Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Monday chaired 22nd meeting of eastern zonal council consisting of Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal, and discussed the issues like modernisation of state police forces, measures to curb communal tension and Left Wing Extremism (LWE), curbing of drug trafficking, measures for bringing green revolution to eastern India, issues relating to fisheries, productivity of livestock and poultry to usher blue revolution.
At the meeting, which happened in Ranchi, the issues of sharing of water of major rivers, development of railways, construction of dedicated freight corridor (DFC) and Multi-sectoral Development Programme in the Eastern zone were also discussed in detail. The Zonal Council also reviewed the progress of the implementation of the recommendations made at the previous meeting of the council held at Patna last year.
During the meeting, there was detailed discussion on the LWE activities. Rajnath Singh said that LWE is a common problem in some of the states including the states of the eastern zone. Therefore, it has to be tackled jointly with regular coordination and mutual cooperation. “The government is making all out efforts for infrastructure development and for socio-economic uplift of the people. Regular review meetings are held at the level of MHA,” he said.
He emphasised that these efforts need to reach to the people to counter the negative propaganda created by extremists.
The issue of internal security in general and in the eastern zone in particular was also discussed. Singh mentioned that the internal security matters and its challenges need to be dealt with resolute action and on the principles of cooperative federalism.
He informed that important central schemes, such as Additional Central Assistance (ACA), Security Related Expenditure (SRE) and Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS), are under active consideration for review. He urged the state governments to complete the Fortified Police Stations and focus on reducing killings.
Rajnath Singh said the overall LWE violence in the country had gone down by 42% in last two years.
He also mentioned about the potential of the eastern zone and acknowledged the development potential of Ranchi city which has been selected by the central government as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a “Smart city”.
Singh added that the government is committed to further strengthen the zonal councils and the inter state council. He said that the meetings of five zonal councils and their standing committees were held in 2015 after a long gap.
Earlier, all the five zonal council meetings were held in one year only in 1972 and 2005. A total of about 150 issues were discussed by the zonal councils in 2015 and more than 50% of the issues were resolved. MHA has given specific instructions to the states and the central ministries for taking further action for timely resolution of the remaining unresolved items, Singh added.
Raghubar Das, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, Pradip Kumar Amat, Minister for Finance, Odisha, Dr Ashish Banerjee, Minister for Planning West Bengal, Ministers from Bihar and Jharkhand and senior officers from the central and state governments attended the meeting.
As advised by Singh, Chief Ministers of Bihar and Jharkhand decided to resolve their pending issues between themselves. Agreeing with his advice, they asked their chief secretaries to hold the meeting at the earliest and settle the bifurcation and other pending issues amicablyThere are five Zonal Councils – one for each Zone, namely Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central in addition to the North East Council which is under the administrative ambit of the Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region (DONER).
These Zonal Councils are advisory bodies mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any matter of common interest in the subjects such as economic and social sectors, infrastructure, health, security related matters and various other developmental schemes.
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