Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday gave a miss to the 22nd Eastern Zonal Council meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Both Patnaik and Banerjee sent their representatives to the meeting. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das were both present at the meeting.
The issues discussed at the meeting included modernisation of the state police forces and measures to curb communal tensions and Left Wing Extremism (LWE), said a statement issued by the Jharkhand government.
“The meeting also discussed measures to bring green revolution to eastern India, issues relating to fisheries, productivity of livestock and poultry to bring blue revolution,” it said.
“It also discussed the sharing of water of major rivers, development of railways, development of Dedicated Freight Corridor and multi-sectoral development programme in eastern states.”
The meeting discussed the internal security scenario in relation to the eastern states.
“The Left Wing Extremism (LWE) should be tackled jointly with regular coordination and mutual cooperation,” the statement said, citing Rajnath Singh.
Rajnath Singh said important central schemes for LWE-affected districts, Additional Central Assistance (ACA), Security Related Expenditure (SRE), Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS), are under active consideration for review.
He urged that state governments to complete the fortified police stations and focus on reducing killings. The overall LWE violence in the country had gone down by 42 per cent in the last two years, Rajnath Singh said.
He mentioned the potential of the Zone and acknowledged the development potential of Ranchi city which has been selected by the central government as one of the 100 Indian cities to be developed as a “Smart city”.
Nine contentious issues between Bihar and Jharkhand, including transfer of maps and pension liabilities, were also discussed, the statement said.
“The chief secretaries of Bihar and Jharkhand will discuss the issues and later the issues will be discussed at chief ministerial level,” Nitish Kumar and Raghubar Das told reporters.
According to sources in the Jharkhand government, some issues related to 40 bordering villages having disputes with West Bengal were also raised in the meeting.
The next Eastern Zonal Council meeting will take place in Bhubaneswar.
The Eastern Zonal Council is one of the five such councils as provided by Section 15 of the States Reorganisation Act 1956, with its genesis in Article 263 of the Constitution which provides an Inter-State Council.
Its members are Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.