Ranchi, June 27: A meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha, was held here with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the chair, to discuss key issues like police modernization, measures to curb communal tensions and the Maoist menace, an official statement said.
The 22nd Eastern Zonal Council meeting was attended by Bihar and Jharkhand Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar and Raghubar Das, respectively, but their Odisha and West Bengal counterparts did not come. Instead, the Odisha and West Bengal CMs deputed their ministers to represent the state.
“The meeting also discussed measures to bring the ‘Green Revolution’ to eastern India, issues relating to fisheries, productivity of livestock and poultry to bring Blue Revolution.
It also discussed the issues relating to sharing of water of major rivers, development of Railways, development of dedicated freight corridor and multi-sectoral development program in eastern states,” said a Jharkhand government statement.
In his address, Rajnath Singh said the Left-Wing Extremism (LWE )or Maoist activities should be tackled jointly with regular coordination and mutual cooperation.
He said important central schemes to tackle the Maoist menace Additional Central Assistance (ACA), Security Related Expenditure (SRE), Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) are under active consideration for review, while urging the state governments to complete the fortification of police stations and focus on reducing killings.
The overall Maoist-related violence in the country had gone down by 42 percent in last two years, he noted.
The internal security scenario in general and particular in the eastern states was also discussed.
Stressing the zone’s potential, the Union Minister also acknowledged the development potential of Ranchi city which has been selected by the central government as one of the 100 Indian cities to be developed as a “Smart City.”
The issue of nine disputes between Bihar and Jharkhand were also discussed and it was decided that the chief secretaries of the two states will hold discussions on them, and then they will be taken up at the Chief Ministers’ level.
According to sources in the Jharkhand government, disputes with West Bengal over 40 border villages were also raised in the meeting.
The next EZC meeting will take place on Bhubaneswar. There are five zones in the country and meeting of every zone take place on regular basis.
The Eastern Zonal Council is one of the five such councils as provided by Section 15 of the States Re organisation Act 1956, with its genesis in Article 263 of the Constitution which provides an Inter-State Council.
Its members are Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.