Supreme Court directs the entire extracted coal lying at various places of Meghalaya be taken over by Coal India Limited for disposal and auction as per existing rules

Shillong, March 17, 2021 (MMP): Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma informed the assembly today that the Supreme Court has directed that the entire extracted coal lying at various places shall be taken over by Coal India Limited for disposal and auction as per existing rules.

The auction process to dispose the extracted coal has commenced and the first auction will be conducted shortly from the East Jaintia Hills district, he said in reply to a question raised by Opposition member Mohendro Rapsang of the Congress in the course of the ongoing budget session.

The chief minister also informed that 11 designated coal depots have been notified by the government as of now and work on building infrastructure in other depots is on. Transportation from six coal depots is currently underway as per direction of the National Green Tribunal, the chief minister said. He further informed the house that 10 per cent of the bid values would go to the Coal India Limited.

Efforts to repon Khanapara cattle market

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong told the house today that the cattle market at Khanapara, which has been shut down for a week now would soon reopen.

Replying to a short duration discussion in this regard, initiated by Opposition member George Lyngdoh of the Congress, Mr Tynsong said that following an FIR filed by a Delhi-based NGO, the market was closed. He said that the Ri-Bhoi district administration and the police have been asked not to entertain such FIRs filed from outside. The case at hand is lying with the Nongpoh District Court, he said. The deputy chief minister also said that he has discussed with the Khasi Hills District Council and the Syiem of Hima Mylliem about identifying a new location for setting up the cattle market. The proposed cattle market would have a dispensary to check on the fitness of the animals, he said, adding that smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh has led toescalation in the price of beef in the State.

           Earlier, imitating the discussion, legislator George Lyndgoh pointed out that there has been a sharp rise in the price of beef, which is a staple diet for the tribal people and a reasonable source of protein. He urged the government to rein in unregulated cattle market and also suggested setting up of processing industry in the State for supply of beef to Bangladesh and check the smuggling of cattle to the neighbouring country. Mr Lyngdoh also called for cattle rearing facilities in the State, which would also open up vistas for employment as it is linked to ‘multiple livelihoods’.

       Lyngdoh also pointed out that the price of beef was highest in the State capital
Shillong, primarily due to lesser supply and smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh, which has compelled the Khasi-Jaintia Butchers’ Association to hike the price. He also said that people have not been buying beef due to its high price now, even as he pointed out that Meghalaya was one of the eight states in the country where beef is not banned. Opposition legislator Process T Sawkmie also expressed concern over the closure of the cattle market at Baridua, Khanapara in the wake of FIR filed by two NGOs from outside the State.

Govt. to examine enhancement of teachers’ salary

Meghalaya Education Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui told the state Assembly that the process for enhancement of the salaries of the Ad-hoc teachers in the State is under examination.

Replying to the question raised by Mawphlang Independent MLA, Syntar Klass Sunn during the Question Hour, Rymbui informed that the Government will take a call to enhance the salaries of the Ad-hoc teachers as and when the financial position of the State is comfortable.

Replying to the supplementary question raised by Mawsynram Congress MLA, Himalaya Shangpliang, the Education Minister informed that the government is spending Rs. 181 crore annually to pay the salaries of the Ad-hoc Lower Primary and Upper Primary school teachers. He further informed that the Government will need additional fund of Rs. 251 crore to enhance the salaries of the Ad-hoc teachers to be at par with the salaries of the teachers in the Government schools. According to him, the Government will need Rs 500 crore plus if it has to enhance the salaries of both the Ad-hoc and SSA teachers in the State. He further stated that the Government has other commitments besides taking care of the salaries of the teachers.

He further informed that there are 386 secondary schools, 844 upper primary schools and 1225 lower primary schools in the State which are government aided. There are 2139 teachers in the secondary schools, 3376 in the upper primary schools and 2450 teachers in the lower primary schools, he informed. The education minister also informed the house that teachers in Ad-hoc lower primary
schools receive Rs 12,000 per month, Ad-hoc Upper primary teachers receive Rs 16,000 and the head teacher receives Rs 18,000, while teachers in Adhoc Secondary schools receive Rs20,000 per month.

Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh also brought before the government the fact that there were few schools which did not even have a single teacher. The education minister replied that the process for rationalization as per the people-to-teacher ratio under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan was underway. Pointing out that several private schools have been coming up in the State, the Education Minister maintained that it was “not mandatory for the government” to grant aids to all such schools.

Meghalaya Government to pursue with Central Government setting up of a Central Agriculture University

Agriculture Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh told the assembly that the State government was pursuing with the Central Government the issue relating to setting up of a Central Agriculture University at Barapani, Ri-Bhoi district. He was replying to a zero-hour notice by Opposition member Himalaya Muktan Shangpliang of the Congress regarding the issue relating to setting up of a Central Agriculture University at Barapani, Ri-Bhoidistrict. The agriculture minister said the government was committed to pursue the matter with the Centre for establishment of the university in the State.

            He also informed that he had held discussion with the Khasi Students Union (KSU) over this and that the matter would be raised again with the Central Government along with the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members from the State. He said that the KSU intends to submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding setting up of the Central Agriculture University in Meghalaya. Lyngdoh said that he had personally taken up the issue regarding setting up of a
Central Agriculture University with the Union Minister for Agriculture on several
occasions. Former Governor Ganga Prasad had also taken up the issue with the Centre, the minister said, adding that the chief minister too had sought personal intervention of the prime minister in this regard.

           Lyngdoh assured the house that he would work together with all stakeholders to ensure that the Central Agriculture University is set up at Kyrdemkulai, where presently an Agriculture College is functioning. In the course of the ongoing budget session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly today, voting on demands for grants under various heads were also conducted. MMP

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