SHILLONG: The Autumn Session of the Meghalaya Assembly commenced on Friday. The six-day session, which will conclude on September 13, will have three days of government business and three days of private members’ business. The Opposition Congress with 17-members had decided to table a no-confidence motion against Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh.
On the opening day of the Autumn Session, Forest & Environment Minister, James K. Sangma introduced the ‘Meghalaya Forest Regulation (Amendment) Bill-2021’.
According to the statement of object and reasons of the Bill, the amendments are necessary since in the recent past incidence of forest offences have increased considerably.
As per the statement of object and reasons forest offences are now committed by organised groups with money and muscle power.
It states that the provisions of the Meghalaya Forest Regulation, 1973 (which is an adaptation of Assam Forest Regulation, 1891) in the present form are not adequate to put an effective check on the activities of such offenders.
“It is therefore necessary to amend the Act so as to equip the officers of the Forest Department of the State of Meghalaya with more powers to deal with such offenders effectively and to provide for stringent punishment for such offences,” the statement of object and reasons reads.
Meanwhile, the House also paid rich tribute to former legislators of the Meghalaya Assembly — Mihsalan Suchiang, Obil Kyndait and Dr. P. W. Khongjee. While condoling the death of Suchiang, Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh said that he felt “guilty” for not being able to visit him when he was undergoing treatment. Lyngdoh said that he had kept postponing his plans to visit the former UDP legislator due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma, said that all the three legislators were tall leaders in their own rights. Referring to late Dr. Khongjee, the Chief Minister said that he had fond memories of him, when they were elected in 2008. Sangma remembered the former Sohra MLA as someone who was a gentleman in the true sense of the term.
Leader of Opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma said that Kyndait was a shrewd politician and was active till his death even as he contributed both as MLA and Member of District Council (MDC). On Dr Khongjee, Dr Sangma said that both were buddies, adding that the former was his senior when they were studying in Regional Institute of Medical Science (RIMS), Imphal.
The leader of opposition said that, Dr. Khongjee understood the potential of Sohra as a tourist destination. On Suchiang, the leader of opposition said that he was a man who can be emulated. Dr Sangma also expressed his admiration over, Suchiang’s command over the English language even as he said that he was a man who maintained “probity of a very high order” in public life. Later, the House observed two-minute silence as a mark of respect for the departed leaders.