Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chairs Western Zonal council Meeting in Panaji Today 29-September, 2015 .

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chairs Western Zonal council Meeting in Panaji Today

Formulate state-wise strategy to combat terrorism, says Home Minister

Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh today called upon the states to formulate their state-wise strategy to combat terrorism. Chairing the 21st meeting of the Western Zonal Council held at Panaji Shri Singh said, terrorism is a major challenge to the country, and to counter it is our prime responsibility. As such, every state should take up this issue seriously and formulate their strategy, to combat this menace, he added.

The Union Home Minister calling for an enhanced Centre –State co-operation said unless all the states in the country develop, India will not be able to compete with the advanced countries. Shri Singh said, India today is one of the developed countries amongst top 10 nations in the world. India would lead the world in the 21st century, with a good Centre State co-operation. The meeting deliberated upon developmental issues which have mostly social and economic bearing, and also issues related to internal security and made important recommendations.

To boost urban poor housing and rural housing sector, a ‘Housing for all’ scheme has been launched by the Government of India. Issues of checking slums, providing civic and social infrastructure as well as affordable housing were also discussed. Towards this objective the Council directed all specialized agencies of the Central Government to consider providing their Surplus Lands for the construction of ‘Affordable Housing’.

One of the issues that came up for discussion in the Council was relating to relaxation of certain provisions of the CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) Notification, 2011 of Ministry of Environment & Forests brought in by the Government of Maharashtra that has severely impeded the state government to take up development projects in coastal areas on account of lengthy procedure involved for taking environment clearances for housing and construction activities. The Council deliberated on this problem at length and decided that the Ministry of Environment & Forests would examine the matter urgently for bringing in suitable amendment to it so as not to affect development.

The pollution in Damanganga and Kolak river is an old and nagging issue between the Government of Gujarat and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli which the Council was able to resolve amicably. Due to the intervention of the Council both Governments along with the Ministry of Environment and Forest have taken effective measures including closing of several highly polluting industries of two regions resulting in a sharp decline of pollutants in the river.

Capacity building and governance issues related to export promotion were presented by Ministry of Commerce and Industry and all the member states responded positively that they are taking steps and would further work on that. Ministry of Power brought forward the issues of survival of Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Ltd., right of use for laying of Make Up Water Pipe Line Power Project, Malshej Ghat Pumped Storage Scheme and Forest clearance for certain projects.

Ministry of Culture raised the issues of signing of MoU with States for provision of visitors amenities in the Archaeological Sites, allotment of land for National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai, incorporation of ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendments and Validation) Act, 2010 in the State Master Plans and issuance of notification of delineation of buffer zone areas of Ajanta and Ellora, also pending with Government of Maharashtra.

As a part of coastal and internal security, Biometric Identity Card to coastal fishermen and Card Readers relates to identify fishermen have been issued so far in 3 states and UT of Daman and Diu. Likewise, as a measure to strengthen Coastal Security, Government of India had approved schemes of creation of National Population Register in 331 coastal villages in the 13 maritime States/UTs and issuance of Resident Identity Cards (RICs) to all usual residents of 18 years and above. The project has been successfully implemented with issuance of 65 lakh cards.

The Western Zonal Council also undertook other items suggested by the states in relation to socio-economic development of the region and made agreeable recommendations. The meeting of the Council ended with the decision to host the next meeting at Mumbai, Maharashtra.

The meeting was informed that at the federal level, several measures were initiated post-Mumbai terror attacks in November, 2008, to ensure an effective counter terrorism response, including streamlining of the Multi Agency Centre besides setting up of subsidiary Multi-Agency Centres (SMACs) in all state headquarters. The meeting was also informed that several State Police forces have set up specialized Counter Terrorist (CT) units called ATS to develop Counter Terrorist related intelligence leads and to neutralize the threats in time.

Goa Chief Minister Shri Laxmikant Parsekar, Gujarat Chief Minister Smt. Anandiben Patel and Maharashtra Minister Shri Girish Mahajan, Administrator, Daman & Diu and Dadra Shri Ashish Kundra were amongst others who attended the meeting.