Union Home Minister Amit Shah has set a three-month deadline to ensure all states in the western zone have at least one bank branch every 5 km and a mobile phone in every rural home.
At a meeting of the Western Zonal Council chaired here, Shah discussed issues involving security and concerns of various departments, including ministries of agriculture and industry.
Goa being the host state, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was the vice-chairman at the meeting, which was also attended by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and and representatives of Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
Under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, five zonal councils have been set up since 1957 to discuss issues between the Centre and states, bring uniformity to solutions and resolve inter-state issues related to infrastructure and other state assets. This year the big focus for Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa was the rain and flood-related losses.
Shah expressed concern for the flood victims and requested the western states to quickly assess the damage caused by the floods and send their requirements to the Centre.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Rupani said, “Many issues were discussed in amity. Issues related to security, schemes for the poor and state government issues were discussed under the chairmanship of Shah.”
Officials who attended the meeting said the directive with the deadline was required for government and private banking and telecom companies in villages to tackle the issue of connectivity. In Goa, experts said, this was tricky because many villages still do not have access to basic amenities.
The meeting comes at a time when Goa’s capital city took six days to resolve a water crisis after rain triggered a wall collapse and a break in pipeline.