Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held at 9.30 A.M. on Monday, the 30th May, 1977, in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Deputy Speaker in the Chair.
Present : Six Ministers, five Minister of State and 34 Members.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Let us start the business of the day by taking up unstarred question No. 4.
(Replies to which were laid on the Table)
Black-topping of the Umsning-Jagi Road
Prof. MARTIN N. MAJAW asked :
4. Will the minister in-charged of P.W.D. be pleased to state -
(a) Whether the Government is aware of the fact that the Umsning-Jagi Road to Sohnidan is quite suitable now for black-topping?
(b) If so, does Government contemplate black - topping some portions of this road this year?
Shri E. BAREH (Minister in-charge, of P.W.D., etc.) replies :
4 (a) - Yes.
(b) - No.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- If no, when will the Government do the black-topping of this road?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister in-charge of P.W.D.) :- When the fund position has improved, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Shri S.P. Swer :- When was soling and metalling for the Umsning-Jagi road completed?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister in-charge of P.W.D.) :- It has not been completed.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- No.5.
Taking over of the Umsning-Mawrong road
Prof. MARTIN N. MAJAW asked :
5. Will the Minister in-charge of P.W.D. be pleased to state -
(a) Whether the Government has decided to take over the Umsning-Mawrong Road from the Khasi Hills District Council?
(b) If so, when will it do so?
Shri E. BAREH (Minister in-charge, of P.W.D., etc.) replied :
5. (a) - Not yet.
(b) - Does not arise.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Whether the Government is aware of the fact that in the year 1972-73, the then Minister of State for P.W.D. had declared in the Assembly that the Government had decided to take over this road?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister in-charge of P.W.D.) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want notice for that.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- How does the Government explain "not yet" when it has entered into correspondence with the District Council regarding the taking over of the road?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister in-charge of P.W.D.) :- Government has not promised but it will review the matter.
Prof. M.N. Majaw :- Will the Minister kindly place the correspondence with the District Council on the Table of the House?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister-in-charge of P.W.D.) :- I have not got them with me now. If they want I can show them later.
Construction of a permanent bridge across the Umsning River
Prof. Martin N. Majaw asked :
6. Will the Minister in-charge of Public Works Department be pleased to state -
(a) Whether the State Government is aware of the fact that a permanent bridge across the Umsning River, along the Umsning-Jagi Road, is vitally essential for the economic development of the Lalung areas of Meghalaya?
(b) If so, does the State Government intend to construct such a bridge across the Umsning River in the near future?
Shri E. Bareh (Minister in-charge of Public Works Department etc.) :- replied :
6. (a) - Yes.
(b) - Yes.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Now, the Chief Minister will make a clarification.
STATEMENT BY CHIEF MINISTER
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the other day the hon. Member from Mawhati had stated that there were some mistakes in the Budget under P.H.E. in the total. I have got them checked by the Department concerned and it is found that, as far as the first observation is concerned in which it has been stated that in place of Rs.11,74,100 it should have been Rs.11,04,100, the total is correct and so the figure is Rs.11,74,100. The entry is correct.
As far as the other at page 741 is concerned, unfortunately the amount against Entry 51 regarding water supply amounting to Rs.75,000, was not printed in the final proof although it was there in the proof. So there was a difference of Rs.75,000.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- I would also like to clarify that in the second case, it is not really the fault of the P.H.E. nor of the Finance Department, because we saw the manuscript sent to the Press. At any rate, in that particular place, the totalling was correct but the entry of Rs.75,000 was left out.
GENERAL DISCUSSION ON THE BUDGET
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- It is clear now. Let us come to Item No.2.
Now may I request Mr. Laloo.
Shri G.S. Laloo :- I will speak tomorrow, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Then Mr. Hadem.
*Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have had about two days' discussion and I think all the discussions already made in the House will be efficient enough probably for the present Session. But since we are moving for extension of the sitting of the Session I think, probably, we shall have to contribute something at this stage also.
First of all, Sir, I would like to congratulate the Chief Minister who is also in-charge of Finance, for having been able to place the Budget in its very detailed form. Not only that, but also that he had been able to present the Budget during the month of March for which we are having time enough for 1½ months in which to study the details on which the discussions took place only during the last part of this month. But, Sir, I would also like to make some observations regarding some particular schemes.
First of all, I would like to point out something with regard to agriculture. This particular subject is a very important one but I regret to bring to the notice of the House that the Government, since the last 3 or 4 years, have failed to procure bone-meal in time and that the present position is far worse that even up to the present day; especially in the Jaintia Hills District where bone-meal is required, the position of the cultivators has become worse. The Secretaries of the Field Management Committees have to attend every day in Jowai hoping that the bone-meal quota will arrive, but up till now the whole district is facing scarcity. Some of them have to come to Shillong and a very unpleasant incident happened in that they had gone to the Co-operative Marketing Federation here in Shillong itself on the 25th evening. One of the Secretaries paid a total amount for about 6 tonnes of bone meal worth more than Rs.5000 and he was given an assurance that bone-meal was in stock and would be delivered to him. The money had been paid on that very evening and early in the morning the poor Secretary had to face difficulties when he was told that he and to take back the money because the stock has been delivered to somebody else. Sir, if this be the state of affairs, I would request the Minister in-charge through you, that he will kindly take it to be a serious matter and take appropriate steps against those who are responsible for all those harassments caused to the poor people. I think this is only of the instances, and probably if this matter will be followed up many more instances will come to light in the near future.
Secondly, I would like to refer to page 4. In the last paragraph of that page it was stated about family planning. This, of course, we are told, is the Centrally sponsored scheme and if so, some correction is necessary. So Instead of family planning, it should be family welfare. If at all it is still a Centrally sponsored scheme, as it was stated that the emphasis is laid on voluntary acceptance of the programme. So I could not understand properly and I would like some clarification on this. On page 257 of the main budget, Volume II, Sir, I find that something is being mentioned to the effect that awards will be given for best performance in the family planning programme and for this a provision of Rs.79,900 has been made. I could not understand properly, Sir what does it mean by that. If that will be the amount for these medical officers who have done the best performance in this family planning scheme, then I take it to be some sort of incentive. Then the words which were put here 'with the voluntary acceptance of the programme' do not carry the real impact of the scheme. This is something like a temptation to the poor people to succumb to the circumstances.
On page 10 we find the Government is contemplating to electrify 80 villages more during the current year 1977-78 and according to the information here, in 1975-76, 76 villages which have being electrified and on 31st March, 1976, the total number of villages which have been electrified comes to 261 and 80 villages more will be electrified during this year. Sir, I would like to point out something on ineffectiveness the of this particular Department. Though we are very glad to have rural electrification, but sometimes, not only sometimes, but now and often, power breakdown occurred and the difficulty lies on the maintenance of the project. Unfortunately, in the far-off places not a single lineman has been posted by the Department. I would therefore suggest to the Government, through you, Sir, that the Government will please make ample provision for proper maintenance so that the consumers will not face any difficulty in the future.
On page 11, Sir, on industries, we have found that something has been mentioned about Hindustan Machine Tools. I think in the last year's budgets also this august House has been informed that this will come into existence during the last year. I just like to elicit information from the Government as to what steps have been taken that uptil not nothing has come into existence because about which I remember that the Minister in-charge of Finance had assured the House that the scheme would be taken up in the last financial year.
On education, the Minister in-charge has not clearly spelt out about the Refresher's Course which was extended to the teachers, and in this, Sir, I would like to have a full clarification whether this Refresher's Course, was extended to the primary school teachers and if not, I would like to suggest that the poor primary school teachers on whom the nation's future depends be taken care of and the same privilege granted to them. All that I want in almost all my discussion is to seek clarification.
Now, if we turn to page 80 on water supply and sewerage scheme, we will find that the Government is intending to take a loan of Rs.350 lakhs from the Life Insurance Corporation and that also will be only part of the total expenditure. According to the estimated amount, the scheme will cost about 860 lakhs and of that Rs.350 lakhs will be a loan from the L.I.C. I could not understand properly, Sir, how the Government is proposing to meet the remaining expenditure over and above that amount of Rs.350 lakhs. Moreover, Sir, we would also like to know who will beat the expenditure, who will pay an amount of Rs.350 lakhs to be taken as loan. May we know also whether the Government have taken steps to have a clear indication from the consumers whether they will be taxed or whether they will have to bear the water cess for this expenditure because if this whole amount will be paid by the State as the hon. Member from Sutnga has stated and if I remember alright, he stated "rural paralels the Government" in view of these present conditions when so much of money had been spent on towns with less importance given to villages. We have been discussion so many times in this House regarding the water supply scheme some where in the rural areas. We have made assurances some time in 1975-76 for one particular scheme called the Shangpung Water Supply Scheme in my constituency, that it will be taken up within that year. But Sir, I may point out that last year also has lapsed but nothing has been done. Now, it is found the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme which the Government is taking up. I do not know Mr. Deputy speaker, Sir, if that amount also had already been taken by the Government for this particular scheme. Anyhow, I would suggest that for a scheme like this, there must be a clear indication as to whether the Government will have to pay for the pipes. Now, on page 14 of the budget on P.W.D., the Government is intending to construct two major bridges covering 100 running meters and 300 running meters for minor bridges during the current year. Sir, in this connection, I would like to know the position of a major bridge under constituency over the same river which the Minister in-charge P.W.D. of very well knows. It was found that the construction of these two bridges was not satisfactory. Since two years have elapsed these bridges have not yet been completed. Representations by the local people have already been submitted to the Government in this respect but the progress on the construction of these bridges was not satisfactory till now. May we get some clarification in view of this speech given in the budget whether this has been considered to be taken up along with other major bridges yet to be taken up within this year? I do not want to stress much, Sir, on transport since so much has been spoken by the hon. Members before me who have made some calculation of the loss incurred by this Department. We would like to see, Sir, that the Government while running this Department must find out ways and means on how to make it worth for the State as a whole. We have seen that a good number of vehicles had been garaged, unutilised and dumped there in the yard. But no steps up till now were taken by the Government to repair the vehicles. Even today, dumping of vehicles is till on the increase more those days before we have this discussion. So Sir, I do not want to take much time but I would only point out that this budget as a whole is something that I want to get more clarification. We find also that the total public debt, internal debt, marketing loan. L.I.C. and others sanctioned through the Reserve Bank of India, come to about 1,29,00,000 and the loan for non-plan and plan altogether, comes to about 3,49,65,000 and the closing deficit is about 4,24,32,000 something which we could find at page 9 of the budget memorandum. Now, the Finance Department is silent about the interest on those loans taken by the Government. Sir, if we add up we find that the total debt will be 9,02,97,000 and something, and this, if we take into account as the debt for this particular year for the State, divided by the total population of the State according to the census of 1971, each individual, each single person will have to pay a debt of about Rs.89 or say Rs.90 per head only for this year. Sir, in the budget speech, the Minister in-charge of Finance has stated that "I do not propose any additional tax measure for closing the gap. It is expected that it will be covered partially by additional devolution from the Centre including Article 275 grants to meet the net interest liability of the State Government. The ways and means to cover any gap that may remain thereafter will be devised in consultation with the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance in course of the year". Sir, this budget speech has been presented about one and half month ago and in view of this heavy debt to be paid by each and every citizen, I mean the interest only for this particular year, I want the Government to clarify as to the extent each person has to pay. Further, Sir, I would also like to point out something regarding interest. The hon. Member from Cherrapunjee has stated that the interest for the particular loan of the Cherra-Mawmluh Cements Co. Ltd., comes to 1.60 per second. This is only the interest. Now, I will point out about public debt and I will deal exclusively with interest. The interest will be 1.60 per second at the rate of 40 per cent annum. For this Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme which costs about 4,59,00,000, if the interest will be at the cost of 10 per cent annum, then according to my simple calculation, it may not be less than 12 paise per second. We have heard that the Overseas Bank will also not less than 60 lakhs as loan to on to on the Transport Corporation on that also we would like to know how much per second the interest will accrue. Probably, Sir, the Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation will need some advance and for that also I would like to know how much we will have to pay. But we will have to watch it. The Meghalaya State Housing Financing Cooperative Society is also taking some loan, on that also, we would like to have some clarification. If I remember correctly the L.I.C. has advanced loan of not less than Rs.10 lakhs. Moreover, we would like to have some enlightenment on the Meghalaya State Electricity Board, how much we are losing and what will be the cost of interest. There are some activities also of the Forest Development Corporation and Rs.49 lakhs according to the budget is under correspondence with the Agricultural Re-finance and Development Corporation. On all these things Sir, we would like to have a very clear position on what will be the position of the State as a whole. We are very glad to find that steps for development of the State have been taken by the Government both economically and in all spheres but we are afraid Sir, that if we are to develop, we must do according to availability of funds. Now Sir, these are the debts and interest to be borne by the State as a whole. Some officers in the Finance Department may come and go and even the Government may come and go, but on these debts we would like to have a very clear indication from the Government because they will be borne by the State as a whole, by this generation or by the next generation. I shall be very thankful if the Government will clarify the position of the State as it is. I am dealing only six with the present financial year. Now what about the last four, five and six financial years that have already passed. I would request the Government through you, Sir, to give us in their reply, a clear and definite indication so that the House may know in what position we are at present. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Shri Jackman Marak :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to draw the attention of the Government to the following points. My first point is on Agriculture Department. The Government, since the inception of the State of Meghalaya, has been trying to improve this Department, but Sir, I am very sorry to say that we have seen that this Department's works are paper works and no practical works have been noticed. I do not know if this Agriculture Department is improving all over the State of Meghalaya that I would like to speak in this august House. In the border areas, more than 3 years now I have not seen any work done by the Agriculture Department. People of the border areas, for this purpose, have been approaching the Government with their humble applications.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. Marak, do you mean to say that you cannot find any agricultural work that has been done by this Department for the last 3 years?
Shri Jackman Marak :- Yes, Sir, I will speak because I have not seen any agricultural officer in the border areas and all the hon. Member of the border areas will also say the same. There is so much land to be reclaimed and in this respect, many people went to the office with their applications for reclamation of land. But no officer went there. There is a vast area of land to be reclaimed but it cannot be done by the people only if the Government do not come forward with their financial assistance. So Sir, I would request the Minister in-charge of Agriculture to kindly look into the matter.
Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, regarding fishery pond, I would like to say that every year this fishery pond is being made by the people. But Sir, what is the use of making this fishery pond when the Fishery Department used to give financial help to the people with only Rs.200 or Rs.300. Last time, I have seen about 100 people came to the Fishery Department for seeking financial help for construction of fishery ponds, but I know Sir, it will not be possible with only such a small amount of money to construct a fishery pond. Actually, it requires a bigger amount of money for making one fishery pond. I have seen even Rs.150 were given to the people of one area for making fishery pond by the Department concerned. But Sir, is this amount of money sufficient for constructing one fishery pond? Is this the rule of giving financial assistance to the people for making fishery ponds? There is one fishery pond in between Rongram and Tura but either it was constructed by the Government or the individual I do not know because it does not look like a real fishery pond. Now, Sir, while speaking on this, I want to suggest to the Government to kindly increase the rate of financial assistance to the people, otherwise, I know it will not be possible to make any fishery pond if only Rs.200 or 300 are given. Of course, it was decided by Fishery Department to increase the amount upto Rs.500. But that is still a small amount. So I would request the Government through you, Sir, to increase the amount upto Rs.1000 and I hope the people will get the benefit for construction of one fishery pond. I do hope, in future the Government would take more interest in developing fishery ponds and will encourage people to take up this scheme of constructing fishery ponds in their area.
Then Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, coming to Community Development, Department. I want to say that this is one of the Government agents in the State which the people also like very much so far as developmental schemes are concerned. But all the hon. Members are also aware about the developmental works undertaken by this Department during the last few years all over the State of Meghalaya. In many places, I have seen many developmental schemes have been submitted to the Government by the Members of the B.D.Cs. But Sir, those schemes which have already been approved by the B.D.Cs. have been unnecessarily changed by the officers of the Block. So is this the rule of implementing those schemes? I want a clarification on this because I have seen personally in my Block last year when the scheme was approved by the Committee i.e. the scheme in constructing one foot-path which could not be taken up by the Block and could not be given to the contractor unless he submits tender, but it so happened that even with calling for any tender the officer concerned had allotted the work to the contractor. That same road was already done by the District Council in the month of December. This is a fact Sir, the Block had given him that work in the month of January before the last Lok Sabha Election was held. But I know nothing new was done by that contractor, there was no earth-cutting because the District Council, as I said, had already done the work. So for nothing that contractor had done the work, he had only taken the money from the Block for nothing done.
Shri Samarendra Sangma :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is it Chokpot Block or which Block he was referring to?
Shri Jackman Marak :- Yes, Chokpot Block.
Shri Samarendra Sangma :- What is the name of the contractor?
Shri Jackman Marak :- I can give you the name but I think it is unnecessary.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- On a point of information, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, according to the hon. Member, the same road was done by the District Council and the same road has been given to a particular contractor by the Block Development Officer, but whether he has brought this matter to the notice of the Block Development Officer.
Shri Jackman Marak :- Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it was reported to the Officer, but he has not taken any action against this contractor. The name of the contractor is Mr. Rekson Sangma, I do not know why he was doing like this .....
Shri Humphrey Marak :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to raise a point of order here. As the Hon. Member, Shri Jackman Marak has pointed out the names of the persons who are not here to defend themselves, I think it would be proper if this matter will be referred to when they are present here. I, therefore, request the Chair to kindly get these names expunged from the proceedings.
Shri Jackman Marak :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, since the Government have requested me to furnish the names of those persons, I am giving their names here.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- No, no, Government did not request you to give the names of the persons.
Shri Jackman Marak :- Since our Deputy Speaker has not objected to this, I may be allowed to speak on this matter.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Since it has come to the notice of the Government, the Government will decide about the necessary action to be taken on this matter.
Shri Jackman Marak :- Then Sir, I am coming to my exact point. It is a fact that these officers seldom go to office and whenever I visited this office I always found the officers absent from duties. I see that they go to office only for four days during the whole month and for the whole year they will attend office only for one month. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this matter has been reported to the Deputy Commissioner and also to the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Garo Hills. Sir, after receiving this report a surprise visit was made at Chokpot and at that time this officer was found absent. So Sir, when the main responsible officer is not present in the office, how can we expect that the other office assistants working under him will attend the office regularly. So Sir, I request the Government, through you, Sir, to look into this matter carefully.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Education Department is the most important department of our State Government and this particular subject matter is one of the burning problems of our State Government. Sir, here I would like to draw the attention of the Government to the fact that some schools are not getting non-recurring and recurring grants and it has been brought to my notice that there are many aided M.E. schools, Government Aided High Schools which have not got this recurring grant and other grants. Of course, some of the schools have received some grants in 1974-75 for hostel building but even after receiving such grants no such hostel buildings have been constructed so far and the officers from the Education Department seldom go to inspect such works. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, even in my area the Government have sanctioned some grants for the construction of the hostel building and one M.E. school is just near the main road. Our hon. Members and also our Hon'ble Ministers are always passing by that road and they have also seen that there is no proper school building and hostel building although they have received the money for this purpose. Moreover, Rongrikimgiri M.E. school received the non-recurring grant in 1975, but no hostel building has been constructed so far - not a single stone has been collected there for this purpose. In this way Sir, nothing has been done in reality and the money has gone to somebody's pocket and there are still many schools which are waiting for new sanctions to construct the buildings. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I request the Government, through you, to look into this matter thoroughly.
Now Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, regarding this P.H.E. Department I would like to inform the Government that this Department has spread schemes all over the State - Shillong Water Supply Scheme, Tura Water Supply Scheme, etc. And even in the rural areas this department has proposed many such schemes. But I doubt whether practical work will be there or the paper work will be there.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Both.
Shri Jackman Marak :- But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have seen only paper work and 'mouth work'. (Laughter)
Sir, officers will visit the places and they will do spot enquiry one day and then when they will come back to their offices they will forget them for six month. Unless we remind them again, they will never visit the place. That is why it is only a paper work and mouth work.
Sir, I would like to draw the attention of the Government to the Chokpot water supply scheme. This scheme has not been finalised uptil now. The Chief Engineer himself informed me in the Conference Room last year that re-survey will have to be done but not a single officer has gone there till now, and I have also not received any information. In this area, there are M.E. Schools, high schools, dispensary, P.W.D. Sub-division and Block. Our Ministers also have visited Chokpot area many times. Moreover, Sir, I am sorry to say about the Silkigiri Water Supply Scheme that the estimate of Rs.8 lakhs for the water supply scheme has been cut down to Rs.6 lakhs. We informed the officers that this amount will not be sufficient to cover all the villages and we were informed that it will be revised again. Therefore, Sir, I would request the Government, through you, to kindly look into this matter.
Now I come to Public Works Department. I want to bring to the notice of the Government that in the construction of the Chokpot - Sibbari road only 8 kms have been completed and a bridge which has been constructed there is going to collapse. I informed the Executive Engineer, South Division and, I think, he visited the place once. He informed me that the bridge was alright. But when I went back to see it again, it is becoming worse. The name of the bridge is Daldo bridge.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Of which road?
Shri Jackman Marak :- Chokpot-Sibbari road. Then the Sibbari bridge over the Dareng river, which I think the Minister himself has visited only recently, is half-broken. So this bridge should be replaced by R.C.C. bridge (bell rang) otherwise the people living in the border will be cut off from the rest of the State. Therefore, Sir, I would request the Government, through you, to take up this work immediately.
Now I come to transport. I would like to mention here that there are three buses lying idle in the garage for 3 to 4 months now. I have been informed by the officers that there are no tyres and that tyres have been taken back to Shillong. I do not know the reason why. From Tura to Baghmara, there is only one bus, sometimes it goes in the morning and sometimes in the evening. From Tura to Rongra, the bus goes only twice a week. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is urgent need for a booking office at Tura and that a telephone should also be provided as it is in other Government offices. Therefore, I would request the Government, through you, Sir, to look into the matter (bell rang). May I have 5 minutes more?
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- You will get only 3 minutes.
Shri Jackman Marak :- Sir, the condition in the border areas, as we all know, is very bad. The border people are not getting sufficient rice. From the other side also, rice is not coming to the bazar.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Please do not refer to the other side.
Shri Jackman Marak :- So, Sir, at least the Government officers should visit this border area. Unless we, the border people, get some facilities from the Government, I do not hope this year to get anything. So, immediately the Supply Department should supply rice and other essential commodities through fair price shops so that the people may not be panickly and I hope in future Government will take great care. With these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. Winstone Syiemiong?
*Shri W. Syiemiong :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at first when I went through the Budget Speech amount half an hour ago, since that day I was absent, I was very much shocked to find that once more this year the Government has again presented a deficit Budget. I was thinking that since the last 5 years, i.e., 1972-73 onwards, whichever party might have run, the Government has been presenting consecutively only the deficit budgets. Sir, we know very well that our State is a very small and nascent State with very limited resources and as such it is not very much advisable for such a State to carry on deficit financing. As far as I understand, the States full of resources can afford to resort to deficit financing. Because they have got enough resources and in course of time from those resources they can cover up the gap. But in a State like ours it is obvious that we cannot meet that gap in the future. And the worst part of this is that very often, Sir, we fall back on loans and advances from the Government which carry exorbitant rate of interest. I quite agree with the hon. Member from Mynso-Raliang who has spoken about indebtedness in the State. He was talking about the principle that has been taken by this State for taking loan. I shall talk about interest, Sir. Sir, if you care to look at the Budget, Volume 2 of the Budget on the expenditure side at page 59, you will see in this particular year our State has paid an interest of Rs.1.90 crores. Only on interest Rs.1.90 crores which is as good as 2 crores. This is due to deficit financing that we are having now and if you calculate you will find how much each person in this State is indebted. Only from the interest side you will find that each one of our State, i.e. every person has to pay 60 paise interest on loan taken by the Government in previous years. If you calculate, every year it goes around Rs.20 per head for every man and every woman in the State. This indebtedness we are having now. Only in the interest side loan comes to Rs.4 crores and something odd.
Now I would like to point out here to what extent we are indebted on account of this faculty principle of loan adopted since 1972-73 onwards till the present moment. What would be the accumulated interest accrued thereon? Last year we had paid about one crore. How can we afford, Sir, to pay the interest that is increasing year by year. We have no resource and just imagine how our future generations would be in indebtedness for these loans that this present Government has taken. Sir, this is a very sad picture. Sir, as a matter of fact I think if the Government is bold enough, they would have said that it is very necessary for the developmental works that these loans and advances should be taken. And it should also be specifically mentioned what would be the ways and means and what are the proposed taxes to be introduced by which we can cover the gap. But nothing has been mentioned there. Sir, we are only depending on the negotiations with the Central Government under Article 275 of the Constitution. Last year we had a bitter experience because the Central Government freezed the entire loans and advances which were due to us a result of which most of the developmental works were due to us as a result of which most of the developmental works under the P.W.D. could not be carried out or implemented. Sir, this Congress Party said that by marging with the mainstream, i.e., they may have indulgence of some more funds from the Centre State there may be an understanding. But the case is quite different now. The present party which holds in the State and the party which holds in the State and the party which holds in the Centre are quite different. Can the present Government, the Finance Minister or the Chief Minister, assure how much we shall get to meet the gap of deficit financing. But still there are some avenues, however small; they may be. However small collection of amount may be, we should take advantage of this. But I am afraid, it appears this Government is not concerned at all to cover this gap of deficit. This is a sorry state of affairs. So Sir, I would suggest to the Government to kindly refrain from taking loans and advances when-ever. It is possible or avoidable. I am not against any principle of taking loans and advances but I find that there are loans and advances that can be avoided altogether. If you care to look at Volume I? There is a page any way (laughter); you will find that we have taken loans for the police force from the L.I.C. of about 15 lakhs without any specific purpose. We would like to know what for these loans are meant? As a matter of fact Government has been taking loans right and left and the worse thing is that we are not using this money that has been received in a proper way. If only we had done any economic drive or measure in that connection, I believe to a great extent we could have recovered this deficit. There is so much leakage, wasteful expenditure for every department that the the less said about them the better. The other hon. member from Mawhati spoke about the Transport Department; out of 99 buses, 59 are shut down and only 40 are sunning condition and we are told that every State Transport Corporation bus atleast in a day, an individual bus, earns State Transport Corporation bus atleast in a day, an individual bus, earns a net profit of Rs.300. And of we multiply 300 by 59 we will get a today sum of Rs.17,700 a day. Apart from this we understand from then Transport Department that there has been shortage of tyres. This is also true and there is shortage of tyres in other Department also. If the Minister of Transport goes to the State Transport premises he will find that stack upon stack of condemned tyres are lying there and I think if you collect them in one place, even this House will be too small for them. The worst part is that the tyres are never rethreaded and they are used only once. If something went wrong they are discarded. So it is a wasteful expenditure and the Government is not responsible at all. So also is the P.W.D. Department. You will find that on the road-side of every P.W.D. road especially when we go to the interior you will find chips, rocks and metals are lying there altogether for years. We understand that for the collection of these things money had already been paid to the contractors. But still they are lying there and then the engineers have to call for fresh tenders and pay again some money for collection of these metals. So, is it not a wasteful expenditure? We are spending lakhs and lakhs of rupees. There are loans advanced to small scale industries, loans to Co-operative Societies. All these are wasted. They are never recovered. If the Government had been careful all these would have been reduced. On the other hand if the Government would care to develop tourism, the money would have come straight to our exchequer, atleast it would be possible to improve the economic condition of a good number of our citizens here. It was mentioned here that to develop tourism it will take years, but what have we done during the last five years. This is also an earning Department. So Sir, I would suggest to the Government not to be too pleased to present the budget to the House only with a deficit budget but to find out ways and means to cover the deficit as far as practicable because this ia a tendency of increasing scale and this will tie us down into indebtedness. Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am not going to the discuss the function of other Departments because that will be discussed during the cut motions. I would like to have an idea in view of what the hon. member from Mynso Raliang has just stated on the repayment of the loan that the Government is going to take from the L.I.C. for the Greater Shillong Water supply Scheme May we know the rate of interest on rupees three hundred and fifty lakhs as loans to the Shillong Municipality taken from the L.I.C. As I have calculated roughly if the rate is 10 per cent then in every second that passes we shall have to pay 10 paise interest and already 50 paise have gone during the 5 seconds. So I would like to know who would repay it. it is understood that this loan will cover not only the areas inside the Shillong Municipality but also areas out side the Shillong Municipality including Mawlai and Nongthymmai and other suburbs. So now I would like to know what kind of arrangement is made towards the realisation of this loan. It is only the Shillong Municipality that will have to pay or whether the contract made by them is binding on the people. It is understood that the estimated amount is Rs.116 lakhs and here it is mentioned 350 lakhs. What about the rest and where from the Department will get, and how will they repay it. Whether the Government did it piece meal. In that way the scheme will never be completed. And at this particular point of time I would like to ask whether the Government is now contemplating as to when it will hold election to the Shillong Municipality. Right from the year 1973 when the term of the last Board had expired right upto 1977 there is no public representatives in the Shillong Municipality. In fact as I understand, Sir, the Government if it takes over any municipality, it has to issue notification year after year.
(At this stage, the Deputy Speaker left the Chamber and Shri S.P. Swer, Chairman took the Chair).
And as such may I ask the Minister concerned when is he going to rectify all these things and when is he going to hold a fresh election?
Lastly, another point I want to make and that point is the remark by the Chief Minister. In the last sentence on page 17 of his speech he said that "I would therefore, request the hon. members to help or co-operate with the Government in this noble task". The Chief Minister is requesting the members from all sides to cooperate with the Government. I would like to know from him when he has found that we are lacking in cooperation with him, or has he ever come across occasions that we from this side of the House were trying to obstruct the deliberations of the House? Are we not cooperating with the Government? Rather we have found that the Government is not cooperating with us at all times. Look at the manner how they appoint Chairman to the various Committees and Corporations and I understand there are 24 Block Development offices in the whole State and of those 24 Block Development offices only one hon. member from this side of the House was appointed. And in the various Corporations not even a single member from our side has been appointed as Chairman and in various important committees you will find at least one or two. Is that the manner, Sir? Is that cooperation, Sir? So far I understand, cooperation is a two way traffic. It is not a one way traffic. If he wants our cooperation, we also want his cooperation. So Sir, with these few words, I take my seat.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Humphrey Nongrum.
Shri Humphrey Nongrum :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to participate in the budget discussion especially with regard to the budget speech as delivered by the Chief Minister. I will discuss one subject only which I believe that it will help a particular area if the Government will take keen interest in that subject; and that is, P.W.D. with reference to the speech of the Chief Minister at page 13, and which special reference to one district, West Khasi Hills District. This District, as we know, Sir, has been recently created and only last October the Headquarters of the District was inaugurated. The people were jubilant believing that missing roads and bridges will be connected very soon. Now, since the inauguration of the District it is about more than six months past, but no visible progress is seen in this regard. May I name the roads and bridges that are missing? As we know, the people from Mawkyrwat area who will have to attend to Nongstoin will need the road the Nongstoin-Mawthapdah Road which as I said, the missing link is a portion from Nongkhlaw to Rangblang. As the road is not connected, the people will have to travel from Mawkyrwat to Shillong then to Nongstoin. So, the Government instead of taking the administration nearer to the people of the State it is doing quite the opposite because of no communication. Other missing links are :
(a) Nongkhlaw - Wah kaji road via Byrlu : Bazar connecting Phangdiloin-Ranikor-Nolikata.
(b) Umthli-Maweit-Nongkulang Road.
(c) Rambrai-Kyrshai Road. The above mentioned roads & are very immediately needed for the smooth functioning of the West Khasi Hills District.
The current year's budget for P.W.D. is 340 lakhs only compared to the 400 lakhs budget for next year.
Next year we will be getting Rs.100 lakhs more than the current year. With this fund I believe the Government will do their best to finish these missing roads so that it will be convenient for the people to reach the Government and for the officers to reach the people.
Another missing link is a major bridge across Kynshi river along the Balat-Maheskhola Road. It was supposed to have been constructed point near Rilang Bazaar but I understood that the site was changed and upto-date construction of this bridge is not started. The vehicles have cross the river by marboat. This has been going on for many years. It is expensive for the Government to continue using the marboat and it is also not convenient for the people; as they cannot carry across their ginger and other produces because of the fact that loaded trucks cannot cross the river on the marboat. So I would request the Government that they should take interest in constructing the said bridge immediately. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I do not want to touch upon many other subjects. May be, by speaking on this one subject alone the Government may be take an interest in it. So, in that respect let those missing roads be connected. Let bridges that are still missing be constructed so that the interest of the people of the West Khasi Hills District be served. With only these few words, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. P.R. Kyndiah.
*Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am half tempted to rise and speak for the simple reason that the Budget Speech and Budget figures are not up-to-date. The speech was delivered in March and the figures reflected the mood of the people and the administration of that time. I had expected that with the experiences and administrative know-how of the Chief Minister they would have come up with a supplementary speech and, perhaps, with a modified Budget, but since that did not happen I can only express my sorrow and I cannot, therefore, say anything positively praising the Chief Minister on his achievement.
On the other hand, Mr. Chairman, Sir, the speech fails to inspire any one; that includes the Treasury Bench. Perhaps this is possible because of the new mood in the country the new sweeping wind of freedom and two hon. members - if I have heard Correctly, I think the hon. member from Sutnga, Mr. Nongtdu, had made a very interesting suggestion advocating for a parallel rural Government. this is eloquent in the sense that it speaks volumes of what is going on in the Treasury Bench. I must say that I appreciate the sense of courage exhibited by the member to call a spade a spade. Then we had on another occasion a very interesting episode when the member sitting in the Treasury Bench, Prof. Majaw, advocated for an enquiry commission on the various exercise of the Emergency. I think this is quite healthy and if the House can bear with me, Mr. Chairman, Sir, this is quite in keeping with the spirit of what is going on in the country in the Congress hierarchy and also through out the sections moulding public opinion in the country. Only yesterday I read in a newspaper in which the Congress President had expressed with no hesitation his deep regret at the wrongs that had been done and the misuse or abuse of power at various levels. He had stated that "the party would hereafter adhere to the democratic functioning at all levels and toward moral and ethical traditions." This is an admission of the various omissions and commissions of the Congress Government at all levels. Therefore, the suggestion advocated by the hon. member from Mawhati deserves serious consideration.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, we were together during the Emergency and ....
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- I was part of it and I said that we should consider with seriousness. This was the suggestion ......
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I would like to put a question Mr. Chairman, Sir, whether the hon. member was convinced that there was excesses during the Emergency. I think he has also .....
Shri B.B. Shallam (Minister of State for Border Areas) :- He has expressed his sorrow.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Not on this matter. I am just saying that the member from the Treasury Bench has come up with the suggestion to which I say that this suggestion has to be considered with all seriousness. I do not say that the excesses are to such an extent. Nevertheless, the excesses were there. So I will come to that. As I said, the speech of the Chief Minister since no supplementary speech was given has failed to reflect the mood of the people. The Speech .....
It is a question of how you look at it. The speech itself and even the Budget figures are Emergency oriented and Emergency inspired. In the first page, para 2, "The impressive gains achieved in the wake of the Emergency have been stabilised and a sense of dynamism has been imparted to the economy". This has been stated by the Chief Minister. At page 3, para 7, also this is Emergency inspired. To quote "Despite the difficult land tenure system ........ prevailing in the State, the Government have decided to have the entire State surveyed and records of rights prepared. A legislation for fixation of ceiling on land is being considered." This is also emergency inspired. Again on last page para 34, it says like this ........."I therefore, request the hon. Members to extend their help and co-operation to the Government in its noble task of eradicating poverty and building up a prosperous and a powerful nation" .... This is also emergency and this has been an emphasis on the 20 Point Economic Programme. I think the Chief Minister will bear with me when I say emergency inspired.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think everything in this budget speech is centres round the Emergency and perhaps, along with certain personalities of Shrimati Indira Gandhi, the Congress Leader whom we know Sir, now she was rejected into the dust-bin of political history. She had been in the ruling party for 11 years and her son, Sanjay Gandhi. (Interruption)
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think this is un-parliamentary and incorrect. The same point of order was raised by the hon. Member also.
Mr. Chairman :- He can do that by way of ratification.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- I do not understand how it is un-parliamentary to mention the name of Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister who had been the descendant and promoter of the Nehru dynasty. The question therefore, is the stronghold leader of the Indian National Congress for almost a century and had been in the ruling party for about 20 years, who the brought a state of emergency in the country and let India even closer to dictatorship. This was the past and the present is very important. It has shown that the people of India are matured in democratic consideration and democracy has shown to progress in a healthy manner in our country. So Sir, let me quote again from the speech of the Chief Minister in para 3 when he stated "The upsurge at the national level has had its impact on Meghalaya too" ....... Now, it is very clear from the statement that what had happened throughout the country, has got certain effect on us. Therefore, I believe that this House should appreciate the various causes that brought about this change in the minds of the people of this country. We have to call a spade a spade whether we belong to the Treasury Bench or this side, let us not have two opinions on that so that we can tackle the various causes, one of the many, which have brought the debacle of the Congress party in the country. I, therefore, would like to make a specific reference to the excesses of sterilisation programmes of the administration. Even here, in Meghalaya now, in the speech of the Chief Minister at page 4, last para, he had made a very good statement. He said ...... "Aimed at promoting the interest of our mothers and children, the family planning programme has now been integrated totally with health, child welfare and nutrition programme" ... The emphasis is on voluntary acceptance of the programme. This is a good statement that I would like that the nomenclature of family planning be changed to the word 'Family Welfare' as it is being done by the Union Ministry. Anyway, this is a form of real substance. But what I find here in the supplement to the budget speech, I think, I can all it an emphasis in the introduction of the Chief Minister goes like this "The State Government attaches great importance to the need of limiting the size of family for promoting the welfare of children".
Mr. Chairman :- What page?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Budget Estimates Vol. VI. This is under the introduction of the developmental schemes and programmes. You will know Mr. Chairman, Sir, that there is not only discrepancy but a very clear emphasis on the part of the Government of Meghalaya in so far as family planning programmes are concerned. If the statement is that this programme is being integrated with the health and welfare of the children and nutrition programme, I have nothing to say. If the emphasis is on voluntary acceptance of the programme, I agree but if the emphasis of that the Government attaches has great importance to the need of limiting the size of family, I do not agree.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- But this is only a review.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Anyway, it is up to you to make a statement whether it is right or wrong. I would say, therefore, that in so far as our State is concerned, perhaps, there have not been excesses to the extent where we have sterilisation as in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other areas, the so-called "cursed dynasty". But here, also there were excesses. Even in this House, there were discussions. I think, in the last year when we were still on that side, this question came up and we had applied our minds very seriously and we were much concerned about sterilisation that took place at Shella, Balat and Tura. We do not want this programme to go to the extent and that is our stand and your stand and the stand of everybody. To think about the population density in this State, it is only 43 per sq. km. while the density of population in Assam is 245 per sq. km. where they could have afforded to have a limit in the size of the family. But here we cannot. There is no justification to go in for any programme which will limit the size of the family.
Apart from that we know Mr. Chairman, Sir, that in so far as the tribal population of the State is concerned, that some anthropologists who are called demographic experts had made a deep study on the population. I am sorry that I do not have the paper now ready where it has been clearly stated that the rate of growth of the population of non-tribals and a very profound conclusion was arrived at that if something is not done very drastically and very swiftly in a matter of 2 or 3 decades, the tribal population will dwindle down to the extent that it may efface from the surface of the earth. This is the conclusion arrived at. Therefore not to speak of the justification of the law density of population but taking a cue from the experts' point of view, we have to be very cautious in deciding to limit the size of the family, and besides that, even in this State there is also ethnical consideration as to whether it is good, it is right to go in for sterilisation for limiting the size of the family. Our traditions tell very clearly : "Go to the world and multiply and we need to multiply". We must have a population increase in this part of the country particularly in so far as the tribal population is concerned. In view of what has been stated by the anthropologists our need is to go in for more population in this part of the country. Therefore I would like to say as a matter of policy that we are against any Family Planning Programme when will limit the size of the family. We are for a Family Welfare Programme which will look after the health of the children, the health of the mother and in general the health of the family. I think Mr. Hadem, the hon. Member from Mynso made a very clear reference to a provision in the budget where it was stated that an award is to be given to the best performance in the family planning. He was referring to the award for best performance in family planning programme but I will refer to another head of account, grant No.36 in page 248 where an amount of Rs.10,55,000 for a compensation has been provided. But I do not know what this compensation stands for, it may be some kind of incentive. This has to be looked into. Because if it correct, then I oppose this kind of programme. It will be going against the good policy for the State. So on this point of Family Planning Programme I do not have anything more to say but I would like again now to refer to what I have stated earlier, that is land reforms. I had stated earlier about the policy statement of the Government where it said that "Despite the difficult land tenure system prevailing in the State, the Government have decided to have the entire State surveyed and records of rights prepared." So far as this part is concerned I agree cent per cent. But then it is supplemented by this statement "A legislation for fixation of ceiling on land is being considered." I think this is dangerous. This was not the motivation when we had constituted the Land Reforms Commission in Khasi Hills. The Land Reforms Commission was considered in the context to evolve a system of rights so that it will minimise the difficulties of the people going to the courts of law for any matter of rights over the land and it is also more important if we would have records of rights.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- This refers to Garo Hills District and I would like the hon. Member to read the whole line.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- It is a matter of policy. Now Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have a very interesting controversy. Now the Government embarks on the policy statement to say that a legislation on ceiling on land in Garo Hills because there are records of rights, then I say it is wrong. Let me ask a straight question. That is why In said from this side we oppose,
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- There are plain mauzas. We have a record of rights and there are people who hold quite sizeable agricultural lands and the district authorities passed a resolution that there must be ceiling on the excess land to the graziers.
Mr. Chairman :- This sentence applies to Garo Hills only.
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- I want it it be very specific because a day will come when we will have the records of rights over land in Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills cadestrally made. It can be constructed that record of rights is being maintained. We have to consider this. That is why we want to have a clear statement.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Now Mr. Chairman, Sir, only the clarification has been heard from the Chief Minister and I hope he will give a clear policy statement. I would like to say again that in view of the lifting of emergency and in view of the atmosphere of freedom and liberty that we are having today in our country and our State and view of the fact that this budget was compiled and prepared during the emergency, you will see Mr. Chairman, Sir, that a very sizeable amount has been provided under the head for Criminal Investigation and Vigilance under Police in Page 93 of Volume II of the budget. A very sizeable amount has been provided including secret service expenditure and all that. These are all the paraphernalia's of emergency period. I believe now in view of the changed situation there is not much fund necessary for any political intelligence in the sense that intelligence money that was used on political people, there is no much need now. So much of this amount can be diverted for better utilisation in development purposes. I believe, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that the Chief Minister will bear with me and agree that as in the past one or two years, this year's budget also is following the same trend by having a sizeable amount for this purpose. There is no need now. Because during pre-Emergency a huge amount was placed under political intelligence work. Now this should be considered carefully. Here I would like to make a humble suggestion under this Grant for reconsideration of the Chief Minister and the Government. The hon. Member from Nongspung dwelt a great deal when he mentioned and called for the co-operation of the members of this House in order to bring about prosperity, in order to achieve the goal of prosperity. Now it is quite clear that somehow during the last few years of Congress regime, there has been a trend which is very unhealthy. There has been a spoil system in which members belonging to the Ruling Party were getting the loaves and fishes by being Chairman of the B.D.Cs, Corporation this and that. Whereas only one member from the Opposition has been taken to one Committee, that is a very partisan attitude. Sir, when I was in the Treasury Bench I was very careful about this. I was very much careful about the proportion even for Chairmanship of the B.D.C. for respective parties in the House. But here only one member from the Opposition has been taken and the rest are all from the Ruling Party. I don't think this is the right way of doing things. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have great respect for the Chief Minister who is still a friend of mine, although a political friend no longer, who was very responsive in the past but something, I feel, why this spoil system is being adopted by the Congress regime. Therefore, I would like to draw the attention of this House to the fact that this present set of administration has to be done away with if the quality of the administration is to be improved.
Now Sir, there is a small matter, but although small it has got great importance with the policy statement, which has the ramification of the statement of the Chief Minister at page 6, para 9. Now here I will quote what the Chief Minister has said "Steps are also being taken under the guidance of the Tea Board to plant bushes on an experimental basis at different locations in the State". Now while I do not have any objection of having plantation as such as economic enterprise and while I have no objection for having more revenue and perhaps more employment of our people but if we think of these steps a little ahead we will realise that this idea is packed with explosives. Why? Now let us understand what has happened in other tea gardens in Assam and even in Darjeeling. We will find in a tea garden most of the workers working in those tea gardens are the people coming from outside the States because their pay is small. I am scared if tea gardens are set up in the lower belts of our State then there will be an influx of dangerous proportion. So we have to be very careful about any enterprise whether it is plantation or industrialisation which is involved with influx. We have to bear in mind that our State is a tribal dominated State where the tribal population constitutes 80 per cent and non-tribal 20 per cent. It is important for all of us of having tea plantation has to be viewed in the larger perspective.
Shri Maham Singh (Minister, Revenue) :- But in Darjeeling there are local people.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, even in the Industrial Estate, whatever few industries that we have got, were our people absorbed? We find there is nobody even for the small jobs not to speak of big jobs. So with regard to tea plantation we have to review the whole policy in the context of the population structure. Now from page 10, paragraph 19 I will quote "With a view to encourage industrialists to invest in the interior areas of Meghalaya, attempts are being made to develop an additional industrial area near Barapani". Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to oppose any move fro industrialisation or plantation development which will till towards dislocation of the balance of population in our State. We have to maintain the population structure otherwise we will face the consequence of a very explosive situation. We know well how much we were concerned with this question of maintaining our population structure.
We have the Land Transfer Act and I have seen that even during this session there are quite a few amendments from the Government and Oppositions sides. Sir, we have also allowed trading to non-tribals by giving licenses in the discrete manner and also some other measures which we have processed that way. We should also request the Treasury Bench to look into this matter so that the tribals will also get their due share. So Sir, this problem is a very important problem for us and I would like to make a policy statement so far as we are concerned. Now we have seen that during the last parliamentary election in the country the people of India, I mean the down-trodden people have chosen freedom as their higher priority than their bread. Because they know that without freedom there is no regimentation and that is what I have spoken during the last November session of this Assembly. Therefore, Sir, we will have to be clear in our mind and we also should know the genuine desire of the people of these areas. I do not know, Sir, how far the Land Transfer Act or the regulation of trading by non-tribals are going to help us in this matter. I do not know how far it is true. We have tried and we have also admitted our failures and we very well remember that in 1973 we had brought forward a Bill i.e. introduction of the residential permit Bill and we also had passed this Bill. But we failed to get the assent of the President. Therefore, I would say that this is the most proper time to think to bring out a legislation on the same line. I hope the House will agree and I believe that the present Government in the Centre should be moved and, if so, we should have an inner-line regulation just as in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram. So Sir, this is my policy statement. What I mean to say is that let the nation know that the problems we are facing here today are similar to that of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram and it is worth mentioning here. We know the influx of population from foreign countries in the southern parts of the country. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I say that this is the time to act and if we delay then ........
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Kyndiah you have already taken 45 minutes. So how much time more do you require?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to say only a few words and it will take not more than fifteen minutes. Now I will speak on non-policy matter. here I would like to say something on the appointment of the personnel in other departments like P.W.D. and Veterinary Department. Sir, I know that there are difficulties of getting personnel for these departments and we also know that we have very few local boys who are qualified for filling up posts in these departments. That is why we will have to get the persons from outside our State on contract basis for five years and even this is not sufficient to meet our handicaps. Perhaps, it is due to this reason that there has been some kind of relaxation for employing people coming from outside on permanent basis. Here I would like to refer to the appointment made in the Veterinary Department. Of late during the month of February, some thirteen officers of the rank of Veterinary Assistant Surgeon and E.O. Veterinary have been appointed on a permanent basis. Here my point is that there are quite a few students who are studying in the Veterinary College. During the course of the next three years I calculate that we will be getting about 25 tribal boys, I mean local boys, who will be able to fill up such posts. Therefore I suggest to the Government to block these posts for our local boys. Because such kind of permanent appointments of outside people is not good. So, the Government should reconsider this matter.
Shri E. Bareh (Minister Agriculture etc) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is not possible on the part of the Government to block there posts. As we know the interviews are conducted by the M.P.S.C. and we have nothing to do with the M.P.S.C. which is an autonomous body. Moreover, there is also the question of seniority which we will have to take into consideration.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, what I mean to say is that while making regular appointment like this, the Government should also bear in mind how great is the need and how far it will affect and block the future of our local candidates. Therefore my suggestion is that something should be done by the Government to safeguard the interest of our local people. Moreover, in the previous appointment the candidates used to be from West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, etc. But this time the candidates are from only one particular State. So I believe that there is something wrong something wrong somewhere.
Shri E. Bareh (Minister Agriculture etc) :- As I already informed the House that it is completely under the control of the M.P.S.C. and we have nothing to say about this.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I say yes and I do admit it. But from the Government side also at least something can be done.
Now I would like to say a few words on the working of the Directorate of Information and Public Relations. During the Emergency there were many slogans about the policies of the Government. But now the emergency has been lifted and I think that all kinds of public opinions should be encouraged because democracy is the basic liberty of all citizens. But somehow I would like to tell you, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that during the course of last few months of the Congress regime, there are certain newspapers which are perhaps a bit critical of the Government, they have not got advertisements, but those which speak highly of the Government are getting the bulk advertisements. I would, therefore, make my humble suggestions that in this particular matter, a thorough probe is necessary because there is something fishy behind this. I do not know why, because I believe, in fact, if they are worthy of duties and if they are decent, it is good. If anybody speaks highly of the Government, it is bad and if somebody speaks of the misuse of power and misdeeds of the Government, it is good. If there are some papers of the Government, I hope they will not be penalised.
Mr. Chairman :- It is only now, Mr. Kyndiah?
Shri P.R. Kyndiah :- In the previous year and it was brought to the attention of the House. From the figures, we know how far it is true. That is why I say it is good. I would like to mention only one more point before I take my seat. Now in so far as development is concerned, much has been done about the development of Shillong. This is an admitted fact. But I believe in urban development for a size of Shillong with the population growth, we have to bear in mind the importance of having good sewerage and drainage system. We are fully conversant with this matter that this is an infrastructure of the urban development and I would, therefore, urge upon the Government, through you, Sir, to see that this scheme of sewerage and drainage for Shillong should be speeded up. Only then we will be having Shillong as a real beautiful city which we all love like before. Therefore, in this regard, I shall leave the rest during the distribution of the cut motions. With these words, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Chairman :- Is there any Member who would like to participate?
Shri Maham Singh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- I have given the names the day before yesterday of Mr. Kurbah and Mr. Joshi.
Mr. Chairman :- We have 1½ hours more. How many of you will speak?
Shri Maham Singh (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- 5 members.
Mr. Chairman :- Now Mr. Kurbah.
Shri E. Kurbah :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, at the outset, I would like to congratulate the Finance Minister who has made the Budget Speech to this House for discussion. Sir, we have heard that many members who have spoken before me during the last few days have been criticising the imposition of the emergency by the then Central Government during the last one year. But I have never heard anybody who spoke against the Emergency during the period of the emergency. Many of them are speaking about the Emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister, Shrimati Indira Gandhi in which they have been criticising and even said that the 20-point programme is no more. We know that the Government has its own programmes and policies to be implemented and I am very much against those who spoke against them because we really need the programmes for the good of the people through different departments of the Government. Mr. Chairman, Sir, at page 3 of the Budget Speech, there is mention about the new economic programme which the State Government has taken steps for the speedy implementation in the entire State like survey of land records in the State. As we know, the land tenure system in our State is very different from other States and we really need that land should be surveyed and proper records of rights kept so that when the people need any assistance from the Government or the banks, they could get very easily. As it is now, the people find it very difficult to get loans from the Government or the banks in the absence of land records. Therefore, I would request the Government to see to this and implement it as quickly as possible for the betterment and benefit of our people.
Now I come to another point regarding supply of controlled cloth. As we have seen here, Government have envisaged the scheme for supply of controlled cloth through cooperative societies. Of course we know that many people have purchased controlled cloth at subsidised rate. I would suggest to the Government that controlled cloth should also be channelised through the Social Welfare Centres existing in different parts of our State.
In this way many of the difficulties and problems of the poor people in the rural areas will be solved. Mr. Chairman, Sir, now I would like to come to another point and that is agriculture. As the hon. Members from Mynso-Raliang has already spoken about the mis-utilisation of bonemeal in the last few weeks, I also know that very often it happens like that in the distribution of fertilisers and bonemeal to our cultivators. Many people who are real cultivators used to come to us and place their difficulties in the matter of getting fertilisers or bonemeal. Even there were times when they arranged with those whole-salers of different areas that bonemeal or fertilisers would be taken delivery on such and such date, but when those poor people have come from different areas to take delivery of their bonemeal or fertilisers, they found that they could not get as already arranged earlier. These poor people did not get their fertilisers on the appointed date as already promised by the wholesalers. So we have seen many failures in the matter of distribution of bonemeal and fertilizer to the cultivators.
Then I come to another point. Now Sir, on irrigation, we have seen the Government have taken some steps for improving minor irrigation projects and they are proposing to take up many minor irrigation projects for the betterment of our people for increasing production in the State. So flow and 5 lift irrigation projects have been started by the Government in 1974-75, but I would like to know from the Government what is the outcome from these two flow and lift-irrigation projects. How much has been produced every year from those paddy fields in which those projects have been started. Whether these projects are successful till now or not? I want to know this because I have seen many people who have taken up this scheme at Khahmara area have experienced a great handicap in their cultivation work because of the failure of either electricity or motor of the project. I have seen water could not be pumped out of the river to reach and irrigate their fields. So here also I want to know from the Government whether this is really a smoothly run project and how they are running this lift irrigation project there. I know there are so many plots of land in different areas where many flow and lift irrigation projects can be taken up by the Government. For example, Lyniong village under Nongspung Constituency beyond Mawphlang is very suitable for irrigation project. But I don't know how far the Department has done in this matter for that village. I would also like to inform the Government in this respect that I have seen with my own eyes, even if I am not a technical person, one very suitable village at Nongur near Weilyngkut village in which flow irrigation project can be started and where only if one foot deep would be damed the water can be brought from the river to the fields. So if the Government can take up this matter seriously I believe the people of that area will be much benefited and the production of rice will increase.
Now, I come to another point regarding fishery. Of course this is very important especially for the rural people. But Sir, the way of distribution of grants through the Fishery Department is really very disappointing. I know even the officers from this particular Department have never inspected the places where the people want to make fishery ponds. Therefore, the really deserving people never get the grants whereas those people who never start the work at all get the grants. So they find it very difficult because in this way they have to go from one person to another to get the grants. So the people have been harassed like anything and instead of getting impetus and encouragement, they get disappointment and harassment from Fishery Department. Therefore, I would like the Government to look into this matter carefully and see that those people who come from far and different areas only one and not very often, are treated well and grants due to them are equally distributed and be deferred from one day to another big and small which they ought to get from the Department.
Then I come to another point. Regarding community development I have already experienced personally how developmental works were being carried on in the Blocks. I would like to bring to the notice of the Government lack of co-ordination and co-operation among the staff of different Blocks. There is no co-ordination and co-operation at all between the Administrative Officer and his staff in different Blocks. This ia a fact, Sir, because I have seen in certain Blocks some staff are very much against the Administrative Officer himself and I have seen the Administrative Officer could never win the heart of his staff in matters of implementing the schemes in the Block. As a result, the people who are coming from different areas find it difficult to get the grants from the Block because they find one staff of the Block does not co-operate with another or with the Administrative Officer. This often causes great inconvenience and harassment to the people. So I would like to request the Government to take a serious view of this matter so that there should not be any lack of co-ordination and co-operation in the different Blocks. Steps should be taken seriously in this regard so that the people do not suffer in future as far as grants are concerned in different Blocks.
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak (Minister, Community Development etc.) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, on a point of clarification about which Blocks the hon. Member has mentioned?
Shri Edward Kurbah :- That is about Mairang and Mawphlang Blocks, Sir. In this way, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have seen our people in the rural areas always suffering and so I would request the Government to solve their problem otherwise it may so happen again that when they come for getting grants from the Blocks many times they will have to return without getting grants at all.
Then Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to come to another point. That is on electricity which I have heard so many complaints from the people especially during these hard days. I have heard the workers of the Meghalaya State Electricity Board when they go to any part of the State for alignment, they use to cut down the trees in many places without prior permission. Generally, wherever there is a place where the line of electricity is to pass through the workers of the M.S.E.B., used to fell down even fruit trees belonging to the local people. I am talking about the line going from Shillong to Mairang and Nongstoin. There I have heard even many fruit have been felled by the workers of Meghalaya State Electricity Board. The owners of these trees have come to me complaining about the matter and asking me whether they could get compensation for the felled trees or not. I said I could not assure them about compensation. I just told them that before the workers fell down the fruit trees they should have consulted first the owners of the land in different areas where the electricity line is proposed to pass through. But I know that even now also the workers of M.S.E.B. never did that nor did they over consult the owners of the land and the real owners are really suffering and badly affected. So I would like to know from the Government whether compensation is considered for those people who losing their trees or fruit trees which were cut by the M.S.E.B. while bringing the power line from Shillong to Nongstoin. Another point I would like to bring to the notice of the Government is regarding industries. I think I am not the only one who is very much disappointed and dis-satisfied in the matter of distribution of grants to the artisans. I do not know most probably no-body from the upland areas was selected. In my areas they are getting grants and I have seen from the list also that the persons who are getting the grant are very very few but in spite of that I have learned that many applications have been received in the Industrial Department for consideration of the grants. Some are getting only half but in some cases two persons of the same family are getting the grants. I would like to point pout also whether it is the fault of the Government or the Department or the Selection Committee. So it is better in future to provide equal shares to the people in the State.
Now I would like to come to another point Sir, and that is regarding health. I have seen the Government is trying to accelerate the construction of different Primary Health Centres in different areas and the Government also is proposing to provide one Primary Health Centre in Government also is proposing to provide one Primary Health Centre in each Block and if the Government does so it is very useful to our people because the people from different areas go to the Block and through the Block they are getting all the facilities which are being channelised through it. And it would be better for our people if the construction of the Primary Health Centre at Sohiong is taken up at the earliest. I have seen that it has been started long long time ago in the year 1975-76. But uptil now nothing has been done. I do not know whether there is no more money or something wrong with the contractors. I would like to see about this so that people from that area can get facilities as soon as possible (bell rang)
Mr. Chairman :- I will give you 2 minutes more.
Shri E. Kurbah :- Sir, the Government is trying its level best to complete all the roads and bridges but even then there are still many of them to be completed. Now after passing this budget I hope that the remaining bridges and roads would be completed as soon as possible. There are so many roads which are missing in the budget itself. One of them is a bridge in an area where the previous Minister of P.W.D. had visited once near Rylli and he had also promised that the road from Weilyngkut to Nongdfsap would be taken up, but this is not even found in the list of roads in the budget. So I would request the present Government to take the initiative because that road was constructed by the Block and what is needed is only maintenance cost. There is also a bridge which is under construction. It is nearly completed and after completion the road also will be taken up. So I would request the Government to complete this bridge so that construction of the road can be taken up. Another point is regarding P.W.D. Of course this is also in connection with land compensation (bell rang).
Mr. Chairman :- You will get 2 minutes more.
Shri E. Kurbah :- Regarding payment of compensation for the road from Mawmaram to Mawmih nothing has been done and so I want to meet the S.D.O. at Mairang and he said that it was under the D.C. Khasi Hills. This is very complicated especially after creation of these two Districts. So I would ask the Government to solve this problem to help the people. Regarding the question of connecting that road i.e. from Mawmaram to Mawmih I do not know how the work was stopped half-way. Now the road is motorable upto Krang but from Krang to Mawmih is not completed at all. So I would request the Government to complete this also. With these words Sir, I resume my seat.
*Shri D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, at the very outset I would like to thank the Chief Minister for his beautiful budget speech for 1977-78 where he has said that impressive gains had been achieved in the wake of the Emergency. This is at page 1. I have found that many hon. members have gone all out in criticising the lapses of that period wherein in some cases some abuse of power was seen. But I am very much constrained to find that they have no word to praise the Government for the achievement and good performance during the emergency. There is no denying the fact that during this period our country has made considerable progress and improvement in the economic front Sir, I have found that some of the hon. members were very critical of the measures proposed to be taken in the matter of rapid industrialisation of by implementing various schemes of development. For instance, there is a proposal, as we have found in the budget, to start tea plantation in various locations in the State as an experimental measures. The hon. member from Jaiaw was very much apprehensive that if tea industry grows in our State, people from outside the State may come in large number and reduce the population structure that is obtaining at present. That very measure, on the one hand is basic because that plantation of tea in our State is when plantation will be taken up on experimental basis and on the other hand, when plantation will be taken up, I believe Government will go in for giving proper training to our people to man the industry when it comes up; our own people from the State of Meghalaya. As far as I know our people are industrious, they are laborious people, sincere people. Given a scope for training they can prove they are worthy in many fields, industry, agriculture or any other developmental works. Why should it be by apprehension that if we start industries, people from outside will come in. Are our people inferior to anybody else in the country? I believe they are not. So, it is because we suffer from inferiority complex that outsiders should come in large number that we should not go for industrialisation, I think that Government does not find any bar. I thank the Chief Minister for his noble task in improving the economy of the State by going in for tea industry also in the coming future. One of my friends from the opposite side has said that due caution should be exercised in the spending of money earmarked for criminal investigation Department. He is apprehensive of the fact that the Government may come in for political hunt. Sir, to me I believe and I know that for the last five years during my tenure of office here there was no man hunting, no political man hunting in our State and I believe no considerable amount of money was spent on that account. Sir, recently there has been a spot investigation in the town and rural areas recently there has been a spot investigation in the town and rural areas in the cases of burglary and theft and Government has taken effective measures to curb the unlawful activities of the C.I.D. and the Police for which we require to spend money and that the money which was earmarked for that purpose seems to be very much exhaustive. One of my friends from the opposite side has said that the Chief Minister has not proposed fresh taxation in the State and at the same time he has said that there are resources for meeting the deficit, if those resources are properly tapped. Meghalaya, as you know, Sir, is full of resources and the Government is going in for tapping and harnessing those resources to build up a strong economy and in times to come, in the near future, I believe the Government will be in a position to go in for a surplus budget. The people and the leaders of the State from all walks of life have to lend their helping hand and cooperate with the Government of our State which is a poor State where the people are living below the poverty line. So, if the Government do not come in for industrialisation, for improvement of the economy then it will be doing injustice to our people. Therefore, to avoid this burden on the suffering public the Chief Minister was wise enough not to go in for any new taxation. Therefore, I think I am very much grateful to him for this.
Sir, coming to education, I have found that our Government is doing a lot to improve the standard of education in our State to give facilities to our teaching staff and concerted efforts are being taken by the Education Department in order to give the corresponding facilities to them. The task of implementation of the Assam Pay Commission's recommendations which were adopted by our State and I am happy to note that our Government has gone in for this. This will bring about a better standard of living to our teachers both college and school teachers. The Government have promised to give them this pay structure to be implemented in the case of teachers with effect from November, 1976. But now considering this, they have revised their scheme and the Government have promised to implement the scheme.
The Government has gone all out to give relief to our suffering teachers both college and school teachers. In the case of deficit system of schools, at the initial stage the Government had promised to give them a new pay structure to be implemented in the case of teachers from November 1, 1976. But now, considering their plight, they have revised that scheme and the Government have promised to implement the scheme not from November 1, 1976, but from 1st April, 1975, No doubt it will be a step further in the implementation of the recommendations of the Pay Committee. But representations have gone to the Government and, as a public representative, to me also that I should take up the case of the teachers if the deficit system of schools in the State. The Government should see to it than the recommendations of the Pay Committee, as published in the Gazette of Meghalaya, wherein the Governor was pleased to say that the implementation of the recommendations could be made from 1st January, 1973, is given effect to in the case of teachers who are responsible for educating our children. While the Government servants serving in other Departments are enjoying all the facilities enjoined in the recommendations of the Pay Committee, our schools teachers also who get come facilities should not be debarred from enjoying the benefit of the Pay Committee's recommendations. I had made a suggestion to the Government during the last Session that the Government pay scales should be given to the peons serving in the schools under the deficit system of grant to which the Government was kind enough to accept. And now the peons who were given only Rs.9 as Dearness Allowance from the side of the Government are going to get the scales prescribed by the Government as per recommendations of the Pay Committee. It is indeed a very welcome gesture of the Government. There had been another suggestion with regard to deficit M.E. schools where there is no provision for posting of office clerk.
Consequently, the Head-master who, under the new system/structure of the Managing Committee, has to act as the Secretary of the School also, has virtually become a clerk and so has no more time to devote himself to the academic side. He is practically detained in the office for doing office works and also to prepare statements and returns in reply to Government enquiries. So he is busy the whole day. That was why I had given my suggestions to the Government that in the case of deficit system of schools which will not be more than 150 in all provisions for clerks should be given. I again urge upon the Government that the suggestion made in the previous House should be implemented.
Once of my friends, the hon. Member from Mawkhar, had stated that in our State the Education Department had gone all out for sports, athletic meets and excursions and he was apprehensive that the standard of education would fall down. But I believe, Sir, that mere giving of knowledge is not the only part of education. We have stepped into the shoes of the Britishers who were all out to create 'babus' only. They have prescribed certain curricular where they can create clerks, office assistances and babus only. But in free society of independent India we have to see that our children grow comprehensively in all departments so that their facilities are developed. In sports, athletics, music and so on and so forth, there are many spheres of life which are to be developed simultaneously. Therefore, the Government's endeavour in permitting sports, athletic meets and excursions to the school children and college students is very much welcomed and so I would urge upon the Government to make there compulsory subjects in the school curriculum. In other advanced countries of the world I have read that sports is a compulsory subject because it not only helps bring about integration among the different sections of the society but also helps build up a healthy body and mind spirit. So in our future curriculum of schools I would urge upon the Government to introduce subject and about the category of M.E. school students, excursions should also be made a must. Government should see to it that the school-children are sent to different areas of our State and to different areas of our country to get practical experience. It is to the interest of the growing children that excursions should be introduced not only in high schools and colleges but also in M.E. schools so that the minds of the children become very much broadened.
Sir, our State abounds in forests as is known to everybody but due to jhuming cultivation and also due to various factors the forests are gradually dwindling. So effective steps have to be taken to re-plant trees in the vast barren areas which present very excellent potentials for the State. We have very potential to develop forestry and forest based industries in this part of the State. We can make good the deficit by selling timbers or by starting forest-based industries. But the basic need is to go in for intensive and extensive afforestation. There are schemes to plant trees in the national highways, parks etc. There are schemes to plant trees in different areas but this is to be accelerated and intensive and extensive programme is to be drawn up and implemented as soon as possible so that this potential of having the forest-based industries forest-based economy is achieved to the benefit of the State Exchequer. In the matter of dairy development, I had the occasion to talk with the experts when they visited our State last time to study the potential of this State. They are of the opinion that Meghalaya has to develop this dairy industry. It will not only increase the milk requirement of the population of Meghalaya but it can export milk and milk products to different places in the country and abroad. Whatever scheme Government has taken, up I thank them, but with more haste they should be implemented. There are people who are already in the trade. But practically, a little has been done to improve their lot and also in Garo Hills people have spent their entire life in this trade, who were in the trade for generations altogether, who are supposed to be experts in the matter of development of dairy industry in the State. I think incentives should be created for them so that they can develop and thereby, help the growth of the industry on a scientific basis as well as improve not only their economic condition but also bring more money to the State exchequer from outside the State. For that, a comprehensive scheme is to be taken up. I have urged upon the Government on various occasions in this House and outside to create incentives for the people who are already in the trade and who are the people of our State. I find that there are clashes between the graziers and the cultivators. The graziers are rearing cattle in the jungles without hindrances. The cultivators are there to grow green vegetation. Often times, the cattle (bell rang) go to the field of vegetation and destroy the cultivation. As such, there is clash between them. I would suggest to the Government to open a grazing colony for keeping stall breeding of cattle, to create grazing colony on modern and scientific basis to make those people grow like modern people and the graziers can go in for a modern and scientific way of life and scientific way of grazing. At the same time, I want that facilities should be created to supply better breeding bulls and cows and buffaloes and they can go in for stall keeping. Then gradually, the previous way of rearing cattle without any hindrances will be demolished.
Sir, in the matter of beautification of Shillong, the Government is doing a little to say. The civil part of Shillong is beautified and beautiful in a moderns way. But there is another part of the town called the Shillong Cantonment which is left to the mercy of the Cantonment Board which falls in the lower category of the cantonment in the country. Allotment made by the Government of India to this Cantonment of Shillong is very meagre and with that meagre amount that area cannot be developed. I therefore, suggest that there should be a Coordination Committee between the Cantonment and the Civil authorities to bring about simultaneous and uniform growth of Shillong and uniform development and beautification of that part of the town. In certain areas, the Government of Meghalaya has gone in for growing aid to the Cantonment Board in matters of education and other matters. But in the matter of construction of roads, the result is almost nil. So I want to urge upon the Government to make certain provision in the budget for some road development worth the name in the cantonment area. With these few words, Sir, I again thank the Chief Minister who is also the Finance Minister for having presented this budget to this House where the economy and the lot of the people have clearly been stated.
Shrimati Miriam D. Shira :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, while participating in the budget discussion, I would like to come to page 6, para 11 under the subject "Soil Conservation". It has been seen here in the budget speech made by the Chief Minister that to control jhuming and shifting cultivation, the Government of Meghalaya is undertaking a Jhum Control Scheme and as such, during the year 1975-76 and 1976-77, 600 families have been rehabilitated and many hectares of low-lying areas and slopes of the hills have been terraced and brought under reclamation. Again, during the year 1977-78, it is happy to note that another 750 families are going to be rehabilitated and about 2,000 hectares of land are being brought under reclamation and terracing. Apart from various works, Sir, I would like to apprise this House of the activities and the excursion of work done by the Soil Conservation Department. Even Sir, so many hectares of low lying areas have been reclaimed but I do not see any irrigation facilities that the Government have rendered to the villagers, those who have already shifted to the regrouped villages to start the new way of cultivation. As such the people of these regrouped villages who were taken there under the jhum control scheme are facing difficulties in making their headway in wet cultivation. Of course, facing difficulties in making their headway in wet cultivation. Of course, I do not mean that in the hill slope terraces it may not be possible to provide irrigational facilities. But I have seen with my eyes that there are some perennial sources available in the areas where many hectares of land have been reclaimed for starting wet cultivation by these regrouped villagers. I think all of us know that the first and foremost thing to have good cultivable land is the need of levelling of the area. When we do the levelling work then only we can start cultivation and can also provide irrigational facilities to make water flow into the land. So it is necessary that Government takes up this irrigational work. But I regret to apprise this House that the department concerned has failed to provide irrigational facilities as well as the levelling up of the area so that people can take up cultivation in a better and convenient way. again when the scheme has been prepared under Jhum control for the regrouped village in convenient location, the scheme was studied by the Government. There are some villages which used to locate sparsely and used to spread here and there and it is difficult for the Government to provide them with welfare amenities like health and sanitation, drinking water and so on. If I am not wrong, in the previous years also in the budget speech presented to this House, it has been observed that with a view to provide integrated programmes, the Government of Meghalaya has undertaken some regrouped villages under the jhum control scheme with a view to providing them welfare amenities like schools, drinking water and so on. But today as an example in my constituency, I am so lucky and I am grateful to the Government that I am having this type of regrouped villages any good drinking water supply has been provided by the Government. Moreover, no irrigation facilities nor levelling of the ground to make it fit for cultivation have been given to these people. So I think all the works which were to be formulated under the scheme have been contradicted by the department concerned. So there is no reason why it should be impossible to complete the scheme now because some of those schemes have already been started two or three year back. Of course it may not be possible on the part of the department to complete all the schemes at a time. But within two or three years, according to my opinion, I feel that the department should be able to complete all the schemes to provide the welfare amenities to these regrouped villages. Because a majority of the tribals within our State are traditional cultivators. We do not like to adopt new methods of cultivation and that is why it difficult on the part of leaders to educate and encourage the people to adopt this new method of cultivation. There is a certain type of cultivation used to be carried out by the people. When we were encouraging them and when we approached the villagers and when the assurances were given by the Government we told the people about the amenities like drinking water, schools etc. But now due to the failure of the department to provide all these amenities it is awkward on our part to approach and encourage the people. So I would like to suggest to the Government to look into these matters and to provide drinking water and wherever there is reclaimed land, levelling of the ground should be done immediately and irrigational facilities be provided so that the villagers who have shifted to such centres will be able to start a new life in a better way.
Secondly, I would like to touch a little on page 13, paragraph 23 under the heading Water Supply and Sewerage. Water supply Public Health Department. Public Health Department. What do we mean by Public Health Department. Public Health Department means - although I am not so expert in English, I think, Public Health means giving welfare amenities to the people. Although I may not be able to interpret in a better way but I hope everybody will understand me. This water supply scheme both urban and rural comes under Public Health Department. So far if we look to the programme carried out by the department under the head Water Supply, it is very unsatisfactory. Water which comes out from the taps of the public health undertakings is full of dirt and sand even if we are not medical men still it can be understood that by supplying such a very dirty water I do not think that it will be free from water borne diseases and other kinds of diseases, which will be detrimental to human lives.
Let me cite an example even in our Songsak Block. Our Block was provided to cover all the rural areas under water supply scheme by our benign Government. But instead of getting water supply even during the rainy season the water taps becomes dry and even during the rainy season the Block people do not get any drinking water. What is the reason behind this. The Department when started constructing reservoir or tank in the intake point did not put filter and as a result during rainy season due to heavy flow of water from the streamlet carries with it silts and dirty things which block the pipe. And that is why I think by bringing water supply under Public Health it does not carry any meaning at all. So it is better if water supply schemes are brought under some other Departments like P.W.D. I would therefore request the Government to look into the welfare and facilities of the people to root our disease as this carries proper meaning. So I would request the Government to look into these affairs and put filters in the reservoir and at least some medicines may kindly be put in the reservoir so that we will be able to get better drinking water in a better way.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, coming to page 15, para 28 I am rather happy to note that the Government has mentioned that considering the hardship caused due to high cost of living it has decided to revise the rate of dearness allowance admissible to the Government employees. So the Government is considering the high cost of living and it is increasing the rate of dearness allowance. The Meghalaya Government also is giving facilities to the Government employees for reimbursement of medical bills for the employees and their families. But I feel sorry to say that even though facilities of this kind give some relief to the employees who are sick but I think most of the lower grade employees like grade IV, grade III are not much benefited. In order to get reimbursement of the medical bills for them and their family members they are to get the bills countersigned by the doctors. But doctors are also not easy to get. So whenever they countersign a medical bill they also expect some remuneration and unless they get that remuneration it is very difficult for the employees to get their bills countersigned. Even some how or other if they manage to get countersignature of these bills they have to put them up to the departmental head. But some of the officers do not appreciate the hardships faced by these employees. Instead of helping them they used to suppress their legitimate rights even though they have managed to get the countersignature. Sometimes these bills are kept in the file for years together and as such some of the lower grade employees are deprived of the medical facilities. So I would like to suggest to the Government that this reimbursement of medical bills should be done away with. Instead some medical allowance may kindly be given on the percentage basis of their monthly salary. We do not have any Pay Commission of our own; we are still following the Pay Commission of Assam and the Assam Government has already given allowance to the Government employees since long back.
So if the Government is at all to consider the high cost of living and the present situation of hard-ships of the Government employees, I think it will be more proper and uniform for the Government employees if medical allowance is given to them. Therefore I request the Government that the medical allowance may be given to the Government employees. In the same line again it needs reconsideration about the percentage that has been given to the Government employees as house rent. The Government employees were given 7½ per cent of the basis pay as their house rent. But as the cost of living is increasing day by day, I think this 7½ per cent house rent which has been given by the Meghalaya Government to its employees is too meagre. Because if we go to the private owners to hire a room it will not be possible to get a room for Rs.20/- or not less than Rs.20/-. And Sir, some of the lower grade Government employees i.e. Grade IV employees who are getting their house rent are getting much lesser amount as the house rent has been fixed on the basis of their basic pay. So I request the Government atleast to raise the percentage of house rent up to 10 per cent of the basic pay of the Government employees considering the present standard and high cost of living.
And Sir, lastly, I would like to take up the case of Government employees of our State. In this connection I would like to put one question to this House. Whether the services of all the Government employees working under different departments have been totally bifurcated from the Government of Assam. It has been brought to my knowledge that the services of some Government employees working under Police, Sericulture and Weaving and Agriculture Departments etc, are still accounted with that of the Assam Government employees. But Sir, before we achieve our Meghalaya State we were thinking that the condition of the Government employees will be better and the Government servants will get better facilities and their services will be directly placed under the Government of Meghalaya. But Sir, it has come to my knowledge that the services of many of the Government employees working in various departments have not yet been bifurcated by the present Government. Sir, if their services are not at all bifurcated from Assam Government, the Government employees will have to suffer a lot. That is why the Government employees working under the State of Meghalaya have been suffering for not getting their promotion and confirmation. There are many such instances like that and that is why I think it is rather very sad that we are still made to suffer in our own State. So I would like to request the Government to look into this matter and kindly get the services of these Government to look into this matter and kindly get the services of these Government employees bifurcated for encadering them in our State.
Mr. Chairman :- You have four minutes more.
Smti. M.D. Shira :- May I have some more time, Mr. Chairman, Sir?
Mr. Chairman :- Yes, you may continue.
Smti. M.D. Shira :- Lastly, I would like to speak a few words on Page 7 of the Budget Speech i.e. on Forest Department. I am is very happy to note that this Forest Department in our State is keeping the national policy of having a separate wild-life wing. Of course, it is good thing on the part of the Government to preserve wild-life. But Sir, in my Songsak area the people are suffering a lot due to the damage caused by wild animals, like wild boar and wild elephants etc. Sir, it is nice to have to separate wild life programme but according to me atleast some alternative arrangements should be made to get rid of these wild elephants which always cause damage to jhum cultivation and damage to houses. Very recently in some villages, namely Koknal Songgitcham village, all the dwelling houses of the villagers have been damaged by the wild elephants. I have also reported this matter to the Deputy Commissioner who could give very little relief to those villagers like supply of rice in small amount but in regard to reconstruction of their huts and dwelling houses the D.C. has not been able to provide any relief so far to those people. But according to my opinion I should say that inspite of being so kind enough to the wild life, the Government should also be kind enough to human being which is more dearer. So Sir, I would like to suggest here that the Government should look into this matter and take away these wild animals to certain places and make the sanctuary there. Or I should say that the Government should take steps or regrouping of the wild animals. (Laughter) With these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Chairman :- As there is not much time at our disposal for the day, the House stands adjourned till 9.30 A.M. on Tuesday, the 31st May, 1977.
|The 30th May, 1977.||Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.|