New Delhi: The 24th meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council, comprising of the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal is scheduled to be held on 28 February in Bhubaneswar. The Union Minister for Home Affairs, Amit Shah, will chair this meeting. Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, is the Vice Chairman and host. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, and Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren will also participate. The last meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council was held in Kolkata on 1 October 2018.
This meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council will deliberate upon nearly 4 dozen issues which inter alia include interstate water issues, power transmission lines, royalty on and operationalization of coals mines, land & forest clearance of rail projects, investigation of heinous offences, cattle smuggling across international borders, lack of telecom & banking infrastructure in remote areas, petroleum projects, sharing pattern on centrally collected revenues etc.
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, while 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 Centre and states, and among member-states falling in the zone and thus provides 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 etc., matters pertaining to forests & environment, housing, education, food security, tourism, transport, and more.
The chief ministers will be accompanied by two cabinet ministers from each state, as members of the Council, and chief secretary & other senior officers of the states. Secretaries and Additional Secretaries and other senior officers of the Central Government will also attend the meeting.
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