Proceedings of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly assembled at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, the 30th March, 1978 in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Hon'ble Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. Speaker : Let us begin the business of the day by taking up Item No. 1, Shri B.K. Roy to call the attention of the Chief Minister under Rule 54.
Shri B.K. Roy : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to call the attention of the Hon'ble Chief Minister to an incident of quite a serious nature and of urgent public importance......
Mr. Speaker : Mr. B.K. Roy, you kindly just move the motion first.
Shri B.K. Roy : Thank you, Sir, Sir, I beg to call the attention of the Chief Minister under Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Assembly to a news item appearing in the local newspaper ' Young India' of 16th March, 1978 under the caption " Prof. Kapila Chatterjee assaulted".
Mr. Speaker : Now Chief Minister to make a statement.
*Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, in making a brief statement on the matter to which my attention has been called under Rule 54(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in this House, I would like to begin by stating the facts of the case which I am sure, the hon. Member from Pynthorumkhrah and the victim, Shri Kapila Chatterjee will not dispute as the facts are based on the complaint, lodged by the factual report of what transpired later. On 10th March, 1978 at about 10 p.m. 2 young men went to the residence of Prof. Kapila Chatterjee at lower New Colony and requested hid to lend his torch, claiming that the car belonging to Shri J.K. Lanong, a C.P.I. member had broken down hereby. They also claimed that Shri Lanong was in the car. Prof. Chatterjee in his statement to the police said that he gave the torch to the boys. After a while when Prof. Chatterjee found that his torch had not been returned, he came out with his dog to the road. He met two other young men on the road and enquired from them about his torch-light and the car which was alleged to have broken down. They replied that it was a little a head and they accompanied Prof. Chatterjee towards the Bajoria School. He did not see the car on the road. Near the gate of the Bajoria School, Prof Chatterjee was way-laid by 4/5 well dressed young men who allegedly assaulted him. Prof. Chatterjee also claimed that subsequently, about 14 young men appeared on the scene and continued the assault. Prof. Chatterjee in his statement to the police said that he would be able to identify one of the assailants but said that he had no knowledge as to their actual identity.
As a result of the assault, Prof. Chatterjee fell down with fairly grievous injuries. Prof. Chatterjee stated to the police that for a short while he was unconscious. When he regained his senses, he found himself alone with his dog. He then managed to walk back to his residence and informed the Deputy Inspector General of Police, C.I.D. Meghalaya of the incident over phone. Police rushed to his residence, with an Ambulance car, and took him to hospital for treatment.
It is suspected that the assault was provoked by an editorial written by Prof. Kapila Chatterjee in his periodical "Young India" which was published on 2nd March 1978. In his editorial, Prof. Chatterjee had condemned in very strong terms, the demand of the local tribal population for preservation of their tribal identity and prevention of influx of outsiders into the State of Meghalaya, etc. Police have registered Shillong P.S. case No.116(3) 78 under section 147/325 I.P.C. and all out efforts are being made to trace the culprits.
In this regard may I once again emphasise the facts that it will be absolutely wrong for anyone to consider or interpret this particular incident as being a part of a larger whole. I reiterate this, as also a few other incidents, is an isolated incident. In any case, the matter is being investigated by the police.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, finally I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Member from Pynthorumkhrah to sub-rule (2) of Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of this House which reads as follows - " There shall be on debate such statement at the time it is made".
Shri B.K. Roy : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not like to debate on this point, what I want is that.
Mr. Speaker : Mr. B.K. Roy, if you want any clarification, if at all, you may ask but you cannot bring any new point. You may seek just clarification.
Shri B.K. Roy : Sir, I have not completed. What clarification I want is that it was an alsatian dog, as the Hon'ble Chief Minister said, and it was quite possible that the dog might or must have bitted the assailants.....
Mr. Speaker : It will be the duty of the police to find out. If the dog had bitten anyone and he does not go for treatment it is very unfortunate ( laughter ).
Shri B.K. Roy : Mr. Speaker, Sir, my question is that the incident took place on 10th March, 1978 and today is the 30th of March. There is quite a big gap between 10th and 30th March. We would like to know whether any person had been apprehended or what steps have been taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
Shri Darwin D. Pugh, (Chief Minister) : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have already stated that the matter is being investigated by the police. If, therefore, any such suspect had been apprehended, I would have said so.
Mr. Speaker : So the discussion on this item is closed. Now let us come to item No.2- Private Members' Motions, we have as many as 5 motions, Let us take up the first motion as arrived by ballot, Mr. G. Mylliemngap to move his motion.
Shri G. Mylliemngap : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the immediate need of opening a Police Outpost at Village Mawryngkneng.
Mr. Speaker : Motion moved. You can initiate the discussion.
Shri G. Mylliemngap : Sir, it is indeed a considerable pleasure on my part because I could bring this motion for the first time on the floor of this House. I have been trying on many occasions to bring this motion on the floor of this House, but as ill luck would have it, I could not get it through. Today, I place before the floor of this House, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the opening of a police outpost at Mawryngkneng is an immediate need because I consider that the Police are the custodians of law, they are the friends and they are also the people who will keep the sense of security in the minds of the people of the cluster of village around the village Mawryngkneng I would just give some sort of introduction to this village Mawryngkneng before I put forward my arguments for its need. This place is about 37 kilometers from here and it is about 30 kilometers from Jowai. It was previously a centre gate between Jowai and Shillong and it is on the national highway and the population of this village according to the 1971 census was about 2500. There are some public institutions like the Block headquarters, a public health centre and there is a high school also. It is a big market place where about 30 or 35 villages around Mawryngkneng come for their daily needs and also to sell their agricultural produces in this market. As you know Mr. Speaker, Sir, our tribal people are by nature very fond of drinks and their is rampant selling of illicit liquor in the market place an on the market day, you will find all sorts of abusive words being uttered by the pedestrians and it is very difficult on the part of respectable people and also women folk to move about in the market place. Besides that, there is also, what I should say, a teer business and gambling, and you know Sir, when there is rampant selling of liquor, the bad elements used to take advantage of this situation on the pretext of being drunk. They used to enter into the shops and demanded whatever was available from the shops. They moved from one shop to another intimidating the inmates of those shops and if there is any slight resistance they kicked the tables and chairs, they even tried to strangle the inmates of those shops. Not only that Mr. Speaker, Sir, there has been a regular incident on this main road that is, from Shillong to Jowai which takes up to Silchar and Mizoram. You will find regular road blocks of big boulders to obstruct trucks plying on this road. This is a regular phenomenon and the bad elements used to force the truck drivers to give away whatever money they have with them, and if the drivers resisted, they were assaulted and sometimes even beaten badly. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is even no security of those people travelling by cars on this road and this demand for a police out-post at Mawryngkneng, is not made for the first time. We have voiced this demand and we have petitioned to the authorities, but I do not know what had happened actually. We have tried from the year 1972 onwards to pray for the opening of this police out-post at Mawryngkneng, but I am sorry to say that it is a cry in the wilderness. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I ask the Government, through you, that unless crimes are reported every day, and unless murders are reported every week, it appears that the Government is not going to do anything. In this connection may I pose a question? Does the Government want that there should be crimes committed every day and murders registered every week. Mr. Speaker, Sir, on last Good Friday, on the 24th of this month, I was at Mawryngkneng and while I was coming back with one of my friends, I found that just beyond Mawryngkneng village there were two big boulder placed on the road and I saw some 2 or 3 people hiding in the bush by the roadside, I dared not stop my car because I sensed that there was danger. It would not have been possible to cross the road block had it not been a small car. Trucks would not have been able to pass through these road blocks. Even on that particular night, I knew that there was one ejahar case send to the police that some bad elements went to the shop of one petitioner who has petitioned to the police by the name of Smti Shortimai Sohtun. She has informed the police that on that very night some of the bad elements went to her shop and threatened the inmates of the shop and even tried to strangle one of the shop keepers at Mawryngkneng. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have a strong plea to make with the Government that unless the Government is doing something in this connection immediately, I am very much afraid that the situation of law and order may deteriorate to the extend that we may not like it in course of time. With these few words Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I once again request the Government, through you, that it should try to do something to met the situation.
Mr. Speaker : Anybody else? ( After a pause ) I now call upon the Chief Minister to reply. But Mr. H. Britain War Dan is on his legs.
Shri H. Britain War Dan : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion moved by the hon. Member from Sohryngkham. I fully agree with the Member that top priority should be given and special attention paid to the immediate opening of a police out-post at Mawryngkneng. Sir, as you know, Mawryngkneng village is situated along the National Highway from Shillong to Jowai. There are also Block Development offices, Public Health centre and the I.B. and weekly market with a good number of population including the neighbouring areas. Let us take for instance, Sir, that there is an out-post at Ummulong in the Jaintia Hills District, while in the Khasi Hills District, there is not a single out- post stationed along this National Highway.
Mr. Speaker : How far is Ummulong from Mawryngkneng?
Shri G. Mylliemngap : It is about 12 miles but Ummulong out- post falls in Jaintia Hills District and Mawryngkneng village in Khasi Hills District. That is why the bad elements have been taking advantage of the situation, they fled away from this district to the other district to avoid being apprehended.
Shri H.B. War Dan : Sir, crimes are being committed and untoward incidents took place in the same way as they were since 10 or 15 years back due to lack of a police outpost there for detection of crimes and prevention of incidents. On a number of times, Sir, we used to pass through Mawryngkneng and while we had our tea in the restaurant we came to learn as stated by the hon. Member, that incidents and some sort of crimes did occur there. So the opening of a police outpost there to give protection to he neighbouring village is very essential in order to enable out people to get immediate help for bringing their produce to the market at Mawryngkneng and at the same time apprehending the culprits for legal action. But in the absence of the police outpost on many occasions the culprits escaped scot-free and evidence disappeared. I would, therefore, request the Government, there to through you Sir, to take immediate for opening of a police outpost there to maintain law and order situation and ensure security and prevent occurrence of crimes in the area. I do hope Sir, that with the opening of a police outpost at Mawryngkneng, the law and order situation will be maintained and the standard of social conduct will be preserved and also the practice of excessive drinking eliminated. Mr. Speaker, Sir, since the need has become an emergency, I once again press the Government, through you, Sir, to take immediate action in the matter which will be of great help to bring happiness to all citizens of Mawryngkneng and also its neighbouring villages. With these few words I resume my seat.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh : Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to take part and in the first place I support the motion. It is really essential that the Government should consider opening of this motion for it is very important since this village lies on the national highway and in view of the fact there are so many villages around the area which will be covered by this out post. But at the same time, Mr. Speaker, Sir, when we consider opening of out-posts, the question of manning the out posts has to be considered, that is, the staff position. So in this case, Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is necessary for the Government to consider the position of many other outposts which are to be opened in the State. Sir, in this connection, I would also stress that for the last so many years we have been demanding the setting up of outposts every where since we attained statehood of our State. We have been stressing that for recruitment to the police force, preference should be given to the local people, but what we have seen is that many of the policemen were just taken over from the then Government of Assam. I do not know whether it is binding on our Government to take only those employees of the then Government of Assam. We were thinking that our Government would consider enrolment to these posts would be from the local people so that they can look after peace and tranquility of the citizens of the State. But, Mr. Speaker, Sir, what we have seen is that the policemen who come from other States not know much about the psychology of the people of this area. So, when there is crime committed and when the police go there to investigate into the case, there is commotion and uproar and that creates more trouble. This happens because the police do not understand the sentiment and they could not find out the actual crimes which are being committed. Therefore, it is most essential that when we open police out-post either at Mawryngkneng or any other place, the Government should see that the policemen are taken from our own State who should be posted in those areas so that they can solve the problem as projected by the Mover of this motion that to solve the problems of peace in these areas when there is such trouble like obstruction on the road and threatening the owners of the shops. It is the duty of the police but when the police who do not ( At this stage the Speaker left the Chamber and the Deputy Speaker occupied the Chair ), understand the Language or the psychology of the people, go there they will naturally find that even the owner of the house will not be able to explain the difficult or the treats posed by bad elements. So, it is very difficult unless our own people, from the state itself, are appointed in the Police Force. I would, therefore, request the Government that when it is considering the establishment of certain outposts it should also consider the staff position. On this staff position we would request the Government to see to it that the enrolment to the Police force should be done by the local people.
Mr. Deputy Speaker : May I know request the Chief Minister to reply.
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as has already been stated by the hon. Mover of the motion, I would like to emphasize the fact that the matter now raised in and through this motion being discussed is not exactly something new because it was as early as on the 4th of June, 1975, that during a short visit made by the then Minister of Agriculture one of the things the people of Mawryngkneng raise was then need for opening of a Police Beat House at Mawryngkneng. I have here before me Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, an English Translation of a memorandum submitted in the Khasi language by the people of Mawryngkneng to the then Minister of Agriculture. It reads are follows; "All kind of vices have increased and it is not easy to manage these only by the village management. It is, therefore, felt necessary to open one Police Beat House at Mawryngkneng to keep such vices in the villages as well as in other surrounding areas under control". Then again, during the winter session of 1977, the hon., Mover of the motion now under discussion. i.e. Mr. G. Mylliemngap had moved a similar motion now under this very House. The motion then moved reads as follows: "This House do now discuss the immediate need for a Police Outpost at Mawryngkneng".
(At this stage, the Speaker occupied the Chair.)
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the point I am trying to make is that the Government has been aware of the people's wish and the people's demand for opening of an outpost for quite some time now. On the representation received from the people of Mawryngkneng in 1975 regarding the need to open a Police Beat House at Mawryngkneng to handle law and order problems, the Government examined the matter but was of the opinion that it was necessary to open a Police Station or Outpost or Beat House at places which were connected with good means of communication with District Headquarters in the State. It was then decided to depute Mobile Police Patrol parties to Mawryngkneng, especially on bazar days. The Police Patrol Party so deputed was to halt at Mawryngkneng for the night as anti-social elements and standard usually create trouble after sunset. The Superintendent of Police was not able to depute Police Petrol Parties on every bazar day. From the point of view of the number of crimes committed in and around Mawryngkneng, the establishment of an Outpost has not appeared necessary. However, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we shall watch the situation and if there are reports to show that crimes and offences are on the increase the Government will consider the immediate posting of a picket on a temporary basis. Nevertheless Mr. Speaker, Sir, the question or the matter concerning the need or otherwise of opening a Police Outpost at Mawryngkneng will be kept under review from time to time. This, of course, will be subject to the overt-all financial resources of the State.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Speaker, Sire, I would like to have some clarification. The Hon'ble Chief Minister has informed the House that there has been a decision to depute Mobile Police Petrol Parties on market days and to stay for the night at Mawryngkneng. I would like to know Mr. Speaker, Sir, whether the Department has worked out the expenditure on such Petrol Parties every week and also the expenditure if a Police Beat House is open there. Another point is that the Chief Minister has stated that the matter will be considered when there is a report that crimes have increased. May I know Mr. Speaker, Sir, up to what extent the Government will consider this issue or up to what amount of crimes to be committed as if they expect the people to commit crimes.
Shri E. Iawphniaw (Minister, Tourism) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, just something I want to say before the Chief Minister gives his final reply.
Mr. Speaker :- Are you to reply or to add something?
Shri E. Iawphniaw (Minister, Tourism) :- I think I should say....
Mr. Speaker :- I think it is for the Chief Minister to reply. You are part and parcel of the Government. It is the subject of the Chief Minister. Please sit down. You can raise it in the Cabinet if you want to.
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not have before me the figures of expenditure that would be incurred on the opening of the outpost or on deputing the Police Patrol Parties. But obviously Mr. Speaker, Sir, when the Government in 1975 decided to depute police petrol party it must have been considered more economical. In any case Mr. Speaker, Sir, I can assure the House. through you, that the entire matter will be re-examined and the best solution under the circumstances will be found out.
Mr. Speaker :- So the discussion on Motion No.1 is closed. Let us now come to Motion No.2 Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh, please.
Shri Grosswell Mylliemngap :- But my point No.2 has not been answered Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker :- Which was your point No.2?
Shri Grosswell Mylliemngap :- The number of crimes.
Shri D.D. Pugh (Chief Minister) :- Well there were a few commitments in the past. I think over a period of four years there were only as many as 20.
Mr. Speaker :- I think that is alright. So Mr. Lyngdoh.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the failure of the Agriculture Department to provide and distribute chemical fertilizers to potato cultivators in time during the last sowing season.
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved. Now you can initiate the discussion.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while moving this Motion my intention is only to remind the Government as well as all the hon. Members of this House of the very said condition of our potato cultivators especially in the upland areas of Khasi Hills both East and West Districts. Sir, because of lack, shortage and scarcity of chemical fertilizers during the last growing season most of our poor cultivators were suffering very much. It was a fact and probably you were the best person to know because Sir, you were the person who at that period of time has been personally attended to many suffering and difficulties of our people coming from various villages from different areas of these two East and West Districts of Khasi Hills right up to the town of Shillong in order to get fertilizers. But Sir you know they could not get fertilizers in time. Therefore, Sir, the planting season of potatoes had to be changed and the poor cultivators had to shift their potatoes to some latter date because of non-receipt of fertilizers in due time. The poor potato cultivators were, therefore not very sure whether they will be able to get a good result or not out of their potato cultivation this year. Every year right from 1972-73 we used to urge the Government to provide fertilizers in time because our State is a deficit State and in every respect we have to depend on the assistance of the Government. Unless the Government take keen interest and unless the Agriculture Department takes a serious view of the supply of fertilizers to our potato cultivators, I see no better scope for increasing production of food stuff in our State. Sir, during these days there was scarcity of fertilizers and we rather had impressed upon the Government to make more allotment of fertilizers by procuring from the Central Government sufficient stock or by bringing from any authority or Board controlling the supply of fertilizers. During the last sowing season in the month of January and February, there was scarcity of fertilizers and the people in whose favour Agriculture Department had issued license in dealing with fertilizers, were not getting this because they are suffering very much for want of fertilizers. These licenses hail from different villages of the State and yet they could not get fertilizers from the Department concerned and so when they returned home they failed to deliver fertilizers to the cultivators of their villages. Therefore, the villagers stated grumbling against them and blamed them to have sold out the fertilizers in the black market. But Sir, even in the black market too they could not find any fertilizer. Of course, for some, who know how to get it, they could get in the black market but at higher prices. This economically affected the cultivators and here in the town there were talks during those days that the fertilizers were available with the Government yet the Government did not look into it properly when they allowed fertilizers to go out of the State. So Sir, it seems there was failure in this regard on the part of the Government. It appears the whole sellers who used to collect fertilizers from the Corporation itself have sold them away outside the State. This is actually the responsibility of the Government and the duty of the Department concerned to look into all these matters thoroughly. In the last potato-growing season, the Deputy Commissioner himself wanted to help the people and personally went to the whole-sellers here in Shillong for distributing fertilizers to the cultivators. But Sir, what he could do there when there was not much stock of fertilizers to Supply? As a result poor cultivators were really suffering and this is really the responsibility of the Government to look into all these things. In the Governor's Address, I have seen, subject to correction, or it may be in the Budget Speech that the Government have told us that in the previous years there had been increased of production of potato and last year the increase went up to the tune of 90 thousand tonnes.
Mr. Speaker :'- That was on Budget Speech.
Shri R. Lyngdoh :- Sir, we really expect that every year potato cultivation should be increased with the help of fertilizers which the cultivators used to plant every season. You know the soil also has become such that if they don't use fertilizers potato will not grown any more and therefore, it has become more and more important that fertilizers should be sufficiently supplied to the cultivators. So I hope that the Government will encourage in the growing of potato in our State and should help the poor cultivator by providing them with fertilizers in time.
But that was not done during the last sowing season. By bringing this motion I would only suggest that the Government should be alert on this very important subject and they should make provision to collect fertilizer. I understand there is allotment for every quarter to those wholesale dealers. They do not collect this fertilizer, saying why should we waste money unless we could sell it then and there.' The growing season of potato is generally in January, February and up to March. So unless the wholesellers collect the fertilizer every quarter they will not be able to distribute this fertilizer to the cultivators. If they wait for the allotment of that particular quarter it will not be enough for the needs of our State. So I would suggest that the Government should look into this point and direct all the wholesellers to collect the allotment for every quarter, stock it and distribute to the cultivators at the sowing season. Unless they do that I do not see any scope to improve provision of fertilizer to our cultivators. Of course I realise also the difficulties that will be placed before the Government because our people have been using only two types of fertilizers, that is, ammonium sulphate and super phosphate. I understand that the factories could not stock enough fertilizers. Of course it is our duty also as members of this House and the duty of the Government to teach or hold group discussions in every village if possible to change the fertilizers from one type to another. I understand there are other types of fertilizers like urea, sotala etc.. Unless people are being taught properly it will be difficult to change from one type to another and thus it will be difficult for the Government to provide only one type of fertilizer if there is shortage from the factory itself. So I would request all the hon. members of this House as well as the Government department that they should really take these things through wide publicity to the cultivators to make them use and practise other types of fertilizers also. In this connection, I would also request the Government to see that there will not be any black marketing of this fertilizer. I would also urge the Government to place before the Central Government the increasing needs of these fertilizers in our State. With these words I move the motion.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to associate with this important motion. We all know that chemical fertilizer has become so much important to the growers of potato and also growers of other vegetables and other types of grains. I know that this year there has been acute scarcity of chemical fertilizer and I know also that the Government was not sleeping over this issue. They have tried their best to find out ways and means as to how to meet the needs of the cultivators. I may differ a little with the hon. mover when he said that some fertilizers went out of the State, because I know for a fact that there were some fertilizers coming in from outside to our State with the efforts of the authorities in the Agriculture Department. For this reason I think they deserve appreciation, and I know that the scarcity of chemical fertilizer was not actually created by the Agriculture Department but there are some technical difficulties which have cropped in the process of bringing these fertilizers. The hon. movers has elaborated almost all the points and all the most important factor is that many factories in the country are going for a new type of chemical fertilizer to avoid the bulky one and to introduce the other types which are less bulky. As you know Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is so difficult to change the practice and understanding of our people. Once they had got used to this particular type of fertilizer, it takes year together to change their practice, to make them convinced that this new fertilizer is as good as the one they have used. It is so difficult to argue with them. Therefore, the hon. mover has stressed the point that Government should make serious efforts to demonstrate any new type of fertilizer in a bigger way in many areas so that the cultivators will be convinced. Another difficulty which the hon. mover has elaborated was that the stocks got lapsed because wholesalers are not lifting the quotas. It is a fact Mr. Speaker, Sir, because as he said, the dealers do not want to get their capital blocked. Fertilizers in our part of the country are being used for few months only and it is difficult for the dealers to stock these fertilizers. Therefore, I would suggest that if possible, the Government will try to find out ways and means to stock these fertilizers to build up the stock from quarter to quarter and to release the stocks at the time of need to the cultivators. Because fertilizer is also to be considered as t food-stuff because food-stuff is not coming forth without fertilizer. If the Government is having a buffer-stock of food-stuff, I consider that it is also this duty of the Government to build up a buffer-stock of fertilizers because distribution or allocation of fertilizer is done by the Ministry of Agriculture at the Centre. If the State Government is not using it the allotted quota of fertilizer because the dealers do not lift, this will affect the allotment of quota to the State. If ion a particular year, our State Government fails to lift the quota, the allotment will be seriously affected in the coming years because it will be considered according to the previous performances. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I feel that building up of a buffer-stock of chemical fertilizer is very very important. With these few words, I resume my seat.
Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to participate in this motion moved by the hon. Member from Mawkyrwat. This is a very very important subject to be discussed in this House. As you know, Sir, in our State about 80 per cent of the people depend on Agriculture including potato cultivation. It is a fact as far as I can assess the situation obtaining during the last two months that an acute scarcity of fertilizer was prevailing at that time. In my opinion, it was a man-made scarcity. During the last election, on more than three occasions, I had to postpone my election meeting in certain villages because the majority of the progressive farmers in those villages were all away from the villages to the town for fertilizer and reports from those cultivators after their returning from town was that fertilizer was not available but is was available somewhere which is very difficult to say whether those who are in possession of fertilizer are authorised dealers or not. Sometimes they said that they have to procure at a very exorbitant price. This scarcity of fertilizers during the last sowing season, will no doubt, post a great problem to this Government because many of the cultivators could not take up cultivation in time and some of them had to stop cultivation altogether due to non-availability of fertilizer. So Sir, what will be the ultimate result or what will happen to those affected families? I think it will pose a great problem to this Government. Is it not correct to say that a little wrong done by the previous Government, the responsibility would ultimately fall upon the present Government in time. to come? Sir, I feel that the Agriculture Department should resort to a certain programme how to keep the cultivators informed of the position of fertilizer, for those who used fertilizers, so that the cultivators themselves, can divert the attention to some other green manures in case fertilizer is not available as it should be at the time of sowing season. I would like to add another point in this connection in as far as the affect of this scarcity of fertilizer will be to the cultivators, specially those cultivators who take loans from the banks. Sir, I also have found in many places that many of these cultivators do not get such fertilizers in time, specially during the sowing season and as such many of them could not carry out their cultivation in time and some of them could not do it at all. So, Sir, what will happen to them when the time will come for repayment of the loans which they have taken from banks. So, in this connection, the Agriculture Department and the Government as a whole should take enough precautions to protect those people who, with no fault of their own, will become bankrupt and the ultimate affect henceforth will be that the Financial Institutions will not come forward to help them with agricultural land and ultimately our poor farmers, our cultivators will suffer much. Sir, these are the two things which, in my opinion, will latter on affect the poor the poor potato cultivators. And what I am afraid of is that it will not remain there, it will go a long way in the production of our potato in our State. Sir, we are very proud of the potato production from our State and I think it is the only major production which is the highest in our State and it will be a great loss to the capital income of the State and also to the nation production of potato of our country. With these few words, I resume my seat. Thank you, Sir.
Shri Albin Lamare :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to congratulate the mover of this motion for bringing up of the subject on the floor of the House. Sir, these chemical fertilizers are much talked about the by the cultivators. The Government have helped the people to be fertilizer-minded. Sir, as I happen to be associated with the cultivator, I have experienced that late and untimely supply of fertilizers to the cultivator has much affected the growth and production of of potato. I, therefore, fully support the motion brought before the House and also to acquaint the Government with the difficulties of the cultivators and to request the Government to explore the possibility by finding out ways and means as to how to get the fertilizers supplied well in time so that production of potato may be fairly well for the years to come. I have also seen with my own eyes on the way from Jowai to Shillong that the people in the upland region have used large areas for potato cultivation and it has also occurred in my mind that our people should not depend much on fertilizer. Sir, I have also seen that besides fertilizers' those potato growers have even gone up to Jowai to collect the fertilizer supplied by the Government. Here I would like to suggest to the Government through this House that the fertilizers should be stocked in a block headquarters, in Gram Sewaks headquarters and also in the agricultural go-downs. Sir, besides these chemical fertilizers I also would like to suggest to the Government that the fertilizer or the bonemeal be supplied well in time to the paddy growers, specially in Jowai, because most of the cultivators in Jaintia Hills get more used in paddy cultivation than potato cultivation. And this is what I have to say on this motion and with these few words, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Now, Mr. Mozibar Rahman.
*Shri Mozibar Rahman :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to participate in the motion moved by Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh and I appreciate it very much because this is a very clean approach to the Government since the Government has failed t make the fertilizers available to the cultivators. Of course, failure and success are everywhere in everywhere in every department. If there be competition of failures I think this Department of Agriculture will stand first. Of course, it is a vast Department which requires many things in relation to 80% of the population of the State who are all agriculturists. So to satisfy the need of all is a very big question. But it is an urgent necessity because it is the only source of livelihood on which the major portion of the population is to depend. For this failure of supply of the fertilizer. I like to draw the attention of this august House with special reference to Garo Hills. Of course, our Garo people have not yet been so much chemical-fertilizer minded. It is a very much on an experimental stage. Our people used to utilise natural fertilizer or non-chemical fertilizer the most important of which is cow dung. I think this chemical fertilizer in many cases is a failure if cow dung is not at all added.
Secondly, one kind of natural fertilizer was there earlier. I remember at one time the Government of Assam banned cultivation of Kheshari Dal itself makes the land fertile. I am not very much sure whether the hon. Members are sure of this Kheshari Das cultivation. Once it is cultivated, in subsequent year the land will yield produce abundantly in no way lesser then using chemical fertilizer. But that has been stopped. I do not know whether this regulation still holds good in Meghalaya. Our area is very much neighbouring area of Assam, and people still do not cultivate Kheshari Dal. The Government is failing to supply chemical fertilizer on one hand and the cultivators too are banned to produce indigenous fertilizer on the other hand. Thus lack of facilities to provide fertilizer to the cultivators is affecting the cultivator in general. In addition to that I would like to draw the attention of this House Mr. Speaker, Sir, to the fact that in Agriculture Department there are three wings, one is General Wing, then the Mechanical Wing and the third one is Irrigation Wing which is just being created. As it is a new Department I do not like to speak on this. But the role played by the Mechanical Wing of this Agriculture Department so far in Garo Hills is very hopeless. Last year, I and some of my friends wanted to hire some tractors and power tillers from Tura. What I got, I cannot express. Many tractors and power tillers were there. Some persons were working there to repair. There was not even a single tractor or power tiller serviceable.
Mr. Speaker :- You are talking about tractors and power tillers, please drive back to fertilizers.
Shri Mozibar Rahman :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this discussion, I would request the Government to concentrate its attention to provide our people with available fertilizer and arrangement should be made to ensure that fertilizer be made available to the people locally. With these few words, Sir, I wish to resume my seat.
Shri Lambourne Kharlukhi :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to support the motion moved by the hon. member, Shri Rowell Lyngdoh. At the very outset of my speech, I would like to state, as far as the distribution of fertilizer is concerned, especially in the potato growing areas, that the Government has failed in the procurement of fertilizer in time. Actually, this motion which has been moved today in this House has been also a household topic, especially in the potato growing areas of this State of ours. These fertilizers, as we have seen were not supplied in time and were not adequately supplied too. There were many complaints from the cultivators as far as this matter is concerned. But at the same time, I would like to point out that the failure of the Government to provide and distribute fertilizers in time had adversely affected the prospect of yield of potatoes and other important crops in our State this year. I have seen with my own eyes especially during the month of February when the sowing period of this crop has attained its last stage, the poor and helpless cultivators were rather frustrated and disappointed in not having fertilizers in time when that is most needed. Actually, I have seen many of the poor cultivators stood from early morning and swarmed the houses of those license holders jut to know when to get fertilizers. These license holders who used to bring some quantities of fertilizer and distribute it to the cultivators at whatever amount or quantity they would be getting from the wholesalers or other sources were also becoming rather frustrated because of the fact that they were also not in a position to supply or distribute the fertilizers to the cultivators. Many blames, as stated by one of the hon. members, have been heaped upon those license holders by the cultivators. But when I happened to enquire from those license holders, they were also not in a position to answer definitely. They told me that they could not get fertilizers from the wholesalers. When the same question was put to the wholesalers, they were also in the same position of helplessness and they said that there might have been many reasons behind that. One of the facts that these wholesalers found they were not able to get their quotas from the sources was that in spite of the fact that instructions and directions have been given to them by the F.C.I. operating in Shillong, fertilizers were distributed to them in such a way that it was impossible for them to accept it because things were not done completely. For instance, as instructed, 50 per cent of super phosphate should be mixed with 50 per cent of ammonium sulphate. But it happened that only super-phosphate was supplied to them whereas ammonium sulphate was not supplied. In this case, the wholesalers were....
Mr. Speaker :- But in the earlier stages, it was not like that.
Shri Lambourne Kharlukhi :- Yes, Sir, it might have been so. That is what I have been told by the wholesalers. Recently a complaint was made by the wholesalers that they were deprived of their allotted quota and that their godowns had to be kept under lock and key as there was no supply. Some of the wholesalers had also complained in that way. That is why when those license holders went to the wholesalers, they were informed that there was nothing available from their quota. That was also another thing which has been told by the wholesalers.
Mr. Speaker :- But are you aware that a particular wholesaler released his stock only at night?
Shri Lambourne Kharlukhi :- Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to continue my speech on this. One thing which I have seen which surprised me very much was that when the cultivators were ready to buy at black market rate then plenty of fertilizers were there. I do not know who is to be blamed for this and that is why I want to bring this to the notice of the House today. If this state of things happened, why should not the Government take to itself the responsibility of distributing fertilizers. It would have been better had the fertilizers been sold in the open market. As far as this particular matter is concerned, it very much reflected the image of the outgoing Government. On further enquiry Mr. Speaker, Sir, I can also make a sort of conclusion that as far as provision and distribution of fertilizers are concerned in this State, the blame goes to the greediness of the Meghalaya Marketing Federation and which wanted to monopolise everything for its own benefits. That question is yet to be replied. On the light of all the discussions that we have had on this very important motion, I would like to suggest that it is the duty and responsibility of our present Government to see that such things should never happen, in times to come, if our Government is really to be democratic, fair and efficient. With these few words, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Minister-in-charge, please.
Dr. B. Pakem (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise from the Government side to participate in this motion.
Mr. Speaker :- You are to reply.
Dr. B. Pakem (Minister, Agriculture) :- Thank you, Sir. While listening to the motion , certain observations and points have been raised by the hon. members in this House. Well, we really have certain difficulties regarding the supply of fertilizers to the potato growers during the last season. The fact is that state-wise allotment of fertilizer is made be the Government of India on a half-yearly basis from February to July and the second half-yearly from August to January. Allotment is issued on the basis of the demand from the State Government and consumption corresponding the previous half-year and manufacturing capacity of the various manufacturing units. For the period from August 1977 to January, 1978 we were allotted 456 tonnes of nitrogen's of which only 406 tonnes were allotted as Urea from Namrup and 50 tonnes as super phosphate from Trombay. The hon. member from Mawkyrwat has referred to the types of fertilizers that we have. It is true, we do not have sufficient amount of ammonium sulphate as well as super-phosphate. We had difficulties is having these in time despite our efforts to have it from the Government of India. This happens partly, in the factories and in other industries. Towards that end of the growing season we had procured some amount of fertilizers. now the allotment which we have this time. i.e. during August 1977 to January 1978 is the allotment of Urea to start with and arrangement for lifting ammonium sulphate during November has been made. BY and large lifting would be made as per order. The hon. Member from Mawkyrwat had also referred to the question of resorting to other chemic al fertilizers as substitutes for ammonium sulphate since the growers are reluctant to use this fertilizer. He also had an apprehension about the possible failure of the crop i.e. potato. While fully agreeing of with Shri Rowell Lyngdoh about the apprehension, we have to consider the availability of super phosphate and ammonium sulphate during the growing season.
Another hon. Member, Shri Mojibar Rahman, from Rajabala referred to cultivation of Kesari Dal. Well, cultivation of Kesari Dal has been stopped by the Central Government since a long time because this crop is supposed to be injurious to health. The hon. Member from Sohra has suggested that we should resort to compost fertilizers as an alternative source of other chemical fertilizers. Regarding suggestion made by the various members in this House the Government will make efforts to make a buffer stock of fertilizer in our State. The actual proposal is to have a stock of 4000 tonnes of ammonium sulphate and 4000 tonnes of super phosphate for the months of December to February each year. As the producers distribute the fertilizers uniformly month-wise, it is difficult to get larger quantities during the growing season. I am also very happy for the points raised by the hon. Members here in this august House regarding the role played by the whole salers. Well, the Government of India makes six monthly allotment to the factories and the factories release 1/6th per month to the State. But during December-February we require 90 per cent of our quota of fertilizers. So, the whole-salers prefer to collect the stock only in the months when they can really sell the maximum. This point has been mentioned by the hon. Member in his motion. We will have these difficulties unless our dealers change their system of collecting fertilizers, i.e., unless they collect fertilizers more or less uniformly throughout the year. Any way, all these points will be examined by the Government and dome procedures will be worked out. The whole-sale at present is confined exclusively to Shillong only since the stock of fertilizers is located there. As a result of which the farmers find it difficult to come to Shillong for collecting fertilizers. We agree that this difficulty can be overcome only when the wholesale system is extended upto the interior. But things will be changed and there will be whole-sale of fertilizers in the interior and there will be sufficient stock well ahead of time for the selected interior centres.
Regarding the apprehensions expressed by the hon. Members on their existence of black-marketers and alleged selling of fertilizers outside the State, the Government so far has no information. In any case this will be looked into and whatever steps that would be necessary to correct any apprehension which the hon. Members have in their mind after proper investigation. Once again I am thankful to the hon. Members who have participated in the ( At this stage, the Speaker left the Chamber and Shri S.D.D. Nichols-Roy, Chairman took the Chair ) motion and various points raised and suggestions made will be looked into by the Government and also will be given due consideration. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman :- May we know whether it has been agreed that there was a failure on the part of Government, i.e. the Agriculture Department, to provide fertilizers in time. Of course it was the duty of the previous Government but I could not catch from your statement whether it has been agreed that there was a failure on the part of the Government to provide fertilizers in time.
Dr. B. Pakem (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, the Government had faced difficulties in the past years and we have also attempted to get supply of fertilizers in time, but because of these difficulties, it has not been possible to get the required quantity of fertilizers for the growers. But that is not to admit that the Government has failed. We had made demands and also sent frantic telegrams to the Government of India to send immediate supply of fertilizers in time. So from the Government side we have taken steps to really get the fertilizers in time to the benefit of the growers. We have had difficulties which stood in the way, but these difficulties we have tried to correct. So it is not to admit that the Agriculture Department have failed in this matter.
Mr. Chairman :- May we know that these same difficulties will not occur in the coming season from December to February 1979? Does the Department feel that it has been able to overcome these difficulties from the coming sowing season?
Dr. B. Pakem (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, as I have said earlier, we are trying to have a buffer stock of ammonium sulphate as well as super phosphate by November next, that is, before the actual growing season so that we can supply the fertilizers to the growers by the months of December up to February.
Mr. Chairman :- So the discussion on the second motion is over. We now come to the third motion to be moved by Shri Medras Mylliem.
Shri M. Mylliem :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I will not move my motion.
Mr. Chairman :- Since the motion has not been moved, we now come to the fourth motion standing in the name of Shri G. Mylliemngap.
Shri G. Mylliemngap :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to move that this House do now discuss the irregularities in the execution of the Tyrso Valley Irrigation Project.
Mr. Chairman :- Motion moved. You may initiate the discussion.
Shri Grosswell Mylliemngap :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, while moving this motion, I would like to point out some of the irregularities which have been reported in the execution of the Tyrso Minor Irrigation Project and which has caused bitterness between the department and the contractors who undertook the work of execution in this project. Mr. Chairman, Sir, it has been a practice in those departments which are having contract works to have measurement books, to have agreements and to have other document between the department and the contractors who are undertaking the execution of the works. In this particular project, Mr. Chairman, Sir, we have seen that there are so many irregularities which I consider to be very serious. Number one is that the date of procurement of the measurement book by the Department is not recorded. It means that the date of procurement of the measurement book by the Department is not recorded in the measurement book itself. Secondly, it is noticed that when the measurement books was issued to a particular officer who is supposed to handle a particular measurement book, the date of issue is to be recorded both in the stock register and in the measurement book and also in the measurement book itself when it is issued to the overseer or to the executive engineer or assistant engineer or any officer who is supposed to handle that particular measurement book.
Now, I come to other factors, Mr. Chairman, Sir. The work site of this project was shown by the overseer to one particular contractor by the name of Mr. J.N. Giri on 13th March 1975. There are lots of dates here Mr. Chairman, Sir. Therefore I would request you to be a little bit attentive. On 13th March, 1975, the work was shown to the contractor and the work order for this project was issued on 14th March, 1975. The contractor started the work on 16th March, 1975, that is, after two days of the work order. The first measurement of the coffer dam was recorded on 6th March, 1975 though it was subsequently erased and changed to 17th March, 1975. If I take the latter date as correct that the measurement was taken on 17th March, 1975, what measurement will he be getting Mr. Chairman, Sir, unless it is done through Alladin's Lamp? After two or three days of the work order and one day after the work started, that is, the contractor started the work on 16th March 1975, but the measurement was recorded on 17th March, 1975. So you can easily imagine what work will be recorded, and this particular item of work is recorded in MB No.5 Pages 37 to 40 and the amount recorded therein was Rs.8,099.45. Mr. Chairman, Sir, it is reported by the audit party that the first drawal for this particular project was made some time during March, 1975 and the amount drawn through the Bank Draft was Rs.7 lakhs. The measurement recorded was for Rs.8,000 and odd and the amount drawn through the Bank Draft was for 7 lakhs and rupees during March, 1975 and the payment as reported was made some time in the year 1976 from the State Bank of India, barabazar for a sum of Rs.57,000 only. So here you will find the irregularities.
Mr. Chairman, Sir, the recorded measurement was for Rs.8,000 and odd, drawal was for Rs.7 lakhs and the payment made was for Rs.57,000 only. Besides, it was also reported that the contractor was made an advance payment four times. Four times of advance payment was made to the contractor without measurements. You know what happened' Mr. Chairman, Sir. The Irrigation Wing of the Agriculture Department had requested the contractor to keep his measurements recorded by him. In this the practice Mr. Chairman, Sir?... that the Department should ask the contractor to keep his measurements. I wonder. I do not understand Mr. Chairman, Sir, how things are there in the then Government- that the officers who are in the field do not have their own measurements and so they have requested the contractor to furnish his measurements. I am citing these with authentic records Mr. Chairman, Sir. The contractor was asked vide letter No. AID. 133/75-76/304, dated 31st May, 1977 to furnish the measurement as recorded by him. You can just understand Mr. Chairman, Sir, how things are moving. I should at least thank the Secretary of the Department because he has understood the seriousness of the matter and that he had convened a joint meeting of the Irrigation Wing and the contractor to sort out this matter. The meeting was held on 25th March, 1977- the meeting between the Irrigation Wing and the contractor wherein some sort of agreement was arrived at, at that meeting. With your permission Mr. Chairman, Sir, I will just read out a little fact relevant to this. It is recorded like this: "There is some discrepancy between what the contractor claims to be the total volume of work done by him and what we find according to ore estimates and measurement. The contractor claims to be the local volume of work done by him and what we find according to our estimates and measurement. The measurement book, unfortunately, does not show at any stage the counter signature by the contractor or his agent at site". At any stage, there was no counter-signature on the measurement by the contractor or his agent at site. On the other hand, neither the contractor can produce any report to show that the measurement of work done by him has been countersigned by the departmental staff. Mr. Chairman, Sir, coming back to the measurement book as recorded, I refer again to page 37 to 40 where this particular measurement was duly recorded and duly countersigned by the Executive Engineer of the Irrigation wing and also duly endorsed by the contractor.
Next I come to other pages of the measurement book. At pages 41 to 57, before I come to that Mr. Chairman, Sir, you may ask me how these facts have been revealed. I would like to inform the House, through you, Sir, that the contractor was allowed to see the Measurement Book No.5 on 17th October, 1977, and at pages 41-57 it was recorded and the original date recorded therein was 21st March, 1976, which was subsequently erased and changed on 29th March, 1976. It was checked by the Assistant Engineer but there was no endorsement by the Executive Engineer or the contractor. In between these pages, from 41 to 57, there has been erasing, over-writing at pages 41, 44, 48, 49 and 50. In almost all the pages Mr. Chairman, Sir, there has been erasing and over-writing of figures. I do not know Mr. Chairman, Sir, how these things can take place. Normally, measurements recorded on measurement Books are kept neat and clean, but here there has been erasing and over-writing up of new figures probably to suit the requirement of the people who are involved in this work. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, there ahs been a charge by the contractor that the Department is manipulating and tampering the records. So, it is natural for the contractor or for any one of us to charge that there has been manipulation and tampering of records. Not only that Mr. Chairman, Sir. The contractor charged the Department that there has been a conspiracy, the misdeed of sabotaging what he has done because as it appears, he did not meet the needs of the Department or the needs of the people who are at the helms of affairs in the then Government. Mr. chairman, Sir, as per the measurement recorded at pages 41-57, it is shown that there are some items of work which relate to reinforced concrete cement work. There has been also recorded measurement for cement works and that measurement was taken and recorded on 21st March, 1976 and subsequently changed to 29th March, 1976. I do not know how can that happen. The first consignment of cement issued to the contractor Mr. Chairman, Sir, was on 11th March, 1976 and according to the report we received the cement was taken to the working site only some time in April, 1976. So how can there be a measurement of concrete and cement works on the 29th March, 1976 when the cement taken to the working site was in April, 1976? Beside that, you know Mr. Chairman, Sir, in this particular M.B. No.5 there are measurements relating to other contractors also. But these measurement followed later than the measurement of the first contractor whom I have mentioned. There has been measurement recorded from pages 58 to 72 and these measurements appeared to have been recorded on14th March, 1976 though the pages were recorded after the work of that particular contractor which was shown as recorded on 29th March, 1976, and pages 73 to 91 were recorded on 16th March, 1976. Besides that at pages 92 to 103 the measurements were recorded on 17th March, 1976 and to your surprise Mr. Chairman, Sir, I beg to inform you that pages 98 and 99 were left blank whereas pages up to 103 were filled up and duly recorded. But pages 98 and 99 as I said were left blank without any remark, neither cancelled not any remark whatsoever was made thereon. So you can easily understand Mr. Chairman, Sir, the intention of the idea behind for leaving these two pages blank. Now Mr. Chairman, Sir, as I have mentioned earlier the Secretary of the Department has taken some trouble to try to settle this issue. He has convened a meeting on 25th March, 1977 and not only that, he has also tried to fix another joint meeting on 3rd November 1977 with a request to both the parties to come to an amicable settlement so that there will be no sense of bitterness. But it was all futile, they could not do anything about it. There has been harassment, there has been punishment upon the contractor and even there has been whispering that he should pay money here and there. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I feel that this sort of things cannot be allowed to go scot-free. Therefore, I demand, that the claim of the contractor should be thoroughly examined. He was paid a sum of Rs.4,44,379.89 on four occasions though without measurements. I demand that there should be an enquiry into the matter. It appears to me that there has been a lot of manipulations and tempering with the records for the interest of somebody. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, Sir, I feel that this is a fit cast to constitute an enquiry commission to go deep into all the matters and to find out the facts. Not only that Mr. Chairman, Sir, I will just remind you that this is no the only irrigations project in our State. There have been many other irrigation projects and I know for sure that there have been irregularities in many of these irrigation projects. Therefore, Sir, I urge upon the Government through you, that this state of affairs should not be allowed to continue and the culprits should be brought to book, and that can be done only through the enquiry commission. With these few words Mr. Chairman, Sir, I move this motion.
Mr. Chairman :- Any body else?
Shri S.P. Swer :- Mr. Chairman, Sir, participating in the discussion of this motion brought by the hon. Member, I would like only to add a few points to the facts which the hon. Member has placed during his submission. It is a matter of grave concerned and it is an act of a very high degree that irregularities committed which we have never heard at Tyrso Valley. Those of us who had been to that area will find that it is really a very vast and fertile cultivable land. I have no doubt that the Government formulated a scheme for irrigation of this vast land for cultivation and it is a scheme which is really good if this land can be developed into a cultivable field. Again this scheme is one for which the Government deserves congratulation if it can be brought under cultivation. Then we can say that this Tyrso Valley will be the rice bowel of the Ri Bhoi Subdivision. I feel that the irregularities committed as stated by the hon. member while implementing this project, clearly show that the Government I mean the previous Government though loudly committed on the floor of the House for more production, for taking the State towards self-sufficiently it did not act up to its promises and commitments but rather acted in such a way to defeat its own policy. Mr. Chairman, Sir, I wonder and I could not even think when the hon. mover of the motion brought these hard facts before the House. Further I know something also about the execution of this project but what strikes me most besides the points mentioned by the hon. member is this one, that the Appron of the project as originally estimated and planned was 74 by 18.35 meters and that was the drawing supplied to contractors as on 14th March 75 but again the whole thing was changed on 11th March 1976 from 74 in length to 51 and from 18 to 17.50 meters after a lapse of one year. The actual work done by the contractor during the period of one year was to be paid unnecessarily. Here it shows clearly the inefficiency of the officer or officers concerned with this project and as a matter of policy this act amounts to a squandering of public money. Mr. Speaker Sir, as submitted by the hon. member I also commend that this case should be thoroughly enquired into and the persons concerned who are responsible in this case should be sternly dealt with and that all laws of the land should be applied on such person or persons responsible for this.
( Mr. Speaker in the Chair )
Shri H. Britain War Dan :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion moved in regard to the irregularities of the Tyrso Valley Irrigation Project. Besides the points raised by the hon. members I would like to add more. The Tyrso Valley is one of the largest valley in Meghalaya lying on the boundary of the Karbi Anglong District in the Mawhati Constituency of the Ri Bhoi Subdivision. It covers more than 25,000 acres of paddy fields and more than 30,000 acres of fallow land not to speak of the hill slopes. 9 villages lie in that valley and another 11 villages have their paddy fields in the valley. The Assam State Electricity Board has decided to set up a 42 crore hydel project in the valley by constructing a dam across the river Umiam. This would have been a disastrous effect upon the provision of the paddy in the Tyrso Valley as also in the Umswai valley in the Karbi Anglong District. Thanks to the vehement protest of the local people led by the local M.L.A. now Minister, Revenue Government of Meghalaya that the A.S.E.B. has agreed not to set up the dam. In this place the M.L.A. of Mawhati persuaded the Agriculture Department to have Major Irrigation project of about 28 lakhs, 12 lakhs to be spent on the right hand side of the river Umiam and 16 lakhs on the left hand side. The proposed project, would irrigate more than 20,000 acres of fallow land apart from providing adequate supply of water throughout the year. The construction work was started on the project in the year 1974 by cutting several canals in the valley and setting up of a small dam across the river at a place called Chum Chum. Unfortunately while the canals have long been completed, the dam is in no way complete. The Agriculture Department have not been able to settle matters with the contractors concerned as stated by hon. members and because of this tussle the poor farmers of the Tyrso Valley are suffering. In fact some of the canals have already collapsed and need re-building. It is shocking to learn that the contractor has not been treated justly by the department and the public demand that a thorough probe be made into the affairs at once so that the benefit of irrigation can be brought immediately to the people. With these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Anybody else? Since there is nobody who would like to participate in the motion, I now request the Minister, Agriculture to reply.
Dr. Barrister Pakem (Minister, Agriculture) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member, Shri G. Mylliemngap and the other two hon. members who had participated in the motion, have mentioned a number of facts which are matters of record and will be looked into. At present, I would like to give the report that this Tyrso Valley project is under execution since March, 1975. Measurement has been completed as far as it related to the eleven groups, eleven groups have been completed and the group in which we are discussing now is with Shri J.N. Giri, contractor who is working there in that project. There is a conflict between the department and the contractor. What the contractor claims is more than what our record shows. Measurement book also shows that the contractor has signed the measurement book but contractor himself has questioned about the signing the measurement book by him. At present, it is difficult to give a categorical reply to the facts mentioned. We agree to look into the whole matter. Regarding the date of procurement of the measurement from the department and also the date of issue of the measurement book in which the stock registers are not recorded, this will be checked up. Then the point raised relating to the amount of Rs.7,00,000 drawn in 1975, this is not a fact. The amount as per bill prepared at that time only was paid. Now, another point relating to the fact that the contractor was asked to produce his records of measurement, that has been done as the contractor has questioned the measurement recorded in the departmental measurement book, which also, has the contractor's signature. So, as I said, these suggestions and facts as stated and recorded will be checked and will be also looked into by the Government.
Mr. Speaker :- So the discussion on motion No.4 is closed. Now, we come to motion No. 5. but since the hon. Member who is to move his motion is absent, the motion will not be taken up. Since there is no other business for today, the House stands adjourned till 9.30 a.m. tomorrow, the 31st March, 1978, Friday.
|the 30th March, 1978.||Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.|