ministers that they have not visited that area. If I visit as an ordinary M.L.A. the people will tell me this is my grievance. But if the Minister visits, they expect some relief. Therefore, in a matter like this, Ministers should, not just visit the area, but they should go with plans and schemes how to give the benefit to the suffering people. Therefore, I would appeal to the Government to make a proper survey. In Jaintia Hills also at least one fourth of the total population are depending on paddy cultivation which has been damaged and not only the damage by the hailstorm, but it is also the damage by pests and insects. With these few words, I have the same view as the members who have spoken on the floor of the House that Government should find out ways and means how to come to the rescue of these poor people who were badly affected by the hailstorm.
Mr. Chairman :- Now, I will call upon the Minister in charge to reply.
*Shri Maham Singh (Minister, Revenue) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, of course, the Minister of State will reply. I want to give a reply only to one remark which has been passed that the Revenue Minister did not visit the area, that the Chief Minister did not visit the area, and that the Minister in charge of Agriculture, did not visit the area. In this connection, I will inform the House that on the day when the hailstorm took place, I was in that area.
Shri Dolsing Lyngdoh :- One a point of order Mr. Chairman, Sir, that means that the Minister of Revenue knows before hand when the hailstorm would come.
Shri Maham Singh (Minister, Revenue) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is a co-incidence. I was in that particular spot in that area where hailstorm came. It was also a coincidence that the Minister incharge of Co-operation was in the area on that very day when hailstorm occurred. As has been mentioned by the hon. Member from Mawhati that he was also in a particular village affected by the hailstorm on that particular day, Mr, Chairman, Sir, the area affected by the natural calamity is very vast. It stretches from east to west of this District of Khasi Hills and also it is a very long trip in Jaintia Hills, Mr. Chairman, Sir. So it is not possible to visit all the areas.
Shri Humphrey Hadem :- The time is up, Mr. Chairman, Sir.
Mr. Chairman :- I will decide everything. You need not tell me. The Hon'ble Minister will continue in the next sitting. So the House stands adjourned till 9.30 A.M. on Saturday, the 26th November, 1977.
The 21st November, 1977,
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.