Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], September 3 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired the 30th Southern Zonal Council meeting in Thiruvananthapuram, said officials on Saturday.
The Union Home and Cooperation Minister in his opening address extended 'Onam' greetings to the people of Kerala - the abode of natural beauty and said Onam is a major festival not only in Kerala but in Indian culture.
"In the 30th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council held in Thiruvananthapuram today, 26 issues were discussed, 9 issues were resolved, 17 issues were reserved for further consideration, out of which 9 issues were related to the reorganization of Andhra Pradesh," said Shah.
He also urged the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to settle their pending issues, which will not only benefit the people of their states but will also lead to all-round development of the entire southern region.
He called upon all the member States of the Council to find a joint solution to the issues related to sharing of water.
"In the 12th meeting of its Standing Committee, a total of 89 issues were discussed and out of this 63 issues were settled by mutual agreement which is a significant achievement," he added.
He also outlined the main objectives of the zonal council meeting.
"The main objectives of the Zonal Council meeting are - amicable settlement of disputes between the Centre and the States and inter-State through mutual agreement, promotion of regional cooperation between States, providing a forum for all States to brainstorm on issues of common national importance and setting up a collaboration system for strengthening cooperation among all stakeholders," said Shah.
He also thanked the countrymen for rising above their State affiliations, caste, and religion and set an excellent example of unity and patriotism by hoisting the tricolour in their homes under the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign.
He highlighted the change in the nature of the zonal councils under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that the number of meetings has increased.
"Before 2014, the zonal councils used to have an average of two meetings in a year, which this government has increased to 2.7. On average, the Standing Committees used to have 1.4 sittings, this government has also almost doubled this to 2.75. Prior to 2014, the percentage of issues resolved in the meetings of the Zonal Councils was 43, now it has increased to 64 per cent," said Shah.
He further stressed that a total of 555 issues were discussed between 2014 and 2022 with 64 per cent of these were resolved by mutual consent as compared to 104 between 2006 and 2013.
He also pointed out that the villages that carry out fishing across the coastline have immense potential for increasing trade and export of marine products.
He also said that the Ministry of Home Affairs has tried to crack down on the problem of Narcotics with the utmost strictness and said, "QR-enabled PVC Aadhar cards have been given to more than 12 lakh fishermen. This will not only give recognition to the fishermen of the coastal States but will also strengthen coastal security."
With an aim to increase the conviction rate, the ministry has prepared a policy for establishing forensic science labs.
He also listed the Sagarmala project and various schemes for the upgradation of major ports for the development of coastal states.
"Out of these, 108 projects worth Rs 76,000 crore have been completed while 98 projects worth Rs 13,2000 crore are under implementation. Thus in total projects worth more than Rs 2,00,000 crore are being implemented under Sagarmala for coastal States," he added.
He also noted that 61 projects are under implementation at a tune of Rs 7,737 crore for the overall development of coastal districts while Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana is being run for the Blue Revolution.
"Since 2015, Rs 4,206 crore has been sanctioned for the Fisheries Infrastructure Development Fund Scheme in the Southern States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh 56 projects have been approved for the development of basic infrastructure of ports and fisheries in the States at a cost of Rs. 2,711 crore," noted Shah.
The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, the Lieutenant Governors of Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Administrator of Lakshadweep, Chief Secretaries of Southern Zonal Council States, Union Home Secretary, Secretary Inter-State Council Secretariat and other Senior officials of State and Central Ministries and Departments. (ANI)