Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Assembled at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, the 23rd March, 1978 in the Assembly Chamber Shillong with the Hon. Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us start the business of the day by taking up item No. 1 of the Agenda but since there is no question let us come to item No. 2 and resume the debate on the Governor's Address. I request Mr. H.B. Dan to start the debate.
DEBATE ON GOVERNOR'S ADDRESS
Shri H.B. Dan :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address moved by Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to say a few words with regard to Blocks I and II of the Karbi Anglong District of Assam which only as recently as 1951 formed part and parcel of Jaintia Hills in the composite State of Assam. Mr. Speaker, on perusal of para 7 of the Governor's Address what is seen there is only a keen desire of the Government to expedite settlement of the problems without disclosing any appreciable and tangible approach made so far. It is not enough for the Government to appreciate the anxieties and difficulties of the people as mere desire does not hold water. The anxieties and difficulties of the people should not rest in the pigeon holds of the Government Departments but remedial measures should reach people. Pending settlement of boundaries, encroachment by Assam into the villages like Khanduli, Lapngap, Mukroh and other neighbouring villages should forthwith be stopped. Strong police Outposts should be stationed to help and protect the people from the high-handedness and atrocities committed by the Assam police Outpost stationed close to the border.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, coming to the difficulties of the agriculturist much has been said regarding land improvement, irrigation, etc. but no mention is made regarding timely supply of fertilisers which are necessary for the green revolution towards self-sufficiency of the agriculturists. Sad though it is to remember the failure of timely supply of fertilisers, bone meal, super phosphate, etc. last year it had almost brought the agriculturists to the verge of starvation. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I strongly urge that this vital aspect of timely and sufficient supply of fertilizers to the agriculturists should get priority over others.
Mr. I Speaker, Sir, coming to the medical facilities I urge upon the Government to further improve the Jowai Civil Hospital and make addition of more beds as, due to lack of all these medical facilities in the rural areas, quite a good number of patients come to the Jowai Hospital for treatment, but due to lack of facilities there also most of them have to return disappointed. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would cite an instance of Khliehriat, Nartiang and Barato Dispensaries which are now more than 20 years in existence but they remain as they were without any improvement commensurate with the expansion of the villages and increase in population. So, I would strongly urge upon the Government to improve the said dispensaries to cater to the medical needs of the villages. It is imperative that the said dispensaries should be made into 10-or-20- bedded hospitals.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to differ with the amendment motion made by Shri Grohonsing Marak in so far as this Government is concerned. I vehemently say with all confidences that this is the Government by the will of the people, whose identity remains in tact and not like the previous Government which was formed by defection against the will of the people.
(Voices - Hear ! Hear)
As for the conspicuous absence of the Government, I repeat, Sir, as for the conspicuous absence of the words "my Government in the Governor's Address, I beg to submit that it is right and proper and that it clearly shows that this is really the Government by the will of the people. ( A voice- Right) As for the convention of consulting the Opposition in the selection of the Chief Minister and the distribution of portfolios, it is really very surprising to note...
Shri Maham Singh :- Not the selection of the Chief Minister but the selection of the Speaker...
Shri H.B. Dan :- It is very surprising to note that Mr. Grohonsingh Marak's memory has sharpened only when he sits in the Opposition and not while he was in the Treasury (Laughter) Bench. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- May I now request Mr. Salseng Marak. You have 17 minutes.
Shri Salseng C. Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to participate in the debate on the Governor's Address and in support of the amendment motion moved by Mr. G.S. Marak, the hon. Member from Bajengdoba. This year, the people of Meghalaya have elected their representatives with a high hope and belief that their elected representatives would devote themselves to the task of building a progressive and prosperous State of ours. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, Sir, not a single party could get the absolute majority to form a stable Government in the State. However, this present Government had been formed with the coalition Government, I am afraid, Mr. Speaker, Sir, which had been formed under pressure and duress shall never be able to deliver the goods to the people because the leaders of the group will pay a lot of attention to unity of the Party rather than to the affairs of the State. They are all the time thinking how to remain in power as power is no doubt a cementing force. Mr. Speaker, Sir, nevertheless, we are here today to put our heads together to see how best we can serve the interest of the people. We are here sitting on this side in the Opposition, but I hope it is only for the time being. But we are not going to oppose any Government move which we consider good for the people and we would also lend our support and cooperation to anything constructive and good for the society. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I entirely agree with the mover of the amendment motion Mr. Grohon Singh Marak, the hon. Member from Bajengdoba when he said that the party of regional representation should be maintained in the Ministry in the interest of the State. But, unfortunately, the hon. Member from Mendipathar, Mr. Beninstand. Momin, misunderstood the statement. He said that he did not want any office of Minister and even went to the extent of saying that this statement may create communal feeling between the Khasis and the Garos. In fact, the hon. Member from Bajengdoba did not say that so and so should be inducted into the Ministry and such saying, I feel, would not create any communal feeling at all and no right thinking people would allow communalism. Mr. Speaker, Sir, unfortunately, there had been anti-non-tribal and even anti-Garo slogans in the recent past in Shillong while the leaders of the three groups were busy in the unity move. Such communal slogans should not be allowed and communalism should be nipped in the bud and communal harmony and friendly relations among the various sections of the society should be maintained in the State at any cost. But what I want to put a stress is that communalism should not be allowed and should be nipped in the bud. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have gone through the Address of the Governor and found that the policy statement on certain matters is vague and the approach of the Government on certain matters is negative. For instance, the policy statement on industries at para. 14, page 7, which states that the industries will be based on the consideration of the benefit to the people and best interest of the State. Sir, it should not be only the consideration of benefit but the objective of the policy should also be to encourage the growth of industry based on mineral and agro-forest resources available in the State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the policy should be directed to obtain the maximum benefit to the people in matters of employment, in matters of imparting training on technical know-how and in matters of earning livelihood and raising the standard of living of the people. The policy should also give more impetus to small and cottage industries. Sir, handloom industry is one of the most important rural industries. Sir, handloom industry is one of the most important rural industries which provides earning and employment opportunities for the rural families in the State, but unfortunately, though there is a separate department for this industry, it has never found place in the Governor's Address.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries) :- But this could have been done by the previous Government last time.
Shri Salseng C. Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I said, handloom and handicrafts should be given a rightful place and recognition in the industrial policy of the Government.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government's approach to the development of youth which has been mentioned at para, 16, page 8, is negative. The incentive for the development of the youth, the development of sports and provision of playgrounds, etc., is made subject to availability of financial resources. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the approach is negative here. The development of youth in matters of cultural activities and sports and other amenities of sports, is important but I am sorry to say that these are only provisionally made subject to availability of funds. The same is the case of Government's approach on employment as found at page 11 of the Address. It is also a negative approach only. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government should have come forward with definite positive and concrete programmes and policies. The Government should mobilise the resources to implement their programmes effectively; but this programme is a negative approach and will not serve the interest of the State.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is fortunate that our Plan outlay for 1978-79, though falling short of the requirement, is fixed at Rs.28.11 crores which shows an increase of 15 per cent over the annual plan for the current year. I hope this Government would make best efforts to utilise this amount for the development of the State on priority basis. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would not take much time of the House, but then I will come to page 3, para., 7 about the boundary question with the neighbouring State of Assam which this Government shows eagerness to settle the dispute expeditiously. Though no mention is made about the contiguous areas which are predominantly inhabited by the tribals in the districts of Goalpara and Kamrup of Assam in Meghalaya, Sir, I would have been very happy if mention is made about these areas in the Governor's Address. I hope that this Government, which is eager to settle the boundary disputes, will take up the question for inclusion of the contiguous areas which are inhabited by our kiths and kins in Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have nothing more to say on the Address of the Governor and with these few words I do support the amendment motion moved by the hon. Member from Bajengdoba. Thank you, Sir.
Shri Ledishon Nongsiang :- Mr. Speaker Sir, at the very outset, I would like to offer my special gratitude to the present Government through you Sir and I am very happy to have this opportunity to participate in the debate on the Governor's Address. I am sure that the people of the State are now happy to have this Government and their eyes an fixed up to this Government. While supporting the motion of thanks moved by hon. Member, Shri B. B. Lyngdoh, I would like to remind the House once again that the main objective of demanding the State of our own is to preserve the identity and protect the interests of the tribal people. Our leaders have propagated that this State should be a path of beauty and grace and a shining outpost in India. This statement had been made since the very beginning. Mr. Speaker, Sir, let us now turn to page 1 para 4 where it was stated that the present Government are committed to provide a clean and efficient administration. I agree cent per cent with the statement. No doubt the past regime had committed the same thing and even more, but there was no implementation of the commitment right from the top to the bottom. It was marked by various mal practices. I would like to recollect the arguments put forward by the norms and practices were suspended and crucified. I am sure that the norms and practices were really crucified during the past regime. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am confident enough that the present Government will surely revive the democratic ideals though it is too premature to predict yet the resurrection will take place once again. I do not agree Mr. Speaker, Sir, to what some member stated yesterday that the present Government may collapse any time, but in my opinion Mr. Speaker Sir, the combination of so many heads, the combination of so many ideas, the combination of so many bases I am sure that it is far better than a single party.
Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to point out to page 3 para 7 regarding the boundary with the State of Assam. It seems to me that the out going regime was only happy with the name and creation of the State but there was no proper demarcation line. So while they have accepted the State from the Central Government, they were so happy without knowing the proper demarcation of the boundary. Now the Government of Assam encroaching into our State upto Langpih in Meghalaya where you will find that sign-boards are written in Assamese language, and boundary pillars are put. This is a harassment to the people of those areas as the people are not allowed to carry even 5 kilograms of rice from Assam. I remember last year there was one peasant from Lyngngam and only because he bought 20 kilograms of rice from Hahim Bazar, he was arrested and was taken to jail for six months at Gauhati. This happened because there was no police outpost in the area to look after the people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, according to the electoral rolls in the last elections, we have included two polling stations namely Kumari and Kamphaduli but those all not included now in the State and the people of those areas were very much afraid as they were being threatened by the Government of Assam that all development schemes will be stopped completely. This is due to the negligence, I should say, of the past regime. But now I am confident that the present Government will look into the matter as early as possible. Sir, I would like to suggest that schools like primary schools and nursery schools should be established in those areas as early as possible, in order that it would be the foundation stone of the present Government and also I would urge upon the present Government to take necessary steps immediately for settlement of the boundary disputes with Assam otherwise the people of those areas will be very badly effected in the days to come.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, next I would like to point out also to para 13 at page 7 the last sentence of the Governor's Address in connection with the Meghalaya Transport Corporation. It is a great surprise on my part, being a newly elected Member , that the whole Corporation was described only in one sentence in the Address. It is stated: 'The Meghalaya Transport Corporation will be streamlined and improved." In my opinion Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Corporation was far from the goal of efficiency. The letter statement is correct Mr. Speaker, Sir, because of the fact that I have experienced many inconveniences in the past. It is sad to note that the State transport from Shillong to Sonapahar usually break on the way and we enquire why, the reply was that there is no spare tyre there is no spare part, no engineers and there is no proper servicing. I do not know why this happened in the past. The blame was shifted from one person to another. Mr. Speaker, Sir, now whom shall we blame? Shall we blame the past or shall we blame the present in advance? I know Mr. Speaker, Sir, that one State Transport bus a day earns rupees 300 which is a net profit. But there is no spare tyre no spare part, no engineers and there is no proper servicing. I think Mr. Speaker, Sir, you will agree with me that hundred and hundred of tyre are heaped up there in the Government workshop without rethreading. This makes the people in the border rural areas suffer while traveling. Not only that they suffer from traveling, but also it blocks their aims, programme and journeys specially from those jungles which are far away. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the last sentence in the Governor's Address here is correct, why? Because it needs proper examination, proper investigation. We have to revive all matter, to look to all aspect and we have to see that they are properly examined and thoroughly looked into otherwise it is really shameful for the present Government if we just copy what the past Government had done.
Next Mr. Speaker, Sir, let us see page 7, paragraph 14 which is in connection with industrial policies. Here it was mentioned only about the industries, and actually there are other mineral resources in Meghalaya such as silimanite. Mr. Speaker, Sir, silimanite at Sonapahar is one of the best qualities in the world. Rather I should say that it is one of the good deposits in the world. Now in that area covering more than 40 square kilometres only two companies are operating. One is the Hindustan Steel Company limited undertaken by the Government of India and another the Nongstoin Mining Co-operative Society. Seven leases were given by the previous Government to the Hindusthan Steel Company Limited and only two are being operated whereas the other 5 leases are kept unoperated. The expected production from these seven lease is one thousand tonnes per month. But now only 2 to 3 hundred tonnes per month were produced out of these two leases. So it was a great loss to the State by way of royalty at the minimum rate of Rs.35 per tonne and this amounts to Rs.24,500 per month. I would like to suggest therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that these remaining 5 leases which are not operated upon by the Hindusthan Steel Company Ltd. should be suspend or cancelled and given to other companies in order that the State Government will be able to compensate loss and recover the royalty. These are the rights of the Government to get. I would like to point out that there was an agreement between the Hindusthan Steel Company Ltd with the Government in the past for the appointment right from labour to official and first preference should be given to our local people. But I am sorry to inform the House that none amongst the tribals up-to-date is appointed neither as clerks nor officers in that office of the Company. We the tribal people, have only to work as labourers and get only six rupees per day and not more than that. Many advertisement were made by the Hindusthan Steel Company Ltd and many applications were submitted by the local tribal people and other tribals of the State but no appointments were given to them up till now. Therefore, I would suggest to the present Government, specially the Department concerned, to pursue the the matter for the benefit of our own people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to refer to page 7 of the Governor's Address at para 15 in connection with the medical facilities wherein it is stated: "The Government are alive to the necessity for extending medical facilities in the rural areas". Sir, I appreciate the policies of the present Government but I could not avoid without making a reference to the past. Almost all Sub-Health Centres are completely neglected and only names were there. No action had been taken in providing medical facilities in the past. In one village called Nongshyrkon in the West Khasi Hills District there was a house already constructed by the Government, but there is no nurse and no medicine kept. That house now become a dancing place of rats and a hiding place of the criminals. Therefore, I would like to suggest to the present Government to look into the matter accordingly and pursue the case at the earliest possible to keep the people in a proper way.
Again at Sonapahar Sub-Health Centre, there is no building, no almirah even to keep the medicine. Doctor hardly visit even thrice a year. No doubt there is one nurse there but I am sorry to tell that the nurse is expert only in the family planning. That is what has been done by the last Government. This will not help the people and I thank the Roman Catholic Mission which has been rendering medical facilities to the people. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to suggest that our present Government should take immediate steps and all nurses in the rural areas should be properly trained, not only in one line but in different lines in order that they will help the people in a proper way. Mr. Speaker, Sir, after pointing out all these defects and negligence by the last Government, I would like to request the present Government that it should not continue the same habits. It should not sow the same seeds in the same garden because it may become a chronic disease and that will affect the interests of the people but rather go against what we are promising to the people from the very beginning. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, with these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. B.K. Roy.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while supporting the amendment moved by Mr. G.A. Marak I would like to make a few observations. The Governor's Address in page 2 para 5 is as follows : "The Government are happy to observe that in keeping with the tradition of amity and goodwill among the various sections of the population of the State by and large, the overall law and order situation has been maintained satisfactorily. The 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". Now Sir; this is not the true state of affairs that has been prevailing in the State for some time past particularly in the town of Shillong and its suburbs. Right from the evening of 28th February, 1978 when the last result of the election was announced the city of Shillong witnessed something very much unprecedented. If I may say so, Wild mobism started at Keating Road from behind the State Central Library just where votes were counted and it spread to Police Bazar right up to Dreamland Cinema and all over town. A reign of terror and lawlessness was going on and people were reckless. Shop were closed down and a sense of panic and insecurity was prevailing all over the town. It was a scene for the devils to see that night. The same thing continued till the next morning when there were troubles in the corners of Barabazar and the shutters all over the commercial area of Barabazar and Police Bazar were downed. We had to run helter skelter to remove the panic in a concerted manner all over the town. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it was on the 10th of March the great day on which this Hon'ble Government took the oath of office, the same night one journalist, educationist and a nobility of the town, Prof. Kapila Chatterjee was assaulted mercilessly right outside his house by a gang of mob. The gentleman was left unconscious till it was reported to the police and D.I.G., Mr. Ayer, was kind enough to take immediate action and take him to hospital. One the 13th we went to meet the Chief Minister immediately after the oath was taken. The Chief Minister could not find time. He gave time the next day when it was found that he already left for Delhi. The matter went like wild five all over the town. The newspapers gave the news about this incident, one such was on 22nd March in the Assam Tribune, where it was also reported that security measures were tightened. In various areas many non-tribal people received anonymous letters asking them to leave Meghalaya. The Chief Minister, Shri D.D. Pugh, admitted these fact and made a statement on 10th March to news men that he condemned any kind of intimidation and violence which would only retard growth and development in the traditionally peaceful State. We are eager to known what action was taken and what will be taken in this respect to bring back the sense of security in the minds of the people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have got a full list of this sort of incidents beginning from one part of the town to the other, 44 cases were recorded with the Police, many more of them were not recorded as under Section 323 of the IPC no cognisance was taken by the Police on various grounds. The question of peace and harmony which is a prerequisite of running good administration has to be given priority in view of the magnitude of what has happened and is happening even today.
While even last evening, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are cases on record, it is very sad state of affairs to note that on the 19th of March, the Chief Minister made a statement to the press at Delhi saying that though there were certain incidents created by undesirable elements that took place in Shillong recently, the situation has calmed down, but unfortunately a different colour has been given to it. There was however, a complete normalcy in the town now. Well Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know what is that particular colour. If somebody is beaten on the street and left unconscious by the same particular type of people who were perhaps looting the shops and the same pattern goes on can the situation be said to normalised? Some college boys also were being assaulted by the same type of people. I have been threatened in my own house. If they would not find me in the house they could break the door, and do many damages to my house. What will be the fate when hundred and hundred of people are doing this. Yet the hon'ble Chief Minister has stated that the state of affairs is completely normal in the State. That is the reason why Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have to say that para 5 page 2 of the Governor's Address is not in consonance with the state of affairs prevailing in the State of Meghalaya at the moment. Mr. Speaker, Sir, actually, this state of affairs is the outcome of a irresponsible activities resorted to by some parties or individuals in the various parts of the district including various slogans of "shoh dkhar" and so on so forth. This has definitely brought about a communal feeling between one man and another, between one sect of people and the other. Well Sir, for the pleasure of the hon. Members of the House, I bring to your notice another beautiful message which was cyclostyled in thousand of copies and distributed just on the night previous to the election. "Meghalaya is a land of the tribal people. Outsiders, what right have you got or interest have you got to mingle in the political affairs of this land? Beware we warn you that you should not take part in the election as you have no right to do so, and we will not spare you all. This is our land and we got every right to defend this motherland from the exploitation of Bengalis".
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries) :- On a point of order Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether it is appropriate to read a paper which presumably as stated earlier, is a cyclostyled copy and an anonymous letter.
Mr. Speaker :- Has any one signed it?
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not charging anybody.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries) :- I am raising a point of order that the letter is anonymous.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- I am just placing the act as it is Mr. Speaker Sir, nobody signed it.
Mr. Speaker :- I have given my ruling that you cannot read an unsigned letter.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries) :- That was the convention in the Parliament not to read and bring a cyclostyled letter not signed by anybody.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- If from a jeep some one shouts.
Prof. M.N. Majaw (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- You have given your ruling that he cannot read an anonymous letter.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Interruption are good.
Shri. P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries) :- I am making another point of order for casting a reflection. I am just raising this point of order that it is not right and proper to read an anonymous paper.
Mr. Speaker :- Yes, yes, I have already given my ruling.
Shri Maham Singh :- May I be permitted to say that there is no rule preventing one from reading a cyclostyled paper which has been distributed even though it is anonymous. There is nothing in the rule.
Prof. M.N. Majaw (Minister, Parliamentary Affairs) :- Your ruling Mr. Speaker, Sir, cannot be challenged.
Mr. Speaker :- Because it casts an aspersion on the other side.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- With due respect Mr. Speaker, Sir, I find that there is nothing in the rules disallowing a member to read.
Shri H. Hadem (Minister, Power) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think you have got every authority to give your ruling on this particular subject.
Mr. Speaker :- That is alright Mr. Hadem, I have already given my ruling.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Yes, I agree there should be no discussion now on that subject since the ruling from the Chair has been given. It has come out from some type of people, some sort of elements who are bent on creating undesirable passion in the minds of different section of the people. What I mean to say is that anti-social elements have all along taken advantage of the situation. I very well know, Sir, the people of this beautiful State of ours; they are peace-loving, music-loving and they like to remain peaceful. But there are unduly element who always take advantage of such a situation, and so the incidents were happening in the town and have been going on for quite sometime. My suggestion in this regard is that an initiative for stopping this act of lawlessness and vindictiveness should have come from the Government itself, from the ruling Party.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you might be aware, in order to preserve law and order and to maintained peace in the State and apprehending a similar situation the then Chief Minister , Capt. Sangma, really a great leaders I called the leaders of all political parties to a conference where many of the hon. Members also were present. He apprised of the situation in the State prevailing at that time and impressed that without peace and harmony no development works or a fair and free election could be held in the State. In that way he was able to get the confidence of all sections of the people, in as much as peace should be maintained, and the result was excellent. We expect that the ruling Party should come forward with this initiative to invite the co-operation from all sections of the people from the State to maintain peace, tranquility, and to live together with a sense of security in the minds of the people. Imagine Mr. Speaker, Sir, the tragic assault on a college student on 17th March who was assaulted in Boyce Road and fortunate enough to have been saved by one Lady Professor of Shillong College. That boy had to take shelter in the bath room of the house of one gentlemen. Imagine a boy of seventeen years, a bright boy with a promising future losing all faith in human values for the rest of his life for for this ugly inhuman incident. He may be a non-tribal in Meghalaya, he may belong to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe as well but he has a right to live like a man, to contribute to a better generation in the days to come. This is the main question we are confronted with. My second point Mr. Speaker, Sir, is that the entire Governor's Address appears to me just as a proclamation for.......
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Minister, Power etc) :- For emergency?
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Very nice ! Yes, if you call it an emergency in the sense you mean, then it would be better to agree and I should say that it is a proclamation of emergency against a particular sect of people.
Shri M.N. Majaw (Minister, Law etc) :- And Sir, the Congress has apologized for it.
Shri Maham Singh :- And Sir, it has also been accepted by the A.P.H.L.C.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it had already been accepted by the Hon'ble Ministers. I know, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Meghalaya it predominantly an abode of tribals and this Government should be able to meet in the best way the aspirations of the people of this State who are predominantly tribals. And Sir, this is for the information of this House that I am proud to belong to the party which is committed to this principle of upliftment of the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Backward Communities and other weaker sections of the society. Sir, I am also proud to belong to a party which was the pioneer in framing the Constitution of India incorporating deliberate discrimination to the .......
Mr. Speaker :- Your time is over, Mr. B.K. Roy.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will take only two minutes to finish my speech. Sir, I am proud to belong to a party which has helped in giving birth to this State of Meghalaya.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh :- On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Mr. Roy is saying that he is proud to belong to a party, which party does he belong to?
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I belong to the Indian National Congress the great organisation which is there for the last 92 years and which has brought independence of the country from the foreign rule. I belong to this Party which has taught us the word 'patriotism, and 'nationalism' to all of us Sitting here.
Shri M.N. Majaw (Minister, Law) :- Which Congress? Reddy or Indira?
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is the Indian National Congress which represents all the people of India, and as an Indian I will always belong to this National Party.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Roy, your time is over.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, with your kind permission, I will take just one minute more because my second point has not yet been finished.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Roy, I have given you more than what you were supposed to get. You will get lots of scope later on. It is as good as you have completed your second point. So please sit down.
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Minister, Power, etc) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is a challenge to the authority.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Roy, you may continue later on as I have given you 23 minutes time.
Dr. B.K. Roy :- Sir, with this assurance that I may be given another chance, I take my seat.
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Minister, Power) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it depends on the subject.
Mr. Speaker :- May I call upon Mr. E.K. Mawlong now.
* Shri E.K. Mawlong :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while taking part in the discussion on the Governor's Address. I welcome the noble aims and objects of the new Government in tacking some of the vital issues in the interest of the people of the State specially those effecting the vulnerable sections who are the bulk of the State's population. Sir, I would not like to dwell much in detail, but I would like to make some observations on a few problems facing our State. The Government have stressed on the tribal character of our State and the indigenous inhabitants who are scheduled caste and scheduled tribe, so that they may not become the minority in their own State and this belief is occupying the minds of every hon. Member in this august House and this is also one, I can say, of the fresh mandates of our people who have elected us to this new Assembly. It is no doubt, for the Government, a gigantic task. But it cannot be an impossible task and we have every confidence and hope that the approach towards this end will b ea positive one and we also hope that through the proposed legislative measures and other measures, it is necessary in this regard and also at the same time with the co-operation and active participation of all sections of the people of the States. Sir, another important measure as mentioned in the Governor's Address is about the settlement of the boundary disputes with the neighbouring State of Assam and it has also been mentioned here in this Address that there have been incidents resulting in action. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring it to the information of the House that in the month of July, 1977 there had been one incident in the border area of Khasi Hills District that the Karbi-Anglong District of Assam and those areas happened also to be at present in my Constituency. Now on the 2nd of July, 1977 the Assam Police from the Karbi-Anglong District came to two villages of Jatalong and Sabuda and arrested three of our people. After the arrest our people were harassed and beaten up and were taken to Jail for about a week or more. We were busy trying to look for them and ultimately we found out that they were detained in the Nowgong Jail. With the help of the District Council authorities and other source we were able to bring them back. The people living in those villages, about 5 or 6 villages, which are in the border area, are facing lots of hardship and difficulties and they are constantly living in their homes with fear of being harassed or arrested by the people from Assam and only in the last few days I have also received one resolution from the Village Durbar of those villages. Whereby it says that the people of Assam have threatened our people staying in those villages. They say that the lands that used to be cultivated many years together might also be taken and given to those people who are recognising the Assam authorities. Now during this election, the villages of Umnat Umlaper, Subada and Jatalong in my constituency have been considered or taken to be part and parcel of the Khasi Hills District. But the Assam Government particularly the villages of Karbi-Anglong District are trying to claim those villages and they are also harassing our people at present. So, if we are not going to do anything from our end it seems that our people will not be able to stay in those villages and a time might come that these border people might be asked to vacate those lands. I am grateful to the Government last year that they have opened one Police Outpost at Mawlasnai village. But I am sorry to inform the House that mere placing of the Out-post in that particular place does not solve the problem of our people, because the Police authorities that are stationed in that Outpost did not or are not trying at all to help our people by patrolling in those villages where the Government of Assam and the people of Assam are trying to encroach. So I would earnestly urge upon the present Government that some action be taken in this respect and an order be issued to those Police authorities stationed in those Out-posts that they should atleast petrol and visit those villages so that they can help our people and free them for anxiety and fear so that they can live in peace in their own areas. We are happy also that the new Government will pursue an immediate settlement of Khanapara and those adjoining areas of Khasi Hills District which are now being encroached and claimed by the Government of Assam. This has put the Khasi people of that part of the border in great difficulty and harassment by the imposed authority of Assam. So, I do hope that this question of settling up of boundary dispute would immediately be taken up and finally solved, so that there will be peace in the border areas and that our people also will be able to live and work in peace without any interference from the other side of the boundary.
Sir, I am also glad to know that the Government is alive to the inflationary trend facing the economic development and I would like to add here that the rise in prices of essential commodities, such as pulses and other items needs immediate attention and should be streamlined with other controlled commodities through fair price shops, as one of the hon. members yesterday had just mentioned. This will definitely check the inflationary trend and bring down prices within reach of the border people and the common man. Mr. Speaker, Sir while appreciating the steps proposed by the Government for financial assistance to the border cultivators and farmers, I would like to point out that the biggest handicap of our farmers is due to want of timely and adequate supply of fertilizers. Now we have seen during the last months when our cultivators were busy for planting of seeds they were faced with a problem to get fertilizer in time and we have seen so many farmers and cultivators who came to Shillong and hundreds of them were found collecting fertilizers from shop keepers and whole sellers in Shillong. The Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills was busy looking after all those farmers and tried to distribute some fertilizers to the farmers ranging from one kg. to five kgs. It is really a great problem for our people from the villages to go to Shillong and stay there for five or six days or nearly a week for a few kilograms of fertilizers. Therefore, it is the duty of the Government to see that in future all farmers and cultivators are ( bell rang).
Mr. Speaker :- Two minutes more.
Shri E.K. Mawlong :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to mention about the needs of our people and the help they require in times of natural calamities that they are facing from time to time. I am happy that the Government in the Governor's Address has stated that the State Government will ensure drawing up of contingency plans for extension of timely and quick relief in times of natural calamities in various parts of the State and will ensure placing the necessary minimum funds in advance with the district authorities for the purpose. Last year there was a great incident in my area where hailstorm had destroyed completely the standing crops of our people and it is sad to bring to the notice of this House that these poor cultivators who are living from hand to mouth are not in a position to stand again in this coming planting season. Therefore, I would request the Government, over and above the schemes which are earmarked for about Rs.5 lakhs and odd, to help them and rendering free seeds during the coming planting season (bell rang).
Mr. Speaker :- Just one minute more.
Shri E.K. Mawlong :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would request the Government to be kind enough to consider our people especially the villages who have suffered the most by giving half rate ration rice from those controlled shops which have been opened in some of the villages in my area. These are the only points I would like to bring to the notice of the Government as the time is already up. I would once again urge upon the Government to see to the grievances of our people especially the farmers so that they will not placed in difficulties during this season and that necessary help would be rendered to them in time. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Bhaskar Choudhury.
Shri Bhaskar Choudhury :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while taking part in the debate on the Governor's Address delivered on the 20th March, 1978 in this august House, I support the amendment moved by the hon. member Shri Grohonsing A. Marak to the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address. At the outset Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to mention that the Governor's Address delivered in this august House reflects the policies to be implemented by the new Government which are conditional. Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me now draw the attention of the House to para 4 of page 1 of the Governor's Address wherein it is stated that 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 interest. In this context, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to say that the tribal identity has never been disputed by anyone but I am very sorry to note that in the said Address of the Governor delivered in this august House, the Address is silent about preserving the identity of other communities who are the minorities living in the State since generations and who are committed to the development of the State of Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to urge upon the Government to make it clear before the people how and in what way the identities are to be preserved. Sir, in the same paragraph, it is mentioned 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. In this context Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to say that several legislations and executive measures are in force to maintain the basic population structure and prevent exploitation, rather various measures have been and are being practised by the Government with constitutional support to encourage the development of tribal communities than the others. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to say that these measures are obviously at the cost and sacrifice of such other communities living in the State. Sir, in the same para, it is noted that while making all efforts for improving the socio-economic condition of the tribal population of the State and protecting their rights, the Government shall endeavour to ensure fair and just treatment to all sections of the population and communities in the State Mr. Speaker, Sir it sounds very nice but we know what fair and just treatment to all sections of population and communities, I mean the minority communities living in the State, is in practice. For example, I would like to bring before the House the difficulties and harassment faced by the minorities of the State, such as the permanent residential certificate which is required for all purposes. The minority communities are to obtain this permanent certificate from the authorities concerned for producing it before getting admissions in educational institutions or for getting their names enrolled in the employment exchange and so on and so forth. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to urge upon the Government to do away with such practices which are prevailing now to enable the minorities living in the State to avoid the difficulties and harassment. Mr. Speaker, Sir, now let me bring before the House another important matter which is about the just and fair treatment to the minority communities as laid down in para 5. I would like to bring before the House about the non-inclusion of name of bonafide Indian citizens who are permanent residents of Meghalaya in the electoral roll. In this respect Mr. Speaker, Sir, the names of such non -tribal Meghalayans belonging to minority communities in the State have been excluded from the last Assembly electoral roll which was used in the general elections. Mr. Speaker, Sir, for example, let me bring before the House the case of my own constituency, i.e. 22 Laban Assembly Constituency. Whereas in Lok Sabha electoral rolls, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the total number of electorates were 7503, in the last Assembly electoral rolls the total number of electorates came down to 6486. It clearly shows that there is a decrease of 1017 electorates. If we calculate in terms of percentage it comes to minus 13.56 percent i.e., considerable decrease. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the last Lok Sabha election took place in the month of March, 1977 and the electoral roll for the last general election was published in the month of August, 1977. Mr. Speaker, Sir, is it believable that within a gap of 4 months there could be a decrease of more than 1000 people? It clearly shows omission in the electoral roll was malafide. Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I say that such omission deprived bonafide Indians and permanent residents of Meghalaya of their right to exercise franchise in the last Assembly election. Therefore, in this context I would like to urge the Government to take such measures so that such exclusion of the bonafide Indian citizens and permanent residents of Meghalaya does not take place while preparing the electoral rolls in the future.
( A Voice - Which Government? it is the Congress Government.)
Mr. Speaker :- Sir, as has been pointed out that it was done by the previous Government, I would like to say that the previous Government provided simply the officers who functioned as representatives of the Election Commission of India. Therefore, this does not put any responsibility on the previous Government. Mr. Speaker, Sir, they acted as representatives of the Election Commission of India and as such the State Government has got no responsibility in this respect.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, now I would like to draw the attention of the House to paras 4 and 5 of the Address wherein the Government has committed 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......".......Then again in para 5 of page 2 it has been stated-" the Government are determined to preserve harmonious relations among all sections of people and communities living in the State and will take steps necessary in that direction". But Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this context I am very sorry to mention here there had been intimidation looting of shops and assaults on people by the anti-social elements in the town of Shillong just after the election result, are out. The guardians of law and order miserably failed to control situation and it seems that they also failed to bring the culprits to book. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to urge upon the Government that effective measures should be taken to maintain law and order situation in the State and to keep peaceful and harmonious relations among the people in the State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me come to para 6 of page 3 wherein it has been stated that- "the Government are committed to the basic population structure of the State and to prevent economic exploitation of the tribal communities living in the State. With this objective in view the Government will take necessary measure to regulate any large-scale influx from outside the State and would initiate legislative and other measure which may be deemed necessary in this regard 's. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to urge upon the Government to clarify and state before the people what basic population structure the Government would like to maintain? Mr. Speaker Sir, while we are definitely against any influx of foreigner in the State but it is not clear what is meant by necessary regulation on large-scale influx from outside the State? In this context, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to point out that inter State movement of population is a Central subject and any interference with the Central subject would be unconstitutional. Mr. Speaker, Sir, am I wrong if I say that this shows the intention of the Government to discourage the Central Government to set up their institutions in this State such as various headquarters of Central Departments meant for North-Eastern region; since those offices would bring bulk of outside population? Are they not encouraging shifting of Central Offices resulting in decrease of bulk of population from here? Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the intention of the Government is such I do not know what would be the economic fate of the State? Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the intention of the Government to send back those deputationists from Assam who were working so long under the Government of Meghalaya without deputation benefit.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this State of Meghalaya is regarded as the most peaceful and peace loving State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this connection I would like to draw the attention of the House to the statement given by our Chief Minister of the new Government before the press in New Delhi. He stated that the aspiration of the minority non-tribal that their right and privileges would be protected. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to urge upon the Government to clearly state before the people as to what measures they will take for protection of interests of the non-tribals who are living here for generations?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to draw the attention of the House to page 8, para 16 wherein it has been stated -"With a view to provide healthy development of the youth of the State, greater attention will be paid towards the cultural activities and the provision of playgrounds, stadia, etc., in keeping with the availability of financial resources".
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring before the House: Will the Government clearly state what actions they are going to take for providing play-grounds to the youths for developing their physical education? Mr. Speaker, Sir, are the Government aware of the fact that several memorandums have been submitted for providing the Garrison Ground, which is under the control of the Defence Department, for the public? Mr. Speaker, Sir, I urge upon the Government, the present Government, to move the authorities concerned to provide the Garrison Ground for the public and free it from the hand of the Defence Department. With these few words, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I conclude my speech. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Albin Lamare.
Shri Albin Lamare :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is the first item for me to take part in the discussion on the Governor's Address and I may take time to recollect myself. Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the very outset, I heard that in the course of the discussion there is a pious wish from the side of the hon. Members in the Opposition that this Government would not last long. There is a pious wish - a keen desire on their part - that the newly formed Government would be short-lived because it is a coalition Government. On my part, I would like to say that this coalition Government is one of the types of Government which I like. I like it because, I hope, that it would it do better in discharging the duties and responsibilities towards the people and the State. I like it because I have experienced that the one Party Government in the past in Meghalaya was tyrannical and if allowed to continue further they may even venture to enter the bed-rooms of the people. It has been stated by one hon. Member that this Address of the Governor is vague. I would like to say that I welcome this Address because it is concise and clear in spite of the young age of the present Government. There is also one instance as pointed out by one hon. Member on the sense of insecurity prevailing in the State and especially in Shillong. I would like to say that it is wise on our part as responsible representatives not to devote to stray instances of insecurity. There is also one instance pointed out by one hon. Member about the omission of names in the Electoral Rolls. This does not appear in one constituency alone; it appears in many constituencies, in my constituency also. This is not to be taken as an exception.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, coming to the Governor's Address, I would like to say that I welcome the policies enunciated in this text. Firstly, I welcome the policy enunciated by the Government for making this provision for a clean and efficient administration. I hope that this is a sincere desire, a sincere wish on the parts of the Government to do away with the previous lapses, loopholes and pitfalls of the past Government. I would like to elaborate some points on what happened in the past as regards the administration. The administration in some Departments is such that there is one man, a lone man, having or holding two posts. This lone man makes the proposal to a senior officer and the same man, while going to the next table, makes an approval of the scheme or suggestion made by his junior officer. He is the same man. This happen even today and I would like that this present Government should do away with such practices in the administration.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to come to the portion regarding the influx of outsiders into our State. This is a matter of common occurrence. The outsiders have to find a place under the sun. They have to seek their fortune in our hills and valleys but it our duty and also the special duty of the Government to create the fortune for our people living in the State. I repeat, it is our duty to create the fortune for our people.
Then coming to the other part of this text, i.e., the demarcation of boundaries between Assam and Meghalaya, I would say that this has been spoken by many hon. Members and so I would like only to make a few observations. When I was a School boy, I used to draw one map of Jaintia Hills - a bigger map. But today the School children, my children especially, are drawing another map. A question is put to me by my children: Why is your map different from out map? I have to tell them a sad story and the story is this - that an area of about 500 sq. miles had been tagged to Assam. I told them a sad story that once upon a time we had been free. I am happy that the present Government is alive to the task ahead and I uphold the wish that the Government will succeed in bringing back those areas now lying within Mikir Hills District of Assam. The people of Labang and Nongphyllut areas are still fighting and they still want that they would have a share with the people of Meghalaya.
Next, I would like to come to para 9 at page 5 of the Governor's Address where there is mention about the efforts to be made by the Government for the development of the rural areas. In this connection, I would like to make some observation that the people in the rural areas during the last two years have been ignored. I have seen that there is a lot of difference in the treatment of the rural people compared with the town people. The basic amenities of life given to the rural people, specially in Jaintia Hills, are negligible and through this House I would like to suggest that in the rural areas we need Schools, we need drinking water, we need weaving centres, we need roads and bridges specially bridges to help the farmers to cross the rivers to bring the commodities from the fields to their homes.
Then, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to make some observation on the working of one particular department, namely the Soil Conservation Department. In my opinion the working of this Department has to be reviewed. Here at page 8 of this Address it runs like this- "The Soil Conservation Department will continue its schemes relating to the control of jhum and grouping of villages with necessary modifications as also its programmes for reclamation of land. This Department I have seen with my own eyes does not do its work. So I would like to call it a Soil Erosion Department instead. It is not a Soil Conservation Department. I would request the Government to revise the policy with regard to the working of this Department.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to come to primary education which appeared at para 21 of page 10. Here there is a mention about primary education. Sir, at present, primary education is run and controlled by the District Councils and I am not so satisfied regarding the administration of these primary Schools at present because the responsibility is divorced from authority. I would like to make a suggestion that Government should revise their policy on primary education. Now with these few words, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I support the motion of thank moved by Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh. Thank you, Sir.
Shri Bhadoswar Koch :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in a democratic State and democratic form of Governments, the administration is subject to, criticisms and as far as my knowledge goes, without criticisms, no type of Government can be good for the people and be corrected. Yesterday, our friends from this side have criticised the newly-formed Government. The main purpose of the criticism is to correct the wrong policy of the Government as well as the respective parties. Whatever it might be I want to point out some features in the Address made by the Government. Sir, at para 11 page 6, the Governor says that one of the biggest handicaps in improving agricultural production in our State has been the non-availability of agricultural credit of short-tem, medium-term and long-term purposes. Now Sir, agriculture is one of the most important factory for upliftment and betterment of the people of the State as well as the country as a whole. I would particularly like to say something on this point in Meghalaya. The Garo Hills District is the only district where agricultural production can we taken up on a large scale. The soil of Garo Hills, particularly in the plan area, is very fertile and suitable for agricultural production. It can produce commodities like paddy, jute, mustard seeds and sugarcane. But it is very regrettable that due to lack of supply (At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy, Chairman, took the Chair, of credit in-as-much as the cultivators cannot produce paddy required for Meghalaya. Sir, I would like to say that the State of Meghalaya itself has vast potentials for development.
So far my knowledge goes Mr. Chairman, Sir, if irrigation system is arranged by means of deep tube well, tube well bunds and dams in these areas where food grains are cultivated, we will get sufficient supply of water and we will be able to get good produce. I know that the previous Government had undertaken so many programme for the development of agriculture but they could not come out successful. So it is my earnest request to the newly formed Government to take necessary steps to improve irrigation facilities in these area where agricultural crops are cultivated.
Next, I come to paragraph 15 of page 7 in the Governor's Address. Here the Governor says : "The programme in this sector will include better utilisation of existing institutions and efforts for posting of staff and making available necessary equipments and medicines in the existing medical centres as also the setting up of more primary health centres and dispensaries so as to make available improved medical facilities in the interior areas of the State." In this para it is found that Government are alive to extending medical facilities in the interior areas also. But Sir, most of the Dispensaries and Primary Health Centres located in Garo Hills are laying as a godown without doctors and medicines. So it is my earnest request to this House as well as to the newly formed Government to take necessary steps for posting of doctors and to equip them with sufficient medicines in these Dispensaries and Primary Health Centres. One more point I would like to bring is about two Health Centres located at Betasing Zikzak where the building were already completed a long time back, yet no doctors were posted and no medicines were supplied. Therefore, it is also my earnest request to the Department of Health to take necessary steps to post doctors and supply medicines now to these Primary Health Centres.
Then I would like to point out to para 21 of the Governor's Address page 9 wherein it is stated: "Necessary assistance will be extended to the District Councils to enable them to discharge their functions in the sphere of primary education and developmental sector." Regarding this point, I would like to say that the economic condition of the primary school teachers particularly in Garo Hills is a very deplorable one, I have observed and found that sometimes the teachers of these schools do not receive their salaries for three to four months together. You know how they are suffering and how they could maintain their families. It is not possible for them to run the schools in a proper way. That is the reason why the young students of these Schools in Garo Hills could not do well in their examinations. For instance, I would like with your permission to cite an instance before the House that in my own area one L.P. School teacher who has to maintain 10 members of this family but he did not receive his salary for three months. Sir, he has got no land even to do some cultivation and no other sources of income to maintain his family and he could not, therefore, provide food to his family. He was compelled to go without food for three to four days and so one one night he entered one house for food but he was caught red handed but what to do. Then the owner of the House gave him four or five kilogram of rice which may last only for a few days. So Sir, if the District Councils fall to run these schools, let them......
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Koch the Government is incharge of Middle Schools and above. The Primary Schools are run by the District Councils. If you are criticising the District Councils I do not think this is a correct forum. If your charge is that the Government has not yet paid the amount to the District Councils you can say so, but if you bring criticism in this form I do not think this is a correct forum to do so.
Shri B. Koch :- It is my request that the State Government should take over these Primary Schools also.
Mr. Chairman :- Your contention is that the Primary Schools be taken over by the Government?
Shri Bhadreswar Koch :- Yes Mr. Chairman, Sir. One more point I want to say and that is at para 17 page 8. It reads "The programme in this sector will include" I am sorry I have already touched this para. One more point is that I am surprised to see that nowhere in the Governor's Address there is mention of exploitation of natural resources. There are deposits of limestone's and so it is my request to this newly formed Government to take necessary measures to improve the economic development of the State. With these few words I conclude my speech. Thank you Sir.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. Lambourne Kharlukhi.
Shri Lambourne Kharlukhi :- Mr. Chairman Sir, I stand here in favour of the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address as moved by Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh on the 20th March, 1978 in this august House. As such I would like to make some observations and suggestions as I can find out from the Address and also some remarks on what our hon. members from the other side have made in the support of their amendment to the motion of thanks. At the beginning I would like to point out that Meghalaya is essentially a tribal State predominantly inhabited by the tribal people, that is to say, the Garo, the Khasi and the Jaintia people. At the same time there are other communities also living together with us in the State who enjoy the same rights and privileges as the citizens of India. Judging from the spirit of the Address it is seen that there is a sort of discrimination exclusively in favour of tribal people living in the State. But as we draw from the spirit of the Constitution itself, if there is any discrimination, that is reasonable. Further, our's is a backward State compared especially with other States of India. We are economically backward, educationally backward industrially backward and so to keep pace with the other States of India it requires that our State also needs to make a speedy development in all spheres of life and so it is a great need that we have to depend much on the Central assistance and other States. Now before I come to the points which I want to suggest and to observe at this time, I would like first of all to remark something on the charge of the members from the other side the policies and programmes of our Government. We have been charged against as if we initiate of as what has been said by the hon' member, Shri B.K. Roy, that there has been a plan and there has been an intention on the part of the tribals that some sort of misunderstanding has been created with a view to cause embarrassment to non-tribal people living in the State. But actually. I find there is no justification or ground for such charges. It has been charged that a State of lawlessness has taken place in some areas in Shillong and in the suburbs especially since the 28th of last month. This sort of thing might have happened but that cannot be attributed to the tribals alone that they have started these things to embarrass or to annoy the non-tribal fellows living in the city. Just only yesterday there came to me two reports from two tribal people who told me that they were being attacked by non-tribal people themselves. One took place somewhere in Umsohsun and the other took place somewhere in Police Bazar itself and it was also reported that in Umshyrpi side one friend of mine was attacked by non-tribal. So how can we say that the tribal people alone have done these things to embarrass or to annoy anyone. It only indicates that these was need that this sort of lawlessness should be looked into by our Government.
There is no justification that this was done to the embarrassment of other communities or to the non-tribal living in this State. It happened and it used to happen and so we should be grateful and thankful tot he Government that it has promised in its commitment through the Governor's Address as mentioned in para 5 of the Address that Government are determined to bring about harmonious relations amongst all sections of the people and communities living in this State and that it will take necessary steps in that direction. If there has been a sort of lawlessness in the State or any other such things which disturbed the peace, tranquility to the people living in these areas, and it is the duty of the Government as has been assured in the Governor's Address. Further, I would like to point out that there had been some panic in the minds of the people which can not be substantiated or proved. I found it by myself on the evening of the 28th of February when I was in Barabazar. I was standing in front of the shop of a non-tribal fellow intending to buy some sweaters for my children. At that time, one fellow, I think a Bengali, came running from the other part. Immediately, some other people also came out from the shop and ran away to the other part of the bazar. When I asked what was the matter nobody could tell me. had there been some thieves in that place at that time, they could have taken away all clothes. When I went about to other areas of the bazar I enquired from each and everybody what has happened. Yet nobody could tell me. Everything was in the air. So these sort of things were not to be founded, they will help onto to create a bad atmosphere, there was nothing to be trace out form any source. As I have said, it is the duty of the Government to see that his sort of things should be wiped out and should not be there so that the people may live in peace and tranquility. Sir, it is not a question of this side or that side to be blamed or should be charged. It is the duty, especially our duty, to cooperate with the Government for preserving the harmonious life and peace in our State. Now, as pointed out by the hon. Member from Laban who remarked something about the question of their being the minority in the State. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I fail to understand about it. It seem as if a new definition of this term with reference to this State should be formulated I wonder how this Opposition Member would term himself or themselves as members of the minorities. Coming from a great country's race of not less than 600 millions in India form West Bengal, Tripura, Manipur and Assam and not to speak of Bangladesh, I fail to understand how, when they speak about enjoying the right and privileges here in this State, they would base their their claim upon an Indian context. Because they are Indians, they are supposed to enjoy the right and privileges as Indians. When they speak about something they want to get as citizen of this State, they would do that in the Meghalay's context.
Shri Bhaskar Choudhury :- On a point of order Mr. Chairman, Sir, as said by the hon. Member from Mylliem that I have spoken about representing the minority community, I rise to raise a point of order that I spoke about minorities of the State and not saying about myself that I represented them.
Mr. Chairman : It is not a point of order, I rule it out. This is an explanation and a reply to that. Go on Mr. Kharlukhi.
Shri Lamborne Kharlukhi : This is what we have to say and to see rather in the Indian context, and that we do not think that the Bengalis here are minority. This is my point but as far as we the Khasis, Jaintias are concerned we are here the minorities. This is rather the question that we should be very careful because we do not have another population outside this State. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the most impressive commitment that our Governor had given in his address is for the provision to provide a clean and efficient administration as we can find in para 4 of the address. It has been committed by the Government to provide a clean and efficient administration. Yet inspite of this commitment there would come some challenges to this commitment in this form or other. This challenge may come to make it contrary to what the Government has promised for the formation of a clean and efficient administration. Now, the enemies of this clean and efficient administration may be said to be when there are partialities, corrupt practices, nepotism and other things like that and it would be a challenge to our Government who have made commitments to the people. Now here in this connection I would like to say that our Government should look into the matter with regard to the administration of the State, such as the matter regarding appointment etc. Sir, we have seen that most of our youths in our State are very must frustrated and disappointed with regard to this appointment. I would like to bring out the complaints made to me by some youths about the functioning of the employment exchange. Sir, the function of the employment exchange is very unsatisfactory. Some of our young job seekers, who registered their names in the employment exchange, have to wait for one or two years without having even a single chance of receiving any letter for interview form the employment exchange while there are some job seeker who have registered their names in the employment exchange only a week or a month back and who have got the interview letter from the employment exchanges. So, Sir, this matter has to be looked into by this new Government so as to give change or to satisfy the needs and requirements of our youths in this regard.
Sir, now I will come to another point i.e. about the distribution system of the fertilizers to the farmers. Sir, we have heard many complaints made by the farmers and cultivators that the distribution of fertilizers to the cultivators was not enough specially at the time when the fertilizers was mostly required. Sir, this also creates dissatisfaction amongst the cultivators and if we are to make this new Government efficient then we will have to look upon these matters very carefully.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Kharlukhi your time is up.
Shri L. Kharlukhi :- Sir, is my time over?
Mr. Speaker :- Yes, your time is up but I can give you one minute.
Shri L. Kharlukhi :- Thank you Sir. Sir, with regard to my point number two, which we can find in this Paragraph 4 of the Governor's address, this is really a very important policy that has been laid-down by our Government. We have seen that this influx was so much in this State of ours and it has been mentioned that as per Paragraph 6 in the Governor's address, more than 4000 or nearly 5000 infiltrators were detected to have entered into our State. But here I would like to say that there may be some also when the Government could not detect. As we know Sir, that number of goods and articles are coming in here from a cross the border about which the Government is quite unaware. So also is the case with the people coming into our State from across the border areas and about whom we do not know as yet. Sir, this is a very serious matter specially in a State like ours where the original population is very small.
Mr. Speaker :- Your time is over, Mr. Kharlukhi. I have to give chance to other hon. Members also. You may get a chance if time permits. Now I request Mr. G. Marak.
Shri Girash Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I, really congratulate the Governor for the Address and support the motion of thanks moved by the hon. Mover, Shri B.B. Lyngdoh. Sir, before I start my discussion I would like to make some observations on the amendment motion moved by Mr. G.A. Marak. In his statement regarding distribution of portfolios, he remarked that only unimportant portfolios were distributed to the Garo Ministers. He also remarked that it was a great injustice. But, Sir, I cannot understand what portfolios he consider to be very important portfolios. According to him, it seems, that only P.W.D. and Forests Department from which back-door money or black money can be extracted, are the very important portfolios. In this connection I would like to say that the distribution of portfolios to the Garo Minister has been correctly done because fishery in Garo Hills can flourish because the climatic condition there in Garo Hills is more suitable than in Khasi Hills. And I can also say that fishery can be well developed only in Garo Hills. So, I think that the Government have rightly allotted the portfolio to the Minister, Shri B.W. Momin.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, next I really appreciate the Governor's Address at paragraph 15 because there is much scope for getting medical facilities by the people living in the rural areas. Under the previous Government, as we have experienced, the hospitals and dispensaries were constructed in the rural areas fro some sort of decorations only. I can site a very glaring example. In my constituency at Selsella, there are doctors and nurses but of medicines and no equipments. And in Rongchugiri dispensary there are medicines and equipments and other materials, but no doctor and nurses. I do not know why the previous Government completely neglected the medical facilities in the rural areas. As we know during the time of the previous Government medicines were not available in the hospitals at Tura. If we go to the hospitals to get examined, doctors prescribed a long list of medicines stores to purchase. I cannot understand how these medicines are available in the local stores and not available in the Government hospitals. Therefore, I am very happy and confident that the present Government will take stock of all these things and will look into the matter.
Next I very much appreciate the Government policy which has been mentioned in the Governor's Address at page 9 of paragraph 21. It says "Government attach utmost importance to the functioning of the District Councils as they are representative organisations in accordance with the genius and tradition of the people of the State. The Government will also ensure coordinated functioning of other traditional and customary local institutions of the State. The elections to the District Council which have been overdue will be expedited and held as soon as possible. Necessary assistance will be extended to the District Council to enable them to discharge their functions in the sphere of primary education and development sector'. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I really appreciate the Government's objective that the District Council election in Garo Hills are not satisfactory. As we have known the maintenance of Primary schools in Garo Hills District is not proper. As Mr. Koch has already stated in his statement that teachers of Primary schools are not getting salary for 5 or 7 months. This is due to the mismanagement of the District Council, and the teachers are not getting their salary as well as their arrears. Last time when I went to Rongrenggiri I met some of the teachers and they narrated their long story. Government has already sanctioned their arrears. I do not know that money has been misused for some other purposes. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the election to the District Council in Garo Hills is absolutely necessary. We need a fresh mandate of the people for the District Council of Garo Hill.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I also appreciate the Governor's Address at page 6 of paragraph 12. 'The rise in prices of essential commodities affects the vulnerable sections of the society and leads to worsening of their economic position'. In this connection, prices of essential commodities are rising day by day and in our area just near my area some election workers made some slogans. I think it is correct. The made such slogan (Congress Government moha paji, karisimba kapsa kg ).
Mr. Speaker :- What does it mean.
Shri Girash Marak :- The Congress Government is wicked. The price salt is sold at Rupee one per kilogram. So, I would like to suggest to this Government that as far as practicable it should try to reduce the prices of essential commodities. With these few words, I support the Motion of thanks moved by Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh.
Mr. Speaker :- Shri Snomick Kalwing may speak now.
Shri Snomick Kalwing :- Mr. Speaker, Sir. While I rise to take part in the debate on the Governor Address, I would like to support the amendment motion moved by Shri Marak. Now, in our great Indian Union we adopt the party system of Government. So here in State of our also this system has been adopted since the birth of our State. Bur this time what happened . That strange type of Government cropped up in this State. Mr. Speaker, Sir, before the general election there were different political parties that contested in this election with separate and different manifestoes. Now, after the election no single party got the absolutely majority to form the Government. But some of the parties united together and form a so-called Coalition Government in spite of the fact that before the election there were no such agreements. There was such an opinion that these parties ties will unite together and form Government after the election if any single party cannot get an absolutely majority in the House. But this was done only by the leaders who are the elected representatives of this House with respective purpose and having no mandate from the public whom they represent. I feel, therefore, in the first instance, that this Government that cropped in today, what we call the Coalition Government, as the mover of the amendment motion has, termed it, has got no right to function as there is no mandate from the people.
Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will come to the Governor's Address, Paragraph 4. Most of our friends either in the Treasury or opposition Bench mentioned about this paragraph and I would like to make some comments on this. In this paragraph we see the clear policy of this newly installed Government that 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 interest. Furthermore, in the last part of the same paragraph, you will se that while making all efforts for improving socio-economic condition of the tribal population of the State and protecting their rights, the Government shall endeavour to ensure fair and just treatment to all sections of the population and communities living in the State. This is quite contradictory to what they say in the same Paragraph, in the same and last line. In paragraph 5 also, you will see that the 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. Whereas the clear objective of the Government is to pay attention and to preserve the distinct identity of the tribal people without mentioning any other communities living in our State because we know in Meghalaya, not only the tribals but other communities are living in the State. This statement of the Governor will widen the gap of differences between one community and the other and will bring much tension and confusion in the future. This statement is a communal statement which encourages communalism among the people living in the State. We have heard so many incidents in Shillong Town as mentioned by the hon. Members who have spoken before and I think it may happen in other places also. One of the hon. Members, Mr. Kharlukhi has stated that some non-tribals beat the tribal man. That means that there is much tensions between the tribals and Non- tribals. When this statement of the Governor came before the House, it is encouraging communalism and at the same time instead of harmonious relations, it will bring disharmonious relation between one section and another section of the communities. In this Address by the Governor, it is quite unfortunate that instead of bringing harmonious relations among all sections of people, there will be more tension and more disharmonious relation because of this type of more statement in the House. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to mention further that in paragraph 6, we see again another picture of the statement about the basic population structure of the State, I mean the Government are committed to maintain the basic structure of the State and to prevent economic exploitation of the tribal communities living in the State. With the objective in view the Government will take necessary measures to regulate any large scale influx from outside the State and would initiate legislature and other measures which may be deemed necessary in this regard. We have seen yesterday in the Assam Tribune a very big caption that the Meghalaya State Assembly will regulate large scale influx from outside the State. This type of statement and address is a violation of Article 19 of the Constitution of India itself which states that all citizens shall have the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India. This type of statement is a clear violation of Article 19 of the Constitution of India which bars the Indian citizens to move from one State to another. Here we see that it again deepens the differences between one section of community and other sections. In the matter of protection and preservation of the distinct identity and to pay special attention to the economic, social and cultural interest of our tribal people, this has been enshrined in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India. In the Sixth Schedule we have been sanctioned with the power to form the District Councils and these District Council have been empowered to legislate in such a way that we can protect our tribals form exploitation by other communities. In para 3 of the Sixth Schedule, we have enough power to legislate in the District Council such as allotment, occupation or use, or the setting apart, of land, other than any land which is a reserved forest, management of a forest not being a reserved forest, use of canal or water-course for the purpose of agriculture, social custom and so on and so forth. These are the ways and means to protect the interest of the tribal people in the State. We are one of the twenty two States in India. In our State, we have different communities. Just as in the whole of Indian Union, we have different sections of people and different tribes, so also in our States, we have different types of people and different communities. But here the main objective is to preserve the identity of the tribal people. As this has been stated, that is why I say that we have been protected under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India. What more do we have to say. Do we have this type of statement, as I said before, encourage the differences between one section of community and another. I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that in our State right from the top to the bottom, not only the tribal officers and staff run the Government, but we have so many non-tribal friends also serving in the State and I hope our non-tribal friends have got the same spirit to serve the people of the State through their services. But by bringing in this type of legislation, regulating or banning some friends to come to the State would only hamper the administration of the State. Now I would like to ask our Ministers whether they have got such courage to say that our tribal officers would not go to other States to serve. If they can challenge to do so I think they can even boycott to remain as one of the members of the States in the Union of India. These people have violated the Constitution of India. If they have got enough courage let them say that we are no more one of the 22 States in India. ...
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Kalwing you are out of track. Any way carry on.
Shri Snomick Kalwing :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, coming to the question of boundary issue I would like to refer to page 3 where it has been stated that the transfer of Blocks I and II of the Karbi-Anglong District of Assam to the Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya has been an outstanding issue since the days of the composite State of Assam. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I happened to be a member residing near the boundary of two State, representing the border area of Assam and Meghalaya i.e. Byrnihat, Khanapara Ranibari, Nongspung, Mawdem. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this boundary dispute during 1976 was a burning question and there were discussions between the Chief Minister of Meghalaya and the Chief Minister of Assam over the construction of a rest house at Khanapara, Dispur. According to our reading it falls clearly under Meghalaya but this was not settled during 1976-77. But there is no mention in the Address whether any steps would be taken to bring back those areas which have been encroached by Assam. Now one thing is that we have to remember when we talk about boundary dispute that in Meghalaya especially in Khasi Hills there is a three-tier system of administration, i.e. the Syiemship' the District Council and the State Government. This is a primitive system of administration. Mr. Speaker, Sir, before we go to settle any dispute over land we must first of all determine as to who is the owner of the land; whether it is the District Council or the State Government. We have got our internal problems and first of all we have to solve this internal problem. Who is the right authority to be approached; whether the Syiem, the District Council or the State Government. The State Government has got no land, the District Council has got no land and the Syiem also in fact has got no land except some private lands. The whole thing is in a state of confusion. Therefore, first of all we have to regulate the land holdings system before we talk about the boundary dispute. I can tell you right from Rani godown which falls under Jirang Syiemship upto Ranibari Nongspung Syiemship and Mawdem Nongkhlaw Syiemship there was a huge encroachment by the Assam Government.
Mr. Speaker :- Ranibari falls under Nongspung!
Shri Snomick Kalwing :- Sir, there are two Ranies- (loud laughter-voice-only are the only Raja for Ranies).
So Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the State Government wants to take plantation schemes in those border areas between Meghalaya and Assam the Syiem will now allow such scheme to be implemented because considers those lands as private lands. There are so many complicacies. But for the Assam Government there is no problem because the land belong to the Government and as such if they just initiate any schemes nobody can obstruct the scheme. Therefore I would like to suggest to the new Government that in order to solve this problem we have to bring up a legislation regarding reformation of land holding so that we can solve this boundary issue in a proper manner. ( Bell rang ). Since I have got no time although I want to discuss many things.
Mr. Speaker :- You have got two minutes more.
Shri Snomick Kalwing :- Thank you Sir. Now coming to agriculture Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring to the notice of this august House that in the field of agriculture in my area I have got some bitter experience that this zamindari system is still existing. I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that in these areas under the Bhoi Civil Sub division like Sohkyrbam, Umrit, Umsong, etc., the land is held by the so-called land owners and that the cultivators who have been running their cultivation right for so many generations have been treated as the so-called tenants. I will not call them land holders or the others as tenants now under this system. Mr. Speaker, Sir, under this system, the private land owners used to raise the tolls to 50 per cent of the income from their lands. At the same time, if the tenants can pay then they continue to hold the land and if not they have to give the land either peacefully or forcefully to others. So....
Mr. Speaker :- So, thank you, Mr. Kalwing. (Bell rang).
Shri S. Kalwing :- Since there is no more time, I would like to say that there should be a Land Reforms legislation in this House, where the cultivators should be the owners of their lands. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Crunden Sangma.
Shri Crunden S. Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is the first time for me to speak in this august House. Well, I would like to speak in support of the motion of thanks moved by the hon. Member, Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh. I would like to speak from my own observations which ever I have seen from the Opposition benches. There are so many allegations and counter-allegations but I don't think that the Government which have been formed will collapse. Some of the hon. Members said that it is collapsible. Of course, this new Government may have to face the fury of the storms because I have found that many of the problems are really coming up and that there will be storm and thunder. But I am sure that we will be able to protect ourselves from these heavy showers and thunder bolts because we have duck back raincoats to protect ourselves. What I mean is that if we have a strong unity irrespective of communities, castes and creed. I hope we shall be able to build a strong Government just like a castle built on the rock and not on sand.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me come to the Governor's Address. Here in my observation, I have found that education has been completely ignored or forgotten. Education is the main foundation for the future progress and prosperity. Education, specially in our district, is very poor. I think since long before the Government had been thinking of opening a new and standard English School like Pine Mount for boys. But it has not come to any action yet. In the Garo Hills we do not have a good English School for boys. I understand the Education Commission which has completed its jobs, has not found place in the Governor's Address.
( A voice - So you are opposing it?)
May I know whether it will come up or not. I want to know the report on it.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me come to the influx from outside. I have seen many are coming from outside and that they have been doing good business and when they have collected money they will go out of Meghalaya and they will be able to build good houses and mansions in other States. So I have found that the economic condition is very bad in our State and that most of the money sanctioned by the Central Government is not circulated within our State and so the economic condition is very bad. I would, therefore, suggest to the Government that they should try to prevent such practices in the districts. If this is done then the State and the districts will be prosperous.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to speak a few words regarding cases where some people were summoned from long distances and they have to come to Shillong for some petty reasons in some offices. So, I think that the attendance in most of the Departments should be regular and if we can do it then this will be a good policy for the smooth running of the Government also. Such smooth sailing of the Government I do not have much to say as some of the hon. Members have already spoken on the most important points on this subject. However, it is my humble suggestion that, specially in my constituency which is a ginger-producing area where in most of the places the growers bring their produce in baskets along the road for sale Good communication facilities should be there so that they can take their produce to the markets. It is a large area for growing of ginger. So I would like to request the Government to give the villagers some sort of help to grow ginger in a large scale and also to give them subsidy in seeds in time. There should also be protection of prices from the Government side. Last year, the price went up to Rs.90 per maund. This year it has gone down to Rs.40 per maund and it may go down again. So I would suggest to the Government to protect the prices because the growers are solely dependent on the businessmen. But the businessmen are trying to cheat these innocent growers and they would say : We have got a telegram from Calcutta saying the price has been brought down in Calcutta and so we cannot buy at the rate of Rs.40 per maund. So, the poor growers are discouraged in this way. On top of that, ginger has been spoilt this year by the worms. So, the supply of insecticides should be made. I know that in the Garo Hills there are plenty of barren lands which are yet to be cultivated and properly irrigated and this can be done with the help from the Government.
Now I come to para 7, page 3. These things are still regretted by some of the hon. Members but it is very important specially in the contiguous areas of Meghalaya where there are many Garo villages which are suffering specially in areas of Goalpara and Kamrup districts where even for education they have to face so many problems and troubles. My request here is that these contiguous areas which fall under Assam should be included in Meghalaya, and if necessary, the Government shall have to persuade the Central Government for a strong consideration so that these villages which fall in Goalpara and Kamrup districts of Assam should be included in Meghalaya and so it will solve the problem. This much I have to say today, Mr. Speaker, Sir, so I resume my seat. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker :- There are actually 4 more Members to take part but all have excused themselves from the deliberations for today. But we have still 40 minutes and some of the hon. Members were not satisfied with the time limit given. These are Mr. Kharlukhi, Mr. Bhaskar Choudhury, Mr. Bhaskar Choudhury, Mr. S. Kalwing and Dr. A.B. Roy. So, they will have 4 minutes to speak a few words more but not to dwell on the subject which they have dealt with before. Now Mr. Kharlukhi.
Shri Lambourne Kharlukhi :- I am very thankful to you for giving me a chance to complete the incomplete speech which spoke in the House today. Sir, now I would like to refute what one of the hon. Members from the other side has spoken today that the basic population structure of the State of Meghalaya as envisaged here in this Address has been a violation of the Constitution of India. Sir, in this connection I would like to say that it is not so. As I have spoken right from the very beginning that we have drawn the spirit of this Address from the Constitution itself. In the Constitution itself, there are provisions for restrictions of entry of outsiders considering the backwardness of our State, so there is no question of violation of Constitution of India.
Now, I come to my point namely, the boundary questions as given here in this Address in paragraph 7. I would like to impress upon the Government that the boundary of any State is one of the characteristics; a State should have a well defined boundary. I have experienced during my tenure of service in the District Council that in the Khanapara side that even within those areas which fall within Meghalaya the officers from the Gauhati Municipal Corporation had come and given licenses to merchants and traders who are inside Meghalaya. This is an encroachment upon other State and this sort of things had to be looked into by the Government so that the well defined boundary of our State can be ensured.
Now I come to another point. We find in para 4 where the Government has stated that it 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. I would dwell upon the first part of the sentence, namely the distinct identity of the tribal people. We are a peculiar race, we have got our traditions, we have got our customs, we have got our rights, we are quite different from the other people living in this country of ours and these traditions and customs have made us a peculiar race (bell rang) and these very customs and culture that we have got make us distinct and therefore, to preserve our distinct identity these should be preserved and should also be developed so that we can live here in this part of the country as a distinct race. Now I would like to touch paragraph 19 where it was stated that drinking water has been a problem in our State. I find that the people of our State are very much affected by the problem of drinking water. In some areas I found some people have to go and fetch water which take hours together. So I would like to impress upon the Government to give priority to such areas where scarcity of water is so acute so that they will be able to have a chance to get drinking water readily thereby save their time which they can devote to their daily work especially agriculturists, peasants ( bell rang) traders and so on. I thank you very much, Sir, for giving me this opportunity.
Shri Snomick Kalwing :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, thank you for giving me time. That point about Agriculture which had not been completed I will continue from there. Sir, I have mentioned that in our area the zamindari system is still continuing. So the problem of agriculture and soil conservation departments will crop in since many people living in the Western Bhoi Area used to live in the so called private lands of somebody. If we extend the agricultural and soil conservation activities in those places, most of the land owners may not allow their tenants to take up this scheme for developing their agriculture because it is not their own land. If the Government encourages them to take up developmental schemes, they are afraid that they may lose their lands. Sir, the landless people are still many in our State as it is in the plain areas. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to draw the attention of this august House to Article 31 of the Constitution of India and let us legislative as authorised by the Constitution. That is on compulsory acquisition of property or compulsory acquisition of land and that land acquired by the Government should be distributed to the landless cultivators of the Western Bhoi Area. Unless we do that I see no scope for development of agriculture and soil-conservation programmes, it will not be a success. As we see, the policy of the Government the aims and objects of the Government are to have self-sufficiency in food. That is by encouraging and putting agriculture in the fore-front. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this regard, we have to bring in such a legislation in our State (Bell rang).
Mr. Speaker :- Two minutes.
Shri Snomick Kalwing :- Please give me two minutes.
Mr. Speaker :- I have given two minutes.
Shri Snomick Kalwing :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, now I will turn to another point regarding Development Block. Here I do not see any new scheme can be developed or taken up there. You see in my area in the Western Bhoi Area more than 50 villages or about half of my constituency fall under the East Khasi Hills District whereas for the administration of the Block Development Department they fall under West Khasi Hills. So, there was a great confusion among the people because they do not know to which district they belong. Even myself and some officers have been addressed as West Khasi Hills, in any postal communication whereas I am not in the West but in the East Khasi Hills District. Now, I would like to appeal to the newly formed Government to look into the problem of our people there right from Mawdem to Warmawsaw. People find it difficult to go from Shillong to Mairang which covers about more than 100 miles and if they want to go to the Block office they have to spend at least 200 to 300 rupees. So I would like to say that it will be very difficult to place them in that Block. It may be either under Umsning or Mairang. So the best solution will be to constitute a new Development Block for the West Bhoi Area. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker :- Since there are no more participants, the House stands adjourned till 9.30 a.m. on Monday, the 27th March 1978.
|Dated Shillong :||
|The 23rd March, 1978||
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.