Speech of Shri Amolak Rattan Kohli, Governor of Mizoram on the Eleventh Session of the Fourth Legislative Assembly of Mizoram on 11th March, 2002
Honourable Speaker and distinguished members of this august House,
It gives me immense pleasure to welcome you to the Eleventh Session of the Fourth Legislative Assembly. I extend to the people of Mizoram my warmest greetings after the joyous conclusion of Chapchar Kut, which we have celebrated with traditional gaiety. I trust that the deliberations of this august House will be conducted, as always, with dignity and thus strengthen the time-honoured conventions and the rich democratic traditions of the people of Mizoram and of our great country.
2. I congratulate the people of Mizoram for their steadfast commitments to the maintenance of peace and harmony in the State. It is a matter of pride that Mizoram continues to be an Island of Peace in the North East and, indeed, one of the most peaceful States in the country today. In order to preserve our hard-earned atmosphere of peace and tranquility, strengthening the law and order machinery continues to be a priority of my Government. Keeping this objective in view, my Government leaves no stone unturned to modernize our State Police Force by providing them with modern equipment, weaponry and other inputs under the Modernisation Scheme for State Police Forces. Further, several works have also been taken up for improving housing infrastructure for the Police under this Scheme. A fleet of 90 new vehicles of various types and several high-end communication equipment have also been provided to the State Police Force during the past one year by the Government of India. An additional fleet of 123 new vehicles is being provided during the current year under the Scheme. I am sure that a generous flow of such assistance from the Centre will contribute substantially in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the law enforcement agencies of the State. The Strength of the State Police Force has recently been augmented with the 1st batch consisting of 200 new recruits of the 2nd IR Battalion having successfully completed their training course at the Police Training Centre, Lungverh. The process of recruiting more personnel for the 2nd IR Battalion will be completed soon. Recognising the need for creation of a new training facility, my Government has taken concrete steps for setting up a new state-of-the-art Police Training Centre at Thenzawl. Steps have also been taken up for setting up a full-fledged Forensic Science Laboratory in Aizawl. Housing and building infrastructure in the Central Jail, Aizawl and District Jails in Aizawl, Lunglei, Kolasib, Champhai, Serchhip and in the Sub-Jail, Tlabung have been improved with the construction of new staff quarters and extension of existing buildings. Apart from conducting various training courses for the Mizoram Home Guards, the Central Training Institute (CTI), Sesawng has embarked upon a novel scheme of plantation of fruit-bearing trees within its complex. To facilitate faster and more efficient communication, a VHF wireless set provided by the Director-General of Civil Defence, Government of India has also been installed in the Headquarters of the Mizoram Home Guards.
3. I am happy to inform you that the initiatives taken by my Government to relocate the 1st Assam Rifles from the heart of Aizawl to Zokhawsang continue to show significant progress. In order to enable the Central construction agencies to prepare a layout plan and cost estimation for housing infrastructure for the Assam Rifles at Zokhawsang, contour survey of the entire 1292 acres of land has been completed. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has also commenced formation cutting and improvement of the internal road network for the new location at the estimated cost of Rs.8.62 crores. Works on housing infrastructure are expected to commence during the next year.
4. It is the continuous endeavour of my Government to achieve self sufficiency in the production of food. The Agriculture and Minor Irrigation Department has taken up land development in 213.86 hectares of Wet Rice Cultivation (WRC) land. The Department has also made efforts to introduce high yielding varieties of paddy having yield potential of more than 50 quintals per hectare to replace the low yielding varieties of local paddy. Cultivation of oilseeds and pulses has been taken up in 2750 hectares of agricultural land during Kharif and Rabi seasons. As part of our endeavour to gradually shift to mechanized farming, several farmers have been provided with tractors and power tillers at 50% cost subsidy. 11 new Minor Irrigation (MI) Projects under NABARD and AIBP funding have been taken up during the current year. Further, Command Area Development Programme has also been taken up in 40 completed MI Projects. Local farmers have also been exposed to emerging new technologies in agriculture through training and exchange visits to States like Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi. The Department has a programme of covering an additional 401 hectares under WRC, 3500 hectares under maize, oilseeds and pulses during the next financial year. 50 new MI projects have been identified to be taken up in the next year. During the next financial year, the Department proposes to gear up reclamation of flatland, production of bio-fertilizers, seed conversion to high-yielding varieties and to increase the frequency of training programmes and schedules as well as exchange visits for enhancing the capacities of our farmers.
5. Apart from schemes undertaken by the Department aforementioned, my Government has launched an ambitious new project aptly called the Mizoram Intodelhna Project (MIP). Several family-oriented schemes for plantation of cash crops and fruit trees have been prepared for implementation in select villages under the Project. The Project envisages reduction of dependency on import of foodstuff from outside with the ultimate goal of achieving self-sufficiency and reducing poverty in the rural areas. The MIP will provided the much-needed financial intervention to rural farmers. Rs.20 crores has been earmarked for this purpose during the next financial year. I urge upon the people of Mizoram to support this novel Project wholeheartedly in the true spirit of our age-old values of hard work, honesty and in the true spirit of our unique Tlawmngaihna code of ethics and with a collective sense of purpose for the successful implementation of this mega Project.
6. Efforts are continuing to tap the underlying potentials for horticulture development. Under the Technology Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture in the North Eastern States including Sikkim, Rs.456.00 lakhs have been released during the current year for implementation of various schemes. Action Plan for continuation of these schemes during the next financial year involving an outlay of Rs.1786.55 lakhs has been formulated and submitted to the Horticulture Development Board, New Delhi. My Government has laid priority on construction of link roads in rural areas to provide connectivily to orchards and gardens through the direct participation of the villagers thereby providing them an additional opportunity of gainful employment. These link roads are expected to remove the transport bottleneck that has prevented farmers from getting remunerative prices for their produces and will prove to be instrumental in uplifting the rural economy and, indeed, that of the State as a whole. Emphasis will continue to be given to plantation of fruit crops of high market value like orange, hatkora, banana, passion fruit, and various vegetables crops, which thrive well under the prevailing climatic conditions in the State. Farmers will continue to be provided necessary inputs like GCI sheets, HDPE pipes and Agro films for rainwater harvesting and development of seedbeds and nurseries. The on-going schemes for development of fruits, vegetables, spices, plantation crops and mushroom and schemes for providing manures and fertilizers, plant protection materials, horticulture tools and implements, extension services and farmers’ training capsules and research education will continue to be implemented during the next financial year. Apart from these schemes, works will be taken up for improving the building infrastructure of the Horticulture Department at Aizawl, Lunglei, Saiha, Haulawng, Ngopa, Reiek, North Vanlaiphai, Thingfal and Tuidam.
7. With the assistance under Non-Lapsable Pool of Central Resources (NLCPR), my Government proposes development of fish seed farms at Tamdil, Ngengpui and Thenzawl which will lead the State further to self-sufficiency in fish seeds. In order to provide storage for marketing of fish, 3 cold storage-cum-ice plants have been commissioned. During the current year, 112,66,000 number of fish seeds have been distributed. The Government also proposes to launch special schemes for bringing additional 2000 hectares of water areas under fish farming with assistance from the Government of India. The Fisheries Department has also drawn up a proposal worth Rs.47.78 crores for providing gainful employment to 5000 educated unemployed youth of Mizoram in the Fisheries sector. The ultimate objective of these initiatives is to make Mizoram an exporter of fish to other parts of India.
8. In the true spirit of the Mizoram Accord, my Government continues to assign priority to the development of Border Trade. Land measuring 224.99 bighas at Kawrpuichhuah, near Tlabung has been identified by the Trade and Commerce Department for development of Border Trade Infrastructure under Critical Infrastructure Balancing (CIB) Scheme of the Government of India. A sum of Rs.2.08 crores has been sanctioned by the Ministry of Commerce for this purpose. Works on this Project are expected to start soon. My Government has requested the Government of India and the Government of Bangladesh to open the traditional river route from Tlabung to Chittagong Port to facilitate movement of goods to and from Mizoram at comparatively low transportation rates. On the Indo-Myanmar Sector, construction of a Bailey bridge over River Tiau has been completed by the State PWD. The BRO is expected to complete fencing of the area earmarked for construction of the Border Trade Centre at Zokhawthar. The architectural design of the Centre is also at an advanced stage of completion. My Government has also proposed a road connectively from Zokhawthar to the National Highway of Myanmar at Kalemeo junction and the proposal has been well received at the 10th Sectoral Meeting between the Government of India and the Government of Myanmar. The meeting also agreed that Rih Dil (Rih Lake) – with its legendary myths and many Mizo folklores revolving around it – be developed as a Cultural Tourist Centre. A project proposal of Rs.8.20 crore for development of Rih Dil has already been submitted by my Government to the Government of India for funding. A Rs.13.00 crore project for setting up a Special Economic Zone at Khawnuam near Zokhawthar on the Indo-Myanmar border has also been submitted to the North Eastern Council (NEC). As part of my Government’s efforts to build up the marketing infrastructure and facilities in the State, a District Marketing Office has started functioning at Lunglei recently.
9. My Government is determined to continue with its policy of encouraging private entrepreneurs in setting up viable industrial units dependent on locally available raw materials. The focus of the Industries Department will continue to be on building up the basic infrastructure for development of industries. Construction works at the Luangmual Industrial Growth Centre at the project cost of Rs.15.00 crore are making good progress. Construction of the internal road network for the Centre has been taken up during the current year. Works on water supply, electrification, site development and construction of factory sheds are expected to be taken up during the next financial year. Works on the Export Promotion Industrial Park (EPIP) at Lengte are also expected to commence next year.
10. Mizoram has a huge potential for development of its bamboo resources. Works on the Rs.4.00 crore projects for setting up a Bamboo Floor Board Unit at Sairang funded from the NLCPR is making good progress. Machineries and equipment for this unit are being procured and the unit is expected to start production by the next financial year. The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) has also recognized our bamboo potential. As a corollary, for the first time in the country, a 14-day International Workshop on Bamboo Housing jointly sponsored by the State Government, INBAR and the Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre of UNIDO was held during October-November 2001 at Aizawl which was attended by experts from abroad and other parts of India. My Government also intends to set up a joint-venture industrial unit in technical collaboration with a private firm based in Kolkata for production of bamboo floorboards for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed recently. This unit is also expected to be commissioned during the next financial year. On the request of my Government, INBAR has prepared a Bamboo Development Action Plan for Mizoram, which is now under active consideration for implementation. Special importance is given to this sector by setting up a Bamboo Development Agency to undertake and facilitate speedy implementation of the bamboo related projects.
11. We have also been making steady progress in the field of Information Technology. In addition to the existing Community Information Centres (CIC) at Aibawk and Thingsulthliah, 10 new CICs are being set up and personnel to man these new Centres will be recruited shortly. The Directorate of Industries has been provided ERNET connectivily. A Centre for Electronics Design and Technology of India (CEDTI) has also been set up at Aizawl where DOEACC ‘O’ Level Course has been started from October 2001. Other courses in electronics are likely to commence from the next financial year. DOEACC ‘A’ Level Course is also in progress at Lunglei. The Department has also prepared plans for speedy computerization of Government offices with the ultimate goal of achieving e-governance of the desired level. Efforts to establish Computer Training Centre for School Children in all the District Headquarters under the award of the Eleventh Finance Commission have also shown significant progress and classes in some of the Centres are expected to commence during the next financial year. Steps are being taken to set up training facilities to enable educated unemployed youth to secure employment opportunities. In order to provide additional thrust to our initiatives in this field, my Government is also contemplating a proposal of setting aside a certain percentage of the Plan fund for computerization of major offices having citizen interface.
12. My Government will continue to focus its attention on development of the nascent tea gardens and plantations concentrated in and around Biate and Ngopa. Tea seedlings have been distributed to 467 grower families to Biate and Ngopa and financial assistance has also being given to 196 grower families of Biate for maintenance of their existing tea gardens. For providing tea-processing facility to the growers, a detailed project report for setting up a tea factory at Biate is under preparation. The Department will continue to raise and distribute tea seedlings to the growers during the next financial year.
13. My Government is convinced that an improved road network is a prerequisite for development. With the unrelenting endeavours of my Government, Mizoram has been able, for the first time, to access the vast resources of the World Bank in obtaining their interventions for the Mizoram State Roads Project estimated to cost US $ 70 million equivalent approximately to Rs.350.00 crores. A credit negotiation between representatives of the World Bank, the Government of India and the Government of Mizoram has recently been concluded in Washington. The Project envisages improvement of Aizawl – Thenzawl – Lunglei Road including construction of Aizawl Bypass upto intermediate lane covering a distance of 184.00 kms. It further envisages maintenance (rehabilitation) of 9 other roads, covering a total distance of 520.00 kms. In the first phase of the project execution, commencing from the next financial year, works on six identified roads including Aizawl – Thenzawl – Lunglei upto Buangpui covering a total distance of 395.20 kms. will be taken up.
14. Under the State Capital Project, construction of the Finance Department’s building in the Secretariat has been completed recently and average of 95% of the works of the Chief Minister’s Bungalow, the Chief Minister’s Secretariat and Soil Conservation Secretariat are already completed. Works on the New Raj Bhavan and New Secretariat buildings, taken up under the Eleventh Finance Commission’s Award, are also progressing satisfactorily.
15. The terminal building at Lengpui Airport has been completed and made operational. Technical formalities for construction of the new Mizoram House in New Delhi and the Deputy Commissioner’s Complexes in the five new Districts are being completed and works are expected to commence from the next financial year. Construction of the Millennium Trade Centre at Aizawl, Phase-III of the construction of Deputy Commissioner’s Office at Lunglei, improvement and renovation of Mizoram Houses, construction of several other minor buildings, improvement and maintenance of existing roads and construction of parking facilities at various locations in Aizawl are some of the major works proposed to be taken up by the State PWD during the next financial year.
16. I am happy to note that the Power and Electricity Department has made significant progress in implementation of various schemes during the current year. The Department has taken several steps to augment the in-house generation capacity of Mizoram. The Planning Commission has recently approved the 22.92 MW Thermal Power Project at Bairabi with an assistance of Rs.85.00 crores. The Project is being executed by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) and is targeted to be commissioned by March 2003.The Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) has sanctioned the 12 MW Serlui ‘B’ Hydro Electric Project with a subsidy of Rs.22.50 crores. Lamsial and Maicham Phase-II Micro Hydel Projects have also been sanctioned by the MNES. The Department has also obtained the Techno-Economic Clearance for the 80 MW Bairabi Hydel Project. My Government attaches a very high priority to the successful implementation of this project.
17. Apart from increasing the generation capacity, the Department has undertaken works of expansion and strengthening of the Transmission and Distribution Network. The Government of India has sanctioned Rs.10.00 crore as first installment for improvement of the Sub Transmission and Distribution Network in Aizawl city. This year, a sum of Rs.16.00 crore has been recommended by the Ministry of Power for improvement of Sub-Transmission and Distribution Network at Aizawl and Lunglei. Under the Prime Minister’s Gramodaya Yojana, the Government of India has sanctioned Rs.5.98 crore for strengthening the Rural Electrification Network within this financial year. Apart from this, I am happy to note that the Power Department is on the path of undertaking reform measures to improve revenue collection and to cut down losses. Towards this end, my Government will be signing an MOU with the Government of India giving various milestone of reform. In return, the State will receive financial assistance from the Government of India.
18. My Government will continue its efforts to provide adequate safe drinking water supply with appropriate sanitation facilities with a view to improving the overall standards of public health. All the 911 identified habitations have been provided with at least one source of drinking water supply. Under Rural Water Supply Programme, 202 habitations have been covered during the last financial year and 206 habitations have been covered during the current year. Under Urban Water Supply Programme, 5 townships have been covered under Plan while 4 townships have been covered under Accelerated Urban Water Supply (AUWP). Progress of works on the Greater Aizawl Water Supply Scheme Phase-II is also satisfactory. Sanitation services have improved significantly in the State with the construction of over 1000 low-cost sanitary latrines at various locations during the Ninth Five Year Plan. Further improvement of sanitation services is expected during the Tenth Plan Period. A pilot project for providing safe drinking water with direct participation of the people at a cost of Rs.269.00 lakhs has been undertaken in 11 habitations in Serchhip District. It is a matter of satisfaction that Mizoram that Mizoram figures amongst the top five States in the successful implementation of this pilot project. Another project for Rehabilitaton of Drainage Systems is being implemented at various locations in 60 Village Council areas with an assistance of Rs.2.00 crore from the Government of India. Additional fund for development and construction of more artificial channels at various locations in Mizoram have been sought from the Government of India.
19. Mt Government is committed to uplifting the rural economy and to provide gainful employment to the rural poor. Various poverty alleviation and employment generation programmes will continue to be implemented through the Rural Development Department, with active participation of the people. Under the Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS), 3.336 lakhs mandays of employment have been generated during the current year, with an expenditure of Rs.293.71 lakhs. Under Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY), Rs.326.80 lakhs have been utilized for infrastructural development in the rural areas, which has generated 1.723 lakhs mandays of employment. The above 2 Schemes of EAS and JGSY have been merged into a single scheme renamed as Sampoorna Gram Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), under which, a component of ‘food for work’ has been added and part of the wages are being paid in terms of foodgrains. Under this new programme, the Government of India has released 2770 tons of rice for Mizoram as 1st installment. The 2nd installment of cash component of Rs.234.51 lakhs and rice component of 2773 tons for the current year has also been received. Various works under SGRY are under implementation and the foodgrains allotted are also being distributed to the people as part of their wages. Under Grameen Awaas, a component of PMGY for rural housing, 3247 shelterless families are being assisted, for which Rs.606.15 lakhs have been earmarked during the current year. Under Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), 423 families have been provided assistance of Rs.22,000/- per family for construction of new houses. Under the same Programme, 191 families have been provided with assistance of Rs.10, 000/- each for up gradation of their houses. The Government of India have sanctioned 11 (eleven) Watershed Projects under Integrated Wastelands Development Programme costing Rs.63.12 crore and the 1st installment of Rs.867.94 lakhs have been released. The entry point activities under the Projects are being undertaken. Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), a programme aimed at total rural connectively, road works worth of Rs.25.00 crore are in progress. It is expected that similar amount will be provided under the PMGSY during the next year. Under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP), the Planning Commission has allocated Rs.8.32 crore for implementation of various schemes in the border areas during the current year. The State Government have utilized the funds for construction of 32 community halls, 115 kms of rural roads, 14 water supply schemes, 76 administrative buildings and 23 playgrounds. In addition, the Planning Commission has recently sanctioned Rs.5.00 crore under BADP. Steps have been initiated for early utilization of the funds. Under the National Programme for Improved Chulhas (NPIC), 4000 Improved Portable Metallic Chulhas are being distributed amongst the rural poor.
20. My Government remains fully committed to provide health care to the people. With the allocation of Rs.1058.59 lakhs under Reproductive Child Health (RCH), significant progress has been achieved in infrastructure development. Under this project, 30 old Health Sub-Centre buildings have been reconstructed and building infrastructure of 133 other Health Sub-Centres have been improved and renovated. Operation Theatres and Labour Rooms have been provided in 20 existing Primary Health Centres (PHC) and 3 other Hospitals under this project. RCC water reservoirs of 50,000-gallon capacity have also been set up in 56 PHCs. 56 staff quarters have also been constructed under this project. To improve diagnostic facilities, two Regional Diagnostic Centres are proposed to be set up with Rs.121.00 lakhs. A Community Health Centre (CHC), one PHC and 5 Health Sub-Centres are proposed to be set up during the next financial year. Construction of two CHC buildings and one PHC building have been completed and three other PHC buildings are under various stages of construction. Under Hospital Programmes, construction works at the State Referral Hospital and the Civil Hospital, Lunglei are making steady progress. A CT Scan has been procured for Civil Hospital, Aizawl to improve the Hospital’s diagnostic facilities. With financial assistance from NABARD, housing infrastructure for the medical community are being improved. One PHC building and 15 staff quarters have been constructed at Sialhawk. 25 staff quarters have also been constructed at the Maternity Centre at ITI Veng, Aizawl. The progress of construction of the Centre is satisfactory. One CHC, one PHC and ten Health Sub-Centres are proposed to be set up during the next financial year. Construction of three CHC buildings and five PHC buildings are also underway as spill-over schemes from last year. Under Hospital Programmes, it is proposed to upgrade the existing hospitals at Champhai, Serchhip and Saiha to 100-bedded hospitals and Lawngtlai to a 50-bedded hospital during the next financial year. With financial assistance from NABARD, installation of the new CT Scan and the Piped Gas System in Civil Hospital, Aizawl will be taken up and operationalised during the next financial year. Apart from these endeavours to improve infrastructural facilities, the various National Health Programmes are also being implemented successfully.In the next financial year, Rs.951.00 lakhs have been earmarked under PMGY for Health Care. Hospitals at Serchhip, Champhai and Saiha will be upgraded to 100-bedded capacity. Works on construction of Outdoor Patients Department (OPD) building of Aizawl Civil Hospital, 200-bedded Civil Hospital, Lunglei and CT Scan building at Aizawl will continue. Construction of Nursing School buildings at Aizawl and Lunglei are also completed.
21. It is a matter of satisfaction that with a literacy percentage of 88.49%, Mizoram is second only to Kerala in the Educational Development Index (EDI) published by the Planning Commission. My Government will intensify its efforts to achieve total literacy as well as for qualitative human resources development for which education is the primary input. A good number of school buildings have been reconstructed and renovated with fund from the NLCPR. A new scheme called Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has been introduced in the State. The Government of India has sanctioned Rs.100.25 lakhs under the scheme for formulation of a project proposal for providing School Grants to all Primary and Middle Schools, Teachers grants for all primary and middle school teachers. Refresher Course for all Primary And Middle School teachers and for establishment of 20 Block Resource Centre as well as providing of Free Text Books to all Primary and Middle School students, for construction of 16 Primary and 4 Middle School buildings and repairing of 1275 Primary and Middle School buildings. An outlay of Rs.1088.585 lakhs fkor this project has already been approved by the Government of India. 99 High School Hindi Teachers and 66 Middle School Hindi Teachers were appointed during the current year. 3 new District Centres for English have been set up at Lunglei, Kolasib and Serchhip with financial assistance from the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL), Hyderabad and an English Language Teaching Institute (ELTI) has also been set up at the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Aizawl to promote the teaching and learning of English language. A Science Gallery-cum-Education Technology Studio is also being set up at the SCERT, Aizawl.
22. The Department of Higher and Technical Education smoothly conducted Common Entrance Test for filling up 198 Seats reserved by the Government of India for Mizoram for pursuing various technical courses outside Mizoram. With the help of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Department conducted Refresher Course in 5 (five) subjects for College and University teachers. It is proposed to introduce Computer Education in some selected Colleges with financial assistance from the NEC. Rs. 114 lakhs is earmarked in the Annual Plan 2002-2003 for up gradation of two private Colleges into deficit status and one Deficit College into Government College. During 2001-2002, a sum of Rs.286.29 lakhs was given to 13,375 students as Post-Matric Scholarship and Rs.8.70 lakhs to 181 students as Post-Matric Merit Scholarship. Rs.477.65 lakhs is earmarked as Stipend/Book Grants for technical students of NERIST, and two Polytechnics in Mizoram. During 2001-2002, construction of Boy’s Hostel at Luangmual was completed. Construction of Mizoram Hindi Training College Campus at Durtlang with an estimated cost of Rs.339.50 and construction of College of Teacher Education Complex at Aizawl with an estimated cost of Rs.103.71 are taken up under Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). It is also proposed to start construction of Government Saiha College, Government Kolasib College and Boy’s Hostel at Shillong during 2002-2003. Inflow of World Bank assistance amounting to Rs.35 crores for upgradation of two Polytechnics in Mizoram has started from January 2001. Construction of Lunglei Polytechnic Complex at the cost of Rs.636 lakhs and Women Polytechnic, Aizawl at the cost of Rs.645 lakhs are proposed to be taken up during the next financial year. These construction works are proposed to be completed within the next 24 months.
23. During the current year, 200 hectares of land have been brought under coffee and large cardamom benefiting 700 jhumia families. This area will be further expanded in the next year. Works on Singla River Valley Project at the cost of Rs.419.13 lakhs has already commenced.
24. My Government attaches importance to implementation of programmes aimed at conservation of forests and wildlife besides protection and amelioration of the environment. The major thrust of the Department of Environment and Forests during the current year has been on afforestation and conservation of forests and their bio-diversity including wildlife. Under the afforestation programme, 7014 hectares of denuded area are being covered under forest plantations at an expenditure of Rs.754 lakhs. Under bamboo development project, an expenditure of Rs.27 lakhs has been incurred for raising superior quality seedlings in the central nurseries and raising of bamboo plantations including assistance to as many as 203 farmers for raising such bamboo on their farmlands. For conservation of bio-diversity and protection of wildlife, the Department has undertaken infrastructure and eco-development programmes in around 7 Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks in the State at an expenditure of Rs.616.45 lakhs besides establishment of a new Zoological Park near Aizawl at an expenditure of Rs.124 lakhs. The Department is also being revamped by strengthening the infrastructure under a new Central Sector Scheme at an expenditure of Rs.500 lakhs with provisions for buildings, roads, vehicles and communication facilities and other infrastructures. For scientific management of its forests resources, the Department has prepared working schemes besides framing guidelines for harvesting timber plantations and movement of timber for sale outside the State. The Department expects to generate revenue of Rs.227 lakhs through sale of timber, bamboo and other forest products during the year. During the next financial year, besides continuing schemes of protection, conservation and development of forests and wildlife resources of the State and pursuing environmental protection measures, my Government will lay major emphasis on bamboo development projects, afforestation, wildlife preservation and infrastructure-building.
25. My Government continues to employ the satellite remote sensing technology to map the national resources under the National Resources Information System (NRIS). This year the project has covered the Lunglei District. In collaboration with the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), a Sub-Regional Science Centre is being established at Berawtlang to provide educational insight to the students and the general public.
26. During the last financial year, the Law & Judicial Department has strengthened the Consumer Courts in the State with the framing of new Rules. District Forum have been set up under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 in all the Districts for the first time and the State Commission has also been reconstituted under the said Act. The consumer movement has gained momentum in the State with the grant of Central Assistance for setting up of Consumer Information Centres. The State Government has also undertaken construction of Consumer Court building at Aizawl with one-time Central assistance; My Government attaches utmost importance to provision of legal aid to the poor and to legal awareness. The State Legal Services Authority has been reconstituted and the District Legal Services Committees have been set up to streamline the provision of legal aid and advice to accused persons as well as to poor litigants. A number of legal aid panel advocates have been appointed for this purpose. To have justice at doorstep and speedily, even through conciliation, Permanent Conciliation Centre has been set up and three Fast Track Courts under the Eleventh Finance Commission’s award are being set up shortly. Setting up of Special Courts for trial of prohibition cases and setting up of Family Court etc. are under consideration of the Government for ensuring speedy justice. Under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes, District Court buildings and residential quarters for judicial officers at various District Headquarters are being constructed, while the proposal for construction of the High Court building and Judges’ bungalows are under active consideration of the Government in consultations with the High Court. The Government has been giving due priority to the computerization of various Courts and Tribunals, and under a newly launched Centrally Sponsored Scheme, various Courts and Tribunals are being computerized with the target-year of 2003-04 for completion of the process.
27. The Department of Transport has laid emphasis on the maintenance and improvement of existing infrastructure in various parts of Mizoram. Efforts will be made towards replacement of old buses with new ones and procurement of new tools and machineries. A computer system will be provided to the Road Transport Wing of the Department. The Motor Vehicle Wing is expected to generate revenue of about Rs.2.00 crores during the current year. Training of enforcement staff will continue to be provided. Construction of District Transport offices at Lawngtlai and Kolasib have been completed during the current year. The Department also proposes to acquire new oil tankers during the next financial year in order to replace the existing ageing fleet.
28. The Department of District Council Affairs has been providing continued support to the 3 Autonomous District Councils of Mizoram. Under the assistance provided, several link roads, rainwater harvesting tanks and reservoirs, market sheds and school buildings have been constructed. On-going works of the construction of Session Hall of the Lai Autonomous District Council at Lawngtlai, Rest House of the Chakma Autonomous District Council at Kamalanagar, maintenance of Mara Hall at Aizawl and Dokulha Hall at Lawngtlai will continue.
29. My Government will continue to provide the facility of housing loan to the Government employees and to the general public through the Department of Local Administration. 636 families will be benefited by such loans during this year. I am happy to inform you that Government of India has intervened to mitigate the long standing shortage of residential accommodation for Government employees in Mizoram by sanctioning Rs.27.00 crores for construction of 788 quarters of various types and transit accommodation for All India Service officers in Aizawl. The National Building Construction Corporation Ltd. (NBCC) has recently set up base in Aizawl to undertake this project and for construction of a fly-over at Khatla to provide easy access to the proposed housing complex. The Department will continue to develop cemetery sheds, steps, footpaths and internal roads for the benefit of pedestrians. Slum development works are also carried out in Aizawl and Lunglei. Construction of the Department’s District office building in Aizawl has been completed and commissioned in November 2001.
30. The Department of Art &Culture has the distinction of representing India in the Spring Friendship Art Festival at Pyongyang, North Korea sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi and winning the Bronze Medal in Folk Dance. A 200-member Cultural Troupe undertook a Cultural Peace Tour of Hyderabad, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Chennai, Gandhi Nagar, Panaji and Nagpur in February and March 2002 under the assistance provided by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Our troupes have also participated in various events like the Republic Day Folk Dance Festival in New Delhi, North East Cultural Meet in Guwahati and North East Festival in Mumbai. In the next financial year, the Department proposes to participate in similar tours and festivals and also organize cultural events, seminars and symposia to promote art, culture and literature of Mizoram inside and outside Mizoram. The Department also proposes to renovate the Vanapa Hall and complete construction and beautification of the Zawlbuk at the Cultural Centre, Falkawn next year. Modernization of museums and galleries with assistance from the Indian Museum in Kolkata and protection and preservation of ancient monuments, monoliths and historical landmarks under the award of the Eleventh Finance Commission are also proposed to be taken up in the next financial year.
31. The Department of Taxation has taken major steps towards generating the State’s own source of revenue. A few notified goods, of which the higher income groups are the end-user, have been made taxable under the new sales tax regime. This year, the Taxation Department has already collected revenue of Rs.13.06 crores through collection of various taxes applicable in Mizoram.
32. In order to promote youth and sports activities and to instill a sense of healthy competition, my Government will continue to provide interventions through 6 existing Wings of the Sports and Youth Services Department. Construction of the District Sports and Youth Office building at Lunglei is nearing completion. The Government of India has already approved 11 projects related with sports in Mizoram for financing. In the next financial year, the Department will continue its endeavour to create more playgrounds and indoor stadia as well as District Offices at Champhai and Kolasib. Our boys and girls have continued to bring laurels. Among our major achievements, Miss Jenny R. Lalremliani won the silver medal in the First Women Boxing Championship in Bangkok in August 2001. Miss Jenny R. Lalremliani and Miss Lalbiaksangi also participated in the First Women Boxing Championship at Scranto, Pennsylvania, USA in November – December 2001. For the first time, Mizoram, represented by the Government Higher Secondary School, Aizawl lifted the Subroto Mukherjee Cup in December 2001. Pu Danny Lalduhawma and Pu C. Lalrinsanga were respectively declared the Top Scorer and Best Coach of the tournament. In the 16th North East Sports Festival held in Tripura in February 2002, Mizoram won 11 gold, 5 silver and 13 bronze medals. Mizo youth have also excelled themselves in sporting events like boxing, weightlifting and judo held outside the State.
33. Development of tourism occupies a high priority. So far, 15 Tourist Lodges and Highway Restaurants have been made operational by the Tourism Department. A typical Mizo Village is being constructed at Reiek. The Department will participate in Tourism and Travel Fairs in Chennai and Bangalore in July this year and will also participate in the Internationale Tourismuss Bourse (ITB) in Berlin during this month. The Department has also sponsored several students for training course in Hotel Management and Food Production. In order to encourage adventure tourism, white-water rafting will be introduced in Chhimtuipui and boating facilities will be added to Palak Lake. The Department is actively participating in the advertising campaign launched by the Government of India to attract tourists to the North Eastern Region (NER).
34. My Government is deeply concerned about the welfare of the physically disadvantaged women, children and aged groups. 1780 physically and mentally disadvantaged persons have been provided financial assistance during this year. 272 needy persons have been given aids and appliances like wheelchair, hearing aids and crutches. Socio-economic grants continue to be given to the poor and destitute women. Programmes like Platform for Action Strategies for Women and residential institutions for providing vocational training to women have been undertaken. 10525 old-age pensions were granted and 1505 Welfare Groups like YMA, MHIP, MUP have been assisted for channelising social activities of the Department. All such endeavours will continue in the next financial year. Correctional services will continue to be strengthened through Protective Houses, Remand Homes, Special Schools, 300-bedded De-addicton-cum-Rehabilitation Centre at Sethawn and through the Mizoram Social Defence and Rehabilitation Board. Special Nutrition Programme under PMGY covers 27847 pregnant and lactating mothers, 41208 children, 2429 mal-nutritioned children and 760 adolescent girl-children. These efforts will continue during the next financial year with an outlay of Rs.627.00 lakhs. A 10-member State Council for Child Welfare has been constituted.
35. A project worth Rs.13.14 crore for improvement of Lengpui Airport has been posed to the NEC for funding. Negotiations are on with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for entering into an operational lease agreement with the Government of Mizoram under which AAI will remain firmly committed to the security and effective maintenance of the airport. 43 Mizo boys have been selected so far for Non-Technical Trades in the Indian Air Force. It is expected that Indian Air Force Recruitment Rallies, which will be conducted twice a year in Mizoram from this year, will result in more induction of Mizo boys and girls in the Indian Air Force.
36. My Government proposes to establish 2 new Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) at Lunglei and Saiha and upgrade the existing ITI at Aizawl with an estimated amount of Rs.6.35 crores to be provided from the Prime Minister’s Economic Package for the North Eastern States. Two new District Employment Exchanges at Kolasib and Lawngtlai are also proposed to be set up during the next financial year. The Department of Labour and Employment also proposes to computerize its operations in the various Employment Exchanges to add to the convenience of job seekers.
37. A recently completed Auditorium-cum-Conference Hall within the Office Complex of the Directorate of Information and Public Relations is being furnished to make it operational soon. In order to provide more exposure to members of the local press, Bharat Darshan tours have been conducted twice during the current year. Symposia on Pu Rokunga and on the Life and Works of Liandala were conducted in August & November 2001 in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. As in previous years, tribal representatives were sent to New Delhi to participate in the Republic Day Celebrations.
38. Our proposal for creation of separate IAS and IPS Cadres for Mizoram has evoked a favourable response from the Government of India. With a view to accomplish right-sizing of my Government to the extent possible, the manpower requirement of all the Departments has been reassessed by the Administrative Reforms Wing of the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms. A comprehensive report is being prepared and will be ready for evaluation shortly. My Government will continue in its efforts to build up and strengthen the capacity of its manpower. As part of these efforts, the Administrative Training Institute has conducted 28 training courses for different categories of Gazetted and Non-Gazetted employees of Government of Mizoram. The Institute proposes to conduct 30 different training courses including courses on computer applications during the next financial year. Of these programmes, management of natural and man-made disasters and computer training course will occupy prominence. There is a growing awareness of the need to keep pace with emerging trends of good governance. To sensitise senior officials of the Government to these and related issues, a conference was held in December 2001 in Aizawl.
39. The Total Prohibition Act has contributed substantially in checking alcohol-related abuses and crimes. A suitable land and building have been acquired at Vairengte for a permanent Excise Check Gate to exercise effective vigil on illegal import of alcohol into Mizoram. The Department has also generated revenue of Rs.1.00 crore during the current year. My Government will continue to impose total prohibition in the State and exercise close vigil on illegal import of alcohol and alcohol-related social evils
40. Cadastral survey of 12 notified towns have been completed so far during the current year. This will ensure additional land revenue and the benefits of LSC to the owners. Summary Survey and Record Operation is also expected to be completed in 18 RD Block Headquarters during the current year. This operation is expected to result in 100% higher collection of land-revenue. 2000 house-sites have been allotted to deserving families. During the next financial year, the cadastral survey operation will cover Kolasib, Serchhip, parts of Aizawl and Champhai and stations like Marpara and Tuipuibari. Land records of 18 RD Block Headquarters will also be revised and updated. Photogrammetric work of aerial view covering 2000 sq.km.of Aizawl District will also be taken up. Record rooms will be set up in Mamit, Serchhip and Champhai.
41. My Government will continue to lay emphasis on implementation of live stock development programmes as they are of special significance to the rural economy. Phase-II of the Joint Director’s Office building at Lunglei, Veterinary Dispensaries at Chhingchhip, Lawngtlai, Tawipui South and Ratu and District Veterinary Officer’s building at Saiha, 3 Rural Animal Health Centres and the General Manager’s quarters at Tanhril were constructed with a total outlay of Rs.28.50 lakhs. The Dairy Plant project at Lunglei with a production capacity of 5000 litres per day taken up under Integrated Dairy Developments Projects (CSS) has been commissioned. The first installment of Rs.59.17 lakhs for implementation of the Dairy Plant project at Kolasib with a production capacity of 5000 litres per day has been received from Government of India. Construction of 2 Feed Godowns under Mobilisation and Development of Animal Feed and Fodder Resources in Mizoram (MODAFER) under NLCPR with a storage capacity of 500 metric tons and 200 metric tons respectively have been completed. Implementation of the Animal Feed Plant project at Ramrikawn, Tanhril is in progress and about 25% of the work has been completed. Under Development of Sustainable Base for Pig Production (DESBAPP), construction of 30 pig-sties have been completed. The same number of pigsties will be constructed shortly. Establishment of Animal Slaughter House is expected to be initiated during 2002-2003. Execution of works under Integrated Dairy Development Project, Kolasib will continue.
42. My Government has made utmost efforts in ensuring economy by curtailing wasteful public expenditures. Among the measures taken are ban on creation and filling up of posts and restrictions on tours and travels outside the State by Government officials, floating of innovative rules and schemes likely the Privatisation of Government Vehicles Scheme, the Mizoram (Special Loans for Purchase of Car) Rules, 2001 and Special Voluntary Retirement Scheme for Government Drivers, Handymen and Despatch Riders. My Government has also taken bold steps to generate additional resources by widening the tax base and by upward revision of fees, taxes and tariffs.
43. It will not be possible to highlight in detail the efforts of each and every Department. However, I am happy to inform you that the construction of the Junior Cooperative Training Centre at Luangmual is nearing completion. A Central Grainage with a storage capacity of 30,000 silk-worm seeds is being set up at Zemabawk as part of our efforts to boost silk production. Two new District offices of the Sericulture Department have also been opened in Serchhip and Champhai. New offset printing machines have been acquired and installed in the Government Press. Revenue of Rs.10.81 crores have been collected though the combined efforts of the Directorates of Mizoram State Lotteries and Institutional Finance and Small Savings. The Directorate of Economics and Statistics has played a significant role in participating in the 56th and 57th rounds of the National Sample Survey and continue to generate vital statistics and economic indicators useful for the planning process. The Department of Relief and Rehabilitation has continued to provide much needed relief to victims of natural calamites in various parts of the State. The Department of Legal Metrology has also continued to lend support to the protection of the consumers.
44. It is a matter of satisfaction that my Government has been able to ensure adequate supply of essential commodities both in the urban and rural areas of Mizoram through the Public Distribution System (PDS). Ten new outlets for supply of cooking gas have been opened. The Department has also implemented special schemes like supply of rice to families living below the poverty line at subsidized rate, Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), Annapurna, Midday Meal Scheme for school children and special facilities for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes living in residential hostels. The Department has also played an important role in the implementation of Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana by lifting and transporting foodgrains component of the Scheme to interior villages where works under the Schemes are being executed.
45. I am happy to note that all Central Agencies located in Mizoram have been extending their wholehearted support to all our endeavours. In this regard, the initiatives taken by the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) and the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in Mizoram to improve the telecommunication facilities in the State are particularly noteworthy. I am confident that we shall continue to receive their active support.
46. I take this opportunity to reiterate that my Government will continue to strive relentlessly to fulfill its programmes and policies for the welfare of the people of Mizoram, whatever the odds. I am confident that with your unflinching support and God willing, we shall achieve our goal of ushering in a new era of accelerated development. I trust that your deliberations during this Session will bear eloquent testimony to these commitments.
47. I wish your deliberations all success.