Amit Shah
Amit Shah|IANS (File photo)

Eastern Zonal Council to meet at Bhubaneswar on Friday

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, February 28, 2020

The 24th meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, will be held at Bhubaneswar tomorrow.

Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah will chair this meeting. Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, is the Vice-Chairman and host. Chief Ministers of Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand, Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee and Hemant Soren, respectively, will also participate, an official press release said.

The Chief Ministers will be accompanied by two Cabinet Ministers from each State, as members of the Council, and Chief Secretary and other senior officers of the States.

Secretaries, Additional Secretaries and other senior officers of the Central Government will also attend the meeting. The last meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council was held in Kolkata on October 1, 2018.

The release said the meeting would deliberate upon nearly four dozen issues which inter alia include inter-State water issues, power transmission lines, royalty on and operationalization of coals mines, land and forest clearance of rail projects, investigation of heinous offences, cattle smuggling across country’s borders, lack of telecom and banking infrastructure in remote areas, petroleum projects, sharing pattern on centrally collected revenues etc. With such senior level participation of political leadership and officers, a large number of issues are likely to get resolved by consensus in the meeting, it said.

Five Zonal Councils were set up in the year 1957 under Section 15-22 of the States Reorganization Act, 1956. The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these 5 Zonal Councils and Chief Minister of the host State, to be chosen by rotation every year, is the Vice-Chairman. Two more Ministers from each State are nominated as Members by the Governor. The Council takes up issues involving Centre and States, and among Member-States falling in the Zone and thus provide a forum for resolving disputes and irritants between them.

The Zonal Councils discuss a broad range of issues, which include boundary-related disputes, security, infrastructure related matters like road, transport, industries, water and power, matters pertaining to forests & environment, housing, education, food security, tourism, transport, and so on.