February 28, 2020
I raised the issue of how Bangla has been deprived: Mamata Banerjee at the 24th EZC meeting
The 24th Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) met in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, today, where representatives from four States conferred with the Union Home Minister. Bangla was represented by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The other participants included the chief ministers of Odisha and Bihar, and the finance minister of Jharkhand.
After the conference, Mamata Banerjee addressed the media, the highlights of which are given below:
The decisions taken at the Eastern Zonal Council meeting will be revealed later by the Central Government. Issues regarding all the States in the region were discussed.
I raised the issue of how Bangla has been deprived. Discussions were held on the pending issues regarding the completion of various developmental projects that need cooperation between the Central and State Governments, and topics like rail, coal and civil aviation.
I mentioned that the Centre’s commitment on giving back to States the latter’s share of the revenue from GST has not been kept and that the States are receiving their dues after gaps of six or more months. This is causing financial hardship for the States and the crunch is affecting day-to-day decisions like paying salaries to employees.
Bangla is yet to receive Rs 50,000 crore from the Centre with respect to GST. Not just that, we received no financial aid for either Cyclone Bulbul or the earlier Phani.
I said I am very sad at what is happening in Delhi. It is our duty to help the families of all the victims. A police constable and an IB officer have also died. Hence I said at the meeting if such incidents spread to other parts, it would have a very bad effect on the whole country. Therefore, at the start of the meeting itself, I said peace should prevail across the country.
There were no discussions on NRC. The NRC, NPR and CAA were not on the agenda and so were not discussed.
The Home Minister did not say anything about law and order. I want the problem to be solved first; only after that will we discuss it politically.
All the States raised the issue of royalty from the cess from coal. The Centre said it will go through with the policy decisions later.
The States also raised the issue of the Centre’s giving more importance to the eastern part of the country.
I did not talk about the withdrawal of Central forces from Bangla as it is an internal matter between us and the Centre.
I reminded everyone at the meeting that both the State and Central Governments are elected governments, and therefore the demands of the people should be fulfilled at all levels, and everything should take place as per the Constitution.
Nothing was discussed about what is happening in Delhi as it was not on the agenda.