Meghalaya: Opposition MLAs highlight list of issues “missing” from budget
Members of the Opposition which included Congress legislators – PT Sawkmie, Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh, George Lyngdoh and HM Shangpliang took part in the discussion and highlighted a list of issues that are “missing” from the budget.
Mawsynram legislator HM Shangpliang read out a list of things that requires the government’s attention like sanction and up-gradation of health centres, immediate repair of roads and bridges, need to extend the Aquaculture Mission to the plain belt of Mawsynram (East Khasi Hills) as it is conducive for rearing fish and others.
He also urged the Deputy Chief Minister in charge of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department, Prestone Tynsong, to consider setting up of one cattle ranch at Janiaw village close to Mawsynram as the area is fit for grazing.
“There has been no effort to extend the Aquaculture Mission along the plain belt of Mawsynram, fish is being continuously imported from Bangladesh,” he said.
He also mentioned that broomstick and bay leaf cultivation is a prominent activity of the people in the area and demanded to set up godowns while also stressing the need to come up with a maize mission to empower the farmers to grow more maize to meet the demand for feed for livestock.
Shangpliang also highlighted the need to improve and enhance tourism and sports activities in Mawsynram to boost the economy and generate local employment.
He also urged the government to study and replicate the approach taken by the Nagaland government in empowering traditional bodies in the form of a Village Development Board.
Joining the discussion, East Shillong legislator Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh covered many aspects of health, education, rural livelihood to water and power supply, sports and arts & culture.
“If this budget empowers rural Meghalaya, then go for it and take us through this journey even though we sit in the opposition,” Lyngdoh told the Treasury bench.
She also wanted to get more details on the work and budget allocation for an outdoor stadium at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong, while stating that the football stadium is in complete disarray.
On the construction of entry-exit points across the state, Lyngdoh asked whether the land acquisition has been completed and budgeted so that people would be assured that the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA) would be implemented within the year.
Regarding the aim of the government to make Meghalaya the tenth best state in India, the Congress MLA said, ”Our health, power, billing system should be conducive to reach that target. The government should ensure that every citizen has at least three meals a day, a roof over their head, a safe environment and better education facilities.”
Highlighting the need to strengthen the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs), Lyngdoh took cognisance of the sanctioned amount of Rs 711 crore for the ADCs and suggested putting in place a Financing Commission to position funding pattern to the Councils similar to the Panchayati Raj system.
Meanwhile, Nongpoh MLA Mayralborn Syiem termed the budget “comprehensive” but stated that there are a few points that require pro-active steps to be taken by the government.
These include – implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP), strengthening of the ADCs through the 6th Schedule and the inclusion of Khasi and Garo languages in the 8th Schedule.
“Price rise is another issue that requires the government’s attention,” he said.
He also pointed out that there was no proper mention in the budget on the safety of women and suggested strengthening the anti-human trafficking cell and women police stations in the state.
Referring to the increase in Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Syiem termed it as “alarming” and suggested the Health Department be pro active in dealing with the issue and to ensure more institutional deliveries.
Umroi legislator George B Lyngdoh emphasised the need to revive the economy post-COVID-19 by plugging the loopholes and bringing in strict measures to prevent the leakage of revenue.
Besides this, the Umroi MLA suggested the setting up of better infrastructure in and around the Umroi (Shillong) Airport.
(Edited by Christopher Gatphoh)