Proceedings of the Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Assembled at 9.30 a.m. on June 14th, 1978 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Speaker in the Chair.
GENERAL DISCUSSION ON THE BUDGET
Mr. Speaker :- Now let us start the business of the day. Since there are no questions let us take up Item No.2. In this connection, I understand that there are as many as seven hon. Members who would like to take part in the general discussion of the Budget. I would allot 44 minutes, to be exact, to each one of them. I now call upon Mr. Akramozamman to start the discussion. You have 34 minutes.
*Shri Akramozamman :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have gone through the Budget Speech of the Hon'ble Finance Minister and one particular sentence strikes me as odd when he said: "I would like to make it clear that these not necessarily reflect our policies and priorities. Since there was no time, to be met, I take this opportunity to present the Annual Financial Statement and the demands for grants as earlier formulated". This is correct, of course, when this Budget was presented on the 27th of March, it was difficult for the new Government to recast the whole thing. So there was a flaw in the working of the Budget. Sir, when this Budget was presented the economic situation was also bad in the country. With respect to our State it was the same and most unfortunately, there was no trend of decrease in the price index during the last 3/4 months, rather, it was registering an upward trend not only in the country but also in our State where the people are particularly most backward as a result the people are suffering. Here we also got the information that there is shortage of edible oils, pulses, food-grains, etc. and in the meantime, the building materials have now disappear from the market, particularly, cement for which not only the people have suffered but the development works of the Government in various Departments like Agriculture, Irrigation, Public Works Department, etc, have been hampered. I do not know whether this was foreseen by the respective Departments, particularly, when execution of the works was on way. It is also learned that the departmental Officers had asked the contractors, in so far as the work of the Agriculture Department in the Garo Hills was concerned to purchase cement from the open market. If the Government could not procure and supply cement for execution of the works, how was it possible for others to procure it?
The other thing that strikes me during the presentation of the Budget is that there is no mention about the growth of development in the different sectors, particularly in agriculture, industry, etc. We have not got any information. So the question is what will be the growth rate in the field of agriculture and industry, both big and small. It is difficult to recast condition of our State. I do strongly feel that whenever anything is recast, planning has some new ideas and this is why we have heard about the 'rolling plan'. But the concept of the 'rolling plan' is very difficult to understand and I am even at a loss to understand and what this 'rolling plan' means. Whatever it means, one most vital thing is to change and that statistics is very much required. Until and unless statistics gives us a correct information about a particular development, we cannot recast our Budget or Plan formulation or allotment of fund. So, Sir, in respect I do strongly feel and I would urge upon the Government that the Statistics Department should be strengthened so that it should be able to give us a correct information about growth and out-term of the Development departments. Until and unless a clear picture is given, it is difficult for the hon. members to know how development of the State is going on. I strongly feel that if similar conditions.................
Mr. Speaker :- Just a minute. May I remind the House that I do wish that hon. Members, specially new members go through Rule 275. I have been observing that some of the hon. Members do not observe the rule properly which they are supposed to. They are passing between the Chair and the hon. Member who is speaking. So I would request all of them kindly to go through Rule 275 and strictly observe the rules made there in. Please continue.
Shri Akramozamman :- Sir, in our Annual Plan that has been formulated for 1978-79 there is one information which is very lacking. We do not get a clear picture about unemployment. In para 3 of the Finance Minister's Speech he said that unemployment problem "which declined from 12,617 in January 1977 to 10,712 in January 1978". Decline is there. But at the same time, when the Plan was formulated we did not know and even now I have searched the connected papers to know how much employment potential has been created and how many people will be unemployed. Moreover, one factor needs very much to be cleared and there is, to see how this question can be solved and to bring out the total picture of this unemployment question. Sir, it is the declare desire not only of the Government but of the House that the weaker sections of the population of our State should get adequate chances of employment. But from this picture we do not know what is the total number of tribal people who are unemployed get employment. Similarly, I do also feel that the minorities of this State, I mean the non-tribals, should not be classified as the non-tribals of the whole of India. This is one of the vital questions. I have seen the notification and I do not know whether the present Government will also follow the same ratio of appointment as was done by the previous Government, that is. 40:40:5: 15%. But the thing is that we are classified as non-tribals and there is no distinction that the non-tribals of this State will be given preference and there is not a single advertisement issued by the previous Government and this Government also that special consideration should be given to the non-tribals of this State will be given preference and there is not a single advertisement issued by the previous Government and this Government also that special consideration should be given to the non-tribal minorities. So far as this question of 15% quota is concerned, nobody is disputing the fact and I can say boldly that the non-tribals of this State are very much anxious that there should not be any exodus. Why I say this because I come from the area of the plain belt of Garo Hills where the density of population has already exceeded 671 or so per square mile according to the population of the last census. I think no man whether agriculturist or industrialist who is the bonafide inhabitant of these areas will invite any outsider to settle there. Why - because it is a question of economy. If thousands of agriculturists from Goalpara District come and settle there, what will be the fate of the non-tribals there. They will suck up the lands of the non-tribals. Practically it is not at all a fact., particularly the non-tribals want that there should be no influx from outside. But at the same time, I would ask the Government to see that if it is eager to have all round development of the State, is should give the legitimate proportions to the requisite number of non-tribals. I believe the non-tribals of Meghalaya should not be mixed up or categorised with the non-tribals of other States of India in matters of employment. Until and unless this is done, I am afraid not only the non-tribals of this State, but the tribal people and also the non-tribals of the North-East India will be affected. Similarly, I mean the non-tribals of this State and not the non-tribals of other States. So this should be clearly indicated. So far as employment question is concerned, it should be category wise so that the Government will be in a position to determine how far employment generation can be created in various fields of activities of the Government. In this respect, I wish to say that in the matter of distribution of subsidy and help to the artisans of the small-scale industries in Garo Hills, it is a lamentable thing that the non-tribals got no subsidy and help at all because the residential certificate could not be produced before the Industries Department. Of course I do not object to the issue of a residential certificate but the thing is, why should it take more than a month or so to issue the residential certificate to the artisans. What is the radius of our thana, what is the radius of our Police station that it could not be verified in time and sent to the D.C. within a month. This is really a sad State of affairs. There are so many loopholes in this residential certificate and I wish to put forward to the Government that if this is the type of delay, the people particularly the artisans, the lower agriculturists, whose help is essential from the Government will suffer. The certificate should not stand as a bar to their livelihood or snatch away their livelihood. I believe that the Government will take into consideration so that all these anomalies can be rectified. Sir, when this Annual plan was there, it was our desire to know what was the employment potentiality created by this Annual Plan. But there was no mention. So I wish the Government particularly the Minister for Finance to enlighten the House about the Annual Plan the total potentiality or generation of employment.
Sir, I wish now to come to Agriculture Department. There is a mention that so far as production is concerned, there is a shortfall in the commodities like edible oils, pulses and cotton. But if we go to the other chapter at page 5 and other books supplied by the Government in respect of implementation of development schemes and programmes for 1978-79, you will see that there is a shortfall as confessed by the Finance Minister. Though there is a shortfall of pulses and eligible oils, of course in this book, it has been said that 5,000 metric tonnes oil seed will be produced, but no attention has been given to production of pulses within Meghalaya. I think the Agriculture Department has totally forgotten this or they did not take take into consideration the condition of the soil where pulses also could be grown in Meghalaya in such a way that they could compete with the growing areas of pulses not to speak of our neighbouring States of India, but of the world. So I draw the attention of the Government, through you, Sir, to the fact that when there is a possibility to cope with the situation with our own endeavour, why should we go for help from other States. Is it not possible for us to produce mustard seeds and also pulses. At least 50 or 60 per cent will be sufficient for the consumption of our population. The Agriculture Department must be alive to the situation and must know the soil condition of the respective areas where they can grow mustard seeds or pulses or at least help the people to grow these things. In this respect, I wish to say another thing which was started most energetically but now it has come to a very bad situation not for the fault of the agriculturists and I do not also say that it is the fault of the Department. But I feel there is some link which is missing. Sir, in the plains areas of Garo Hills, there are so many shallow tube wells for the purpose of minor irrigation and more particularly to irrigate the lands for the production of wheat, etc., though formerly it was take up for irrigation of wheat, production etc. and was given for the benefit of cultivators. But one thing is that near about 400 or 500 tonnes were supplied to the individual growers. I do not wish to say about the crops, but Sir, machine is a machine, it can go wrong at any time even after one hour of the delivery and the people who are getting these machines are not experts to repair them as a result of which, I believe if a census is conducted. I can boldly say that 60 per cent of these machines are lying idle. It was suggested many time that there should be some persons stationed in a centrally located places or a technician with spare parts to be sold so that the peasantry can purchase these things for their own machines and the repair to be done by the department. Even if the department want to charge for such repair, I think our agriculturists will agree even for a knot or a bolt. The machines are lying idle because the people could not handle them properly and representations have been made to the Government but without any result. As a result of which what is going on today. The production that has been estimated in this year shall not be attained because the Agriculture Department could not provide irrigation facilities thereby production is bound to drop. Unfortunately, 60 or 70 per cent of the machines are lying idle and the officers or the persons who are in charge of these machines never go to the field and never even inspect them casually. If somebody goes to Tura, he will find that everything is entirely confined in Tura town and nothing is done. So there is a wastage of public money. Sir, in this respect, I wish to say that there is a very important feature in the Governor's Address and in the Finance Minister's Speech that I have seen. So far as cultivation of plain areas of Garo Hills is concerned, control of floods is a very important factor. But most unfortunately, there is no mention here in this Budget Speech of the Finance Minister or in the Governor's Address about control of floods. In this respect, I wish to say that the project which has been contemplated since the inception of the autonomous State in 1977 or even during Assam's time, has not materialised. I do not think it will also get weightage this year. This is about the Rongai valley project. If the Rongai valley project is implemented, I think about six or seven square miles of the area can be turned into a granary of Meghalaya. On the other hand it will also train the Rongai river to prevent erosion of the two village, viz., Bholarbita and Charbatapara. Now, in the absence of any measure for training of this river Rongai, what will be the fate of Bhalarbita and Charbatapara villages. These two villages will be eroded if timely action is not taken. What will be the burden? The burden will not beyond the people themselves but it will be on Government to rehabilitate those people. So I request to P.W.D. to see that this Rongai project is made into a medium irrigation project. This has to be executed and I would request the Minister, P.W.D. or the Department to see that implementation of this project should not be delayed and the training of the Rongai river should be made as early as possible so that the villages of Bholarbita and Charbatapara would not be eroded.
Sir, another thing which I wish to mention here is about the question of water supply. We have seen that there are so many schemes and those schemes have been started also. But suddenly the schemes have been abandoned. I refer to the Patharkata Water Supply Scheme. I do not know what is the reason that suddenly this scheme has been abandoned. I have seen that an amount of rupees one lakh has been earmarked for this scheme. But unfortunately this scheme has been abandoned and the reason is not known. So far as water supply at Phulbari is concerned the machine has gone out of order and as a result for nearly two months the people could not get water and the most dangerous thing is this, that this area is subjected to floods and when rain comes, the accumulation of water is very great which may create water contamination. When the machine was out of order, it was reported to the Executive Engineers to the Chief Engineer of Public Health Engineer but even then, nothing has been done. So I strongly feel that the machine should be repaired in view of the fact that the supply of water has been stopped for nearly two months. From these things the efficiency of this department can easily be imagined.
Now, Sir, about the gaps in the budget that have been referred I wish to say that though the Finance Minister did not propose any taxation to fill up the gaps in this budget, but there are some ways. Of course there is a suggestion that ways and means will be found out. In what way this is going to be done, I do not know. But one very alarming position as has been revealed through this brochure issued by the Statistics Department of the Government is that under the heads 'loans and advance' from the State Government for the years 1974-75 to 1978-79, it is found that there is a huge amount of loans and advances. But on the other hand, if we go to the recovery side, the position is very alarming as a result of which, it is found that this time the Government has given a very meagre amount as loans and advances for different schemes. This gives us an indication that in different sectors, Government is giving loans and advances Sir, our State is very much economically poor and people are poorer still. So anything whether in the sphere of industry or in agriculture or in any other development, the Government should find out ways and means for loans and advances. If the loaning policy of the Government and the agreement between loaner and the Government do not correlate, I think recovery of the loan is difficult. We had the occasion to examine some of the agreements for the loans and we found a fact that some persons simply took the loan without utilising it for productive and as a result they are not in a position to repay the loan, whereas the deserving people will be deprived of the benefit of the loan. Suppose last year when the loan is not repaid the fund will short. So the monopolisation of taking loan from the Government by certain individual should not be tolerated. So I would request the Government in the different departments, particularly the Industries and Agriculture Departments to take steps for recovery of the loan. Loans and advances have been given on the basis of the schemes and the operation of the system of giving loans has to depend on the schemes. When the scheme is not implemented, what the guarantee for the repayment of the loan. If no such scheme are there the amount of loan should be refunded at once. I believe that Government must take bold step for the realisation of the loans and advances so that the people of Meghalaya in future may not handicapped to have loan.
Mr. Speaker :- You have two minute more.
Shri Akrammozaman :- During the last two or three days I have gone through a news item about land transfer in Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, except some Wards in Shillong, from a tribal to a non-tribal or non-tribal to a tribal. The fear is that as there is an increase of population in our State there may not be any exception for the poorer section of the people. What will be the fate of the bonafied non-tribals of these districts as long is being the Capital it has got many facilities, organisations, etc. If I am to have a land here, build a house here for the education of my children or take to business what will be my fate as a bonafied inhabitant. I would request the Government to consider as I have told before of the possibility of having a clear definition between a permanent non-tribal and the outsiders. Otherwise the fate of the one lakh non-tribal population or more will be sealed for however as any development would not result in the overall progress of the State of Meghalaya. Without development the economic condition of the State will be subjected to severe strain. I strongly feel that the bonafied non-tribals do realise that without giving a change to the minorities, the economy of Meghalaya will be jeopardised. On the contrary I believe that Government do not intend to make a non-tribal hanker after relief. Let them have the opportunity to develop themselves and be able to stand on their own feel and this, I consider as justice from the Government.
Shri S.P. Swer :- The hon. Member from Phulbari has started his speech by referring to page 1 of the Budget speech. I will start my speech beginning from the last page of the Budget speech. The first page as referred to by the hon. Member from Phulbari reads like this -
"Before I proceed with my address, I may be permitted to point out that the budget estimates and the demands for grants circulated to the hon. Members were prepared on the basis of the directives given by the previous Government. I would like to make it clear that these do not necessarily reflect our policies and priorities".
In the last page, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the speech reads. - " The Budget proposals which I have submitted for your consideration seek to reflect the needs and aspirations of the people of the State; but they have had to be formulated within the framework of limitations which are our legacy".
Mr. Speaker, Sir. I do not have any intention to cast any as pertain on the speech of the Finance Minister but I will take literal meaning of the words in the sentence that the budget proposals seek to reflect the needs and aspirations of the people of the State. It is true, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we have achieved economic freedom and (The Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair) it was aspiration of the people to have political freedom which we have achieved and it is the aspiration of the people of the State and the people of the country as a whole to achieve economic freedom. To achieve economic freedom, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Speaker, it is for the Government and all people of our State and the Country as a whole to work unitedly to that end.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Budget is the mirror of the actions of the Government to achieve the objective. You will find at page 3 of the Budget Speech, in the Annual Plan for the year 1978-79, 23.7 percent of the outlay has been earmarked for Power and Water Development including completion of the Kyrdem Kulai Hydel Project. Now, in this regard, I want to emphasize one point with respect to the Rural Electrification Programme that is being taken up by the Department that most of the farmers of our State are illiterate and very negligible few are educated. It is stated here in the Budget Speech that 70 more villages are likely to be electrified by the end of 1977-78 and the total number of villages electrified will thus come to 408. Here in our State Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we find also that there are very few and negligible number of power-operated industries. The main purpose for using electricity in our rural areas is for house lighting and street lighting and very few people use it for domestic purpose. Sir, in this connection, I would like to stress again and again on the performance of this Department including the Meghalaya State Electricity Board. With special reference to the areas which I represent, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have got a number of letters complaining against the functioning of the office of this State Electricity Board at Cherrapunjee. There were complaints about bills submitted once in 9 months or once in 6 months or once in two months I have taken special interest in trying to find out whether these complaints were really genuine or not. I have found in many cases, for instance in one house the meter reading was taken on 3rd September 1976 whereas the bill was prepared on 9th September 1977. So after one year the bill was prepared and presented to the consumer. Again, Sir, if my memory serves me aright, in the last Session I and the whole House have been assured that this sort of defects would be attended to and corrected in time. But now after a lapse of merely two months nothing has happened. It still continues and this is nothing but harassment to the consumers in that area. We all know that this is the only way how to help people to use electricity in their industries and cultivation and it has to be encouraged. All artisans and agriculturists should know how to use power-operated machines to improve their industries and agriculture which means more production in the State. But Sir, if the performance of the Board is like this, I am afraid it is very much discouraging to the people especially farmers and agriculturists to use electricity for their cultivation as well as for artisans to run their industries. I would like to stress again that it is high time now to see that the administration for electrifying villages in the rural areas is carried on and administered in a proper way sot that the people who want to use electricity will not be put to any trouble including payment of their bills. About the use of meters I would also like to point out Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that the meters used in the private house connections are very difficult for the non-technical persons to read because it has to be divided by 1000 then 100 and then by 10 and then there is again a fraction and you are to guess whether it would be 1 or 2 or 9 or you leave it like that and adjust it in the next reading. That is why it is necessary that the new types of meters have to be installed which can be easily read by the non-technical consumers. I would also like to request the Government to see that this is corrected shortly otherwise I am afraid if it is prolonged, people may take the law in their own hands and if it really happens I do not know what the law will do.
Now, Sir, I would also like to again point out that in the Budget Speech emphasis has also been laid on agriculture and allied subjects by allotting 22.3 per cent of the total outlay. Now, in this particular Department, in the agricultural sector, the Budget Speech says that "our objective is to gradually increase the production of foodgrains with the ultimate aim of attaining self sufficiency. Efforts are being made to increase area under high-yielding and improved varieties and encourage adoption of improved cultural practices" and again in the next sentences it has been mentioned that supply of seeds at subsidised rates steps to popularise the use of fertilizers and large scale demonstrations involving the use of high-yielding varieties are the important components of the programme for achieving greater foodgrains production". I do not dispute the steps take by the Government to help the farmers by using improved seeds and also fertilizers for more production. But one thing I hope the Agriculture Department might have notice that our farmers are very much adherent to old methods of cultivation but the fact is that it has been observed that soil testing to determine the food ingredients and application of actual requirement of chemical fertilizer to that particular soil for cultivation of a particular crop is never done. It has been observed from the Performance Budget of the Agriculture Department for so many years that only 5140 samples of soil have been tested and recommended to the growers on various crops.
It is generally observed that application of chemical fertilizers by the farmers as recommended by the Department officers do destroy the crops and this is so because they do not know which food ingredient is in excess and which is less and which is not present at all in the soil. Soil testing is to find out what are the ingredients present in a particular sample of soil and what is the actual requirement of chemical fertilizer for growing a particular crops. Sir, I would also like to suggest to Government to take vigorous steps for establishment of soil testing centres within a radius of every 5 kilometers. Soil testing centres should be established within 5 kilometers of the farmers' land so that the farmers may get help from the centre easily as to the proportion of the chemical fertilizers necessary to be added to the Soil for a particular crop cultivation. I hope the Agriculture Department is fully aware that the samples are generally collected from the Blocks and you know the Development Blocks are used to be called Blocks Development laughter.
The Agriculture Extensions Officer will ask the Gram Sevak to collect sample of soil and in turn the Gram Sevak will ask the so called Secretary of the Field Management Committee, the Committee which does not exist in practice except on paper. The Secretary of the said Committee will collect the sample of soil from the same spot and put in different pockets and send it to the Extension Officer and from the Extension Officer it will got to the Department. This is actual position of soil testing which is being carried on and you can well imagine the fate of the crops which have been grown on the basis of such recommendation. Again I do not think our farmers very much adhere to the old practices of cultivation but the fact is that they have never seen convincing performance of seed farms under the Agriculture Department. The performance of the seed farms under the Agriculture Department. The performance of the seed farms is very very poor. For instance the performance of the seed from in respect of paddy is that out of 14,000 hectares of land the yield of high yielding seed is 114,35 metric tonnes. If you work out, you will find that the land produced only 10.31 kg. per hectare and if you look into the figures of the Seed Farm at Umdiengpoh, it is a clear evidence that during the year 1978-79, the department could not anticipate the achievements therefore the figures were blank. How much will is produce how much input will be give and how much output will be produced in return? Now, when the farmers nearby the seed farm see that the performance of these seed farms is so poor, I think it is but natural that they will stick and adhere to their old practice because the performance of these seed farms is so poor and this will not encourage the farmers around. Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is very very important to have plans and programmes where crores of rupees have been earmarked for the Agriculture Department and it is the only Department through which we hope that food sufficiency will be obtained in our State provided the various schemes under this Department are properly implemented. I would like to suggest to the Government to see that this Department should have a team of experts for evaluation of many many schemes and programmes implemented so far and also to have a Vigilance Cell for assessment of the field officers to the Department.
Now, Sir, I would like to come to another point in which every one of us is very much concerned and that is the influx of outsiders into our State. We are very much concerned that may be one day we will be swamped up and it is for every one of us the Meghalayans, both tribal and non-tribal, to take great care in this respect. Although we may express our concern either inside or outside the House and in different platforms, I feel that there is one thing which the Government I feel there is one thing which the Government should think very seriously and should act upon. Now Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like by way of illustration, to refer to page 36 of Paragraph I Volume II of the Budget. Here you will find the heading engagement of apprentice under Apprenticeship Act, 1961 scholarship and stipends. This is under the head of Revenue, etc. etc.. The total expenditure estimated is Rs.41,68 lakhs and out of this an amount of only Rs.2,200 earmarked for scholarships and stipends. We see in many many advertisements of different departments when technical operatives are required, one of conditions is a holder of ITI certificate, but what is the monthly stipend given to the trainee who happens to be from the rural area, who has no relative in Shillong or Tura and where there is no hostel accommodation find it difficult to manage with Rs.75 if he is to hire a house where he can sleep and cook when the house rent alone will not be less than Rs.35 per months. How can he pull on with a balance at only Rs.40. So Sir, the response ( bell rang ).
Mr. Speaker :- Only two minutes more.
Shri S.P. Swer :- From the local youths is very very discouraging and I would like to suggest to the Government to raise rate of monthly stipends at least to Rs.150 per months in the State and Rs.190 per month outside the State for undergoing the vocational training so that we can really check the influx of operatives from outside the State in our industries even in the of operatives from outside the into our industries even in the Electricity Board, P.H.E. and in all mechanical wings of every department of the Government. (At this stage Mr. Speaker occupied the Chair). Mr. Speaker, Sir, I, at one time raised in this august House a point about the need to have a second Meghalaya Police Battalion, and it is true when the Chief Minister said to have a Battalion. What does that mean. I have seen in the budget that an amount of Rs.79,12,000 was earmarked for the 1st Meghalaya Police Battalion, but I think there is a great need for raising another. Battalion in Meghalaya and it is evident Mr. Speaker, Sir, if you refer to Pages 126 to 29 of the Budget, you will see that payment towards the charges for requisition of .R.P. the outside Battalion is earmarked for Rs.16,19,500. Therefore, it is very necessary and urge the Government ( bell rang ) to raise another Police Battalion. I Thank you Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Now I call upon Mr. D.N. Joshi.
* D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I had made efforts to go through the Budget speech of the Finance Minister together with the Address by the Governor in the last session. Sir, in the last session the Governor had stated that while making all efforts for improvement of the social and economic conditions of the tribal population of the State and to protect their rights, the Government have endeavoured fair and just treatment to all sections of the population living in the State.
Mr. Speaker :- Can you speak louder, please.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Sir, in the context of the assurance given by the Government through the Governor's Address that the Government shall endeavour to ensure fair and just treatment to all sections of the population and communities living in the State, I am very much anxious to talk here in this House. Sir, very recently this Government has come out with measure to totally ban the transfer of land from a tribal to a non-tribal and from a non-tribal to a non-tribal in the District of Khasi and Jaintia Hills barring a few conclaves of Cantonment and three wards of Shillong. Sir, I fail to understand how this Government which is committed to safeguard the regional interest of all sections of the people of Meghalaya irrespective of their being tribal and non-tribal, come up with measure to have a blanket bandh transfer of land from even Meghalayan non-tribal to Meghalaya non-tribal. In the budget estimate, Sir, I found that a provision has been made for housing loans to the Government servants to purchase lands and build their houses and indeed there are cases where Government non-tribal employees have already purchased land for building houses thereon. But I fail to understand now those officers who have purchased lands in Shillong or in other parts of the State can build their houses. It is unfair and unjust to the minorities living in Meghalaya to contribute their mite for the all round development of the State together with the tribal brethren. Sir, in the Budget Speech the Government has said that the Government has calculated this perhaps on the basis of the directive given by the previous Government. Sir, even in a span of three months this Government has failed to formulate its own policy and to present demand for grants based on the policy of its own policy and to present demand for grants based on the basis of its own liking and it has to hang on and depend on the plans formulated by the previous Government. The reflects the weakness on the part of this Government which poses to be a popular Government dedicated by the previous Government. That reflects the weakness on the part of this Government which poses to be a popular Government dedicated to the well-being of the common people of Meghalaya. There was an attempt to revive, if it all necessary, the demand for grants already formulated by the previous Government for the developing of the common people of the State irrespective of caste, creed and community. But under the garb of having adopted the previous commitment, the Government wants this and if any criticism comes from any quarter it will reply and say that this part is not prepared by it. We have adopted it with certain limitations. This august House had already passed the vote-on-accounts for three months and they could have well done and carried out with the demand for grants as presented in the Budget speech and finally adopted.
Sir, coming to the prices in the market, I am constrained to say that any efforts whatsoever made by this Government to bring down prices of commodities including the price of edible oils and other commodities which the house-wives find difficulty to purchase and make both ends meet. In the matter of cement, Sir, let me frankly tell this House that a clandestine trade is not a rare thing in this State and cement is available in this market at exorbitantly high price ranging from forty to forty five rupees and any quantity of cement can be had but not through Government agencies. There are projects taken up by the Government. While the contractors have to implement the works within a specified time, there is no cement through the regular channel of the Government and they have to go to the open market. Where from this Government comes. Sir, there is a clandestine trades of cement in the black market. Sir, many housing schemes have been taken up by the people after taking loans from the Government but for want of cement the work could not be taken up. Neither in the Budget speech nor in the speech of the Governor there was any indication that the Government is taking effective steps to make this particular commodity available to the people through various agencies both the Government service and in the private sectors.
Sir, coming to agriculture the Government says an estimated area of 26,000 hectares are expected to be brought under the high yielding varieties programme in 1978-79 as against the target of 21,000 hectares likely to be achieved in the current year. Supply of seeds at subsidised rates, steps to popularise the use of fertilizers and large scale demonstrations involving the high yielding varieties are the important components of the programme for achieving greater foodgrains production. Schemes are there but nowhere in the budget or in the budget speech has the Finance Minister stated clearly that policies for stopping the wanton destruction of forest by people who are engaged in jhumming cultivation and nowhere in the budget I could find a word from the Government that they are committed to development of terrace cultivation in the hill areas and gradually do away with the practice of jhumming cultivation Lakha of rupees were given to the farmers to switch over from jhumming to terrace cultivation but I believe, it was misspent because the Government is not courageous enough to bring about a radical change in the farming policy and unless this terrace cultivation is taken up in right earnest. I am afraid the desired goal of the State to make the State self-sufficient in foodgrains will not be achieved and it will be a far cry. Now the Government says that it may be of interest to note that the production of potato exceeded 90,000 tonnes the quantity produced in the previous year. Development of horticulture too is being given due importance. The work rejuvenation of citrus orchards is continuing. But when I enquired about of marketing the citrus fruits I found that the price of lemons and other fruits has gone up. The prices have gone up not only in the matter of fruit but in the matter of potato also which the Government says that the production has gone up. So I urge upon the the Government through essential commodities like vegetables and other essential commodities are curbed and brought down to a level of easy reach of the common people. Sir, in the mater of animal husbandry, the Government says that the cattle farm at Upper Shillong established under the Indo-Danish Project as also the sheep farm at Saitsama are now functioning satisfactorily. During the year, 33 heads of cattle were supplied to different States in the North Eastern region by the farm at Upper Shillong. Sir, 33 heads of cattle were supplied to other States by the benign Government but how many heads of cattle for cross-breeding and pedigreed species of cattle are there in the State itself. There are people in the trade in the Bhoi area and elsewhere who are engaged in dairy farming and grazing but they lack all incentives from the State Government. The Government has done a little to bring about change in the way of grazing and dairy development among those people who are already engaged in the trade. Times without number on the very floor of this august House I have urged upon the Government and I still urge upon the Government to take effective steps to earmark certain areas for dairy development and grazing and make a planned development of the farming system so that those people who are in the trade may develop according to the demands of the present time and make Meghalaya the best and novel in milk products not only in the State but elsewhere in the country. Once the President of India who has come here to attend the Seminar of the Animal Husbandry Development, late Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, said Meghalaya has got the potential for not only development in dairy scheme and grazing scheme to make the State self-sufficient but it has got the potential to supply milk and milk products to other sister States of our Country and even on foreign exchange to other countries also. But it seems the budget estimates and the policy of the Government are quite a negation to the requirements in view of the immense potential of the State in developments in view of the immense potential of the State in development of dairy farming and cattle breeding. Sir, in the matter of preservation of forests and afforestation scheme also I found that money is earmarked, and afforestation scheme also I found that money is earmarked, scheme are there but they are not properly implemented and proper vigilance is very much lacking on the part of the Government to stop wanton destruction of forest and encroachment in this forest land. Just to cite an example, here in the Shillong Peak Range when I was a small boy I sued to see dense forest and I did not see any dirt in the water in the streams but gradually the forests are going to be barren.
There was no proper vigilance to check the encroachment and now, a vast tract of that region has gone to the private owners and now, all the land of the private owners has now become quite barren and as such, it can not conserve water. Therefore, Sir, there has been this dearth of water in Shillong. Sir, there was a scheme of water supply to the population of greater Shillong taken up by the previous Government and much head-way had already been made in the matter of survey and purchase of pipes and other materials for the successful implementation of the project. But suddenly after a lapse to say, six or seven years, and since this Government came into being, an announcement was made, I do not know whether by the concerned Minister or by taking the approval of the Cabinet itself, that the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme has been stopped and no alternative arrangement so far has been made. This Government has not let this august House know through the budget speech whether any alternative arrangement has been made to enhance the supply of water to the population of greater Shillong and to the other portion which has been suffering for want of drinking water. Not to speak of whether for washing their bodies of for flushing their latrines. So Sir, due to dearth of water here in the capital city of Meghalaya, which was also once the capital city of the composite State of Assam and which is know as the "Scotland of East", which is one of the most beautiful hill stations in India, the people have to use service latrines. Why in this modern age those scavengers are made to carry the rubbishes and night soil till today? We are not living in the medieval age, we are living in a modern age, in an age of machines and in the age of development of science where we can have sanitary latrines fitted to each and every home here in the town. Burt for lack of water this cannot be done. So Sir, is it not an enigma of the Government for not taking up any scheme of water supply to this town of Shillong. Therefore, I urge upon the Government through you, Sir, to consider that the earlier a scheme of water supply to Shillong is taken up, the better for the people, for the Government and for all.
Sir, coming to education, our Government says through the budget speech that they have taken steps to increase literacy in the State. The Government has taken up schemes to give dearness allowances to the teachers of the Government aided schools and Government schools. Well Sir, I fail to understand what the Government means by aided schools. As a teacher or the high schools I know it fully well that there are two types of schools in the State. One is the private schools which falls under the deficit system of grant another is the school under the adhoc grant system. Sir, when our sister State has taken up a schemes for compulsory education and free education upto the matriculation standard, why Government which is at the helm of affairs for the well being of only eleven to twelve lakhs of people, cannot come up with a blood scheme to make education free up to the matriculation standard. It should come up with a scheme to give free education upto the matriculation standard and in the matter of grants Sir, those schools which fall under the deficit system of grants, something has been done by the previous Government. The present Government has also promised to do something for those schools but I do not know why the Government is completely silent. Why not bring all those schools under the adhoc system of grant to the deficit system and why not take all schools under the Government supervision and management and make all teachers reap the benefit of the new schemes, new scales of pay and dearness allowances? Is there any difference between teachers teaching in a school under the deficit financing system? The same amount of labour has put the same dedication is expected out of him. I know that many children cannot go to a deficit system of schools and many of them have to come to a school which is covered by the adhoc grant system. So, I urge upon this Government either to divert all the schemes for schools enjoying abhor grant or to take over all schools under the deficit system of grant so that our teaching community get better service conditions and a little relief in these hard days. Many of them are compelled to take tuition also and how much money can they earn by taking tuition? Where is the time for them? They have to work hard in schools and in the morning, they have to do all household duties and look after their children and everything. This taking up of tuition should be discouraged because that gives rise to some sort of indirect corruption in education. Therefore, to make the life of teachers free from all sort of anxiety, they must be provided with new scales of pay and other benefits equal to Government school teachers irrespective of any type of school in which they are teaching, whether deficit schools covered by the adhoc grants.
Coming to health Sir, previously also, I urged upon the Government to take up schemes to train up our young boys and girls in medicines. There is much dearth of trained doctors in our State, in the villages and far flung areas for want of doctors. Dispensaries and other complexes which have come up, are not getting the required number of doctors. Consequently, the number of doctors should be increased to meet the requirement of the people.
I am told that the number of seats in the Medical Colleges outside the State earmarked for Meghalaya is limited; and, with limited number of seats we cannot meet the requirements of the people. Therefore, in order to be effective and true to the needs of the people I would urge upon the Government to embark on a scheme of establishing a medical college of our own and I still insist on having a medical college of our own in our State. When we could have a university given by the Central Government known as NEHU, we can also have an engineering college to meet the requirements of the people. This is also a must. Therefore, I would urge upon the Government to take up this scheme in right earnest and forthwith but here this Budget Speech of the Finance Minister is conspicuously silent on this score.
Sir, coming to roads and bridges, let me confine myself to my own constituency first. Mawprem Constituency happens to be part and parcel of the premiere city of our State. But if anybody comes on foot or in a car shape; they are not attended to neither in the past several years nor is there any scheme take up by this Government now.
Mr. Speaker :- Is it not under the Cantonment?
Shri D.N. Joshi :- No, Sir. Even the Cantonment is part and parcel of Meghalaya though administered by military authorities and I know that during the APHLC Government from 1972-75 some roads and some road lanes were taken up by the Town and Country Planning Department. But this Government has spent money on improvement of some roads. Why on earth this Government did not take up any improvement of road and lanes in Mawprem together with the roads and lanes in the Cantonments area? Sir, there is road going to the Reid Chest Hospital; which is at Mawprem (Bell rang) few minutes more, Sir. This road leading to the hospital is not a one-way traffic. It is so narrow and always the vehicles are plying thereby endangering the lives of the people. If another road is made it would serve the purpose. The newly-constructed bridge over the river near Rilbong is half-done and now I learn that the road connecting the bridge with the Shillong-Cherra Road could not be completed because the Cantonment authorities did not give permission to cut the earth. Why on earth this Government is not taking up this matter with the Cantonment to part with a small portion - hardly a foot or two-of land - thereby facilitating the people to avail of this road. And now the Government says : "We cannot complete because the Cantonment is giving us a stumbling block". But this road serves the purpose of the Cantonment population and of the civilian population also. So the Government should be earnest with the Cantonment here. If not, they should take up with Dam also because this matter of development of roads and bridges in the town is part and parcel of the schemes of beatifying Shillong beside meeting the requirements of the people. So, Sir, with these few words I have one thing to add that this Finance Minister's Speech does not meet the requirements of the people. It might meet the requirements of officials of the Government but in all respects I am compelled to say that it is neither for the people, i.e., neither for the tribals nor for others.
Shri Albin Lamare :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I congratulate the Finance Minister for bringing forward this Budget Speech and Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year 1978-79. I understand that we the responsible representatives coming from different areas are the eyes and ears of the Government; and being the eyes and ears of the Government.
Mr. Speaker :- And of the people, I believe?
Shri Albin Lamare :- And also to help the people. We are not to impose our will on the Government but we are to help the Government or to the open the eyes of the Government to what is what in the administration.
This Budget Speech, as I have seen it, has revealed to us the demands and aspirations of our people of the State. I have also seen the provisions meant for the different programmes of development. I have seen also in this Budget Speech the problems of development in our State.
Now, coming to agriculture, besides all what has been spoken by the former Speakers, I would like to add a little more regarding popularisation of fertilizers. As regards popularisation of fertilizers among the the cultivators there are the Farmers' Training Institutes being set up by the Government. I do not know how far these institutes have been successful in other parts of Meghalaya but with reference to the Farmers' Institute at Jowai I would say that it is not cent per cent successful. There at Jowai, we have a beautiful building and it is supposed to give instructions to benefit the farmers. At present, the Instructor has been appointed there but the farmers do not reap the full benefit of his presence because he does not know the language of the area. I, therefore, by way of suggestion, submit that the Instructor in that Farmers' Institute must be a Khasi or Pnar-speaking so that the farmers will really enjoy the benefits of the institute. Secondly, regarding agriculture, from year to year we have seen that.
Mr. Speaker :- It is really very unfortunate that certain members do not seem to observe the rules and procedures that they are supposed to observe inside the House. This morning I had occasion to ask them to go through Rule 275 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business. But right now also one hon. Member did cross. I wish that henceforth the hon. Members would read Rule 275 carefully and observe the rules there in spirit as well as in practice.
Shri Albin Lamare :- Continuing Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have made a reference just now to the diseases of plants from year to year and with reference to Jaintia Hills, we need to have a Plant Protection Officer so that the disease may be brought under control and if this is done by the Government, I am sure that we shall be able to get more production from year to year.
Coming to irrigation, I appreciate the irrigation schemes being taken up and implemented by the Government in different places of the State. But so far, I have seen some of the projects now under construction and I doubt that this irrigation project will succeed. (At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and the Chairman, Shri B. Wanniang, occupied the Chair). I may remind the Government, through you, Sir, that previously the Government had a separate policy of having the minor irrigation projects means for individual cultivators. Now the policy has been abandoned for the last few years and according to me, these minor irrigation projects meant for the individual cultivators should be revived. In our areas, the hills and rivers are such that we find it difficult to implement the major schemes. The topography of our land does not allow us to implement major and big schemes and I am all out to suggest to the Government that these minor irrigation projects be brought back. Government is requested, through you, Mr. Chairman, Sir, to restore the old policy which had been dropped.
Then the next point, Mr. Chairman, Sir, which I am coming is animal husbandry. There are schemes now operating in the State as already mentioned in the budget speech and also financial allocations are there in the budget. Recently, I have been to the Saitsama Sheep Farm and unfortunately I have to disagree with what has been said in this budget speech which says that the Saitsama Sheep Farm is not functioning satisfactorily. If I am not mistaken in reading the minds of the technical officers they do not seem to be satisfied with its functions of the Saitsama Sheep Farm and I personally am not satisfied with its functions. While I was there a few weeks ago I had a chance to discuss with the people of that side and I told them whether they like the Sheep Farm or the Poultry Farm. Right came the reply from the headman that they did not like the Sheep Farm; they liked to have a poultry farm there at Saitsama. I quite agree with the headman of that area this Saitsama Sheep Farm should be converted into a poultry farm. If I do not fail in my judgment, this Saitsama Sheep Farm, if allowed to continue, will meet with a sad failure and before it meets with a said failure, I would suggest to the Government that it may be converted into a poultry farm.
Coming to the dispensaries and aid centres being in operation now, I once had a chance to meet the District Officer, Jaintia Hills District, and he expressed to me that s c h e m e s and programmes cannot be fully implemented on account of the shortage and dearth of technical personnel. I was told that in so many centres, there are no V.F.As. I, therefore consider it proper to bring to the notice of the Government the difficulties faced by the heads of the department in Jaintia Hills because of dearth of technical personnel. The Government should examine the matter properly and get persons appointed in the centres so that the schemes will be ready for the benefit of the people.
Coming to fishery, I have come to know that in Jaintia Hills there are two sausage flexible dams being constructed by the Fisheries Department. The finger lines have been thrown into the river for the purpose of food. But on enquiry, through the person who knows, I came to know that there are no river guards and the absence of the liver guards is a failure on the part of the department in implementing this scheme. There is no use in having the fishes sown just to get them poisoned without being watched.
(Mr. Deputy Speaker in the Chair)
Secondly, regarding the working of the Fisheries Department I do not know what has happened in other parts of the State. In Jaintia Hills there is much dislocation of work on account of the non-posting of the Superintendent of Fisheries. At present there are two Fishery Officers. But there is no Superintendent of Fisheries in Jowai office. There are lots of complaints from the staff working there about the non-passing of the T.A. bills for months together and some of the T.A. bills have been sent for pre-audit. This is a punishment to the piety Government officials. I therefore, consider it proper to move in the House that the Superintendent of Fisheries be posted in the Fishery office at Jowai.
Coming to the community development, I would like to make a special touch on rural road links as mentioned here at page 10 of this Budget Speech. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have come to know that there are schemes there in Thadlaskein Development Block, the Rural Link Roads Scheme. Some of the scheme have been implemented while the other schemes, I mean for 1977-78 remain unimplemented. One scheme for Mukhla Pohshnong amounting to Rs.45,000 and another scheme for Nongbah amounting to Rs.34,000. These schemes have been sanctioned the amounts have been drawn but the schemes remain unimplemented uptil now. I therefore, though this august House, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, suggests to the Government to examine the matter properly and get the matter properly and get the schemes implemented, otherwise there will be complications regarding this scheme.
Then coming to power, one of the hon. Members, Shri Swer, has already pointed out regarding the slackness of service in the rural areas and I think this may be due to the difficulty in administration in the Board itself I came to know that in Assam, the Assam State Electricity Board has got a Chief Personnel Officer. We only have an Assistant Personnel Officer and if such officer is posted in the Meghalaya State Electricity Board, the service to the people will be improved.
Coming to industries, I have come in touch with those officers responsible for implementation of the scheme. Here at page 12 of the Budget Speech, there is one sentence reading like this "A number of schemes have been taken up to promote the growth of small industries". But in the villages where these small industries are expected to be available we cannot find them and as an encouragement to help or to set up small or cottage industries in the villages, I suggest that those persons who passed out from the training should be given some financial assistance. Otherwise there is no need of having them trained. I therefore suggest that those passed-out trainees, those persons who have come out successfully from the Training Institutes should be given either a sewing machine or a knitting machine or any other necessary help for setting up small industries in the villages.
Coming to sericulture and weaving. Recently I had visited as number of houses at Ummulong, Wahiajer and Nartiang area and I found that the people have taken seen interest in the rearing of silk worms. But what touches me most is that those individual rearers have to vacate their bed rooms or drawing rooms to make room for the silk worms. I have seen the enthusiasm of the people and their keenness in participating in the Government scheme. But unluckily they have to vacate even their bed rooms to make room for the silk worms. I therefore by way suggestion, through this august House, would like the Government to get some short of financial assistance to those individual rearers to enable them to construct get involved in the Government programme in sericulture.
Coming to education, I have seen in the villages they have started schools, M.E. Schools, Primary Schools and High Schools and in the villages the people are having less money than the people in the town. They find it difficult how to manage the schools. They try their best in the High Schools. The teachers in the Primary Schools are paid a salary of Rs. 60 or Rs.50. This is because the fund of the village people is small while the enrolment of the schools is encouraging. I therefore suggest that since the enrolment in these M.E. Schools and High Schools is very much encouraging, Government should take over these Schools. I can give one illustration. In my own Constituency, in a village of Mukhla there is one M.E. School which really deserves to be provincialised because the people of that area have managed that school for years together. So the hands of those people of that village should be strengthened by the Government and this can be done if the school is provincialised. So also is the case with one M.E. School at Modymmai. Then regarding the Primary Schools run by the District Councils or primary education, there is much to be talked about. I have come to know that there are schools which have not been visited nor inspected for the last 12 years. There are schools where there are 80 number of students but only one teacher and there are schools where there are 80 students with 4 teachers. And there are schools where the teacher finds it difficult to know its location. Yet so much is to be talked about the Primary Schools especially in Jaintia Hills. I am, therefore in favour of primary education being taken up by the Government. This will improve the standard of primary education and will create more interest among the teachers as well. Now, coming to paragraph 22 at page 13 on Health, the Government has made attempts to set up Primary Health Centres and Dispensaries in some selected places of the State. This is very appreciable, but in some areas where such P.H.Cs. or Dispensaries must be made available to reach the people. For example, in my Constituency, one Travelling Dispensary has been arranged at Nongbah but the working of this Travelling Dispensary is not at all regular even once a week So I would like to request the Government to see that this Travelling Dispensary for that particular village which has a population of four thousand people is arranged regularly once a week and the services must be regular. Further the Civil Surgeon at Jowai should be provided with one Jeep. Then coming to paragraph 24 of this Budget Speech at page 15, i.e. on roads and bridges, I am only to give one suggestion regarding black-topping of this J.N.K. Road which has been constructed right from 1960 and which is still now remaining a fair weather road. The Government should properly look into it and see that black-topping of the road is properly done. I have seen on the road-side bitumens were being stocked and I am confident that this year the Government will black-top this road. With these few words, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker : Now I call upon Mr. Alfrien Marak.
Shri Alfrien Marak : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to join in the discussion of this Budget presented by Shri S.D. Khongwir, Minister-in-charge. of Finance which pertains to the year 1978-79. While going through the Budget Speech, I come to know that the Government is trying to chalk out many developmental programmes in the State I really appreciate to find that the Government has taken up many vital programmes like agriculture sector, the objective, of which is to gradually increase the production of foodgrains with the ultimate aim of attaining self-sufficiency soil-conservation development through implementation of many alternative schemes in order to do away with jhum cultivation and so on. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, besides these there are many programmes like animal husbandry, cattle farming, poultry farming, etc., which, I believe can make much contribution to the development of our rural economy. There are many other programmes like fishery, conservation of forests, improvement on cooperative sector, Community development programmes, supply of power to the rural areas, Mineral development, industrial, sericulture and weaving, education, health, rural water supply, transport, border areas development, tourism etc., These are the various programmes chalked out by our new Government for the development of our State. But I would like to say Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that merely chalking out programmes in paper will not help the real development of our State. It will be something like the house painted only on the outside portion. Therefore, I would like to request the Government, through you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that all these programmes which have been already chalked out by our Government be properly implemented for the development of the State. It can be seen every year in the Budget Speech that was prepared by the previous Government also wherein many vital developmental programmes electrified whereas in the Budget Speech it was mentioned that some 50/60 villages would be electrified, not a single agriculturist has been receiving loan in spite of their trying hard to get. Not a single village has been provided with proper water supply scheme to enable the villagers to get pure drinking water whereas in the Budget Speech it was mentioned that many villagers would be provided with water supply schemes. Only a few educational institutions so far provincialised and only a few roads in the interior areas have been made motorable. Last but not the least is that the Government is only showing the programmes of agricultural developments by adopting new methods of agriculture but it is surprising to note that the agricultural methods which are being used in the interior areas are still the same as they are many centuries before. So the development in agriculture cannot be seen uptil now. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I know through you why the previous Government could not implement all those vital programmes as they promised in their budget speeches.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to urge upon the new Government to implement properly those vital programmes as mentioned the Budget Speech for the benefit of the rural people because the people in the interior places are suffering very badly for want of pure drinking water, good communication, good educational institutions and so on and so forth. Therefore, I would like to urge upon the Government once again to look into these matters and implement all the programmes as chalked out. With these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Mr. B.K. Roy.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to speak on the budget estimate for the year 1978-79 as presented before the House by the Hon'ble Finance Minister. The most revealing feature of this budget is that no serious effort at resource mobilisation is reflected in the budget. It gives a vivid picture as to how the Government is behaving as a lazy, doing nothing and happy - go - lucky, irresponsible and unworthy inheritor of an estate. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the budget has failed to meet the aspirations of the people, I mean that vast humanity, ignorant, uneducated, unhealthy and economical backward people for whose upliftment our beloved State of Meghalaya was created. I may allowed to quote some portion from the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister which has been mentioned by the hon. Member Shri. S.P. Swer. In that it has been mentioned. The budget proposals which I have submitted for your consideration seek to reflect the needs and aspirations of the people of the State. but they had to be formulated within the framework of the limitations which are our legacy". If the word "people" means the vast majority of the tribal people, I mean particularly the tribal people who are economically backward and for whom we are mainly concerned, then I should say the attitude of the Government is most "anti-tribal". Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Budget shows no definite purpose in any direction and does not give any happy promise for the future either. It gives the look of a clumsy effort instead of an instrument of planning and economic progress which it should be even at botching and patching falling far short of the demands of development. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the expenditures are there but not for increasing the income and output. The Budget is predominantly cast to maintain a top heavy administration, decorated with cars carpets jeeps and other prerequisites. The most usual scene one comes across is that at least 4 out of 10 vehicles on the road are with M.L.G. numbers which are often parked on the school gates in the market places, in front of cinema houses carrying people other than the official for whom those cars are meant.. The Budget Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, makes one wonder has the Government of the day gone back to the classical days when it was meant for maintaining only police administration and administrative machinery in order to keep the upper reach in good shape and comfort. Has this Government, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, abdicated its responsibilities for bringing the economic development of the State which are the most vital commitments of any progressive Government of a welfare State. And what is most surprising is that this Government seems to have failed even with that top heavy administration and police force, in maintaining law and order in the State. People may rightly ask what it is there for. The Budget shows as much as 4 crores of rupees for police administration which reflects an increase in trend of expenditure on police administration. May I ask Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, when there is not even a semblance of law and order in this capital town of the State, what is the use of increasing so much expenditure for police force ? After dusk people cannot go out freely in the streets. Incident of intimidation, assaults, insults, abuses and other crimes are going on every day for months together. Taxis are hijacked, drivers are beaten up, doctors feel insecure to attend to a call from the patients after night fall and what is worse, even the police personnel who are supposed to be the protector of law are being beaten themselves. In short, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I maintain that no development worth the name based on even a welfare budget is possible when the whole constituent is full of suspicion on one side and panic uncertainly and insecurity on the other. In this connection, I would like to bring to the notice of the House through you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that batches of unauthorised persons visited many areas in town and asked for production of documents regarding their period of stay in their locality and so on and so forth. This has created confusion and Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I went to see the Deputy Commissioner in this connection and I was categorically told that Government had nothing to do with this and that Government did depute any person to enquire into all the things. The Deputy Commissioner rather requested me report to him the facts and figures if any such persons visit any more such areas and according to him, they were trespassers. But all the same this has created a sense of panic. It has added more confusion which is already prevailing. Now I may ask the Government through you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, has the Government abrogated its authority to a gang of people to which it appears has been given the liberty to do whatever they like?
Now coming to the other items in the Budget, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I ask the Government what percentage of total expenditure they are devoting for essential items like education, health, water supply and electricity for rural development? By rural development I mean development of population which comprises to 80 per cent of the population of the State. Education of the rural people Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is yet to get a realistic and pragmatic approach. This Budget seems to be laid up in an antique fashion just drawing some figures for this and that without any definite purpose at least as far as rural education is concerned, which is so much necessary for the development of the State. As regards bringing the schools under the deficit scheme as some of the speakers are brought under the deficit scheme fore reasons other than its actual results or in its enrolment strength this appears to be based on political reasons, otherwise how can schools like St. Mary's or Umpling High School which is not yet to make a mark gets the maximum benefit under the deficit scheme. I am constrained to bring out before the House that the backward communities which were given the scholarship till last year have been deprived of getting the education benefits in the form of stipends. Restrictions have been put on them that only those getting more than 50 per cent marks are eligible for stipends thus making it a merit cum backward community scholarship. The Constitution of India has clearly given privileges to our brothers who are backward in the field of education, particularly the members of the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes and other backward communities. How can our State having the reins of Government particularly in the hands of Scheduled Tribes ignore the other backward communities who are our brothers and fellow sufferers. The Scheduled Tribes and scheduled castes should be more sympathetic towards the other backward communities because they are like brothers. Therefore, I ask the Government to grant the same benefits to the other backward communities as had been given to them till last year. ( At this stage, Mr. Speaker occupied the Chair ). Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to dwell upon the medical facilities as envisaged in the Budget. Sir, I am sorry to say that medical facilities as envisaged in the Budget. Sir, I am sorry to say that medical budget is through and through an urban oriented one. 50 per cent of the allotted expenditure is spent on the Shillong Civil Hospital, the Ganesh Das Hospital, the T.B. Hospital, Jowai and Tura District Hospital and less than 50 per cent is left for the rural parts of this State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the State Dispensaries in the rural areas are in a very bad shape indeed and are not run properly. Some are without doctors and some are without pharmacists, some dispensaries have no proper buildings or quarter for staff or no proper medicine supply and some are provided with medicines which may not be useful in such particular seasons in the particular locality. There is no arrangement for conveyance of the doctors which is very much required by them, for the doctors are often called to visit patients in some far away places, some have to visit patients to a distance of 5 miles, 10 miles and even 20 miles in difficult terrains.
Why is it that motor cars are given lavishly to other departments when we ignore the need of the doctors who are medical graduates who go to these rural dispensaries to render their valuable services. Why can't they be given full incentives, like suitable buildings, conveyances, etc., so that they can render their duties satisfactorily. I take this opportunity Mr. Speaker, Sir, being the only Member of the medical profession in this august House to give you some more details as to what a dismatate of affairs that is going on so far as the rural health service concerned. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am a humble Member of the Lions International and I had the chance to visit many interior areas of this district in course of our free medical projects. I had been to Pynursla, Lawbah, Mawsynram, Laitkor and many other places. I came across hundreds and thousands who have not had a drop of medicine in their whole life and many of them get more diseases and more frequently than me and they have to rely entirely on the native dawn or prays. Well, I may tell you of an experience in one such visit to the interior. When I put my examining figures on the abdomen of one pregnant, expectant mother who was absolutely without blood, I asked her la don khun katno ngut, Kong? and she answered 'La ion 11 ngut, la sah sa ar ngut mynta'. I was surprised that only two are living out of eleven children. Heaven knows whether she will survive the ordeal of pregnancy or the 12th Child will see the light of the world. This is the type of rural health service, we are rendering. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I ask the Government, through you, to give minimum redress to these mothers. This is perhaps the way how the statisticians say that our rural population has decreased. They are not productive. But in fact this is noble ways and natural way of promoting family planning and controlling population growth by infantile mortality and maternal morbidity. This is the State of affairs in the rural areas. I would urge upon the Minister-in-charge of Health, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to apply his head and heart in crushing out all the evils that exist in his department and to do something for these unfortunate ailing humanities in our rural areas. In this connection, I would bring to your notice Sir, and that is also equally unfortunate, and that is happening in the urban area. Some contractors are getting chances year after years in supplying medicines to the Civil Hospital and Government institutions. A sort of a racket is going on in matters of supply of medicines, food and other equipments to Hospital. And things which are supposed to be supplied are not at the time of need. Even for Distilled water and all such minor things a slip is given to be purchased from the market. An X ray plate is beyond the reach of a common man. Only those who are high up or have connection get these things. Only big shots are getting a chance for a bed in the Civil Hospital. It has become actually a nursing home of some privileged Doctors serving in the Hospital. This Civil Hospital in Shillong; with the amount that is being spent is posing a big problem. Can one say that it is manned by proper people? Can one say that we have got specialists of that standard? Can one say that there are actually persons who can give specialised treatment? If unfortunately some of the hon. Members here get a heart attack at the moment we wont get any heart specialist here in the Civil Hospital. I would urge the Minister in-charge of Health to try to convert this hospital; into a State hospital and to man it with proper personnel and give fair chance to local talents. Under the medical head, one thing which is very much controversial is the contributory health scheme. It has been also discussed in a national convention and decided that this should be done away with. Our sister State of Assam has already accepted this. This Contributory Health Service Scheme is not the proper way of giving the medical help to all employees equitably. There are various clandestine methods adopted in the matter of giving reimbursement by making fake vouchers and a racket is going on so I brought this matter before the Government and also to the previous D.H.S. I told him that our exchequer is being drained away by this injudicious method of giving medical aids to employees. I was assured that the Government would be considering to adopt some sort of medical allowance on slab basis as is being done in other States. I would urge the Government through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that they give due importance to my suggestion.
I take the liberty also to speak about water supply scheme. I had been in the Municipality for eight years along with the Hon'ble Minister-in-charge of Industries, Mr. P.R. Kyndiah and I was pleased to hear from him in the last session of a very hopeful picture about the water supply of Greater Shillong. I will first of all talk about the rural water supply scheme about which our Finance Minister has given a very birth picture, in his Budget Speech, though it is far from being bright. Now, in the course of this speech, our Hon'ble Minister-in-charge of Industries gave us a picture that a 816 lakhs scheme for greater Shillong. was in progress. But now I hear that the scheme has been abandoned. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I ask the Government why the question of affecting the agricultural lands was not considered before going in for the survey woks for this scheme? Why was not the question of compensation taken up at that time? Why the people were not taken into confidence before starting the scheme? And why the Government is silent now a bout some alternative schemes? Rs.8'16 crores is not a small amount. Only 7.32 lakhs of rupees. Scheme spent for Upper Shillong source gives us quite a good amount of water, nine lakhs gallons during summer and five lakhs to six lakhs gallons during dry season. Rupees 8.16 crores for water for greater Shillong is not a small amount and I am sure that Shillong would not suffer from this water scarcity if the scheme is implemented instead fop depending on the perennial source of water here and there.
In the modern days if the desert of Sahara can get water fore irrigation and if Siberia can grow apple as the most apply growing place in the world on the ice of U.S.S.R.. I believe we can find sources of water supply in Meghalaya if we apply our zeal vision and skill. I was told by one of the member in the house that some foreign missionary father found certain place at Mawlai while walking from where water is now, abundantly available. I am sure if Government is sincere there are many sources like that in Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we could tap some small springs and I know of one such springs in the Lalchanbasti area. I have found the flow up of water is very good from that source and if only a small amount of money is spend this source would have been sufficient to cater to the needs a population of about 6 or 7 thousand. So Mr. Speaker Sir, I suggest 5that in view of the growing problem of water scarcity the portfolio of Public Health Engineering Department should be vested with Chief Minister himself who possesses determination and far sight or with a very able and senior member like our Industries Minister who knows all about the trouble of water supply that have been going on in Shillong. He knows these things fully well when he was a Chairman.....
Mr. Speaker :- Do you mean to say that the Chief Minister does not know?.
Shri B.K. Roy :- The Chief Minister has got the acumen and foresight but there is difference between doing thing himself and getting it done by a junior colleague foresight. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am coming to the end of my speech. I just mention about forest which is one of the biggest sources of our income. This is the mine of wealth, but unfortunately, this has been converted into a den of corruption. As regards fisheries, one wonders how the Government is building castle in the air. Fisheries in the hills. I heard Mr. Albin Lamare saying that finger-lings which depend on the river grass were dropped in grassless stream. Why it is like this. Because we are as if in an experimental stage, just to grow fishes in places like the Ward Lake and the ponds near St. Edmund's College or the like. It is a sheer imagination to grow fish here sufficient by to meet our demand. So the Government has to think in some other way for proper supply of fish from outside. Even Calcutta depends on Bangladesh or other places. Here we get fish from Nowgong Bongaigoan and Lucknow but there is a racket in the fish trade. It is high time the Government takes up the control of supply of fish. Government should open a department for procurement of fish for supply them at controlled rates. On fish poor people are very much dependent and even higher people also depend. Now, taking the Budget as a whole, it has not given any promise of employment. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not employment oriented. I have enough reasons to believe that with few number of vaccines the applications are in hundreds and even if all are filled up by persons belonging to the Scheduled Tribes there is a sense of distrust and suspicious order to absorb hundred of graduates and technical graduates who are coming out every year. Government should increase job opportunity in all spheres but where is that job prospect so far as budget is concerned. Mr. Speaker, Sir, coming to the employment prospect of the non-tribals it is regrettable that the principle of 40 - 40 - 15- 5 is not adhered to. This figures I collected from various departments. In the employment exchange no non-tribal is allowed even to get his name registered unless recommended by either the M.L.A.'s or M.D.C. or the headman as laid down in the scheduled form of applications. Even with the recommendation of the M.L.A.'s the employment exchanges do not register their names. This goes back to the Deputy Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner in turn sends to the police for a song drawn out process of investigation. Even if he gets his name registered where is the guarantee that he will get an employment in the State.
It is necessary for getting employment anywhere in India if he is registered with the employment exchange. If he holds a registration number he may try in Maharashtra or in Uttar Pradesh but that opportunity is not given to him though he is a permanent citizen ion the State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I know of hundreds of cases in this connection where the persons with patta or service records under the Government of Assam and Meghalaya in offices at Shillong or his name appearing in the birth register with school certificates from the local schools and colleges or any of the documents giving enough evidence of being a permanent citizen of the State. Yet the Deputy Commissioner has to send his name to the Police for verification. Is it for checking verifying impersonation to the Police for verification. is it for checking verifying impersonation of the applicant concerned or genuineness of the recommendation by the M.L.A's. If that be so it is an insult to a member of the Legislature a Member of this august House. If under my signature and seal that I recommend that such and such person is known to me for the last fifteen years or so and I known his parents grand and also and he has got a house of his own even then it is sent to the police for verification. What a house of his own even then it is sent to the police for verification. What actually happens by the time police verification comes and the residential certificate is issued as required for some jobs he is deprived of employment due to time bar. This certificate is required in the case of admission and engineering courses. I urge upon the Government though you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to formulate an easy procedure by which Government can distinguish between a permanent citizen of Meghalaya and those who should be treats as outsiders. We also are against exodus of people from outside and exploring our limited resources and breaking the population structure of the small State.
They should not be given any facility. They cannot be considered the Meghalayans. But permanent Citizens of this State, tribal or non-tribal we all want to have the same identity as Meghalayans. Members must have heard the assurance of the Hon'ble Chief Minister in this House or by the Governor in his Address and even outside the House have heard the promises that the permanent residents in this place will get their legitimate deal in so far as job and trades are concerned. Yet they have been put in a strange category, a cursed category of U Dkhar. I may be an U Dkhar or I may be a harijan, but I am a Meghalayan and nothing less than a Meghalayan. We are like soldiers for the same cause who will serve this State in whatever capacity we have. These are hundreds and thousands of people who are permanent residents of Meghalaya. They were born and brought up here, their name have been registered in the birth register of the Shillong Municipality have got a son, he is a medical graduate, he is a Meghalayan and a permanent resident of Shillong and there is no other place in India or in the world that can treat him as its permanent resident. But if he id debarred from identifying himself legally as a Meghalayan where does he stand? So Mr. Speaker, Sir, this question of Permanent Residential Certificate should be very seriously considered by the Government. The Government has got to do justice to the minorities and give them the confidence that it also stands for them. In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to impress, this Budget is out and out unproductive may - it be agricultural industrial or may other economic output. We find as much as 10,87,800 of rupees that has been estimated as expenditure for agriculture. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, how much is for production and what is the percentage for administration?. Or, in the other words, what will be the output so far as production is concerned. This budget gives us no hope of self-sufficiency at any time in future. Neither in agriculture not in industries, cottage, small or big, any job oriental scheme is drawn up. It has not given us any promise for future. Budget after all, is a means and not an end. It has to show us what is the ultimate output. It has to show to the people for whole development this State was born mainly the tribals, that the Government is seriously responsible for the development of this State. The unemployment problem is raising its ugly head day by day having no increasing scope in Government offices, in the agricultural field in factories or in order trades. Unless this problem is solved, law and order can never be maintained; tension will go on increasing. The have - not will think and say that they were dominated by the richer or deprived by u Dkhar or by other communities and we will be falling far behind the goad, i.e., prosperity of our State of Meghalaya. Thank you.
* Shri E.K. Mawlong :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in joining hands in the general discussion of the Budget with other hon. Members I would like first of all, to congratulate this Ministry for bringing about and for having implemented the amended Land Transfer Act, 1971. The enforcement of this Act, I hope, will really check the influx of population from outside the State. This is what we the hon. Members of this House from all sections, are also very much anxious and join hands with the Government in order to fully implement it. I also feel for our genuine non-tribal Meghalayans, those who have been born and brought up here in our State. There is a provision in that very Act whereby it has been clearly shown that there are certain areas in Shillong town where this Act will not operate. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in addition to this, I would like to bring to the notice of this House and to the Government through you that there is no solution the problem of influx into our State as there are other means by which influx is being increased by and by.
Now, I would like to say something about the acquisition of land by the Central authorities in our State here. In my constituency, in the last few years since the early sixties or seventies, about 3000 acres of agricultural land were acquisitioned by the Defence authorities and recently also, I got an information that one Major General Kulkarni in-charge of the 101 Zone here in Shillong, North Eastern Region, was trying again to obtain another 3000 acres of land or more for defence purposes at Barapani knowing fully well that the State Government will not co-operate or will not extend any more help to the Central authorities to give this plot of land. Yet, he tried to contact the Chief Secretary, the Secretary, Agriculture Department and the Development Commissioner for this. He had been thrown a lunch party at Barapani's I.B. in order to persuade them to give this 3000 acres or more for the use of the Defence authorities.
Mr. Speaker :- For his personal use or for the defence needs?
Shri E.K. Mawlong :- For the defence purposes. Over and above that, I remember Sir, during the last ten years, more than 3000 acre of land have been taken by the Defence authorities and I do not think that this additional acreage of land which they have sought to acquire will be used for the defence purposes, but I think for some other purposes of those personnel of the Defence authorities. In the proposal I came to know that they have also included the Tourists resort at Barapani which the Tourism Department had already spent Rs.3,00,000 for the improvement of that tourists resort. We also know that the Director of Agriculture and also the District Agricultural officer of East Khasi Hills and the Government have objected to this and they have given a certificate that these areas are excellent agricultural area.
We know that the Central Government had issued orders not to acquire any more agricultural lands for purposes other than agricultural purposes. So the Defence authorities have no need to acquire 3000acres more over what they have acquired. Only recently we have seen in the papers that a Major General had come to Shillong and laid the foundation stone at Barapani. This is not the end of all the activities of the Defence authorities after acquiring lands. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring to the notice of the Government the fact that in taking over these lands about 12 villages of that area have been affected. Now, when the Government was trying to acquire land for the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme, there was great agitation from the people because about 3,000 or more families would be affected by that acquisition of land at Nongkrem and so, ultimately, the Government had to abandon acquisition of land even for a public purpose. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this acquisition of land will affect these areas also as we have seen that the acquisition of land at Barapani area had affected about 12 villages. With this new proposal, I am afraid, all those people will have to leave their hearths and home and that they will not find a place anywhere for their settlement. I remember when Umiam Khwan was acquired by the Government for the construction of the Barapani Dam, there were promises made to the people when there was some opposition from them over acquisition of agricultural lands. The authorities at that time, during the composite State of Assam, had promised to these people that if their lands were taken and used for the construction of the Dam, they would be given free electricity free, water supply and also a model village to be constructed for them. But all these promises that were made to them were never fulfilled till today. I am afraid these people will not find settlement anywhere in the State. We also know, Sir, that there are already three cantonment areas in Shillong also know, Sir, that there are already three cantonment areas in Shillong (1) Happy Valley; (2) Shillong Cantonment and the other is (3) the Headquarters of the Eastern Air Command at Upper Shillong. The mere presence of the different categories of the Defence Personnel has increased the population by 80.000 to 90.000 more or less. If we allow another cantonment to be constructed here near Shillong than an additional population or 20,000 or 90,000 more or less. If we allow another cantonment to be constructed here near Shillong than an additional population of 20,000 to 30,000 will be there. So what will be the fate of our city of Shillong especially? There will be a great impact upon our social life and on the life of our people here, especially to our women folk. So we have to try from the side of the Government not to allow any more acquisition of land by the Defence authorities. We also know that the Defence Ministry had given orders away from the towns. But here in Shillong town we can see that the cantonment is in the very heart of the town itself. So we have to find out ways and means to even remove this cantonment from the heart of our town. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I won't say much on this matter but I am confident that this Government will take up this matter very seriously. I also know that our Revenue Minister had gone to Delhi and met the authorities. If I am not mistaken, he had gone to Delhi for this purpose and met the leaders. I hope that he had discussions with them. But from the side of the Government they should persuade the authorities in the Central Government not to encourage the Defence authorities to acquire any more of our lands.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to come to another point that is the boundary issue of our State. Recently, we have seen in the papers that our people and our Revenue Minister had gone to Khanduli and removed the pillars erected by the Government of Assam. I think we should congratulate him for this act because we fully know that the boundary issue is still a problem to be solved. In my constituency, in the border areas, our people are facing lots of harassment and hardships from the Police of Assam. Only last week about 4/5 persons came from my constituency and reported that the Assam Police had arrived in the village and tried to arrest some of the leaders of the village. Immediately after getting this news the leaders had to leave the village and took shelter elsewhere because they had experienced a few years back that these Police would come to the village, often in a drunken State or drunken mood, to arrest or to beat the villagers if the villagers would not give any money upto about Rs.400/- or they would not release them but take them to jail. These people are also facing different kinds of encroachment from other people who are residing in those villages. I am happy that the Deputy Chief Minister, when received the report had written to the Chief Minister Assam telling him about the incident that took place in those three or four villages where harassment to our people has been caused during those weeks. I hope that the Government of Assam would give proper attention to those people in those areas. I would like also to inform the House that although at present these villages do not belong to us and have not been tagged to us on account of the boundary which has not been finally settled, I feel that it is our moral responsibility, I should say, that our people live in peace and tranquility in these areas. When we visited the area with the Revenue Minister on the 25th of last month, he also got the report that our people were harassed not only by the Assam Police, but also by the Nepalis khutis residing in those villages. On my visit to those areas, I was surprised to find that in some villages, there are only 40 to 50 Khasi families while there are more than 200 Nepali families. Our people are facing great hardship and difficulties in dealing with the khuti people of these areas especially in respect of agricultural produce of those people. I do not want to describe in detail about the harassment that our people are facing in those areas. But I hope that the Government is fully aware of this fact and proper action will be taken by the Government to see that our people live in peace and tranquility and that the Government of both sides will try to solve the issue of boundary as early as possible so that our people will not face the difficulties as in the past.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like also to mention something about education especially primary education of our State. Wherever we go to visit the villages, we find that every village is having primary education and they need some help0 for the schools either in the form of grants to the teachers or the buildings grants they expect from the Government. We had experienced for the last five or six years that with present help that the District Councils are getting from the Government, it is not possible to help our primary schools even after ten or twenty years. So I hope that the present Government will iron out the difficulties that the primary school are facing especially those teachers who are really facing great difficulty for teaching the small children with small pay. We expect that our teachers will dedicate themselves to education but we cannot expect them to work when they cannot even get pay sufficient even to support their families and themselves.
Next Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to mention something about the difficulties of our people in the Bhoi Area because of the location of the Subdivision of the whole of Ri-Bhoi at Nongpoh. We have experienced in last one year or so when the Subdivision started functioning at Nongpoh, our people especially from Umroi constituency, Mawhati constituency and Nongpoh constituency are facing difficulty in going down to Nongpoh in order to get the things done for themselves. The main difficulty they are facing now is the Absence of proper and good transport. Most of the time, our people cannot get transport even on the G.S. Road and sometimes they have to stay one or two days at Nongpoh just to get a small thing done. In this way, the people have to go to Nongpoh for the second or third time to meet the S.D.O. when the S.D.O. Was not available during their first visit. This has put the poor villagers in great difficulty as they have to spend a lot of money to meet the officers just for a simple matter. In this respect, I would like to suggest to the Government that if they could create another Administrative Unit in this area, I think that will be of great help and blessing to the people. Apart from this, I would like to suggest that since the Bhoi Area is vast area having a population of not less than a lakh, it is very difficult indeed for our people to have only one Block Office. The people living in those areas especially in the border areas, are really in great difficulty to go to the Block Office for their needs and requirements. I would suggest to the Government if possible, to create another Block Office for the Ri-Bhoi Area.
Next I would like to point out to certain important factors which are required in order to improve the hospitals, especially in the rural areas which have also been underlined by one of the hon. Members, Shri B.K. Roy. He has also given some wholesome suggestions in order to improve the health of our people in the rural areas. We always hear that the doctors do not prefer to go and work in the rural areas. Why? because of many difficulties. First of all, may be that the pay they are getting is to small for them. Then also because of the difficulties that they are facing regarding transport in those areas are also difficult living condition that they are experiencing in certain rural areas. In one of the visits of our Minister-in-charge of Health in my Constituency we have discussed about this problem and we hope that the Government would give more attention to the needs and requirements of the doctors in the rural areas. They should be encouraged to come and serve in the rural areas because our people in the interior require a lot of attention for their health and all other medical facilities. For example, our doctor at the present hospital at Bhoi-lymbong are not having a vehicle. So they have been given a vehicle only last week and I have seen that doctors traveling by bus complained against the absence of vehicle. They cannot visit the interior areas because they cannot go on foot, especially in the night time. They have to walk miles together to visit the villages in order to see patients. I hope that the Government would see to the difficulties of the doctors in the interior areas and to relieve and give them some substantial help, so that they can serve our people in the interior areas.
I am happy also to note that the new policy of the Government is to go in for small scale industries and not for large scale industries and we hope that Government would give help and assistance to those people in the interior areas who are having the skill and to encourage them in different types of works in order to improve their economic condition. I would like to suggest that weaving training centres should also be encouraged in many of the areas in our State. We have heard one member from Jaintia Hills mentioned about the keenness of our people in rearing silk worms. In my constituency I have seen that many people are keen in rearing silk worms and the Department of Sericulture has also one Sericulture Farm at Iapngar and I hope that they will also open Weaving Centre for those people in this area because they have a Sericulture farm and weaving facilities.
Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to say something on the Department of Agriculture. I am grateful indeed to the Agriculture Department which had distributed the seeds to our people, those affected by hail-storm in October last year. But the distribution of seeds did not help our people much. The affected people in those areas are really facing great hardship on account of their crops have been destroyed in the last hail-storm. I am also happy to note that the Government had sanctioned recently an amount of Rs. 5 lakhs by way of scheme in order to help those people who have been affected by the calamity. I would request the Government again to sanction some more amount for those people in the villages where the crops had been destroyed completely by the hail-storm of last year. This year also they are facing difficulties immediately after ploughing season and they are facing hardship and difficulties on account of total lost of their crops last year. In the last few days I visited these areas with the Chief Minister and I have been requested by the people that some more money be sanctioned. I am happy to learn that Government this time also would sanctioned some amount by way of positive scheme. There are some villages where positive schemes have not been given at all. So I hope that the Government would take some action to help those people so that they can be relieved of their difficulty they have been facing in the last few months. I would suggest to the Government that in order to improve agriculture and in order to help our people to grow more food they should be provided with power tillers. We have been experiencing during the last few years that our people rushed for power tillers, and after months together they would get the power tiller. So I would suggest that more power tillers should be purchased by the Government to supply them to our cultivators and farmers so that they can grow more food for the benefit of the whole State. I would also remind the Government that our cultivators have always been facing great difficulty ever year in regard to fertilizer because they never get in time. There was also insufficient amount of fertilizers available to the cultivators. So I hope from the next season, the Government would see that our farmers and cultivators should receive sufficient quantity of fertilizers in time so that they would be able to improve their agriculture. I do not have any more suggestions to make and with these few words, I conclude my speech.
Mr. Speaker :- Since there are no more participants in to days discussion the House stands adjourned till 9.30. A.M. tomorrow the 15th June, 1978.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly
|The 14th June, 1978||