THE ASSEMBLY MET AT 9-30 A.M. ON FRIDAY, THE 25th MARCH, 1977 IN THE ASSEMBLY CHAMBER SHILLONG, WITH THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR

        Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Now let us start the business of the day by taking up unstarred questions.

UNSTARRED QUESTIONS

( Replies to which were placed on the Table )

Footpath alongside the Mylliem bridge

        Shri JOR MANIK SYIEM asked :

        1. Will the Minister-in-charge of Public Works Department be pleases to state -

        (a) Whether the proposal for making a footpath alongside the Mylliem bridge has since been dropped ?

        (b) If so, the reason thereof ?

        (c) If not, when it is going to be taken up ?

        Shri E. BAREH (Minister-in-charge of P.W.D.) replied :

        1. (a) - Yes

        (b) - The existing bridge is proposed to be re-constructed when provision will be made for footpaths also.

        (c) - Does not arise in view of reply at (a) and (b) above.

        Shri Jormanik Syiem :- The answer to question No. 1 (b) is that the existing bridge is proposed to be re-constructed when provision will be made for a footpath also. Whether this proposal will be included in the present Five Year Plan ?

        Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :-Preliminary steps are being taken, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.

        Shri Jormanik Syiem :- That is not the reply to my question.

        Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :-  This is a National High way which is not included in the Fifth Plan of the State.

        Shri Jormanik Syiem : When can we expect that this proposal will materialise ?

        Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- It is already in the process of taking action. 

Mawkdok - Khardarshong and Mawkdok - Mawbeh Roads

        Shri Jormanik Syiem asked :

        2. Will the Minister-in-charge of Public Works Department be pleased to state -

        (a) Whether adequate steps have been taken to make the first portion of the Mawkdok - Khadarshnong Road usually during the coming rainy season.

        (b) Whether the Mawkdok - Mawbeh Road has since been completed ?

        (c) If not when will it be completed ?

        Shri E. BAREH (Minister-in-charge of P.W.D., etc.) replied :

        2. (a) - Yes.

            (b) - Yes, except one bridge.

            (c) - Does not arise.

        Shri Jormanik Syiem :-  The reply to Question No. 2 (b) is that road from Mawkdok to Khardarshong and Mawkdok to Mawbeh has been completed. May I know whether the work on this bridge has since been started ?

        Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- Tender has been called.

        Shri S.P. Swer :-  The reply to question No. 2 (a) is yes. May I know from the Minister concerned whether soling and metalling have been completed ?

        Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- The road has not been metalled.

        Shri S.P. Swer :- Whether there has been any proposal to start the work for soling of this road before the rainy season ?

        Shri E. Bareh (Minister, P.W.D.) :- I want notice for that question Sir.

        Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Let us come to Item No. 2, i.e., the debate on the Governor's Address. Now, Mr. S.P. Swer.

        Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the other day the hon. mover of the Motion of Thanks on the Governor's Address had also initiated a debate on the Address. He had also pointed out the bright side of the achievements and performance of the Government under various Departments. Sir, may I draw the attention of the Government and also of this august House to Para 6 at page 3 of the Address which runs like this - "With a view to providing housing facilities to the weaker sections, 10 Housing Co-operatives have been organised and a State level apex body for financing housing co-operatives has been set up". The policy of the Government to house the weaker sections of the people in the State is a policy which is welcomed by the poor and weaker sections of the whole State. When it was introduced, when it was placed before the public, the people with a smiling face rushed and enrolled themselves as members of the co-operative societies. 10 housing co-operative societies were organised. We will not be surprised that small contribution was made by each person to become a member of the society. We cannot except much contribution from these people are so poor to buy shares in such co-operatives societies which require a big amount. The Chairman and Secretaries of these co-operative societies with their smiling face had rushed and organised the State level financing housing co-operative societies. As I said, the poor contribution from these societies of the poor people was contributed to the Apex State Level Society but what is more surprising to me was the contribution from the Government towards the share capital. The Government contributed, if I am not wrong, a sum capital. The Government contributed, if I am not wrong, a sum of Rs. 75,000 to finance the 10 housing co-operative societies and to help create the housing facilities for the weaker sections of the State. This is a thing which has surprised me very much. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we know that this State level finance housing co-operative society is no doubt an autonomous body and the Government expects that this society will avail of loan from other financial institutions to grant loans to the members of the societies to construct their dwelling houses and you know what interest would be less than 12 per cent per annum. And how much interest will be charged by the society on each loanee and to each member of the society who is entitled to the housing loan ? It will not be less than 14 per cent per annum.

        Now, the question is when the Directorate of Housing of the State Government can give loans to an individual with an interest of 7 per cent in comparison to the society granting loan with an interest of less than 14 per cent per annum. So how can we say that this is the policy of the Government to held the weaker section of the people. Sir, judging from this, it appears that this housing policy for the weaker section of the people is a myth. Now Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, through you, I beg to draw the attention of the Government and this august House to page 4 of the Address of the Governor which reads like this. I will read out for the benefit of the Members who do not have the Address before them. Under the heading Law and Order, "there had been a few incidents of trespass, cattle lifting and kidnapping along the border". These particular words Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wonder how they found place in the last Address of 1976 also that few incidents of trespass, cattle lifting and kidnapping etc. I do not know whether I have understood correctly the implication of these words few incidents' it may be 5 persons or 2 or 3 persons or 10 or 15. But the people informed that in the border areas the number is hundred and thousands of such incidents had occurred in stone lifting, paddy lifting also and even international boundary pillars lifting took place. 

        Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we know that vast cultivable lands all along the international line are available for cultivation, but our people cannot cultivate anything because of this paddy lifting, kidnapping, cattle lifting and because of these incidents, the people in those areas are living in constant fear, they have that sense of insecurity and fear psychosis which we can never expect in a democratic country having a democratic Government. Now again, we have the security forces, the Police forces, the Village Defence Parties in our State all along the border area of the State, and especially the village Defence Parties in which we have the V.D.P. Officers also. Now what are the functions of these Forces in our Border areas ? The Government has given us one piece of information that the Government of India have also conveyed their sanction to raise one Border Wing Home Guards Battalion in the State and recruitment for the purpose has already commenced. Now I would like to suggest to the Government that this matter be taken up seriously. We have the Village Defence Parties and these Parties are generally organised in the villages and in every village having a durbar or a council with a villages head. The villages have their own administration at the village level and the land belongs to the villagers and these lands which are under their administration lie all along the international border. Now in my opinion the Village Defence Parties can very well be entrusted with the responsibility of guarding such incidents all along the border because Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is their duty to guard the border in their own interest and also in the interest of the fellow villagers who are the land owners in the State. Sir, it is high time that the Government should look afresh into the rules and regulations now to strengthen the village Defence Organisation in every village and I feel that these organisations should be fully equipped to enable them to be vigilant and guard such incidents and to remove that sense of insecurity from the people. Sir. with this new piece of information given by the Government in the Address of the Governor, at this juncture, I feel that I have nothing to say but leave it to the Government and the Border Wing Home guard Battalion to enjoy the benefit of doubt. 

        Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, coming to another point i.e., the Administrative Units, I am sorry to say that our Sohra Administrative Unit even till today is still not up to the mark. There is only one E.A.C., one Clerk and there is no building. This E.A.C., was also given the charge of the whole Shella-Bholaganj Development Block. I would urge upon the Government to take immediate steps for construction of the buildings at the Head - Quarters and also to strengthen the staff or the head of the unit so that the people may feel that the Government is really helping them. Sir, I would like also to draw the attention of the Government and this august House to page 7 of the Governor's Address Paragraph 13 on Animal Husbandry, etc. Now, Sir, in the Address the paragraph runs like this. "The period of operation of the Indo-Darish Project is proposed to be extended further for another two years. The main emphasis of the programme is on meeting the requirements of breed-stock in the State." I am interested in breed-stock. Sir, some years back the Government has started one Bill Rearing Centre at Mawkdok. Sir, you be surprised to know that in this Centre the shed for the bull is without the roof and the bull is exposed to air, sun, rain and what-not. It is all the more surprising to find that the bull in that Bull Rearing Centre is being occasionally fed. I say occasionally fed because I have seen the condition of the bull. Therefore, it is dis-hearting to say that there will be improvement in the breed stock at Upper Shillong Farm. That is my apprehension about it. I would only wish to say God forbid that it will not happen in this Project in collaboration with the Indo-Danish project at Upper-Shillong.

        Sir, coming to another point. At page 13 of the Address, the paragraph reads "The emphasis in the programme for the development of border areas will be on introduction of new suitable crops in the border areas and setting up of nursery farms for the purpose of production of seeds and plants". Sir, when I read this paragraph it reminds me of the olden days. Of course it is not very old. Even today we can see the cashew nut plantation at Mawlong and Ichamati. They look so beautiful, evergreen but the people who had taken the seeds and plants at that time did not know how to derive benefit from them. They are still waiting for some instructions from the staff of the Department concerned as to how to use these cashew nuts and how to reap the benefit there from. So here in the Governor's Address Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is not mentioned what are the new crops to be introduced. I am afraid it may happen again to-day that the crops will be introduced in those areas and there will be no follow-up programme later on. Therefore, I think it will put the people in the same fate and same difficulty as they have the experience during the last few years. Sir, I would like to suggest to the Government in this regard that through experience, I have seen some of the rubber plantations of the Government at Umling and also at Ichamati, how they are growing well. I though that this crop may offer an alternative to other crops like ravine or betel leaf and other cash crops grown in the border areas. Proper plantation of rubber plants may offer an alternative to the existing cash crops. I hope the market for the products of this rubber plantation will not be difficult within the country itself. But one thing I may caution the Government if they at all introduce this new crop. I would suggest to have a follow-up programme if my suggestion is accepted. With these few words I resume my seat.

        Mr. Deputy Speaker :- My Mylliemngap. He is absent. Any other hon. Member would like to participate ?   

        Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I had thought there would be a few more speeches from the Members of the Opposition who would ventilate their grievances before this august House. But since there are none, I would like to say a few words. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, what surprise me is that when our friends are so serious in pin-pointing the lapses of the Government, or in the Governor's Address, why they did not think of moving an amendment to the Motion of Thanks. That is the normal procedure followed by the Opposition whenever the Motion of Thanks is moved to the Governor's Address. But perhaps they are not so serious and so they did not move an amendment to the Motion of Thanks. A number of points raised by the hon. Members from the Opposition benches tried to tie up the past achievements with the present and the future. Perhaps they did not realise that they belong to the past themselves. They are very much a part of the past, and in pointing out lapses in the functioning of the Government, some of them may have perhaps been the persons who were actually holding the reins of Government. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, from the point of view of the annual plan outlay that has now come to us only for this year 1977-78 we notice that the allocation under the Fifth Plan period is three times the allocation of the previous year. According to the Governor's Address on page 6, the allocation in the plan for 1977-78 has been fixed on page 6, the allocation in the plan for 1977-78 has been fixed at Rs. 24.46 crores which is almost three times that of the earlier year.

        ( Interruption :    "Including Kyrdemkulai" ).

        But Kyrdemkulai, again, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is a project which will benefit so many villages by the production of electricity which is very much needed in our State. I have gone through this speech of the Governor, and the Government has proposed a number of new ventures under the new economic programme. It is still too early Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, to pass judgment when many of these ventures are still under conception and in the process of being born. Let the child be born and then it may be possible to give the name of it or to criticise it. But I am convinced that is enumerated and adumbrated here are properly implemented, we will be certainly ushering in an era of prosperity; and so I offer my support to the motion of thanks moved by the hon. Members, Shri Reidson Momin.

ADJOURNMENT

        Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Since there is no other hon. Member who would like to participate in the discussion, the House stands adjourned till 9-30 a.m. on Saturday, the 26th March, 1977.

D.S. KHONGDUP,

Shillong

Secretary,

The 25th March, 1977.

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.