Mamata skips CMs' meet, voices dissent on NCTC

Mamata skips CMs' meet, voices dissent on NCTC

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who chose to skip the CMs' conference on internal security here, today voiced her dissent over the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre 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 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, 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 Banerjee, who had come together to oppose the Centre on the proposed NCTC and other issues, attended the conference.
No reason has been assigned for the West Bengal Chief Minister's decision to skip the meet.

The CM 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." "I would urge the Government of India to allocate increased quantity of BPL rice so that the state can fulfill its commitment," Banerjee said.

On the communal situation, Banerjee said the new government is extremely alert and any sign of communal tension is nipped in the bud through discussion, peace meetings and appropriate security measures.

The Trinamool Congress chief, who is a UPA ally, also pointed out "serious infrastructural deficiencies" in communication, roads as well as modern equipment and vehicles for the security forces and demanded funds to deal with them.
"Not much attention has been paid in the past to the development of proper infrastructure and modernisation of the police force. The fund which is received under Integrated Action Plan (IAP) and the programmes that can be taken up under IAP are too inadequate (Rs 30 crore per district) to address the problems in the LWE-affected region.

"This allocation should also be significantly raised to at least Rs 300 crore per district so that construction of important roads and bridges, major water supply schemes, rural electrification, development of social infrastructure like setting up of educational institutions, creation of health facilities, etc. can be taken up," Banerjee said.

The Chief Minister asked the Centre to advise the Reserve Bank of India and all other commercial banks, especially those located in vulnerable areas, to be equipped with fake note detection machines to check its circulation.

She also urged the Centre to bear Rs 423 crore towards the cost of deployment of central security forces in the state.

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