Proceedings of the Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Assembled at 9.30 a.m. on Monday, the Twenty Seventh March, 1978 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Speaker in the Chair
Mr. Speaker :- Let us start the business of the day by taking up item No.1. Minister, Finance to present the budget for 1978-79.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister) :-
MR. SPEAKER, SIR,
I rise to present the Annual Financial Statement for the year 1978-79.
Before I proceed with my address, I may be permitted to point out that the budget estimates and the demand for grants circulated to the Hon'ble Members were prepared on the basis of the directives given by the previous Government. I would like to make it clear that these do not necessarily reflect our policies and priorities. Since there was no time, however, to recast the estimates, and the constitutional requirements had to be met, to take this opportunity to present the Annual Financial Statement and the demands for grants as earlier formulated.
2. The general economic situation in the country in 1977-78 presented a mixed picture. In the past, shortages of food and foreign exchange had been major constraints on economic growth. During the last one year, such constraints have been conspicuous by their absence. The year began with food grains stocks of 18 million tonnes; by the end of January, 1978 the level of stocks had declined only marginally, despite larger off take from the public distribution system. Foreign exchange reserves rose by Rs.1006 crores and stood at the record level of Rs.3959 crores at the end of January, 1978. Prices, too, have been relatively stable, because of better supply management, a good Kharif crop, a liberal import policy and a restrictive monetary and credit policy. At the same time, it has to be admitted that there have been shortfalls in the production of commodities like edible oils, pulses and cotton. These, together with the low rate of increase in industrial production, the increased liquidity in the economy and the sluggishness in industrial investment are matters for concern. Urgent attention will have to be given, therefore, to the question of increasing the outpost of these sensitive commodities, providing incentive for larger investment in industries and evolving a strategy for utilisation of the foreign exchange reserves.
3. As in the rest of the country, mixed trends were noticed in the State during the past year. Prices registered a moderate increase, though there was server pressure on commodities like edible oils and pulses. Production of coal and limestone as also cement declined during the period. There was, however, an improvement on the employment front as evidenced by the number of job seekers on the olive registers of the Employment Exchanges, which declined from 12,617 in January, 1977 to 10,712 in January, 1978.
National Plan : 4. Following the assumption of power at the Centre by the Janata Government, there has been some rethinking on national plan objectives and strategies. It has been felt that while the policies followed during the last 25 years have yielded dividends in terms of increased production, they have not succeeded to any significant degree in reducing disparities of incomes and wealth. The time has come, therefore, to lay greater emphasis on the problem of poverty and unemployment. It has also been argued that changes are needed in the planning process to avoid unrealistic target fixation, introduce greater flexibility, permit timely corrections for unforeseen external events and improve investment decisions in the long gestation sectors. The change in the planning process is sought to be achieved by adoption of the methodology of "rolling plans".
Since reformulation of objectives and strategies on the lines indicated calls for basic changes, the Government of India have decided to terminate the Fifth Five Year Plan at the end of 1977-78 as against 1978-79 and scheduled earlier. Instead, a new medium term plan for the period 1978-79 to 1982-83 is being launched. The National Development Council which has met recently has discussed the approach to future planning and the strategies, objectives and procedures to be adopted for the new medium term plan. The deliberations at the meeting of the Council have been particularly useful in evolving a national consensus on the approach to the problems of development of our country.
5. Meghalaya's fifth Plan :- The approved outlay for the Fifth Five Year Plan of the Meghalaya was fixed at Rs.89.53 crores. The actual outlay for the five Annual Plans from 1974-75 to 1978-79 amounts, however, to Rs.103.02 crores. As against this, the provisional expenditure for the first three years of the Plan together with anticipated expenditure for the current year and the outlay for 1978-79 amounts to Rs.100.50 crores.
6. Annual Plan 1978-79 :- The size of the Annual Plan for 1978-79 has been fixed at Rs.28.11 crores including an amount of Rs.3.15 crores for the Minimum Needs Programme. The increase in the size of the Plan is about 15 per cent over the outlay for the current year. 23.7 per cent of the outlay has been earmarked for Power and Water Development including completion of the Kyrdemkulai Hydel Project. Emphasis has also been given to Agriculture and Allied Services by allotting them 20.3 per cent of the total outlay. Considering the importance of developing infrastructural facilities. 20 per cent of the outlay has been assigned to the Transport and Communications sector. The Social and Community service account for about 19 per cent of the outlay.
In addition to the above outlay and the outlay on Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored Schemes, an amount of Rs.289.63 lakhs will be available to the State for implementation of ongoing and new schemes sponsored by the North Eastern council.
7. Finance Commission :- As the Hon'ble Members may be aware, the Seventh Finance Commission constituted under orders of the President of India is currently engaged in making an assessment of the financial needs of the State. It is expected to submit its recommendations regarding the devolution of taxes and grants-in-aid of the revenues of the States by October, 1978. The State Government have since submitted to the Commission the estimates of their requirement of funds during the forecast period together with their views on the terms of reference. While requesting the Commission to give sympathetic consideration to the special problems of the State, the Government have emphasised the importance of giving due weightage to the backwardness of the State in any scheme devolution that may be recommended by it. The Commission is scheduled to visit the State shortly.
8. I shall now briefly indicate some of the important achievements of the past year as also the salient features of the programmes being undertaken in the next year.
9. Agriculture :- In the agricultural sector, our objective is to gradually increase the production of food grains with the ultimate aim of attaining self-sufficiency. Efforts are being made to increase the area under high-yielding and improved varieties and encourage adoption of improved cultural practices. An estimated 26,000 hectares are expected to be brought under the high-yielding varieties programme in 1978-79 as against the target of 21,000 hectares likely to be achieve in the current year. Supply of seeds at subsidised rates, steps to popularise the use of high-yielding varieties are the important components of the programme for achieving greater food grains production. In spite of the damage caused to standing crops by hailstorms and other natural calamities, we are confident of fully achieving the current year's food grains target of 1.47 lakh tonnes. In the light of this anticipated achievement, a target of 1.55 lakh tonnes has been fixed for 1978-79.
Encouragement of cash crops is another fact of our agricultural policy. While continuing efforts to improve production of such crops as jute, mesta, ginger and cotton, the Government is giving particular attention to the propagation of the high-yielding disease-resistant variety of potato, Kufri Jyoti. It may be of interest to note that the production of potato exceeded 90,000 tonnes in the current year as against 80,000 tonnes produced in the previous year. Development of horticulture too is being given due importance. The work of rejuvenation of citrus orchards is continuing. Steps are also being taken to extend the area under improved cultivation of pineapple.
10. Irrigation :- The Government is aware that irrigation facilities have to be expanded rapidly if our objectives relating to agricultural development are to be achieved. Due to difficulties of terrain, however, our progress in this regard has not been as substantial as in some other States. An endeavour is being made, therefore, to extend the coverage of irrigation as rapidly as possible consistent with the difficulties additional 4,000 hectares are expected to be covered by, among others, such means as sinking of shallow tube-wells. A further area of 6,000 hectares is expected to be covered in the next year.
11. Soil Conservation :- The importance of weaning away our cultivators from the wasteful practice of shifting cultivation needs no emphasis. During the current year, 750 families were sought to be settled on permanent plots; due to difficulties of obtaining suitable land, however only 500 families are expected to be benefited. During the coming year, another 850 families are expected to be brought under the scheme. The conservation project for the Didram Upper Catchment Area in Garo Hills now being executed by the Department under the auspices of the North Eastern Council is expected to be completed in 1978-79. The project when completed will benefit some 940 families spread over an area of 246 sq.kms. Programmes for inducing the people of the border areas to switch over to crops like black pepper will be continued in the next year. Preparatory work for setting up large-scale plantations for re-settlement of jhummia families is another important activity proposed to be taken up in the next year.
12. Animal Husbandry :- Animal husbandry programmes can make a useful contribution to the development of our rural economy. They not only enable the rural population to supplement their incomes; they also help them to improve the level of nutrition. Emphasis is, therefore, being given to the development of livestock and the programme for crossbreeding has been intensified. Forty-nine Stockmen Centres have been established so far under this programme. The cattle farm at Upper Shillong established under the Indo-Danish Project as also the sheep farm at Saitsama are now functioning satisfactorily. During the year, 33 heads of cattle were supplied to different States, in the North Eastern Region by the farm at Upper Shillong. Development of piggery is being encouraged. Twelve numbers of Hampshire pigs were imported from the United Kingdom to the strengthen the foundation stock of the pig farms. Steps are also being taken to strengthen departmental poultry farms. The question of ensuring adequate health cover for the livestock population is engaging the attention of the Department. Two new Dispensaries and two Veterinary Aid Centres are being established and particular care is being taken to check the spread of infectious and contagious diseases.
13. Fisheries :- The pace of development of fisheries in Meghalaya has not so far been commensurate with its potential. The Umiam Reservoir, which holds promise of being developed into a successful fishery project, is yet to be tapped. There are indications, however, that an agreement will be reached shortly between the Government and the District Council authorities on the use of the reservoir. A suitable allocation has been earmarked for the next year for development of the reservoir in anticipation of the agreement. A beginning has been made in the sphere of trout culture with the establishment of a small trout farm at Shillong. A consignment of trout seeds was obtained from outside the State and arrangements were made for training of staff. Efforts for popularization of pisciculture were continued. As in previous years, demonstrations were continued. As in previous years, demonstrations were conducted in the departmental fish farms and supply of fingerlings at concessional rates was arranged. Subsidies were also given for construction of fish ponds and tanks. During current year as many as 230 pisciculturists are expected to be benefited by the subsidy.
14. Forest :- Notwithstanding the State's rich endowment of forest resources, the task of replenishing its forest wealth has assumed vital importance. The District Council authorities which administer extensive forest areas of the State are being assisted to raise new plantations with economic species such as teak, sal and pine. The Forest Department too is pursuing a programme of regeneration in the reserve forests under its control. Between them, the two agencies raised 1126 hectares of new plantation during the current year. A further area of 1170 hectares is proposed to be brought under fresh plantation during 1978-79. Exploitation of forest resources is being undertaken in an orderly and planned manner. Besides supplying timber for manufacture of plywood, the Department supplied sleepers valued at Rs.30 lakhs to the railway authorities. It also arranged to supply treated timber poles from its Saw Mill-Cum-Treatment Plant at Darugiri. Commercial activities were undertaken by the Forest Development Corporation of Meghalaya also. The Corporation has been assured by the Agricultural Re-finance and Development Corporation that institutional finance to the tune of Rs.49 lakhs would be made available to it over a period of five years. Modalities for drawal of the loan are now being worked out.
15. Co-operation :- In the co-operative sector, the main thrust was on completion of the master plan for reorganisation and revitalization of the co-operative credit structure. One hundred and seventy-three societies have so far been reorganised. Financial assistance in the shape of share capital contribution and managerial subsidy has also been extended to a number of reorganised societies. At the State level, the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank intensified its loaning operations. A Land Development section for providing long-term credit to agriculturists has since been opened by the Bank. It has also taken up implementation of the Agricultural Credit Intensive Development Programme sponsored by the Reserve Bank of India. In the sphere of marketing, the Meghalaya Co-operative Marketing and Consumers' Federation was able to play an increasingly active role in ensuring a fair price to the growers, particularly in the border areas. Its distribution network helped to stabilise the prices of several consumer goods. Further progress was made during the year in the field of co-operative housing. Necessary support was given to the Apex Housing Financing Co-operative Society to enable it to discharge its functions effectively.
16. Community Development :- By enlisting public participation in the developmental process, Community Development Blocks in Meghalaya perform a useful role as units of local administration. Besides being responsible for implementation of the Applied Nutrition Programme and the Special Nutrition Programme, the Blocks serve as agencies through which funds are channelised by different Development Departments for undertaking schemes tailored to local needs. In the current year, an amount of Rs.15 lakhs was allocated for this purpose. A similar amount would be made available in 1978-79. The scheme for development of the backward areas, for which an allocation of Rs.32 lakhs was available in 1977-78, is another programme entrusted to the care of the Blocks. Yet another programme for which the Blocks are responsible is the Rural Works Programme. Mention may be made also of the Rural Link Roads Programme which has been launched recently by the Government of India. As in the case of the programmes referred to earlier, the agency for implementation will be the Community Development Blocks. An amount of Rs.28 lakhs has been released by the Government of India for the programme.
17. Power :- Efforts to develop the rich power potential of the State continued. Work on the Kyrdemkulai Hydro Electric Project is progressing satisfactorily and the likely date of commissioning is July, 1978. However, due to lock-outs in factories supplying ancillary equipments, a delay of two to three months cannot be ruled out. The first unit of the Nangalbibra Thermal Station, commissioned in February, 1977, is functioning satisfactorily. It has, however, not been possible to commission the second unit due to damage caused during commissioning tests. Further progress was made on construction of the 132 K.V. transmission line between Shillong and Nangalbibra; the work is scheduled for completion in 1979. Under the programme for Rural Electrification, 70 more villages are likely to be electrified by the end of 1977-78. This will bring the total number of villages electrified to 408. Detailed investigation of the Umiam - Umtru (Stage IV) Project with Upper Khri diversion has been completed. Though the project report is yet to be formally approved, the scheme has been included in the Annual Plan for 1978-79. Investigation of the two micro-hydel projects, Ganol and Ringgi, sponsored by the North Eastern Council is also being completed by the end of the current financial year.
18. Mineral Development :- Hon'ble Members are aware that a wide variety of mineral deposits are known to occur in Meghalaya. These can be exploited, however, only after the occurrences of the deposits have been properly investigated. The investigation of the Mawlong Coal Field, on which considerable progress has been made, is therefore important. So is the investigation on limestone and coal deposits in the Siju area which has been entrusted to the Mineral Exploration Corporation, a public sector undertaking. Mention may be made also of the work on reassessment of the Laitryngew coal reserves which is continuing. Other minerals in respect of which investigations have been taken up are kaolin, clay and fire clay.
19. Industries :- The first phase of the expansion programme of the Mawmluh- Cherra Cements Ltd is nearing completion and the first additional kiln is expected to be commissioned shortly. With this, the capacity of the plant will go up to 590 tonnes per day. An agreement for setting up a Watch Assembly Unit in the State has been concluded recently with the Hindustan Machine Tools Ltd. The Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation, which is entrusted with the responsibility of promoting large and medium industries in the State, is taking steps to develop an industrial areas at Barapani. It will also administer the scheme for the package of incentives. A number of schemes have been taken up to promote the growth of small industries. Training institutes imparting training in varied crafts are functioning at Shillong, Mawsynram, Dalu and Tura. Two more such centres are proposed to be established in the next year at Nongstoin and Williamnagar. Besides, assistance in cash and kind is being given to deserving artisans and entrepreneurs. A scheme for supply of improved tools and power to the black-smiths of Nongkynrih and Mylliem and to the potters of Kacharipara is also being drawn up.
20. Sericulture and Weaving :- The Village Extension Centres which provide necessary supporting facilities to the local growers have a pivotal role in the programme for development of sericulture in the State. Eighteen such centres are already functioning; six more are expected to be set up by the end of the current year. Farms and grainages too have an important role. It is for this reason that their network is being strengthened and expanded. Three mulberry nurseries, besides a mulberry silk farm and an eri silk farm, are planned for the next year. Along with steps for the development of sericulture, the use of improved methods of weaving and designing is being encouraged. Seven more Weaving Demonstration Centres are being established in the current year, bringing the total number of such centres to 12. Attempts are also being made to introduce silk weaving. To encourage weavers to take to take to silk weaving, training facilities with provision for supply of necessary inputs have been arranged. The Regional Foreign Race Seed Station established under a scheme of the North Eastern Council is being organised for production and maintenance of foreign races of silk worm seeds. Supply of seeds to neighboring States is expected to start soon.
21. Education :- Death of technical personnel is a constraint which has often stood in the way of effective and expeditious implementation of development schemes in the State. While no instant solution to this problem is possible, a conscious effort has to be made to encourage more students to take up the study of science subjects. With this object in view, the Education Department has been taking steps to develop science education in the State. Under a programme of the UNICEF, under which 50 schools have been covered so far, science education is being introduced right from the primary level. Suitable text books in the Khasi and Garo languages have been published to facilitate implementation of the programme. A proposal to open four centres for coaching tribal students of the high school level is also under consideration. The coverage of the scheme for non-formal education, is being extended and persons of the age group 15 to 35 in all the five districts will be covered in 1978-79. Emphasis is also being given to the development of sports and youth welfare activities. Fifteen Rural Sports Centres are being set up in different parts of the State in the next year.
22. Health :- Steady progress was made in expanding the coverage of medical facilities. The maternity and pediatric blocks of Jowai Civil Hospital have since been commissioned. The new wing of the Ganesh Das Hospital is also expected to be commissioned by the end of 1978-79. Under the Minimum Needs Programme, construction of three Primary Health Centres at Mawryngkneng and Patharkhmah in the Khasi Hills and at Jarain in the Jaintia Hills is being taken up shortly. Of the seven Primary Health Centres, construction of which had been taken up earlier, two have since been commissioned and three others are expected to be commissioned shortly. Work on the Bhoi Lymbong dispensary is also expected to be completed within the current financial year. The School Health Programme which had hitherto been confined to schools in the Shillong area will be expanded in course of the next year to four Primary Health Centres. As in previous years, programmes for the eradication of small-pox and malaria and control of leprosy were also undertaken.
23. Water Supply :- Of the 131 Rural Water Supply Schemes taken up by the Public Health Engineering Department since the inception of the State, 74 had been completed by the end of March, 1977. Another 22 are expected to be completed by the end of the current year. A total population of 1,55,534 is expected to be benefited. Considering, however, the magnitude of the State's rural population, the achievement cannot be regarded as significant. It may be of interest to note here that the Government of India have recently introduced a scheme for accelerated water supply in rural areas, under which grants are made available to the States for expeditious completion of ongoing schemes. The scheme, under which an amount of Rs.25 lakhs has been sanctioned to the State in the current year, should give a boost to the State's Rural Water Supply Programme. Due to difficulties in connection with land acquisition, work on the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme has been stalled. Work on the New Jowai Water Supply Scheme is, however progressing satisfactorily, with commissioning being scheduled for 1979. On the question of maintenance of completed schemes, difficulties have arisen from time to time on account of the inability of the local authorities to should this responsibility. The Government have, therefore, decided that completed schemes will be maintained by the Department for a period of five years after which the responsibility for maintenance will devolve to the concerned local bodies.
24. Road and Bridges :- The Hon'ble Members will agree that the benefits of development, whether in the sphere of agriculture, industry of social services, can accrue to the common man only if an efficient communications network is available. This is particularly true of a State like Meghalaya where alternative modes of transportation are totally lacking. It is, therefore, heartening to note that the Plan outlay for roads and bridges is being progressively stepped up from year to year. The allocation for the sector, which was Rs.330 lakhs in 1976-77 and Rs.440 lakhs in the current year, is expected to be raised to Rs.525 lakhs in 1978-79. New roads covering a length of 130 kms are expected to be constructed during the year. Another 150 kms. of new roads are proposed to be taken up in the next year. Black topping of a road length of 35 kms. and construction of major bridges to the extent of 100 kms. are other important achievements of 1977-78. Under the Minimum Needs Programme, an additional road length of 50 kms. connecting 100 villages is anticipated. The road construction programme has been so drawn up as to be able to generate optimum employment opportunities. During 1977-78, 13.81 lakhs mandays of employment were generated; this will go up to the level of 22.77 lakh mandays in the next year.
25. Transport :- Meghalaya is the only State in the country other than Manipur which is not linked to the national railway network. It is therefore, a matter of satisfaction for us that the railway authorities, at the instance of the North Eastern Council, had undertaken a survey for a rail link between Byrnihat and Gauhati and found the proposed alignment to be commercially viable. It is our earnest hope that the Government of India would take a positive decision very soon on implementation of the Gauhati-Byrnihat Rail Link Scheme. The quota allotted to the State under the National Permit Scheme has been fully utilised and permits numbering 50 have been issued. The quota available to the State under the Zonal Permit Scheme has also been utilised substantially, 95 permits as against the quota of 100 having been issued so far. In accordance with a resolution of the Transport Development, Council, the Government have decided that reservation will be provided in the matter of granting permits for transport vehicles in favour of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the same ratio as laid down by the State Government for recruitment to public services. The Meghalaya Transport Corporation is continuing its efforts to reorganise itself. It has increased the strength of its fleet and is taking steps to set up a well equipped Central Workshop, so that the number of shut down vehicles may be reduced to the minimum.
26. Border Area :- Under the programme for the development of the border areas, priority is being given to road construction activities. Efforts are being made to construct more feeder roads and facilitate transport of the local produce to markets within and outside the State. An important supplement to road construction is the scheme for fee transportation of products from the border areas. A fleet of 16 trucks is being utilised by the Department to operate the scheme. An allocation of Rs.90 lakhs was earmarked for the programme in the current year. In the next year, the provision will be stepped up to Rs.135 lakhs.
27. Tourism :- Schemes aimed at developing the tourist potential of the State were continued. The tourist Bungalow at Thadlaskein has been completed, while work on improvement of the monoliths at Nartiang is continuing. Construction of a tourist resort complex at Umiam is proposed to be taken up in the next year. A proposal for construction of a motel at Nongpoh is also being considered. Due to organizational and other difficulties, the Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation has not been able to make an impact on the tourist map of the State. Steps to strengthen the Corporation are under consideration.
28. Revised Scales of Pay to the Employees Aided Schools :- The benefit of revised scales of pay had been extended to the employees of aided schools with effect from 1st November, 1976. In consideration of the hardship caused to the employees, however, the State Government decided that this benefit should be extended to them from an earlier date, viz, the 1st April, 1975. About 8000 employees belonging to the aided institutions have been benefited on this account.
29. Area Dearness Allowance :- Due to constraint of resources, the Government had not been able to sanction dearness allowance as admissible to its employees with effect from 1st July, 1974, 1st July, 1975 and 1st July, 1976. All arrear dearness allowances admissible on these dates were, however, sanctioned by the Government during the current year. The benefit has also been extended to the employees of aided schools and colleges with effect from the 1st April, 1975. With a view to curb inflationary pressures, only 50 percent of the dues were paid in cash, the balance being deposited in the employees' Provident Fund accounts.
30. Before proceeding to the budget estimates for the next year, I will briefly give an account of the actuals for 1976-77 and the revised estimates for the current year.
31. Actuals :- The year opened with a negative cash balance of Rs. 376.21 lakhs There was a total receipt of Rs.21,743.98 lakhs and a total expenditure of Rs.21,578.39 lakhs in that year under all accounts resulting in the surplus of Rs.165.59 lakhs. The closing balance, therefore, stood at Rs.(-)210.62 lakhs at the end of the year against the revised estimate of Rs.(-)33.70 lakhs. It should however be mentioned that an amount of Rs.164.50 lakhs in Government of India Treasury Bills stood to our credit at the close of the year. In other words, the year closed with a deficit of Rs.46.12 lakhs against the revised estimated deficit of Rs.33.70 lakhs.
32. Revised Estimates 1977-78 :- The revised estimates of receipts and expenditure under all accounts for the current year are Rs.24,364.80 lakhs and Rs.24,238.31 lakhs respectively. There is, thus, a likely surplus of Rs.126.49 lakhs. This will enable us to reduce the negative opening balance of Rs.210.62 lakhs to Rs.84.13 lakhs. In spite of the heavy additional liabilities discharged by the State Government by way of releasing arrear dearness allowance and advancing the date of pay revision for the employees of the aided institutions, the estimated deficit of Rs.424.32 lakhs is likely to be reduced to Rs.84.13 lakhs. This will be possible because of the additional assistance of Rs.4.46 crores being given by the Government of India during the current year.
33. Budget Estimates 1978-79 :- I would now like to give a broad picture of the estimates for 1978-79. The receipt on revenue account is estimated at Rs.5342.07 lakhs. The estimated expenditure on revenue account is Rs.4242.93 lakhs. There is therefore a surplus of Rs.1099.14 lakhs on revenue account. The estimated receipt outside revenue account is Rs.20,065.59 lakhs and the estimated expenditure outside revenue account is Rs.21,163.53 lakhs, leaving a deficit of Rs.1,097.94 lakhs. Together with the revenue surplus, there will be a nominal overall surplus of Rs.1.20 lakhs. This is expected to bring down the opening deficit of Rs.84.13 lakhs to Rs.82.93 lakhs at the close of the year.
I may mention here that a credit of Rs.22.89 crores has been assumed on account of Central assistance for the State Plan in the next year's budget as against Rs.20.05 crores in the current year.
34. Deficits :- I do not propose any additional taxation measure to close this gap. The ways and means to cover the gap will be devised during the course of the year.
35. Sir, we are conscious that a backward State like ours has a long way to go before it can approach the level of development of the more advanced States of the Union. Massive doses of investment supported by careful planning and effective implementation are called for in this situation. Unfortunately, due to historical reasons the State suffers from grave limitations imposed by the constraints of resources, both financial and technical. The Budget proposals which I have submitted for your consideration seek to reflect the needs and aspiration of the people of the State; but they have had to be formulated within the framework of the limitations which are our legacy. Be that as it may, I am confident that with the co-operation and assistance of all sections of this august House, we shall be able to march forward steadily towards the goal of eradicating poverty and raising the living standards of the people of the State. I would, therefore, request the Hon'ble Members to strengthen the hands of the Government in its endeavour to build a more prosperous Meghalaya which can take its rightful place in the great Republic that is India.
36. With these words, Sir, I present the Budget for 1978-79 for consideration and acceptance of the House. As it may not be possible to complete detailed discussions on the budget proposals before the end of the financial year, I propose to move the House, in the first instance, for voting advance grants and for sanctioning advance appropriation to enable the Government to defray its expenses for the first quarter of the next financial year.
THE FINANCIAL POSITION FOR THE YEAR 1978-79 WITH CORRESPONDING POSITION IN THE PREVIOUS YEARS.
|(Rupees in Lakhs)|
|Capital Receipt under the Consolidated Fund||2,33.27||4,65.79||5,42.14||4,84.15||5,75.77|
|Capital Receipt under the Contingency Fund||12.81||........||75.00||4,00.00||75.00|
|Capital Receipt under the Public Account||50,63.56||1,74,25.07||62,43.93||1,86,06.31||1,94,11.82|
|Capital Expenditure under Consolidated Fund.||8,08.80||10,83.77||16,00.11||14,95.88||17,16.71|
|Capital Expenditure under the Contingency Fund||12.68||......||75.00||4,00.00||75.00|
|Out going from the Public Account||52,78.99||1,74,83.76||62,01.43||1,82,20.81||1,93,71.82|
|NET RESULT :-|
|(a) On Revenue Account||(+)597.61||(+)842.26||(+)624.85||(+)752.72||(+)1099.14|
|(b) Outside Revenue Account||(-)790.83||(-)676.67||(-)1015.47||(-)626.23||(-)1097.94|
|(c) Net excluding the opening Balance||(-)193.22||(+)165.59||(-)390.62||(+)126.49||(+)1.20|
Note :- (+) Indicates Surplus and (-) indicates Deficit.
Mr. Speaker :- So the Budget for the year 1978-79 has been duly presented by the Finance Minister. Now, may I request the hon. Members to collect the budget papers from the lobby at their own convenient time? Now, may I request the Finance Minister to present the Vote-on-Account for 1978-79?
Shri S.D. Khongwir, (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that an amount not exceeding Rs.15,10,68,200 (Rupees fifteen crores, ten lakhs, sixty-eight thousand and two hundred) be granted to the Governor in advance to defray charges in respect of different Departments during the first quarter of the financial year ending the 31st March, 1979 which is appended hereto.
The Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1978
Mr. Speaker :- Now, the Minister, Finance to beg leave to introduce the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1978.
Shri S.D. Khongwir, (Minister, Finance) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to introduce the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1978.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1978.
(The Motion was carried)
Now the Minister-in-charges to introduce the Bill. But before the Minister introduces the Bill, let me read the message from the Governor.
RAJ BHAVAN, Shillong
Dated the 27th March, Shillong.
In exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, I Lallan Prasad Singh, Governor of Meghalaya hereby recommend the introduction of the Meghalaya Finance Bill, 1978 in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
Sd/- L.P. SINGH,
Governor of Meghalaya.
May I call upon the Minister-in-charge to introduce the Bill.
Shri S.D. Khongwir, (Minister, Finance) :- I beg to introduce the Bill.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that the Meghalaya Finance Bill 1978, be introduced. (The Motion was carried).
The Secretary read out the title of the Bill.
The Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1978.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us come to Item No.4.
Shri S.D. Khongwir, (Minister, Finance) :- I beg to introduce the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1978.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question before the House is that leave be granted to introduce the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill, 1978.
The Motion is carried and leave is granted to introduce the Bill.
Let me call upon the Minister in-charge of Finance to introduce the Bill.
Shri S.D. Khongwir, (Minister, Finance) :- I beg to introduce the Bill.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. The question is that the Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill 1978 be introduced.
(The Secretary read out the title of the Bill).
PRESENTATION OF COMMITTEE REPORTS
Mr. Speaker :- Now, let us come to Item No.5.
The Secretary, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly caused the following reports to be laid on the Table of the House (1) the Eighth Report of the Committee on Public Accounts of the first Meghalaya Legislative Assembly (2) the Second Report of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation of the First Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Speaker :- Now let us come to Item No.6. Before we take up item No.6 I would like the Minister-in-charge of district Council Affairs to make a remark under Rule 55.
DEBATE ON GOVERNOR'S ADDRESS
Shri Jackman Marak (Minister, District Council Affairs, etc) :- The term of the Autonomous District Council is for five years from the date appointed for the first meeting of the Council after the general election. The term of the members of the out-going Garo Hills Autonomous District Council expired on the 25th of March, 1977. The said term was extended for one year by the Governor as the holding of the election to the said District Council was impracticable. Though the term was extended to enable the holding of the election to the said District Council, it was not held. The matter was duly considered and it was decided that further extension to the term of the term of the members of the District Council was not in the public interest. Accordingly, further extension of the term of the members of the said District Council was not given. On expiry of term of the members of the said District Council the Government has assumed to himself the administration of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council, vide Notification No. DCA. 79/76/58, dated 25th March, 1978 a copy of which is placed on the Table of the House.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us resume the debate on the Governor's Address. I am sorry the time is limited and as there are as many as 11 or 12 members who would like to take part, the time has to be rationed I would like Shri Tylli Kyndiah to speak.
*Shri Tylli Kyndiah :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while taking part in the debate on the Governor's Address, I would like to extend may support to the motion of thanks moved by Shri B.B. Lyngdoh. I will come to Paragraph 7 in connection with the boundary dispute, especially in pending problem, especially for Jaintia Hills District and since the creation of Meghalaya, the State Government has taken up the matter with the Government of Assam.
I would like to say only a few words. I would request the Government to pay special attention the these Blocks I and II and to transfer them back to our State. I will come to page 4 of Paragraph 9 that the Plan of the State will be to stress on improvement of agricultural and allied sectors as the vast majority of the population of the State depends on agriculture of their main source of livelihood. The programme for control of shifting cultivation or jhum will be reviewed with a view to removing it short-comings and making it more effective. In Jaintia Hills though soil conservation a lot of land has been reclaimed especially in Saipung area. The money that has been spent there will come to about 4 or 5 lakhs. But due to lack of irrigation a vast land has been wasted because terracing cultivation cannot be done without irrigation. Therefore, I would suggest that special interest should be taken in terracing the land especially in Jaintia Hills. At page 7 of Paragraph 13 mention has been made about communication. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am surprised to see that there are so many roads which have been started, but uptil now they have not been completed. There is one such road called the Demthring-Sohmynting road. The Lulong College road at Jowai also has been started since two years back uptil now it has not been completed. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am surprised to see that when even one road has been started and not completed, the new road has been taken up. So, I would suggest that when the road is started, it should be completed in order that the people can use it especially for marketing their products. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to mention that there is one area near Nartiang which is an isolated area from Nartiang village. This area is a very fertile and productive area. But at present, there is no communication system and no dispensary in this area. I would, therefore, suggest that the Government should pay special attention to this area in order that communication can be extended to this area and it can be connected with the neighbouring market. With these few words Mr. Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Maham Singh. You have 12 minutes.
Shri Maham Singh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to support the amendment moved by my friend Mr. Grohonsing Marak. In moving the amendment to the motion of thanks, mention has been made by the hon. mover with regard to the size of the Cabinet. He has compared the number of our Cabinet Ministers with the number of the Cabinet Ministers in the State of Assam. I will not of course, compare the size of our Ministry with that of any other State. But let us think and ponder Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether for a State like ours, with only half the population of many of the districts in the plain areas whether the size of the Ministry of having twelve Ministers is not too much. Now, it may be very difficult to say who is to be left out. All are capable and all are fit members to be in the Cabinet and many others also are equally fit and capable to be Ministers.
Mr. Speaker :- Is it not a party matter?
Shri Maham Singh :- It is Mr. Speaker, Sir. But I am only saying this because we are all concerned will the economic development of our State also. I would only say, that let us consider, whether it is not too extravagant to have twelve Ministers for this.
Mr. Speaker :- In Nagaland once they have 22 Ministers.
Shri Maham Singh :- They are more extravagant Mr. Speaker, Sir, but then whether we should follow the example of being extravagant, and whether it is right that their extravagance should be followed by us. That is we are to choose. In this connection, I would say that previously in the composite State of Assam, there were only ten M.L.As from the whole of these districts, that is, five from Khasi and Jaintia Hills, four from Garo Hills and one from Jaintia Hills. But now we have got twelve Ministers and I understand that one more Minister is to be added. However, as has been said, this is a party matter. But I feel that although a new Government has been formed, I would only add that we are a little bit too extravagant in having appointed so many Ministers.
Mr. Speaker, the other point that has been mentioned by my friend who is moving the amendment is that the policy enunciated in the Address of the Governor is vague. As a matter of fact, when we go through the whole speech; we find that certain aims and objects have been proclaimed in the Address of the Governor. But what exactly is the policy to be followed in order to achieve these aims and objects. We find that no concrete proposal has been made in the whole Address. The mover of the motion of thanks in moving his Motion has mentioned that this Address has a special feature. It reflects according to him the will and aspirations of the people. He referred to paragraph 4 in which he has mentioned that the endeavour of the Government shall be to preserve the distinct identity of the tribal people of Meghalaya and will pay special attention to their economic, social and cultural interest. In this connection Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would only mention that it has always been the aim and object of the Congress Party from the very beginning that is for the last 30 years, to protect and preserve the distinct identity of the tribal people. The great leader of the nation, the late Prime Minister Nehru, has always said that the tribal people must be allowed to grow according to their own genius. (At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy, chairman occupied the Chair). I mention this Mr. Chairman, Sir, because some uncharitable remarks have been passed by certain members from the opposition against this great organisation. In this connection Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would say that there is any party to which we the tribals should be grateful, it is the Congress Party alone. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would submit it is the Congress and the Congress party alone. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would submit that it was the primary aim and objective of the Congress party to preserve the identity of the tribal and weaker sections of the people. It is because of this very aim and object, various steps have been taken and translated into action. With these aims and object in view the Congress party formulated certain policies with regard to the tribal ever since India achieved independence. Mr. Chairman, Sir, this policy is enshrined in various legislations and in the Constitution itself and it is for this that we have got the Sixth Schedule and special provision in corporated in the fundamental right forth protection of the tribal people. We find also that special programmes and policies have been taken up by the party i.e. with regard to the tribal people and also for the scheduled casts and other backward classes. These policies have been followed by the party throughout these years ever since it was administering the country. Owing to this policy the tribal people have been able to come up to the present level. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in ever programme of the party and the Congress Government we find that special consideration for the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes has been given so that they may grow economically and in other spheres also. Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is on account of this policy that ever since 1955 the tribal people have been exampled from the payment of income and it is also in keeping with this policy that tribal scholarships have been given to the students of the tribal community. But we find, Mr. Chairman, Sir, in this Address nothing is mentioned as to what would be the policy to be adopted in order to achieve the aims and object for preserving the special identity of the tribal people. And therefore, what has been said by my friend that this Address is vague, Mr. Chairman, Sir, is quite true and further Mr. Chairman, Sir, when we come to the other objectives.
I have not been able to build up my case yet. Any way, Mr. Chairman, Sir, with regard to influx, last year a Bill has been passed by this august House to check the influx of people coming from outside. This Bill received the approval of the Government of India and I hope it will be implemented properly by the present Government. A Bill was passed amending the transfer of land by which it has not only prevented large scale influx of population from outside but also check the influx from outside of population which is not conducive to the interest of the tribal people.
Mr. Chairman :- Shri G. Mylliemngap.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the motion of thanks moved by the hon. Member from Lyngkyrdem. First of all, to be on record, I offer my congratulations to the Governor and also to the leaders of different constituents of this House who have emerged out of disunity to form the coalition Government. Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is really a unique unity though the hon. Member from Bajengdoba mentioned that it is a lottery Government and a lottery ministry. But I say this is a tribal genius by which, I hope, other people parts of the country will also follow us in course of time. You know, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I believe if you expended the whole treasures of the earth and all the time at the disposal of the world you would not have achieved this unity had it is not been due to the efforts of the students. In a very short time they have enabled the leaders to achieve this unity. It is not providential to have achieved this unique unity? Yet the hon. Member from Bajengdoba said that it was a lottery Government. Mr. Chairman Sir, this is not a new thing. There has been a provision in our election manual, there has been a provision even in the matter of election of Speaker that if we cannot decide there is a provision of drawing lots and there is a mention of lots even in the biblical literature. Yet he said that he would see how long this Government would continue. Yes I agree this unity of distinctive fabric of ideas and ideologies, has to be woven. This has to be woven, these different policies have to be woven for the welfare of the people of the State in general. We are all weavers here Mr. Chairman Sir, and we have to weave this unique unity to make a colourful beauty in this part of the country. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have a sharp reaction to the statement of the hon. Member from Bajengdoba when he said that the Governor disowned this Government. Is it really that the Governor disowned this Government, Mr. Chairman, Sir? Why has he taken the trouble of administering the office of secrecy to the Members of the Cabinet and taken the trouble of coming here to address this House if he has disowned. If the hon. Member has any private information that the Governor has disowned this Government I demand that it should be known from you Mr. Chairman, Sir, that the Governor has disowned the Government and this will be benefit of all of us within the four walls of this House and also those outside the four walls of this House that the Governor has disowned this Government.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, let me come swiftly to the policy laid down in the Address of the Governor. First of all, I have just heard from the members of the other side their keenness of maintaining the identity of the tribal people. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I press that this House should come up with some sort of measures i.e., legislative measures, in the line of the Residential Bill, which we have once passed in this House, and also to move for measures pertaining to the maintenance of identity of the tribal people so that they will now be wiped out by complete assimilation with other groups of people who have the majority.
Now Mr. Chairman, Sir, I come to the next point that is referred to in Page 6 of the Governor's Address on Block Development Agencies. Mr. Chairman, Sir, during the last year a sum of Rs.32 lakhs was earmarked for improvement and development of backward areas but it is amazing to note that this amount of Rs.32 lakhs was mostly used for election expenses by the then Government. You know how the allocation of funds was made during the last year. Almost all the resolutions of the B.D.C. were trampled under the feet of the then Government. They did not at all give any consideration to the resolutions of the B.D.C. They had utilised the funds according to their own sweet will and mostly these funds were utilised for the winning of their candidates in different constituencies. You know Mr. Chairman, Sir, in my particular block the B.D.C. had elected certain projects and development programmes yet the then Government had implemented the programmes according to their own sweet will. We had selected some projects according to priority yet they did not accept them; they had not accepted even one of the rural work programmes in my block at Mawryngkneng.
Though we had submitted the schemes in time, yet they did not give any amount for rural work programmes and also for the link roads in the backward areas. They had implemented other programmes for the benefit of their own. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I demand that there should be an enquiry into the activities of the blocks during last year, i.e., 1977-78. There had been misdeeds, there had been misuse of funds in many blocks. In almost all the Blocks the funds had been utilised according to the wishes of the people in authority and not according to the wishes of the people in authority and not according to the wishes of the people at the grass-roots. (Bell rang)
Mr. Chairman :- One minute more.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, the time is so short and the things to say are so many. I do not know which to select and which to discard. I will make only one mention here and that is for the new Government which is on the saddle now. As regards mention about short-term, mid-term and long-term credits here I would like to inform the House that we, from the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank, are keen to extend agricultural credits to the agriculturists. But it is sad to bring to your notice Mr. Chairman, Sir, that there have been seventy two arbitration cases and the progress has been very very slow because of lack of Bakijai staff. (Bell rang). There have been about then police cases pending and I urge upon the Government, through you, Sir, to see to all these so that the flow of credits to the agriculturists is maintained with steady progress. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman :- Mr. D.D. Lapang, twelve minutes.
*Shri D.D. Lapang :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the amendment motion moved by Shri G.A. Marak from this side. In the first place, I would like to congratulate the new Government for having this opportunity of serving the people through that side of the House during this term and I would also like to make an observation on the selection of the text read by the Governor in this august House. While reading the Address, I have seen no new policy which has been adopted by this Government but the policies are those which were followed or adopted by the previous Government including those adopted by the Government before the Congress Government. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the hon. Member from Sohryngkham has just now given a sharp reaction to certain and about misappropriation.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Not misappropriation, Mr. Chairman Sir but mis-use.
Shri D.D. Lapang :- Yes. The hon. Member who moved the motion happens to be the ex-minister i.e., C.D. and he will give a reply to that and so I would not spend much time as the time given to me is limited. I do not understand how the hon. Member has jumped to the conclusion that the last Government had misused the Block funds for the purpose of canvassing for the election. So far as my knowledge is concerned I have never heard such discussions in the tank and file of the Government just for the purpose of winning the election. But I would like to say that in so far as the Ri Bhoi is concerned, where there are as many as four Blocks till today, the normal sanction for the Blocks are made at the fag end of the financial year. I do not know that such activities are there and if the hon. Member has brought instances I do not know. But there has not been any general conspiracy to see that the Government misuse the funds for the election.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- On a point of clarification, I did not say that they have implemented but they have made the selection. They have also made it know to the public that these are the projects selected for 1977-78 and all those projects were against the decision of the Block Development Committee.
Shri D.D. Lapang :- Well, Mr. Chairman, Sir, whether they were implemented or not, the Speaker has changed his approach to the question.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- No, I did not change.
Shri D.D. Lapang :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, kindly see that my time is not taken away by interruptions. ( Laughter).
My little observation Mr. Chairman, Sir, is on page 2, Para 3 of the Address. Here it is mentioned that the Village Defence Parties have been organised in the border areas and steps will be taken to make them more effective. But it seems that the people living in the border of Bangladesh have had a lot of trouble with the influx of the people from outside. But this aspect of the matter has not found place in the Address, so, also the part to be played by the Border Wing Homeguard did not find mention in the Address although in the past this agency had rendered valuable, service in guarding the border to the benefit of the State. This is one of the organisations for which the Central Government made a substantial amount for its upkeep and maintenance that it can be fully utilised in a proper manner.
Now I come to para 2, page 3 to regulate a large-scale influx from outside the State. Here I do not know why nothing has been said about the small scale of influx because it is not only the larger evils but smaller evils also are dangerous and detrimental to the interest of the people of the State. Therefore, I feel that even smaller scale influx should be looked into but why this Government did take care only of the large scale influx into the State.
I will come to another point Mr. Chairman, Sir, in order to be short and concise, and that is about the co-operative society. I do not see that any mention had been made here in the Governor's Address regarding the attention paid or the policy of the Government in so far as the cooperative movement is concerned. We know that it is an accepted policy of the movement is concerned. We know that it is an accepted policy of the Nation that cooperative movement is the only agency which can do away with the evils of exploitation and also save the people from the clutches of private money lenders which the poor cultivator and poor citizens of the State have been experiencing. But this Government does not consider it necessary to put stress on the role of cooperative movement. During the short tenure that we have had the privilege of serving the people through the Government we had considered certain items which I do believe that this Government should have appreciate, but no specific mention has been made about this in the Address. I do believe that this Government will be thinking very seriously, honestly and sincerely to revitalise these cooperative institutions in the State so that the masses will be fully avail of the benefits of the cooperative unions, like the apex society and the housing society, not only for the members of the public but also of the low paid employees of the Government so that some sort of colony and departmental stores can be organised. What I mean to say is that there are no guidelines in this Address about the cooperative movement. We have seen emphasis has been laid on the boundary dispute and we all admit the fact that it is really a big headache to the Government and that this Government also has put stress on this. A few days ago, I have seen the statement of the Hon'ble Revenue Minister in the newspaper that he invites all documents which can help the Government to see if they can take back those lands in the border areas which fall in the other State. Now I fully appreciate the approach and the promptness of appealing to the people and I can assure that we from this side will extend our cooperation to this appeal and if any document is collected, will be given to the Government. On the 11th of this month, I have seen the statement of the Revenue Minister at Mawhati that local durbars must be registered and the Government will work out these programmes. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I do not know whether this is a policy statement and we want to be clarified on this, and if so, this should have found place in the Governor's Address and Government should educate the people right from the village level. I have seen here that P.W.D. roads will be constructed and special attention will be paid to the network of communication. Here I would like to make a point that while opening of new roads is very important, maintenance of the existing roads is still more important. So I would like to appeal to the Government to see that attention is paid to them. During our short period of service we have been trying our level best to see that the interest of the tribal people is protected and their identity is also being preserved. But inspite of our best efforts, we have heard many Members from all sides of the House who pointed out the short-comings and loopholes. We, in our humility, accept the verdict of the people. Yesterday we were there and today we are here and this charge has taken place not only here, but in the national level also. When we are here today, we can assure that we are going to play a role of constructive opposition and we do believe that the present Government with a bigger team of Ministers will be able to really deliver the good to the people specially when they have got clear eyes and better foresight to point out all the loopholes and the wrongs of the last Government. But, Mr. Chairman, Sir, people will not care much for the speeches and charges made here (bell rang).
Mr. Chairman :- You will have one minute more.
Shri D.D. Lapang :- Sir, people want deeds not words, people believe that this Government will serve their best interest and we also are being benefited by virtue of the fact that we are part and parcel of the masses of Meghalaya. So, Mr. Chairman, Sir, we do assure that we will be here to see that this august House, its dignity and prestige are being maintained to the maximum. We will also see that the people in general will say that the Government of Meghalaya is a Government worth the name to be mentioned. In para 1 of the Governor's Address it is stated that for a fruitful tenure of service (Bell rang). So, Mr. Chairman, Sir, before concluding my speech, I would like to express my personal opinion to the groups having been made to combine to form this Ministry for the benefit of the people at large. (At this stage, the Speaker occupied the Chair). So I would appeal to them to fight against self-centeredness so that a stable Government can exist and really deliver the goods to the needy and the down-trodden.
Mr. Speaker :- Now I call upon Mr. Nongkynrih. I believe you will speak in Khasi as you have already given the English translation of your speech.
Shri Dominic R. Nongkynrih :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the outset, I convey my highest regards to the House and the hon. Members. I want to deliver my speech in Khasi as most of my electorate are Khasis and I have given the English translation so that the non-Khasis can read it. Now I begin my speech in Khasi.
(Spoke in Khasi)
English translation of the speech is reproduced below :-
Shri D.R. Nongkynrih :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the outset I convey my highest regard to the House and the hon. Members. I support the motion of thanks moved by the hon. Member Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh, on the Governor's Address. Indeed I find the Governor's Address to be a classic mouthpiece giving hope and aspirations to the inhabitants of Meghalaya, particularly to the tribals of the State who constitute a major portion of population. The highlight of the speech is about the protection of tribal entity wherein also emphasis has been laid on agricultural development as well as economic upliftment of the tribals; whereby in the past the tribal people have been exploited in different spheres of life.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in my brief speech I want to express before the Government that I represent the poor cultivator who depend solely on agriculture. And I feel very pleased also that Government of India ensure concentrated attention on the improvement of agriculture for the agricultural masses of the State at stated in paragraph 9 of the Governor's Address.
Perhaps in recent years, as most of you may be aware, the Government of Meghalaya proposed to construct a dam in river Umiew falling in my Constituency for the purpose of augmenting the water supply for Shillong town and its suburb, nevertheless such proposed construction of Shillong town and its suburb; nevertheless such proposed construction of a dam would put a mass of cultivators under untold distress as hundreds of acres of cultivable land would be submerged and the cultivators will lose their livelihood. However, in this regard I express my sincere sympathy and alarm at the acute water shortage of Shillong town and its suburbs but such a proposed dam should not have been taken up at the cost of the poor cultivators.
Therefore, I insist upon the present Government to stop construction of a dam at the river Umiew under my constituency; and I propose to the Government to find out ways and means to get some other suitable places or sources without hampering any cultivable lands wherever it may be. With these few words I resume my seat. Thank you.
*Shri M. Reidson Momin :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while I rise to support the amendment motion moved by the Member from Bajengdoba, I would like to refer to page 4 of the Governor's Address para 9 where a statement was made by the Governor towards the end of the page. "The emphasis in the Plan of the State will be on improvement of agriculture and allied sectors as the vast majority of the population of the State depends on agriculture for their man source of livelihood." Sir, the statement has been the very same old story, but I am rather very glad that this policy for improving agriculture in our State has not been abandoned or this Government does not intent to abandoned improvement of agriculture since the lot of the people of Meghalaya depends very much on agriculture. But here Sir, talking about agriculture, I feel that it is not sufficient unless and until we have efficient officers and unless and until we provide or farmers or agriculturists with the necessary tools and implements like bulldozers for making the land plain as well as power-tillers and tractors for tilling the soil. Then Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also suggest or make a statement that in the past although water pumps and minor irrigation have been provided yet I feel they are not sufficient. So, I would request the Government through you, Sir, that more equipments should be provided, more minor and major irrigation facilities should be provided wherever feasible. It is also seen Mr. Speaker, Sir, that in certain areas water is not available at all from the nearby sources to irrigate the vast cultivable lands. Here I would like to suggest that while water sources are not easily available from the nearby streams for irrigation, and since it will be a small amount only to be spent for this irrigation project, let this irrigation project be combined with the Public Health Engineering Department so that certain amount of money could be made available for drinking water purpose. If it is combined with the P.H.E. Department I hope certain fund could be made available from the Agriculture Department to the P.H.E. Department and this will go along way to benefit the people. Then it is not only the question of providing irrigation, but it is also very essential that our crops should be protected from the depredation of wild animals particularly in Garo Hills District and also in the Bhoi Area where there are plenty of wild elephants. These wild elephants are destroying vast areas of agriculture these rendering the people helpless because they come in herds to destroy the standing crops meant for consumption of the cultivators throughout the year. Sir, I have had the opportunity of speaking on the floor of this august House on the previous occasions also. But unfortunately, nothing has been done in this regard. So Sir, I would request this new Government, through you, that something must be done about it. I do not know much about Khasi and Jaintia Hills, but in Garo Hills the depredation of wild pigs also is rampant. So something should be done now to prevent the crops from the depredation of these wild animals. I would like to mention that in Garo Hills recently there was a proclamation by the Deputy Commissioner for shooting down the leader of the notorious herd. Now, the proclamation was made and then it was said in that proclamation that the killer will either get an award of Rs.500 or two tusks whichever he prefers. The poor hunter went after the leader of the herd and shot him down and then these tusks were submitted to the Deputy Commissioner. But for some reasons they said that it was not the leader which was shot down and the killer has not been given the award. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know how they could say it was not the leader. Have they come to the jungle and have they found the animal themselves? How could they say that it was not the leader? I think he has submitted only the small tusks. But I would like to inform the House that the leader of the herd cannot be only the major or cannot be judged only by the size of the tusks. Even a small elephant has got big tusks or even a bigger elephant has got smaller tusks. You see even a small elephant can be a leader, he can be a notorious or rogue although has tusks are small. So why this question about the leader of the herd? Even a meghna has no tusk at all, when he comes out from the jungle he can even break anything with his four feet. So Sir, this is not the criterion to judge. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to request the Government that these things should be looked into and the killer who had been promised to be given an award of Rs.500 as a incentive should be immediately rewarded. Then Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to come to page 5 wherein it was stated in the Governor's Address that "the so far neglected sector of rural, small and cottage industries will get concentrated attention as it is one of the most important measures to ensure intensive development and economic growth in the rural areas. Development of road communications will receive a high priority as this is one of the basic elements of infrastructure for development." So here I would like to say that in my area some time back some five or six years certain roads have been taken up but unfortunately they have not been finished or completed. I would also like to say that in my area there are so many gardens full of fruit trees like oranges and pineapples and as mentioned by Mr. Akramozzaman from Phulbari in the last session that Government should give some help to the people for fruit preservation centre so that they can utilise their pineapples for sending outside. So Sir, this is the area where road is very important. There is one road from Bikonggiri to Damalasim and along this road there are so many gardens of pineapples and also better nuts. So Sir, I would request Government through you, to construct this road within this year at the earliest as it is in the Governor's Address. There is another road for development for the benefit of the villagers from Rongkhonagal to Rajabala via Batabari. This is a very important road for the people from another areas to come and attend the Rajabala hat. This road should be taken up by the P.W.D. (Bell rang).
Mr. Speaker :- Two minutes more.
Shri M. Reidson Momin :- This august House is in the knowledge of having administrative headquarters at Dadenggiri. There are no roads to connect the surrounding areas in the villages. Villagers have to come to Dadenggiri to attend the court and other necessary works. So the road which was constructed by the District Council from Selsella to Dadenggiri should also be taken up on priority basis. Then another road from Chibonggiri to Romagal which was constructed by the Development Block should also be taken up on priority basis by the P.W.D. so that the people from the surrounding areas can come for office works.
Then Sir, again I come to page 7 paragraph 15, where it was stated that Government are alive to the necessity for extending medical facilities in the rural areas. The programme in this sector will include better utilisation of existing institutions and efforts for posing 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 etc" I would like to say that even in the existing primary health centres we do not have any doctors or pharmacists or nurses. I would request the new Government to look into this and provide eye specialist for Tura Civil Hospital and dentist and anesthetist who are not available there. Eye specialist and dentist, doctors and nurses should be posted in certain primary health centres as they are not available at present. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Tuberlin Lyngdoh.
Shri Tuberlin Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very glad having this opportunity to stand here as one of the members of this House. I have heard the speeches of most of the members on the Governor's Address. Some here appreciated it and others were against it and there were also some who are interpreting in different ways. In my humble opinion and understanding I very much appreciate the Governor's Address because most of the policies and plans have been pointed out as to what the new Government will implement and how it will function for the benefit of the people and the State as a whole. Mr. Speaker, Sir, all my friends who have spoken before me today and the previous day have started their speeches as the normal course that is, they have started from the first page and proceed onwards in the manner. On my part I would like to bring my speech from the last para that is, para 30 where the Governor says that, "I am confident that you, as the elected representative of the people of the State with fresh mandate, will extend the necessary help and co-operation to the Government to enable it to discharge its responsibilities and accomplish its chosen tasks". So here, Mr. Speaker, i.e., we have seen that the Governor has requested all the members of this House to work together in building up our State as a whole Sir, I as one of the members of this House, request all of you to work together for the common good and the interest of our State, not only in one subject but also in every subject, to show the spirit of co-operation in every aspect of developmental programmes. Next, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to say something on one of the subjects in the Governor's Address which affects very much the West Khasi Hills District. That is para 13 of the Address where the Governor says that the objective of the road development programme in the State will be to have a network of roads (Bell rang).
Mr. Speaker :- Speed up Mr. Lyngdoh, your time is up.
Shri Tuberlin Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we in the West Khasi Hills District have been badly neglected during the last few years in respect of road development. Apart from the Shillong Nongstoin road that passes through some of the areas in the district there is no other road in the Nongspung and Pariong Constituencies. One road was actually proposed from Sohiong to Pariong but I regret to say that the construction of this road has been started from 1970-71 as the care may be but I regret to say that it has not been completed uptil now. This is nothing but a sheer negligence and partial treatment of the past Government. I hope this new Government will not treat us in the West Khasi Hills District as we were treated by the past Government.
Mr. Speaker :- Thank you, Mr. Lyngdoh, your time is up.
Shri Tuberlin Lyngdoh :- So, I resume my seat as the time is short. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Bantha? He is absent. Mr. Tariang? He is also absent. Mr. Albinstone Sangma?
Shri Albinstone M. Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in support of the amendment motion moved by my friend, Shri Grohonsing Marak, I would like to make a few observations. The Governor at page 3 of his Address has stated that the Government are eager to ensure an expeditious settlement of the boundary disputes with Assam by making all possible and earnest efforts. There is also a specific mention of the transfer of blocks I and II of the Karbi-Anglong District of Assam.
Mr. Speaker :- You have six minutes.
Shri Albinstone M. Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is no mention about the long outstanding controversy of the boundary line of the Garo Hills District and Goalpara District of Assam. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to inform the House those places of dispute and areas under dispute to enable the Government to take an immediate and expeditious action to make a joint enquiry with the Government of Assam for an early settlement. Mr. Speaker, Sir, Naguapara and Bershakona areas, Rongsai, Takurbilla are under 'B' Mohal and Daknataka areas which fall under Mauza No.5 in Garo Hills District near Rongjuli Sir, because of the timber extraction by the contractors of both sides, from Garo Hills as well as Goalpara District, trouble started and dispute arose. The matter was referred to the Government of Meghalaya to make a joint enquiry with the Government of Assam but the matter was still remaining pending up till now. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in Rongsai area, even the Forest Beat Office of the District Council has been claimed by the Government of Assam and also a big area of land under teak plantation done by the Garo Hills District Council is also being claimed by the Government of Assam. In this way, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are many pockets where disputes arise between the Garo Hills District and district authority of Goalpara. Also, in the entire area of Jinjiram, river Bhoglasbhita to Kasaripara near Hallidaygonj in Garo Hills District where the people of these localities near Phulbari, are enjoying the fishery since time immemorial but Goalpara district authority sold the fishery by auction and prevented the people of Phulbari area from catching fish of that fishery in the Jinjiram river. There were disputes here and there from near Boglasbhita village to Kasaripara near Hakidigonj. The matter was referred to Government of Meghalaya for immediate necessary action. In this way, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there were disputes between Garo Hills and Goalpara in Assam. There is also another boundary dispute from Singimari Bazar to Pipulbari Bazar. Although some portion of this big bazar falls within Goalpara but atleast half the bazar area should be in Garo Hills. There is also another big road constructed by the P.W.D. of the Government of Meghalaya which was encroached by this big bazar on the other side, some hats are there also in which the Goalpara district hat lessee used to collect tolls and enjoying the revenue of the Garo Hills District Council. This matter was also referred to the Government of Meghalaya for taking immediate necessary action to make a join enquiry. (Bell rang)
Mr. Speaker :- You have only two minutes more.
Shri Albinstone M. Sangma :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, another area is Teporpara. Here also Sir, the Goalpara district authority has constructed an embankment encroaching places which are very much under the Garo Hills District Council. People of that locality raised objections because they are pattader of that land. This matter has also been referred to the Government of Meghalaya for an expeditious settlement of the dispute. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is also another dispute. Of course that is between the Khasi Hills and the Garo Hills. It is known as the Mogru-Morongga area. It is Khasi Hills District and Garo Hills District border dispute. According to the map of Garo Hills, Morongga Nokma Aking's map is within Garo Hills District map. Here also the dispute started due to timber extraction by the contractors of both sides. As a matter of fact, this area falls within Garo Hills but yet is clamed by the Khasi Hills District Council. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I urge upon the Government through you, Sir, to make immediate and necessary enquiry for an early settlement of the dispute. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to make another observation on the Governor's Address at Page 9 on Item No.21. Sir, the Garo Hills District Council has moved the Government of Meghalaya for holding the District Council election quite in time. The District Council also again moved the State Government for extending the term of the District Council as the election could not be held because of certain difficulties. Sir, in the case of the Jaintia Hills District Council? Sir, it is a matter of great surprise to learn that the Garo Hills District Council administration has been taken over by the Government and Sir, it is quite unjustifiable and arbitrary. Sir, that the action taken by the Government of Meghalaya in respect of the Garo Hills District Council is really an injustice. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to urge upon the Government to extend the term of the District Council of Garo Hills as it has been done. In the case of Jaintia Hills. (Bell rang). So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we also expect the same kind of justice from the Government in the case of the Garo Hills District Council. Sir, as I do not have time at my disposal I will not be able to cover all the points that I want to. So, with these few words, I resume my seat. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Nichols -Roy.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion of thanks to the Governor made by my colleague Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh. Considering that this Government had only about a week to prepare the Governor's Address to present it before the House, Sir, I would like to congratulate them for the way in which it has been presented. Unfortunately our hon. Member from Bajengdoba had made the statement that there is no mention in the Governor's speech - there is no doubt whatsoever that the Governor is the head of the administration of the State with the Council of Ministers to advise him. I am sorry that our friend representing Bajengdoba had make so much of remarks on this matter. At the first instance I also would like to refute the remarks made by the hon. Member from Jirang. The hon. Member said that the speech of the Governor has been made in such a manner which will create or encourage communalism and disharmony between one section of the society and another section. But, Sir, here I would like to say that the statement made by the hon. Member from Jirang is totally wrong because in the Constitution it is very clearly laid down that it is the duty of the State to look after the backward sections of the country including schedule castes and scheduled tribes. Therefore, the interpretation made by the hon. Member from Jirang saying that the speech of the Governor would encourage communalism and disharmony, is totally wrong and I stand here to reject it completely. Sir, the hon. Member from Jirang had also stated that the protection as given in the Sixth Schedule is enough. Sir, here I would like to remind him that it was during the administration of Assam Government this protection given under the Sixth Schedule was not enough and perhaps he forgot that he was also one of those who fought for the hill State demanding that the protection given in the Sixth Schedule under the Government of Assam were not enough and that was one of the reasons for which this State was granted by the Parliament. Mr. Speaker, Sir, to say that the statement of the Governor would encourage differences between different communities is again totally wrong. These differences do exist and we recognise it and it is also recognised that while the tribal people are in the majority in our State, yet they still represent the economically backward section of the country and need protection and encouragement by this Government and State Governments of other States are also trying to do so. Sir, our hon. Member from Jirang had also mentioned that the Government has not mentioned about the Dispur dispute. I am sure that if the hon. Member had been careful enough he should have seen that the Governor has very clearly stated that the boundary with the neighbouring State of Assam covers large areas and there are instances of incidents that took place and this Government will be trying to settle this problem expeditiously. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also point out to the House that the Governor has also referred to the tradition of amity and good-will amongst various sections of the population of the State and by and large the over-all law and order situation has been maintained satisfactorily. Sir, two or three other hon. Members from the other side of the House, particularly the hon. Members from Pynthorumkhrah and Laban have highlighted about a few incidents that have taken place. Yes Sir, they have marred the traditional good-will between various communities in Shillong and in this connection this Government have already made a statement condemning such incidents and the party from this side of the House do condemn such kind of breaking of law and order. But may I humbly point out to those hon. Members from the other for side of the House that it would be wrong for them to exaggerate such incidents out of proportion though it is important, but not out of proportion to the total picture in the whole State. Now I would just like to touch on a few points made by the Governor in his Address to bring it to the attention of this Government certain important points so far as I am concerned. It is regarding border areas. It is very good that the Governor has recognised the importance of the economic condition of the border people as it has not been up to the expectation and more attention will be paid to the border people. At paragraph 10 it has also been mentioned that more attention will paid to the solving of the horticultural problem and for its development. I would suggest that greater attention be paid the solving of the die-back disease of Citrus in the border areas. Sir, I also would like to highlight the importance of transport in our State. A small paragraph has been given in the Governor's Address about it and I would like to suggest that route should be reopened for the Meghalaya Transport Corporation. So far as industries are concerned, I would like to urge upon the Government to be sure to pay greater attention to the training of our people who are required to attain technical skills to man the industries to be established. So far as medical is concerned I would like to urge upon the Government to re-build the dispensaries which have been opened and are almost collapsed particularly in the border areas.
Mr. Speaker :- Just one minute more.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- I am happy that the Governor has mentioned about rural electrification and I would urge upon the Government to pay more attention for quick payment of compensation to the people. But in our case a number of cultivators are affected. Tremendous time is taken in paying this compensation. I am sure that Government will be good enough to pay this compensation at the earliest. Finally, Sir, I would urge upon the Government to make sure that communications which have been given some importance in the border areas be improved and that the roads already in existence are maintained properly. There is one old border road the Mawsmai-Shella road. Nearly 12 miles have been taken up for surfacing and I would urge the Government to take up the balance immediately for black-topping.
*Prof. M.N. Majaw (Minister, Law, Parliamentary Affairs, etc.) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was very delighted to listen to the outburst by the member from Bajengdoba, particularly when he spoke of the lottery ministry. He seem to have forgotten the casting of lot even in pre-historic days. Even in the Bible itself it is mentioned in the Acts of Apostle how Matthias was elected by a lot to take the place of Judas. Further Mr. Speaker, Sir, Rev. Father Sngi was the one who presided over the lottery. In fact, he prayed and most beautifully took God to guide in choosing the right person. it was a most unfortunate thing to be little it here in the House and it was then that our Chief Minister, the leader of the House was elected by Lot and also the Deputy Chief Minister. Now Mr. Speaker, Sir, even in the budget we have lotteries under the head 268'. I do not see what aspersion can be case on the Ministry which was formed in a religious manner in which the Chief Minister was selected. Therefore, this Ministry should be more honoured as it is a more sacred ministry than anything else n the past. I would also oppose the attack of the hon. member from Pynthorumkhrah on various matters. Further, we are here to day by the will of the people and we have taken the oath.
As regards the revenue matters, I would like to tell the House that we are very much concerned with the boundaries. In fact when our parties met together; one of our objects was to settle as expeditiously as possible these boundary matters. It is specially put forward as one of the four objects for common objectives. And I can say that I had taken steps I have requested the Revenue Minister of Assam to meet me at Khanapara at any date which is convenient. there are hundred of problems as the hon. member from Shella rightly said, we could not narrate or give a long list of the problems long the border. We have said that all these anomalies will be settled. The Government at page 4 are anxious that these difficulties and anomalies existing along the border of Meghalaya be removed at the earliest. Now I have tried my best in my own way to be removed at the earliest. Now I have tried my in my own way to help whenever any matter was brought to me. The hon. Member from Nongpoh informed me that there was a trouble in Pilangkata and I have instructed him not to conduct any demarcation since we are about to meet and arrive at an agreement. With regard to the objection of the hon. member from Rongrenggiri, I would request him to kindly furnish some detail to that the Government can take up the matter with the Government of Assam.
With regard to the objection made by the hon. member from Jirang, who spoke of Zamindary system in the Bhoi areas, to me I do not know any Zaminder system. Most of the Bhoi areas consist of Ri Raj there are just a few of ri kynti lands. These properties are now to be surveyed. With regard to land revenue and cadastral survey, we have got Rs.25,00,000/-. Rs.5,00,000/- is meant specifically for cadastral survey by the State Government and Rs. 3,00,000/- by the District Council. So this Government will tackle this problem immediately. Regarding the test relief schemes in the Bhoi area, I am sorry that I have limited time at any disposal and I will not be able to read out all the schemes because it will take some time. But we have sanctioned a few days ago Rs.5,16,100/- for test relief schemes only for the Bhoi area and the seed grant for those areas affected by the hailstorm 50 percent from the Community Development Department amounting to Rs.16,579/-. The Agriculture Department will also give a matching grant of Rs.16,579/-. This will amount to more than Rs.1,20,000/-. So I hope the hon. member from Jirang and the hon. member from Nongpoh will feel satisfied with this allotment of money. I would have been happy of course if all the members would ask questions to show how serious they are in asking questions. If there are any other matters that we have not replied to, we would be glad to reply.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries etc) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the outset before I give any replies to the subjects under my charge, I would like to make some observations. When the mover of the amendment motion spoke the other day, he was charging this coalition Government as being undemocratic because of the fact the it is welded by three or four regional parties. I just like to pose a question to the mover whether he would call undemocratic because of the coalition Government.....
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I did not say that because of forming of two or three parties, the Government is undemocratic. I said because of lottery, the Government is undemocratic.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries etc) :- Mr. Speaker, I have noted here, he charged this Government as undemocratic because it is a coalition Government. In any case, if he withdraws it.....
Mr. Speaker :- Is lottery Government undemocratic?
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak :- That is my contention.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries etc) :- I will dispel that by referring to the Election Law. Even in the law itself it is clearly stated, in the Act of Parliament, that drawing of lot is a legalised action. In Section 65 of the Act of Parliament and in Section 102 of the Election Law, it is clearly stated in so far as the question is not determined by such a decision, the High Court shall decide between them by lot and proceed as if the one whom the lot then falls had received an additional vote. I am just trying to read from the Election Law to prove that drawing of lot is a legal matter. Anyway I do not like to go into all the details, but I would only like to come straight to the matter which come under my charge. I thank all the members who have participated in the debate particularly Messrs. Salseng Marak, B.B. Lyngdoh, Alfrein Marak, Ledishon Nongsiang and S.D.D. Nicholas Roy - all of them have touched the policy of the Government, with regard to establishment of industries, I will make a reference that the policy of this Government, in so far as growth of industries is concerned, has been clearly spelt out in the policy statements as addressed by the Governor of Meghalaya. Now the emphasis is clearly on the establishment of small, village and cottage industries particularly in the rural sector. Now, in short, it means that encouragement will be given to rural and mini industries in the tiny sector. The hon. member from Resubelpara the other day had made some suggestion that it would be in the interest of the State that exploitation of forests and mineral resources is called for the establishment of industries. I quite agree with him on this. In fact, this is also the policy of this Government. But I do not agree with the statement when he said that the policy is vague. The police is very clear even in regard to the medium and large scale industries. But in so far as this type of industries is concerned, we will be guided by the best interest of the people of the State. We know very well that establishment of big industries, large scale or medium industries has been the subject of debate in the past and even today and for the simple reason that apart from the controversy about the feasibility of such projects, large scale industries do bring a lot of problems which the people of the State have to encounter. We have had experience in the past when big industries were set up in Byrnihat, we know the problem that have caused in-as-much as employment could not be catered to the local people of the State. This is a very important point which we are to consider whenever an industrial unit is set up. We have to be clear about the personnel and man power that will look after the industries. In fact, I am very thankful to Mr. S.D.D. Nichols-Roy who had made a mention of a very important programme that whenever any industry is set up, training of our people is a prerequisite in setting up of such industries. We know very well that when any industrial unit is set up, it will have certain gestation period and it is the thinking of this Government that during such time, we will train the personnel in order to man the industry so that by the time the industry is commissioned, trained personnel will be available to man the industry. So I would like to mention here very clearly and categorically that our policy in so far as industries are concerned is clear and as Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh said the other day that we are not going to set up industries just for industries sake and industries that we are going to set up must be people-oriented and based on the good of the people. It should not be only for the need to augment the economic power that it is incumbent on our part to set up industries for industries sake. So I would like make it very clear so that there should be no doubt in the minds of the members of this august House about the intention of our policy or of our policies. Mr. A. Marak has made a mention about the need to have large scale industries in Garo Hills and also the desirability to set up a paper mill in Garo Hills where there is plenty of bamboos. While appreciating this suggestion I will only say Mr. Speaker, Sir, that it will be the duty of this Government to investigate the resources of the State, in all parts of the State and after the investigation, we will examine the desirability of having this unit and find out in what way the real interest of the people of the State would be served. In so far as this point is concerned I leave it at that. I am also thankful for the suggestion given by the hon. Member, Shri Salseng Marak, who mention about the need to lay emphasis on the growth of handloom and handicraft industries. (bell rang). I am coming to a close. I would only like to say that these are policies of this Government. With these few words I believe I have covered all the points and I have nothing more to say so far as Industries Department is concerned.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Barrister Pakem will you take part?
Shri Barrister Pakem (Minister for Agriculture etc) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise from the Government side to give certain clarifications to certain observations made by the hon. Members in this august House. I am very thankful to the hon. Members who have participated and also some observations regarding my department and allied departments under my charge. I do not know how far I will be able to say because this is the first time for me to speak before the House. I do not know whether it would be a maiden clarification since I do not have the privilege to make a maiden speech.
Well, first of all I would like to refer to the statement made by the hon. Member, Mr. Wanniang relating to his suggestion of taking up research for soil and crop in border areas....
Mr. Speaker :- you should address the full name of the hon. Member.
Shri Barrister Pakem (Minister for Agriculture etc) :- Thank you, Sir. The department have a programme for soil analysis and taking up adaptive trials for different varieties of crops in different parts of the State. Government would ensure that border areas are also appropriately covered under the scheme.
For any original research needed for the area, help of I.C.A.R. is also being taken, through their regional complex for N.E. Region with headquarters at Shillong.
The Government also feels that there is sufficient technical know-how available with the department for improvement of cultivation in the border areas for which intensification of extension works in the border areas is needed. A scheme for strengthening of the extension administration of the entire State is being submitted to the Government of India, which would also help in intensification of extension work in the border areas.
Now a quite a number of the hon. Members especially from Jaintia Hills and Umroi and as well as from some other areas spoke regarding procurement and distribution of bone-meals and fertilisers. The Government is always endevouring its best and will continue to strive hard for timely supply of fertilizers etc. to the cultivators. Arrangement for supply of bonemeal for the coming paddy season has already been finalised. During January-February last, shortage of fertilizers to some extent was felt and Government took prompt action quicker supply; but unfortunately, super phosphate in full quantity could not be obtained in time as all the factories in the Eastern Zone, from where super phosphate was allotted to us were not functioning properly for mechanical break-down and labour strike. Attempts will be made to build up a buffer-stock in future to avoid any such situation.
In our State chemical fertilizers are generally consumed in potato cultivation with emphasis on ammonium sulphate as source of nitrogen and super phosphate as source of phosphate. The Government efforts are three sided. Firstly, to propagate use of fertilizers in various other crops including food crops; secondly, timely supply of fertilizers for all crops; and thirdly, popularising other suitable nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilizers as at times due to production and other difficulties, ammonium sulphate and super-phosphate have not been readily available in adequate quantities.
The Government are already aware of this distribution problem and has already approved the establishment of a number of wholesale centres (24 Nos) in the interior areas. The Government will endeavour to stock sufficient fertilizers in these centres and would not mind in opening still more centres, depending on need.
The hon. Member from Umroi stressed the need for providing free seed to hail-storm affected people of Bhoi areas. Well, this falls under another Department. However it has been arranged to supply free seed partly by the Revenue Department and partly by the Agriculture Department. The total quantity of seed proposed to be distributed is :-
costing approximately Rs.1.23 lakhs to be shared equally by Revenue and Agriculture Departments. In addition, Agriculture Department is arranging to distribute 80 quintals of soyabean seeds at 5 kg. per family to those interested in growing this crop.
Shri Crunden A. Sangma suggested that Government should encourage growing of more ginger and provide subsidy for improved seeds, Government have a continuing scheme in hand to provide seeds of improved variety of in ginger growing areas at 50 per cent subsidy.
Regarding falling of price, this depends to a great extent on marketing outside the State; however, Government would immediately look into it.
Shri B. Koch suggested that work done previously should be further intensified for enhancing production. The Government would surely look into all deserving cases where repairing or further strengthening of the existing projects is taken to be helpful so far as these relate to work done by this Department. For work done early by the District Council, the concerned authority would be requested to look into it.
There is another point in this connection relating to the credit facilities which is being looked after by another Department. Here credit is very essential for proper agricultural development in our economy. With the strengthening of the co-operative institutions in our State we hope that adequate credit support will be available. In this regard farmers themselves have an important role to play in seeing that their cooperative institution play their roles effectively and that the credit availed of is repaid timely so that the line of credit is not choked.
Well, this morning we had other suggestion made by Mr. Reidson Momin which are welcome. The Government is already endeavouring in this line. His suggestion for joint effort by P.H.E. and Minor Irrigation Wing in exploiting under-ground water potential will be fully examined.
Regarding the suggestion made by Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy relating to substitution of some cash crops like pan with other non-perishable crop is already under...(Bell rang) One minute more Sir, if you will allowed, execution in a gradual manner. Our efforts are to substitute such crops with low volume high price crops like black paper. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Minister-in-charge, of Border Areas.
*Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Border Areas) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, before I give the replies to the subjects concerning my Department, I would like to make some observation with regard to the motion of amendment moved by the hon. member, Mr. Grohon Singh Marak. Regarding the lottery Government which he choose to call the policy of the Government I would not elaborate too much on the instances of the practice of drawing lots because some hon. members had already made references to so many instances. But I would like to pose a question : Whether in November, 1976, the Congress Government received a mandate from the people to form the Congress Government was it not a fact that the so called Congress Government, from November, 1976, was a back-door Government and if the members from the other side had the courage to brand the Coalition Government. Lottery Government, I think, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is not unfair a or not incorrect to brand the Congress Government from 1976 as a Gangster Government.
Mr. Speaker :- I think, Mr. Pohrmen, it is un-parliamentary. Please withdraw the word.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen :- Alright, Sir, I withdraw.
Shri Maham Singh :- He was also one of us. He joined the Congress.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Border Areas) :- With regard to the change that the Governor has disowned this Government.
Mr. Speaker :- Are you not going to reply to matters concerning your Department because there is time for only 5 minutes?
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Border Areas) :- The question of owning or disowning the Government by the Governor does not arise in this case because the sole responsibility lies with the Council of Ministers.
I would like to come to the points raised by the hon. members. With regard to health in particular, some members had mentioned about the Medical College in Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to inform the House that we have accepted the offer of the Indian Medical Council of Education, Health and Welfare for backward Regions for opening of Medical College and Hospital at Tura subject to clearance by the North Eastern Hill University, Indian Medical Council and Government of Indian. The Indian Council of Education Health and Welfare for Backward Regions could not get clearance probably due to the fact that the Government of India is against the Government has also requested the organisation to start a hospital only at Tura instead of a combined Hospital and College with all the important specialties for which the organisation has not agreed.
During the visit of the President of the Indian Medical Council to Shillong some time during September/October 1975 they have expressed their personal views that Shillong should have been selected as the venue for a Regional Medical College to cater to the needs of the North Eastern Region. It is unfortunate that the Regional Medical College was selected and set up at Imphal since July, 1973, by the Government of India.
The Government of India also do not envisage establishment of new Medical Colleges during the fifth Plan period in the country.
However, the need for a medical college in the State is paramount as man-power requirement in the State is essential. According to the target aimed by the World Health Organisation there should be one doctor for a population of 1500. As such, the State of Meghalaya will require 666 doctors and 250 specialists in various disciplines. At present, there are only 140 registered medical practitioners in the State; out of them, 103 basic doctors and 6 specialists belong to the area. About 80 of them are serving in the Government. We have all the infrastructure for starting a Medical College but the only constraint is the lack of resources. For a medical college with 100 admission per year the non-recurring expenditure is 11 crores while the recurring expenditure is 2 crores per year. This College, will cater to the neighbouring States of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
With regard to the points raised, in this connection the Jowai Civil Hospital, the extension of the hospital has been made recently by constructing Maternity Paediatric blocks, Operation Theatre and staff quarters. These were opened on 9th January 1978, with added bed strength of 45 beds. Staff, including specialists in Obstetrics and Gynaecology are already sanctioned.
Regarding the Barato Dispensary, the repair work costing Rs.40.550/- has been taken up by P.H.E. Dr. Elwin Nongkynrih, A.S.I. joined on 21st February 1978.
Zig-zak Public Health Centre the construction of the building has been more or less completed and handed over to P.H.E. by the P.W.D. on 4th February, 1978. Nurses were posted and doctor is being posted soon. The proposal is being processed by Government.
The construction of the Betasing PHE building is still in progress and is expected to be completed soon. Nurses were already posted and a doctor is being appointed.
Rongchugiri Dispensary-one doctor was posted in July 1972 but subsequently resigned in 1973. Another doctor will be posted when available.
Salsella P.H.E. It is not a fact that there is shortage of medicines. This PHC was recently inspected by the Director of Health Service and the stock of medicines is satisfactory. Only some more staff are required for opening indoor beds.
The position of medicine is expected to improve more now and that important medicines are included in the supplementary list. As far as Sonapahar is concerned our knowledge is that there is no health centre run by Government in this area but there is a charitable health centre run by the Catholic Mission and assisted by Government through grants-in-aid.
Regarding the N.R.M. Hospital at Cherrapunjee, originally the work has been administratively approved at Rs.12,75,000 as per plan and estimates of the Government of Assam vide Government letter No. SS/Health. 66/70/47, dated 18th February, 1972. Subsequently the work has been revised to Rs.15,59,500 vide Government letter No. Health. 66/70/128 dated, 14th February, 1977.
The total expenditure incurred by P.W.D. upto 31st March 1977 was Rs.12,48173. Since then, no further expenditure reports were received from P.W.D.
The work has since been handed over by the P.W.D. to P.H.E. Department vide their Memo No.1127 dated 22nd February, 1978.
Further amount required for repair of the building in question is Rs.1,12,200.
Mr. Speaker :- Now I call upon the Minister, Power.
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Minister, Power etc,) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all, I would like, by way of clarification, to refer to some remarks made by the hon. Mover of the Amendment to the motion of thanks. Sir, please excuse me because I have to clarify something.
Mr. Speaker :- Won't you leave it to the Chief Minister. Anyway you will have only ten minutes.
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Minister, Power etc,) :- No, thank you Sir, I will take less than ten minutes. The hon. Mover of the amendment motion referred to the crucification of Lord Jesus Christ. His burial and His resurrection in which he has misfit fully compared with the so called charge of his that the present Government, being a coalition Government and having different ideologies, had crucified democracy. I think I have made it very clear. In this context, Sir, I would like to submit that the hon. Members who supported and formed the present Government were democratically elected by their electorates, and as such, I think the instance cited by the hon. Mover of the amendment motion does not hold water at all. But, instead, I would like to remind this House that democracy has bent crucified during the imposition of the Emergency by the Congress Government and here in this State Sir, democracy had been crucified in November 1976 at Mendipathar when the hon. Member who moved the amendment motion was also present there. Of course he had followed a bit afar like Peter. The hon. Mover of the amendment motion who happened to a Theological Student, condemned the casting of lot in the selection of the present Leader of the House. I would like to remind him as probably he might have forgotten, that when "Judas Iscariot by transgression fell'". I again emphasise the sentence being a quotation that when "Judas by transgression fell," then, to fill the vacancy, the disciples prayed and cast their lots between Joseph who was also called Barbaras surnamed Justas and Mathias.
Mr. Speaker :- Mr. Hadem, you have made this House a theological school.
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Minister, Power etc) :- Of course, Sir, I am bound to do so because the hon. Mover of the amendment was also a student of theology. Sir, the result of casting of lot by the then disciples was that the lot fell upon Mathias and as such, it is also in the fitness of things, that in the present case too, in view of the previous Congress Government, by their transgression fell, than the selection of the present leader be cast by lot and I am sure that was correct at such a juncture and the circumstances of the moment. Sir, if the hon. Mover of the amendment motion had carefully followed up the procedure of what has been done, in this case too, he would learn that it was done after prayer.
Mr. Speaker :- What about power?
Shri Humphrey Hadem (Minister, Power etc.) :- And as such, I take it to be nothing but a providential selection of which I do not dispute. As such, I hope that this Government will last not only for five years and it will continue again even after five years after the next election.
Sir, being new in my present assignment, I do not have much to say about the suggestions, observations and proposal made by the hon. Members. All the suggestions that have been brought forward by the hon. Members, in as far as my department are concerned, have been taken note of and they will be taken care of. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Minister, Finance, are you going to say something.
*Shri Stanlington David Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker,. Sir, at the very outset, I would like to thank all the hon.' Members who had participated will in the debate on the Governor's Address. So, Sir, since time is very limited at our disposal, I would straight-away come to certain aspects and points which have been raised by some of hon 'Members in so far as the departments under my charge are concerned. First of all, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to refer to the points raised by two hon' Members, Mr. Bakstarwell Wanniang and also Captain Manick Das about the importance of the border roads. We are quite aware Sir that the roads in the border areas are really very important especially for the economic interest and the development to the people in those areas. Mr. Bakstarwell Wanniang had referred to two roads, namely, Rangthong-Ngunraw and Umpung Mawpud roads. I would like to inform the hon.' Member that the total length of the road is 18 kilometers and about 3 kilometres of this road, namely Rangthong-Ngunraw road, has already been completed and the Umpung-Mawpud section one comprising of a total length of 2.6 kilometers, the work is in progress and almost completed, and section two of this road also, is already in progress. About the other point raised by Captain Manik Das, I am in full agreement with the hon' Member that all these border roads since our State has an intentional border of 532 kilometers, it is right and proper that we should have good roads on our border areas and we have quite a number of them and we have moved the Government of India for the improvement of most of these roads. We have also Damra-Nagalbibra-Baghmara road. This road has been handed over to the B.R.O. for improvement and also the State Government has taken up the matter with the Government of India for the improvement of one very important road and that is Purakhasia road. In so far as this Department is concerned, other points that have been raised have been rooted down and we assure the hon' Members that necessary steps wherever possible will be taken by the Government.
Then on the question of soil-conservation, the hon' Member from Nongbah-Wahiajer Mr. Albin Lamare has raised this question that the Soil conservation Department in Jaintia Hills is not doing its work properly. Well, Sir, in view of the fact that the hon. Member has not given any concrete example as to whether the Department has failed in its duties, it poses a problem to me to give a specific reply on this particular point. However, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to assure the hon' Member that my Department will always associate with the hon. Member of this august House for the running of this Department. About the point raised by Mr. Snowmick Kalwin, the Minister for Revenue has already replied to it. Then another very important point raised by the hon. Member, Mr. D.N. Joshi and also Captain Manik Das with regard to rise in prices of essential commodities, well in this matter, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to inform the hon. Members that our State is a deficit State, and food grains like pulses, mustard oil, wheat and sugar are to be brought from outside the State. While rice, wheat and sugar are allotted and distributed through public distribution the other items are imported on trade account. The prices prevailing in the procurement centres governs all these commodities. We are trying to ensure that there will be nor shortage of any essential commodities and that local prices compared favorably with the prices prevalent in the whole of the country.
Captain Manik Das has also raised the point about the price of salt. It is a fact Mr. Speaker, Sir, that in the month of February this year, the prices of salt varied between 60 paise to 90 paise per kg. and during this current month, we have got adequate stock of salt and the prices of salt has now been coming down and salt is available now at 50 paise per kg. and we expect the prices will further come down. These are the only points Mr. Speaker, Sir, which most of the hon. Members have raised in so far as my Department is concerned. And we hope and expect that the other points raised by the other Members which have not been covered by the replies, we shall try our best to look into them also. Thank you Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Before we conclude the debate, I think the Chief Minister would like to have some time or he would reply right now.
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- After some time.
Mr. Speaker :- In that case the House stands adjourned for 25 minutes and will sit again exactly at one o' clock this afternoon.
(The House reassembled at 1300 hrs after a break)
Mr. Speaker :- May I request the Chief Minister to make a reply.
* Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the outset I would like to apologise for the very bad throat I have and for the same I would try to make myself as audible as possible and intelligible as well. Winding up the debate on the Governor's Address which started when the hon. member from Lyngkyrdem, Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh initiated the discussion on the motion of thanks moved by him earlier, I would like through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to thanks the members of both sides of the House who have participated in the debate. Special thanks are due to the hon. members who have come forward with some specific and concrete suggestions. Through you Mr. Speaker, Sir, I assure the House that the suggestions made whether they concern the Public Works Department, the Education Department, the Transport Department, the Agriculture Department, Forest Department or the District Council Affairs Department or any other department, have been noted down and will be given due consideration that they deserve. I would also Mr. Speaker, Sir, express my special thanks to the mover of the motion of thanks, Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh. While initiating the debate he has shown how fully and completely he has grasped and understood the significance of this Government's policies as initiated in the Governor's Address. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have no intention of expressing my thanks to Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh for having expressed his appreciation of the policies initiated in the Governor's Address. But I think he deserves thanks for the fact that while appreciating the policies as lays down in the Governor's Address he has expressed concerned for the development of the State and also welfare of the people. You may recall that with the creation something to the effect that he was glad and happy to note that the policy statement made in and through the Address shows all the promises made in the election manifestoes of the constituency parties which form the coalition Government, they have not forgotten the promises they have made and that on the other hand those promises have been reiterated and emphasised in the Governor's Address. This, he said, is the Government's resolve to fulfill the pledges and coming further he expressed the hope that the Government will faithfully abide by the policy statement. I am sure the mover of the motion of thanks in particular and the House in general hopes that all efforts shall be made to implement the necessary plans, schemes and projects widely indicated by implication in the Governor's Address. Finally Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to express my deep sense of appreciation and gratitude to the members of both sides of the House who have offered to cooperate with the Government in building the State and in serving the people. Mention has been made regarding the size of the Cabinet. In this regard Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to state that we are fully aware this regard Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to state that we are fully aware of the existence of a recommendation to the effect that the size of the Cabinet should be one-tenth of the total strength, of the total membership of the House. But at the same time Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to remind the Hon. members of the fact that this recommendation has not been strictly adhered to not only in Meghalaya. In the past too in several other States through-out the country, by way of illustration, I may remind the hon. members of this House of the time when Mohendra Mohan Choudhury was the Chief Minister of Assam and he had a Cabinet of 29 members in a House of 116. The percentage works out to about 25 which is two and a half the recommended size. I would also like to assure the House through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we had realised very fully the need to economise but at the same time the situation uptil now in the State is such that it became absolutely essential that the number of Ministers appointed should be as many as it is now. It has been contended that the Governor's Address is silent regarding the rights of the minorities. It has been stated that nothing has been mentioned on the rights of the minorities. In this regard I would like to state that the fact of the case is as it will be seen on page 1 of the Governor's Address that the Government is committed to provide the State a clean and efficient Government. We shall be responsive to the need and aspiration of the people. Now, then we say people, we mean the people of the State and I am sure that the hon. Members will agree with me that the aspirations of the people also include the right to live in peace and amity, include the right to carry on the occupation of their choice and so on and so forth. Then again, at page 2, it has been clearly stated as follows "we will make all efforts for meeting 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 the sections of the population and communities living in the State". This right itself is a view clear indication that the Government even when it sits, it meets to consider the Governor's Address it has in mind the people belonging to all sections and communities. It will not therefore, be right to say that nothing has been mentioned regarding the rights of the minority. Some of the hon Members have also an occasion to refer to the permanent residence certificate. Now, it has been stated that this caused all kinds of difficulties and embarrassments to the non-tribal citizens of the State. The fact Mr. Speaker, Sir, is that this is a requirement that has been prescribed and has been in existence since the days when we form part of the erstwhile State of Assam. This is not something that was brought forward after the creation either of the autonomous State of Meghalaya or the creation of the full State of Meghalaya. The purpose of the permanent residence certificate is because the Central Government at times, requires that a certificate of this nature be obtained by the applicant who seeks recruitment into the Army, Air force or Navy. This certificate is also required to be obtained by candidates seeking appointment in the technical institutions in the country, such as medical colleges, engineering colleges and poly-technics, and so on forth. And I see no reason why any genuine non-tribal Meghalayan citizen should have any objection to the requirement of the candidate to furnish this particular kind of certificate. Because we have very limited number of seats reserved for our students be a tribal or non-tribal in these various institutions that I have just mentioned. Then also, it is prescribed that candidates applying for scholarship should produce this particular certificate. Here again, I am sure that my non-tribal Meghalayan friends living in the State, will readily realise and understand that we as a Government wish to ensure that the benefits of such scholarships do not accrue to the non Meghalayan be they tribals or non-tribals. So, Sir, in any case, I wish to inform the House through you, Sir, that the matter is being examined in consultation with the Law Department. I am sure Mr. Speaker, Sir, that you will agree with me that one subject in which opinion has been expressed rather generally or rather strongly, is the question of law and order which the members have sought to attribute to a strained relationship between tribals and non-tribals. In this regard, I wish to state with all emphasis at my command that the people of Meghalaya, that is, the people who today are citizens of the State of Meghalaya, have lived in peace and amity in the past. I am now referring to the days when the movement for the Hill State was launched and this atmosphere of peace and amity had continued for several years even the autonomous State or the full State was achieved. The change started from the so called merger of the A.P.H.L.C. and the Congress in November, 1976, which did not find wide-spread support from the tribal population in Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills districts. This discontentment of the merger was spread also to Garo Hills as could be seen from the last Assembly election result that is, a change in the political environment has affected the law and order. From April, 1977 to 8th March, 1978, that is, before the present ministry took over, forty five cases of minor incidents in Shillong came to the notice of the Government. Of those twenty-five incidents were reported by the Police and the rest came to the notice of the Police intelligents, where the assailants were identified or recognised latter. A list had been made. After the 10th of March the incidents that occurred in Shillong town, out of these, ten incidents occurred in Shillong town. Of these, eight were informed and reported to the Police. As regards the assault on Prof. K. Chatterjee, no arrest has been made so far although Police have enquired into. On the case of assault on 15th March, 1978 referred to by the hon. Member from Pynthorumkhrah to one Depak Kumar Dey, a student of Shillong College, an arrest of one of the suspects, has been made so far. After the assault on Prof. K. Chattarjee this Government met the Press and stated that the law and order will be maintained and in any case this shows, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the full determination of our Government and the administration to fully enforce law and order in the State. However, in this connection the cooperation of all sections of the public will be required so as to enable the police to do their job effectively. In any case, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to make a particular statement here that I am not prepared to admit that there has been any break-down of law and order machinery in our State. The life in the capital town of Shillong and throughout the State is normal. The hon. Member from Mawprem, Mr. D.N. Joshi has also made a statement regarding alleged harassment of Nepalees. Regarding this, I will through you, Mr. Speaker Sir, request the hon. Member to bring it to our notice the specific instances of harassment and also to do the same to the police authorities and I am sure that the police will not be found wanting if any such information that will be given to them. The hon. Member has also mentioned that there is no mention in the Governor's Address about the difference between Nepalee nationals and Nepalee speaking Meghalayans. It may be mentioned here that so far as the Nepalees are concerned there are broad classifications i.e., the Nepalee speaking Meghalayans. It may be mentioned here that so far as the Nepalees are concerned there are broad classifications i.e. the Nepalee nationals and the Indian citizens of Nepalee origin and in respect of the latter category the proper care will be taken. Although none of my colleagues has already touched this point raised by the hon. Member from Dalu regarding the question of border crimes-particularly in Mahendraganj and Dalu sectors where the practice of cattle lifting is still continuing and in this regard the coordinated approach to the problem is being made with the help of the B.S.F. and the village Defence Parties. Two Companies of Border Home Guards have been placed in operation under the control of B.S.F. and one platoon has been placed in Khasi Hills District and the border crimes are regularly brought to the notice of the counterpart in Bangladesh, the concerned Deputy Commissioner and the B.S.F. authorities with a request to take action against the Bangladesh criminals. This aspect is also reviewed in the high level Coordination Committee consisting of the Chief Secretary, I.G. Meghalaya, D.I.G. and the Army representative and the last meeting was held on 21st of this month. The hon. Member from Sohra, Mr. S.P. Swer, speaking on the need regarding the law and order situation in the State has suggested that a second police battalion be raised in the State. On this suggestion I would like to inform the House that through the raising of a second battalion will cost the exchequer a very huge sum of money, nevertheless the position will be reviewed from time to time and we should also bear in mind the need of the second battalion and the financial resources of the State. And Mr. B.G. Momin, while speaking on the question of re-employment the policy of the Government would be to give re-employment to the retired employees only in very rare cases when suitable candidates are not available. Finally, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to state that we as a Government welcome criticisms and we realise fully well that there is no such thing as "tip-lut" which means "knows all" and therefore, criticism will always be welcome, specially if it is constructive. Sir, I am mentioning it here because of the fact that very unfounded criticisms have been leveled against this Government. For example, one of the hon. Members had the occasion to state that the names of the genuine non-tribal Meghalayans have been excluded from the electoral rolls and another hon. Member has resorted to the using of the material which was not even authentic and thus wanted to rely on an anonymous pamphlet. Rather the facts of the case are not really for the non-inclusion of the genuine non-tribal Meghalayans, but...
Mr. Speaker :- How many minutes do you want to take?
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- Another four or five minutes, please.
Mr. Speaker :- But here may I being it to the notice of the House that the House will continue till the Chief Minister will finish his replies'. (voices - yes, yes).
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- As I said that on the 24th of January, 1978, a complaint was lodged by Shri Bhaskar Choudhury to the Election Commission of India that eligible non-tribal voters who were voters in the last Parliamentary General Elections, 1977 in the 22-Laban Assembly Constituency were excluded from the electoral rolls used for the Assembly General Elections, 1978. The matter was referred by the Election Commission to the Chief Electoral Officer for enquiry and report. Accordingly the Deputy Commissioner, Shillong was directed to furnish a detailed report in the matter.
In his report the Deputy Commissioner, Shillong intimated that the alleged non-inclusion of a huge number of names of non-tribal voters did not appear to be founded. He informed that the final electoral roll of the Constituency was published by the Electoral Registration Officer on 31st October 1977 and in it all names duly enumerated in the course of intensive revision were included. The process of enumerated in the course of intensive revision were included. The process of enumeration was closely supervised by the Electoral Registration Officer and there was not malafide or intentional exclusion of eligible voters.
The Deputy Commissioner further stated claims and objections received during draft publication between 16th August 1977 and 15th September 1977 were disposed of and during draft publication the wide possible publicity was given in spite of which public response was not very encouraging. It was only after the announcement that the elections were likely to be held in February 1978 that there was some rush and claims through third parties were received by the Electoral Registration officer. Even so, all those claims were disposed of according to law.
In fact, Shri Bhaskar Choudhury and some other prominent leaders met the Electoral Registration officer personally in the matter. The Electoral Registration Officer informed that the list of persons submitted by Shri Bhaskar Choudhury was scrutinised and steps to dispose of the application were taken by him.
The law as it stands provides that eligible persons can file claim to the Electoral Registration officer in the prescribed form (form 6 appended tot R.E. Rules, 1960) and in the prescribed manner and there is no time limit for the purpose. In other words persons who do not find their names in the electoral roll can still file claims even after the General Elections for necessary action by the Electoral Registration Officer. But I wish to emphasise in this respect, Mr. Speaker Sir, that we have found out the fact that voters have not been shown to have political consciousness that electoral rolls are in the process of being prepared. It is only a few days or weeks that the elections are about to be held that everyone started rushing to ensure that his or her name is included. Secondly, Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to inform the house, through you, that it is not only the names of non tribal Meghalayans left out by mistake. But even the names of Khasis and Garos were left out from the electoral rolls by mistake and it is the duty of each one of us to ensure that we exercise our right and utilise the facilities provided by the Government. You may recall that a sitting M.P. of the Lok Sabha, Shri H.V. Kamt, retired I.A.S. realised that his name was not in the electoral roll only after filing his nomination paper. Now if we do not take necessary steps, I am sure the names will not be included in the electoral roll. We are not as politically conscious as Shri H.V. Kamath. It is only be lately that they realise what is happening.
Mr. Speaker :- Is it necessary?
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- Yes, only the content. I would only like to state that on his admission, that is, admission of the hon. member. This incident took place before the 25th February, 1978 and yet Mr. Speaker Sir, attempts have been made to lay the blame for what had happened, on the present Ministry which was installed as recently, as on the 10th of this month. It is in this context, Mr. Speaker, Sir that I said that we shall welcome criticisms. Whether it is made on the floor of this House or outside but we expect that such criticisms should be constructive. It is only in that manner that we can hope to work together for the upliftment of our people and development of the State. With these clarifications made and the assurance given may I, Mr. Speaker, Sir, through you, request the mover of the amendment to the motion of thanks on the Governor's Address to withdraw. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker :- May I request the mover of the amendment to withdraw?
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak :- I only want to seek clarification. With the emergence of the Coalition Ministry comprising of various regional political parties with different political ideologies, policy and programmes I realise many problems are increasing for the office of the Governor. The Governor of the State as a constitutional head functions as the agent of the President. He constitutes the link between the Centre and the State and is the eye and ear of the Centre. Therefore, the practice is that the Governor's Address as such is not subject to any amendment. In other words, any words expression, sentences contained in the Address can be deleted or amended or new words can be inserted. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, since there is a provision that a member can move amendments for raising discussion on certain matters contained in the Governor's Address and for seeking certain clarifications by the members from this side on the real policy of the Government not clearly understood by them. Only on this point the amendment motion has been moved. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have been listening for the last two days attentively to the deliberations on the Governor's Address by the hon. Members. So far as my experienced is concerned, I was thrilled by the very interesting and lively discussion that took place on several subjects and also some of the new legislators, certainly contribute towards the smooth running of the proceeding in this House. I was also impressed by the deliberations of the members who participated in the debate despite their different ideologies and policies. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, only one thing I want to ask the Leader of the House, if my suggestion is acceptable and if my suggestion is not undemocratic, I would like to suggest that. I was listening carefully to the explanation of two or three competent Ministers about the lottery. So Sir, I would request that when Cabinet Ministers will sit, if I be invited, and explain to me one by one, then only I would be satisfied.
Mr. Speaker :- Invited where?
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak :- In the Cabinet meeting. (loud laughter). Sir, some of the Hon'ble Ministers, as I said, tried to criticise about the performance when I was the Minister. that is the democratic way of reply. But I would like to clarify the point raised by the hon. Member from Rajabala Constituency, Mr. Mojibar Rahman who tried to say that I am not an Indian. Mr. Speaker, Sir, he completely failed to understand the Constitution of India. Article 173 says that a p0erson shall not be qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in the Legislature of a State unless he is a citizen of India. I forgot to mention to Mr. Mojibar Rahman that I am an Indian. He wanted to describe me as a foreigner. is it that Mr. Rahman is more Indian than I am. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to seek one more clarification from the Minister-in-charge of District Council Affairs. The hon. member from Rongrenggirir wanted to know.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to raise a point of order. Whether the mover of the amendment motion is allowed to reply to the debate. He has started to reply to various points raised by the hon. Members. Is this allowed, Sir?
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak :- I am just seeking a clarification. I am the mover of this amendment.
Mr. Speaker :- But you have to shorten it.
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, justice has not been done in the affairs of the district Council elections in the State Government has passed an order for the dissolution of the District Council of Garo Hills. Why not in Jaintia Hills?
Mr. Speaker :- That is outside the Governor's Address. Put your clarifications only.
Shri Grohonsing A. Marak :- Sir, lastly, I must say with a sense of satisfaction after hearing the replies and assurances made by the Hon'ble Ministers to each and every point raised from this side, I withdraw my amendment motion.
Mr. Speaker :- Since the mover of the amendment has withdrawn the amendment is it the sense of the House that his amendment motion be withdrawn? (voices - Yes, Yes). So the amendment motion is, with leave of the House, withdrawn.
Now, I put the main question. The question is that the members of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly in this session are deeply grateful to the Governor for the Address which he has been pleased to deliver to this House on 20th March, 1980. The motion is carried.
Since there is no other business, the House stands adjourned till 9.30 A.M. tomorrow the 28th March, 1978.
The 27th March, 1978.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.