Yet another meeting between Union home minister Amit Shah and chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee is likely to happen since the two last met in Delhi on 19 September last year. This time Shah will attend a meeting with Miss Banerjee along with her three counterparts of Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand on 28 February in Bhubneswar.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has already sent a letter to the Bengal chief minister requesting her to attend the meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) comprising the four states in Bhubneswar city. As head of the EZC council, Shah will discuss issues relating to internal security in the four eastern states with the four chief ministers.
Sources in the state secretariat, Nabanna, said that Miss Banerjee would attend the programme though no official confirmation has been received so far in this regard. “We have no idea whether our chief minister would hold any separate meeting with the Union home minister during the day,” sources said requesting anonymity.
The EZC meeting is held after every two years. The then Union home Rajnath Singh had held the EZC meeting at Nabanna Sabhaghar with Miss Banerjee, her counterpart of Jharkhand, deputy chief minister of Bihar and finance minister of Odisha on 1 October in 2018. The last meeting was aimed at promoting and maintaining a good federal atmosphere of cooperation among states and between the Centre and the states.
Some issues like release of the Central share under post-matric and pre-matric scholarship, schemes for SC, ST and OBC, scheme for modernisation of state police forces, Left Wing Extremism, railway electrification, construction of dedicated freight corridor, road over bridges and road under bridges in place of level crossings might be discussed again in the coming meet.
The five zonal councils (western, eastern, central, northern and southern) were set up under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 to foster inter-state cooperation and coordination among the states. They are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities among others.