West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who chose to skip the CMs’ conference on internal security in New Delhi, today voiced her dissent over the proposed National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and asked the Centre to play an “effective coordinating role” to counter Naxalism.
The Chief Minister’s speech, which was read by state Finance Minister Amit Mitra at the annual Chief Ministers’ conference in Ms. Banerjee’s absence, sought to blame neighbouring States for the Maoist problem and charged the Centre with not supplementing the efforts of her government in tackling various internal security-related problems.
“West Bengal cannot remain an island of peace if the bordering states remain disturbed and the Maoist problem in those States is not tackled effectively. Our State administration is in constant touch with its counterparts in the adjoining States.
“However, the Central government should play an effective coordinating role in this matter and provide valuable intelligence inputs having inter-state implications and also necessary resources,” she said.
On the issue of NCTC, Ms. Banerjee said that “it upsets the federal structure of the country. I have already written to you (Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) on the matter and will elaborate my views at length and in detail at the separate meeting being convened (on May 5).”
All non-Congress Chief Ministers, barring Ms. Banerjee, who had come together to oppose the Centre on the proposed NCTC and other issues, attended the conference.
Ms. Banerjee also credited her government for taking several initiatives and adopting a two-pronged strategy of local development programmes and an intelligence-based response by the security forces to address the problem of extremism in the region.
“I am sorry to mention here that while the State government’s scheme of distribution of rice to all tribal families of left wing extremism-affected area has contributed significantly to the neutralisation of discontent among the people in the area, the Central Government has drastically reduced the quota of the BPL rice for the State.”