Union Home Minister Amit Shah is all set for a crucial meeting with the Chief Ministers of the southern states. The meeting is highly expected to bring the heads of the state governments close to the Home Minister and the agenda has been prepared for the meeting that will be held on Sunday -November 14 at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
According to reports, the meeting will be the 29th edition of the Southern Zonal Council and it will have 26 items on the table to discuss. The agenda of these 26 items includes four proposed by the Union government and besides the southern states, the Union Territories will also be attending the meeting. While Amit Shah will chair the meeting, it will see the presence of the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, and Puducherry.
The Lieutenant Governors of Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and the Administrator of Lakshadweep will be attending the meeting. On Friday, Union Home Ministry has issued a statement concerning the meeting in which it has said that the officials will discuss a broad range of issues, including boundary disputes, security, and infrastructure-related matters like road, transport, industries, and water and power.
The statement further said that the zonal councils provide a platform to foster such collaboration through a structured mechanism for dialogue and discussion continuously on the issues affecting two or more states or the Centre and states, in the spirit that strong states make a strong nation. While the Union Home Minister will be the head of the southern zonal council, the host of each edition will be the vice-chair of the meeting.
As this edition is hosted by Andhra Pradesh, its Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy will be the vice-chair of the meeting and other Chief Ministers from the states will be the members. Each state will raise a pile of issues with the Centre or with the neighbours. PTI has reported that Andhra Pradesh will raise issues like the unauthorized fishing by the Tamil Nadu fishing boats in the waters of Andhra Pradesh. The host state will also seek the release of Rs 6,015 crore dues, to be paid by the power utilities by Telangana.
It is expected that Tamil Nadu will seek a review of policy on the transfer of railway lands for Metro Rail projects on a permanent basis and permission to cross railway lines and lands. The state will also press for uniformity in the overall length and engine capacity of fishing boats, to be registered under Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, in all coastal states, which can be used for fishing in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone.
Puducherry is expected to raise the matter of seeking a supply of sand from Tamil Nadu and also the permission of importing sand from overseas. The Union Territory will also issue another issue of releasing the irrigation water from the Veedur dam in Tamil Nadu to Puducherry. It is pertinent to note that five zonal councils were set up in 1957 under Section 15-22 of the States Re-organization Act, 1956. Along with the Chief Minister, two more ministers from each state will be the members and these two ministers were nominated to the council by the Governor of the respective state.