In what could be termed as a mere meeting for few promises and nothing concrete from the Union government, the Southern Zonal Council meeting held yesterday in Tirupati has been all about this! The Union home minister Amit Shah, who chaired the meeting, had nothing new to offer to all the south states, especially to the two Telugu states. Moreover when Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy raised the issue of Special Category Status (SCS), the minister seems to have avoided the topic!
The council meeting took up issues involving the Union and state governments. The Zonal Councils discuss a broad range of issues which include boundary-related disputes, security, infrastructure-related matters like road, transport, industries, water, and power, matters pertaining to forests and environment, housing, education, food security, tourism and transport.
The Union home minister said that Zonal Councils were able to successfully resolve many contentious issues among states despite being only advisory in nature. Amit Shah stated that in the last seven years the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government has held 18 meetings of Zonal Councils. “Now meetings of different Zonal Councils are convened regularly and this could happen only with the cooperation of all state governments as well as Union ministries,” he said.
The meeting of the council comprised the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Telangana, and the Union Territories of Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The 29th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council was hosted by AP CM and was attended by his counterparts and top officials.
Amit Shah took to Twitter after the meeting and announced, “Zonal Councils are advisory bodies in nature and yet we have been able to successfully solve many issues. This platform provides an opportunity for interaction at the highest level amongst members. 40 out of 51 pending issues were resolved in the context of today`s meeting.” According to political analysts, the meeting has not achieved anything. Only promises to address certain issues were made by Amit Shah, one will have to wait and watch if those promises will be fulfilled.
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Jagan who hosted the meeting was left with nothing but bigger promise! Primarily the AP CM raked up the issue of SCS and reminded the home minister that it was promise made in the Parliament and has to be fulfilled. Unfortunately, Amit Shah seems to have completely overlooked this matter while he promised to address all the other issues concerning AP State Reorganisation Act. The minister promised to Jagan that he would talk to Telangana CM and get many pending bills cleared!
Will Amit Shah walk the talk or will they remind as just promises? Let us wait and watch.