IMMEDIATE revision of coal royalty and a special economic package for speedy development of the region were among the major demands raised at the 24th Eastern Zonal Council meet with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Shah later stated that 40 issues were resolved with mutual coordination during deliberations on Friday. The meeting, Chaired by Shah and attended by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his West Bengal and Bihar counterparts - Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar -respectively, was skipped by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren. Soren had deputed State’s Finance Minister Rameshwar Oraon for the meeting.
Though no reason for Soren’s absence was cited, it was perhaps because of the commencement of the month-long Budget Session of the Jharkhand Assembly, sources said. Shah said that as per the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, eastern region needs more focus to fast track its development and hoped this meeting would be decisive and fruitful in resolving the issues listed on the agenda. “Out of the 48 items discussed today, 40 were resolved in the meeting with mutual coordination,” Shah said. However, it was not clear as to which eight issues remained unresolved.
Shah said, besides the issues listed on the agenda, he would also like to add and discuss issues relating to law and order and administrative reforms so that this Council meeting is helpful in giving further pace to development, an official release said.
Expressing satisfaction at usefulness of Zonal Council mechanism, the Home Minister said, more than 70 per cent issues have been resolved based on the recent meetings of the Zonal Councils and remaining issues are also under resolution. Among the issues discussed at the EZC meet were related to Phulbari Dam under the agreement of 1978 signed by the states of Bihar and West Bengal on Upper Mahananda Water Scheme, Extension of Nuapada-Gunupur-Therubali Rail Link Project in Odisha.
Use of State Government land by Coal companies of GOI, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)-land transfer by CPSU, Prevention of cattle smuggling/illegal transportation of cattle to Indo-Bangladesh Border, lack of telecom and bank connectivity in Odisha, revision of royalty on coal and inadequate funding and delayed land related issues of petroleum projects also figured at the meet.