STATE TIMES NEWS
Kolkata: Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday at a meeting of Eastern Zone Council indicated to chief ministers that the states too share a responsibility along with the BSF for security in India’s border areas.
Illegal infiltration, trans-border smuggling and the vulnerable India-Bangladesh boundary were among subjects discussed at the 25th Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) meeting, chaired by Shah, at the West Bengal secretariat near here, a senior official said.
Talks on transportation facilities and water-sharing among the states were also held at the 25th EZC meeting, which was attended by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her counterpart from Jharkhand Hemant Soren, Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav and Odisha minister Pradeep Amat, the official said.
The role of BSF was discussed, in the light of the increase in the operational area of the border force earlier this year. In response, according to sources, the home minister is believed to have indicated that the state governments too have a role to play in border security, according to sources.
The meeting also discussed resurgence of Maoist activities in Jharkhand-Odisha and Bengal. It was decided that states and centre will pool real time information on Maoist activities in the red zone in order to coordinate steps to neutralize the movement, officials said. West Bengal chief minister also highlighted that arms are being smuggled into Bengal from neighbouring states and coordinated steps are needed to check this menace.
Shah, who is the chairman of the council, was accompanied by five home ministry officials at the meeting that began around 11 am and lasted for a little over two hours. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Odisha’s Naveen Patnai skipped Saturday’s session. Shah later met the Bengal CM at her chamber on the 14th floor of the secretariat, the official said. The Union minister left for Shillong soon after the meeting, the official added.