Centre to strengthen zonal councils to boost federal spirit: Rajnath

Kolkata: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the Narendra Modi-led Central government is endeavouring to further strengthen the zonal councils and the inter-state councils to maintain good federal atmosphere between the Centre and the states.

“It is endeavour of the present government to strengthen the institution of the zonal councils and the inter-state councils to promote and maintain good federal atmosphere among the states and between the Centre and the states,” said Singh, who chaired the meet held at West Bengal state secreriat Nabanna here.

“The meeting has been extremely successful and 26 out 30 items discussed in the meeting have been resolved,” he noted.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and Odisha Finance Minister Sashi Bhushan Behera were among those attending the meet, besides senior officials of the Centre and the respective state governments.

Fifteen new issues including development of located coal mines, implementation of various national programmes of health, expeditious clearance for right of way for laying optical fibre cable and land acquisition for development of 11 new airports in the region were discussed in the meeting, along with previously unresolved issues of mining in the states of eastern zone and measures to curb Left wing extremism, a release said.

Schemes for modernisation of state police forces, release of central share for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and measures for bringing green revolution to eastern India were also discussed at the meet.

The five zonal councils — Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Central — were set up under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 to foster inter-state cooperation and coordination.

The councils are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any matter of common interest in the fields of economic and social planning, border disputes and linguistic minorities, among others.