Speech of Shri Pu P. R. Kyndiah, Governor of Mizoram before the Third Mizoram Legislative Assembly on 11th March, 1997
Hon’ble Speaker and distinguished members of this august House,
I welcome to you all and extend to you my warm greetings on this occasion of the Twelfth Session of the Third Legislative Assembly. The people of the State who have reposed their confidence in you are looking forward to this Assembly for meaningful and fruitful deliberations that will give consideration to their needs and aspirations. I am sure, the business of the House will be conducted as always with grace and dignity in consonance with the parliamentary convention and rich democratic tradition of the people of Mizoram.
It is a matter of satisfaction that my Government is forging ahead in various fields of socio-economic development, bearing in mind the welfare of the people of all sections of society.
2. The distinguished members of this august House will agree with me that the current financial year has seen quite a few memorable events in the State. The Hon’ble Prime Minister paid a visit to the North-Eastern States including Mizoram during the month of October, 1996.He has been kind enough to announce a Special Package for quicker economic development of the Northeast and our State is also a beneficiary of the package. His appreciation of our special problems has resulted in the constitution of a number of Central Committees, which are now engaged in examining various problems with a view to recommending required solutions. It has been a matter of pride and satisfaction that the Vice Chairman of the Mizoram State Planning Board has been included as a member of the High Level Commission set up by the Government of India to identify the gaps in infrastructure and requirement of resources for the basic minimum services in the North-Eastern Region. These developments have raised fresh hopes in the mind of the people. The Planning Commission has also been very considerate in deciding plan allocation for the State recently for the next financial year. On behalf of my Government and the people of Mizoram, I would like to place on record our deep gratitude to the Hon’ble Prime Minister and the Planning Commission for the concern shown to this State. The State celebrated the 10th anniversary of its statehood on the 20th of last month. It has been a decade of peace and progress which all of us should be proud of.
Some more such important events are awaiting us in the next few months. It is a matter of great pleasure and satisfaction that the Mizoram Legislative Assembly is going to celebrate its Silver Jubilee in the month of May of the current calendar year. It will undoubtedly be a landmark in the legislative history of this young State. I am sure we all look forward to a befitting celebration of this significant occasion. No less important is the 50th anniversary of our great country’s independence, which is going to be celebrated from 15th August as the Golden Jubilee of India’s independence. Preparations for celebration of the event is also going on in our State. I find great pleasure in bringing these developments to the notice of the distinguished members.
3. My Government accords high priority to the maintenance of peace, harmony among the people and the security of the State. The law and order situation in the State during the past one year has been by and large peaceful. We have not experienced any major law and order problem in the State for the last one year barring a few months of disturbance of peace created by some insurgent groups from across the border. However, due to the timely intervention of our Police Force the problems could be effectively tackled. It was a tragic incident which pains us when on 10th February, 1997 a group of hostile elements ambushed a patrolling party of (Mizoram) India Reserve (IR) Battalion near Chawnpui Village in which four personnel of the IR Battalion were killed. Immediately the Mizoram Police Force swung into action and launched a combing operation to apprehend the culprits. The Police Force has been reinforced in the area to enable them to deal firmly with any insurgent activities. Mention must be made that during 1996 the Mizoram Police has recovered 21 (twenty-one) firearms of different makes and calibers from Chin National Front/Chin National Army (CNF/CNA) which include AK-47, M-16 Assault Rifle, Revolver and Pistol, a SLR Magazine and 94 rounds of ammunition. As a result of sincere efforts of Mizoram Police (CID/SBUnit), fifteen members of Zoram Reformation Army (ZRA) who went underground and then proceeded to BANGLADESH returned and surrendered to Mizoram Police.
As a part of welfare measure for our Police personnel the Government has been taking steps to provide them housing facilities. During 1996-97, the Government has allotted Rs.160 lakhs for Police Housing Scheme under Plan. With this fund, the Department has taken up construction of 55 staff quarters of different types and 6(six) numbers of barracks. Another amount of Rs.63.80 lakhs has been allotted by the Government under Non-Plan for the IR Battalion. With this amount, the Department has taken up construction of a ten-bedded hospital, kitchen attached to the hospital, a couple of Staff Quarters, etc. at the Battalion Headquarters at Mualvum. Under Modernisation Scheme of the Mizoram Police, during 1996-97, the Government of India has released the first installment of Rs.21.85 lakhs. This fund is being utilized according to Central Government’s Guidelines for procurement of vehicles, security equipments and crowd-control equipments. For strengthening of Mizoram Police, the Department has recruited 177 personnel during 1996, which include 17 Deputy Superintendents, 12 Sub-Inspectors, 3 Assistant Sub-Inspectors and 128 constables.
4. My Government continues to accord high priority to construction, improvement and maintenance of road communications as these are considered pre-requisites for progress and development. With this aim in view, the Public Works Department (PWD) continues in its efforts to provide better network of roads within the State. During 1996-97 the PWD has completed various stages of roadwork totaling 140 kilometres. The Department has also constructed 87 culverts, 878 running metres of Retaining Walls, a Bailey bridge over Chite river on Armed Veng – Zemabawk road and suspension bridge over Tlawng river on Aizawl – Tlawng – Reiek road. The PWD has completed construction of 9 (nine) Government buildings during the year which, among others, include Cobalt Therapy Unit, Central Medical Store and District Chief Medical and Health Officer’s office building both at Zemabawk, Deputy Commissioner’s Bungalow and Central Circle (PWD) office building at Aizawl. At present, the Department has taken up construction of 16 more Government buildings which, among others, include Saikuti Hall, 200 bedded Civil Hospital at Lunglei, an Auditorium, Office Building for the Planning Department and Art and Culture Directorate building at Aizawl. Besides on-going construction of the Lengpui Airport, the PWD has also taken up improvement of Kolasib – Bairabi road to make it fit for double lane traffic.
5. Generation of electric power continues to receive high priority of my Government as dependable power supply is one of the most important basic inputs for development today. Efforts are continuing for the improvement of the power supply in the State. Works for installation of 5 MW Diesel Generating Set at Zuangtui (Aizawl) and two small Hydel Projects namely (1) Ramrilui (300KW) and (2) Vawralui (50 KW) have already been completed. Commissioning of these two projects and that of the Diesel Generating Set is expected shortly. Works on three small Hydel Projects namely Tuipanglui, Kau-Tlabung and Teirei of 3 MW capacity each and 132 KV Sub-Station at Luangmual are going on in full swing. North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) has been entrusted with the construction of the Tuirial Hydel Project (60 MW), as Central Sector Project, for which the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF) of Japan, has agreed to provide loan facility.NEEPCO has already placed an officer of the rank of Superintending Engineer (SE) with supporting officers at Bilkhawthlir and preliminary works for the execution of the project has already started. With the completion of electrification works of the 10 villages at hand, the Power and Electricity Department will cover 673 villages by the end of March 1997.
6. Adequate supply of drinking water to the people both in urban and rural areas has been receiving attention. Under the Urban Water Supply Programme, the Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department, during the year, has concentrated its activities mainly on three Greater Water Supply Schemes at Saiha, Serchhip and Kolasib the works of which are in progress. The Department has targetted to commission the Greater Serchhip Water Supply scheme by April 1997. Under the Rural Water Supply Programme, the Department, till the end of January, 1997, has succeeded to provide drinking water to 197 habitations.
7. In Agriculture sector, my Government continues to lay more and more emphasis to achieve self-sufficiency in production of foodgrains in the State. With this aim in view, the Government has been taking vigorous steps. During 1996 considerable progress has been made in allied sectors like Horticulture, Pisciculture, Soil Conservation and Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Departments.
In order to improve the agriculture practice toward gradual mechanization, the Agriculture Department has distributed 8 (eight) small Tractors and 21 (twenty-one) Power Tillers to farmers at subsidized rates. The Department has introduced a New Contour Farming System with contour trenches and hedging to do away with shifting cultivation (jhum cultivation) and switch over to permanent cultivation on hill slopes. Under this programme, 200 hectares of jhumland has been already developed. Among other activities, the Department has introduced Double Cropping System in irrigated areas. Cultivation of improved and short duration varieties of rice, oil seeds and pulses has also been introduced in fields owned by farmers in certain selected areas. The Department has installed Solar Water Pumps with 60,000 litres capacity per day at Champhai and Serchhip for demonstration purpose to irrigate paddy fields. Ten more Solar Pumps including a good number of Sprinkler Sets will be installed at various places by the Department. It has also established a Seed Multiplication Farm at Chemphai Valley and production and multiplication of seeds like TPS (True Potato Seeds), Lentil, Garlic Groundnut, Maize, Soyabean, Pusa Basmati (Paddy), IR 36 (Paddy), Badsabhog (Paddy) have been taken up during 1996-97.
8. The Horticulture Department, in its endeavour to promote cultivation of fruits, vegetables and spice crops, has brought 200 hectares of fresh area under Passion Fruit cultivation. It has distributed 174 quintals of G.I. wire and 750 sprayers to the Passion fruit growers at subsidized rates. The Department has taken up construction of a 10-kilometre long link road to connect the orchards with the villages, the work of which is progressing. A large quantity of vegetables seeds, chemical fertilizers and plant protection chemicals has also been distributed to the farmers by the Department during the year. The Department continues to maintain a Horticulture Research Centre at Kolasib where two hectares of land has been developed for growing of various horticultural crops on experimental basis. During the year, the Department has sent 4 batches of cultivators, on study tour, two batches to Sikkim and Meghalaya and one batch to various places within Mizoram.
9. In addition to the maintenance of 4(four) existing Fish Seed Farms, the Fisheries Department has taken up construction of two new Seed Farms, one each at Zawlnuam and Tamdil. The Deparment has distributed more than 51 lakhs fish seeds to private Pisciculturists at 50 percent subsidized rate. Under Fish Farmers Development Agency (FFDA), the Department has released an amount of Rs.20 lakhs as Subsidy to fish farmers for renovation and development of 80 hectares of Fish Farms at various places in Mizoram.
10. It cannot be denied that due to the age-old practice of shifting cultivation our soil and water resources have been very adversely affected. Therefore, it is of utmost necessity to intensify the State’s resources of land husbandry and water management system. Keeping this aim in view, the Soil and Water Conservation Department continues in its efforts to implement various schemes like and development by hillside terracing, contour bunding, moisture rehabilitation and conservation by cash crop and conservation plantations in different locations spread over the State. In the next financial year, the Department proposes to launch Mat River Catchment Treatment Project with Central Sector Assistance.
11. The livestock development programmes are of special significance to the weaker sections of the society in rural areas. In view of this, various livestock and poultry development programmes are being implemented by the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department. As a result of the continued efforts of the Department and the response on the part of the people, 18 million litres of milk, 36 lakhs eggs and 20 lakhs chicks have been produced in the State during 1996-97.The Department has opened a District Office at Serchhip, a Goat Farm at North Vanlaiphai and a Rabbit Farm at Serchhip during the year. It has also established a Poultry Hatchery of 5000 eggs incubator capacity at Lunglei. The Department continues its vaccination campaign for controlling diseases like swine fever among pigs, foot and mouth diseases (FMD) among cattles and Ranikhet among poultry.
12. Promotion and development of industry in the State occupy an important position. To motivate and encourage entrepreneurs for setting up of Small and Tiny Industries in the Private sector, the Industries Department has organized a number of training programmes and seminars for entrepreneurship development during 1996-97.The Government lays great emphasise on the Handloom and Handicrafts sectors as Mizoram Handlooms and Handicrafts products have earned wide popularity even outside the State. The Mizoram Food and Allied Industries Corporation (MIFCO) is taking necessary steps to widen the scope for processing of horticultural produces so that the growers find a ready market for their produces at reasonable rates. The Government attaches due importance to the Electronics Sector also. Industries Department has organized campaigns and seminars to create awareness of the importance of electronics and computers among the people and particularly among the younger section. Interested students have been sponsored by the Government for studies in Electronics outside the State. A Computer Training Centre has been opened by the ZENICS Limited to impart training in Computer operation to interested students. Hon’ble members are aware that my Government had started cultivation of Tea under the supervision of Industries Department in 1993-94 as family oriented programme. As for now, about 50 hectares of land has been brought under new Tea Plantation at Biate Village in which about 325 families are involved. It is expected that about 5 lakhs Tea seedlings (with Tocklai approved variety of seeds) would be raised a Biate Village by the end of the financial year. Detailed contour survey of the area for construction of a Tea factory at Biate has been completed and Consultant has been engaged for preparation of Project Report. It is expected that a Tea Processing Plant will be established at Biate within a couple of years.
13. My Government is making efforts to provide gainful employment to the unemployed and under-employed persons in the rural areas by implementing various rural development programmes under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes.Besides the on-going Centrally Sponsored Schemes, the Rural Development is also taking a number of steps to improve the economic condition of the rural people by way of undertaking schemes like Rural Housing and the New Land Use Policy (NLUP). The Hon’ble members are aware that my Government had started the New Land Use Policy in 1990-91 with the NLUP. Apart from the normal NLUP Programme, my Government has also proposed to assist poor objective of eradication of wasteful practice of shifting cultivation and providing alternative permanent occupation to the jhumia families. During 1996-97, 15,604 families were assisted under the families living in Aizawl and Lunglei towns for which a new scheme called ‘Special Development Scheme’ has been evolved. Under this scheme, it is proposed to render financial assistance upto Rs.10, 000/- per poor family living in these towns to take up various trades of their choice. Under the Rural Housing Scheme, which is also a family oriented one started in 1988-89; the Government is assisting roofless rural poor families by providing GCI sheets at the rate of 4 (four) bundles per family. With an allocation of Rs.300 lakhs during 1996-97, the Rural Development Department is expected to provide GCI sheets to 4138 rural roofless families.
The Social Education Programme provides construction of Community Halls with a view to creating durable assets in the rural areas. During 1996-97, the Department has spent Rs.205 lakhs for construction of Community Halls at various places in the State. Under the National Programme on Improved Chulhas (NPIC), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, the Department has installed 3000 nos. of improved chulhas for rural poor families. Under the Border Areas Development Programme (BADP) which is also a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, the Rural Development Department, which is one of the implementing agencies of the Scheme, has spent Rs.59.50 lakhs for construction of 19 kms of jeepable roads, 6 kms of truckable roads and maintenance of 34 kms of jeepable road and construction of some staff quarters in the border areas bordering Bangladesh.
14. My Government is determined to strengthen the Cooperative Movement in the State. The Cooperation Department have so far registered 1998 Cooperative Societies throughout the State which are mostly engaged in the field of production, procurement, marketing and distribution of agricultural produces and essential commodities. The Department has been assisting the Societies by way of supervision and financial assistance under various schemes. During 1996-97, an amount of Rs.46.97 lakhs has been disbursed to the Societies under National Cooperative Development Council (NCDC) and Central Sector Schemes for development of weaker sections and Women Cooperatives. The Department has launched a special scheme called ‘Integrated Cooperative Development Programme’ in collaboration with NCDC and Mizoram Cooperative Apex Bank Ltd., to bring about rapid progress in agriculture and allied sectors in Aizawl and Chhimtuipui Districts.
15. In the field of Sericulture, my Government has provided encouragement to private farmers by distributing over 27 lakhs of Mulberry cuttings covering 554 acres of land. Besides Mulberrry cuttings, the Sericulture Department has also distributed 1.17 lakhs of disease-free silkworm eggs to the private silkworm rearers. During 1996-97, 167 quintals of Mulberry and Eri Cocoons, 2.7 lakhs number of Oak Tasar and Muga Cocoons were produced. As of now, about 1900 families are engaged in Sericulture activities throughout the State. The Department has imparted training to 400 farmers and 40 in-service personnel during the year. Besides, two Technical Service Centres were also established during the year, one each at Aizawl and Lunglei to provide technical guidance to the Sericulturists.
16. The Environment & Forests Department continues in its efforts to arrest the menace of increasing pollution and ensure healthy environment in the State. During the past one year, the Department has created a forest plantation cover of 9043 hectares. It is also proposes to bring an additional 7100 hectares of fresh land under forest cover during 1997-98. Besides plantation, the Department continues to take steps toward conservation of wild life, development and maintenance of National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. The Department has also initiated the process to demarcate Reserved Forests Area by construction masonry pillars.
17. Regular distribution of essential commodities to the people of the State through Public Distribution System (PDS) is of vital concern to my Government. With this object in view, the Food & Civil Supplies Department has been taking vigorous steps to ensure regular procurement and supply of essential commodities like rice, sugar, petroleum products, iodized salt and wheat products. Due to timely planning and coordinated action with agencies like Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), there has not been any scarcity of these items in the State during the past one year. The Department has taken various steps to strengthen and streamline the Public Distribution System by augmenting storage capacity for foodgrains and providing a fleet of transport for Doorstep Delivery. The High Level Committee constituted by the Government to attend to the grievances of LPG consumers has already submitted its report and the Department is examining the same for implementation of the recommendations of the Committee. It deserves mention that the Government has already identified a suitable site for installation of a LPG Bottling Plant at Mualkhang and the Department is taking necessary follow-up action.
18. My Government attaches due importance to providing improved transport facilities for the public. With this aim in view and with the addition of 6(six) new medium buses during 1996-97, the Transport Department is operating a fleet of 99 buses at present. The fleet of buses are plying mainly within the State and upto Silchar in Assam and Shillong in Meghalaya. At present on an average, about 900 passengers travel by MST buses to different destinations everyday. The Department has collected revenue of about Rs.173 lakhs by way of passengers’ fare till the end of January 1997. The Department had undertaken the construction of a Terminal-cum-Booking Counter at Chaltlang and the work is progressing satisfactorily. Under the Motor Vehicle Wing of the Department, till the end of January 1997, an amount of Rs.64.88 lakhs has been collected as registration fees and road taxes, etc. I am happy to mention that the Railway Out Agency has at present the facilities to computerized services for railway reservation for people wanting to travel by train to different parts of the country.
19. My Government is seized of the need to develop human resources in the context of education. The universalisation of elementary education being a constitutional obligation, and one of the basic minimum services declared by the Government of India, receives high priority. The Government is making sustained efforts to achieve the goal of universalisation of elementary education by way of universal enrolment. Almost all revenue villages in Mizoram are covered by Primary Schools. At present, approximately 80% of children in the age group of 6-14 years are enrolled in Primary and Middle Schools. Efforts are on to make good the shortfall by opening more new schools in far-flung areas and making provisions for supply of free text books to all children at the elementary stage. A campaign "Zirna Uar Kum" (Year of Emphasis on Education) initiated by the Young Mizo Association has been started all over the State under the aegis of the State Level Coordination Committee on Education under the Chairmanship of the Finance Minister to motivate parents, teachers and students and improve quality of education. The Teacher-Student ratio in Primary Schools, as it stands today, is 1:25 while the ratio between Primary and Middle Schools is 2:1 as against the National Ratio of 4:1. As per National Programme for Nutritional Support to the children of Primary Schools, the School Education Department is implementing the Scheme by providing mid-day meals to the students in a manner suitable to the local conditions. Pre-cooked food to Primary School students is distributed at the rate of 3kg per student per month. About 99,730 students in 1055 Primary Schools have been benefited by the Scheme. The Department is making sustained efforts to achieve total literacy since 1990-91 through the Adult Education Wing. The Programme of "Each One Teach One" has also been implemented. The literacy percentage in the State has now risen to 89.84%. The contribution of voluntary organizations like the YMA and Church organizations proved instrumental in making the campaign a success. Higher Secondary Education (Plus Two Education) taken over by the State Government is being imparted successfully. So far, 16(sixteen) High Schools have been upgraded to Higher Secondary level and two more schools are being upgraded during the current year. In the field of Higher and Technical Education, the Department continues in its efforts to establish a University. Till such time a University comes into being, a proposal has been submitted to the University Grants Commission (UGC) to strengthen the NEHU Campus and Pachhunga University College by way of opening more subjects in Post-graduate courses, both Arts & Science, and expanding the infrastructural facilities. At the initiative of the Department both University Grants Commission and NEHU have decided to start Post-graduate course in Mizo at NEHU Campus, Aizawl from the next academic session. In Higher Education, the Department lays more emphasis on Science Education. For this purpose, Degree Course in Science subjects has been introduced in 4(four) Government Colleges, one each at Champhai, Serchhip, Saiha and Kolasib. All the Government Colleges are now having Honours courses in Arts & Science. Most of the affiliated Colleges are now also having the facilities of Honours subjects in Arts. Mizoram special Hindi School has been upgraded to a Degree College and renamed as Mizoram Comprehensive School and Graduate College. The Department has accorded permission to set up Liandingpuia Law College at Aizawl, which will be the second Law College in Mizoram. A Women Polytechnic at Aizawl with two courses, namely (1) Modern Office Management and (2) Electronics and Telecommunication is expected to start functioning from next session. A plot of land at Aizawl has already been allotted for establishment of the Women Polytechnic and the construction of the Polytechnic Complex is proposed to be taken up during the next financial year.
20. The Art & Culture Department is taking all necessary steps to protect and promote our proud traditions and indigenous culture. With this aim in view, the Department has organized several functions of cultural festival in Mizoram, inter-State cultural programmes, symposium and seminars. During the past one year, the Department has imparted training to a good number of artistes in modern music and cultural dances. The Department has constructed a Cultural Centre, reflecting a typical Mizo Village at Falkawn, which will be of educational value to our young generation and a spot of attraction to tourists.
21. In order to meet the increasing problem of drug dependence in Mizoram, the existing De-addiction –cum-Rehabilitation Centre has been enlarged from its present capacity of 35 inmates to 70 inmates. Realizing the urgent need for having a full-fledged De-addition-cum-Rehabilitation Centre, the Social Welfare Department has taken up construction of a 300-bedded Centre through the State PWD at Sethawn near Thingdawl on Aizawl-Silchar National Highway.
22. My Government is concerned over the increasing menace of drug trafficking and drug abuse. During the past one year, the Excise Department has arrested and prosecuted 178 persons for drug trafficking and illegal possession of various kinds of intoxicating drugs. The Department has also seized a large quantity of illicit liquor and has prosecuted 4249 Excise offenders. With a view of improving public health and ushering in a clean and better society, the Government has implemented Total Prohibition of Liquor in the State with effect from 20th February 1997. For effective implementation of the Liquor Prohibition Law, the Government has sanctioned 270 posts of various categories of Excise officials. The Department has been taking necessary steps to fill up the posts as soon as possible. As soon as the posts are filled up, the Excise personnel will be posted at various places like Champhai, Serchhip, Kolasib, Vairengte, etc.
23. During the current financial year and upto January, 1997, the Taxation Department has collected Rs.308 lakhs as various taxes as against the target of Rs.328 lakhs.
24. The Directorate of Mizoram State Lotteries had set a target for collection of Rs.10 crores as revenue receipt during the current financial year. It has already exceeded the target by earning revenue of Rs.10.99 crores by the end of January 1997.
25. The Directorate of Institutional Finance & Small Savings was established in 1988 with the twin objects of encouraging the habit of small savings among the people of the state and that 75% of the total savings under the Small Savings Scheme could be utilized by the State Government for developmental activities. The Directorate had set a target to generate a total saving of Rs.450 lakhs under the scheme for the year 1996-97. Till the end of January 1997, the Department has achieved a collection of Rs.323.91 lakhs.
26. Development of Sports & Youth Services forms part of our programme to promote and stimulate the youth to undertaken sports activities. I am happy to say that C.Lalremsanga had represented our country for the second time in the Centennial Atlanta Olympics, held last year. He is currently the number one archer in the country. It is a matter of pride for all of us that all of the three Wushu players from Mizoram, namely, Lalduhkima, Vanlalhruaikima and Remsangzuala, who represented India in the 12th Chinese-American International Wushu & Athletic Meet at San Francisco, USA in August 1996 had bagged Gold medals in their respective weight categories. Michael Zothan won the first ever Gold medal for Mizoram in body building by winning the "Mr. North East India" title (65kg category) in the 3rd North East India Body Building Championship held at Tezpur, Assam. It deserves mention that 5 (five) Girl Guides from Mizoram have received the Rashtrapati Award during 1996.
27. My Government is committed to achieve ‘Health for All by 2000 AD’. With this aim in view, the Health & Family Welfare Department has proposed to establish 10 (ten) new Health Sub-Centres during the current year. Under the Minimum Needs Programme, the Department has also taken steps for conversion of 53 Medical Aid Centres into Health Sub-Centres, which had been established to meet the emergency needs of the people at various places during the disturbances in Mizoram. The conversion will be completed during the current year. Construction of a 40-bedded Maternity Hospital at Kulikawn is nearing completion. Contour Survey of the proposed site for establishment of 300-bedded State Referral Hospital with selected specialists at Falkawn has been completed and the project report for the same is under preparation. Equipments of the Cobalt Therapy Unit have already been installed by the Engineers from Kirloskar Theratronics Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi. Some posts of technicians for operating the Unit are in the process of creation and it is expected that the unit will be operational in the near future. The Government has acquired a good building for housing the office of the Directorate of Health Services and the building had been occupied since July, 1996.
28. The Local Administration Department has commissioned the Recreational-cum-Beginners’ Swimming Pool at Lawibual during 1996. The Department has constructed a fly-over (bridge) at Sikulpuikawn junction. It has also completed and commissioned Market Building at Chaltlang, Aizawl under Integrated Development of Small & Medium Towns (IDSMT). Under the Scheme of Housing & Shelter Upgradation (SHASU), the Department plans to disburse housing loans to 1250 families below the poverty line during the current financial year. Under HUDCO (Housing and Urban Development Corporation) composite cash loan for housing for Government employees, the Department sanctioned housing loans to 580 Government employees of different categories during 1996. The third and final installment of this loan is being disbursed now.
29. For proper maintenance of land records, the Department of Land Revenue & Settlement has taken up cadastral survey of 10 villages covering an area of 3000 hectares. The villages are Kanhmun, Rawpuichhip, Bilkhawthlir, Lungdai, Biate, Khawhai, Tlungvel in Aizawl District and Bungtlang, Tawipui South, Lungsen in Lunglei District. Besides the above ten villages, the Department has also taken up the cadastral survey covering about 500 hectares scattered over various towns within the state. Besides the cadastral survey, the Department has taken up pilot project of Aerial Cadastral Survey and Computerisation of Land Records under Centrally Sponsored Schemes. Under this project the Department has completed aerial cadastral survey of an area of 3737 sq.km. Computer has been installed in the Directorate of Land Revenue & Settlement and the Staff are undergoing training at National Informatics Centre and ZENICS at Chaltlang, Aizawl to acquire necessary skills in computer operation.
30. Mizoram is endowed with natural scenic beauty with an ideal climate throughout the year. Realizing the scope for attracting tourists to enhance revenue, the Tourism Department continues to take various steps to augment the existing tourist facilities. A new Tourist Lodge at Saiha is under construction and 5(five) Tourist Cottages and one Restaurant at Berawtlang near Aizawl and Wayside Facilities at Thenzawl and Tawipui have been constructed by the Department and will be commissioned during 1997-98. With a view to promoting tourism in the North East and opening up this area to both domestic and foreign tourists, the Government of India has been extending liberal financial assistance to the North Eastern States including Mizoram. Under Centrally Sponsored Schemes, extension/improvement of the existing facilities as well as construction of new ones are under way. These facilities are expected to be ready during 1997-98. The Department also plans to fully exploit the State’s great potential for adventure sports like trekking, para sailing and river rafting with financial assistance already received from the Government of India.
31. It deserves mention that for the first time in Mizoram, an Airforce Recruitment Rally for Non-Technical Trades was held at Aizawl in November 1996. Altogether 350 youths appeared in the Test out of which 18 (eighteen) local youths were finally found fit in all respects and all of them have left on 6th February, 1997 for joining their training. Another 7 (seven) youths who were initially rejected on medical ground were finally cleared by the Medical Review Board and are expected to be called up for training in April/May, 1997. This is indeed a good beginning. I am sure this will inspire more and more of our youths to join the Armed Forces of our great country.
32. The Information & Public Relations Department has been doing well in projecting Mizoram outside. The Department continues to produce the monthly video new capsule "Mizoram Today" highlighting the achievements and activities of various development Departments of the Government of Mizoram and telecasting them through the local programme of Cable Television. It has distributed 26 Televisions sets and 60 Radio sets to different rural areas to use them as Community Viewing and Listening Sets by the people in the rural areas. The Department has also organized "Aizawl Darshan" tours in three batches for rural inhabitants from South Mizoram during the year. Besides covering press conferences, the Department also regularly undertakes photo and video coverages of the visits of important dignitaries, high officials from and outside Mizoram. The Department sent two accredited Journalists to Kohima (Nagaland) to participate in a Seminar on the Role of the Press in the North East held on 20th-21st February 1997. It has also sent two of its representatives to attend a Seminar-cum-Workshop on Development Journalism held at Gangtok (Sikkim) during the year. Among its other activities during the year, the Department has brought out Mizoram Calendar and Diaries 1997 and continues to publish weekly bulletins namely "Tunlai Chanchin and "Khawvel". The Department has also sent 2 (two) Tribal Representatives to New Delhi to witness Republic Day celebrations, 1997. It has launched Anti-infiltration and National Integration campaigns in selected villages along the border under Border Areas Development Programme. Hon’ble members, I have in this address briefly highlighted some of the achievements of my Government during the year 1996-97. I have no doubt that as representatives of the people, you will give the right lead with a spirit of dedication and constructive cooperation, which will encourage the Government to advance confidently along the chosen path of progress and prosperity of the State. I sincerely hope the deliberations of this House will help and guide the Government in implementation of its policies and various programmes in the best interest of the State and the people.
May I conclude by wishing you all success in your deliberations and may 1997 be a prosperous and rewarding year for all the people of Mizoram.
KA LAWM E