Proceedings of the Winter Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held at 9.30 A.M. on Saturday. the 26th November, 1977, in the Assembly Chamber Shillong with the Speaker in the Chair.

Present :-  Ministers-6 Ministers of State-4  Members-31

Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up unstarred Question No. 5.

UNSTARRED QUESTIONS

(Relief to which were laid on the Table)

Construction of District Library at Tura

Shri D.D. Pugh  asked :

5. Will the Minister incharge of Education be pleased to state-

(a)

The date on which the foundation stone of the District Library, Tura, was laid ?

(b)

The date on which the final work order for the construction of the said Library building was issued to the contractor ?

(c)

the date on which the said Library was inaugurated?

Shri P. G. Marbaniang (Minister of Education)  replied :

5. (a)

8th May, 1975.

(b)

1st December 1976.

(c)

12th September 1977.

Shri Jackman Marak :- 5/ (b), Mr. Speaker, Sir, is there declaration for tenders before this date ?

Prof. P. G. Marbaniang (Minister of Education) :- I did not get the question, Sir.

Mr. Speaker :- Was there any declaration of tenders before the 1st December, 1976 ?

 Prof. P. G. Marbaniang (Minister of Education) :-I  want notice Sir. 

Shri Jackman  Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, who is the contractor ?

Prof. P. G. Marbaniang (Minister of Education) :- I want notice for that also, Sir.

Mr. Speaker :- I think in this respect the Minister incharge of P.W.D. may help.

Shri E. Bareh (Minister in charge of P.W.D.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, a tender has been called and the name of the contractor is Shri B. K. Gupta.

Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know the reasons for the delay from the date of laying the foundation stone to the date of issue of the work order ?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister in charge of P.W.D.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the foundation stone was laid but, Sir, it takes time for all the arrangements to be made.

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I will explain, Sir, about the delay. Originally, we had selected a different site but we found that it was not suitable and so we have shifted it to another site. The foundation stone was laid in a different place.

Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Speaker Sir, may we know the cost of the building?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister in charge of P.W.D.) :-  I want notice because it does not come to me.

Shri P.G. Marbaniang (Minister of Education) :- The cost of the completed library building is Rs.5,26,422/.

Mr. Speaker :- The cost of the building ?

Shri P. G. Marbaniang (Minister of Education) :- Yes, Sir.

Shri Jackman Marak :- Whether that is the actual cost or the estimate ?

Prof. P.G. Marbaniang (Minister of Education) :- The actual cost.

Mr. Speaker :- Unstarred question No. 6.

Construction of road from Laitkor via Mawpynthih

Shri J. M. Syiem  asked :

6. Will the Minister in charge of P.W.D. be pleased to state-

(a)

Whether the proposed road from Laitkor via Mawpynthih to other places has since been abandoned?

(b)

If not, why the work is being held up ?

(c)

Whether the Government intend to implement the scheme as promised ?

(d)

If so, when will the work be resumed ?

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

(a) -No.
(b) -The work is held up for preparation of detailed estimate and arrangement of land.
(c) -Yes.
(d) -Within this current financial year.

Shri H. Hadem :- 6 (d), Sir, Whether tenders for construction work have been called ?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister incharge of P.W.D. ) :- Not yet Sir.

Mr. Speaker :- Unstarred Question No.7.

Improvement of roads in Garo Hills

Shri Shamsul Haque  asked :

7. Will the Minister in charge of P.W.D. be pleased to state-

(a)

Whether there is a proposal to black-top a portion of the road from Mahendraganj Bazar to Mahendraganj P.W.D. Subdivision Office?

(b)

If so, when will the work be started ?

(c)

Whether the road from Kamakhyabari to Katuli will be improved within this financial year ?

(d)

Whether there is any proposal for the improvement of Ampati-Mahendraganj road during this financial year?

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

7. (a)

-Yes.

(d)

-The work will be started as soon as the estimate is sanctioned.

(c)

-No.

(d)

-No such proposal under consideration of the Government in this financial year ?

Shri Samarendra Sangma :- 7 (d), Sir. May we know why no improvement work has been taken up by the Government ? What is the reason ?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister incharge P.W.D.) :- This is anew scheme and this is the last financial year of the Fifth Plan. So we cannot take up a new scheme in the last year of the Fifth Plan.    

Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know the importance of the road from Mahendraganj Bazar to Mahendraganj P.W.D. Sub-division Office.    

Shri E. Bareh (Minister incharge P.W.D.) :-It is a road between the village. They want the road to be black topped because the dust created havoc to the inhabitant.

Shri Samarendra Sangma :- Again (d), Sir. What is this new scheme ?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister incharge P.W.D.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, no work has been done on this road and so it is classed as a new scheme.

Shri Jackman Marak :- 7 (d). When will black-topping be done ?

Shri E. Bareh (Minister incharge P.W.D.) :- Within this financial year, Mr. Speaker, Sir.

Mr. Speaker :- Before taking up Item No. 2, we have one matter which will be taken up during the Zero Hour. Mr. Hadem to raise the matter.

*Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to raise a discussion under the provision of Clause (2) of Article 323 of the Constitution. Here it is stated : "It shall be the duty of a State Commission to present annually to the Governor of the State a report as to the work done by the Commission,  and it shall be the duty of a Joint Commission to present annually to the Governor off each of the States the needs of which are served by the Joint Commission a report as to the work done by the Commission in relation to the State, and in either case the Governor shall, on receipt of such report, cause a copy thereof together with a memorandum explaining, as respects the case, if any, where the advice of the Commission was not accepted, the reasons for such non-acceptance to be laid before the Legislature of the State." Mr. Speaker, Sir, this State had a Joint Commission during the Autonomous State and later on a separate Public Service Commission for the State has been created. But for the last 6 years not a single report has been placed before the House. It is mandatory, Mr. Speaker, Sir, according to the provision of the Constitution, that this House has the privilege to examine or see the report of the Public Service Commission. We have been enlightened by the Government that the policy for appointment has been fixed as 40:40:15 ; and the question as to whether that policy has been implemented depends upon this report that the House will have to see. But up till now, nothing has been seen because not a singly report has been placed before the House. Probably the Government may say that they have not received the report. But I am sure that two or three such annual reports have been submitted and, Sir, I am at a loss as to why this House has been deprived of the right to have just a glance at the reports. Mr. Speaker, Sir, since here lies the magic policy,  the implementation of the policy on reservation is only in theory and here the practice will have to be brought to light. That has not been done before the House. So, Sir, I take it that this is being the constitutional provision, and this House has been deprived of the right to examine it, it is rather-excuse me, Sir-a little harsh-a contempt of the provision of the  Constitution itself. With these few words, Sir, I would like to rise a discussion.

Mr. Speaker :- Now the Chief  Minister will make a statement.

Shri W. A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I agree that  according to Article 323 (2) of the Constitution, " the Governor shall, on receipt of the report of the Public Service Commission, cause a copy thereof together with a memorandum explaining, as respects the case, if any, where the advice of the Commission was not accepted, the reasons for such non-acceptance to be laid before the Legislature of the State." Mr. Speaker, Sir, the report of Meghalaya Public Service Commission for the year 1972-73 that is for the period from 22nd August, 1973 to 31st March, 1973 was received on the 6th December, 1974. The reports of the Commission for the years 1973-74 and 1974-75 were received on 23rd August, 1975 and 31st January 1977 respectively. I am very much regret the delay in placing them before the Legislature. The reason for the delay was as follows :-

        There has been a single case of non-acceptance of the Commission's advice by the Government during these years. The reports contained certain suggestions regarding making available o the examination hall for a Commission and framing of the recruitment rules by various departments of the Government. This is under examination and processing by the concerned departments. However, every effort will be made by the Government to place these reports before the House at the earliest. If possible, within the current session, may be on the 29th of this month.

Mr. Speaker :- That will be fixed up.

        Before we take up the next item, I have received a notice from Prof. Martin Narayan Majaw who wants to move an adjournment motion rules 56 and 57 that this House do now discuss the imminent and tragic danger to the lives and property of the villagers along the course of the Umiam river through the release of massive volume of water from Umiam Hydro Electric Dam.

Prof. M. N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, a few days ago I was touring my constituency and I was amazed when some terror stricken villagers informed me that water was going to be released very shortly from the Umiam Dam. They had received notices from the Subdivisional Officer (Civil) of the Ri-Bhoi Subdivision to the effect that if they have habitation close to the banks of the river, they were to shift to the higher, slopes and also to the Meghalaya State Electricity Board would not  normally be responsible for loss caused by the released of water.

        Now, may I point out Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this is the harvest time in the Bhoi area. In  some parts of the State, the harvest is completed 'but there, in the Bhoi area, through which the Umiam river flows , the cross are still standing and it is only up to the 20th of December that the framers there would have finished harvesting their crops. I am not referring to other types of loss because naturally after the wide publicity that was given through the police agencies,  through the Directorate of Publicity, Government of Meghalaya and through Sub-division's field staff, the villagers have been informed of the imminent danger. But what can they do with the crops? They have no time to pluck out their crops or do anything else to save the food necessary for these poor and hungry farmers. Only a few days ago, we were speaking of the calamity caused by the hailstorms coming down from heaven. But here we will have a man made flood and the imminent danger is so grave because of the fact that I was told by the village elders of Umsohlait the day before yesterday that some members of the M.S.E.B. had gone to them requesting them to go down to the river Umiam to inform the villagers there that water would be released on Sunday night, i.e., on the 27th night. This is the only reason for which I have taken this opportunity to move this adjournment motion because of this imminent danger of water released on Sunday night tomorrow night. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have had occasion in the past to speak of man made floods and the proceedings of this Assembly are replete with such references. We have always recommended that release of water should be done periodically. Why should a huge amount of water be released at a time only when  there is immediate danger to the dam ? The sudden release of water is something like Moses reuniting the Red Sea after crossing over it. I have seen the water, on 2nd October, 1974, when I was trying to cross from the village of Pynthor to the village of Umshiaw. I had to wait for twenty-four hours for the water to subside. It was a huge wall of 8 to 9 ft of water which came sweeping down the river.

Mr. Speaker :- When was that ?

Prof. M. N. Majaw :- That was on the 2nd October, 1974. Now Mr, Speaker, Sir, this will not only affect Umroi. It will also affect those villages which have paddy fields on the banks of the river Umiam. Those villages which will be affected are Mawhati, Umtngam, Tyrso, Pynthor, Sohphoh Umlaiteng, Maw-rathud, Jair right upto Lynphuid and Amjong until the river falls into the Kupli river. I may declare that it is through the Umiam River that this calamity will be brought upon the poor and this will be caused by this benign Congress Government. Now  I would .like to further point out that the Minister of State for Electricity and Power is a man of the area who has often claimed that he has been serving the farmers. He himself has been the farmer who stood behind the bulls and ploughed the fields. Has he not learnt from the back side of  his bulls that the harvest will be over by the 20th of December ? Is he not aware of the poverty of these people ? Surely this Government cannot be blind and callous to sufferings of these people. My submission in this adjournment motion is that it is perfectly in order. I have given  a copy to you, Sir, to the Secretary and the Minister concerned. I have submitted it before the commencement of the sitting and it fulfils all the requirements of Rule 57 also. This is a definite matter because it has been announced through the agency of the radio and of the Press. Notices had been actually distributed by the S.D.O., Nongpoh. It is a matter pf public importance and of urgent nature. It is contemplated to take place tomorrow night. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the notices says that the M.E.S.B. will not normally be responsible for the loss caused by this flood. Well, it certainly assumes a serious dimension. Further, it means that the villagers will have to shift from the lower slopes to the higher slopes. Such magnitude and such a height of water will cover both sides of the banks of the river. Now let us think Mr. Speaker, Sir, of the agony and the travail and the labour and the pain and the sweat that have gone into the nursing of  these crops, while they are sitting comfortably in their homes and moving around in their comfortable cars ! Are they aware of the sufferings of the people there ? From the very beginning of the year till the harvest, with black-breaking pains, they have taken pains to transplant the tender shoots of paddy from one place to another, drive away the birds and wild animals and other rodents from the fields, and with some amount of pride they were looking forward to the time for harvest. But ultimately Mr. Speaker, Sir ......

Mr. Speaker :- I want to know from you whether this matter falls within Rules 56 and 57 ?

Prof. M. N. Majaw :- It certainly falls within the ambit of Rules 56 and 57 and it should be a definite matter since it has given wide publicity. It is a matter of public importance and of urgent nature because it is imminent and affects the lives of peasants, the poor farmers in the Bhoi area.

Mr. Speaker :- But his matter has to be disposed of. If it is admitted all the other business of the House will have to be suspended.

Shri B. B. Lyngdoh :- May I speak on its admissibility ?

Mr. Speaker :- Yes, you may. 

Shri B.B. Lyngdoh :- On the limited question of this motion I rise to support that this motion is perfectly in order fulfilling all the conditions under Rules 56 and 57 and as it is a very very definite and specific matter and also it is very urgent, in fact, within twenty four hours. The matter of great importance may or may not occur and Sir, it is of public importance. I would like very much to stress on this question of public importance. Our experience in this matter in the last 10 years or so is that, it is not only important for the public of the areas now to be affected. likely by the release of water tomorrow, it is important in relation to the whole district and the whole State. In this sense, when  we negotiated this project in 1955-1959 the people, the leadership, the administrators in this district were given a specific indication that so much area will be affected and so many people will be affected. That was the understanding. Considering the need of the State as a whole or of the region as a whole the leadership, the administrators, the district, the M.L.As agreed to this project in 1955-59. Now, Sir, what happened in the last few years. We had the experience of such occasion that specific and definite area supposed to be taken by the project was not so, in fact, the effect of this project is far more beyond. This has got a very important bearing on the public attitude towards projects of this nature everywhere in the State. if the definite assurance that was given at the time that that area alone will be affected and if that assurance is broken and also if this project is far more extending for miles and miles around down the Barapani Dam for miles around, it will affect the people every year. I had personally dealings with the people affected every year the  vast areas were flooded, their cattle washed, their lands washed, paddy washed almost every year. There is calamity. It is not only 2,000 or so acres taken by the Board that was affected every year by the flood. Vast areas of lands in that area also were affected. Therefore Sir, I think for this House it is really very appropriate that we have to take up this question and discuss very seriously because it will affect other projects and are proposed to be taken up for schemes like Kynshi, Tyrso and other schemes. People will come to know that it is not only that area which will be affected by a certain project proposed to be taken up. If the M.S.E.B. cannot give assurance of containing the water which may affect certain areas, this will have repercussions and will not get the co-operation of the public with regard to future projects of this nature. Therefore, Sir, on the admissibility the rule has been fully satisfied. This definite matter is of utmost urgency because tomorrow night this may happen unless the Board, the Government or this House decide something today. I fully support that it is very appreciate that this House should take up the consideration of this definite and urgent matter of very great public importance.

Ruling by the Speaker

Mr. Speaker :- I had listened with rapt attention to the plea made by Prof. M. N. Majaw and Shri B.B. Lyngdoh, Leader oft he Opposition. The matter is really of, I would say, to be guided by the rules. Here is a matter which has not occurred because Rule 57 (2) clearly says that a motion must be restricted to a specific matter of recent occurrence. So it has not occurred and Rule 57 (4) says that a motion should not be anticipatory in character. So it anticipates what will happen tomorrow night but since the matter is very very important I think the Minister concerned should make a point that the release of water from tomorrow night will not really damage the crops, cattle and the homesteads on both sides of the river. I think there must be some technical device that instead of realising huge of volume of water at a time it should be released by stages and  this of course I can point out to the Government. But so far as this motion is concerned it is out of order. Let us come to item 2.

Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, excuse me, since it is a matter of urgency, may we hear a word from the Minister concerned ?

Mr. Speaker :- Since it is out of order, I think the Minister will have to take whatever steps.

Prof. M. N. Majaw :- May I humbly point out Mr. Speaker, Sir, though you are on your feet, that the the Minister in all his wisdom is not a technical man. He will again fall back upon the mechanical or electrical engineers who may have a different views and since the poor farmers are not present in this House today I am merely a mouthpiece to voice their grievances and fears and if we at least have some information from the Minister concerned to really know what is happening.

Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I just point out to clause (iv) of Rule 57 to which you have referred, which states that the motion must not anticipate a matter which has been previously appointed for consideration and the anticipatory part of it has not been covered by Rule 57  (iv). May I also suggest that he matter is not only wit regard to the effect of release of water but also the notice that has been threatening that certain action ....

Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Nichols Roy. I have given my ruling on the interpretation and I have also taken into consideration the importance of the matter. That is why I think it is not necessary even for the Minister to reply because that is the advice from the Chair.

Prof. M. N. Majaw :- Again in all humility Mr. Speaker, Sir, because of the fact that this House will sit tomorrow being a Sunday, the delay may be there and by the time the damage has been done no matter what we decide in this House and in a way we would snatch the food from the mouth of the poor people.

Mr. Speaker :- So the Minister will explain on the lines I have suggested.

Shri S.K. Marak (Minister, Power) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, tomorrow there will be no release of water.

Prof. M. N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the day before yesterday, the water come to 3,214 ft. and when I personally looked at the water, I found that it has raised to 3,215 ft. According to the engineer, the water now has raised to 3,220 ft, So they have to release the water .

Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :-  Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this matter a technician should be taken into confidence for observation and re-examination.

Mr. Speaker :- This is not a discussion and the Minister is not to reply. Since the matter is very very important, I have also informed the Government to see that there will be at least no damage to the paddy fields on both sides of the river Umiam and I hope that our Minister will look into this matter.

Report of the Rules Committee.

Mr. Speaker :- Let us now take item No.2 The Minister, Parliamentary Affairs to present the Report of the Rules  Committee.

Shri Maham Singh, (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir,

1.

As authorised by the Rules Committee I do present on their behalf this report containing the proposed amendments to Rules 11 and 23 (1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Assembly for adoption by the House.

2.

The Committee held a sitting on 15th November, 1977 with the Hon'ble Speaker,  as the Chairman and recommended changes in Rules 11 and 23 (1).

Government Bill

Mr. Speaker :- Let us now come to Item No 3. The Minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs to move that the Meghalaya Assembly Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1977, be taken into consideration.

Shri Maham Singh, (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the Meghalaya Assembly Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1977 be taken into consideration.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now I put the question before the House. the question is that the Meghalaya Assembly Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1977 be taken into consideration.

(The motion was carried)

        Since there is no amendment, Minister may move his motion for passing.

Shri Maham Singh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the Bill be passed.

Mr. Speaker :-  Motion moved. Now I put the question before the House. the question is that the Meghalaya Assembly Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1977 be passed.

        ( The motion carried and the bill was passed).

        Let us pass on to Item No. 4. Before I ask the Minister for Power to move for the consideration of the Bill, let me read a message from the Governor.

MESSAGE

"RAJ BHAVAN

Shillong

The 9th November, 1977

        In the exercise of the powers conferred by clause (3) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I Lallan Prasad Singh, Governor of Meghalaya, hereby recommend to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, the consideration of the Shillong Electric Supply Undertaking (Acquisition) Bill, 1977.

Lallan Prasad Singh,

Governor."

        Now, Minister may move for consideration of the Bill.

Shri S.K. Marak (Minister, Power) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the Shillong Electric Supply Undertaking (Acquisition) Bill, 1977 be taken into consideration.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now I put the question before the House. The question is that the Bill be taken into consideration.

(The motion was carried).

        Since there is no amendment, Minister may move his motion for passing.

Shri S. K. Marak (Minister, Power) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the Bill is passed.

Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now I put the question that the Shillong Electric Supply Undertaking (Acquisition) Bill, be passed.

(The motion was carried and the bill was passed)

Adjournment

        Since there is no other business, the House stands adjourned till 9.30 A.M. on Monday, the 28th November, 1977.

D.S. KHONGDUP,

Dated Shillong

Secretary,

the 26th November, 1977,

Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.