Proceedings of the Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held at 9.30 a.m. on Monday, the 19th June, 1978 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong
The Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up Item No.1, questions.
( To which replies were laid on the Table )
Shri Albin Lamare asked :
1. Will the Minister-in-charge of Public Works Department (R & B.) be pleased to state -
(a) Why the metaling and black-topping of the J.N.K.K. Road is at a standstill?
(b) Whether steps are being taken to start black-topping the said road during the year 1978-79?
Shri Y. Fuller Lyngdoh (Minister-in-charge of P.W.D.) replied :
1. (a) - Work is not at a standstill as the collection of aggregates for metalling and black-topping is in progress.
(b) - Steps are being taken to start black-topping of J.N.K.K. Road and programme has been made to black-top twelve kilometres of the said road in the year 1978-79.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, in regard to questions, I would like to make certain remarks. It has been observed in the previous session especially, that answers to questions of the members are usually sent by the Government only at the fag end of the session. This has resulted in a great deal of dissatisfaction on the part of the members because when they come in a bunch like that, supplementary questions cannot be put. Besides, some members are not satisfied with the answers also and cannot raise a half-an-hour discussion as provided in Rule 49 (1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. I would, therefore, urge upon the Government to see that answers to questions are sent as early as possible. I will give a statement to remind the hon. members and the Council of Ministers that as it is at present, especially when the situation like this. We have received till 17th June 1978 as many as 168 questions. Of these, upto 9th June 1978 we have sent 56 per cent of the questions to the Government departments and upto 17 June, of the questions to the Government departments and upto 17th June, 1978, all the 168 questions were sent to the departments concerned. I would, therefore, request the Government to kindly have these answers replied as soon as possible and not to wait till the fag end of the session.
GENERAL DISCUSSION ON THE BUDGET
Now, let us pass on to item No.2. Today, we have as many as ten members who would like to participate in the general discussion on the budget. Now, I call upon Mr. Tuberlin Lyngdoh. He will get 24 minutes.
Shri Tuberlin Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to participate in the general discussion of the budget. This is the second time for me to speak since I was elected a Member of this House. I hope my discussion will bring fruit to the Government in general and to my area in particular. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring to the notice of the Government some important points which are relevant to the development of the State economically. I would like to discuss some of the important subjects which are meant for the development of our State i.e., development of roads. In this regard, I would like to bring to the attention of the Government that apart from the Shillong-Nongstoin road, there is no other road in my constituency, though there are roads opened for many years i.e., the road from Sohiong-Pariong-Nongshillong-Jakrem-Kynshi Myriam-Markasa Mawkaton joining the Nongkhlaw roads. These existing roads are not completed uptil now. So, I would urge upon the Government or the concerned department to complete these roads as early as possible.
The second point that I would like to discuss is the development of health. In my area uptil now, there are only sub-health centres i.e. at Pathew near Pariong and another one at Nongkhasen ( Markasa ). These two sub-health centres are inadequate in supplying medicines and the buildings have completely collapsed and were dismantled. The buildings need reconstruction as soon as possible. Therefore, I urge upon the Government or the concerned department to look into this matter immediately for the well being of the people of that area. The third point which I would like to discuss is P.H.E. Water is vital for life and no man would be able to live without it. In my area, there is no water supply scheme up-top-date. I do not see also in the budget that there is a proposal or scheme made for my area. So, I urge upon the Government o provide water supply at Pariong, Myriaw and Laitkseh and other big villages.
Another point which I would like to bring to the attention of this House and the Government is education. I agree with the hon. Members who have spoken the previous day that no adequate facilities are given to the teachers as well as school buildings in our area, that is the whole of West Khasi Hills District. So I urge upon the Government to provide building grants and increase adhoc grants for aided schools and supply sports materials to those schools. Then another point I would like to discuss here is about rural electrification. As you know Sir, rural electrification is to be provided to my area, especially the main line should be extended upto Sonapahar as early as possible and also electric connection should be given for the big villages situated along this main line that is from Shillong to Sonapahar.
Now another point which I would like to discuss and bring to the notice of this House is soil conservation. I would like to remind the department concerned that reclamation in the Lyngngam are should be started as early as possible in order to abandon the jhum cultivation usually practised by those people because the trees the trees and bamboos are very important economically not only to the people of that area but they also give benefit to the State as a whole. Sir, jhum cultivation affects the natural fertility of the soil. So I urge upon the Government to look into the matter as early as possible. With these few words I conclude my speech and resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Mukul Das.
Shri Mukul Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to take part in the budget discussion. I have observed that in agriculture the lands are first of all to be tilled well. And the tractors and power tillers are very important for that purpose. We have seen that in some blocks power tillers have been given, but at the same time, it is a pain to the people to see that most of the time these tractors and power tillers are out of orders. As we know, specially in the rural areas and the border areas in particularly, the Bangladesh nationals used to enter into our territory and lift the cattle. So, to some extent the tractors and power tillers have become important to the farmers. One more difficulty I have observed which the farmers used to complain is that when they request the driver to drive it he will simply say that the power tiller is out of order. Now there is no way out for the farmers. So I personally believe that our State Government and the department concerned in particular, should take necessary steps in order to train the farmer so that they can go on tilling their own land by driving the power tillers themselves. If these things are not done, I am afraid the farmers will just remain in trouble. In some arrears we have seen that irrigation facilities to improve agriculture are not at all adequate. In the rural areas we have seen that there is no tube well and no attempt is made to utilise the under-ground water source and as a result of that the farmers cannot cultivate more than one crop a year. Hence the lands are sometimes lying uncultivable.
Now Sir, I come to fisheries. Sir, I have seen that there are Government fish farms in our State and very poor attention is paid by the Government even in the case of Government fish farms. If I am not wrong, in Garo Hills district, there are 3 Government fish farms and Dalu Government fish farm is one of those farms. I have been informed that the Government is taking very poor interest to develop these farms and in this connection, I would go to the extent of saying that these farms are almost fishless. We have seen that the subsidy given to the people interested in developing fisheries is very meagre. The people used to complain that the subsidy is sometimes Rs.100/- only. In order to improve the condition of the ponds and tanks this amount of Rs.100/- will in no way help those people to improve their fisheries. So I would urge upon the Government to see that the amounts of subsidy be kindly increased. I feel it is sad that the Government is not maintaining nicely even the Government fish farms. That is why those people interested in improving fisheries are still in trouble.
Sir, I am now coming to power. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the last session of the Assembly, I remember there was discussion on power, and some of the hon. Members including myself have urged that the Rural Areas and the border areas in particular should be well electrified. But I am sorry to say that the Government will simply say that rural electrification has been given more importance. But I can say through you Mr. Speaker Sir, that we have seen in some areas of the border there are simply electric posts but it is very sad to say that there is no light. How in such a state of affairs our Government can simply say that more importance has been given to rural electrification Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel tempted to say that these remarks are nothing but painful to the people. We also know that the small industries are very necessary to be set up in the rural areas. There are some small industries which cannot function properly due to lack of power. In the last session, I had put forward a suggestion while I was taking part in the debate on the Governor's Address to the effect that the B.D.Os of our State who are entrusted with various responsibilities in order to develop the block areas as well as rural areas, why not this responsibility of realisation of taxes on electricity be given to the B.D.Os. The Power Department is definitely a Government Department and the B.D.Os. also definitely are the Government officers. We have seen that in these rural areas only a local Committee is formed in order to go ahead with the work of realisation of taxes from the people. But the people sometimes have no interest to pay taxes and I feel that if the B.D.Os. are entrusted with this responsibility and if necessary by appointing collectors in the blocks to realise the taxes, the people will be benefited accordingly.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we know that in our State we have got sufficient bamboos and cane. If we can set up cane industry mainly in Garo Hills, it will be of great help to the people. I have seen merchants can and take way the same to other States of our country. I have also seen at Gauhati when I visited some cane industries and I put questions to them wherefrom they have given? They have given the reply to me saying that this cane came from the Garo Hills District. I am very sorry to say Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we are not utilising our own resources and the people from outside are taking advantage of it and they earn a lot while our poor people in the rural areas cannot make use of it. There are some small industries and I have seen there is no electricity and the officers working in these industries used to tell us to move the Government in order to introduce more trades more equipments and instrument. We have also seen that in those small industries the trainees are very few in number. But the officers used to say that the department is very poor in man-power and some more officers need to be posted in those small industries. In some of these small industries I have seen that the trainees are only busy in carpentry, the only trade.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I come to education. The Government is giving more importance to it as we have been told. The hon. Members have already stressed on primary education. I personally believe Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the amount given to the District Councils should be administered separately and nobody should be allowed to spend this money on some other purposes. But as the hon. Members have already expressed their concern that primary education should be provincialised, I also join with them that Government should give more importance to those points of the hon. Members that there should be no delay to get primary education provincialised. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in some colleges, we have seen that they did not get students particularly in science classes. I believe this is not the fault of the college authorities but because we are very weak in primary education and we cannot teach the pupils well from the beginning of their school career. When they go to the college they even cannot think of science subject. That is why we have seen that our State is lagging behind in technical education. Sir, in Garo Hills District, there are two colleges, one is the Tura Government College and another is the Mendipathar College. I will just request the Government through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that these two colleges be brought under the deficit scheme as soon as possible. To get them under deficit scheme they are fairly qualified.
I have been informed that there are near about 400 students in that college and this year, in the P.U. Examination, near about 70 students appeared. So this should encourage the Government to take the College under deficit scheme. I feel the amount of border subsidy given to the students of border areas should be increased. In the office of the Inspector of Schools, while attending a meeting for discussion on the border subsidy, the Inspector informed us that he has requested the Government for an amount of more than Rs.3 lakhs but the Government has not given even 50 per cent of that amount. Some students of the border area have been given this amount of subsidy but not all the students. A decision had been taken that one-fourth of the students will not get the subsidy amount and accordingly it was done. Now the grievances started growing from the guardians' side. They put the question whether the Government can say that we are not living in the border areas? Whether the Government can say that our boys and girls are not border area students? If they are considered as border area students, why they will be deprived of that facility. We have seen the approved list of the villages of the border area and its students are entitled to get subsidy. There are villages also in approved list which are outside the approved kilometers from the border areas. If I am not wrong, the maximum distance of 10 Kilometer is approved by the Government. The students of these illegible villages are getting the subsidy and the pure border area students are deprived of the same. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would request the Department concerned to review the whole thing and re-prepare the village list in order to help the pure border students as the subsidy is meant for them.
I am coming to health Mr. Speaker, Sir. It is a fact that there are State Dispensaries, Civil Hospitals and also P.H.Cs. in our State. But in the rural areas of the State we have seen thousands and thousands of people depend on Kabiraji treatment. If Kabiraji treatment fails, the patient expires. The P.H.Cs should be provided with more instruments so that the cases are not referred to Civil Hospitals or bigger hospitals. The people of our State are very poor and so they cannot afford to go to the big hospital in the town. On the 22nd of April 1978, the areas under my constituency were lashed by a serious storm and near about 5,000 people had been affected.
( Bell rang )
Mr. Speaker :- You have two minutes more.
Shri Mukul Das :- Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. And 300 people became homeless. In front of me the Minister-in-charge had asked the Executive Engineer to prepare an estimate in order to repair the hospital building of Barengapara, the roof of which had been blown away. It is a sad thing that till today it has not been prepared. I can put forward an example in connection with the Fire Brigades difficulty at Tura. There were proposals to have more reservoirs and the land was handed over by the District Council to the Police Department. The Superintending Engineer of P.W.D. was requested to prepare the estimates. Mr. Speaker, Sir, after 31/3 years you know what was written by the P.W.D. to the Police Department? " I shall have to be given more time in order to prepare the estimates. Mr. Speaker, Sir, only to furnish a reply "I shall have to be given more time, it took him 3½ years. Therefore, I put forward this suggestion to the Government, that all the Departments of our State should have their own Engineering Wing/Section.
Now about the water supply scheme in my constituency. The work of the Dalu Water Supply Scheme was going on in full swing. Drilling was successful and sufficient water is available. The pipes have already been purchased as I have been told by the officer concerned. But it comes as a great surprise to the people to find that the work has suddenly been stopped and the Government's reply is that there is no money. Sir, in this state of affairs this sort of reply from the Government's side is very painful to the people. So I would request the Government that this water supply scheme should be completed as soon as possible. The Deputy Commissioner, West Garo Hills, had declared many years of Garo Hills as epidemic affected areas and the Medical Officers have given their opinion that it is due to non-availability of pure drinking water. These areas are being affected with cholera, diarrhoea, etc. and the people are dying there every year.
( Bell rang )
Mr. Speaker :- If there is time, I will give you a chance later on.
Shri Mukul Das :- Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Manik Das.
Shri Manik Chandra Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise today to speak on the Budget. The Budget, as presented before this august House, does not reflect the needs of the people. In a State like ours, where 80 per cent of the people are living in the rural areas and depending on agriculture, I am surprised to see that the total outlay for agriculture is only 20.3 per cent and that for the construction of roads in the rural areas is below 6 per cent. Mr. Speaker, Sir, you will agree with me that there are villages in the State which are so far-flung that inadequate road communications are posing a great problem to the people. I will just give an example of a group of villages in the Jaintia Hills District in Khanduli area. Some villages of Khanduli area join the main road located at a distance of about 25 kms. There can be no two opinions that road communications is a pre-requisite for the economic development of the people. Let me first take up and deal with agriculture. I am surprised to see that in the ( At this stage, the Speaker, left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker took the Chair ) Budget there is no provision for the improvement of ginger cultivation in Garo Hills. As you are aware Mr. Deputy, Speaker, Sir, there are many farmers in Garo Hills who live on ginger cultivation and there is great demand for ginger oil and powdered ginger, not only in our country, but also abroad. I urge upon the Government to take a definite step so that the cultivators in Garo Hills who are essentially depending on ginger cultivation are given their due share. Garo Hills has tremendous scope for land reclamation for agricultural purposes. I am surprised to find that the Agriculture Department has allotted only one bull dozer for the entire districts of Garo Hills. There are many bull dozers in Khasi Hills which are lying idle.
Next I will touch upon the Co-operation Department. There are as many as 173 Service Co-operative Societies in the State. But most of these Co-operative Societies are either mis-managed or there are serious allegations of mis-appropriation of funds. I urge upon the Government to immediately carry out auditing of all these Co-operative Societies and, if need be, a Cell be opened at the district level, so that funds which are allowed to the Societies, are utilised in a proper way.
As far as the Community Development Department is concerned. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the Budget, 15 lakhs of rupees have been earmarked for Special Nutrition Programme. It has been seen that the Special Nutrition Programme is being implemented through women organisations like Mahila Samitis and there is a lot of mis-appropriation. I would urge upon the Government that the Special Nutrition Programme should be implemented through L.P. Schools. This Programme is meant for the school children and if the funds are given to the L.P. Schools, I am sure they will be properly utilised. In the Budget there is no provision for the link roads Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. It will be appreciated that in the rural areas unless we have link roads connected with the main roads or connected with P.W.D. roads or link roads connected with the villages to the market places, the people especially in the border areas will find it extremely difficult to sell their produce in the market. There is also a provision under the Central Government scheme, namely, the Minimum Road Programme where the link roads can be taken up and this must be done immediately.
As far as mineral development is concerned you are aware that Garo Hills has the largest coal and lime-stone deposits. I am surprised to see that in the Budget there is no provision for the means of exploration and exploitation of these mineral resources. We have been hearing many a time that exploration is going on and the Government of India has been approached for the same but I find that till today nothing has been done in this regard.
As far as industries are concerned, there is no provision for utilising the mineral resources in the Budget. As you are aware, about two or three years back, a jute mill was sanctioned at Mendipathar in Garo Hills. Till today no single pillar has been constructed for the jute mill. I urge upon the Government to immediately take up this matter so that the scheme is implemented. Recently, the Government of India has sanctioned for the creation of the District Industrial Centres in the various Districts and in Garo Hills the Rural Industries project has been converted into District Industrial Centre. I find that officers of the R.I.P. have now been absorbed into the District Industrial Centres. Only the designations are changed. In the Distric6t Industrial Centres certain technical hands and experts are required to run these Centres. I am surprised to see that only the designations have changed, without catering to the technical requirement of these posts. So I urge upon the Government to immediately recruit technical hands and experts so that the District Industrial Centres can run efficiently.
Education has been discussed thoroughly and I agree with many of the hon. Members that primary education should be taken over by the State Government. The District Councils do not have sufficient and efficient machinery to run the Primary Schools. In 1973-74, under the Central Government scheme employment was given to the unemployed youths under a 'Half a Million Jobs Scheme. For the last few years, the teachers employed under the scheme have been receiving consolidated pay of Rs.210 only. There has been no attempt for increasing their pay by the Government. In most cases their jobs have not been regularised as yet. The grants which are being given to the Government-aided schools are being mis-appropriated will urge upon the Government that there should be proper auditing done in our Government-aided-schools. I am surprised to see that there are lots of party politics (Mr. Speaker in the Chair) in these educational institutions. I feel that no political leader or no individual having any party affiliation should be made the President or Secretary of any Government Aided Schools. Even I find that some of the headmasters are holding the dual charge of Headmaster-cum-Secretary of the Schools. The result is that the Headmaster is unable to concentrate in his main job of looking after the educational side of the School. He is either shuttling between his school and the District headquarters collecting grants or supervising the construction of school buildings. The Government must look into this matter because I feel that the Headmaster should not hold dual charge of Headmaster-cum-Secretary. I am also surprised to see that in the Budget there is no mention about setting up of a Government College at Nongstoin in the West Khasi Hills District. As you are aware Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the District of Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills we have Government Colleges. Unfortunately, there is no Government College in the West Khasi Hills District. There are as many as 8 full-fledged High Schools, 9 Proceeding High Schools in West Khasi Hills District which can feed this College when sanctioned. So I urge upon the Government to immediately take necessary steps so that a Government College should come up at Nongstoin in the West Khasi Hills District. In Garo Hills we have been feeling the need for setting up of a residential English medium School like the Pine Mount School at Shillong. I urge upon Government to take up the construction of these schools in the West Khasi Hills and Garo Hills Districts as early as possible. One thing which surprises me Mr. Speaker, Sir, is why this Government is to allergic to the welfare of the youths. I find that there is no provision for setting up of a Youth Hostel in the State. There are provisions made by the Government of India for setting up youth Hostels. In some States we have Youth Hostels but up till today we do not have a single Youth Hostel in our State.
Regarding scholarship given to the students coming from the border areas as pointed out by several Members, I personally feel that the meagre scholarship of Rs.150 per annum is too little an amount. Therefore, Government should immediately take steps so that the scholarships provided to the students in the border areas must be increased.
Much has been said said about Medical Department. I will only add this: that for the last four years the construction of a 100- bedded Civil Hospital at Tura is going on. Plans have been completed but the main buildings have not yet come up. The matter has been delayed too long. I urge upon the Government that the construction of this 100- bedded Civil Hospital at Tura be taken up immediately. There is also need for the creation of a blood bank at Tura Civil Hospital.
Regarding roads and bridges, the Public Works Department. I am told is unable to construct new roads for want of explosives. There is no magazine for storing explosives. The small magazines that we have do not have the licenses. The licenses of five magazines have not been renewed so far. I have an instance of a magazine at Jakrem under construction was completed but the Deputy Commissioner has not given the license. It is also surprising to note here that the Deputy Commissioner himself had acquired this land for that purpose. In the Budget I have seen that a huge amount has been earmarked for annual repair works. I do not know why such a big amount has been earmarked for annual repair works. Probably it suits the Department well. I find that the construction of new work takes a long time whereas the annual repair works are done very quickly. Annual repair works give less trouble to the Department I suppose I urge upon the Government that there should be a thorough scrutiny of the money which is being utilised for the annual repair works. Under the country's 20 years Programme, Meghalaya should have reached the target of 6.289 kilometres by 1981. By the end of the Fourth Plan in 1974 the total length of roads in the State was 300 kilometres. In other words, from 1974 onwards till 1981 were there 3199 kilometer of roads to be constructed. This comes to about 457 kilometres of roads per year target for 1978-79 in the Budget. I find that for construction of new roads there is only a provision for 150 kilometres. For improvement of geometric 60 kilometres for black-topping 45 kilometres. This falls far below the target which has been set by the Central Government. That is 467 kilometres per year. It has been seen that for several year money has been provided in the Budget for a particular scheme. Year after year the scheme is not taken up in the annual Plan and administrative approval not given. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I know of certain schemes which have been kept in the Budget for the last three or four years. Till today no administrative approval has been given to these. I would cite the example of Ampati-Mankachar of Katuli -Panbari 10 kilometres, Kalaichar-Zikzak. Gopinathkilla- 24 kilometres., Tikri- Mahendraganj-Silkona via Bildoba-10 kilometres and Kerapara-Joshipara- Section III-7 kilometres. All these roads have not been taken up in any annual plan and no administrative approval has been given since last 2/3 years.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to touch upon the border areas. Every Session the hon. Members spoke about the importance of border road construction and about black-topping of these strategic roads. I am surprised to see that in the Budget there is no provision for black-topping of important border roads like Garo badha to Purakasia via Zigzag and another to Purakasia via Kalaichar. Till today these roads have not been taken up. Mr. Speaker, Sir. I find that a total amount of Rs.40.70 lakhs has been earmarked for the feeder roads with the border areas. I personally feel that this amount is very meagre, and as such, I urge upon the Government that the allotment for the border roads should be increased. Finally I would only say that this budget could be quite realistic if only there is sincerity of purpose. Let this Government not live in a hallucination.
Mr. Speaker :- Shri Bakstar Wanniang, Shri Snomick Kalwing, Shri Salseng Marak, Shri Jungai Khongjoh, Shri Mozibar Rahman, Shri Albinstone Sangma?
( after a pause )
It seems all are absent. Any hon. Member who would like to participate; I mean those who have not participated at all?
*Shri Tylli Kyndiah :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to take part in this Budget discussion. First of all I would like to say something about agriculture since agriculture is one of the most important subjects which is responsible for augmenting production of food-grains in the State. But regarding agriculture, in Jaintia Hills I have seen one problem which our cultivators are facing is that there is only one bulldozer meant for reclamation of land. But this one bull dozer is quite inadequate for bringing more lands under reclamation. Therefore, I would request the Government that at least two or three more bull dozers should be provided to reclaim lands.
Now so far as the use of fertilizers is concerned I would like to say that In Jaintia Hills the cultivators are quite willing and happy to use the fertilizers. But they cannot afford these fertilizers because of high price since they are very poor. Therefore I would request the Government to provide 50 per cent subsidy for purchase of fertilizers for our poor cultivators. Regarding power tillers, I have seen many power tillers of the Agriculture Department in Jaintia Hills but most of the power tillers are lying idle due to non-repair. Therefore, I would request the Government to take up this repair work urgently so that the cultivators may use them during the sowing season. At present the cultivators are facing extreme difficult for shortage of power tillers and I know many of the cultivators during the season for paddy cultivation had to take power tillers on hire basis.
( At this stage the Hon'ble Speaker left the Chamber and Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy: Chairman, took the Chair )
Although many of them deposited money into the Irrigation Department but they got neither powers tillers nor return of money, because money will be returned next year. This is nothing but harassment. Mr. Chairman Sir, coming to irrigation, In Jaintia Hills I have seen one practice which is very popular amount the cultivators. But at present there is lift irrigation scheme since it has been abandoned as this lift irrigation is said to be very expensive. Therefore I would request the Government that since lift irrigation is very expensive , at least for five years the Government should maintain the scheme. Because the maintenance cost is very expensive for our poor cultivators so that more lands should be brought under cultivation in Jaintia Hills.
Now regarding soil conservation I would like to say that the purpose of the Government to set up the Department of Soil Conservation is to stop shifting and jhum cultivation. As for example, the Government spent 4 lakhs of rupees for terracing in Jaintia Hills but due to lack of irrigation this spending of money became useless. So terracing without irrigation or without water is meaningless. As a result most of our cultivators resort of to jhum cultivation but ultimately this jhum cultivation does not bring any benefit to our people rather it destroys our forest and makes the land barren. But unfortunately at least 50 per cent of our cultivators are living on jhum and shifting cultivation.
Regarding animal husbandry Mr. Chairman, Sir, I appreciate the programme of the Government to develop cross-breeding especially of poultry, piggery and cattle. Our people are also very interested to co-operate with the Government in the development of cross breeding. But in spite of the fact that our people have taken interest in the development, the main problem is occurrence of epidemics. Every year there is epidemic of poultry, piggery and cattle which killed thousands of our birds, pigs and cattle. I would, therefore, suggest to the Government to give special attention to this problem and combat this epidemic and prevent the people from suffering a great loss and thereby improve their economy.
Regarding fishery, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to mention here that the Government has provided a scheme for subsidy for constructing tanks and ponds and most of our people have benefited through this subsidy and they have also constructed many tanks and ponds in Jaintia Hills. But I am surprised to see that when the tanks are full of water, there is no fish at all. When we asked them, they replied that they could not get the fingerlings though they have approached the Fishery Department. I would request the Government to supply the fingerlings to the people in order to develop fishery.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, in connection with education, I would like to make a mention especially regarding Jowai Boys' High School. The Girls' High School has been recently opened in the building which was actually used a boys' hostel and we are sorry to see that our boys now are staying in rented houses which are so congested and most of them do not spend their time in reading but in quarrelling. This is due to the congestion in the rooms. In a small room which is meant for one or two people about six to ten people are staying. The conversion of a boys hostel into a Girl's High School created a great problem. The girls hostel has been completed and within a short times they are going to open it. I would like to urge upon the Government to see to the immediate need of boys hostel in Jaintia Hills. We have experienced as students that when we could not get good rooms, we could not study at all. Therefore, Government should construct another hostel for boys also. Regarding primary education, Mr. Chairman, Sir, this has been transferred to the District Council. As we know, the District Council has no fund even to finance one or two teachers, but all the money comes from the State Government. I appreciate the Government for increasing the numbers of L.P. School teachers in every village in Jaintia Hills. But I am sorry to say that all the primary School in buildings in Jaintia Hills are the worst. It is a shameful thing to say that they are school buildings because they are worse than cowsheds. The District Council has no fund to finance the Managing Committees of the School. In many villages the people have to work together to construct the school buildings. I would, therefore, urge upon the Government to make sufficient funds available for the District Council for school building in Jaintia Hills otherwise how can we expect our teachers and students of primary education to improve the standard when there is no good building.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, regarding health, I, as a representative of Jowai, congratulate the Government for opening the Maternity and Pediatric block in Jowai Civil Hospital. But this hospital at present is the most congested hospital in Meghalaya. Due to shortage of beds, most of the patient especially from the rural areas have to return to their homes without getting any treatment. The people from the rural area mostly very poor and when they come to Jowai for treatment they have to pay for their transport but without getting any treatment due to shortage of beds in the Civil Hospital. Therefore, I would urge upon the Government to give special attention to extend the Jowai Civil Hospital to accommodate at least another 100 beds to help the people, especially from the rural areas.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, in connection with transport, I have seen with my own eyes every now and then that most of the passengers especially on the Shillong-Jowai Road are stranded because of the irregularity in the bus timings. For instance, timings have been fixed by the department say, at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. But because of shortage of buses, these timings could not be observed and sometimes the people have to wait for hours together for the bus which will go from Shillong to Garampani or Grampani to Shillong. But there are many irregularities here and there and the people could not get the transport for going to Shillong. In this connection, I w8ill urge the Government to pay special attention to improve the transport services especially from Shillong to Jowai and from Jowai to Shillong. Then coming to Jowai Transport Station. About this Jowai station especially the ticket counter I am sorry to say that when the passengers try to get tickets especially during the monsoon, most of them are to stay outside and get wet though they use the umbrella while standing outside the counter. In this connection I will urge the Government, through you, Mr. Chairman, Sir, to pay special attention to this problem and construct the building in order to help the people especially in Jowai Bus station at Shillong Mr. Chairman, Sir, in connection with the construction of roads and bridge, I congratulate the Government for opening many roads in Jaintia Hills and in the whole State. But Mr. Chairman Sir, I would like to pinpoint some road in Jaintia Hills, for example the Demthring-Sohmynting-Mawdymmai Road. This road has been constructed since two years back. But the roads is left incomplete and the work is now at a standstill. Even a single labourer did not do any work on this road. I have seen that a sum of Rs.10.,000 has been provide for this road. But I am sorry to say that nothing ahs been done in this regard. I would therefore urge the Government to take special interest in completing this road and keep speedy progress of the work and not to leave it at a standstill. Then about the construction of Jarain-Amlarem road. This road has been started since two or three years back. But the work has been stopped and the work has not yet been completed uptil now. Even the remaining bills of the contractors which amounts to about sixty or seventy thousand have not yet been paid uptil now. This is a harassment to the poor contractors for delaying payment of their bills I would urge the Government and the Department especially the Minister in-charge to see that such harassment should not be caused to our poor contractors because it involve the economy of our people. Then another road, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that is, the construction of the approach road from the Jowai Civil Hospital, to Dwar of Jowai. This road has been surveyed since two years back. I remember in the year 1975 a provision of Rsl.2,00,000 has been made but due to shortage of funds the work could not be started and the revised estimate has been sent to the Government for approval and sanction. But I am surprised to see that in this Budget, there is no provision for this road. In this connection I would urge the Government to make provision for construction of this road because this is one of the biggest valleys in Jaintia Hills. With these words, I would urge the Government to give special consideration to our suggestions in the interest of development of our State as a whole. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Kyndait, would you like to take part?
Shri Obil Kyndait :- Yes Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to take part in the budget discussion and support the suggestions already given by the hon. Member who spoke before me. While I am observing the figures shown in this budget regarding Jaintia Hills District particularly under the P.H.E. Department, I feel that this Department is meant only for some villages in Jaintia Hills. Why I say that Mr. Chairman, Sir, because if we go through this budget, we will find that almost all the provision for water supply are for the War area only. So many villages are included in the budget. So, I feel that we should provide another fund for flood relief also because when several water supply schemes are provided in one area, a flood relief fund should be there. At the same time when I am turning to the P.W.D. several roads are provided here in the budget particularly in Sutnga and Nartiang areas. Then there is another road viz, Mukhaialong-Lumshyrmit Road which has been demanded by the public but the Government did not pay attention to this. I would like to point out that if this road is not opened about twelve villages will be benefited. But the P.W.D. did not take over this road. If this road is opened, the produces from that area, like coal, timber etc. can be collected. But the P.W.D. did not pay attention and as a result, coal produced from that area is sold at the rate of Rs.300 or Rs.350 per truck while the rate in other parts of the country is Rs.250 or so per truck. I am very sorry to say that our people are not getting a chance due to lack of communication. Actually I got this budget just now. So I need time to study but I have no time now. But Mr. Chairman, Sir, I want to urge upon the Government to take immediate steps to construct or take over upon the Government to take immediate steps to construct or take over the existing road which has already been constructed by the Block Concentration of scheme, only in one area should not be resorted to otherwise it would be very difficult to take up development of other areas for the benefit of the general public in the district and at the same time in the State as a whole. With these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Mukul Das may resume his speech as no other members want to speak.
Shri Mukul Das :- Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Sir. I wish to speak on health. As hon. members have already pointed out regarding the 100 bedded hospital at Tura, I just want to add that without any delay constructions should be completed. The Civil Hospital, we have seen since many years that the buildings are of old pattern and other necessary equipments are also very old. But till today there is no improvement in that particular Civil Hospital. Neither the new buildings were constructed not the paying wards in that hospital were increased. I should bring to your notice Mr. Chairman, Sir, that there are only two paying wards in that Hospital and there is a big queue a permanent queue, by the people of the entire district to get a seat in the paying ward. I put this question through you, Sir, whether these two paying wards are sufficient to accommodate the patients of the entire district?
Mr. Chairman :- How many bed, in the paying wards?
Shri Mukul Das :- There are only two beds. So we see that a long list is just hanging. In the general wards also there are very few beds and it is very difficult for the patients to be accommodated. In connection with the Kalabazar Hospital we have seen that the patients especially those who are suffering from T.B. are not getting seats. Even it has been noticed sometimes hot exchanges take place between the doctors and patients for one seat.
I now come to border areas Mr. Chairman, Sir. The security of the border areas, I feel is a very serious problem and security measures should be tightened because day by day the crimes and theft cases in border areas are increasing. While I visit the B.S.F. camps they used to say that we are short of man-power. So I request our Government through you. Mr. Chairman, Sir, that more recommendations should be made to the Central Government or the matter should be taken up in order to set up more border outposts. Cattle lifting has become a havoc in the border areas. A very poor person having two cattle and when these two cattle are taken away by the Bangladesh nationals, this person with the members of his family just have to stand on the road because they are very poor. They have only tow cattle as their property. So I put forward the suggestion to the Government that if we cannot check this cattle lifting in full then some cowsheds in the border areas should be constructed and strict security arrangements should be there so that nobody can take away these cattle from our areas. There is an excess of land and the farmers cannot cultivate the same because the Bangladesh nationals come to assault the poor farmers of our villages and those lands are lying uncultivated.
Regarding agriculture it is said that more importance will be given to agriculture and the Government will try to reach the target of production. But I can say more firmly that unless these uncultivable lands are also utilised the Government will never achieve the target.
Mr. Chairman :- The member may kindly inform whether he refers to an assault on the citizens of our State by the citizens of Bangladesh in the day time.
Shri Mukul Das :- Yes, Sir.
Mr. Chairman :- Has this been brought to the notice of the Government?
Shri Mukul Das :- Yes, Sir. Though the border security forces are there yet they are not capable of handling the situation. The reason is that they are short of man-power and it is the opinion of the people that more outposts should be set up in the areas. In the border area, I have already spoken about the village defence parties in the last session of the Assembly. I have stated that these village defence parties are not well equipped. The poor young men of the border areas were not given any incentives to get them encouraged to be in their duty. After giving a hard labour for the whole day these young men returns to their home for rest, it our Police Officers or the B.S.F. officers will force them again to go on duty for village defence I think Mr. Chairman, Sir, it will be too much to expect of them. So the border village defence parties should be made more useful.
The Village Defence Party should be well equipped and incentive should be given to them. We have also seen that the members used to complain that if we were given torches but we were not given cells and we cannot light the torches without cells, our volunteers unknowingly assault their own friends when it is dark as they cannot recognise them. There are cases like these. Therefore, Sir, particularly on this point as I have already spoken, the entitle border areas of our State should be well electrified so that we can check crimes and theft cases. Because Mr. Chairman, Sir, it has been noticed that generally crimes and theft cases take place during nights time.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, regarding roads and bridges, I want to bring two points to your notice as well as to the notice of the Government that an old road from Dalu to Baghmara which is on the extreme end of the border area is not given importance. I admit that there are other roads also. But this road is important to the extent that the question of security of our territory is also very much concerned. A fee days back an R.C.C. bridge has been constructed at the cost of Rs.22,00,000 on that particular road and I am sure Mr. Chairman, Sir, that the purpose of construction of this bridge is definitely to help the people in connection with the communications and without any delay this road should be taken up and it should be blacktopped. I should say that this particular road is very important from the security point of view of our territory. Finally and lastly; Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to come to a point with an All India Eye and Sense. This is the first time that I am speaking some thing on this issue in this Assembly. Mr. Chairman, Sir, with an All-India Eye and Sense I want to draw attention to the question of ban on land transfer. This in the first time that I speak on this. This act p0rovides that the land cannot be transferred from a tribal to non-tribal and from a non-tribal to a non-tribal Mr. Chairman, Sir, is it possible on our part to avoid the established fact that there are pure Meghalayans also?
There are minority communities also. I do not mean the minority communities of one particular State but of all States of our country. We have seen and we have heard that the minority communities are sometimes deprived of many facilities although I will never say that there is no safeguard for them in the Constitution of India. But I fail to understand one point Mr. Chairman Sir, that the boys and girls of the minority communities of all the States of our country have to a great extent been deprived of facilities officially. But we cannot say that there are pure resident born and brought up in those State because they belong to the minority. Community. But people of those minority communities are enjoying the same facilities as the people from the majority communities. They take medicines from a particular dispensary where the people of the majority communities also take medicines from that same dispensary. As regards the educational facilities, employment facilities and facilities that are being extended to persons belonging to majority communities it is an established fact that the same facilities are also extended to the persons of the minority communities. Not more than that, I fail to understand Mr. Chairman, Sir, why the pure residents of those States, the minority communities should be deprived of such facilities. They are not more developed then members of the majority communities since they are enjoying the same facilities. I feel Mr. Chairman, Sir, if these thins will continue in the various States of our country, a day will come that all the minority communities of all the States of our country will get united and they will Start movement and that time, the Government of those States as well as the members of majority communities will have to think about the issue something in a new way and I believe Mr. Chairman, Sir, that day is not far. I do not know whole to be held responsible for this tragedy whether the policy of the Government of India or the State Government or to some extent, in some parts, the Constitution of our country, with due respect to the Constitution makers.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, with an All India Eye And Sense again I request the Government, through you, Sir, to examine the matter properly. I know there are people in our State who want to hear on this issue from the top leaders mainly of our State particularly, the Leader of the House, the Deputy Leader of the House, the Revenue Minister, the Leader of Opposition, Capt. W.A. Sangma, the Deputy Leader of Opposition, Mr. Maham Singh. I feel I have not concentrated on an issue of a particular State but I have concentrated on an issue of our country itself. I thank you very much Mr. Chairman, Sir, for giving me little more time in order to enable me to complete my speech.
Mr. Chairman :- Since there is no other Speaker the House stands adjourned till 9.30 a.m. tomorrow, the 20th June, 1978.
|The 19th June, 1978||Meghalaya Legislative Assembly|