Two-day assembly session begins

Rich tributes paid to former ministers

ITANAGAR, 27 Aug: The Arunachal Pradesh legislative assembly paid rich tributes to three former ministers who died in the past four months due to various ailments, during the inaugural day of the two-day monsoon session of the assembly on Friday.

Making the obituary reference in respect of former ministers Jotom Toko Takam, Dibang Tatak and Mekap Dolo, Legislative Assembly Speaker Pasang Dorjee Sona informed the house that Takam passed away at the age of 55 years after prolonged illness on 11 May this year. He was from Pistana circle in Lower Subansiri district and was an active social worker.

Takam was the state panchayati raj vice president from 1992-97 and became a member of the legislative assembly in 1999 from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), representing the Yachuli assembly constituency.

He was made the minister of fisheries, labour and employment in the Mukut Mithi government, Sona informed, adding that Takam was a visionary leader who led his constituency to new heights.

Remembering former minister Dibang Tatak, the speaker said that Tatak was a popular leader and served the state in various capacities, including as chairman and minister.

He passed away on 23 May this year at the age of 59 due to Covid-19 complications.

Starting his political career in 1992 as a gram panchayat member and subsequently as ASM and ZPM of Rumgong anchal samiti, Tatak was first elected as an MLA in 1995 from the INC party, and was re-elected for a second term in 2004. His contributions will always be remembered, Sona said.

Paying obituary to former minister Mekap Dolo, wife of former deputy chief minister Kameng Dolo, Sona described her as a good human being.

Mekap Dolo died on 17 July this year at the age of 66 after prolonged illness. She had been elected from the Bameng assembly constituency in 1999, and was minister of social welfare, women & child development.

Her selfless contributions will always be remembered, the speaker stated, and prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu while paying rich tributes to the late leaders stated that the former leaders had contributed a lot for the development of their constituencies and the state at large.

Terming Mekap Dolo a first-generation woman leader, Khandu said that she was a sensible and dignified lady, and added that her selfless contribution and devoted service for the welfare of the people, especially women, would always be remembered.

Late JT Takam was a good leader of Yachuli and the state as well, who worked for the welfare of the people, the chief minister said.

Offering condolences, Khandu remembered late Dibang Tatak as a “well-disciplined, well-mannered and a compassionate person whom the state lost untimely due to Covid.”

Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein also remembered the late leaders and recalled his close associations with them, especially with JT Takam. “He was a very down-to-earth person who worked tirelessly for the development of his area and the state as a whole,” Mein said, adding that, “with his demise, I lost a good friend, hardworking and committed person.”

Mein termed late Dibang Tatak “a younger brother, nice gentleman, very cordial and well-informed man.” He also described late Mekap Dolo as “a first-generation woman leader who contributed a lot for the uplift of women community.”

Participating in the discussion, former chief minister Nabam Tuki also spoke on his associations with the departed leaders, with whom he had worked closely “as social, cultural and political leaders, besides minister colleagues.”

WRD Minister Wangki Lowang, Forest Minister Mama Natung, Education Minister Taba Tedir, and legislators Tapuk Taku, Mutchu Mithi, Talem Taboh and Kaling Moyong also spoke and offered their condolences on the demise of the former members.

The house also observed two minutes’ silence as a mark of respect to the departed leaders.

Panel of chairmen

Deputy Speaker Tesam Pongte announced the names of legislators Biyuram Wahge, Rode Bui, Phosum Khimhun and Tapuk Taku as the panel of chairmen for the current session.

Short duration discussion

Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein told the assembly that the state government is committed to work for the welfare of the state and its people.

Stating that tea cultivation is a good alternative for minimizing unemployment and encouraging self-employment in the state, the DCM said that the government is aware of the problems faced by the small tea growers and is committed to “process for relaxation of LPCs to benefit them in their ventures.”

The DCM was responding to a short duration discussion raised by legislator Ninong Ering on the problems faced by the small tea growers for their registration and obtaining NOCs and LPCs to avail subsidies and benefits from the Tea Board of India after the Supreme Court’s blanket ban on timber operation from 12/12/1996.

Forest Minister Mama Natung in his statement informed the house of the initiatives taken up by the state government with the union ministry of environment & forest and climate change, “seeking lifting of the ban several times and the directives of the ministry to comply with the Supreme Court’s order.” However, Natung disclosed that, in a recent meeting with the ministry, the Centre assured to evolve a mechanism in this regard for the state of Arunachal.

Earlier, Ering sought the attention of the government towards the problems faced by the small tea growers in the state for their registration, “enabling them to avail the facilities as provided by the Tea Board of India.” He asked for assistance from the government in “uplifting the restrictions under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative as promoting tea gardens would help in minimizing unemployment, encouraging entrepreneurship, besides accruing revenue to the government.”

Bordumsa MLA Somlung Mosang also participated in the discussion.

Day one of the assembly session also witnessed the introduction of the Arunachal (Reorganization of Districts) (Amendment) Bill, 2021, by Chief Minister Pema Khandu.

While Khandu laid ‘the 14th annual report of Arunachal Pradesh Information Commission, 2019’ and ‘the 33rd annual report of Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission 2020-2021’, Women & Child Development Minister Alo Libang laid ‘the Arunachal Pradesh Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2020’ and ‘the annual report for Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW), 2019-2020’.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bamang Felix presented the 6th report of the business advisory committee and also moved for its adoption.

Deputy Chief Minister and Minister in-charge of Finance, Chowna Mein presented the audit reports of the comptroller and auditor general of India on ‘social economic, general and revenue sectors’. (DIPR)