Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held at 9.30 A.M. on Wednesday, the 22nd March, 1978, in the Assembly Chamber Shillong with the hon. Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day by taking up item No.1. in the Agenda. But, it appears, there is no question today and so we switchover to item No.2 :- Debate on the Governor's Address. In this connection I would request Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh who has moved the Motion of thanks to the Governor's Address to kindly initiate the debate. I will give him 30 minutes since there are many speakers today. I think that will be sufficient.
Debate on Governor's Address
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Governor's Address that was delivered on the 20th in this august House is as it should be, the most important statement of policy for the whole term of this Government. It will not be only a statement, a yearly statement, but, as I have said, it is a statement of policy for the whole term of 5 years for this Government, rather, six years, as it is now, with the amendments of the Constitution. I congratulate the Government on this Governor's Address which has firmly and clearly stated - as placed before the House all the issues involved and all the problems that face the State today. It has highlighted all aspects concerning the State and, as I have stated, it has clearly and firmly put before this august House and before the public of the State what are the issues involved, what are the problems facing us and what is the Government policy on all these issues and problems. Firstly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would refer to some very salient features of the policies and programmes which are in Para 4 of the Address.
"The Government will strenuously endeavour to protect and preserve the distinct identity of the tribal people of Meghalaya and will pay special attention to their economic, social and cultural interests." This subject "identity of the tribal people of Meghalaya" has been for some year, and especially today, the subject of deepest interest and concern to all the leaders, the parties and the people in general. I have come across a pamphlet issued some time in 1975 in Khasi entitled "KI MAWSHYIENG U HYNNIEW TREP" issued jointly by several leaders including the Late Syiem of Khyrim, Fr. Sngi Lyngdoh, Rev. T. Rodbourne. This six-page pamphlet is concentrated on this subject of the menace to the existence and the identity of the tribal people not only in Meghalaya but in the whole of north-east India. As stated, if has been a subject of concern for many years now in these parts of the country. I may remind the hon. Members through you, Sir, and the members of the House who were associated with us in that historic moment for the formation of the APHLC on the 6th and 7th July, 1969, in which this subject came up, that it was strongly debated and that the resolution was finally passed on this subject as the corner-stone of the stand of the hills people under the banner of the APHLC. With your permission, Sir, I read the extract from the first Resolution passed by the APHLC on the day of its formation on the 6th and 7th July, 1960. This is the resolution.: "The position and the conditions of the Hills people in Assam are such that the acceptance of the Assamese language now or at any time which place the Assamese people in a more dominant position over all the Hills people will put them under their domination and thereby gradually leading to the disintegration of their identity. As a distinct community of India, which identity has been given recognition and protection in the Constitution, such assimilation and disintegration are against the sentiments of the Hills people and detrimental to the composite culture of India which is born of Unity in Diversity". Therefore, I congratulate the Governor on this Address focusing attention to this most important subject of the day for the tribal people of Meghalaya and the north-east India as a whole. And, therefore, I congratulate the Government when they say that the Government will strenuously endeavour to protect and preserve the distinct identity of the tribal people of Meghalaya, and pay special attention to their economic, social and cultural interest.
Again, on another similar to this subject, in the very same paragraph in the next few lines, it states that it will make all efforts through constitutional, legislative and other measures to provide safeguard against influx from outside and prevent economic exploitation of the tribal people. This question of influx from outside has also been the subject that has denominated the feelings and sentiments and thoughts of the people and the leadership of the State for the last few years. Therefore, I congratulate the Governor again for presenting before us this problem and the determination of the Government to make all efforts through constitutional, legislative and other measures to provide safeguard against influx from outside. In this connection, Mr. Speaker, Sir I am happy that there has been a consensus of feelings and thoughts on this question of influx among the sections of the people of the State. Some months back, I saw in the news paper a news report about a memorandum submitted by several leading non-tribal leaders in the State to the Prime Minister on this question of influx. I also received a copy of the memorandum. Sir, I may read the extract from that memorandum which made me very happy indeed, that on this very important subject of influx into the State, there has been a consensus of opinion from all sections of the people of the State. This memorandum was submitted to the Prime Minister on the 24th December 1977 and with your permission I will now read the extract from the memorandum which I have received some time in January 1978. "It is a small State with a population of a little over 10 lakhs and due to its limited cultivable lands and difficult terrain it has not been able to produce enough food and other essential commodities for its maintenance. The old method of jhum cultivation is further aggravating the situation. We are deeply concerned over the question whether it is possible for the State having such limited land resources to accommodate more people. The employment opportunities of the State which are yet to be created in the field of industries and commerce are also very limited. It is difficult to think how we can allow more people from outside to come and compete with our children and deprive them of the limited opportunities. For these circumstances, we strongly suggest that the Government of India in consultation with the State Government take appropriate State Government take appropriate steps to protect the State from large scale influx". As I stated, I am very happy indeed that we have a consensus of thinking in the right direction so far as this question of influx is concerned. I am also happy that in the very same paragraph the same sense of fairness, the same sense of justice is with this new Government when they say that the Government shall endeavour fair and just treatment to all sections of the population and communities living in the State. This has been the tradition of the hills people expressed through their leadership, expressed through their Government in the last eight years and I am glad that this new Government has expressed clearly that they will pursue the policy of justice and fairness and just treatment to all sections of the population and communities living in the State.
Further down in paragraph 5 the Address states that Government are determined to preserve harmonious relations among all sections of the people and communities living in the State and will take steps necessary in that direction. With this clear statement of policy, I am confident that the traditional peace, harmony and cooperation that have prevailed in our hill areas for decades and centuries will continue to be maintained. I would, therefore, through you, Sir, make my humble appeal to all members of this august House to come forward and lend their helping hand and support to maintain our traditional peace, harmony and good relations among all sections of the people and communities living in the State. Another important statement of policy that we find in this Address is the industrial policy as will be seen in paragraph 14. In the industrial sphere, the policy of the Government will be to quicken the pace of growth of the small and cottage industries particularly in the rural areas. The emphasis is clearly laid in view of the conditions and circumstances obtaining in our State on the growth of small and cottage industries particularly in rural areas. I very much welcome this emphasis on the small and cottage industries particularly in the rural areas. The Government policy regarding medium and large scale industries will be based on the consideration of the benefits to the people and best interest of the State.
I am also very happy about this statement because there is a common tendency of thinking on this subject for its own sake and not for the sake of the people and not for the sake of the State. Form this statement of policy here, it clearly shows that the Government policy on industries should not be industries for industries sake but industries for the benefit of the people and best interest of the State. Our experiences in our new State in the last six years had made us to consider very seriously about this industrial policy. Last year I had the occasion to write a letter to the then Chief Minister on this subject reminding him of the understanding in the Cabinet in 1975 on the industrial policy for the State. I hope the new Government and the new Minister for Industries will seriously consider this matter, and will fully and faithfully implement what has been stated here that the emphasis should be on the growth of small and cottage industries and other industries which should be for the benefit of the people and to the best interest of our State. Sir, I have many things to say on this very comprehensive statement presented to us, but as I was called only to initiate the discussion, I would simply through you Sir, commend this Address for serious consideration of this august House and also from my point of view, I would appeal for its acceptance and for cooperation to implement all the policies that were enunciated here which are pragmatic and suitable to the needs of the State at this particular time. Those of us who had been engaged in the last elections, I think would see one thing that is very good indeed that through this Governor's Address we will see that the pledges of the constituent parties of this Government in the last elections before the people are sought to be translated into action through this statement in the House. These policy statements here had been placed also before the constituent parties during the last election. Even the language itself is more or less the same as the manifestoes of the constituent parties. Therefore, there is reason to be happy that the parties forming the present Government have not forgotten their pledges and they deserve, therefore, congratulations for this attitude of fulfilling the promises and pledges that they have placed before the people. With these few words I will resume my seat. But before I conclude I may state with confidence that this new Government has been set up with the good wishes of the masses and of the vast majority of the people of the State belonging to all sections of the State. Thank you Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- I would have liked very much if Mr. Bakstarwell Wanniang who seconded the motion of thanks to have been here, but since he is absent, I will call Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh. You have only 20 minutes.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would only share the view expressed by the mover of the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address and I am thankful in so far as it has been stated in the Governor's Address in which is has outlined the policies of the Government for the coming year within these few paragraphs of this Address. Now I also would only stress, and of course I, on my part, appreciate the Government because of its policies which have to a certain extent, really reflected the sentiments and aspiration of the majority of people in the State, especially the tribals who constitute about more than 80 per cent of the population. Sir, in the first page itself, we have seen that the Government have stressed upon the policy and preserve the distinct identity of the tribal people of Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, on this, I would say that not only in Meghalaya this endeavour is being made but throughout the whole country, throughout India and even the Central Government, have been trying to protect and preserve the identity of the Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the country. Therefore, it is a step in the right direction taken by the Government to spell out this policy for protection of the tribal people of our State. Not only that, Sir, I feel that I must appreciate the Government for its policy to pay special attention also to the interest of the tribal people in the economic, social and cultural spheres. Sir, even the Central Government has been extending all help to the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes during the last few years. Especially during emergency the Central Government had even issued guide-lines to all the State Governments to protect the interest of the tribal people or the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes of all States against economic exploitation. They have even given guide-lines that even these lands which were illegally dispossessed through exploitation by other more progressive communities should be reverted or given back to the tribal people of the State. That was the direction given by the Central Government during those days. Here also we cannot say that there was no exploitation. The weaker sections of the community have been exploited for the last many years. Therefore, Sir, it is right that the Government this time has brought forward this policy in order to pay special attention to protect or rather to improve the economic condition of the weaker section of the community. Moreover, Sir, I appreciate the stand taken by the Government in so far as they have state on the question of influx of population from outside as the hon. Mover of the Motion has also stated here. Sir, in this regard the Government want to take measures to prevent the influx of population from outside the country as well as from outside of State. Sir, in this regard as will be found at page 3, Paragraph 6 of the Governor's Address, the Government has promised that it will take necessary measures to regulate any large scale influx from outside the State and would initiate legislative and other measures which may be deemed necessary. In this regard, Sir, the influx from outside the country is the responsibility of the Central Government with the co-operation of the State Government. But the question of large-scale influx of people from outside our State, Sir, is a question which affects the population structure of our own State. So unless certain steps were taken to prevent such influx, our own people will be exploited by the people from outside. I appreciate the Government for cringing forward this policy to protect our tribal people. On this question Sir, I would like to say that during the last few years we have seen a lot of beggars were roaming about in the streets of our town in Shillong. This is also one of the problem of large-scale influx. These beggars are not from our State but they have dome from outside the State. This has affected the economic condition of the people in our State. That section of the people depend entirely open alms given by the people who are working and earning their livelihood. These beggars do not bring any benefit to the society, rather I should say, they are the parasites of the society itself. In this regard, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to request the Government that they should take immediate steps to check the influx of such section of population to our State otherwise many many more will still come to our State in future. As you know, Sir, our people are so kind-hearted as they use to feel pity for every body even they forget the economic condition of their own. Mr. Speaker, Sir, if we compare with other States especially in Northern India, you will find that they have done much better for they have taken certain steps not to encourage such practice of begging. But here in our State, it seems that we have for the last few years not taken any action in this regard. So I would request the Government to take immediate steps to prevent such incoming beggars to our State. Sir, not only that but the labour force also has come in large numbers to our State. This affects the population structure of our State. In the census of 1971, the original population of our tribal people or the residents of our State stood at 82 percent. So I cannot say within the next few years or in the census of 1981 what would be the population of our State. The tribal population may even come down to certain percentage. Therefore, Sir, when the Government have taken the stand that they will protect the basic population structure of the State and have committed to maintain the basic population structure of the State, we expect that if there is increase also there will be proportionate increase during those years. Otherwise if it is as at present with the large scale influx of population from outside specially the labour force and beggars I could say that certainly the public sentiments will be affected.
Mr. Speaker :- Five minutes more.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- I would now come to the point which the Government have really brought certain policies for which we must appreciate. They promised also that the Government will take adequate measures to ensure a clean administration. To this effect Sir, I would appreciate but at the same time since the Government has functioned for the last few weeks, I would expect that they should not only put in this Address like this but I would like to see that the Government would really implement these things in right earnest, because the people of the State in all spheres of life find lots of difficulties in a haphazard administration. I would request all people in the State to help the administration in implementing the policies and schemes in rooting out corruption and mal-practices.
Sir, another point which I would like to stress, is that though the Government have promised more effective centres for execution of Government policies through these new districts and subdivisions but on this point I would mention that these new subdivisions and new administrative units have not been functioning effectively. Not only that, but the way of aligning these places under administrative units was done haphazardly without any consultation with the public representatives of the people at large. So some of these new administrative units should be upgraded to subdivisions. We have made representations during the previous Government that the Mawkyrwat administrative unit does not want to be under Nongstoin Subdivision because it is nearer to Shillong then to Nongstoin. So I would request the Government to upgrade this administrative unit to a Subdivision.
Mr. Speaker :- One minute.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- To fulfill the expectations of the people that the administration had really come nearer to the people. Sir, I think I still have many points to bring but then because there is no more time, let others say something on this Governor's Address. With these few words I thank the Government and the Governor for his speech.
Mr. Speaker :- Before we proceed further may I inform the House that I received the amendment to the motion of thanks from Shri G.S. Marak.
Shri G.A. Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move the amendment to the motion of thanks Governor's Address moved by Shri B.B. Lyngdoh on 20th March, 1978. It may be added at the end of the motion that the Address does not fulfill the aspirations of the State in as much as the programme of actions has almost been conditional which amounts to negation.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. You can start.
Shri G.A. Marak :- Mr. Speaker, this is my second time taking my seat in this side which is called the opposition Bench. Ten years ago I was here for one year. As you know by birth I am a Garo, by marriage I am a Khasi and a son-in-law of a Khasi and so I am a pure citizen of Meghalaya by citizenship I am an Indian. Sir, we are here today, 60 representatives of the people of 11 lakhs of population of our State to see for ourselves and the people of Meghalaya. We are here today to shape the destiny of our people for the benefit of the future generation and put our heads together to shoulder the responsibilities that the people have placed upon us. Sir the recent elections have taken place. I honour and welcome the verdict of the people of our State. As you are aware there are many regional parties and national parties which contested in the last General Election. When the result comes out you know no single party got absolute majority to form the Government to run the State of Meghalaya. Therefore the leaders of the different political parties were wondering how to form this Government of ours. Immediately thunder of showers by the mass people thrown together in Shillong town shouting that they will form the Regional party and run the Government excluding the National Party, the Congress Party. They shouted slogans in Shillong town, one, two, three, four, Congress is no more. They tried to form the Regional Party with different political parties and different political ideologies. I realise that it is difficult for my friends to select the leader and that is why they have forgotten their food, lunch and tiffins. Well Sir, the whole day and night they could not come to a conclusion even to find the leader of this Party, leaders of the House or the leader of coalition Government. It is impossible democratically because they have not taken the will of the people, their wishes and yet they have taken the will of one man. Sir, as you are aware of the fact, this is not a democratic ideal. They have to sit upto five o'clock in the morning to form the present Government, the coalition Government and to select the leader to run this Government without taking the will of the people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is the first time in the history of India that to run the Government, by selecting a leader by lot. It is a shame on the part of this Government. Therefore, Sir, the Governor has clearly stated in the second para of his Address, that "the last year has been a period of considerable significance. The year witnessed changes in the national scene which have far-reaching effects. This period also saw the reaffirmation of the will of the people, the restoration of fundamental rights and the resurrection of democratic ideals". Sir, Christ was crucified and he resurrected after three days. Sir, this present coalition Government have killed somebody, have murdered somebody, crucified somebody and crucified the democratic ideals in selecting their leader. They have crucified democratic ideology in the four walls of this House. They have crucified and then come a resurrection of the undemocratic norms by lottery. So Sir, this is a lottery Government this will not last long and that is not my personal wish alone. This is the wish of the people of Meghalaya that it will not last long. What are they going to do now when they will have to face the people? There are many roads to be constructed and which road to be taken up first? There are two major parties, the HSPDP and APHLC who have come together to form the United Legislature Party with a tug of war. I hope, Sir, they will again do by lot to select which road is to be constructed first. They will do by lot. I know they will do this because they have started this Government by lottery.
This is a wonder and it never happens in the history of our Congress Government over thirty years of its predominant rule in the country. That is the reason why the Governor has clearly stated that the year will remain memorable in the history of the nation. Not only in the history of our Meghalaya, in the history of India but nowhere in the world today, selection of a leader is done by lot. Let the world know of this Government, this lottery Government. That is why Sir, people are wondering how this Government has started by breaking away the principle and democratic norms, by crucifying the democratic ideals in the selection of a leader. Even the university students are wondering how this Government will continue for five years. But I say this Government will not last. I warn this Government that with such kind of action that they have shown, it will not last for five year. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have also gone through the Governor's Address from the beginning to the end. While the Governor was addressing, I was listening attentively and just one thing, I could not understand why Governor could not say...."my Government"........not even a single word was mentioned here in this Address "my Government". Unlike the previous year's Address he has mentioned many times.............."my Government".........."my Government have decided, my Government have taken serious steps my Government, my Government, about twenty times, but in the present Address, the Governor did not mention even once. Whey he has not mentioned "my Government" is that he has disowned this Government because he knows that it will not last long.
Prof. M.N. Majaw (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, let us not cast any reflection on the Address of the Governor, who is not present in the House.
Mr. Speaker :- Yes, I give my ruling on this.
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I bow down to your ruling but not to the ruling of the Minister who is my best friend, his time will come. Mr. Speaker, Sir, they also not only crushed or crucified the democratic system of selecting the leader, but also this present Government have not the courage to say anything to the Leader of Opposition. They have to think so many times about the fair and just treatment to all sections of the people, to extend fair and just treatment to the people. This is not very difficult to seek the co-operation from the elected representatives in all matters.
Prof. M.N. Majaw (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- Which the Congress Government never did.
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, why the Minister is disturbing me. I missed my point for this and I beg your ruling on this. He is a lottery Minister, so I missed my point now ( laughter).
Mr. Speaker :- Sir, it is by conventional process in a democratic set up of Government to honour the Hon'ble Speaker as the head of the House, should come in the Opposition Party to contest any election. But the Leader of this House, this Government have completely failed to discuss even the Leader of Opposition to contest in the election of the Speakers. Nowhere in any State in India, is there a contest for the high office of Speakership. But because of the failure and the breaking away of the conventional norm and practice and democratic ideals, this has happened.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to raise a point of order. Mention has been made about the Speaker, on the election of the Speaker which is irrelevant because it casts a reflection on the office of the Speaker.
Mr. Speaker :- That is outside the purview, you may kindly skip away.
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak :- Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I withdraw it. Now, I would like to come to para 4 of the Governor's Address. "As all of you are aware, after completion of the elections, a new Government have taken over the reins of administration in the State. The Government will strenuously endeavour to protect the district identity of the tribal people of Meghalaya and will pay special attention to their economic, social and cultural interests. The Government are committed to provide a clean and efficient administration, responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people." In this respect, I have found one think Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Leader of the House, the Chief Minister had done unmerciful action towards certain sections of the people in the State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I also have found in this Pugh and Khongwir Government some sort of random selection of Cabinet Ministers. As you know Sir, that in this State of ours the population is very small as compared to other States in India and even in Assam where the population is bigger than that of Meghalaya, there are only 14 Ministers in the cabinet. But Sir, here in our State where the population is only about 11 lakhs we have got 12 Ministers. Sir, I do not mind even it there are 15 Ministers but what I would like to mention here is that they should have done justice to all sections of the people of Meghalaya. Sir, they have selected three Cabinet Ministers from each district i.e. three Cabinet Ministers from Jaintia Hills and three Cabinet Ministers from East and West Khasi Hills Districts, i.e. including two Chief Ministers and from the West Garo Hills they have selected three Cabinet Minister. But Sir, I am sorry to inform you that none has been taken from East Garo Hills. So, I would like to say that there is no proper representation in this new Ministry. Moreover, it was a great surprise to everybody that now what will be the fate of distribution of portfolios to these Ministers? Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am whispering these words about the distribution of portfolios because I want to cite an example of my past experience when I visited Dacca, the capital city of Bangladesh, a few years ago. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have been to Dacca right after the liberation of Bangladesh and I have spent my new-year's day with my good friends. And Sir, one day when I went to bazar with my friends for shopping, there we saw one gentleman standing by the road-side and when that gentleman saw a horse-cart, he asked the owner in Bengali language which means, what will be the fare from here to Ramana Race course and he also bargained with the pony cart owner saying, "why not for one rupee from here......". In reply the owner said, "speak slowly...the horse will laugh". That is why I am also saying, Mr. Speaker, Sir, about the distribution of portfolios to the new Ministers, let us talk slowly about which Minister is getting what portfolios'. Sir, the other day I had been to Mawlai and I was also just going around Police Bazar, Bara Bazar to do some shopping and when I was passing through these areas, I heard some Khasi gentlemen talking about this present Ministry, because I understand atleast 30 per cent of Khasi language and I understand that the way in which they were talking was something like an insult. They were talking about ( para kynthei bad shynrang Garo jong ngi imat ki sngewhun eh ban ioh ia ka Khniang, Riddkka and Refugee portfolios. This is nothing but a kind of consolation prices). Mr. Speaker, Sir, is this justice? Is this clean administration of this new Ministry? The people of Meghalaya understand this and it is nothing but an insult to them. So, I will request through you, the Leader of the House, to again reshuffle the portfolios from the Ministerial level and not make any political corruption in this Government. Sir, I do not have much to say on this Governor's Address. Promises are many - assurances are plenty. Sir, at page 8 in paragraph 16 so many schemes have been drawn up in the educational sphere. But Sir, in this small State of ours there are many educated boys and girls who are in search of jobs from door to door and from office to office carrying the recommendation from the hon. M.L.As and Ministers. But here it is mentioned that the Government are aware of the problem of unemployment in the State subject to the availability of fund. But, Sir, there is no mention from where the revenue will come. Here in our State we do not have any gold to sell and we do not have such forest reserves which will bring revenue to our State. But the promises are very tall and as I have already mentioned that this present Government have not mentioned that "my Government have promised this and that" as it was done by the previous Government. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, with these few important points which I have mentioned in my speech, I move this amendment to the motion of thanks moved by Shri B.B. Lyngdoh and with these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- I now ask Mr. Mukul Das. You have 20 minutes.
Shri Mukul Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to participate in the debate of the Governor's Address and here I would like to say that in the Governor's Address there is a reference to the border area problems and I am glad to know that the Governor has touched upon the security of the lives and property of the border area people and also for the prevention of crimes in such areas. Sir, I know from my personal experience in the Dalu area, which is an Indo-Bangladesh border, the security measures are less than inadequate. If there was a Village Defence Party then there is lack of equipments which are most essential for its effective functioning. I may inform this august House, Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the personnel of the village Defence Parties have the torch-lights then they do not have the batteries. If and when the personnel of this Village Defence Party go out on patrolling duty then they move in darkness not knowing who is friend and who is not. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I may inform you that there have been incidents resulting in injuries inflicted upon a friend by the personnel of Village Defence Parties because in the darkness they cannot get the true identity of the people. Sir, I plead that the Government may take the views expressed by the Governor that steps will be taken to make them more effective. Sir, if the village Defence Parties are to function effectively then they should be properly equipped otherwise the entire organisation of the Village Defence Parties would be put into ridicule.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I also would like to raise one important question here. Sir, in my area in Garo Hills cattle lifting by miscreants from the borders areas has assumed an alarming proportion. In fact, there are frequent cases of cattle lifting in our area and in this connection I would like to urge upon the Government to take intensive measures to prevent such cattle lifting and if necessary, to bring it to the notice of the Government of India so that they, in their turn, may take up this question with their counterparts in Bangladesh. Sir, in Tripura also this question had really assumed an alarming proportion and with the help of the Government of India some steps have been taken to prevent such cattle lifting. So, Sir, I strongly urge upon the Government to take up this matter with the Government of India and save them from such kind of ever increasing menace. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the question of village defence in the border areas.
(At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy, Chairman took the Chair.)
especially the border areas that I have the honour to represent in this august House, is of greater importance to the very existence of the people residing there. Because of the intrusion of miscreants from across the border, and because the defending parties are unequipped such intrusions, the resident of the area spend their days and nights in great fear, fear of life and property. The extent of the scare is such that the villagers even dare not undertake complete cultivating operations. The result Mr. Chairman, Sir, is that large tracts of highly useable and fertile land lie unused and therefore unproductive. This Mr. Chairman, Sir, is depriving the afflicted people of their sustenance and the State of foodgrains. In this regard Mr. Chairman, Sir, I may specially mention village Chandabhui where about 200 bighas of crop-yielding fertile land are lying unused. I may Mr. Chairman, Sir, take this opportunity of placing this before the Government. The people had never received the attention that was their due in this regard and cry for help and assistance so that they may be able to till the soil, produce the crop, wealth and ultimate enrich the State's grain store also. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I may also inform you that due to the ravages inflicted by this scourge from across the border, the people of villages Mandacherangpara and Baburam Beel are leaving their homes and more are leaving. This is a serious position and I crave your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, Sir, to plead for urgent measure to protect these unfortunate people who are about to be turned into refugees in their own State.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I agree that there are a number of Police Stations and Outposts in the border area. But I do not agree that these are by any measure, adequate nor can these be described as requisite. The long border line require not only more of such posts, but also posts, which would be fully and properly equipped to deal with the situation effectively. A properly organised system involving the Police, the B.S.F. and the V.D.P. to function in full synchronization, is the most urgent need, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I can only hope that the Government has cast their eye upon such vulnerable area and the people and take the steps that the people expect them to take.
In this connection I may point out another aspect of the matter which is also important. The poor villagers are expected to offer voluntary service for village defence after they have put in hard work for the day time. All ready they have done their own labour and to expect them again to go out in village defence in the night, would be too much to expect. Sir, I would request the Government to provide suitable incentives to the villagers so that they may be inspired to work again for village defence.
Mr. Chairman, Sir. It is known to you I believe, the hon. Members also known that I am a representative from the said constituency which is a border constituency. But there are many other border constituencies also. Dalu is purely a border constituency in this State of Meghalaya. There are other such constituencies and I believe that these constituencies and the villagers of these constituencies are suffering from the same problem. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would urge upon the Government to look upon the matter of the border people. With these words, I resume my seat.
Shri Obil Kyndait :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I take this opportunity to support the motion of thanks which was moved by the mover in connection with the Governor's Address. I would like to refer to a few lines. In Paragraph 9 at Page 4 of the Governor's Address it says. "With the coming of the new Government". In connection with agriculture the distribution of bone-meal, particularly in Jaintia Hills last year, I may say that the previous Government or old Government had not done properly. Actually, it has very much effected the cultivators. In the real sense, it was not bone-meal but black meal. I hope being a new Government it will take this matter more seriously in order to boost up production in the agricultural sector.
Another thing I would like to mention is regarding the boundary. In Paragraph 7 of Page 3 of the Governor's Address, mention has been made regarding transfer of block I and II of Mikir Hills to Jaintia Hills. During the years 1976-77 while going to Khanduli side, I found some sort of signboard written "Police Outpost" at Mukoiram. I asked the local people there whether that place was Mukoiram or not and they replied that was Saitsama which is about nine miles from Mukoiram. As a result the people from Assam used to come to Khanduli side which is between Saitsama and Mukoiram. The Government of Assam have already constructed a primary school, Animal husbandry dispensary etc. So the people of that area always come into clash with the people of Assam and as a result the people of that area suffer very much in the matter of cultivation or whatever type of business they do there. But with the coming of the new Government. I am confident that immediate steps would be taken to protect our people who are residing in that area.
Regarding primary education, I would like to say, with particular reference to Jaintia Hills, that the position is very difficult as proper facilities were not extended from the Government side. Sir, last year I found that the District Council could not construct even a single primary Schools buildings. So in the last Draft Budget of the Jaintia Hills District Council i.e., 1978-79, only Rs.15,000 had been set apart for construction of primary school buildings. But as I said, the District Council could not construct even a single primary school building. So these are the difficulties which our District is facing from day to day. but since this is a new Government I do not like to say much but I have every confidence that our new Government will take all necessary steps to meet the situation. With these few words, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Chairman :- Now Mr. S.P. Swer.
Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the motion of thanks moved by the hon. member, Shri B.B. Lyngdoh, and at the same time I oppose the amendment moved by the hon. member from the opposition. Sir, the Government policies as laid down in the Governor's Address deserve congratulations and it is not correct to say that the commitments made by the Government as enumerated in the Governor's Address are not for the interest of the people or that they do not meet the aspirations of the people of the State. But I would say that the commitments made by the Government as enumerated in the Address do meet the aspirations of the majority of the people of the State in which about 80 per cent of people residing in the State belong to the vulnerable sections., Sir, I cannot but express my satisfaction on the policies and commitments made by this new Government as laid down in the Governor's Address. But I was attracted very much while going through the Governor's Address to paragraph 9 of page 4. In the last part of paragraph 9, the Annual Plan for the year 1978-79 has been fixed at Rs.28.11 crores. In this regard, I would like to say that our State is a deficit State and is in such a position that it stands at the receiving end. Therefore, it is not correct to say that all commitments have been conditioned leading to negation but it is very correctly said in this Address, as we have to cut out coat according to our own size. We know for a fact that all commitments, policies and programmes of the Government cannot be implemented until and unless there is availability of financial resources. When it is a deficit State and we stand at the receiving end, it is therefore, to be guided by availability of funds at the disposal of the Government while the making commitments.
Mr. Chairman :- Sir, in this Plan I hope that the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister and the Finance Minister and the whole House feel that it is time to move the Government of India to review the Sixth Five Year Plan in such a way by taking all factors into consideration. As I said our State is a deficit State and it is hilly, State as and when we implement any scheme it is generally governed by norms in a standardized way. by way of illustration, if we are to construct one kilometer of a motorable road it requires a huge sum of money to make such road in difficult terrains in our State. One will be surprised to know that for construction of one kilometer of a motorable road, it costs more than 2 lakhs of rupees which cannot be thought of in any other State in the country especially in the plain areas. Therefore, the cost for the construction of road cannot be considered in a general way as it should be in some other parts in the country.
( Mr. Speaker, in the Chair)
Mr. Speaker :- Sir, in this connection it is right time to move the Planning Commission that our State and all north eastern States should not be treated in general norms, rules and regulations with rest of the country. The Plan for our State should be separately considered and that it cannot be considered in a standardized way as in other parts of the country because of peculiar geographical topographical conditions obtaining in the State. Therefore, the Plan allocation should be increased so that the State in the near future will be able to stand on its on legs when more and more capital formations will be made out of the Plan money in the State. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, by way of illustration I would like to state that for any Plans scheme to be implemented there are certain norms, rules and regulations governing the Plan money. Taking into consideration the various factors, various conditions in this part of the country, we find that the schemes implemented in accordance with the norms, rules and regulations so framed, resulted in a negation. As we have found in case of hospital buildings at Cherrapunjee where the buildings were constructed or buildings were planned in the standard way, as it is in other parts the country where there is less rain-fall but when the same was implemented at Cherrapunjee it is found not suitable where there is heavy rainfall. So also we find in other schemes like the schemes under applied nutrition programme, we find that the sheds for the poultry were planned in such a way that it does not suit in a rainy place but when implementing they have to construct the poultry shed as planned and the result is that all the birds kept in the shed died within a few days because the shed does not suit them. In this connection, I would like to urge upon the Government to place before the Government of India and the planning Commission that certain amount of autonomy should be given to the State Government in implementing such schemes under Plan money so that the Government will be able to modify to suit the local conditions if and when they are found unsuitable to implement such schemes as planned. Sir, as I said earlier, ours is a deficit State in all respects. It is, therefore, high time that not only this side of the House but the whole House move the Government of India, the Planning Commission and the Finance Commission to consider our State in particular and in the fitness of thing all the Hills States in the north-eastern part of the country. (Bell rang)
Mr. Speaker :- Two minutes more.
Shri S.P. Swer :- Sir, I now come to one point which is found here under tourism. We know about the Umiam Hydel Project. We know about the Umiam Lake. But here we find that it reads like this : ' The immense potential for development of facilities for Tourism in the State is yet to be realised in a meaningful and purposive manner. A beginning will be made in this direction by taking up the schemes for development of such facilities in the Barapani Complex as also in other suitable places in the State." I would like to urge upon the Minister-in-charge to see to it that this Barapani Complex does not come up but that the Umiam Complex will be very much welcome to come up.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I now come to employment. As you know, in the past years our youths in this part of the country look upon the Police Service, not as some people said with contempt, but as a constant tortures of life to be in the Police Service. Nowadays, our youths have realised that this is an important service in the State. But I do not find anywhere in this Governor's Address mention about this important services is made. I think it is high time that the Government should create another Police Battalion in our State so that our youths can join and get employment in this important service to serve the State and the interest of our own people. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Joshi. You have 20 minutes.
Shri D.N. Joshi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very thankful to my electorate for having elected me to come to this august House once again to participate in its deliberations for another term. So I express my gratitude to them through you, Sir.
Now coming to the Governor's Address, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I associate myself with the mover of the amendment to the Motion of Thanks and make my observations. Sir, to me it seems that in the Governor's Address the Governor seems to be dissociating himself in owning the Government as his own as my predecessor has stated and that it is a deviation from past practices. So, Sir, it is very significant. The programmes and the things which are to be performed by the Government seem to be such that nothing objective comes to light in the entire Address of the Governor. It is a conditional and subjective programme. It seems as if the Government is not sure whether it will be able to function effectively to bring about the desired changes, to bring about prosperity in the State, in the absence of funds which nowhere in the Address the Government has said, the State is seized of augmenting the resources in the State itself. They seem to be entirely dependent on the Central assistance only. Nowhere is there any hint as to whether this Government will try to augment its own resources from the State sources.
Sir, coming to price rise, here the Governor says :
"Though the economic situation in the country has shown signs of improvement, yet the rise in prices of edible oils and some other items of daily use has given rise to anxiety." He has said "some other items". But, Sir, everybody here in this august House, and for that matter everybody in the State, knows that we are passing through difficult days. With the installation of the new Central Government last year, the situation in the country has deteriorated and in the economic front and in supply position. The common people have been greatly affected. Each item of essential commodities has shown upward trend in prices. It is not only in edible oils but in every item prices have gone up. Why? Because the present Government is incapable of controlling the prices and so in newspaper reports and experts opinion coming out in the papers we find that the inflation trend which was curbed by the previous Congress Government is out of control now, and there are signs of inflationary trend raising its ugly head again in the country. This is the only country which under the Congress regime curbed the inflationary trend and brought it down to zero level but now it has raised its head again and has gone up to 7 per cent. Now it is very alarming and the claim of the Government here that there is only a slight increase in prices is misleading. So, I hope present Government here in this State will see that the people do not suffer from rise in price of essential Commodities. They have to take effective measures, but here nothing has been enunciated in the Governor's Address. Why does not this Government propose to take measures to curb rise in prices to help the people who are suffering in our State? Sir, it seems our Government is very much seized of the problem of preserving the distant identity of only the tribal people of our State. We want, as representatives of the people, that the distinct identity of each individual group of the State, each individual community of the State should be preserved. Why on earth this Government is very much careful and concerned in preserving the in entity of only one group of people excluding other groups of people? Meghalaya is a land inhabited predominantly by tribals, but we must not forget the fact that there are non-tribals also who are equally Meghalayans and that in all fairness, they must come forward to preserve their identity also. It seems and it is clear through the Governor's Address that they want to curb large-scale infiltration of people from outside the State. Well, why should they be very much seized of the problem to curb large-scale infiltration of the people while, if seems they allow small scale infiltration of people from outside the State. It seems to me that they allow small scale infiltration of the people from outside the State and make them settle here. It is just to mislead the people to say that they will not allow large-scale infiltration. But by implication, it seems to me they are prepared to settle a set of people who come from outside in small scale. But, we as Meghalayans, poor as we are, and backward as we are, want that there should be no exploitation of our people whatsoever from any corner outside of our State having access to come to this State for settlement because we cannot afford to settle them, to afford them with employment or business here. But we must be prepared to see that everybody in the State irrespective of caste, creed and community, who are Meghalayans, are well protected. Their identity as well as their rights and privileges are well protected and safeguarded from all sorts of exploitation from outside. It seems to me that this Government for obvious reasons, will allow people to come in small influx but large scale influx will not be allowed. Now this Government here in page 2, para 4, states that it will make all efforts through constitutional, legislative and other measures to provide safeguards against influx from outside and prevent economic exploitation of the tribal people. This declaration by implication says that they are not prepared to safeguard the interest of the minority here from being exploited by outsiders. Well, will they not save the poor minority from being economically exploited by outsiders? Do they remain in that case as silent spectators? I am very much constrained to know that this Government is totally callous in the matter of safeguarding the interest of the minority living in the State. Sir, in paragraph 5 of the Address it says that, 'The Government are happy to observe that in keeping with the tradition of amity and goodwill among the various section of the population of the State, by and large, the over all law and order situation has been maintained satisfactorily." But, Sir, to my dismay, I must say that as soon as this Government was installed to power, disturbances occurred in various parts of the State particularly in Shillong and the disturbances this time were let loose to frenzy by scheming politicians and even journalists, educationists and innocent passers-by belonging to non-tribal Communities were not spared. Many people were mercilessly beaten but no effective measures were taken what so ever to protect them and it is still prevalent in the State in spite of the assurances given by the Leader of the House inside the State and outside the State that effective protective measures will be taken to curb lawlessness in the State but lawlessness is rampant. So I hope that this Government will take effective steps to curb such type of lawlessness and hooliganism to save the citizens of the State and allow them to live in peace and tranquility irrespective of their being tribals or non-tribals.
We want complete tranquility and peace in our State. It is the bounden duty of the Government to see that anti-social elements do not raise their heads. Sir, here in paragraph 6 of the Governor's Address it says that the Government of India had issued an order on the 10th July 1976 which took effect from the 14th August 1976 to control entry of Nepalese nationals into restricted areas under the Foreigners Act, 1946. The State Government are actively considering ways and means for the implementation of the order. Sir, many genuine Meghalayan Nepali-speaking people have been subjected to torture. I have found that right from 1972 even when this order was not in force the Nepalese Meghalayans were subjected to various kinds of oppression. The legitimate rights and privileges of the Meghalayan Nepali people were taken away and now since this Government have come to power people in the border areas have started driving away all Nepali who have been residing there for generation together. The other day, the Nepali from Nongkhlaw have come to me and told me that a gang of people in that area have asked them to leave the place because they are Nepalis. Sir, in the Governor's Address no mention has been made about the machinery to be evolved to find out whether any Nepali-speaking personal is a Nepali national or an Indian National. So unless proper machinery is evolved I am afraid those people who have been for generation together and who have got their lands and have striven hard for the development of this State will suffer.
Then Sir, coming to health, I have found no mention has been made for establishment of a Medical College in our State. This is a dire necessity of our State. In the previous House, some of the Ministers were very vocal in demanding for a Medical College. I wish that this Medical College be established as early as possible so that our people will get a chance to be educated in medicines and to serve the masses. We know that there is dearth of doctors in our State and we do not get adequate medical facilities. We cannot also send our children to other States for study in medicines. Therefore, in order to be effective in all these facilities, establishment of a Medical College's a dirt necessity. It is also imperative that Government take up this scheme of establishing a Medical College right now. Sir, we see that we are not even getting any grants or loans from the agencies of the Government of India because there no record of rights over land. So measures in this regard also should be taken forthwith. But now the Governor is silent about this. So effective measures should be taken now to establish record of rights over land so that our people may avail of the facilities provided by the loan and credit giving agencies of the Government of India.
Then Sir, in the matter of animal husbandry, I remember time without number, I have spoken on this subject on the floor of this House. Now I may repeat and urge upon the Government for the creation of grazing reserves and planned dairy colonies in our State so that cultivators and graziers do not come into clash with each others. So planned dairy colonies and grazing reserved should be started immediately. Our State has get potentiality for development of dairy farming and therefore, Government, must take up this matter with due consideration and in due promptness for the benefit of those people who are already in the trade. With these words, I thank, you Sir, and resume my seat.
Shri B. Wanniang :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to say a few words in support of the Motion of thanks moved by Shri B.B. Lyngdoh on the 20th of this month. I am very grateful to the Governor who has drawn up board outlines on the policies and programmes of the Government. I believe Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the hon. Members of this House anxious to see that Meghalaya should speedily develop and progress not only in one particular field but in every sphere of human activity. In this 12 pages of the Governor's Address, if we go through, we find that it is evidently clear that this new Government has placed for an all-round development of the State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I appreciate very much the speeches made by some hon. Members when they are trying to bring something to the notice of the Government. This has proved that the hon. Members are really interested for the development of the State. But one thing Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have to remember that the details of the programmes cannot be expected to be included in the Governor's Address, but only the board policies of the Government. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am glad that at page 3, para 7 of the Governor's Address, the Government are eager to ensure an expeditious settlement of the boundary disputes with Assam by making all possible and earnest efforts and to restore to the State Block I and Block II of Jaintia Hills District and also those areas which were formerly known as Khasi States. I would like to say that complaints after complaints were received from the local people and local Administrative heads also who are living in the border areas that the authorities of Assam Government are trying to encroach into the territory of Meghalaya. Our people living in the border belts are facing great difficulties. So I would like to suggest that pending final settlement of the dispute with Assam Government, all encroachment activities along the border should be stopped for the sake of peace and good relation.
Again Sir, coming to border areas at page 9, para 20, it is said that people in the border areas are in great economic difficulties because of closure of border markets and in order to save the prevailing situation in the border area, I would suggest that immediate attention be given by the Government- i) to undertake works for completion of incomplete roads which have been lying incomplete since the last 5 or 6 years. ii) to implement the scheme for construction of the newly proposed road to be taken up in the whole of the border areas so as to provide jobs to the local people and also for marketing their agricultural produce. For example, there are some roads like Rangthong Ngunraw which was started during the years 1971-72 but for these 5 or 6 years only two kilometers were completed and also one road, i.e. Umpung. Mawpud only two kilometers were constructed. So I would like to urge the Government to implement the construction of all these roads in the border areas so as to provide jobs and also for marketing the agricultural produce of the border people. No. 2, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to set up the State Trading Agency to purchase the border produce from the border markets at a reasonable rate No.3., to move the Central Government to negotiate with the Bangladesh Government for reopening of border hats. No. 4, to open research centres at different areas of the border areas for study of soil and type of crops suitable to the border soil which would find effective market also. I hope the Government will not fail to do this.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel it is quite necessary for the smooth and effective functioning of the District Councils that the Government should help the District Councils in all possible ways. The three District Councils never enjoy financial stability. There is no fresh avenue to tap the resources. On different occasions and at different times, the three District Councils brought to the notice of the State Government but no action has been taken by the previous Government to remove these difficulties of the District Councils financially. The major financial sources of the District Councils are the Councils share out of revenue collected by the State Government on taxes on vehicles and on minor and major minerals. But all these years the State Government did not take prompt action to credit the legitimate shares of the Council. Further more the State Government never supply the figures or data on which this Councils shares were worked out. I would like to urge the State Government to look into the matter carefully and I hope also that no repetition of the Mistake as was done by the previous Government since the time of the then Assam Government. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think it is high time fort the State Government to consider the questions of giving more powers and more functions to the District Councils under sub-para 2 of para 6 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India as amended up to date and I think the Government have to consider this point very carefully in order that the District Councils will be more effective bodies to serve the people in their respective districts. With these few words Mr. Speaker, Sir, I support the motion of thanks moved by Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh as I have said earlier and I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Now Mr. Manik Das.
Shri Manik Das :- While supporting the amendment moved by Mr. G.S. Marak I have some observations to make. With the deficit financing of Rs.1.50 crores in the Union budget and inflationary trends in prices, I feel that the situation in our State which is very much dependent on import of foodgrains from outside, is not too bright. I would like to draw the attention of the Government to one particular item of essential commodity like salt which is being sold in the local market at Re.1 per per kg. The inflation has already attacked the poor people of Meghalaya and the Government must step in immediately. I propose subsidising of some of the essential commodities like pulses and salt by Supply Department and distributing the same through the ration shops in all the districts of Meghalaya. I observe in para 4 of the Governors' Address which says; "The Government will strenuously endeavour to protect and preserve the distinct identity of the tribal people of Meghalaya and will pay special attention to their economic, social and cultural interests." While appreciating that the Government propose to take, I am surprised to note that no mention has been made towards improving the socio economic conditions of the Scheduled Castes, the Harijans and other backward classed like Rabhas, Koches and Kacharis who form a very stable population in the State. Here I would would propose to the Government that the Rabhas, Koches and Kacharis should be recognised as the Scheduled Tribes immediately as the matter is being pending with the Central Government.
Next observation that I have is regarding the boundary dispute with the State of Assam. While I appreciate the Government's keen interest to settle the boundary dispute and we are also fortunate to have Mr. M.N. Majaw as the Revenue Minister, who on many occasions while on this side of the House, had hammered and clamoured for the inclusion of Dispur in Meghalaya. Now, that Mr. Majaw is at the helm of affairs, can we hope to have the next Session of our Assembly in Dispur?
Prof. M.N. Majaw (Revenue, Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of information Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have not demanded Dispur, we have demanded the return of all areas belonging to Khasi and Jaintia Hills.
Shri Manich Ch Das :- Next point that I beg to touch upon is para 10, page 6 of the Governor's Address. The Block Development Agencies continue to remain as important centres of activity in the State and the Government should therefore take steps to re-orient their functioning so as to make them effective agencies for development in rural areas. I would like to propose that what has been seen in the blocks is that to many small schemes like roads and bridges are being taken up at the block level, which after a heavy shower are washed away thereby resulting in a colossal loss of public money. I would suggest to the Government that it should have bigger and fewer schemes, but whatever schemes are taken up, let these remain for a couple of years. In order to satisfy all the villages, there is a tendency to take up several smaller schemes. This is to be avoided. Bigger schemes should be taken up so that public money is well utilised.
Next I come to para 16. "With a view to providing healthy development of the youth of the State, greater attention will be paid towards the cultural activities and sports and the provision of playgrounds, stadia, etc, in keeping with the availability of financial resources." The welfare of the youth is also a very important factor and I would request the Government that the interest of the ought must be preserved and protected at all cost. I am surprised to see that till date our our State has not been able to fare well in any of the national competition. We have not been able to take part in the national competition in sports. This is really a matter of shame for us. We have the potential, we have well bodied youths and we have qualities of sportsmen. But this matter has not been given due consideration. If you will recollect that in the Junior National Championship for the Subrata Mukherjee Memorial Shield, in New Delhi a local School, St. Anthony's School has fared very well. This proves that we have good potential. We only require encouragement from the Government, their help and proper coaching. I would therefore, urge upon the Government to take up this matter seriously so that our youth will be able to compete at the national level and subsequently, at the international level to bring home the name and fame of our State.
Next, I will touch upon para 20 'The Government note that the efforts made so far for the economic upliftment of the people living in border areas of the State have not yielded the desired results. It shall be the earnest endeavour of the Government to ensure all possible measures to lead to an integrated development of the economy of the border people in the shortest possible time". Being a representative of the people from the border area I have certain observation to make here. The first priority for the border areas is to take up the improvement of the network of communication system. As many of you know, the condition of roads in the border areas of our State is in a most deplorable condition. A good network of roads is not only important for the people who are living in these areas, but from the nationals security point of view; it is equally important. I would suggest that various central agencies like the Border Road Organisation should be approached so that the communication link in the border areas is improved. Another factor which is causing alarm to the border people of the district of Garo Hills is the sporadic cases of cattle lifting and cases of thefts. In the border areas, this has been going on for many years. I feel unless the Government is determined to take up this matter with sincerity of purpose, the border people will suffer a great deal. We have seen that our borders have not been properly protected. The Border Security Force and the Para Military Forces which were deployed in the border areas are not adequate to meet the requirement. Many of us who have seen the border areas of Garo Hills must have noted that there are many vulnerable points through which the miscreants from across the border come and create havoc in our villages. Therefore, in addition to the border Security Force, I strongly feel that our State Home-guards, should be properly utilised. Our Home-guards are not prepared to take up the same job as the BSF because it it requires special training, and at the moment, they are not in a position to do so. However, we must allow detachments of the Homeguards to be attached to the Border Security Force in the border areas so that they get the practical experience in the border protection. I would like to emphasise here another important point i.e. that there is the immediate need to re-organise the Village Defence Party. I feel that training centres should be opened up at the district level and the youth from the villages should be imparted training in these training centres. Unless we have trained and disciplined Village Defence Party, it may not be possible for them to carry on the task for which they are being utilised. Moreover, it is also necessary to equip them suitably. The training is not good enough unless we are able to equip them adequately to meet all eventualities. I would earnestly request the Government co consider my suggestions which I have put forward on the floor of this august House and I hope that these suggestion will be given due consideration. Thank you.
Shri Alfrien Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I stand to associate in the discussion of the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address moved by Shri B.B. Lyngdoh. Now, Sir, before coming to the discussion of the Governor's Address I would like to reply to the speech of the hon. Member, Shri G.A. Marak, Sir, he referred to the formation of this New Government. He said that many days had been taken for the forming the Government and the selection of leadership was done by drawing lot therefore, the Government would not last long. It was true that we had taken many days in forming the coalition Government. Now I would like to refer to the construction of a house. A house which would be constructed in a day would not be able to last for many days. It would surely collapsed after a few days. But a house which would be constructed by taking more days, at the same time collecting many construction materials, I believe, would surely last longer. So I hope that our coalition Government will also last long since it is formed by party many days by three four Regional Parties. Now, we have a glaring example that the Congress Government, which was formed in a day in Mendipathar without consultation with people had utterly collapsed just after a few months. So, the shouting made by the hon. Member does not carry any meaning. Rather, I consider it a shouting in this wilderness. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to come to the discussion and I would like to say only a few words in this respect as many of the hon. Members have spoken many things about it. The Government have calked out many vital programmes like control of shifting cultivation or jhum, improvement of agricultural production, development of communication, extension of medical facilities to the people living in the interior areas and preservation of forests etc. So, out of all these important programmes, I would like to emphasize on jhum cultivation. To control of jhum cultivation is not an easy job. It is really a difficult matter and it can be done only by a low degree. Sir, many cottage and small scale industries can be set up in the rural areas and some large and medium scale industries are also feasible in the State of Meghalaya. Naturally, the State of Meghalaya can be developed industrially and not agriculturally, since almost all the places of the State are covered by bills. So I really appreciate that the Government coming forward with the determined policy to introduce some other alternative means to control jhum cultivation in the State of Meghalaya, specially in Garo Hills. The programme for implementation of small scale industries like sericulture and weaving and also the programmes for sheep breeding, piggery, poultry and cattle farming etc. are some of the alternative means for the control of jhum cultivation. We can start, I think, large scale industries also in Garo Hills. One paper mill can be started in Garo Hills as there are plenty of bamboos there. If these bamboos are sold to the paper mill our people can earn their livelihood. Thus it will solve the economic problem and also unemployment of the people of the areas.
Secondly, I would like to suggest the small irrigation embankments can be constructed on different small rivers where vast cultivation areas and paddy fields are covered so that the people of those areas can yield double crops in a year. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I congratulate the Government for implementing such other vital programmes in the State and I am sure that in future the Government can bring about the development of the State of Meghalaya. While welcoming such programme I would like to request the Government to materialise them early, so that we can see the development in our State. With these few words I resume my seat.
Shri Mozibar Rahman :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have heard the speeches of Shri B.B. Lyngdoh, the mover of the Motion of thanks to the Governor's Address and the amendment moved by Shri Grohon Singh Marak, and Shri Grohonsing Marak's was really a dramatic speech. I have enjoyed it more than dramas whatever parliamentary value or value of amendment therein. Before I enter into the Governor's Address, I would like to observe Shri Grohonsing Marak's speech. He said that I am a Garo by birth I am a Khasi by marriage and I am a citizen of Meghalaya. As the leader of a National Party, I wonder how he left shy to express that I am a citizen of India.
Shri Maham Singh :- He said I am a citizen of India and Meghalaya. These were his words.
Shri Mozibar Rahman :-This is my earlier interpretation. Mr. Speaker, Sir, another thing was spoken by him, the leadership has been decided by casting of lots. I think the Constitution of India was very much guided by the Father of the Nation-Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Congress and in the Constitution of India I think there is provision of lot. As Indians they have that spiritual value with all sections of the people in India, we believe in lot or luck. As Muslims we are very such adhered to it. If we deny we shall be caffir. I think after a long past of the Congress rule, Government has been made by lot. Rather they have followed the path of the Father of the Nation. Another point spoken by him was that the Ministers have not been appointed on regional counting. I think it is not very much wise for the leader of the Government to select his Cabinet member basing on regional question only. It may be of importance, it gets least importance. Rather the question of efficiency of administration should be looked into. Whether the leader of the ruling party or the Chief Minister has chosen his Cabinet Ministers, rightly or wrongly, this will be judged by their performance later on.
One more point was added by the hon. Member, Shri Joshi, in connection with inflation faced by the previous Government and this Government and the prices of salt and mustard oil have been so high. So, there is contradiction as the other member has said of minimising the inflation by the earlier Government and they are contradicting within their own party. One question is of Medical College. It is really important. The programme was not sanctioned during the earlier Government's programme. This Government should take interest to include the programme of Medical College in the programme and I will appreciate it. Whatever it is, I like to enter into the Address of the Governor. I have got a little capacity to contribute in such a matter. I am just with a learner's license, I may misdrive. So, I hope Mr. Speaker will excuse me, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Paragraph 4 of Page 2 indicates a broad policy of the Government programme. But things are not so much clear. In the last few lines of the paragraph it is said while making all efforts for improving socio-economic condition of the tribal population of the State and protecting all their rights, the Government shall endeavour to ensure fair and just treatment to all the section of the population and constituencies living in the State. This statement is very much broad based, no doubt. But it is not clear because it was clearly mentioned that improving the socio-economic condition of the tribal population is very much needed, for the State of Meghalaya has been created for that very purpose. But in the last para it is mentioned for all sections of the people, that is, for protecting their right, the Government shall endeavour to ensure fair and just treatment to all sections of the population. As it has been clearly mentioned about the tribal population, I think it could have been mentioned in the case of all sections of the people "non-tribal" and I think the meaning would have been the same which the Government wanted to say. In para 5, it has been stated that with a view to ensuring security and preventing the occurrence of crimes along the border, requisite number of Police Stations and outposts have been set up and patrolling has been arranged all along the border. This matter has already been done and so many police outposts have been set up. It is correct. What has been the output. The intention was to control crime. Whether crime has been controlled by setting up so many outpost. I think crime is rather on the increase. Why and how, is a big question and it is a question of long debate and a question of many information's which earlier Government might not have got. As regard the question of border Security Force; it is admitted that the services of B.S.F. have improved during the last few years because I also belong very near to the border of Bangladesh.
Another point Sir, on which I want to make mention is that election to the District Council which has been long ever due will be expedited. It is very much necessary, what about Khasi Hills District Council, I am not very much sure. But so far as the question of election to the Garo Hills District Council is concerned, I think the District Council has failed to satisfy the need and aspirations of the people and the people are very much anxious that elections which are already overdue are hold. It is also learnt that the Garo Hills District Council is almost without opposition and they have moved again for extension of their tenure. Some three members - Two Independents and one A.P.H.L.C. as a protest against the resolution, have walked out. I think walking out of these three members does not satisfy the wishes of the people. As the tenure of office is over, either there should be immediate election or the District Council should be dissolved and taken over by the Governor immediately. All the more, Sir, in the Governor's address, one most important indirect approach is there which I cannot but appreciate i.e. the indirect approach of the Governor to streamline the Administration of Meghalaya with the nation. I think it is very much necessary and the hon. Members of the House will always look into that. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Beninstand G. Momin.
Shri Beninstand G. Momin :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, having this privilege to participate in the Governor's Address, firstly, I am coming to the speech made by Mr. Grohonsing Marak, Mr. Speaker, Sir, he said that sericulture and weaving are nothing to Garo Hills. Today it has found that though he was a Minister for five years, but during his tenure he does not know that in the entire Garo Hills District no sericulture and weaving have been developed. This proves that he himself being a Minister does not know the value of development. Now coming to fishery-fishery is a very important avocation in Garo Hills and quite a number of rivers and ponds are available. I can give a glaring example to the House. Sir, my parents solely depend on fishery. But the ex-Minister until now has not realised the value of fisheries. This is rather shameful on the part of the ex-Minister. Mr. Grohonsing Marak also spoke of Ministers quota and portfolios. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I come from East Garo Hills and right from the beginning of election campaign, I do not say that we want Ministership for the development purposes and I never claimed that though I am the only A.P.H.L.C. candidate who was returned from East Garo Hills, that the party should or must give me ministership. But unlike Mr. Grohonsing Marak from the 'langba chora company' who claims....
Mr. Speaker :- What do you mean by that?
Shri Beninstand G. Momin :- Long and short, Sir. He claims that offices of Ministers should be equitably and equally shared by different communities. In fact, it is rather creating communal feeling among different communities like the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo communities. However, Mr. Speaker, Sir, my speech may be cryptic and suggestive to the Government.
Firstly, coming to the administration, we find in the Governor's Address at para 4, the Government are committed to provide a clean and efficient administration responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people. In this connection, may I suggest to the Government that our Ministers should establish public representation officers and this very office should be responsible to the representations coming from the public. This very office should pursue many matters and communicate back to the public about the actual position. I think the suggestion may help smooth running of the Government policies. Secondly, whenever any Minister received any public representation, it should not be ignored and if the Minister or the department concerned thinks that it is a very complicated matter, they should immediately ensure that actions are taken to meet the urgent need of the people.
Coming to the next item that is improvement of agricultural production referred to at para 11 of page 6, Mr. Speaker, Sir, if acceptable, I want to make a slight amendment. Here it says- agricultural credit is the primary need of the farmers. But Sir, practically no lands are available to the farmers or cultivators and that is why land must come first and agricultural credit should come second. In this connection may I suggest to the Government to make lands available to the farmers. The people of the State even demand deforestation of the State Reserved Forests for the purpose of cultivation. As a glaring example, the people of Nayapara near Dainadubi who do not have bread or any means of livelihood, are continuously demanding deforestation of the Reserved Forests right from the year 1972 but uptil now nothing is done. The former Congress Government did not take any initiative on their demand. I would, therefore, suggest to the Government that action should be taken as early as possible so that their means of livelihood may be upgraded.
Coming to the subject of communication, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to state that the communication plays a very important role in the economic development. Here I believe the P.W.D. contractors are also partly responsible for communication. May, I suggest to the Government, if acceptable, that tenders e.g. 25 per cent which are less than the quote tender rates should not be accepted. Plans and estimates are always prepared keeping in view the price of the materials in the market. As such 15 per cent below the tender offered by the contractors can be accepted.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, coming to the Dispensaries I would like to mention that in the villages we have seen that most of the dispensaries do not serve the purpose of the people. So if possible, I would suggest to the Government, all the existing dispensaries should be converted into hospitals so that better treatment can be rendered to the people.
Next, coming to the problem of unemployment, I would urge upon this coalition Government to eschew the policy of re-employing retired persons which results in stagnation of our young local employees. Of course, I do not say that re-employment should not be done where necessary. But where suitable candidates from the Departments are available, this policy of re-employment should be stopped. As for example, in some Departments, Mr. Speaker, Sir, some years back we have imported some officers from outside but now we have reached that stage when we can produce such officers in the Departments themselves. Therefore, I would suggest to the Government that those imported officers now may be sent back to their parent Departments and resultant vacancies may be filled up by the departmental officers.
Now I come to education. As we know, education lies or the background of education lies in primary education. But this primary education is not upto the standard in Garo Hills as compared to that of other parts of State. But it is very essential for our State. Secondly, in spite of the fact that the primary schools are very important for the promotion of education, but the L.P. school teacher never get their salaries in time. So may I suggest to the Government that the whole system of education be streamlined in such a way so that these teachers get their salaries in time. With these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Any other Member who would like to participate? Still we have got some more time.
( After a pause)
So if there is nobody to participate, I adjourn the House till 9.30 A.M. tomorrow, the 23rd March, 1978.
The 22nd March, 1978.
|Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.|