NEW DELHI, Feb 21 (IANS): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday reached out to seven state chief ministers who are opposed to the proposed National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in its present format, and assured them extensive consultations and redressal of concerns on the issue.
However, the prime minister stopped short of putting the decision to set up the NCTC on hold or even carrying out a review, as he explained to the chief ministers the purpose of having the institution under the control of the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
“I noted your concerns and am asking the (union) home minister to address them suitably in consultation with the chief ministers,” the prime minister said in his letter to chief ministers of Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
Other chief ministers to oppose the move are from the states of Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Jharkhand.
“The primary purpose of NCTC is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts across the country and it is for this reason that NCTC has been located within IB and not as a separate organisation,” the prime minister said in his three-para letter.
The resistance to the anti-terror intelligence hub, which is the brainchild of Home Minister P. Chidambaram, continued to grow after it was first voiced by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. He was soon joined by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, followed by other chief ministers of states.
The states` overwhelming opposition for the proposed NCTC was on the ground that it will be under the IB, which is out of the purview of parliamentary oversight, and wouild infringe upon the states` powers to deal with terrorism.
“As you may be aware, the idea of such a centre has been under consideration by government since the group of ministers report of 2001 suggested a joint task force on intelligence and the report was accepted by the government of the day. It was also suggested by the second Administrative Reforms Commission that a National Centre for Counter Terrorism be established,” the prime minister said in the letter.
“In forming the NCTC, it is not the government`s intent in any way to affect the basic features of the constitutional provisions and allocation of powers between the states and the union,” he added.