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Bhubaneswar, February 28, 2020
The eastern region needs more focus to fast track its development, Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah said here today.
Chairing the 24th meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council, Shah expressed the hope that the meeting would be able to resolve all the issues listed in the agenda. Apart from those listed in the agenda, he said he would also like to add and discuss issues relating to law and order and administrative reforms.
"All the issues having Centre-State and inter-State ramifications are resolved with consensus at the zonal council meetings. After due deliberations, decisions taken by consensus should be implemented to further strengthen the federal structure of the country," he said.
The Home Minister also expressed his satisfaction at the usefulness of the Zonal Council mechanism. More than 70% of the issues have been resolved at the recent meetings of the Zonal Councils and the remaining were also under discussions, he said.
He directed the various Central Government departments to expedite decisions that are pending with the Central Ministries. He also laid stress on expanding banking services to ensure that the benefits were available even in the remotest areas.
Shah said the long pending issues need to be resolved by regular discussions and not only during the Zonal Council meetings. He also requested the States to ensure sharing of data on a regular basis.
Among those present at the meeting was Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as Vice-Chairman and host. Other Chief Ministers present were Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal). Jharkhand Finance Minister Ramesh Oraon and senior officers from the Central and State Governments also attended the meeting.
Welcoming the participants, Patnaik thanked Central Government for prompt support during cyclonic disasters. He raised the issue of the increase in royalty on coal. Banerjee raised the issue of delay in payments of GST proceeds and devolution of funds. Nitish Kumar asked for the formulation of National Silt Management Policy to take care of floods in the Ganga river.
The Council also discussed the issues related to Phulbari Dam under the agreement of 1978 signed by the States of Bihar and West Bengal on Upper Mahananda Water Scheme, Extension of Nuapada-Gunupur-Therubali Rail Link Project in northern districts of Odisha, Determination of Pension liability between Bihar and Jharkhand.
Use of State Government land by coal companies of GOI, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) - land transfer by CPSU, Speedy investigation of cases of sexual offence/rape against women and children. Prevention of cattle smuggling/illegal transportation of cattle to the India-Bangladesh Border came up for discussions.
The meeting also took up the lack of telecom and bank connectivity in Odisha, Illegal cultivation and trading of hemp/cannabis in the State, revision of royalty on Coal, Inadequate funding and delayed land-related issues of Petroleum projects etc. Out of the 48 items taken up at the meeting, 40 were resolved.