Proceedings of the Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled at 9.30 A.M. on June 20th, 1978, in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the day's business by taking up Item No. 1 - Questions.
( Replies to which were laid on the Table )
Appointment of Sessions Judge
Shri Manik Das asked :
2. Will the Minister-in-charge of Law be pleased to state -
|Whether Government propose to appoint a District Sessions Judge at Tura?|
|If so, when?|
|If no, the reason thereof?|
Shri Martin Narayan Majaw (Minister-in-charge of Law, etc) replied:-
|(a)||-There is no provision for appointment of a District and Sessions Judge under the Rules for Administration of Justice and Police in Garo Hills, and as such, appointment of District and Sessions Judge at Tura does not arise at present.|
|(b)||& (c) - Do not arise.|
Reorganisation of Courts in Meghalaya
Shri Manik Das asked :
3. Will the Minister-in-charge of Law be pleased to state -
|Whether there is any proposal to separate the Judiciary from the Executive?|
|If so, when?|
|Whether Government propose to appoint full-time Judicial Officers till such time the Judiciary is separated?|
|If so, when?|
|If not, the reason thereof?|
Shri Martin Narayan Majaw (Minister in-charge of Law, etc.) replied :-
3. (a) & (b) - The Government is considering the proposal for reorganisation of Courts in Meghalaya. The proposal has been placed before the 7th Finance Commission as such proposal will require additional expenditure.
(c) - The Government is considering the question of posting some Executive Magistrates exclusively for judicial work.
(d) & (e) - A decision will be taken shortly.
Office of the D.C., Tura
Shri Manik Das asked :
4. Will the Minister-in-charge of Law be pleased to state -
|Whether Government is aware of the fact that there are no proper accommodation for lawyers and witnesses in the Deputy Commissioner's Court at Tura?|
|If so, what steps Government proposes to take in this respect.|
Shri Martin Narayan Majaw (Minister in-charge of Law, etc. ) replied :-
3. (a) & (b) - The extension of the office of the Deputy Commissioner Tura for accommodating the Bar Library, etc is proposed to be taken up during the current financial year.
Codification of customary laws
Shri Manik Das asked :
5. Will the Minister-in-charge of Law be pleased to state -
|Whether Government proposes to codify customary laws by experts?|
|If so, when?|
Shri Martin Narayan Majaw (Minister in-charge of Law, etc. ) replied :-
5. (a) & (b) - The work regarding collection and codification of customary laws of the Scheduled Tribes of the North Eastern Region has been taken up by the Law Research Institute of the Gauhati High Court under the scheme sponsored by North-Eastern Council.
Setting up of permanent High Court at Shillong
Shri Manik Das asked :
6. Will the Minister-in-charge of Law be pleased to state-
|Whether the Government proposes to take up the matter regarding setting up of permanent High Court Bench at Shillong with the Government of India?|
|If so, when?|
Shri Martin Narayan Majaw (Minister in-charge of Law, etc. ) replied :-
6. (a) & (b) - The matter is under active consideration of the Government.
Existence of virgin seam of coal at Laitryngew
Shri S.P. Swer asked :
7. Will the Minister-in-charge of Mining and Geology be pleased to state whether Government propose to investigate the existence of another virgin seam of coal at Laitryngew?
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Minister-in-charge of Mining & Geology ) replied :-
7. - Government is not aware of the presence of any virgin coal seam in the
Laitryngew area; hence the question does not arise.
GENERAL DISCUSSION ON THE BUDGET
Mr. Speaker :- Now we come to Item No.2. I call upon Mr. Nongkynrih.
Shri Roblin Nongkynrih :- (The hon. member delivered his speech in Khasi. The English translation is published below. -
"Mr. Speaker, Sir,
On the subject of prohibition I beg to make a statement before this august House that I support the policy of the Prime Minister, Shri Moraji Desai, who on a number of occasions has denounced the habit of drinking. As a token of his policy he introduced prohibition in Delhi with effect from 1st April, 1978, though many people were not pleased with his action in Delhi.
Besides this there are some States which have introduced prohibition like Tamilnadu, U.P. and for some time before in Assam, but Assam also has, a few days ago, supported prohibition on the basis of Prime Minister's policy. So also one of our Hill States, Mizoram has enforced total prohibition. So I feel that liquor is one of the cancerous diseases of India and particularly in our State of Meghalaya. Drinking habit has nor reduced our way of life in Meghalaya more so in the villages where even in a small village there are ¾ distillery houses permitted by the Syiem, the Lyngdohs, the Sirdars, the Wahadars etc. So I notice that our future generations are being taught and shown this example towards destruction which may efface outright the nation and its people. There are scientists who say that out of a drunken father procreation becomes less and even children born when grown up are inferior in intellect and imbecile and this is a sign that a nation will be reduced in intellect and in numerical strength."
"Further in a family where there is a drunken father such a family is poor and full of added miseries not only at that prevailing time but more particularly in the generations to come also."
"Signs as they appear now, I see no hope of liberation as long as drinking habit is allowed in our State. I am doubt-less sure that an outsider will be happy when he sees that we are drowning ourselves in this evil, and I have no doubt that unless our leaders and those who love the nation and its people rise to heal this national chronic sickness they will be compared to the happily drunken shepherd less lotus eaters who will gradually be effaced from this earth".
"Perhaps many of the members of this august House know very well that before the advent of the British to our hills, there used not to be such drinking habit amount men who become irresponsible for their hearths and homes nor addicted to drinking evils. Of course there used to be merriment by the male members when religious acts are performed as in the naming of a child (jer khun) but liquor used on such occasions is what they called " Ka Iad Um" or Khasi beer which is unlike the present liquor (kiad).. The present liquor is called "Iad thang" introduced by the Britisher, to denigrate us so that we shall not be able to raise our heads and oppose them. So this process has continued till these days as compared to the addicted lotus eaters who forget how to take precaution of the nation and its people".
"That there are some elements who support drinking habit saying that they receive revenue. I feel this statement is unfounded because for administration we don't need such revenue which harms the nation from its root because if such evil is permitted why gambling and other evils are not allowed".
Roman empire died because of debauchery and drunkenness of its administrators and the people".
"In the end I strongly urge this august House that prohibition be enforced forthwith in Meghalaya without giving time for the Government permitting sale of liquor so that the nation and its people may survive on this earth."
"With these words, I thank this House.
"LONG LIVE PRIME MINISTER MORAJI DESAI."
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Tariang.
Shri K.E. Tariang :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while welcoming the budget proposals of 1978-79.........
Mr. Speaker :- I believe this is your maiden speech. Am I correct?
Shri K.E. Tariang :- I would like to make some observations which, I feel, are quite essential for the Government to expedite implementation. I quite agree with the financial statement of the Deputy Chief Minister that although the Budget estimates and the Demands for Grants were prepared on the basis of the directives given by the previous Government, these, however, would not necessarily reflect our policies and priorities. Judging from the estimates on various items of the Departments, it is quite commendable that in a short span of the new Government's taking over some changes are noticeable towards inclusion of schemes in order of priorities. But it would be unfair on my part if I do not strike the attention of the Government on certain important items on development, especially those affecting the border areas of our State. All the hon. Members of this august House are fully aware of the urgent need to rehabilitate the border people in their respective areas through permanent means which seem possible. I share with the Government that the main approach towards this is through roads, communication and transport. The approaches are not new, so unless real concentration is put forth to make these items serviceable to the people by completion of the incomplete projects and supplying of adequate fleet of vehicles to transport the border produces it would not actually serve the objectives. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as far as education is concerned, although the people of the border areas are keen to move forward and provide education their children, but their economic plight stands on the way. I would request the Government, through you, Sir, to see that the border people are given all the help in years to come in order to build their economy. The Government should also see that students pursuing higher education should be given facilities like free hostels and if possible boarding and lodging. I would also suggest that more liberal aids should be provided for schools and hostel buildings in the border areas. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have particularly noticed that the N.E.C. is coming forward t supplement the schemes through the Central sector and centrally sponsored schemes. I feel that the State Government should take full advantage of these schemes for assisting citrus and other plantations which were deserted by the people after the partition due to want of markets. The completion of the border road programmes is another aspect which requires urgent completion as this would not only serve the economic interest of the local cultivators but also protect the security of the State. At present it is true that there is less tension in the border areas, but it cannot be relied upon as we cannot forecast the future relation with our neighbouring country. It is a matter of satisfaction Mr. Speaker, Sir, that some of the road projects proposed by me in my constituency have been included in the budget. I hope with sincere effort of the Government we can complete these projects to the extent that they can serve the long neglected areas and provide the people the chance of coming to the economic level of our fellow inhabitants of the State.
Regarding dispensaries I would like to state that the present condition of the Government quarters in the rural areas is in a dilapidated stage and unless immediate repairs are taken up, I am afraid they will collapse and bring a great financial loss and at the same time affect the expected services to the people. To be precise, I would like to draw the attention of the Government, as an example, to the present condition of the dispensary buildings at Mawsynram and Lawbah which require immediate repair. Another example of such building is the Veterinary Centre at Lawbah. Recently there was an epidemic in this area for want of medicines. The department concerned is requested to make an immediate State on the spot enquiry with necessary remedy. Sir, I would like to state that we have experienced in the past that there has been always shortage of supply of medicines in these dispensaries and I suggest to the Government to see that the dispensaries should have regular supply of medicines in order to make the service of the above dispensaries meaningful for the people. I also suggest Mr. Speaker, Sir, that a regular doctor be stationed at Lawbah on permanent basis. Sir, a large portion of my constituency is till remaining untouched by the above facilities. I, therefore, suggest that steps be taken by the Government to set up medical centres and sub-centered along the border as the entire belt of my constituency has been long neglected. Meanwhile arrangement can be made to provide mobile dispensaries to certain areas accessible by cars and jeeps.
Another point Mr. Speaker, Sir, is regarding Government trucks. The utilisation of these trucks provided by the Agriculture Department may be re-oriented as such that they can serve the real interest of the cultivators and not the middlemen who are likely to exploit for their own individual gains. Regarding State Transport I appreciate the intention of the Government to streamline and improve the Meghalaya State Transport Corporation,. and I would suggest Mr. Speaker, Sir, that in order to check corruption and mal-practices, a central workshop and store be set up immediately. This will facilitate the repair of many serviceable trucks and buses now lying idle in a number of places. It will also provide employment and opportunities to our local boys who are also remaining idle and jobless. As far as water supply is concerned, I would like to state that one of the main reasons for the epidemic diseases is lack of good and hygienic drinking water. For example in my constituency there are only three such centres that are having good drinking water supply and I find that the rest of my constituency is yet to be provided with the same. I request the PHE. Department to include the scheme in my constituency. As far as Sericulture and Weaving are concerned, I quite agree with the Hon'ble Deputy Chief Minister that there is a bright prospect of enhancement of Sericulture and weaving throughout the State specially introduction of mulberry nurseries, mulberry seeds and eri silk farms or weaving centres. I suggest, Sir, that one of such centres be set up in my constituency for providing employment and improving the general economic interest of the people as I am told by the experts in this line that there are areas in my constituency that are very much suitable for the purpose. I may also state that the people are ready to accept this plan if only the Government will extend all possible help to them. Regarding border problem, I am indeed very grateful to the Government for their serious concern to provide security and protect the occurrence of crimes along the border through setting up of police stations and outposts. It is the experience in the past that cattle lifting and minor crimes are rapidly on the increase especially in the border areas. I earnestly request the Government to set up at least one police outpost in Mawdon Hat or Ryngku village in order to stop occurrence of such crimes in the future.
Last but not the least, is about the boundary dispute. Mr. Speaker, Sir, much has been said by other hon. Members on the question of boundary dispute with Assam. We all know that Garo Hills, Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills have got proper boundaries on record. This dispute should not be allowed to continue and I feel that the Government can meet and discuss around or across the table to settle the matter once and for all. In this respect, I would like to refer to the recent statement issued jointly by the Governments of Assam and Nagaland for achieving a solution of the border dispute by mutual agreement. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not want to bore the House by repairing what other hon. Members have already expressed. Therefore, I only wish to make the above observations, and with these few words, I beg to conclude.
Mr. Speaker :- Is there any other hon. Member who would like to take part? I still see some faces of members who have not taken part in this budget discussion. Now before the Finance Minister makes a reply may I know from the other Ministers whether they would like to give some intervening replies concerning matters raised on their port-folios. How many of them would like to take part? (voice -three)
So I will give each of them 10 minutes to reply and after that the Finance Minister will reply. But before I call upon the Finance Minister to reply I would like to take the sense of the House that before he replies, to give him at least half an hour's time and that the House adjourns for half an hour after other Ministers have replied.
( Voices - Yes, yes. )
Now, Mr. Kyndiah.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah, Minister, Industries, Co-operation etc. ) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to participate in the discussion by way of making observations and clarifications on certain points raised by the hon. Members in the course of the discussion on matters connected with my departments. I would first of all deal with the Co-operative Department in which quite a few members have made remarks necessitating clarifications, and statements from my side. In the first place, I would like to refer to the remarks made by the hon. Member from Mawthengkut, Mr. Ledishon Nongsiang, who had prefaced a speech by making a statement, a critical one, that the Government had distributed lakhs and lakhs of rupees as loans to the co-operative societies and in his opinion the distribution was not done properly. On this question, I would like to remove the misconception from the mind of the hon. Member that in so far as loan is concerned in the co-operative sector concerning the agricultural societies, the Government did not and do not sanction or disburse loans. It is done and is the duty of the Meghalaya Cooperative Apex Bank to give loans to various societies on Meghalaya Cooperative Apex Bank to give loans to various societies on the basis of their viability and according to their capacity. In so far as the Government is concerned, we are promoting the cooperative movement and strengthening the co-operative structure by way of giving financial assistance in the shape of managerial subsidy and also strengthening the share capital of the concerned society. This has been the policy of the Government in the past and as also today. But I do concede that in so far as loans distributed by the Apex Bank are concerned, there have been informations which we received that the loans are not properly distributed and on this score, my department has taken special steps to streamline the methods by which loans are distributed so as to enable the members of the society to get the loans they deserved. In fact, in certain cases, inquiries into the activities of the concerned societies have been resorted to and we are taking corrective measures. There was also a mention by the same Member that the signatures of certain members in the registers of the co-operative societies are forged. I do not know how far this is true, but I can assure the House, through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that whenever any allegations of mismanagement particularly of serious nature are given to the Department, we would like to state that we take instant action to correct the action and also to take the persons who committed the mismanagement to task. I would like to add Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we do have some problems in recovery of the loans distributed by the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank. As you know, Sir, most of the loans that are given by the Meghalaya co-operative Apex Bank have been short-term loans, they are called seasonal loans and we do have problems in recovering the loans. In fact, the Department issued detailed instructions and directions in order to strengthen the recovery measures and also to take to task the Societies which have not been able to make a good of the loans. I would like to make a mention while speaking on this point of the statement made by the hon. member from Mahendraganj, Shri Manik Das, in which he had stated that there are serous allegations against quire a number of Societies. I agree as I said that there have been allegations, and were taking necessary action on this store. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the member for giving constructive suggestion as to the need of having a Special Cell of auditing in order to discipline the functioning of the Co-operative Societies because without proper auditing there is a tendency of a large number of Societies to go on merrily without serving the members and the people for who they are to serve. I would also like to take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to make a mention that we do realise that the Cooperative structure in the State is not as strong as it should. It has been very weak in the past. But I would like to say without any fear of contradiction that the Cooperative movement has now gained certain momentum and given proper leadership in the field and also taken certain corrective measures, I am sure the Cooperative movement in the State would be running in full swing. Some of the steps to step up the movement have been taken by the Department. I would like to take the House into confidence and to state that unless we revitalise the Cooperative Societies and reconstruct the whole movement then they will not be able to serve the members as we expect. With that end in view in conjunction with the Reverse Bank a few years ago there has been full-scale investigation and survey with a view to having viable Societies and thus would be of bigger membership, bigger territory, so that they would become effective instrument of social and economic change. On this score, we are now taking steps to re-organise Societies by way of liquidation and amalgamation of Cooperative Societies and till today we have a total of 176 re-organised Societies and we believe that these Societies would be able to serve the members of the Societies in the manner that we expect them to do. Now in order to strengthen the Societies we are providing the maximum possible extent, full time paid and trained Secretaries. This has been done in certain Societies, nearly 111 Societies and we expect that in the course of the current year, the remaining reorganised societies will be provided with the paid and trained full- time Secretaries in order to bring the Societies under a certain discipline of management. We are also making a scheme in which a certain number of Societies come in control of certain officers known as Circle officers. This is being done to help streamline management. There is a deficiency which has been found in the course of may running the Department during the last 2 or 3 months, that is, the dearth of personnel to man the Societies, whether in the Auditing Section or in the Field Section we have this problem and this has been one of our main handicaps. I am glad to tell the House through you, Sir, that we have sent our requirements to the Meghalaya Public Service Commission, that is, to fill the various posts, like Inspectors, Auditors and so on and so forth. Advertisements have already come out and I hope in the near future the vacancies in our Department will be filled up and in such condition we will be able to make better record of our performances. In so far as the Cooperative Department is concerned, I do not think I will have much to say. I will, however, add a point to this problem of the inadequate number of personnel that we have in the Department. It is the dearth of officers. One officer has to look after many functions in the Department. I hope in the near future in the process of the re-organisation of personnel we shall be able to unburden the over-burdened officer who is the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies. I hope with these clarifications and statements I have covered the points raised by the member sin so far as the Cooperation Department is concerned.
I would also like to take the opportunity Mr. Speaker, Sir, to make a few observations in regard to the points raised by the hon. member from Mylliem, Shri Lambourne Kharlukhi, who has raised a point which I have very much appreciated that is, while welcoming the setting up of an H.M.T. Unit. that is the Watch assembly unit at Shillong, he had made a suggestion that the local boys and girls should be trained ahead so that they may be employed in the H.M.T. I would like to make it very clear as I have indicated in the earlier Session certain policy so far as Industries Department is concerned . That is to coordinate the training programme and the functioning of the Industrial Units. You will be glad Mr. Speaker, Sir, to know that precisely as the Member has suggested we are having a plan of sending 12 officers, boys and girls who will be selected according to certain norms who would be going to Bangalore for training a Crash Programme on training. After that , those persons who are trained would come to Shillong and would again in turn give training to other boys and girls whom we expect to employ in the Unit, say about 100 people or so. We are not going to set up a Watch Assembly Unit immediately. We are going ahead with the training programme. As I said last time that it is our policy whenever an Industrial Unit is established the gestation period should be taken as an opportunity to train our boys and girls. I would like to thank Shri Kharlukhi for bringing this point on the need of a policy statement in this connection. I am equally concerned as the member is in so far as the shortage of cement, I feel it is my duty to brief this House about the different functions of the Mawmluh -Cherra Cements Ltd.
The functioning of the Mawmluh-Cherra- Cements Ltd. in so far as the breakdown is concerned, you know Sir, it is not a secret thing that we have had a bad spell of production. This is due mainly to the persistent mechanical troubles. This is not a new thing. For the last one month or more, the existing kiln has not been operating and so we are in great difficulty. In fact, the old raw mill went out of order some days ago because of the break- down of the kiln. This has given constant troubles. But fortunately, with the expansion programme we have got a new kiln which is due to be commissioned soon. We hope by the end of the month the second kiln will be commissioned and the existing kiln which is now under repair is also expected to function again. Therefore, we expect that by the end of the month the production will be in full swing.
Now I would like to make a mention on certain points raised by the hon. Member from Dalu, Shri Mukul Das. He wanted to know the question of setting up of a cane industry in Garo Hills. I am happy to say that this matter has been brought to the attention of the Government during the last two or three months by some other bodies. My attempt is to concentrate on the need to develop the handicraft industries like bamboo works, cane works and the last time when I want to Bangalore I had the opportunity to study the working of handicrafts in that State. I found that the technical requirement and know-how of Karnataka is relevant to our State. In fact the important question is utilisation of the raw materials of the State. Sir, the point raised by the hon. Member from Dalu is the need to have industry in a big way. I want to make a confession here that the question of industrialising of the State in a big way is debatable. The emphasis is on the small and cottage industries. But the local entrepreneurs are not coming forward. Somehow, this has been one of the most important and vital factors if we want to industrialise our State. Unless the local entrepreneurs come up, it would be very difficult for us to go in for the meaningful industrialisation of the State. Sir, our intention in this field is to have more industries in rural sector. Now, I would like to make a mention again that in so far as the building up of entrepreneurs is concerned, it is very important for the leaders of the society to cooperate and try to bring up local entrepreneurs for taking up small industries. The local themselves should come forward to start small, cottage and household industries. Now I can assure you, Sir, that in so far as finance is concerned, the Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation is having a policy which is very progressive, to give liberally finance to such local entrepreneurs by way of giving many incentives and that the rate of interest should be very low. Therefore, I would appeal to all the hon. Members that we as leaders of the society, should try to make our people to come up for starting small industries. This is infact relevant with the new policy of the Government of India to set up District Industries Centres or the D.I.Cs. which have been referred to by Mr. Manik Das, I think yesterday. This is a very important innovation Mr. Speaker, Sir, for the industrialisation of the rural sector through small, cottage and household industries. This would help the entrepreneurs to get all their needs either in respect of finance or know-how ; marketing or technical advice under the same roof. The D.I.Cs concept is ideally suited to the genius of the local people because it emphasizes here the need to industrialise our State in a small way. Sir, I am a great believer in the concept of "small is beautiful" because I believe that for a small State like ours always small is indeed beautiful. So we are concentrating on this and I believe Sir, some time after we would be able to do something marvelous and in a very big way to industrialise our State. In so far the policy of having big industries in our State as I said earlier, it is the policy of the Government to be discreet and selective. The other day, I have indicated to my officers the need to make survey and investigation for having mini cement plants in accordance with the policy of the Government of India and today Sir I would like to take the House into confidence that we are investigating the possibility of having mini cement plants in Jaintia Hills in a place called Lumshnong and also at Siju in Garo Hills. Why we have to concede to this is because we have learnt and experienced in so far as cement industry is concerned as in the case of the Mawmluh Cherra Cements Ltd is does not affect the social life of the people and there is no disturbance in the social set- up.
We have drawn certain experiences from the M.C.C.L Number (i) if we have ready personnel and good technical hands for the factory number (ii) it does not affect the social life of our people because they themselves will be working in the factory. Because as I said last time that we do not want industrialisation just for the industries sake. We must be very very careful in this context. I would like to make it very clear on the observation made by the hon. Member from Mahendraganj who has rather pleaded to set up a just mill in Garo Hills. It is a fact about this mill project that the Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation had secured the letter of intent as far back during 1976 when I was in the previous Ministry. At that time we had also applied for licence in order to implement the scheme but later due to the slump in the jute market, which was an international phenomenon, and also due to certain problems of marketing the Government of India reviewed the whole thing. Finally last time in the month of December we received from the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, certain communication which in fact discouraged us to go in for jute mill because of certain constraints and certain problems in so far as marketing was concerned. In this connection I must also be very frank to tell the House that while setting up of jute industries we must consider the social effects also. That is the reason how we could not set up jute mill or the question of setting up jute mill could not be taken up. I had the occasion once in a conference to make a statement to the effect that big industries or large scale industries whenever they are proposed to be set up in any part of our State we have to consider the social aspect, not only the economic and industrial aspect because it has been our experience in the past and it has been the experience of other States also that if large scale industries are set up, then there may be serious adverse affect on the entire society as a whole. Because of all these we are not going in for jute mill project for the time being or until circumstances are changed, we are not going to set up jute mill. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think I have covered most of the points that have been raised by various hon. Members regarding the Departments under my charge. With these words I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker : Actually I had allotted to you 30 minutes. Now, Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh, Minister-in-charge of Forests to reply.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Minister, in-charge of Forests) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I thank all the hon. Members who have participated in the Budget discussion and pointed out many problems and also some of the lapse of the Government. Mr. Speaker, Sir, a point was raised by the hon. Member from Laban, Shri B. Choudhury, regarding the question of transfer of willing employees who would to go back to Assam and thereby to solve to a certain extent the unemployment problem of the State. Sir, in this connection, though the hon. Member had referred only to the Police Department, but I would like to point out that all other Departments also are equally concerned about this question. Sir, I would therefore, inform the House that in the Department of Printing and Stationery which is under my charge, there are a number of applications from those willing employees who wanted to go back to Assam. From our Department we have straight-way recommended their cases to the Government of Assam and we have even taken up the question with the Government of Assam but unfortunately the reply which we have received from them in this regard was that they would be ready to accept those employees only when we transfer those posts held by them as well as the corresponding printing machineries.
Mr. Speaker : Sir, I would like to inform the House that in this respect we are facing some difficulties. Of course so far as transfer of posts is concerned, we are ready to transfer but so far as the question of division of assets is concerned it falls under a different. Department known as Re-organisation Department. So it will be taken up separately by that Department and I think the Minister for Finance will reply to that. Now regarding Forest Department another point has been raised by the hon. Member from Shella, Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy. He has occasion to mention about the Forest Development Corporation. While I do not agree with him that the Corporation has been slowly organising itself I would like to state that it has now come up to the standard. And as such it has now been able to receive loans from various financing agencies for the purpose of plantation schemes. But I do not agree with his contention that the officers working under this Corporation should not be transferred or should not be changed. Sir, in this connection, I would inform the House that in the beginning when this Corporation was started, we had no officer to man that post. Therefore, the Government at that time considered to appoint a retired Government officer. He was of course a Forest Officer but a retired officer. But now, Sir, with the improvement of our manpower position and because the work in the Corporation requires extensive tour as well as supervision in various fields, the Government considered that a young and energetic officer should be put there and as such, the Government deputed a serving officer of the Indian Forest Service of the senior rank to that Corporation. He has also been appointed as Managing Director of that Corporation. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would further state that the present incumbent is the only tribal officer who had received training as well as diploma in advanced timber technology including business management from the United Kingdom. As such, he is considered fit for the post and thus the Government anticipated that there would be no dislocation or hampering of the work in that Corporation. Therefore, with this clarification, I hope it will meet the point raised and would assist the Finance Minister in his reply.
Mr. Speaker : Now, Minister, Law. How much time will you take?
Prof. M.N. Majaw ( Minister, Law) : 20 minutes. Mr. Speaker, Sir. I am very grateful to many hon. members who raised a number of interesting questions on the departments handled by me. If I take them in the chronological order in which they spoke, we begin with references made by the hon. member from Phulbari followed by the hon. Member from Laban and the hon. Member from Mawprem who spoke on the Land Transfer Act. with particular reference to the recent Government Notification dated 7th June, 1978 published on the 8th June, 1978 whereby transfer of land to a non-tribal is prohibited irrespective of the fact whether the non-tribal is of Meghalaya or of any other State. This was under Sub-section (1) of Section 3 of Meghalaya Transfer of Land Regulation Act, 1971. But what amazed me more, Mr. Speaker, Sir, was that two of the hon. Members were also members of the earlier House and had the privilege of sitting on this side of the House and it was the Congress Party itself which drafted, proposed and introduced this particular amendment to the Meghalaya Land Transfer Act. And the proper time and forum for these hon. Members to protest would have been at that time. But if my memory serves me aright, they never protested when this particular amendment was drafted, proposed and passed in this House during the Congress regime. How then can they blame the Government of today for merely implementing the powers given to it by their Government and by their party in those days. It seems very unfair on their part, to say the least, to protest now merely because the President has recently given his assent to the Amendment, conferring more powers on the Government of Meghalaya. Besides Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have here the local paper, the Shillong Herald, with the headline 'Enactment of Congress Government being implemented now'. ( Laughter ). So I think that should satisfy them that there is no use crying over spilt milk and you cannot chase the bus after it has left. May I tell them Mr. Speaker, Sir, that as far back as 1908, I have here a Circular Parwana No.33-91, dated Shillong, 23rd September, 1908 signed by L.O Clerk, Deputy Commissioner, U.K. and J. Hills and addressed to the Syiem/Lyngdoh Wahadadar/Sirdar. It reads as follows:-
"You are hereby that the Government shall henceforth not recognise any lease or sale of land by the Khasis to the European or to the plain people unless prior consent of the Government is obtained for such leases or sale. You will please have this order widely published to all your rayats by making cry in market places.
Sd/- L.O. Clerk."
In those days there were loud speakers.
For the Syiemship, he was also the political agent. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the District Council had also earlier passed the regulation on this matter. We had the District Council of the United K. and Jaintia Hills and the Autonomous District Council in the Garo Hills District that enacted laws to control the transfer of land in 1951 and 1953 and then later the Meghalaya Land Transfer Act was passed in 1971. It underwent several amendment and as I said, the last one was when the Congress Party was the ruling party in the party in the State. My friends in the Opposition have no reason to complain or pass adverse remarks now. The laws passed by them during their time are being implemented today. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I also point out that our State has not been extreme in this land Transfer Act. If one goes through the laws in other States, e.g., the State of Kerala has passed the Kerala Scheduled Tribes (Restriction on Transfer of Lands and Restoration of Alienated Lands) Act, 1975. According to Section 5 and 6, all transfer of land from tribals to non-tribals are declared invalid with retrospective effect from 1st January, 1960 and such lands are to be retuned to the possession of the original tribal owners. Take Maharashtra. There is an Act known as the Maharashtra Act No. XIV of 1975 which provides that all lands transferred from tribals to non-tribals after 1st April 1957 are to be returned to tribals sections 3 and 4. Take Andhra Pradesh. Take Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Sections 3 and 4. Take Andhra Pradesh. Take Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Areas Land Transfer Regulation 1959, provides that all transfers of lands from tribals to non-tribals be declared invalid with immediate effect viz., Section 3. The Tripura Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Second Amendment) Act, 1974 provides that there shall be no transfer of land from the Scheduled Tribes to non-tribals, viz., Section 35. My friend in the Opposition should certainly be very happy to be in the State of Meghalaya where the laws are made much pleasanter and much easier for them. Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is enough on this Land Transfer Act.
Now I come to what the hon. member from Umroi has said about lands for the Defence. This of course is a long story and I will try to be brief. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I must say that we have reached the saturation point in the occupation of land for defense purpose. There are about 85,000 military and paramilitary personnel in Shillong, according to a rough estimate. We have the 101 Cantonment area, then we have the Gorkha Training Centre and then the Air force Headquarters at Upper Shillong, then B.S.F. and also the C.R.P. and we have really reached the point of saturation. Not only that, Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the 1st of February, 1965, 3,100 acres of land in the Barapani area were handed over to the Military for setting up a training camp for a Mountain Division and though they have not yet utilised the land they are now asking for more land, 800 acres more, even when the land already given to them has not been utilised for so many many years. Now, they made a request for 836 acres of land in the years 1972 and then a declaration was made under the Land Acquisition Act in January, 1972. But then, on the 8th June, 1974, two years later the Military authorities informed this Government that they do not want the land and that the notification may be treated as cancelled. A year later on the 17th February, 1975 they informed the Government that 800 acres of land were not wanted, only 36 acres. Now, some years later, they suddenly came up for a further demand for 600 acres of land in the Barapani area and 360 acres in the Happy Valley area. They even used the area at Happy Valley as a firing range without any permission or compensation, without the knowledge of the owner of the land. It is, of course, an uninhabited area but it has been used as a firing range without any authority whatsoever. So, we are taking steps to rectify this anomaly which has just been brought to our notice. But, Mr. Speaker, Sir, tremendous efforts are being made by certain persons to get these 800 acres of land which they had said they did not want. Now, they have made another demand for a new area within the town itself. As we all know, we have an industrial complex at new colony. The Military have proposed, even demanded, that the New Colony Industrial Complex be removed to Umroi because the Military want 75 acres of land including that industrial complex. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I inform the House that the Union Home Ministry had issued instructions that no ornament shall be set up within twenty miles of an urban area. But here in Shillong the cantonment areas are within twenty miles of the city. Besides, there is great pressure upon economic and social amenities in Shillong. With 85,000 military personnel staying in this city. Matters have become very difficult. During my recent visit to New Delhi, I met the Defence Secretary, together with the Special Secretary, Revenue, Secretary, Law Government of Meghalaya. As we not meet the Union Minister in-charge of Defence, Shri Jagijiban Ram, who was abroad at that time, I left a letter for him, asking him to return the Cantonment area in Shillong including Garrison Ground, as much criticism and been made from both sides of this House regarding this matter. I had also said that we might consider their request for a plot of land on the outskirts of Shillong if they agreed to leave the cantonment area and the Garrison Ground. I personally sounded the Defence Secretary of this matter and that we had reached the point of saturation. I may also inform this House that the particular plot of Barapani asked for by the Military includes the tourist complex for which the Tourism Department have already paid three lakhs of rupees by way of compensation. The Government does not now intend to reopen the subject. Now other matters were also raised. That is regarding the tribals and non-tribals here in our State and all over India. In the Constitution also we have got certain provisions for the tribals. So, I do not think there should be any special debate on this because it is an accepted terminology all over the country. It is said that "charity begins at home" and there are special articles in the Constitutions for the protection of the small communities and the tribal people.
On the boundary of Meghalaya with Assam, we have had so many demands from both sides of this House for clarification. I may inform the House that we took a decision to bring out a rough sketch map of Meghalaya House showing those places where the public have been annoyed by certain irritants caused by Assam. There are 17 such areas, 7 in Garo Hills, 7 in Khasi Hills and 3 in Jaintia Hills. May I inform the House, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that in this matter, there has been no demarcation whatsoever of Khasi and Jaintia Hills sector of the Assam-Meghalaya boundary. In fact there are no boundary because boundary pillars should be set up jointly. If any pillars exist they are illegal. There are a few revenue and forest pillars in various places set up illegally by the Government of Assam. But these also have to be rectified. Right from 1842 when the British first started conducting a census of Khasi and Jaintia Hills no demarcation was made. We have a notification issued in 1929 showing the political map of the three districts. But there was no demarcation of the boundary for the simple reason that in those days we were one State. But now we have two separate States. The Government of Meghalaya would wish to bring again under its jurisdiction all those areas of Khasi Hills, Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills which belonged to these Hills during the British days and which were cut away and attached to the plains districts of Assam purely for administrative convenience. Our intention is to gain back all these regions through mutual consultation with the Government of Assam. I am happy to tell the House that there shall be a meeting on the 24th of this month at Khanapara between the Chief Minister of Assam and the Law and Revenue Minister of Assam, and the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and the Law and Revenue Minister of Meghalaya. That is, on the 24th at 6 p.m. We have to initiate a discussion and sort our the basic things that are illegal. The first thing that should be sorted out is that irritant should be stopped and arbitrary demarcation of the area should be stopped immediately. Then we will progress to the other stages of the discussion on joint demarcation. Because of these various problems, we should not be thought of as sitting idle or not taking care of our boundary. We have been given the task to protect the land of this State and we intend to do our duty come what may. As for those areas on the border with Bangladesh, we went to the Government of India and acquainted to them of our problems and told them to take up this matter with that foreign country. So, with these explanations and the answers I have given, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- The House stands adjourned for half an hour till 11.20 a.m. when the Finance Minister will reply.
( The House then adjourned )
The House reassembled at 11.20 hours after half an hour break with the Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. Speaker :- Now the Finance Minister will give a reply.
*Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister of Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the very outset I would like to express my appreciation to all the members of this august House who had participated in the general discussion on the budget. Mr. Speaker, Sir, they have shown and displayed a spirit of responsibility and at the beginning I was thinking that because most of the members, about 50 per cent of the members of this august House are new members, about 50 per cent of the members of this august House are new faces, I had expected that they would display immaturity and inexperience. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was totally belied when from the proceedings of the House, the members who were participating in the discussion had shown a remarkable performance. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, the only thing is that we found during the general discussion on the budget that most of the members had not taken part in the general discussion and I presume that they were waiting for a turn or chance to have a better discussion during the next 6 or 7 days on voting on demands for grants. From our study we have tried to jot down and note down the various points and valuable suggestions given by the members and in fact on all the Departments of the Government. Most of the members have raised their points their issues- but it may not be possible on my part at this juncture to do justice to all the points raised by them. On some of the points i.e. on the department of Cooperation, on the Revenue Department and also on the Forest Department my colleagues have explained in so far as their Departments are concerned . Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, many members have raised very important points on Education, Community Development, Health, Mines and Minerals, Power Education, Community Development, Health, Mines and Minerals, Power and also about the problems of communication, transport, forest, and also tourism. As I have said earlier, it may not be possible on my part to meet or to explain to give information on all the points raised by the hon. members but I shall try my level best to inform the members or to give a clarification in so far as the more important points are concerned. On all the points that have raised by the members and having been noted down, we from the Government side are very grateful to all of them especially for their valuable suggestions that have been made and we assure that necessary steps will be taken to examine at length the various points. I am also particularly grateful to the members of the Opposition who had raise very important issues during the discussion which I shall personally deal with. As I have said earlier the hon. members especially those who are not participating in the general discussion, are most probably waiting for better discussion during the voting on demands for grants. First of all Mr. Speaker, Sir, coming to the budget speech some members had raised the points in so far as the statement that I have made in the course of my speech that the budget estimates were prepared on the basis of the directives given by the previous Government. I would like to make it clear that this necessarily reflects our policies and priorities. In this connection, I would like to make a very brief mention about the matters involving the financial policy. As I have said there has been a reference during the debate on my statement in the budget speech that the detailed budget does not necessarily reflect the new Government policies and priorities. The hon. member, if I am not mistaken from Phulbari, Mr. Zaman, has suggested that if such be the case, the budget could have been recast immediately after its presentation. Now when the budget has been presented on the 27th of March, 1978 he suggested that after 27th March 1978 if the contention of the Government is that the budget does not necessarily reflect the policies and priorities of the Government, the budget should be recast.
Shri Akramozamman :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have not said that. The proceedings of the Assembly may be consulted in this regard.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister and Minister in-charge of Finance) :- Yes, we will do that. But you have suggested that this budget does not reflect the policies and priorities of the new Government.
Mr. Speaker :- He must have mixed up with the names of other hon. members also.
Shri Akramozamman :- When a reference of name is made, I think it is better for anybody of us to be very particular about it.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister and Minister in-charge of Finance) :- Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member had made a statement to this affect and I would like to inform him that the policies and programmes. As we are aware, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the budget was prepared well before the new Government assumed office i.e., 10th March 1978. There are practical difficulties to recast it if there is a suggestion to recast within this short span of time. There is a problem to recast the budget already placed before the House within the month of April or May. As the hon. Members are aware there is a rigid time table of the preparation of the budget estimates. It will take about four or five months to complete the process of preparing the budget.
Mr. Speaker :- Or to recast the budget.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister and Minister in-charge of Finance) :- Or to recast the budget. However, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to give emphasis on new directives as such to be taken up by this Government to the policies and programmes, certain revised financial outlays will become necessary. In the course of a year there are certain changes in the priorities to be followed by the Government and in particular, this Government will make all endeavour to effectively promote and safeguard the legitimate interest of the members of the scheduled tribes in this State. This will necessarily have to be reflected in the financial outlays during the course of the year. The Government may take recourse available under the financial rules to re-appreciate the sums voted by this august House from one sub-head to another. Again, Mr. Speaker, Sir, wherever necessary, we can come up before the House with supplementary demand for proper administration of the new policies of the Government. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is the policy of the Government to really seek to reflect the various policies and priorities of the Government and in doing so, we should try our utmost to reflect the needs and aspiration especially of the scheduled tribes and the tribal people of this State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there had been a reference also to paragraph 35 in which I have said that the budget proposal which I have submitted for the consideration of the House seeks to reflect the needs and aspirations of the people of the State. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, some hon. Members have suggested that these two statements are contradictory. Here in the first page, I have said......"do not necessarily reflect our policies and priorities".....whereas in the ultimate paragraph 35, I have said....." the budget proposal which I have submitted for the consideration of the House seeks to reflect the needs and aspirations of the people of the State. "There is a lot of apprehension from some Members that this is a contradictory statement. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, some of the hon. Members have regarded this statement as contradictory where I have said in Paragraph 35 of the budget speech that the budget proposal seeks to reflect the needs and aspirations of the people of the State subject to limitations which are our legacies. What I have meant by this was that this Government would seek or endeavour to devise suitable measures to fulfill the needs and aspirations of the people. I have already explained in the beginning that some adjustments may be necessary in the detailed estimates in order to achieve our objectives. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I see that there is no such contradiction between the two statements made in the first paragraph and paragraph 35 of the budget speech.
Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the course of my budget speech, I have made a mention about the Seventh Finance Commission. I have already said that the Seventh Finance Commission would be visiting this State for holding discussions with the State, representatives. The Commission visited Meghalaya in April, 1978 and held discussions with us here in Shillong. The hon. Members may be interested to know some of the details regarding this. We submitted before the Seventh Finance Commission that the genuine needs of a backward State should not be lost sight of in the face of the pressure being mounted by certain States for greater financial autonomy.
It was emphasised by us that a backward State should receive much larger allocation of resources. In so far as the State of Meghalaya is concerned, which has meager resources the recommendation of the Commission is of crucial importance. So we hope that the Seventh Finance Commission will take a sympathetic view of the needs of our State with regard to the question of upgradation of the standard of administration and the problem of high power in the maintenance of the controlled assets and other infrastructural facilities. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there has been mention by the hon. Member from Pynthorumkhrah, Dr. B.K. Roy that the budget documents do not reflect any serious effort at the resource mobilisation. As the hon. Members are aware, the resource base of Meghalaya is really very narrow. Again owing to the historical and other reasons the number of sources of income is not available to the State. As we know, some sources of land revenue in some of the States come from land but in so far as Meghalaya is concerned this particular source is being handled by the District Councils. Also Mr. Speaker, Sir, other revenues that could have accrued to the State of Meghalaya for example, forest with the exception of reserved forests, are also under the control of the District Councils. Another hon. Member, if I am not mistaken, he is the hon. Member, from Phulbari had also raised a point on the alarming recovery position of loans and advances. But in so far as this particular point is concerned, I think it has already been covered by the Minister in-charge of Co-operation. So I need not go into this particular point is concerned, I think it has already been covered by the Minister in-charge of Co-operation. So I need not go into this particular point. Also, Mr. Speaker, Sir, while discussing on the planning in the country. the hon. member from Phulbari again, i.e., Mr. Akramozamman, had wanted to know about the concept of the Rolling Plan. The current year marks an important landmark in the history of planning in the country. The emphasis in national planning has not shifted and far greater attention is to be given to the rural sector. There has been a change in the national object of planning and greater emphasis is being laid on removal of poverty and unemployment. Our State, with its overwhelming dependence on agriculture and other rural activities and with a substantial percentage of people below poverty line, welcomes the revised strategy as enunciated in planning in the country.
With a view to avoiding unrealistic target fixation, introduction of greater flexibility, timely correction for unforeseen external events and improving investment decisions, some changes in the current planning process are being introduced from this year. These changes are to be achieved through the methodology of "Rolling Plans".
Under the Rolling Plan system after formulating the Five Year Plan for the period of 1978-79 to 1982-83 and while preparing the current year (i.e. 1978-79) will be reviewed. After that the Plan for 1983-84 would be projected. A similar process would be repeated each year and at all times there would be a Five Year Plan. In other words the horizon of the Five Year Plan will be extended by working out target for one additional year at the end of each year. This, Mr. Speaker, Sir, is the concept of the rolling plan. Well, as I have said earlier Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very grateful indeed to some of the hon. members from the Opposition who have raised vital points and issues for this discussion on various points very important points raised by the hon. members.
The hon. member from Pynthorumkhrah and also the hon. member from Laban have raised certain points and also alleged that the law and order situation as well as communal incidents, especially in the town of Shillong, have increased. Well, they have raised genesis of these incidents and troubles from the incident that occurred on the 28th of February, 1978, when, on that particular evening, a procession of some jubilant youths and leaders and also their supporters was brought out by parading the streets of Shillong. In the memorandum dated 13th of this month submitted to the Chief Minister and signed by the three hon. Members from Mawprem, Pynthorumkhrah and also from Laban, they have pinpointed this particular point to the Chief Minister and signed by the three hon. members from Mawprem, Pynthorumkhrah and also from Laban, they have pinpointed this particular point to the Chief Minister and they have also indicated that many cases have been reported to the Police after the 28th of February, 1978. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, some incidents took place and 39 cases were reported to the Police following the incidents of 28th of February. But only three cases, however, were reported from 28th February 1978. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not a fact that the Police, after getting the report, did not take any prompt action; the Police did take prompt action, Mr. Speaker, Sir, and all these cases were returned in a final report as true but no proof as none of the miscreants were identified by the complainants.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- On a point of information, the memorandum was also submitted to the Deputy Chief Minister by hand. So it is not only the Chief Minister but also the Deputy Chief Minister.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Dy. Chief Minister) :- Yes, it is a joint memorandum submitted and I have also received a copy. But it is the same copy. Also, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there had been a report that the incidents which occurred after the 28th of February, 1978, resulted in the loss of property of some of the persons, especially in the area around Police Bazar. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Police have taken prompt action and, as I have already informed the House earlier, all the 39 cases that have been reported to the Police have been returned in F.I.R. As I have said, the miscreants could not be identified by the complainants. From the 10th of March, 1978 to the end of May, 1978, 54 cases, involving tribals and non-tribals also were charge- sheeted and 15 cases ended in F.I.R. as true but no proof. 34 cases, as of now, are pending investigation. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Police are taking necessary and prompt action wherever reports are received. But, Mr. Speaker, Sir, these incidents cannot be said to have assumed alarming proportions since not a single incident has culminated in a large-scale communal trouble or violence as witnessed recently in certain States in India nor has it threatened the law and order situation in the State. In this context, Government would regard such incidents as "stray incidents". There is also a mention in the report and also representation about the assault of Prof. Kapila Chatterji. Well I would only like to remind the House through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Professor in his periodical, Young India dated 2nd March 1978, had brought out an editorial in which he has condemned in very very strong term the demand of the local tribal population for preservation of their identity and also prevention of influx of people from outside. And in this case also Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to inform the House through you, that the assailants could not be identified. The date for the T.I.P. also had been pointed but Prof. Kapila Chaterji did not turn up on that particular date when the T.I.P. was arranged. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, very recently, the Chief Minister and myself had called a meeting of the editors of the local language news papers here in Shillong. We had convened a meeting on the 17th of this month and we had in that meeting requested the editors of these local language news papers to desist from publication of any intemperate writings which would foment communal disharmony and all that. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, at this juncture, I would like to remind the House, through you, and all of us that Meghalaya as a State is predominantly inhabited by the tribal population. Therefore, in view of the ethnic composition and also because of the small size of the tribal population of the State, any influx of foreign nationals or any large-scale migration of non-tribals from other States of the country would seriously affect the socio-economic balance and lead to a great deal of apprehension in the minds of the local tribals. This State of Meghalaya, is we all know Mr. Speaker, Sir, has been created through the concerned struggle and effort on the part of the tribal population of the State and now Mr. Speaker, Sir, we also do realise that to keep this State in tact would be more difficult than winning it. We have won, we have struggled and through the concerned efforts of all the tribal people and also the good will of the Nation at large, we have won a State for keep it. And almost from its birth and even before the bone structure had hardly hardened, we as a State, right from 1972, had to face this problem of influx. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, we had made a statement do our utmost to preserve the distinct identity and the interest of the tribal people. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are opposed or are against any design from the people from outside to try and change the population of this State of Meghalaya. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, in saying so, I would hasten to make a statement here that it is not our intention to level out the other communities in the process. The other day, when the hon. Member from Pynthorumkhrah the hon. Members from Laban and Mawprem met me, I had in fact made the very same statement to them in our discussion. I said it is never our intention in the process of trying to keep a distinct identify or trying to preserve the tribal identity in the interest of tribals at large to level down the other communities in the State. But also, we have already made a policy statement that our Government would be responsible to the needs and aspirations of the people in the State. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would in fact call upon all the hon. Members to co-operate in the various efforts of the State Government to try and preserve the distinct identity and also the interest of the tribal people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the course of the discussion, the hon. Member from Phulbari and also the hon. Member from Laban had raised a point regarding the certificate, the granting of certificates, the permanent residence certificates. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this certificate is issued after police verification and also with a view to avoid any possibility of granting such certificates to foreign nationals or to a person who is not a resident of Meghalaya. There might be some delay in issuing permanent residence certificates in certain cases where materials are not readily available or if verification report is received late. To avoid such delay Government have issued instructions to all Deputy Commissioners that applications for such certificates should be expeditiously disposed of and in case the certificate is urgently required by the applicants for the purpose of seeking admission in technical institutions, employment etc. a "provisional certificate" may be issued on the basis of available materials pending detailed verification.
A point had also been raised by Dr. B.K. Roy regarding non- recognition of the certificates issued by MLAs and M.Ps. Well the matter was duly considered by the Government. It was felt that issue of these certificates by MPs and MLAs is not considered advisable as they have no machinery to verify the actual position of the candidates, such as place of birth, home address, present address and length of residence and whether the applicant owns a house or landed property in the district where he is residing etc.
Shri Akramozamman :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of clarification. There are some certificates required by a member of the Scheduled Tribe, then you say that it is not required. But in the case of non-tribals why it could not be defined clearly?
Shri S.D, Khongwir (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the necessary point raised by the hon. Member from Phulbari regarding Scheduled Tribes certificate, in so far as the tribals are concerned, these are issued by the competent authorities and it is never issued by any other authority except the D.C. or the District Council Court.
Shri Akramozamman :- In some cases it is found that certificates from the M.L.As/M.Ps are require for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes, I think the Hon'ble Minister requires to examine the case.
Shri S.D, Khongwir (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, if this is a fact, we shall enquire into it.
Dealing again, Mr. Speaker, Sir, with the permanent residence certificate, I would also like to inform the House, through you, Sir, about the recognition of non-tribal permanent residents of Meghalaya. Well a person may be deemed to be a permanent resident of Meghalaya, if he has taken his fixed his permanent habitation with his family and made his permanent home and had resided continually for a period of not less than 12 years. A person shall not be deemed to have taken his fixed habitation in any district of the State merely by reason of his having resided therein in connection with his civil or military service or in exercise of any profession or calling. Any non tribal who could fulfill the above conditions is a permanent resident of Meghalaya. So, these are the conditions of permanent residents of Meghalaya.
Shri Manik Das :- I would like to have a clarification from the Hon'ble Deputy Chief Minister regarding the policy of the Government for issuing certificate to those tribals who are non-Meghalayans.
Shri S.D, Khongwir (Minister, Finance) :- It is the same, but it takes long time. It has to be verified.
Shri Manik Das :- Whether a residence certificate is applicable only to the non-tribals or is it applicable also to the tribals who belong to other States for taking residence in the State of Meghalaya?
Shri S.D, Khongwir (Minister, Finance) :- All these are classified as non-Meghalaya tribals. For example as in the case of Mizoram or other places or other tribals. These are Tribals of non-Meghalayan origin.
Mr. Speaker :- But they do not apply for scheduled tribe certificates.
Shri Manik Das :- Tribals from other States of India!
Mr. Speaker :- They do not have any residential certificate.
Shri Manik Das :- To be a permanent resident, whether a tribal or non-tribal after residing for 12 years in the State, a certificate is required.
Shri B.K. Roy :- In the Constitution it has been made clear as to the terms and conditions of resident and non-resident in a particular State. In the Constitution it is there. In Article 19 it has been defined who are the residents of the State. So according to me this 12 years stay with the family and having properties as residents of the State may not be accounted for. But it seems that this 12 years' stay is absolutely an infringement on the Constitution.
Shri A. Zaman :- A point can also be raised on the date of inception of the Autonomous State of Meghalaya in 1970. Then it is only for 8 years stay that the Meghalayans can be defined. I believe the Leader of the House and those who are living at that period shall be regarded as Meghalayans. How could this 12 years' stay come now, Is it 12 years now since the existence of Meghalaya State in 1970?
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, some Members have raised a point regarding the criteria under which we can consider persons as permanent residents or not. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have explained in the case of granting permanent residence certificate. In so far as other people are concerned, we have said that it requires a lot of verification because we thought that unless and until proper verification is effected we may grant permanent certificates to foreign nationals and the question of permanent residence in so far as other tribal people are concerned who are no residents of Meghalaya does not arise at this juncture.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, so far the points raised by the members of the Opposition which I have said earlier, are very vital points, I think I have clarified on these points. There has been a lot of other important points raised in the discussion in connection with the functioning of the Government through various Departments. I have said earlier Mr. Speaker, Sir, that I shall not be able to do justice or to reply to all the points raised by the hon. Members. But I shall try to briefly state or inform the House on certain points raised by the Members. The hon. Member from Mawprem, Mr. Joshi.
Mr. Speaker :- Full name please.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Dhruba Nath Joshi, the hon. Member from Mawprem had raised a point about the necessity to take effective steps to arrest rising rising prices of edible oils in the State is brought by the trades from outside the State on the prices prevailing in those procumbent centres outside the State. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is the main factor of rise in prices and it depends also on prices here in Meghalaya. But we have taken various measures to check the unreasonable rise in prices as stated by the hon. Member from Mawprem, Mr. D.N. Joshi. As a result of this measure, the price of mustard oil in Shillong has not exceeded Rs.10 since the month of February, 1978 and vegetable ghee has not exceeded Rs.11.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of information. When the Finance Minister told the House that it is his contention of curbing the prices whereas in the Barabazar now the price of one litre of mustard oil of the Ganesh Brand is Rs.13.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have no knowledge about this. I thank you very much for the information and this will be enquired into of course with the help and co-operation of the hon. Member.
Sir, there has also been a mention about shortage of cement but since the Minister in-charge of Industries has already replied to this, I have to skip over it and I think the members are satisfied. Now the hon. Member from Shella, Mr. S.D.D. Nichols Roy, had raised a point in connection with health. He had suggested that the Reid Chest Hospital here in Shillong should be extended or expanded so that it can accommodate more patients. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this connection, the stress that was given now in so far as this Hospital is concerned is on the preventive side of tuberculosis. But the magnitude of the problem is such that it cannot be solved by hospitalisation of patients. The treatment and the care of this disease is for the field staff and medical officers of the Dispensaries and Primary Health Centres which is more evocative. However, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is need for the expansion of Reid Chest Hospital and the matter is being taken up with the Government of India. Many members raised certain points and their own problems have been countered in so far as medical care and health are concerned. Now Sir the hon. Member from Mawthengkut and also the hon. Member from Laban as well as the hon. Member from Sohiong had raised certain points on the various problems faced by them in regard to medical treatment in their own constituencies. I have already said at the beginning that these points have been taken note of Mr. Speaker, Sir. Surely from the Government side, we shall take proper steps to see to all these valuable suggestions made by the hon. Members and we shall see what we could do to improve the position. So also Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Members from Mawprem, Kherapara and Pynthorumkhrah and also from Umroi had raised some points on the same problem in so far as health and medical care are concerned. Their points will be looked into and examined. Now, I can only assure the House and all the hon. Members who have raised these problems that this matter will be looked into.
Then while dealing with health and medical care Mr. Speaker, Sir, the point that was raised by the hon. Member from Pynthorumkhrah Dr. B.K. Roy, that in the Budget it has been urban oriented and the Rural Health Services are neglected. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is not a fact as health budget provides more for the rural population in the Schedule No.2. The amount was provided for the Civil Hospitals and it was not meant only for the urban population. These hospitals serve also as reference hospitals for the rural population. So the rural population also gets the benefit of these hospitals stationed herein Shillong. Mr. Speaker, Sir, now with the publication of the approved list of medicines, the position of stocks in the Hospital as well as P.H.Cs. and Dispensaries and Sub-Centres is expected to improve.
Dr. B.K. Roy : On a point of information Mr. Speaker, Sir. The point I have raised is that the amount is urban oriented and more than 50 per cent of the allotted amount is meant for the town. I have taken into consideration the rural benefit also. If this depends absolutely on the statistics of how money is spent for Shillong Hospital, Ganesh Das Hospital, T.B. Hospital and Civil Hospitals at Jowai and Tura, then the amount will come to about 70 per cent. So my point is why only 30 per cent is left for the rural areas, for the less fortunate residents of the State. In fact we should have diverted the money to the rural areas. If you kindly recollect, I have cited instances in so far as rural health is concerned.
Shri. S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finances) : I am in full agreement with the concern shown by the hon. Members about the rural population in so far as medical treatment and care are concerned. As a matter of fact Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hospitals here in Shillong are not meant only for the people of urban areas. If the hon. Member would visit these hospitals, I hope he will see that most of the patients who are lying in these hospitals are people from the rural areas. As I have stated earlier, these hospitals are also reference hospitals and people from the interior also can come and get treatment in these hospitals we have in the urban area. So, I suggest that the hon. Member should personally visit these hospitals.
Dr. B. K. Roy : I have not visited Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance) : Thank you for your information. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, we come to another interesting point....(interruption)...
Shri Mukul Das : Mr. Speaker, Sir, yesterday I raised a question regarding 100-bedded hospital at Tura and also functioning of Tura Civil Hospital and also increase of wards and repairing of State Dispensary at Dalu.
Mr. Speaker : I think the Minister- in- charge of Health has taken note of your point. Because the Finance Minister has already stated that he would not be able to deal with each and every point raised by the hon. Members.
Shri Mukul Das : Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hundred bedded hospital at Tura is a very very important point and as such I would like to hear from the Finance Minister about it.
Mr. Speaker : Did you make a speech yesterday on this point.
Shri Mukul Das : Yes, Sir.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance ) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I very well remember that particular point raised by the hon. Member from Dalu and I had instructed the Department to note down that point and I believe the Government will consider how best it can be done. As I said there have been many important points raised by every hon. Member including the hon. Member from Shella regarding greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme. It has also been raised by the hon. Members from Phulbari, Mawprem and also Pynthorumkhrah. The hon. Member from Shella had posed a question as to why the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme was abandoned. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to inform the House that the Great Shillong Water Supply Scheme was not abandoned. It is only the intake has been shifted further down to the confluence of Umiew river. The original scheme was taken up but there was some problem. The present proposal is to pump the water from the Umiew river upto the Shillong peak and from there water will be supplied to different zones of Shillong town. Well. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a very important aspect concerning the Public Health Engineering Department regarding supply of water to the town of Shillong and we are eagerly awaiting the completion of the scheme. But so far because of certain problems the scheme could not be executed earlier but now Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to inform the House that the scheme has not been abandoned, rather only the intake has been shifted.
Shri D.N. Joshi : Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of propriety I would like to point out that every body knows that when several hon. Members had taken up the case of Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme and had expressed their concern on the floor of the House and wanted to know when the scheme was abandoned and when they sought clarification in course of their speeches why at that time no clarification was given. But what I feel most improper on the part of the Minister concerned to hold a press conference and to tell the outside world through the press that a new scheme has been taken up and that also at time when the House was in Session. It is a gross breach of privilege on the part of the Minister concerned when he could not take the House into confidence but he gave the outside world the information which he could not give to the Members on the floor of the House thereby he has neglected the House.
Mr. Speaker : Are you sure that the House was in Sessiony.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance ) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not a fact that I told a new scheme has been taken up. When the point was raised by several Members as to why this particular scheme has been abandoned, my reply was that it had not been abandoned but only the site had been shifted from one place to another. Because of certain difficulties the earlier proposal could not be implemented. So, it is not correct to say that when the Assembly was in Session the Minister-in-charge has gone somewhere else to tell something.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols- Roy : If the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme has not been abandoned even then the present scheme includes pumping of water which involves increase of expenditure. It would have been certainly less expensive if they could have been done through gravity the source of the river. Has the Government considered that aspect while taking up the new scheme?
Shri Johndeng Pohrmen (Minister, Health) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government has considered the cost involved in the new scheme. The original scheme was to construct a dam or reservoir which would have submerged 350 acres of land. But in the present scheme there is no proposal for construction of a dam or reservoir. Although the details have not yet been worked out, it is expected that the expenditure would not be more than the previous scheme, even it may be less.
Shri B.K. Roy : Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Hon'ble Finance Minister has said that the Greater Shillong Water Supply scheme has not been abandoned, only the site has been shifted. My point of clarification is that after spending about a crore of rupees, as I am told, on the project of constructing the reservoir, now how much cost from the public exchequer will be required.
Shri Johndeng Pohrmen (Minister, Health ) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have already touched that point as I said that for constructing a dam or reservoir the cost would be very high. But now by way of pumping water to Laitkor Peak the scheme will be less expensive. And it is not a fact that the Department has spent crores of rupees. Only half a crore has been spent for investigation and other things done. I also said the new scheme may involve little more expenditure or less. The whole scheme involves and amount of Rs.8.16 lakhs.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, there have been points raised in so far as road communication is concerned. Most of the Members who have participated have brought out certain problems mostly in respect of certain particular areas. There have been some suggestions Mr. Speaker, Sir, for the construction either of this road or that road or the completion of certain schemes and certain roads which have been taken up for the last three or four years and the members have requested that these particular roads should be completed. Mr. Speaker, Sir, since there are some more important items to be covered, I would only like to inform the hon. Members who have raised the points on road development that the points raised by them have been noted down and steps will be taken to see that the roads are either improved or completed provided the funds allow us to do so.
Shri Bhaskar Choudhury : On a point of clarification, Sir. Will the Minister-in-charge of Finance kindly state before the House what steps Government has taken or proposed to take on the point of demonopolising goods traffic in G.S. Road?
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have just dealt with P.W.D. I have not come yet to Transport. So I think when I come to Transport and if the member insists, I will try to satisfy him.
Shri D.N. Joshi : On a point of clarification, Sir, I find that the Finance Minister has not clarified one very important point with regard to Medical department. I had raised as point asking the Government to set up a Medical College in Meghalaya. But he has not replied.
Mr. Speaker : If you will still want clarification on what the Finance Minister has already replied, let him complete the speech and then you can raise that point but not now. Carry on Mr. Khongwir.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, a point has been raised by the hon. Member from Nongbah-Wahiajer about a rearing house. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I can assure the hon. Member that steps are being taken by the Government to provide necessary assistance to the rearers for construction of the rearing houses and also on this point Mr. E.K. Mawlong had raised a point on the training centre that is to be set up in West Khasi Hills and also East Khasi Hills. It is proposed to set up two weaving demonstration centres in Khasi Hills during the current year. One centre is pro-posed to be started in West Khasi Hills and the other will be set up at Iapngar and I believe this is within his constituency.
Coming to tourism, the hon. Member from Shella had raised a point on improvement of tourism and also about the necessity of commissioning the airport at Umroi. We all agree that tourism is a very important industry and we would very much like to develop this very important industry. As regards the headquarter at Umroi, it has been mentioned that this question had been taken up at carious levels in the past. Recently, a resolution was passed on the Regional Tourist Committee held on 27th and 28th May, 1978 at Patna by which the Ministry of Civil Aviation has been urged to commission to airport as early as possible. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as we all know the Tourist Development Corporation has just started and it is yet to function as a Corporation. I believe that they will go ahead to improve tourism in the State. We have also heard there is a proposal for a tourist complex at Barapani and as we have heard from the Minister-in-charge of Revenue, the matter is still to be settled between the Corporation and the M.S.E.B and the military authorities. This matter will be taken care of and from the Government side, the department and the Corporation will take necessary steps to finalise the matter.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols -Roy : Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know whether Government is going to take up the matter with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, or will they just base on that resolution passed by some body at Patna. ?
Shri. S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government will take up. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member from Mylliem had raised a point on rural electrification. He has suggested that for public interest, we should bring the areas of Lummawbah, Nongkseh and Mawlai under rural electrification scheme. In this connection, I would like to inform that all these areas have been under the licensed areas of the erstwhile Shillong Hydro Electric Company. Since all these areas have been electrified, they cannot be brought under the rural electrification scheme. But I would like to suggest to the member and also to the localities that for the purpose of street lighting, they can form the street light committee and apply to the Board for street lighting. The monthly charges for street lights on an average would work out to about Rs.5 per point per month. The cost of repair, replacement, etc., will be borne by the Board.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, another very important point which quite a few members had raised is on education. They have suggested that the District Councils should be divested of their function is relating to primary education. It is the firm policy of the Government that we should encourage the traditional institutions and also agencies which have been set up to promote the interest of the members of the scheduled tribes and the Government have no intention to reduce the role of the District Councils and in fact, we are considering the scope for enlarging the functions of the District Councils. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it may be true that in some cases the machinery of the District Councils is not adequate to effectively discharge the functions entrusted to them. The remedy lies in strengthening the administrative set- up of the District Councils. We have also emphasized the need for continuing and strengthening the position of the District Councils. The hon. Member from Mawprem and also the hon. Member from Mylliem, both of them, have raised certain points in so far as terracing and soil conservation works are concerned.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy : Mr. Speaker, Sir, before the subject- matter finishes, I have made certain points regarding primary education as some hon. Members had suggested transferring of primary education. My suggestions is for improving primary education so that the teachers would be improved and the primary education also improved it should be taken over by the Government.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance ) : With your permission Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will come to that later on.
Shri D.N. Joshi : Mr. Speaker, Sir, regarding education I was expecting to get a categorical reply from the Government regarding making free and compulsory education available to the students of Meghalaya upto matriculation standard. I thought the Minister would make a statement on this.
Shri. S. D. Khongwir (Minister, Finance) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am coming to that later on since the hon. members have suggested divesting the power of primary school authorities. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. member from Mawprem and also the hon. member from Mylliem have raised certain points about the question of terracing and soil conservation works. The Government is very much aware of the need for proper development works of the existing agriculture and also proper development of terracing. But due to general non-acceptance by the farmers at large for terracing the places could not have irrigation. The Government proposes to lay more emphasis in the current year through out the places where irrigation would be possible. The hon. member from Shella had also raised this point. In fact, the first point that he had raised during the discussion on the Budget was the Indo- Danish Project. He wanted to know they the experts from the Danish Government have left and his contention is that they have left because there was no co-operation from the Government of Meghalaya. I would like to inform that those experts have left because the contract has already expired. It is not because of the fact that there was no co-operation between the experts and the Government of Meghalaya in the Animal Husbandry Department. He had also raised a point on the Forest Development Corporation. But this point had already been replied by my colleague, the Minister-in-charge of Forests. The hon. member from Sohra has suggested to the Government for the timely supply of seeds and fertilizers to the farmers for better production, and besides Mr. Swer another hon.Member Mr. A. Lamare has also raised a point on the timely supply of sees and fertilizers. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has been the endeavour on the part of the Government to provide seeds and fertilizers to the farmers in time but unfortunately, due to some unavoidable circumstances like strikes in the industry in some sector, the matter has been delayed. But steps will be taken in some sector, the matter has been delayed. But steps will be taken definitely to have a more effective check so that the farmers can get the fertilisers and seeds in time. Mr. Lamare had raised a point and said that the sue of fertilisers in Jaintia Hills is not yet popular. To this point, I would like to say that it is a fact that the use of fertiliser is not yet popular in Jaintia Hills. But through demonstration and training programme, we hope that the use of fertiliser in Jaintia Hills would be popular in due time. As I have already stated, other hon. members have also raised various points in so far as the timely supply of seeds and fertiliser is concerned and at this juncture, I would like so say that the points raised by them have been noted down and necessary steps would be taken in so far as the points are concerned. Several hon. Members have raised a point on the question of demonopolising the Gauhati Shillong Road. On this very important question, I would like to say that the Gauhati-Shillong Road contributes substantially to the income of the State. No doubt, the Meghalaya Transport Corporation has issued a number of certificates to the public carriers for carrying goods on the Gauhati-Shillong Road as the Corporation at present still suffers from shortage of vehicles to cater to the requirement of this road to render better services through this vital and important road. The other point raised by Shri B. Choudhury, the hon. member from Laban and also by the hon. member from Shella, Shri Nichols Roy, on the bus services between Cherra and Shella. This matter had already been discussed and we find that as the road from Cherra to Shella is still very narrow and not in a good condition, it is not possible for 30 or 40 seated buses to ply on the road. But however a 40 -seater bus is being repaired for placing it on the road. He had also raised a point on the present stage regarding the ropeway from Shella to Gauhati. I would like to inform him that the project report for the Ichamati- Byrnihat Ropeway is sponsored by the N.E.C. It is now in its now in its final stage and steps will be taken in consultation with the N.E.C. about the implementation of the scheme.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, another very important matter has been raised by the hon. Member from Dalu, Mr. Mukul Das, regarding the lack of security and the increase in the border crimes in the border areas and also about the difficulties faced by the Indian cultivators that they could not cultivate the lands in the border areas due to constant harassment by the Bangladesh nationals. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we do not have any definite information about this but we would like to request the hon. Member to cite specific instances of border crimes as mentioned by him so that necessary steps could be taken. So I would request the hon. member to cite specific instances where such border troubles have occurred so that from the side of the Government necessary steps could be taken.
Shri Mukul Das : Our Finance Minister has mentioned about the particulars of any incident. But I can put forward and instance that the incident has already occurred in Chandrabui village where our Indian cultivators while they were tilling the land in the day time, the Bangladesh nationals entered and assaulted them seriously. These cultivators have been hospitalised and since then our Indian cultivators do not go for tilling the land. On the other hand the Hon'ble Finance Minister has mentioned about any incident of border crimes. While we were in session last time in my speech on the Governor's Address I have mentioned that dacoity took place in my constituency in which the Bangladesh nationals entered the houses of three or four persons and looted them. In connection with this incident I can bring forward evidences and in future I can bring more instances.
Shri. S.D. Khongwir (Minister of Finance) :- So with this information supplied to us by the hon. Member I would again request him for his co-operation whenever such border incidents occur. I would again request the hon. Member to kindly take steps to also send the information to the competent authority. The hon. Member, Mr. Mukul Das had also made a mention about the Civil Hospital at Tura. The Government is aware of the congestion in the old Civil Hospital and we hope that this year a new Civil Hospital will be constructed. The hon. member from Pariong, Mr. Tuberlin Lyngdoh, had also suggested that more health sub-centres should be opened in his constituency. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, at present we have three sub-centres in the Nongstoin Block and we hope in the future we would be able to establish more sub-centres especially when the Nongstoin area had been declared as the District Headquarter. So necessary steps will be taken in this regard to increase the number of sub-centres.
Mr. Joshi, the hon. Member from Mawprem has suggested that extension of the grant of D.A. to all categories of teachers both Government and non-Government from primary stage upwards. This is the point raised by the hon. Member and he also suggested that free education up to matric standard be provided to all students. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, the grant of D.A. has been extended to the deficit schools in the State and we have a proposal to extend this D.A. to non-deficit schools as well. About school fees the schools are exempted by the Government from paying school fees for the students of private schools up to the limit of Rs.3,600 p.m. There is no proposal to grant general exemption of school fees at this stage as the resources of the State do not permit.
Shri. D.N. Joshi :- Sir, I have said during the budget discussion that such steps had been taken by the poorer States and our very near sister State Assam declaring free compulsory education up to matriculation standard. Why our State which I maintain is having a population of only 11 lakhs or so cannot be put on the map of free compulsory education.
Mr. Speaker :- You can argue that point on some other days.
Shri. S.D. Khongwir (Minister of Finance) : The hon. Member from Mylliem while speaking on the pay of the teachers had stated that teachers in the Government institutions are getting less than what the grade IV employees are getting. Steps have been taken to bring as many schools as possible in the rural areas under the deficit system from year to year. As you know the resources of the State do not permit to bring them under this deficit system wholesale.
The hon. Member from Mahendraganj while speaking on the budget on the 19th instant had raised the point that there was no budget provision to provide means of exploration of mineral resources in Garo Hills District. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am informed that the plan budget of the Directorate of Mineral Resources has kept a provision of Rs.5.7 lakhs for payment towards professional services, most of which payment is towards exploration of the limestone deposits at Siju which has started in May 1977 on contract basis by the Government of India which is still continuing and is likely to be completed shortly. Last but not the least a point has been raised by the hon. Member from Mawsynram this morning. He has suggested that the Government should avail of a central sector, Centrally sponsored and N.E.C. scheme to help growth of citrus in the border areas and also to take up plantation schemes. In this connection, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is a central sector scheme for rejuvenation of citrus plantation and the Government are availing of this scheme to improve citrus, orchard particularly, in the border areas. One Member has also raised a point about the misuse of trucks. He has raised a point on misuse of truck provided by the Agriculture Department. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, on this point, I may inform the House that the trucks for the purpose of agricultural marketing in the border areas have been provided by the Border Area Development Department and not by the Agriculture Department. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, I hope I have covered most of the important points in so far as we are concerned and as I have said earlier....
Shri Akramozamman : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was waiting for the reply to those important points and I was thinking they will he replied to by the Finance Minister but no reply has been given. My first enquiry was that in the case of a rolling plan, the Statistics Department is very much required forecast the investment of a particular department. The second point was whether the Statistics Department has been reorganised and the third point is what will be the total amount of generation in the annual plan of 1978-79 and the last point is what was the calculation of the annual plan growth rate on industries and agriculture. Since these are very important in the finalisation of the annual plan I hope they will be replied.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Minister-in-charge of Finance) : Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I have said earlier most of the important points raised by the Members have been concerned and I have tried my level best from the side of the Government to give the information and reply to the various points but in the process, several points that are considered to be important from your side, from this side and from the side of the hon. Members who brought out those points we have not said or contended that those points are not important. Well, those points will be taken care of and they will be examined. Also from the side of the Government we will take necessary steps to implement the suggestions put forward by the hon. Members. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is one point raised by the hon. Member from Phulbari in the context of the rolling plan and the necessity of strengthening the Statistics Department. Well, Sir, on this point I fully agree with the hon. Member who has raised this point and we, as a Government are alive to this problem. I may also mention that this Government has set up a monitoring cell in a number of departments to keep a close watch on the physical achievements of those departments. As regards other points, they will be taken care of and all valuable suggestions given by the hon. Members will be attended to. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was about to conclude my speech and I have said that we are trying our level best to give the required information in so far as the points raised by the hon. Members are concerned. But in the process as I have said earlier, we may need more details to give the information to the Members. But there is ample scope and time also for the Members, if they so desire, to bring more discussion during the coming six or seven days when we take up voting on demands for grants. Thank you.
Shri D.N. Joshi : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have got the assurance that the Minister may make a statement or reply to my demand to set up a medical college and an engineering college in our State. So, Sir, I want to know from the Minister categorically what the Government intends to do.
Mr. Speaker : Who gave that categorical assurance to you? Hon. Members must be aware that the Finance Minister cannot touch every point raised by you especially on those subjects which involve detailed statistics. I believe we are all satisfied with the replies of the Finance Minister and if there is anything also you can raise it in the coming days. Since there is no other business in today's list of business, the House stands adjourned till 9.30 a.m. tomorrow, the 21st June, 1978.
|Dated Shillong :||Secretary,|
|The 20th June, 1978.||Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.|