Speech of Shri Pu Swaraj Kaushal, Governor of Mizoram to the Mizoram Legislative Assembly on 11th March, 1992
Hon’ble Speaker and distinguished Members of the House,
It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome you all to the First and Budget Session for this year. I extend my warm greetings to all of you. I am proud of the achievements that have been possible because of my Government’s commitment to development. I am confident that in the days to come my Government’s sincere and sustained efforts will promote further progress so that this beautiful and serene State can take its rightful place alongside the other developed States of this country.
2. The year that has just passed has been a momentous one for India and it was marked by the brutal and tragic assassination of our former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. We can pay no greater homage to his memory than by taking up the struggle that he led during his lifetime against the forces of communalism, casteism and terrorism with redoubled vigour and zeal.
3. Let me take this opportunity to make a reference to the massive changes sweeping the national economic scene almost like a hurricane. Many unconventional measures have been taken. There is a shift from controls and restrictions to overall liberalization in all directions. As far as the Government sector is concerned, the climate now is to bring greater balance in its working by living within its means. Hon’ble Members would appreciate that Mizoram cannot remain aloof from these developments. My Government, therefore, has resolved to contribute its humble mite in this national endeavor.
4. For 1991-92, the Planning Commission approved the size of the State Plan at Rs.152 crores. One aspect of this Plan of which I would like to make special mention relates to a provision of Rs.1.50 crores for strengthening the equity-base of the cooperative institutions. This is expected to attract Rs.30-40 crores of contribution from national institutions like NABARD over time and give a complete new face-lift to the cooperative movement in the State. It is also proposed to develop five Model Villages with an outlay of Rs.50 lakhs.
5. For 1992-93, an outlay of Rs.160 crores has been approved on the State Plan. The first and foremost priority has been accorded in the Plan to agriculture and rural development, with emphasis on self-sufficiency in foodgrains and other essential commodities, accounting for about one-third of the total outlay. The next priority has been given in the Plan to social services with one-fourth of the outlay.
6. As the Hon’ble Members know, Mizoram has been experiencing acute financial problems right from its birth as a State. Much of this could be ascribed to the crushing burden of over Rs.190 crores of the U.T. period loans inherited by it.
7. My Government has been making every effort to strengthen its resource-base through generation of additional resources on the one hand, and effecting savings in expenditures on the other. In spite of its limitations, my Government raised additional resources of about Rs.20 crores during the Seventh Five Year Plan. Another amount of Rs.4.14 crores was raised last year. This year, the Sales Tax collection kept in abeyance have been resumed. The bus fares and power tariff have been revised. Let me in this context make special mention of the sacrifice made by Government servants in the form of impounding of their Dearness Allowance arrears last year and again this year. Though the position has now eased, we are still not out of the woods. The present sustained efforts are, therefore, proposed to be continued with renewed vigour.
8. The law and order situation in the State by and large remained under control with the exception of a few unwarranted incidents due to the activities of the H.P.C. My Government is fully committed to seeking a peaceful solution to this issue and I appeal to all concerned to respond to the peace initiatives. During the year 1991-92, 16 Ex-servicemen have been given employment in civil jobs while other ex-servicemen who are undergoing specialized training have been given scholarships. My Government allotted Rs.230 lakhs to the Home Guards and a Central Training Institute at Sesawng was commissioned on 2nd August ’91. My Government has also initiated steps to strengthen the existing MAP force.
9. With an outlay of Rs.1900 lakhs during 1991-92, the Public Works Department has taken up many works including one State Highway and 18 major roads and construction of numerous bridges throughout the length and breadth of the State. During 1992-93 the Department proposes to continue its efforts in extending the number of major roads, towns and satellite town roads and also bridges. Under the provision for buildings, the Department will continue construction of projects such as additional secretariat building and Mizoram House at Calcutta. The development of the site for the Capital Project at Khatla is also expected to be taken up during 1992-93.
10. My Government is giving great emphasis on extending the power net-work in the State towards increasing generation, transmission and distribution of energy. The 7th Plan Minihydel Projects of Tuipui and Tuisumpui were completed and commissioned during 1991-92. The 132 KV Lunglei Sub-Station and augmentation of Aizawl Sub-Station by 12.5 MVA was completed and commissioned during September ’91. Under the Rural Electrification Programme, out of 60 new villages targeted, 36 have been electrified. The programme for 1992-93 lays emphasis on the completion of the Maicham Hydel Project, 132 KV line from Zemabawk to Khawzawl and W.Phaileng and for taking up Teirei and Tuipanglui Stage-I Project. Construction of 132 KV lines from Serchhip to East Lungdar, Lunglei to Lungsen, Lunglei to Lawngtlai and from Serchhip to Marpara with associated 33 KV Sub-Station will be continued with renewed vigour.
11. Under the Rural Water Supply Programme, about 690 villages have been provided with Water Supply. Under the Urban Water Supply Programme, the execution of the Greater Lunglei Water Supply Scheme has made considerable progress. Moreover, the Water Supply System in Aizawl has also improved. My Government attaches high priority to providing drinking water. In the year 1992-93, emphasis will be laid on augmenting water supply in the partially covered villages and on commissioning the Greater Lunglei Water Supply Scheme.
12. My Government gives great importance to the development of agriculture. The Department is encouraging mechanization of cultivation of foodgrains by distributing power tillers and tractors at 50% subsidy. In the coming year 1992-93, the Department proposes to increase the volume of production of foodgrains.
13. Under NLUP, Rs.2070 lakhs have been provided for implementation of the programme in 2 blocks i.e. Zawlnuam and Thingdawl as well as continuation of the programme in four Blocks i.e. Thingsulthliah, Reiek, W.Phaileng and Lungsen during 1991-92. For 1992-93, Rs.2,220 lakhs have been earmarked for this purpose. Under the programme for Social Education, Rs.96 lakhs have been provided for the construction of a number of community halls, Jeep Roads, culverts and suspension of bridges have been constructed out of the provision for Rural Communication. Under Rural Housing and Housing for Project Staff, funds were provided for purchase of GCI sheets and distribution thereof to the deserving families.
14. Mizoram can hold its head high, thanks to its incredible level of literacy. As a result of the sincere efforts of my Government a literacy of 81.23% has been achieved and my Government is making concerned efforts to achieve 100% literacy during the year 1992-93. For the improvement of educational standard, my Government have adopted more reliable and fairer system of examinations, school complexes, comprehensive school system, and provincialised a large number of Middle Schools, High Schools and Colleges. The Second phase preparation of new school textbooks has been completed following the National policy on Education of 1986. The construction of Lunglei Government College and Government Aizawl College is under progress. The Inter-Zonal Cultural Festival "Zoram Kutpui", the first of its kind in Mizoram was hosted successfully in the State recently consisting of about 300 participants from all-over the country.
15. My Government is committed to dispensation of quick justice to the people as far as possible. In order to dispose of accumulated pending cases in various Courts at the district level, Lok Adalat was conducted two times during the current year with the approval of the Hon’ble High Court in which 235 cases (viz- 37 Civil Cases, 35 Criminal Cases and 163 Motor Accident Claims Cases) had been amicably settled.
16. I am very happy to inform that in spite of our limited training resources in the field of sports, Mizoram has achieved tremendous success in archery in the international arena. Special mention must be made of Lalremliana of North Mualcheng and Lalremsanga of East Lungdar who secured 20th and 21st position respectively in the First World Junior Archery Championship. My Government has been making good progress in almost all the sports discipline and we are producing sports persons of World class.
17. In the industrial arena, the Mizoram Food and Allied Industries Corporation (MIFCO) has been operating food projects at Vairengte and Sairang on commercial basis. The Zoram Electronics Development Corporation (ZENICS) is functioning effectively and has started a Cable T.V. network in Aizawl. In the coming years, the Department proposes to lay emphasis on the development of handloom and handicrafts, village industries, electronics, growth centers, development of industrial infrastructure and geological investigation of minor minerals.
18. My Government is committed to improving the health services to the people living in rural and urban areas. A 30-bedded hospital at Hnahthial has been recently completed. During the coming year, construction of a 30-bedded Health Centre at Ngopa and 10-bedded one at Chakhang, Cherhlun and Bukpui will be taken up. Moreover, the existing infrastructure in the Aizawl Civil Hospital will be strengthened. In view of the alarming proportions of AIDS, the ELISHA Test Kit for investigation has ben installed in the Civil Hospital, Aizawl.
19. The Department of Food & Civil Supplies continued to take steps to improve supply of food and essential commodities throughout the State to cope with the increasing requirement of the people of Mizoram. Under the 20-Point Programme, 869 Fair Price Shops have been opened in different locations to cater the needs of the public and it is proposed to further revamp the Public Distribution System.
20. My Government is deeply concerned about the development and economic up-liftment of the District Council Areas of Chhimtuipui District. The three District Councils were allotted Rs.266 lakhs under non-Plan and Rs.675 lakhs under the Plan during 1991-92 for execution of schemes under rural communication, sanitation, community project, etc.
21. I have highlighted just a few of the major programmes and achievements of my Government. Other Departments have also made notable achievements but due to time-constraint, I will not be dwelling on them.
22. Hon’ble Members, you are all aware of the severe resource constraints facing this poor State. However, while all efforts are being made to create a reasonable infrastructure to accelerate the pace of development, we must not fail to note that this small State has two positive factors, namely the natural resources and human resources. Development and peace go hand in hand, and this should be our common goal irrespective of our party affiliations and political beliefs.
23. I am sure that this august Assembly will appreciate the steps taken by my Government on many fronts. I hope that the deliberations of this House will enable the Government to properly plan and implement its policies and programmes to secure a decent life for the poor and under-privileged people of Mizoram, and to provide for an accelerated pace of development. I have no doubt your discussions will be constructive and meaningful.
With these words, I now leave you to your deliberations.