HM Rajnath chairs Southern Zonal Council meet at Thiruvananthapuram NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday chaired the 27th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council at Thiruvananthapuram during which 16 out of 22 items on agenda were resolved. At the meeting, Singh said that Naxalism had been assuming serious dimensions in certain parts of the country. The recentincidents that occurred in Kerala underscored the paramount need for further tightening up of administrative and police machinery, he added. The Home Minister said that all possible steps will be taken to preserve and strengthen the integrity and safety of our country, be it either from external or internal threat. State Governments must ensure better inter-State coordination and take up joint operations in common border areas, he further said.
“The Council reviewed progress of implementation of various recommendations made in the last meeting relating to issues of fishermen, Peninsular Region Industrial Development Corridor, Extension of High Speed Rail Corridor between Thiruvananthapuram up to Mangalore and Udupi, introduction of peninsular tourism trains in the zone and Amendments to the New Road Transport & Road Safety Bill,” the Ministry said in a statement.
The Council also took up issues which relate to uniformity in allocation of funds for scholarships in proportion of population of SC/ST for all courses, revision of ceiling on profession tax by the Centre, prevention of communicable diseases, Naxalism, promotion of oilseeds and oil palm cultivation and development of Puducherry Airport.
Singh said that the Government is committed to further strengthen the Zonal Councils and the Inter State Council.
The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, Lt, Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi and Union Territory CM V Narayanasamy, Y Ramakrishnudu, Minister for Finance and Planning, Andhra Pradesh, TB Jayachandra, Minister for Law & Parliamentary Affairs, Karnataka, Dindugal C Srinivasan, Minister of Forest, Tamil Nadu and Naini Narasimha Reddy, Minister for Home & Labour, Telangana. The meeting was also attended by Ms. Naini Jayasheelan, Secretary, Inter State Council Secretariat and senior officers from Central and State Governments.
The Zonal Councils provide a common meeting ground for the States to promote and facilitate coordinated efforts for fostering economic and social development, the minister said.
A decision to host the next meeting in Karnataka was also taken at the occasion.
The five Zonal Councils were set up under the States’ Reorganization Act, 1956 to foster Inter-State cooperation and coordination among the States.
The Zonal Councils are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on the matters of common interest in the field of economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities and inter-State transport among others.