Proceedings of the Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held at 9-30 a.m. on Tuesday, the 27th June, 1978 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us start the business of the day by taking up Starred Question No.2.
(To which oral replies were given)
Water Supply Scheme at Ampatigiri
Ahri Bhadreswar Koch asked :
*2. Will the Minister in charge of Public health Engineering be pleased to state -
(a) Whether the Government is aware of the fact that the people of villages constituting the Ampatigiri Constituency are suffering for want of proper supply of drinking water ?
(b) If so, Government proposes to take up a scheme for supply of drinking water for these villages ?
(c) I so, when ?
(d) If not, the reason thereof ?
(e) Whether it is a fact that the drinking water supply scheme at Ampati is included in the priority list for the year 1978-79 ?
(f) If so, when will the work be taken up ?
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister in charge, P.H.E.) replied :
(b)-Yes, subject to the availability of fund and feasibility report.
(d)-Does not arise.
(f)-the work will be started during the year 1978-79.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us passed on to Unstarred Questions.
(Replies to which were placed on the Table)
Tourism Development Corporation
Shri Manik Das asked :
30. Will the Minister in charge of Tourism be pleased to state -
(a) When was the Tourism Development Corporation Ltd., constituted ?
(b) What are the functions of the Corporation ?
(c) How much money had been spent during the last two years (year-wise) to run the said Corporation ?
(d) What is the total number of employees serving under the said Corporation, category-wise?
(e) What has been its achievement so far ?
Shri E. Iawphniaw (Minister in charge of Tourism) replied :
30. (a)-The Tourism Department Corporation Ltd., was constituted on the 25th January 1976.
(b)-The function of this Corporation is to promote tourism in the State.
(c)-In the year 1976-77 a sum of Rs.18,99 was spent for registration of the Corporation and Rs.50,000 for its function.
(d)-Chairman, Managing Director and one (1) driver.
(e) Organisational and other preliminary works.
Shri Manik Chandra Das :- 30 (c)0 What is the expenditure for the year 1977-78.
Shri E. Iawphniaw (Minister in charge of Tourism) :- I require notice.
Shri Manik Chandra Das :- 30 (d)- What are the other staff apart from Mr. Chairman, managing Director and Driver ?
Shri E. Iawphniaw (Minister in charge of Tourism) :- There is no other employee at present.
Shri Maham Singh :- Is there any typist ?
Shri E. Iawphniaw (Minister in charge of Tourism) :- No, Sir.
Shri Maham Singh :- Then who does the typing work.
Shri E. Iawphniaw (Minister in charge of Tourism) :- At present we have no other staff.
Shri Manik Chandra Das :- 30 (e)- What are those preliminary works undertaken by the Corporation.
Shri E. Iawphniaw (Minister in charge of Tourism) :- I require notice Sir.
General Manager, Meghalaya State Transport Corporation
Shri Tubarlin Lyngdoh asked :
31. Will the Minister in charge of transport be pleased to state -
(a) The number of cars and driver allotted to the general manager, Meghalaya State Transport Corporation, for his personal use ?
(b) Whether Government is aware that a personal driver of the said officer has to work seven days in a week even in holiday and Sundays ?
Shri B.W. Momin (Minister in charge of transport, etc) replied :
31. (a)-One car with driver is allotted to general manager for performance of his duties.
(b)-Occasionally the driver has to work on holidays and Sundays, when required. however, he could avail of a compensatory day off on any day suitable to him.
Shri H.L. Nongsiang :- 31 (b)- How many compensatory days have been availed of by the said driver.
Shri B.W. Momin (Minister, Transport) :- The compensatory days are given for working on Sundays and other holidays.
Mr. Speaker :- the hon. Member wanted to know how many compensatory days have been availed of by the driver last year.
Shri B.W. Momin (Minister, Transport) :- Unless the details of his working days.
Mr. Speaker :- It is not a question of details ; the question is how many compensatory days he has availed of.
Shri B.W. Momin (Minister, Transport) :- The Government is not aware of this fact.
The Balat Beat Offices
Shri B. Wanniang asked :
32. Will the Minister in charge of Forests be pleased to state -
(a) Whether Government is aware of the fact that buildings of the Balat beat Officer are in dilapidated condition ?
(b) If so, what steps have been taken by the Government to repair the buildings ?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Minister, Forests) replied :
(b)-Steps for repairs are being taken.
Shri Maham Singh :- 32 (b)- What are those steps taken for repair of the building ?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Minister, Forests) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the D.F.O. of Khasi Hills has required into the condition of the building and then he has reported to the Government asking for financial sanction and then it will be considered by the Government.
Shri H.L. Nongsiang :- 32 (a)- Since when the building became dilapidated.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Minister, Forests) :- It has come to the knowledge of the Government only this year.
Restriction on felling trees
Shri H.L. Nongsiang asked :
33. Will the Minister in charge of Forests be pleased to state -
(a) Whether it is a fact that Government is considering to restrict the felling of trees in private forests in consultation with the District Council ?
(b) If so, who is the latest position with regard to this propostition ?
(c) Whether Government is aware that the unristricted felling of trees was due mainly to the unristricted export of timber to the State of Assam ?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Minister, Forests) :- replied :
33. (a)- Yes, Government are considering extension of the Meghalaya tree (Preservation), Act, 1976 to areas under the management and control of the District Councils after due consultation with them.
(b)- The Autonomous District Councils have been requested to offer their views on the matter.
(c)-Yes, due to export outside Meghalaya.
Shri H. L. Nongsiang :- 33 (b)- Mr. Speaker, Sir, when they did request ?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Minister, Forests) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as far back as 1976 itself a discussion was held with the C.E.Ms of the District Councils along with the then Forest Minister.
Jaintia Hills District Council Forest Development Scheme
Shri Albin Lamare asked :
34. Will the Minister in charge of Forests be pleased to state -
(a) The amount of grants-in-aid released to the Jaintia Hills District Council for forests development during the year 1977-78 ?
(b) The forest development schemes so far implemented by Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council ?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Minister, Forests) :- replied :
34. (a)- The amount releasewd during 1977-78 is Rs.3,03,104.
(b)-The following are the names of schemes under implementation :-
1. Strengthening of Staff.
2. Wild Life Preservation Works.
3. Consolidation of Forests.
4. Farm Forestry.
5. Forest Protection.
6. Teakwood Plantations
7. Plantation of quick growing species.
8. Plywood Plantation.
10. Construction of Buildings.
11. Mixed Plantation on Waste land (a-c.s. scheme).
Umdiengpoh Seed Farm
Shri S.P. Swer asked :
35. Will the Minister in charge of Agriculture be please to state-
(a) Whether it is a fact that adequate staff and operatives are not provided for the Umdiengpoh Seed Farm ?
(b) Whether it is also a fact that the Government propose to abandon the said seed farm ?
(c) If so, the reasons thereof ?
Dr. B. pakem (Minister Agriculture) replied :
(b) and (c)- The Giovernment are considering how to make this and other small sized farms more useful.
Burnihat Forest training School
Shri Manik Das asked :
36. Will the Minister in charge of Forests be pleased to state-
(a) Whether it is a fact that the Forest training School at Burnihat is being shifted from Meghalaya to some other State ?
(b) If so, what steps Government propose to take in order to maintain the status quo ?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Minister, Forests) :- replied :
(b)-Does not arise.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, is it not a fact that the Forest training School at Burnihat partly falls in Meghalaya and partly in Assam.
Mr. Speaker :- That is a new question.
Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy :- No, Sir, because the question is that the Forest Training School at Burnihat is being shifted from Meghalaya. Whether it is a fact that this Forest training School is not only located in Meghalaya but on both sides of the road, that is within Meghalaya and Assam.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh (Minister, Forests) :- With regard to the location it is a fact that the Forests training School is located in both Assam and Meghalaya portions.
Schemes implemented by the Town and Country Planning Department.
Shri Albin lamare asked :
37. Will the Minister in charge of Town and Country Planning be pleased to state -
(a) The various schemes implemented by the department during 1977-78 and the amount sanctioned against each scheme (District-wise) ?
(b) the agencies responsible for implementing the scheme ?
Shri J.C. Marak (Minister in charge, town and Country Planning) replied :
37. (a) and (b)- The information is given in the statement which is placed on the Table of the House.
Mr. Speaker :- Now under rule 49 A of the Rules of procedure and conduct of business of the Assembly, I have received notice from Dr. B.K. Roy who wants to raise a matter under zero hour. Now, will Mr. B.K. Roy please raise it ?
Shri B.K. Roy :- Thank you Mr. Speaker, Sir,. This is regarding an incident at Jowai on the 20th of this month which has since created a tension in the town. It wasps on the 20th of June about 7.15 p.m. while the Accountant of the Jowai Branch of the United Bank of India one Mr. Ghose along with another employee, Mr. Biswas was returning home after the day's work they were attacked by a gang of people right near the Bank premises and were assaulted, making some utterances which were more of a communal nature like 'get out of our place'. However, the gang was far too strong for the two persons and the Accountant was severe assaulted. The other man, Mr. Biswas, managed to go to their mess, and came along with some of the people nearby but in the meantime, one Mr. Justice Laloo, and employee of the District Council of Jowai came to the rescue and he himself was a little bit assaulted. But the gentleman, Mr. Ghose was bleeding profusely from his nose as there was injury in his face and was removed to the hospital for medical help. As a result of this, the Bank stopped work the next day, there was no work. This is really a serious thing Mr. Speaker, Sir, for a bank to close its work for one full day, and so far I understand their Union in the Centre was contacted and the matter went quite high up.
Shri H.Hadem (Minister, power etc) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, May I raise a point of order. The last sentence of Rule 49 A says that the 'member raising such a matter shall not make any speech.'
Mr. Speaker :- I am quite aware of that. Of course in the last portion of this remark he did go a little bit by giving some opinion on the Union or other ting. Mr. Roy, will you kindly confine only to the actual incident without any comments whatsoever.
Shri B.K. Roy :- So the authorities of the bank contacted the D.C. and the police high-ups. I understand the D.I.G. and D.C. took up the matter in right earnest and assured the security measures would be tightened. But in the meantime, panic has been prevailing in the town because this is the third incident concerning the bank and some other incidents also took place in the town in recent weeks. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want a statement from the Minister in charge of Home Affairs the Leader of the House to apprise the House about the details of the incident and what measures the Government has taken to allow the panic in the town and the State in general. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Will the Deputy Chief Minister make a statement ?
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the 20th of June this year, Shri Gaurhari Ghose, Accountant of the United Bank of India, along with Shri Sadhan Biswas and Shri Bejoy Dey were returning to their respective re4sidence on completion of their work at the U,B,I, When they reached the Central School at about 7.15 p.m. three persons who were coming from the opposite direction accosted them. One of them reported gave a blow to Shri Ghosh, as a result of which, he sustained an injury on his face. Some local people who were passing by came to the rescue of the U.B.I. officials and Shri Ghosh was removed to the Jowai Civil Hospital where he was given first aid and was released. Shri Ghosh lodged a formal complaint in the Jowai Police Station. A case was registered and investigation was taken up. On 21st June 1978, the U.B.I. staff, Jowai did not do any work in order to register their protest against the above assault. They met the Deputy Commissioner, Jowai and O/C/ Jowai Police Station on 21st June 1978 and on their assurance that full security will be extended to them they resumed work on 22nd June and is not a fact that they contacted the D.I.G. Police, Jowai.
The Jowai Police arrested 3 persons on 24th June 1978 in connection with this case and forwarded them to court custody. Special Police Pickets have been posted including the one near the mess of the U.B.I. employees and patrolling in vulnerable areas has been intensified in Jowai. The Superintendent of Police, Jowai has reported that the situation in the town is normal and under close watch. Government strongly condemned such acts of violence by anti-social elements and we would like to reiterate our determination to ensure that such things do not recur. Government will also continue to make all possible efforts to ensure that such activities by the anti-social elements are effectively curbed.
Finally I wish to re-emphasize the fact that the situation in Jowai is normal and that there is no panic in the minds of the minority community.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to item No.2. Shri P.G. Momin to move motion No.1. Since he is absent let us come to motion No.2 Shri Mukul Das, will you please move motion No. 2?
Shri Mukul Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the necessity of paying more attention for the uplift of the economic condition of the people of the border areas in the State.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now, you can initiate the discussion.
Shri Mukul Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, India is our great country and in its map, Meghalaya is no doubt, a charming land. But the way this State of ours attracts the tourists from other States and also from abroad in the same way it posses a little fear to the people of other States because of its border aspects. From the security point of view, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Central as well as the State Governments are very much careful about our territories. But the questions that lies before us now is whether the Central or the State Government are very much careful about the economic conditions of the people of the border areas or not. So far we have seen that the economy of these border areas was never given the due consideration up to the our satisfaction either by the previous Government or the present Government.
(At this stage the Speaker left the chamber and Shri D.D. Lapang, Chairman occupied the Chair).
I feel Sir, that the importance of the economic condition of the border areas should be laid more stress that on the non-border areas of our State because the developmental works in other non-border areas where the people to some extent are happy with the development. There is a permanent threat to the people of the border areas by the counter part of Bangladesh and due to this and also some reasons it has become very difficult to implement the schemes. All the time, these developmental works are being disturbed by the Bangladesh nationals. The main profession of the border people Mr. Chairman, Sir, is agriculture and the Department of Agriculture has got more responsibility concerning the economic condition of the border people. As we know, first of all irrigation facilities should be provided to those agriculturists. But it is sad that in the border areas of the State irrigation facilities are not adequate. There are no tube wells, there are no sincere attempts to utilise the under ground water resource in order to provide irrigation facilities to the farmer as a result of which, our farmers in the border areas cannot produce more than one crop a year. There are lands lying uncultivated for quite a good time due lack of irrigation facilities. There are plots of lands in the border areas but due to Bangladesh nationals interference those poor farmers cannot cultivate their land. Several times I have repeated the question of Bangladesh nationals encroachment in our territory and this has become a regular practice for tem. The farmers in the border areas, Mr. Chairman, Sir, are not getting suitable financial assistance from the Government and they cannot improve their standards of agriculture. there is no rural bank although I admit that there are branches of the State bank of India in the rural areas. So far as we know, there is money in the State Bank in order to help the poor farmers but the problem is that when they go to those banks the Banks will simply ask the farmers for security and their security is their land and patta. Again the problem arises. The District Council does not issue patta to that extent so that those agriculturists can get help from the banks. Many hon. Members have earlier discussed and expressed their concern over this problem. When these farmers approach the District Council for the patta but the District Council will ask for a residential certificate and again will ask for a suitability certificate from those persons who have been born and brought up in those areas to prove that whoever he or she might be is a suitable person or not. They are to prove that they are the permanent residents of our State or not. And these permanent residential and suitability certificates are to be issued by the D.C. The District Council will simply ask the farmers to produce these certificates and when these farmers went to the D.C. he simply used to say that is is the District Council which is to allot the land and to give settlement of land. Mr. Chairman, Sir, it has also been observed that even after issuing their certificates the District Council does not issue patta to the people. Hence the farmers in the border areas are not getting any financial help. On the other hand, those farmers Mr. Chairman, Sir, have only to depend on some mahajans who come to the border areas from the non-border areas. They are rich people who used to occupy the lands of the poor farmers by giving them loan or a little amount of money. As a result of that, those farmers, since they are very poor, cannot repay the loans and gradually those mahajans become the owners of the land. this has become a process Mr. Chairman, Sir. There used to be an agreement between the poor farmers and those mahajans who will give a little amount for a plot of land and as per agreement, the farmers who are producing the crop year after year have to share that crop with that mahajan. Sometime the share goes more than fifty per cent. Moreover, the y charge interest on the amount given to the farmers and thus the economic condition of those farmers has gone down. Unless these farmers are given adequate financial help from the site of the Government or unless the Government take necessary steps to protect them or to stop this practice upto our satisfaction.
Communication is one of the very important factors of the border economy. There are many important roads which are not being taken up by the Department concerned. There are many proposals for linked road's. Those link roads is very backward areas are very important not only to the farmers but also to those people who are from non-border areas. Since there is no transport facility the people cannot go with their products to the markets.
Fishery, Mr. Chairman, Sir, as I had pointed out on the floor of the House the other day, there are some Government farms even which are not given importance as desired. There are some people who are very interested in fishery but they are not getting suitable financial help from the Government. I was told that these people are given subsidy of a little amount like Rs.100 for construction of ponds, tanks, etc. These people often use to say with this amount of Rs100 "In no way we can make use of this money and we cannot improve our fisheries in the border areas".
Co-operatives in the border areas as well as in our State as a whole I would like to point out that the functioning of these co-operatives is not at all satisfactory. As many hon. members have already expressed their concern by saying that there should be a thorough audit of all these co-operative societies of our State. I want just to add that specially the co-operative societies in the border areas should be audited without any delay, because in these areas the Secretaries of the Co-operative Societies are all in all and they do not even call general meetings years after years. These Secretaries are just going on doing whenever they like in their own way and hence the general economy of the border people connected with co-operative societies is affected. So, Mr. Chairman, Sir, regarding the economy of the border area I want to put forward a suggestion to the Government that it should not simply depend on the B.D.Os. Let us just constitute a cell from the Government by putting forward its suggestions and suggest ways and means, how the schemes can be taken up in order to prove the economic condition of the border areas.
Electricity, Mr. Chairman, Sir. Previously, I have already pointed out that electricity is very important, because in our State the industries whether large-scale or small-scale should be set up in greater numbers in the border areas. There are industries where there is only one trade. Some more trades are to opened in these industries so that we can employ more unemployed youths of the border areas. But as there is no electricity, these industries cannot run smoothly. Electrification, on the other hand, is very important in the border areas because theft cases in the border areas are increasing day by day. it has been observed that these theft cases generally happened at night. So if these theft cases are not checked the economy of the border people will be much affected.
Cattle lifting has become a havoc to the people in the border areas. Several times cattle lifting instances have been brought to the notice of the Government- the previous Government and also the present Government. Every day cattle lifting is there. If the thieves take away a pair of cattle from a farmer who has only two cattle then how will he feed his family and they all will be on the way to starvation. So I want to put forward a suggestion to the Government that in order to stop cattle lifting the Government should take more vigorous steps by deploying the BSF., B.O.Ps and V.D.Ps personnel and also the Home Guards. **Let some cow-sheds be constructed in the border areas with strict security measures and the villagers are to be asked to keep their cattle at night in the cowsheds under strict security so that they cannot be lifted. Now I come to industries in the border areas. We know that there is a cement factory at Cherrapunjee. But so far as we know this cement factory is not functioning well. This is connected with the economy of the people. At Siju there is a huge stock of limestone and I would just put forward a request to the Government that this limestone can be utilised in order to established another cement factory there and also a pottery industry.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, the economy of the people if non-border areas has been given importance. So I would plead that the same important and the same treatment be given to the border areas also. during the Indo-Bangladesh trouble in 1971, the poor border people on verbal orders or on written orders came forward in order to construct sheds or refugee camps in the border areas. But there are some poor contractors who will today have pot been paid. They were not given payment for tm works they did also. Many instances will show that these contractors have constructed the sheds on verbal order as the emergency was prevailing in the country. But it is surprising how some of these contractors have been paid for their work while some contractors have not been paid anything till today. I do not know the reason why one contactor has been and the other will not be paid. This is a contractor has been paid and the other will not be paid. This is a funny thing Mr. Chairman Sir, There is such a provision as the war damage compensation for the people in the border areas. Of course it is said that the war damage compensation was given to these people who have been affected by the Indo-Bangladesh war. But there many people who did not get this compensation till today. There are complaints Mr. Chairman, Sir that this war damage compensation was given to the people not belonging top the border areas and but to the non-border areas. There are records and instances in the offices of the Block Development Officers and the Deputy Commisioners' office. These are the reasons Mr. Chairman Sir, which affected the economy of the border areas. As the Government is responsible for other areas of the State, it is equally responsible for the border people also. In the Budget Speech, an amount of Rs.93 lakhs was earmarked for the current year and for the next year it will be stepped up to Rs.135 lakhs. I believe that during the previous Government regime also, such amount was definitely earmarked for the development of our border areas. But it is surprising that till today these border areas are very much undeveloped. They are not comparable to any other areas of the State. Through the agency of the Border Area Development Department trucks have been given to the people of the border people areas to carry their produce free of cost. but because the border people re innocent, they do not know what is the procedure that has been laid down by the Government to take the help of these trucks. When these people go to the officer concerned or drivers with whom the trucks are being kept, they will simply say that "you are to pay such and such an amount per kilometer and then only you will be given the truck". The innocent people as they do not know the procedure, they are paying and taking the help of these trucks from this department. So, I will request the Government through you, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that this illegal practice should be stopped without any delay and strict instructions be given to the officers that no farmers should be harassed like this. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the major portion of our Sate falls in the border areas and the economics condition of this major portion will not be developed if we are not careful.
Shri Manik Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while supporting the motion moved by the hon. Member from Dalu, I would like to put forward certain observations. the economic conditions of the people of the border areas and the problems of the border areas in general have been discussed many times on the floor of this House, but unfortunately, I find that there are 5 important factors which are responsible for the deterioration economic condition of the border people and these are No.(1), lack of proper net-work of communication system system (2) agricultural productivity in the border areas (3) inadequate marketing facilities, (4) lack of exploitation of mineral resources and No. (5) lack of security of lives and property of border people. Mr. Chairman, Sir, you will appreciate that the road communication is a pre-requisite or the development of the economic condition of the people. Though the road sector cannot perhaps claim the same preference directly as a productive sector like agriculture, however; the road sector deserves very special attention. In the border areas, there is lack of feeder roads, link roads and I am surprised to see that only Rs.42.70 lakhs have been earmarked for the development of road communication in the border areas in the current year's budget. I suggest to the Government that the Government of India should be approached and more funds should be demanded for the improvement of road communication, particularly in the border areas. To quote some examples, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I would like to refer to those border roads in Khasi Hills like the Balat-Shella road which is 45 kilometers, the borghat-Sonapahar road which is 60 kilometres, the Bholaganj- Nongjri road which is 15 kilometers, the Laitlyngkot-Dawki road, 15 Kilometres. These roads covering the total mileage of 135 kilometers.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister Border, Area) :- Mr. Chariman, Sir, I want to ask the hon. Member as to whether there is any such road as the Borghat-Sonapahar road;
Mr. Chairman :- Are you referring to the areas where there is any such road roads or to the roads which need improvement ?
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister Border, Area) :- I am just asking Sir, whether there is any raods as the Borghat-Sonapahar Road.
Mr. Chairman :- The hon. Member from Garo Hills may not know the details of te roads of Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills.
Shri Manik Das :- The roads from Garobadha to Mahendraganj via Zikzak and from Garobadha to Mahandraganj via Kaliachar etc. These are the neglected border roads which should be taken up immediately and the central Government should be approached. There is also need for black-topping there border roads. As far as the agriculture sector is concerned, Mr. Chairman, Sir Meghalaya has a total geographical area of 2.25 million hectares. of these, only 2 lakh hectares of land are available for cultivation and in other words only 8.89 percent of the entire land of Meghalaya is cultivatable. The large portion of this falls in the border area, in the border area, the per capita income in our State is by far the lowest in the country. It is only Rs.597.90 as compared to the all India figure of Rs.856.10. Even States of North-Eastern India like Manipur Tripura and Assam have much higher per capita income. Thus it is clear that the plight of the people and their economic condition in the border areas are even worse than the people who are living in other areas of the State. Te Agriculture Department is providing power tillers at subsidised rates. i feel that the rate which has been approved by the Government is much higher and this rate should be reduced so that the poor people are in a position to utilise these powers tillers. Mr. Chairman, Sir, in Meghalaya we have tremendous hidden natural resources. In the border areas we have huge belts of natural resources which have not been exploited till today. to quote some example, Mr. Chairman, Sir, in our State we have Rs.3,000 million tonnes of lime-stone deposit, 550 million tonnes of coal deposit and 200 million tonnes of silimanite. If these mineral resources can be exploited, then the people of the border area will get employment and automatically their economic conditions would improve. I may also suggest to the Government that we have certain raw materials like jute and cotton in the b order areas. the Government should set up industries based on these raw materials in the border areas. I am happy to note that pour Hon'ble. Minister, industries has taken some steps in this regard and I hope in due course of time these industries would come up in the border areas. Mr. Chairman, Sir, no economic development can be of any use unless we are able to create a sense of security in the minds of the border people. Frequent cases of cattle lifting and thefts on the border areas is a matter of great concern. On several occasions we have urged upon the Government to take steps to eradicate these problems of the border people. I am surprised to say Mr. Chairman, Sir, that cases of thefts and cattle lifting are still going in the border areas. As already pointed out by me earlier it would not be advisable for the Government to only depend on the para military forces of the Central Government which are located and deployed in our border areas at present. We have to think once again to provide security and safety to the people and their property in the border areas. I urge upon the Government that our Village Defence Parties should be strengthened. The personnel of V.D.P. should be provided with adequate training and they should be self-dependent. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I have put forward my observation and certain suggestions and I hope the Government would take immediate steps so that the economic condition of the people who are living in the border areas of our State is improved and there is peace in our border areas.
Shri Mozibar Rahman :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, while associating with the hon. member from Dalu in his motion and appreciating the cause of the border people for their economic upliftment, I like to add only a few points which I feel as a man of the place which is very near to the border areas. To my best sense I think what the border people are wanting for their economic upliftment is international market. (At this stage, the Speaker occupied the Chair). Since the country was divided, the border areas of Meghalaya which are also the border of India with Bangladesh lost some important markets. The producers of the commodities cannot sell perishable goods and also cannot send these commodities to distant places. Therefore, these commodities are just spoiled and thrown away. In the border areas, some Government staff are posted for security measures and it is an open secret that when they are in need of things which are not available there, they use to take the help of a man of the opposite nation in order to get these things. In this way, the border people are affected in their day to day life. So far I could remember, when I was not a member of this House, earlier, I know that once this Government moved the Government of India for opening international markets bordering the districts of Garo Hills and Khasi Hills. So I would like to urge upon the present Government to renew this efforts to move the Government of India to open international markets for the interest of both the nations and I hope this will bring international peace to a certain extent. Secondly, what has already been narrated by previous speakers regarding security measures, it is a terrible thing that there are so many crimes in the border areas and we should term these crimes as international crimes and the criminals as international criminals. For an idea, when a criminal from the other country commits a crime, he comes and resides here in our State. the same thing may happen when a criminal of our State or the State of Assam commits a crime, he goes to Bangladesh and stays there. These criminals get certain advantage by doing that. The first thing is that they escape from the hands of the Police and secondly, if these criminals are held up by the Police, even the law itself give them some sort of advantage. recently, it was reported that a man named Khan Bahadur who was residing in Bangladesh was passing through Hallidiganj with his wife. I do not know whether he is a criminal or not. The people reported the matter to the Police station at Hallidiganj to catch hold of him because he is renowned dacoit and that he is lifted the cattle from our area. This man has been ordered to be shot y the Bangladesh Government. I had a talk with the police officer and ultimately I enquired of the D.S.P. as to what measure our Government has taken and he replied that hey were helpless as they got no information from Bangladesh that he was a criminal and so the only duty for them was to push him back to Bangladesh. (bell rang).
Mr. Speaker :- You have only three minutes more and there are so many members who would like to participate in the discussion. I have to prescribe the time to be taken by you.
Shri Mazibar Rahman :- Therefore, Sir, I would request the Government to move the Government of India for some enactments in order to control the international crimes. With these few words, Sir, I resume my seat.
(Shri S.P. Swer rose to speak).
Mr. Speaker :- I hope you will not repeat what you have said and you have only 5 minutes. There are so many motions, as I said earlier, to be disposed of today. This particular motion has taken almost one hour.
Shri S.P. Swer :- But, Sir, this is the only motion which is of a general nature.
Mr. Speaker :- But I have to see to the business of the House.
Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will try to be as brief as possible. Sir, this is a chronic problem as I used to say on more than one occasion while discussing the economic condition of the people in the border areas. We are all aware of the various attempts of the Government to ease the economic condition of the people in the border areas and so long we have given so much importance to factors like closure of trade with Bangladesh and also we have given importance to marketing of border produces. Now, what actually happened during these days inn the border areas. We found that the produces like oranges, tejpata, pan leaf and other cash crops were on the decrease day by day and we are all aware that the market price of these border produces is now very high. The price of oranges is very high and so also the price of tezpata and pan leaf. The reason is not because the marketing facilities are there or better than before, but because of low production. They are on the decrease side and not on the increase side of their production. What I would like to suggest to the Government is that if the Border Area Development Department could find experts to conduct research and experiment and make an on-the-spot study for years together as to what kind of crops will be best suited in the border areas, I hope that if this research is conducted in the border areas, we will be able to find out alternative crops which will yield more production in the border areas. As it is today, orange grover, arecanut, pepper, tejpatta, etc. are fading away. It means that the soils is less fertile now than what it was before. Therefore, I would again stress this point that a team of experts to study, to find out the crops which is suitable in the border areas must be appointed. Then secondly, I would like to suggest to the Government to go in a big industries in the border areas although there are minerals there are sources which major industries can be started in the border areas. But we know how many of these people in the border areas can be employed if major industries are to be set up in the border areas. But in village industries the people need a little know-how. If a mobile squad of experts in village industries can be arranged to the border areas and impart know-how to the people to take up small and village industries, I hope the border people will improve their economic condition. Only with these few points, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I conclude my speech.
Shri John Deng Pohrmen (Minister, Border Area Development etc) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the motion brought forward by Shri Mukul Das from Dalu is really a very important motion and I in particular, coming from the border area, feel that I should offer special thanks to him for giving the suggestions which are really so important for the border areas and in the course of his speech he has touched practically all the points and subjects that are to be taken up in the border areas in order to improve the economic condition of the border people. I agree with the last speaker the hon. member, Mr. S.P. Swer who said that it is very chronic problem and it is precisely to because it is a very chronic problem and it is precisely to because it is a very chronic problem ever since the partition of India that the Government of Meghalaya thought it fit to have a separate department for the border areas. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Border Area Development Department had come as a result for the information and the3 knowledge that the people living in the border areas, in the entire area, had really suffered and their hardship is beyond description. Therefore I should thank the Government of Meghalaya for having a separate department just for the border areas. It is a small area, no doubt, covering about 2,30,000 population as per census of 1971 and an area of about 2,000 sq. kms. But even then, in spite of that, our Government feels that special attention should be given to this particular area. it is true that arboriculture is the main occupation of the people in the border areas as in the rest of the State. In some parts of the border areas we have very little land and the land is very rocky and thickly populated. Therefore, the hardship of the people is even worse in such lower areas. I tell this particularly in some parts of the border areas in Khasi and Jaintia Hills. I believe that the hon. members must have seen that some areas are composed of rocky areas. But even then, the people are very hard working trying their level best in order o make both ends meet. When the hon. Member referred to water supply I presume that he means water supply for irrigation. I agree with the hon. mover of the motion that it is very important and that with the help or through the agency of Soil Conservation Department. This year it has been allotted Rs.5 lakhs. But this allotment is very meager. I agree with the hon. member from Mahendraganj, Shri Manick Das that the Government of India should be moved for giving more funds and I can assure, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that this will be considered by the department and the Government of India will be approached for generous financial assistance in the interest of the border areas. I do realise, as you might have seen in the budget, that the provision made is really very little ; only Rs. 135 lakhs and therefore, when it is broken up department wise it comes to some very little amount. As for roads, this year's allotment of finds for roads under border areas programme is Rs.42 lakhs. That is to say, roads to be constructed and of funds allotted from this department to the P.W.D. But as pointed out by the hon. member from Mahendraganj, there is a road, I think he means Borghat-Sonapur, if he means the road in Jaintia Hills. Sir, we have been always moving the Government for the completion of the road right from Garo Hills upto Jaintia Hills which could be called grand border road. We can call it a grand-trunk-road in the border areas and already plan and estimates had been submitted and recently I came to know that the Government of India do not feel the importance of constructing. What we call the missing links of this road, for example, the road from Shella to Lyngkhat, Borghat to Sonapur. We have got a long distance of missing links.
So also I believe from Lyngkhat to Dawki and again from Borkhat to Sonapur that there are other missing links which should be constructed. We have very high hopes that this border roads could be completed in the sense that the missing links could be taken up in order that the border people would really have the opportunity to improve their economic condition. I can assure the House that this would be pursued in all earnestness so that some how we can start the construction of these missing links in the near future. As for fishery the hon. member who moved the cut motion, Mr. Mukul Das, had pointed out to the grants given, sometimes Rs.100/- which is very small. The hon. member will appreciate that this is the case everywhere. Nobody would like that we should give such small sums of money for grants but some how or other this type of sickness has not been cured whether at the block level or even at the District Council, especially in the case of Jaintia Hills of which I know very well and I presume that perhaps the same is the case within the other two sister District Councils in the State. As I sad, nobody would like to give such a small sum of grant for any development whether fishery or industries or anything. In connection with cooperation there has been an amount of money earmarked this year. In the case of Soil Conservation there has been a little correction which is Rs.5 lakhs and in the case of cooperation it is Rs.10 lakhs. There has been an increase and we are trying to improve the cooperative societies in the border areas and in fact even the process of liquidation of the sick cooperative societies has been started. Some new cooperative societies have been started to enable the border people to get necessary credit in order to get loan and such other financial assistance for cultivation. With regard to what the mover of the cut motion has suggested that there should be a special cell to look into the working of the department as a whole, certainly this will be considered and off hand I cannot say whether this can be really taken up. With regard to electrification, this is being done by the Power Department and we hope that we shall take up with them to see that electrification in the border areas is expedited. I agree with the mover of the motion that if funds permit the entire border line should be electrified so that the criminals or those cattle lifters from across the border could be detected. Of course subject to fund position he has suggested that there should be some cow sheds constructed by the department where the cattle owners could keep their cattle at night under strict security. This also will be considered in all its aspects as in other cases. With regard to Industries, it is true that the border areas abound in minerals resources. We have million and million tons of ,limestone in the border areas of Meghalaya. I believed that Meghalaya is supposed to have the richest deposits of limestones. But then when we come to the question of setting up industries it is not easy as we could think because of the experience we have with the one at Cherrapunjee. Therefore though the Government is very alive to this question of having industries but hen with little experience that the Government has got in these few years it is little wiser and I think we can do better when we consider the question of setting up industries. I do agree with the last speaker, the hon. member from Cherra, Mr. Swer, that we should go in for more small scale industries where village industries and house hold industries can be established so that the people, by and large, in the border areas can take part in these industries in order to improve their economic condition. But it is not opportune at this moment to have big industries for many reasons. As for payment of outstanding bills as compensation for the refugee camps set up in the borders during the Bangladesh war, this has become a very chronic issue because up till now I too am aware of the fact that some contractors have not been paid for these camps. Well I believe Mr. Speaker, Sir, the department concerned is aware of this and the Minister in charge will look into it. As for trucks, it is precisely because by the fact that we know of the poverty of the border people and that the trucks have been introduced with a view to transport the produces of the border areas free of cost. I am grateful to the mover of the motion when he said that the common people, not knowing the procedure to use the facilities, the trucks do not serve the purpose. This will be looked into and Border Area development officers will be instructed to give wide publicity and also I would request the hon. member to kindly help our officers to see that our people know the procedure of getting facilities of these trucks. Regarding the international market I cent per cent agree with Mr. Mozibar Rahman from Rajabala. It is a fact Mr. Speaker, Sir, that at one time there had been international markets on both sides of the border within 8 k.m. on both sides. These are called border hats in which no pass ports or documents were required in order to move to and fro within the 8 kilometre radius in these recognised hats for the people to come and transact their business. Our border people welcome such opening of border hats but unfortunately these border hats had been closed not because the Government of India wanted, but because the Bangladesh Government thought it right for reasons best known to them. In any case I can assure the House that this will be taken up with the Government of India to see that if possible to request the Bangladesh Government to reopen these border hats in the interest of our border people in both the countries.
Well about the incident related by Mr. Mozibar Rahman, the hon. Member from Rajabala, regarding a criminal from across the border that he could not be punished accordingly to law because of insufficient legal powers, but his aspect will be given to the Department concerned to see how best they could do in that matter so that stricter legal measures could be taken for the effective control of international criminals as already suggested. So Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know whether I have covered all the points brought forward by the hon. Members. But I have been trying my level best to touch all those points which I have noted down. As I said in the very beginning, I am really happy with this particular motion because it is really in the best interest for our brothers and sisters living in the border areas who are really more handicapped than the people living in non-border areas. Of course, I would like to disagree with the hon. Mover of the motion that the Government has paid more attention to the non-border areas. But I should say the other way around that the Government is paying more attention to the border areas.
Shri Mukul Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, on a point of clarification, I did not say so. But I said the Government should pay more attention and give more importance to the border areas.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Border Areas Development ) :- Well, I stand corrected. But what I heard, I have noted down here. It might be that I could not hear him properly. In any case, I can stress the fact that Government of Meghalaya is given of more and more attention to the border areas and I hope in course of time, the economic condition of the people will be improved. As we find, even the Government of India is appreciating the problem very much because their fund allocation has increased from year to year. It shows that the Government of India appreciates the difficulties of our border people. For instance, it has increased from 1974-75 to 1978-79 at the rate of 170 per cent. Whereas in 1974-75, we had 50 lakhs, this year 135 lakhs. This shows that the Government at the State level are really very much seized with the problem of our border people. With these clarifications, I .......
Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, before he concludes his reply may I point out that I had raised one point. Whether the Border Area Development Department is contemplating to appoint a team of experts. By "experts" I mean scientists from anywhere, to study and research in the border areas to alleviate the problems of orange growers.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Border Areas Development ) :-Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am thankful to the hon. Member. I think I had skipped over that. Certainly I can assure the House that we shall really consider this seriously because this is a very important suggestion. In any case this will be considered in right earnest. Thank you.
Shri Manik Das :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would seek clarification from the Hon'ble Minister. In what way the Government propose to provide security to the border people as for as life and property is concerned. I had mentioned in my speech something regarding cattle lifting, in the border areas.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Border Areas Development ) :- I think I have touched that point. Sorry, I had also skipped over that. I thought it has been touched while I was talking about this. In fact, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I had also a proposal for taking measures in order to provide security to the lives of the people as well as to prevent cattle lifting as Mr. Manik Das has said. In this respect, I had already contacted the B.S.F. I had contacted at least on e of them and I had given him the idea that we should one day have a discussion along with the M.L.As, the Police the Home Guards, V.D.Ps to find out better measures with a view to provide more effective security to the border areas and also to protect the lives of the people and cattle in the border areas.
Mr. Speaker :- Now the discussion on Motion No.2 is closed. Will Mr. Ledishon Nongsiang move Motion No.3 ?
Shri H. Ledishon Nongsiang :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the necessity for upgrading the Health centre at Riangdo to Public Health Centre.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri H. Ledishon Nongsiang :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, as we are told from the very beginning not to speak much, I would like to say being a new Member and as I have not yet learnt all the rules and intricacies of this House, I will not speak long. I think it will be wise on my part to come straight to the relevant points only. I am sure that through this Motion may not be palatable to the Government but will be palatable to the people as it will be improve their lot. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the whole Khasi Hills Districts, especially my areas in one of the most backward areas because it was neglected for years together after the creation of this State of ours. I repeat Mr. Speaker, Sir, the word "neglected" because it was totally neglected by those people who are in power. I do not know whether this was a deliberate act on the part of the Government or whether this is a negligence, lethargy, inefficiency and ineffectiveness or not. Mr. Speaker, Sir, my constituency is only at a distance of 141 kilometres from Shillong and 45 kilometres from Nongstoin District headquarters. There are more than 200 villages with a population of more then 20,000 who are really backward economically, medically and educationally. No doubt Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are a few schools, roads etc., and the Government has set up one Auxiliary Nursing and Midwife Centre long back. But what the ANM Centre will do to the people at large and this is the question I am putting here because I have not seen anything coming out of it. What will a poor nurse do. There is a medicine and a nurse is not supposed to be medically qualified to tackle serious cases. Serious cases are to be brought to Shillong, Nongstoin or to Gauhati which is very very far away. Moreover people are so poor that they cannot afford to undertake such long journey and bear the expenses and as a result they take whatever medicine is available from that nurse and herbal medicine from the jungles. Now I would like to inform this august House that the common diseases occurring in my area are more than what you may experience in other parts of the State. The diseases are malaria, acute vaccilary dysentry, acute ameobosis dysentery, abigastro enteritist, tonciliatis, Bronchitis, Prumonia, Amonia and malnutritis (loud laughter) worms, round worms, tape worms, and so on and so forth. There are also diseases frequently occurring in my area and causing death to the people every year. Further in delivery cases if the case becomes complicated there are no medical facilities and as a result the child mortality rate is very high. The Public health Centre at Nongstoin could not help as there are no suitable equipments and as such they have to refer those cases to Shillong. Mr. Speaker, Sir, non-availability of medical facilities makes the people physically and mentally weak and even reduces the population to the minimum extent which ultimately results in lack of men-power in companison with other people of the State who get medical facilities at their door step. Sir, when I say this you may think that i am exaggerating things or I am giving a grim picture of my people. But what I am saying is only the truth. Sir, you may very well understand that there is hardly a score of graduates from my area which shows that our people are not averse to education. But it is due to various diseases from which they suffer which destroy their good faculties and intelligence. In fact, had they got proper medical care from their childhood, they could have become strong and shining people in the society. But unfortunately they are sick and physically weak, and as you know, the disease from which a man suffers disturbs him economically, destroys his family peace and his family peace and burdens his mind. Sir, this is a very sorry plight of my people and now through you, I would urge upon the Government to come forward with specific proposal to construct as big a hospital as the Government can afford at Riangdo and if they do so I can assure the House that during the next 20 years our area will produce giants of men, intellectually, and physically. (loud laughter) With these few words I move this motion once more with the request that the Minister in charge does not give a routine reply as advised by his officers but let something novel and special come from his true leadership that the really loves his fellow-men and let the medical Department be profitable to the people.
Thank you Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Any body would like to participate ?
Shri B. Wanniang :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in supporting the motion moved by the hon. Member from Mawthengkut I would like to say that this area is one of most backward areas in the State. the people there suffer from various kinds of diseases and they do not get medical help so easily and at the same time they cannot rush to any other place due to lack of proper communication. I remember, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in 1973 there was an outbreak of cholera and many people in this area died since there was no hospital or dispensary near about. I agree with the hon. mover of the motion on the necessity of up grading the Health Centre, i.e. Public health Centre at Riangdo. This place is centrally situated but has got no dispensary or Primary health Centre. So, if any dispensary or Primary health Centre is established there, it will benefit many surroundings villages in that area. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I know that most of the members of this House know about the difficulties faced by the people of this particular area and (At this stage the Speaker left the Chamber and Shri S.D. D. Nichols Roy, Chairman took the Chair).
Mr. Chairman, Sir, I know the Government is fully aware of it and I hope that they will look into the matter. Although this motion is meant particularly for one health centre of a particular area, as responsible member of this House, we must keep in view the need of the entire State also however, I do hope that the Government will give due consideration or immediate consideration to this problem although it is only in this particular area but Mr. Chairman, Sir, a journey to hundred miles begin with a single step. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I hope that it is a right time for the Government to solve this problem and meet the need of the people there by upgrading this health Centre to a Primary Health Center at Riangdo as soon as possible. With these few words Sir, I support the motion moved by my friend from Mawthengkut Constituency.
Mr. Chairman :- Now, the Minister to reply.
Shri Johndeng Pohrmen (Minister, Health etc) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I think the hon. member, Mr. H.L. Nongsiang from Mawthengkut form having brought this motion in this House in today's morning sitting. I agree with him that the area is one of the most backward areas in the State. I said one of the most, that means there are others also. In many ways as I said, we are backward medically or econimally and I join with him in expecting the sentiment for the suffering of his people in that area. His people mean also my people because we are in one State and under the same Government. Therefore, we from the Government feel that we should not allow as far as possible that anybody should suffer more than the others. Therefore, he has said that the distance is 141 Kilometrees from here. But in our hill areas, as you are very much aware, Mr. Chairman, Sir, that is quite a big distance and therefore, to rush any medical help from here to that place and it is almost impossible. Even despite the fact that there is already a Primary health Centre at Nongstoin, even then it is still very difficult to rush any medical help to the people of that area because of the bad communications as has been expressed by Mr. Wanniang, the last speaker. The Government is very much seized with this problem and in fact, if funds permit we would ,like to set up as many hospitals as possible in all places in the State. But fund is one of the greatest problems and perhaps the greatest problem. Therefore, the hon. member must realise this difficulty plus some prescribed norms given by the Government of India because we have to depend for the funds on the Government of India. As per norms laid down by the Government of India there should be one Primary health Centre in every block area and at present, this particular area falls under the Nongstoin Block and already Nongstoin has got a Primary Health Centre. Mr. Chairman, Sir, by this, I do not mean to dishearten the hon. Member who has moved this motion because we are also aware Mr. Chairman, Sir, that Nongstoin has become a district headquarters and normally a district headquarters should have a civil hospital. The Government is considering this aspect of having a civil hospital for Nongstoin and simultaneously, therefore, we thought it fit to consider the necessity of upgrading the Riangdo Sub-Centre to a Primary Health Centre. Let us hope that our civil hospital at Nongstoin will be materialised in the near future. The hon. member is assured that Riangdo can have a Primary Health Centre. But as an interim arrangement, all efforts will be made to see that the present Sub-Centre is improved. Because even if we decide to have a Primary Health Centre at Riangdo today, it will take some time to have the buildings, doctors and other paraphernalia that a Primary Health Centre requires. therefore, certain steps will be taken to see that a Sub-Centre is strengthened to the extent of having most of the necessary requirements. Unfortunately, at present, only one A.N.M. has been provided, and I can inform the hon. Member that this is not only a single case in the State of Meghalaya, there are other Sub-Centres also which are in the same condition. I can tell you Mr. Chairman, Sir, these are sub-centres where we have not been able to post even one A.N.M. For example, at Umroi we have one Sub-Centre but o this day, we have not been able to post even one A.N.M. In my constituency, we have one Sub-Centre at Pasaduar but upto this day, we have not been able to post even an A.N.M. There are certain difficulties of which, personnel, staff, doctors are the main hindrance. We have quite a good number or doctors but I will inform the House Mr. Chairman, Sir, that it is difficult to get doctors who are willing to go to the interior places. So also is the case with the nursing staff. There are certain difficulties that we are facing at present. I do not mean that these difficulties will go on like this for years. I hope in the near future these difficulties will be overcome. Therefore, I can inform this House that now the Medical Council on Health has recommended to have one Primary health Centre for every twenty thousand population. So now, over and above the fact that Nongstoin is a district headquarters also on the population basis, we can have a Primary Health Centre for twenty thousand population and in the near future I can assure the hon. Member who moved this motion that certainly Riangdo will be on the list of such categories of twenty thousand population. With these words Sir, I thank the hon. Member for having brought this motion which is really very important because it relates to the general health of our people in the State and we hope a day will come when we will have many giants of men in our State.
Mr. Chairman :- Let us come to Motion No.4 to be moved by Mr. G. Mylliemngap.
Shri H. Hadem (Minister, Power, etc) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, regarding this motion, I would like to raise a point of order that in so far as this motion is concerned, it is not entertainble and that this House has got no jurisdiction to discuss this motion. In this connection, I would like to point out to Rule 131, Sub-rule (3) (ix) : which reads :- "it shall not relate to a matter which is not primarily the concern of the Government of the State". In this connection, Sir, National Highway 37, as I know, does not fall within the State of Meghalaya. As far as I can see from the sign boards, we have only National Highway 40 and national Highway 44. National Highway 44 runs from Shillong to Agartala and national Highway 40 from Jorabad to Tamabil. But as far as National Highway 37, is concerned, if I am correct, it runs from Gauhati to Upper Assam and, as such, it is outside the jurisdiction of the State. But so far as No.40 and No.44 are concerned, they are within the State and for this No.37 being out side the State, the rule says that : "In order that a motion may be admissible it shall satisfy the following conditions, and one of the conditions is in sub-rule (3) (ix) of Rule 131-which reads :- "it shall not relate to a matter which is not primarily the concern of the Government of the State". As such, Sir, I say and I hope that the Minister in charge will collaborate that the matter is outside the jurisdiction of our State.
Mr. Chairman :- The information that the Minister has brought to our attention on this point of order is two fold : (i) That national Highway 37 does not fall with in the State of Meghalaya : and (ii) that the national Highway come under the purview of the Government of India. If the Minister has to say anything on this point of order whether National Highway No.37 falls within the State.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, if you will please allow me, I will just have my say. Actually I had anticipated this sort of point of order specially from the Hon'ble Minister whom we all regard as the rule expert (laughter). Mr. Chairman, Sir, just before I stood up and caught your eyes, he got up and caught your eyes faster than I could. Here, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I want to point out that there is a printer's mischief and also some sort of memory-mischief. In the second line you will find the spelling mistake 'by' : 'dash' 'pass'. Another one, instead of National Highway 40, it has been shown as 37. You can see Mr. Chairman, Sir, that the following sentence is relating to heavy traffic in Shillong. Regarding the second point, Mr. Chairman, Sir, though highway is a national subject, supervision and maintenance of national Highway are being looked after by the State Government.
Mr. Chairman :- I would like to find out from you Mr. Mylliemngap whether you had submitted your motion to discuss the matter or by-pass to National Highway 40 and that the Office made the mistake and put in 37 or you had put 37 by mistake.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, as I have already stated memory mischief might have played a role there. So, instead of 40 I might have written 37. But the following sentence is self-explanatory and I feel that this number 37,38,39,40 does not matter much.
Shri H. Hadem (Minister, Power, etc) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, if his memory failed him yesterday probably, at this stage, it must have come around and by this time, Mr. Chairman, Sir, a sort of amendment should have been given earlier rather than at this stage for the House to consider the motion. Unless there is an amendment to it for which the rules are very clearly provided, you will find that there is a provision where an amendment to a motion could be made.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to submit that the Assembly papers to hon. members-common ones like us-come us late at night and so there is no time to submit any amendment even if given prior notice. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I feel that, with your permission, this motion can be discussed since the papers were sent very late to us last night and there is no time for submitting amendments. Just now I said that he caught your eyes faster and spoke on an amendment before I could move the motion.
Shri H. Hadem (Minister, Power, etc) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, may I bring the fact before you that an amendment cannot be brought without prior notice to the Speaker and, secondly whether the motion has been brought according to the list of Business as arrived at by ballot which means that during balloting of the motions also, the motions are already in the hands of the member who tabled the motions. As such, I do not see any reason why he has got not time and, secondly, that he is not in the know of things and, thirdly, it is no fault of the office that he did not have the list of the Motions because he has received them very late at night. Actually, the motion was submitted by the hon. member who has given notice and, secondly, this motion has been brought before the eyes of each and every one who has given notice for the motion. As such, I do not see the round about way to make any difference in view of th4e fact that N.H. 37 does not fall within the area of this State where this State has got the jurisdiction to discuss. Moreover, though supervision is being done by the State Government, yet the word 'primarily' is very clear and that, primarily the national Highway are the concern of the Central Government.
(At this stage, the Speaker occupied the Chair).
mr. Speaker :- Are you the Minister in charge to reply ?
*Shri B.K. Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to rise a point of order. Under Rule 300, sub-rule (4)- "No debate shall be allowed on a point of order, but the Speaker may if he thinks fit, hear members before giving his decision". The Chairman was kind enough to give a chance to the Mover of the motion. Mr. Mylliemngap, as to what he has to say on the point of order raised by the Minister. here, as Members of this House, when a regular debate is going on. I put before you Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether it is in order. This is a point of order.
mr. Speaker :- I really very much regret that as, a matter of fact I have taken it to be a very important motion on the need of construction a by-pass to the National Highway. But then, there are certain technical lacunae in mentioning this very highway as No.37 in place of 40 as the Hon'ble Minster has pointed out when he raised the point of order. So, naturally we have checked from the records and found that the hon. member has mentioned High Way No.37. As such, I am afraid I cannot allow discussion on this motion. So, I rule out this motion as out of order. Now let us come to motion No.5 to be moved by Shri G. Mylliemngap.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I bow down my head to your ruling and now I am going to the hospital (laughter). It appears that the point of order has caused an injury to me which needs hospitalisation (laughter).
Mr. Speaker :- But not against my ruling ?
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Never Mr. Speaker, Sir. The hospital which I am going to discuss on the floor of this House is not for the men folk like me. Mr. Speaker, Sir, under Rule 131 of the Rules of Procedure of this House, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the necessities of the patients and staff in the Ganesh Das Women Hospital, Shillong.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ganesh Das Hospital is one of the oldest Hospitals in Shillong as it is meant specially for women and children. The women who go there are the mothers giving birth to new babies and children who are the future of the nation. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ganesh Das Hospital, though it is very much neglected, never-the-less it is one of the most important hospitals in Shillong. No. (1) I would like to point out and bring to the notice of the Government the absence of heating arrangement. You know, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Shillong is such a cold place and the hospital is such a colder place where there is no heating arrangement whatsoever, even there is no fire place, no chimney and it is a hospital where babies are given birth every day. The babies due to severe cold, you know, are apt to get pneumonia every now and then and the death rate in Ganesh Das Hospital of the newly born babies is quite high Mr. Speaker, Sir. therefore, I feel that the heating system or a boiler should be provided to the Ganesh Das Hospital. Why should it be provided only to the civil hospital, where mostly grown up patients are being admitted there. the newly-born babies are not admitted into the Civil Hospital and you know, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that a warm atmosphere is very very much essential for the newly-born babies who have just come out of the wombs of the mothers. therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that provision of boiler at Ganesh Das Hospital is very important. Do you prescribe any limit for me Mr. Speaker, Sir ?
Mr. Speaker :- A reasonable limit.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir,. Now I come to the next point. That is the provision of incineration. You know Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ganesh Das Hospital ......
mr. Speaker :- How much time will you take ? How long are you going to speak. Since you are the Mover of the motion, you will be given more time but others who support of participate will get less time.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- I cannot say Mr. Speaker, Sir, but I will take less than an hour I think.
This question of incineration is very much needed in the Ganesh Das Hospital.## As I have mentioned, it is a place where women are beibg admitted for de;livery cases and Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is a well known fact to all of us that after delivery, there used to be tremendous bleeding and how to keep it tidy-they used to have some sort of toilets so that the blood will not spill over. What happens to the used toilets ? You know, they used to throw used toilets into the dustbin and you can ask whether that dustbin is covered or properly fenced ?No, not at all Mr. Speaker, Sir, It is neither covered nor properly defenced, so the dogs, you know, get the smell of blood and got inside and then take those used toilets wherever they feel happy, and not only the dogs Mr. Speaker, Sir, but the crows also. As you know, that place is full of crows. ......
Mr. Speaker :- You are a keen observer.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Certainly Mr. Speaker, Sir, I used to pass through that place every now and then. So the grow also have their own game. They are fond of lifting these things which attract their sight very much because the color is red. Mr. Speaker, Sir, if you happened to pass through that side, the road coming from Riatsamthiah taking you to Polo ground, along that road, you will find that this road is full of filthy things, and therefore, I feel that morally and hygienically, this is not proper, specially for the young children who used to pass through that premises every now and then and always put questions to their parents. "What is this daddy, what is this mother"? So it is a big question to them. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that provision of incineration to the Ganesh Das Hospital is a must, it should be done immediately. This incineration, will beurn those used toilets to ashes. Therefore, I feel that thus is immediately required for the Ganesh Das Hospital. Now, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring to the notice of the Government, through you, Sir, I would like to bring to the notice of the Government, through you, , the condition of the patients in the Ganesh Das Hospital, specially in respect of responding to the call of nature which is pathetic. The provision according to the norms prescribed is that one sanitary latrine is for six patients. But I have seen that in the Ganesh Dash Hospital one latrine is being used by not less than 30 to 35 patients. It is a long queue, you know, and not to stand in a long queue waiting for a change to go into the latrine in the hospital is unthinkable. Mr. Speaker, Sir, if a patient is suffering from diarrhea, you can just imagine his condition and the condition of other patients. They are not fast moving, but they move slowly and for patients from diarrhea, I do not know what will happen. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is one of the reasons why people do not go to Ganesh Das Hospital because of these great inconvenience caused to the people who are admitted in the Ganesh Das Hospital.
Next to that, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring to your notice that only the patients but the relatives of the patients are finding a lot of difficulties but the relatives of the patients are finding a lot of difficulties in attending to their patients in the Ganesh Das Hospital because it is far away from the market place or from their residences and there is no proper means of communication which is cheap for public and can cater to the needs of the public except taxis which are more expensive for poor relatives of the patients. They have to go to the Ganesh Das Hospital by taxis or they have to go on foot which is quite far and if they have to raise against the time fixed for visiting hours which has been prescribed by the authorities, it will be very very difficult for the relatives of the patients to reach the hospital within the visiting hours or to see their patients in the Ganesh Das Hospital. Therefore, I put forward my proposal to the Government through you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the city buses should be allowed or should be asked to make a round through the Ganesh Das Hospital, so that the patients and their relatives can derive, the benefit out of city bus service.
Now coming to other necessities, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would say that there is a need of having a small waiting room in the Ganesh Das Hospital. It is very difficult for the relatives of the patients to go to the hospital since there is no accommodation for visitors' room. Therefore, I feel that there should be a place for a waiting room and if that cannot be done as expected, at least let there be a small room with good reception because we believe that least courtesy will not cost so much. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that a waiting room is also required in the Ganesh Das Hospital.
Now, I come to the bare3 necessity of staff in the Ganesh Das Hospital. As it has been already stated by me that the location of this hospital is a little bit away from the main town, the doctors and nurses who are having night duty cannot stop going to the Hospital since there are no sufficient quarters for married doctors and nurses in the premises. These people have to stay away from the hospital, some of them are staying in different corners of the town. Some of them at Upper Shillong, some of them at Nongthymmai and Happy Valley and even such people cannot avoid night duty. It is impossible, Mr. Speaker, Sir, for a nurse to go and attend night duty alone and who can escort her all the time, even her husband will fail to escort her all the time because of the long service, she has to render. Therefore, in this connection I feel there should be one staff car specially provided for this purpose to pick up and drop the nurses and doctors who are on night duty.
Another point, Mr. Speaker, Sir, is about the quarters of grade IV staff. You know the quarters of Grade IV staff in the Ganesh Das Hospital which has been constructed in such a way that it is unhygienic. There is no connection what so ever between the kitchen and the bed-room. The kitchen is quite down below about 10ft, the bed room is at the higher level and there is no cover, there are no steps, no staircase except one step for all the different families. In Shillong which is famous for rain and cold, how can you expect that the people will utilise these quarters properly. Not only that. The kitchen which I have seen by myself are becoming a public thoroughfare. People can pass through these kitchens from one end to another and there is no walling. There is nothing whatsoever but they are still kitchens of those Grade IV staff.
Besides that, you know Mr. Speaker, Sir, they do not have any place for taking bath or any place which is known as a bathroom. It appears that the Medical Department has not thought over this point or they wanted to see that the Grade IV staff should never take bath in their life. Another pathetic thing. Mr. Speaker, Sir, is that there is no latrine for these people and the people are easing themselves in the hospital compound or whenever they find it convenient irrespective of whether it is a public thoroughfare or a road or a neighbor's compound and it is not possible to pass through these quarters. If you happen to go through just in front of a big bungalow, I do not know whose bungalow it is, you have to close your nostrils otherwise you will not be able to breath for a few minutes. If this sort of atmosphere is there within the premises of the hospital, what can we expect from other premises or what is the use if we talk about the cleanliness of Shillong. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that these things should be properly looked into.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to raise only one3 ore point but I will not say anything on that. As you know once it was elaborately and eloquently spoken by our present Deputy Chief Minister about the welfare and the necessities of the nurses in the Ganesh Das Hospital. So I will not touch this point because, as I have said, this has already been raised by the Deputy Chief Minister when he was on this side of the House and that it is still fresh in the minds of the Government (Bell rang).
Now, I want to raise only one more point Mr. Speaker, Sir, and that is regarding the area of the hospital. With the expansion of the town, the people need dwelling places and the area of the Ganesh Das Hospital is quite a big area and unless it is properly fenced and demarcated, I am very much afraid that encroachment into the area of the hospital will be rampant and the time will come when we will not be able to evict those unauthorised occupants of the land in the Ganesh Das Hospital. With these few words, Sir, I am happy that I have moved this motion.
Shri B.K. Roy :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while supporting the motion moved by the hon.. member, Mr. Mylliemngap, I do not like to make any elaborate speech as he has already made and tried to convince the House as to the special interests that are required actually for the hospital for women and children. The hospital for women and children requires special consideration regarding the various amenities as has been pointed out by hon. member because it concerns with the mother who has just delivered a baby as also the new born baby who has just seen the light of life. Both mother and baby are vulnerable to infection and various other hazards. Ganesh Das Hospital, we cannot say, has got a very low infantile mortality rate. The mover of the motion has rightly pointed out that there is need for a fire-place and a boiler which is more required for a hospital for women and children than the general hospitals. He has mention about incineration. Sir, which I do not like to repeat. I did not know myself though I am a regular visitor myself being a gynecologist that in the G.D. Hospital there is no arrangement for disposal of diaper or dirts. This really speaks of a very bad taste on the part of the management. Incineration for at hospital is a must. Besides what he has said about latrines I want to add that one latrine in a general hospital can be provided for 5 to 10 patients. But in a women's hospital, when they enter the latrine, they take more time for various reasons. It is not a question of defacation, but there are other necessities which it is better not to describe here. But all the same they need much more time than defacation and that is why they require more time. In a women's hospital, there should be provision of one bathroom for one or two persons. I am giving an example. About 35 or 36 years ago, when I happened to be a House Surgeon in one of the biggest maternity Hospital in Asia I have seen that for a total number of beds of 380, there were 180 nurses. I was very much impressed to see the arrangements there particularly about the bathroom facilities were one bath room is provided for every two or three patients. There were special bathrooms for attending doctors. There were 20 Houses Surgeons and we had one bathroom for one House surgeon on duty. Therefore, the amenities in a hospital for women and children should be different and provided in such a way so as to avoid maternal death and neonatal death.
Regarding the question of staff quarters, I would like to add that it is a must for the staff to remain within the hospital campus unlike any other general hospital because this is a hospital which deals with cases more of an emergent nature than any other hospital. One does not know when one's assistance will be called for. One does not know if a nurse fails or a doctor fails to attend in time for want of communication facilities or due to the inconvenience caused by the distance or weather condition or anything like that. The patients cannot be left at the mercy of God. So, the doctors must be made available for 24 hours in the campus itself. With these words, Sir, I would like to appeal to the Government, through you, Sir, that the Ganesh Das Hospital is really a very very big hospital which we can be proud of for catering to the needs of our whole State and I should say that thus hospital should be made actually a model hospital, and not only for the patients but also for the nurses, the midwives and others and to allow them learn things in the most ideal way, Thank you. Sir.
Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to associate myself with the discussion of this motion. I will begin from where the hon. mover stopped. He said that the area in the Pasteur Hills is a very spacious area and the Ganesh Das Hospital is situated there. It is a very spacious area and it is also, if I am not mistaken, the only State Hospital. What I have seen from the reply of the Minister in charge, health a few days ago that there is no provision or there is no proposal for expansion of this State hospital but for the Civil Hospital in the 6th Plan. Comparatively speaking, this hospital in the spacious area is having more scope for expansion compared with the site of the civil hospital. It is a little far away from the heart of the town, near the Children's park or the zoo. It is so congested an area. I think if the Government proposes or comes to to a decision to expand this hospital that should be not only for women, for delivery cases, but for general cases as well as in that area with its present space space a very big hospital can be constructed. I think if the suggestion is accepted by the Government, it will really help to ease the present congestion in the Civil Hospital as well as in the Ganesh Das Hospital. So this is my humble suggestion, Sir. Thank you, Sir.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I may also like to participate just one aspect only. If the saying, holds good that great minds think alike, what the hon. member who has spoken before me struck my mind when he spoke about the large area in the Ganesh Das Hospital. I though it was a prediction because during the last few months I found the congestion was there. There is no space at all, and beds are put in the corridor and in the verandah. It is a contradiction to say that there is a large area space in that hospital. When on this aspect, I had the experience within the last few weeks when I had the occasion to visit my constituency and on the way to carry 6 people to the hospital in Shillong. We had the dispensary at Pynursla, we had the dispensary at Laitlyngkot. But why the people rush to the hospital in Shillong. Here is a point. That is why this over-crowding and this congestion in the Civil Hospital in Shillong. if we are very much concerned about the well being, the happiness, the health of the people, then the expansion of hospital facilities in Shillong is very important and of great urgency. I have seen a lot of newspaper reports about the expansion of hospital facilities in Shillong and if we do have, as the hon. mover had said about the large area are still vacant in that place, then I think it is a very great opportunity for the Government to expand the accommodation in that hospital because I have seen the congestion is terrific, not only there, but also in the Civil Hospital, then in the Presbyterian Synod Hospital. Then when he talked about the expansion of the hospitals in the rural areas, I do have the experience. In the Pongtung dispensary I have seen the need of closing it down. There is no patient there. Doctors have become idle. We have to be realistic in this aspect. When we discuss and consider this aspect we must bear in mind that Shillong, being the capital of the State perhaps it has become the centre of North East India as a whole, there is a great need to expand the hospital facilities to the patients all around the district and the State as a whole. Therefore, I am very happy to hear that we do still have large area where we can build and expand the hospital. I now come to another point which may be out of this subject but it is relevant when I visited recently the sanatorium at Mawprem, a public hospital, there also, there is a great need for expansion that we are being pressed as public leaders daily for admission from all over the State and even from outside. There is a move that Assam may have their own and there is a need today, the great need to improve the hospital facilities for this town and for this State. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- I think we have had enough discussion on this motion. May I now call the Minister in charge to reply.
Shri John Deng Pohrmen (Minister in charge, Health) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am very happy that Mr. Mylliemngap from Sohryngkham has brought forward this motion and not only that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, so many hon. members have taken part. This shows how much the mover is interested with this particular hospital which is indeed a place of life and death where life begins for thousand and thousand of souls. So I join with them Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in their suggestions, comments and observations and in particular I would like to express my gratitude to the hon. member who had moved this motion and for the trouble and pain he had taken in order to point out defects or needs or short comings of the hospital in the true constructive spirit. I can assure, you Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that the Government will really consider all these suggestions, observations and comments in right earnest and I hope in the near future the hospital will improve to a very great extent. In replying to various points raised, No.1 that is, in connection with the heating arrangement, I can assure the House, that the Government is taking steps to replace the heating arrangement which is now used with coal with a boiler. Steps are being taken by the P.W.D. in this connection and it is under process and we hope the matter will be expedited. Of course in consultation with the Inspector of Boilers. For incineration, the work is already in the process and the P.W.D. is asked to do the needful. We hope we will be able to install it very soon so that whatever unpleasant materials there are would be destroyed in a proper and hygienic manner. It is very unfortunate that the number of latrines in the campus is really very very limited and this will be looked into and urgent steps will be taken to see that necessary adequate number of latrines is provided so that we can improve the hygienic condition of the hospital in the best interest of the patients. So also with the good suggestion that to help the relatives who visit or who have to attend to the relatives in the hospital should be provided with easy and cheap transport. This will be taken up with the transport authorities and we shall write to them and discuss about the need of having such bus route to Ganesh Das Hospital. For the waiting room, we shall take every step that there is a good if not a very luxurious, but at least neat and clean waiting room for the relatives of patients or even outdoor patients while return for their turn. As for the quarters for the doctors and nurses who have to attend night duties, this aspect will be looked into seriously as we do not want our doctors and nurses to suffer. They should be as healthy as possible and all the amenities will be have to be looked into. In fact we have many things to examine and consider in connection with the hospital. I hope every hon. member had realised the limitations of the Government thereby with regard to fund position, but even then we are very much alive with the desire to improve the hospital and also as suggested that there should be a staff car to take the doctors and nurses. This also be considered and it will not be difficult to make arrangements to pick them up from and drop them home after they completed their duties. So also the quarters for the Gr. IV employees, it is very unfortunate. I must confess that though I have been in charge of this particular department I have not been able to go into the details each and every inch of the area. I am grateful to the hon. member from Sohryngkham. Mr. G. Mylliemngap who has done my duty to point out all these important requirements with regard to this hospital and this also will be looked into. In fact I will have a special meeting with my officers regarding this so that we can review the whole aspect of the work9ng of this hospital and all the defects could be rectified in the near future. With regard to the welfare of the nurses, I believe as had been indicated by the present Deputy Chief Minister some years ago which had been recorded, that this also will be looked into. As for the area of the hospital it is true, I must inform the House Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that there are cases of encroachments and steps are being taken to see that these cases of encroachments are checked and stopped. I am also grateful to Shri B.K. Roy who had taken part in the discussion. He reminded us that doctors must be available 24 hours in the Hospital. As for the need of expansion of the Hospital in fact there has been a suggestion from the hon. members that we need a State hospital. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you may recall that during the general discussion of the budget some members has stressed the need of having a State hospital in Shillong and in fact we have plenty of room in the particular area, we have a big stretch of land. I believe from this point of view the State Government will not have to spend much money as the land is already there. We have to request the Government of India to give necessary funds to the buildings and for this we shall have to sit down and have discussion so that we can really convince the Government of India for the need of the State hospital in Shillong. it is very correct as pointed out by Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh that Shillong has become the nerve Centre for the whole of North East India. Therefore, it is really very very essential, as this is very deserving case, to have a State Hospital here in Shillong in the interest of the whole North East. I feel that I have touched on all the points raised by Mr. S.P. Swer, also when he had reminded us that we have got better scope for expansion of the hospital in that area. I think I have covered both the points raised by Mr. Swer from Sohra and Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh and there is an urgency for expansion of the Hospital in view of the fact that we have got a large area which is also a Government land. So with these few words Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I again give my thanks to the hon. Member who had moved the motion.
Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I seek a clarification ?Whether this Hospital is a State Hospital or not. I mean this Ganesh Das Hospital.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Health) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am not very very sure because we are trying to consider the importance of having a State Hospital in Shillong. So I just presume it is not a State Hospital.
Shri Grosswell Mylliemngap :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, once it was replied to my question that the Ganesh Das Hospital is a State Hospital. That was in 1975.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Health) :-Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this will be checked up.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Now discussion on this motion is closed. Now we come to another motion. I call upon Mr. Mukul Das to move Motion No.6.
Shri Mukul Das :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the necessity of strengthening and reorganising the Meghalaya Fire Service organisation (Fire Brigade) Garo Hills District.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Motion moved and now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri Mukul Das :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I thank you for the following me to fight a little against fire on the floor of this august House. there is a saying Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in Bengali language - "CHORE MILE REKHE JAYE AGUNE DHARLE SAB NIYE JAYE". The meaning of this is -"The thieves, at least will leave behind something, but fire is more dangerous than the thieves, it will not spare any item". So Sir, it is in human life, a very dangerous evil. It is such an evil that we can not face it. Sometimes, it makes the people beggars. People in old days fought against fire with the help of the natural resources. But now a days, with the improvement of science people know how to fight against fire with modern scientific methods. According to the record in our State, fire incident foe the year 1975 is like this-At Shillong-125; Tura-31. For 1976 At Shillong-105 and Tura-25, for 1977-At Shillong-67, Tura-17 and Jowai-2 and for 1978-At Shillong-52 Tura-24 and Jowai-4. This is so far as the calls were received upto 20th March 1978. Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this big number fire incidents shows the importance of this Fire brigade Organisation in our State. I think it is on the basis of population, the fire station and the fire protection units are set up in our State. But Sir, the geographical situation of our State especially that of Garo Hills is such that if we take population only into consideration it will not be possible to help the people of fire incident occurs anywhere. But Sir, if the places where such fire incidents occur are located at a distance of about 50 to 60 miles away from the Fire Station, as it usually happen in Garo Hills, then even this Fire Brigade Organisation with its personnel, although equipped with their Fire Brigade Vehicles, will not be able to cover such long distance, sometimes, when fire broke out at such a distance of 50, 60 and even 100 miles away from Fire Brigade Station, what these Fire Brigade personnel will see is only the poor victims who are weeping. Because the personnel arrived on the post very late and cannot render any help to the victims. Therefore, the Fire Brigade organisation and the setting up of units in our State should not be considered on the basis of population but on the basis of the distance. There should be more fire engine with the arrangement sufficient water. I know many agencies are still lying vacant and these are to be filled up. At present there is no D.S.P. if I am not wrong. In other States if I am not mistaken one S.P. is generally entrusted with the supervision of this Fire Brigade Organisation although it is also very much under the administration of I.G.P. But here in our State we have only Inspector who is to supervise the entire Fire brigade organisation. There is a vacancy of one D.S.P. and I request without any further delay the vacancy should be filled up in order to help our people. This vacancy should be filled up either by way of giving promotion to the existing Inspectors or by direct recruitment of new person. There is also shortage of Fire Stations, shortage of Fire Protection Officers and shortage of firemen. There is also shortage of drivers and mechanics etc. But the most important point is this Mr. Deputy Speaker Sir- that this Fire Brigade Organisation is lacking in one very important factor. That is the old vehicles. At Shillong there are three vehicles only, at Tura there are three vehicles and at Jowai there is only one vehicle. You will easily understand, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in a big district like Garo Hills, Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills there are only 7 vehicles which are quite inadequate. Moreover, the engines of these vehicles are very very old and most of the time these agencies are out of order. Whenever a fire incident takes place a telephone comes and when the fire brigade personnel get themselves ready they will find the vehicles do not get started. Then what these fire brigade personnel generally used to do is that they start pushing the vehicles. Sometimes while 15/20 people will go on pushing the fire has spread in full blaze and gutted everything. Sometimes when the fire fighting people reach the spot they are harassed by those angry people. On many occasions Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the fire brigade personnel have been harassed by the people only for this. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, since there is only one Fire Brigade Station in Garo Hills and they cannot serve I feel there should be some more Fire Brigade Stations in each place like Phulbari, Baghmara, Dalu. Mendipathar, Simsangari, Mohendraganj if not full-fledged Fire Brigade Station at loast some units to be set up. There is a proposal for construction of a modern fire station with staff quarters and also with provision for under ground water tank at an estimated amount of Rs.12 lakhs. This proposal so far I know has already been sent to the Government but I have been told that there was no response from the Government side. In this connection I would like to point out that there should be a provision for staff quarters along with the fire station. Because at present the fire brigade staff have to stay far away in different and there used to be one sentry in the fire station. So whenever fire incident takes place, the sentry has to go from door to door to collect those personnel and it is also hard for one sentry to contact them. Therefore, staff quarters and provision for under ground water tank are very much necessary in Garo Hills. There is a scheme for eight water reservoirs in Tura town and some plots of land have already been officially handed over to the Police Department by the Garo Hills District Council. The reservoir to be constructed at Tura Bazar, Chandmari, Hawakhana, near Garage, Anandamath, Dobasipara Garo Hills District Council and so on. These eight plots of land had been officially handed over to the Police Department by the District Council. The S.E. P.W.D. was requested to prepare the estimate. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, after 2/3 years one reply has been given by the P.W.D. that tit would take little more time to prepare the estimate. Only to the Department the reply took 2/3 years. I think it might take a decade to prepare the estimate. That is why during the Budget discussion I pointed out that every Department should have its own Engineering Wing, whether it is Medical Department should have its own Engineering Wing, whether it is Medical Department or any other Department. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, fire calamities has become a yearly threat to the people of Kherapara, Dalu and Phulbari breaking but I do not know what are the reasons behind this breaking up of fire every year. But people do not get any help from the fire brigade organisation because fire brigade station is located far away at Tura. A budget has already placed and an amount of Rs.3,77,06000 has been earmarked for Police and Fire Protection and Control. the Police Department should not neglect fire protection and control wing which is very much attached to the same department. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is a proposal for one more jeep engine and portable pump for lifting water from the river or stream for Tura Fire Station. But uptil now we did not get any response. In this connection, I would also like to point out that we should not depend only on the fire brigade personnel. A part from providing the fire stations with proper equipments, it is better if we train our Home Guards, Civil Defence Volunteers and also our students in schools and colleges in order to fight against fire in its primary stage Our economic condition is indeed weak. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I should again point out that this fire makes people beggars and it effects very much the economic condition of the people. Sir I do not like to deliver a long speech but I will just try to bring to the attention of the Government that these Fire Brigade Organisation should be given much importance and consideration and without delay. Fire Service Stations should be provided with all equipments, with vehicles and the Fire Brigade personnel and new Fire Brigade Stations should be set up in greater number. Thank you Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Shri Albinstone Sangma :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in support of the motion moved by the hon. member from Dalu. I would like to speak a few words. As suggested by the mover of the motion, the Fire Brigade Organisation should be strengthened and there should be more fire brigade stations in both the districts of Garo Hills. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this year only, in the month of February, the Williamnagar bazar has been gutted by fire as a result many huts and thatched houses both of temporary and permanent structure and also houses of the local people and shop keepers have been gutted by fire completely. Had there been an organisation many of them could be saved. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at least in the district headquarters in the towns and big villages, fire brigade stations should be located. I would like to mention the name where the fire brigade station should be located in Garo Hills. No.1, Williamnagar, the headquarters of the East Garo Hills District, No.2, Baghmara, being a town already declared. 3, in semi-towns like Dalu, Tikrikilla,. Rongjeng, Mahendraganj, Phulbari, Ampati and Garobadha. If possible, Government should take immediate steps to place fire brigade stations in those places.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- May I now call upon the Deputy Chief Minister to reply ?
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank the hon. member from Dalu who has brought forward this motion for discussion in this House. Well Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the mover has very eloquently highlighted about the need of strengthening of the Fire Fighting Organisation not only in Garo Hills but also in the State as a whole. For the purpose of this motion, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we would also like to discuss about the need for strengthening of the organisation in Garo Hills only. I do agree with the hon. mover that fire is really dangerous. It does a lot of havoc and devastation and it is indeed very important to give timely check to this source of devastation and with this view in mind, the Government have set up stations in various headquarters and organisations in the State. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we do agree and we do aware, in this connection about the inadequacy of the Fire Service organisations in the State as a whole. In the year 1972, we have invited a Fire Adviser from the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, to come and make an assessment and also to make recommendations as to how best this matter can be sorted out. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to inform the House that the fire Adviser had come and had already made an assessment and also had submitted various recommendations to the State Government. These recommendations are under consideration of the Government. but I would like to inform the House Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that most of the recommendations of the Adviser could not be fully implemented because of paucity of Fund. But Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in the Annual Plan for 1978-79, a provision is there for the construction of buildings for accommodation of the office of Fire Service Station with its staff quarters at Police Bazar including the construction of an underground tank at West Garo Hills. This has been prepared and also a provision has been made in the annual plan of 1978-79. It may also be pointed out Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that in the past, it has really become very difficult to strengthen the organisation because to make arrangement necessary for the Fire Fighting Service, water is very essential and we have found in Tura there are several streams from where we can get water. But during the dry seasons the tendency of the streams is to get dried up. So it is very difficult to get water from the source and it has become necessary to bring water to Tura from the Ganol river which is at a distance of approximately 11 kilometres from Tura. However, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this difficulty has now been considerably lessened because of the fact that the Garo Hills District Council have allowed the Fire Brigade to collect water from the newly constructed water reservoir at the Deputy Commissioner's park. Also Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the hon. mover of this motion made a mention about eight plots of land in different localities in Tura which are handed over by the District Council to the State Government for making tanks. He has said that it has taken a long time for the S.E. of the P.W.D. to prepare plans and estimates. This matter is still with the P.W.D. and the plans and estimates are now under preparation and this matter will be looked into and we will try our best to see that the matter is expedited. A suggestion is also made that in the establishment of the various stations, the main consideration should be not on the population basis but on the distance. Well, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it sounds very nice and also, if possible it could be done. But, as I have said earlier, because of paucity of funds I do not think this State Government will be able to set up as many fire fighting stations as we would require. So I would inform the hon. members and the House that, because of the paucity of funds, this will not be possible.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, he has also raised a point about the lack of personnel to man the organisation and he has also made a mention about the equipments and also about the vehicles. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in so far as this particular aspect of the problem is concerned, this matter has been noted down and we will see to it that this aspect of personnel as also the various equipments that are connected with the station, will be improved whenever felt necessary. The hon. member has made a very laudable recommendation of proposals about giving or imparting training nit only to the personnel of the fire fighting station but also to give adequate training to the other personnel like the Home Guards, the Village Defence partime and also to the students. These have been noted and we will definitely look into them and examine them and if they are found feasible we will certainly to the needful.
The hon. member Mr. Albinstone Sangma, has also suggested the same thing with regard to setting up of a station at each headquarters. This I have already replied to but it may not be possible because of paucity of funds. But in so far as this aspect of the matter is concerned, i.e. the improvement of the organisation of the Fire Brigade in Garo Hills, definitely, we are going to look into it. Steps are being taken to train and improve the personnel of the organisation in Garo Hills. Thank you, Sir.
Shri Mukul Das :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, on a point of information. So far I know there is some idea to purchase some numbers of Fire engines-TATA. May I seek clarification from the Hon'ble Minister whether any of these engines will be given to Garo Hills also.
Shri S.D. Khongwir (Deputy Chief Minister) :- It has not come to my notice, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. But we will examine it and a later date most probably we will be able to give the information to the hon. member.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- I think there is no more question and as the discussion on this motion is closed, now, we come to the next motion to be moved by Mr.P.G. Momin.
Shri P.G. Momin :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the House do now discuss the necessity for immediate establishment of a full-fledged new Dispensary at Mangsang, East Garo Hills.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Motion moved and now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri P.G. Marbaniang :- Well, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while moving this.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Health, etc) :- Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir,. we have no quorum.
Shri P.R. Kyndiah (Minister, Industries) :- We are still 10 with the Deputy Speaker. it is alright.
Mr. Deputy Speaker :- Please continue.
Shri P.G. Momin :- Whether I should go ahead ?
(A voice-Quorum is there)
(At this state the Speaker occupied the Chair)
Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the very outset of my speech in moving this motion, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that we are all here to put our heads together and to join hands with the objective in view to fulfil or bring forward all around developments in our State thereby to uplift the well being of the society as a whole. With this objective in view, Mr. Speaker, Sir, one of the important tasks to be fulfilled is to eradicate diseases. I would therefore, stress upon the House that all the medical amenities and facilities should reach far and wide to every nook and corner of the State.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is because of this main objective that I would like to take the privilege of moving this motion : that a full fledged dispensary is very much essential to be set up immediately at Mangsang which is within the East Garo Hills District. Mr. Speaker, Sir, now I would like to stress upon the House that while I put forward the importance of setting a full fledged dispensary at Mangsang, I am sure that some of the hon. members sitting in this House and also the Ministers who are representing the Government have been to the place and so they are well-acquainted with and well-oriented in local situations prevailing in the region. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this respect I would like to refer particularly to the hon. member from Mawthengkut that once he had made an indication to me that he is very well-conversant about the conditions and situations prevailing in that area since his boyhood and I hope he will really appreciate the idea as in what manner I am moving the motion for consideration of the Government. Well, Mr. Speaker, Sir, now I would like to stress again on the floor of this House that Mangsang is located within my Assembly Constituency, i.e. Rongjeng Assembly Constituency. It is located in a backward and remote place just on the border of East Garo Hills and West Khasi Hills. There are about 50 small villages located in a very contiguous and compact manner and the total population has exceeded ten thousands. The main stay of the people of Mangsang is based on permanent wet cultivation. I would like to point out before the House that there is a vast flat land bounded by the four walls of hills which is quite suitable for wet permanent cultivation. Sir, most of the cultivable flat lands have already been reclaimed and the people have already planted regular food crops every year when the season comes. However, there is ample scope for further reclamation for the purpose of permanent wet cultivation. Sir, there are certain institutions located in a and around Mangsang area and I would like mention that there is one Government Aided High School, five Government aided M.E. Schools and as many as forty primary schools located in that region. Mr. Speaker, Sir, considering all these aspects that I have already pointed out, we can assume that it is one of the important I should say, one of the biggest villages in the State. But it is a matter of great regret that unfortunately no dispensary, even primary health centre or any kind of medical facilities or amenities have reached that area to serve the people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to enlighten the House through you, that when Meghalaya came into existence as a full-fledged State in the year 1972, I brought a proposal that the Government should open a dispensary at Mangsang. There were several memoranda submitted by the people of Mangsang of Health at that time and also so many representations from people were made to the Government. In Addition, I would like to mention here that I have had personal contacts with the authorities concerned and I have stressed upon the essentiality and the importance of setting up a dispensary at Mangsang. But as I have said, the period of 6 years has elapsed, but no consideration whatsoever has been given it so far. Mr. Speaker, Sir, therefore, I would like to impress upon the Minister in charge of Health to look into this matter seriously and see that the needful is done accordingly. Sir, as I have said, the main objective of the Government is to bring all round developments in the State and the people, and therefore, the hon. members are to put their heads together and join hands to uplift the social well-being of the people by providing medical amenities like health services, educational facilities, irrigational and agricultural facilities to multiply the agricultural produces and so on and so forth. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not want to lengthen my speech but I would like to once again stress the importance and impress upon the Government that it is a matter of seriousness must be done. The nearest medical centre to that area in East Garo Hills is located at Rongjeng which is 20 kilometres away from Mangsang and in the West Khasi Hills District, the nearest medical centre is at Riangdo the distance of which is almost 35 kilometres away. Therefore, the place having such a big population living in a contiguous and compact manner, as I have said, where3, they have got permanent wet cultivation and as there is no question of shifting their dwellings from place to place, I do appeal that such facilities of dispensary or medical facilities should reach the people of that area as early as possible. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the absence of such medical facilities, the people are completely deprived of any help when some contagious diseases like dysentery, small pox etc. attack the people in that area and they are helpless indeed. I would like to quote an example even last year, there was an acute dysentery in and around that area and the nearest medical centre is located at Rongjeng. Unfortunately, there was no medical officer or doctor at that time, so the people suffered. So, because of the circumstances prevailing in those days, the people could not avail of any medical facilities. Considering all these aspects in view, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to request the Government through you, to look in to it and to see that the needful is done. As I have earlier, I have taken up the matter with the department, and in course of my contact with the department concerned ; the then D.H.S. assured me that the proposal has been given top priority and the matter is being looked into. He even showed me the report which the Government maintained. So I was really confident at that time that something is coming out. But ultimately Sir, the matter is at a standstill, the reason of which is not known still today. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, definitely considered symphatically and I am quite confident that my deliberations in this House will not go in vain. But I am sure it will bear certain fruits and lead to the achievement of the declared goal, and will go a long way towards building up a prosperous society and a prosperous State as a whole. With these few words once again I request the Minister in charge to look into the matter and to see that the needful is done. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Any other hon. member. The Minister, Health to give his reply.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, health) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. member from Rongjeng, Shri P.G. Momin had passionately pleaded for the read of establishing a Primary Health Centre at Mangsang. In fact, as of today, this Mangsang is under the Dambu-Rongjeng Block in whichn there is already a Primary Health Centre at Rongjeng and there are two sub Centres of which one is at Mangsang and the other is at Boksalpara and I understand that the buildings are under construction. What I would like to bring to the notice of the House, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Working Group of the Ministry of zhealth and Family Welfare which met on 14th December, 1977 under the Chairmanship of Shri Krishnamurthy, Joint Secretary which discussed the proposal for the Annual Plan of Meghalaya 1978-79, said, "the Working Group was of the opinion that the idea of having dispensaries should be dispensed with which provide only cura ive service. Instead of dispensaries primary health centres and sub-centres with a provision of medical staff should be taken up so that both preventive and curative service may be provided for the community. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to bring to the notice of the hon. member that the Government at present is thinking in term of better facilities because the dispensaries as they are, they are only meant for curative facilities. But then in the Primary Health Centres, Sub-Centres, we have also the facilities for prevention in which case there will beds also door in-door patients, it is not only for out door patients. I really feel very much for Mangsang as I have a feeling for the Riangdo area. In this connection, the hon. member had met me and had explained to me about the area, location and its justification, and in fact I had assuned him that the Government will try its best to see that medical facilities are provided for the particular area. I heard from him that the area is composed of so many villages and quite a prosperous area but is lacking in health facilities. Therefore, I would like to assure that we shall do that and moreover as I have said earlier in the case of Riangdo there is also recommendation that for every 20,000 souls there will be one Primary Health Centre. I believe that the area which is adjacent to Mawthengkut is equally backward and we will really look into it. Now I am also grateful to the hon. member that he had given some sort of a true confession that in the past he had been knocking so many times at the door of the then Government. But all his attempt failed. I only request the hon. member to really pray that we can have an opportunity that such a Primary Health Centre will be provided for the Mangsang area.
Shri P.G. Momin :- On a point of clarification. The Minister has replied that there is a Primary Health Centre at Rongjeng and there is a proposal also to set up one Health Centre at mangsang. That is according to him. But now it has been changed. If a Sub-Centre is established at Mangsang there will be no medical officer. In that case, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not know whether the genuine requirement of the people can be fully met since Mangsang is a vast area consisting of more then 10,000 people which number will also multiply in due course. So in case there is a proposal for setting up of a Sub-Centre there I am very much doubtful whether medical facilities can really benefit the people.
Shri J.D. Pohrmen (Minister, Health) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I clarify that in Sub-Centres, of course with the exception of the attending doctors, more or less medical facilities are there. Now we can even go to the Government of India for the Subsidiary Health Centres in the State in which, according to that new type of scheme, there are even better facilities. So we shall see what best would be suited for that particular area. We are very much concerned about the health or the people of the State and I can assure the hon. member that we shall leave no stone unturned in this regard.
Mr. Speaker :- As a matter of fact, there are still 1½ minutes more. I do not think we can take up any business with only 1½ minutes.
So the House stands adjourned till 9.30 A.M. on Wednesday, the 28th June, 1978.
|Dated, Shillong,||Secretary Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.|
|the 27th June, 1978.|