Centre keen on strengthening coastal security in South: Rajnath

Emphasizing the need to strengthen coastal security in the southern States, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the country was facing serious challenges from the Left wing extremism which needs to be countered effectively and collectively along with the States.

Inauguration the 26th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council (SZC) consisting of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Pudduchery (UT) here on Saturday, Rajnath Singh has stressed the importance of cooperative federalism. He said the forum of Zonal Council was one of the significant means to achieve the goal of cooperative federalism that holds the key for the growth and progress of the country.

The Union Home Minister said the NDA government, from the very beginning, has attached utmost importance to strengthening the institutions of Zonal Councils and the Inter-State Council. These institutions have immense potential to resolve a slew of nagging problems by active cooperation between Centre and States and among the States through healthy discussions, he said.

Earlier, Rajnath Singh expressed his deep condolences to the families of the victims whose lives have been lost in the recent devastating floods in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. He also assured that the Union Government will do its best to alleviate the sufferings of the people affected by floods and in providing relief and rehabilitation operations.

The Council reviewed the progress of the implementation of the recommendations made at the previous meeting of the Council held at Benguluru in 2012. The 26th Southern Zonal Council took up other issues like coastal security, peninsular region industrial corridor, introduction of peninsular tourism trains in the region, coordinated and uniform approach in granting industrial incentives, finalization of inter-state reciprocal transport agreement, curbing use of unacceptable levels of pesticides and ripening agents in fruits and vegetables, maintaining uniform standards in the courses for nursing and allied health services, power transmission lines and so on.

The meeting was attended by AP Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister, Home Minister, Karnataka Minister for Water Resources, Kerala, Minister for Home & Labour and Minister for Finance & Civil Supplies, Telangana, Minister for Finance & PWD, Tamil Nadu and Lt. Governer, Puducherry. Several senior officers from Central and State Governments also participated in this meeting.

The meeting of the Council ended with the decision to host the next meeting at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. (NSS)