Patna: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured the governments of the four eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal of all possible assistance for strengthening internal security.
Presiding over the 21st meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council in Patna on Friday, Singh emphasised the need for better coordination between state and central agencies, particularly in combating Naxalism.
On the issue of fund requirements for the modernization of state police, Singh said the Centre would consider it on merit.
He also assured that the demand for deployment of additional central forces in 'Red Zone' areas of these four states would be considered by his ministry.
Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and representatives of Orissa and West Bengal were also present on the occasion.
During the meeting, issues such as Naxalism, police modernisation, border dispute, road connectivity, railway projects, water management, flood control, food problem, rural housing and more central allocation for developmental activities were discussed.
The council was meeting after a gap of two years and reviewed the progress of the implementation of the recommendations made at the last meeting held in Kolkata in 2013.
The council also took up issues relating to release of water by West Bengal for the upper Mahananda irrigation project in Bihar, allocation of additional rice to the state, modernization of the state police, maternal and child nutrition for addressing malnutrition, measures for Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India ( BGREI) and governance issues in relation to states for export promotion, issues relating to Geological Survey of India (GSI) concerning Eastern Zone states and implementation of the India Statistical Strengthening Project (ISSP) in the eastern zone.
The meeting decided to increase the cross border coordination and emphasized on timely sharing of information. The issues relating to disaster management and curbing of drugs trafficking in the eastern zone were also discussed.
The Eastern Zonal Council also undertook items suggested by the Inter-State Council in relation to amendments in the EZC rules and in relation to holding meeting of the Council as well as of the Standing Committee regularly.
In the meeting Bihar raised the demand for grant of special status to the state. Further, issues of power shortage, management of river water for draught and flood control were also primarily raised by Bihar during the meeting. Whereas, Jharkhand put forth its concern about pending railway projects, need of better road connectivity for development besides other issues.
The next meeting of the council would be held at Ranchi later this year, a statement by the home ministry said.