Centre will assess flood damage on its own: Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah (PTI Photo)

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said the Centre will send its own teams to the flood-affected areas without waiting for reports from respective states to assess the damage caused by the natural calamity.

Shah expressed concern for the flood victims in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa

He requested the states to quickly assess the damage caused by the recent floods and send their requirement to the Centre.

Shah was speaking at the 24th meeting of the Western Zonal Council, a forum for the Centre and states to exchange ideas on issues like health, security and social welfare, here.

The meeting was attended by chief ministers of Gujarat (Vijay Rupani), Maharashtra (Devendra Fadnavis), Goa (Pramod Sawant) and representatives of Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

He said the Centre has taken an initiative to assess the flood damage on its own.

"As part of the initiative, central teams have been constituted to visit the flood-affected areas without waiting for reports from the respective states," Shah said.

He said the Western Zone has been instrumental in giving an impetus to the Indian economy. States and Union Territories falling under this zone contribute around 24 per cent to the national GDP and 45 per cent to the total exports of the country.

The Western Zonal Council, one of the five such bodies, comprises the states of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

He said all pending issues between the states and the Centre need to be resolved on a priority basis through the forum of the Western Zonal Council.

"After due deliberations, unequivocal decisions taken by consensus should be implemented to further strengthen the federal structure of the country," he said.

Lauding the states in the Zone, Shah said they have done excellent work in the cooperative sector.

Shah said the states in the Western Zone are a big exporter of sugar, cotton, groundnut and fish, and contribute immensely to the economic development of the country.

Now, strengthening law and order and administrative reforms will help in giving a further boost to the development of these states and also the country, the home minister said.

The Council also reviewed the progress on implementation of the recommendations made at the last meeting.

Action on the Master Plan submitted by the Maharashtra government for utilisation of surplus salt pan land for rehabilitation of slum-dwellers was among the issues discussed at the Council's meeting.

A transparent financial model for the involvement of slum- dwellers in their rehabilitation formulated by the Maharashtra government was also discussed.

The meeting began with Fadnavis welcoming the decision taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah to scrap the special status and privileges granted to Jammu & Kashmir and its residents under Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution.

Fadnavis emphasised that this decision would pave the way for the development of J&K and Ladakh (now Union Territories) and their integration with the rest of the country.

The Chief Ministers of Goa, Gujarat and Administrator of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli endorsed the views expressed by the CM of Maharashtra.

The previous meeting of the Western Zonal Council was chaired by the then home minister Rajnath Singh at Gandhinagar in April last year.

The zonal councils provide a forum where irritants between the Centre and the states, and among the states themselves, can be resolved through free and frank discussions and consultations, an official said.

The zonal councils are headed by the Union home minister and each zone nominates one chief minister as its vice-chairman on a rotation basis.

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