Union Home Minister Amit Shah arrives in Guwahati

Union Home Minister Amit Shah arrived in Assam's Guwahati on Saturday evening after holding the 25th meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council in the West Bengal Secretariat in Nabanna today.
Amit Shah
Amit ShahANI

GUAWAHATI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah arrived in Assam's Guwahati on Saturday evening after holding the 25th meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council in the West Bengal Secretariat in Nabanna today.

Shah was received by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on his arrival.

The Home Minister on Saturday chaired the 25th meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council and held discussions on inter-state issues like operationalisation of coal mines, land and forest clearance of rail projects, investigation of heinous offences, cattle smuggling across country's borders.

The meeting was held in the state secretariat Nabanna's Sabhaghar. The participants comprised representatives of the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is the Vice-Chairman and host of the event, while Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, and state ministers of Odisha were also present.

Two Cabinet Ministers from each state, as members of the Council, and the Chief Secretary and other senior officers of the states, Secretaries, additional secretaries, and other senior officers of the Central Government also attended the event.

Inter-State water issues, power transmission lines, royalty on and operationalization of coal 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, and sharing pattern on centrally collected revenues are also among the list of issues brought up for discussion in the meeting. 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.

Five Zonal Councils - Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Central - 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 five Zonal Councils and the 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 the Centre and States and Member-States falling in the Zone and provides a forum for resolving disputes and irritants between states.

The Zonal Councils discuss a wide range of issues, which include border-related disputes, security, infrastructure-related matters like road, transport, industries, water and power, matters pertaining to forests and the environment, housing, and education.

The last meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council was held in Bhubaneswar on February 28, 2020.

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