Yielding to the repeated demands from the states,the Centre today convened a special meeting of the chief ministers on May 5 to discuss the formation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and allay the concerns raised by several state governments in this regard.
Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters that the Prime Minister had asked him to call a meeting of the chief ministers specifically for discussions on NCTC,and that he had written to all the chief ministers informing them of the decision.
The chief ministers are already scheduled to come to Delhi on April 16 for their annual meeting on internal security but NCTC is not on the agenda of that meeting. Several chief ministers,including Mamata Banerjee whose Trinamool Congress is a key ally of UPA at the Centre,had been demanding that the April 16 meeting should be used to address the concerns of the states on NCTC.
Chidambaram today said discussions on NCTC would require a full day and could not be accommodated as an additional agenda for the April 16 meeting.
It was decided that we should devote one separate day to discuss NCTC. Accordingly,the April 16 meeting would take place on the agenda as already circulated. A separate meeting of the chief ministers would be called on May 5 to discuss NCTC, Chidambaram said. However,he conceded that some chief ministers might still want to raise the issue in the April 16 meeting itself.
The NCTC was to come into being from March,according to the notification issued by the Home Ministry in February. However,over 10 states,all ruled by non-Congress parties,raised serious objections and demanded a withdrawal of the notification or its suspension till their concerns are suitably addressed. The main objection is with regard to the power to search,seize and arrest anywhere in the country,which state governments argue,would erode their authority and interfere with the federal structure of governance.
Meanwhile,the Congress party has chided the Opposition-ruled states for their continued objection to the NCTC. Once the Prime Minister has assured that the government has no intention of treading on the rights of the state governments and also assured that the interest of the states would be guaranteed through dialogue,there should have been no resistance, says the editorial in the latest issue of Congress Sandesh,the party mouthpiece.