New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Giving in to the demands of most of the non-Congress ruled states, Home Minister P. Chidambaram Tuesday said that the government will hold a meeting of chief ministers on May 5 to discuss setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).
The home minister said he has written to all the chief ministers and is awaiting their response.
"I have written to all the chief ministers and I hope that they will confirm their participation. So on April 16 we will discuss the agenda already circulated and on May 5 we will discuss NCTC," Chidambaram told reporters here.
The announcement from Chidambaram on the date for the NCTC meeting comes even as the annual meeting of chief ministers is scheduled to be held here April 16.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to keep NCTC in the agenda of the April 16 meeting.
The states say the NCTC in its present form will dilute the country's federal structure, by usurping the powers of the state police to investigate terror cases.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had told parliament less than a fortnight ago that the NCTC will not begin functioning without consultations with the state chief ministers, following opposition uproar over the reference to the anti-terror body in President Pratibha Patil's speech to the joint sitting of parliament.
Following serious opposition from over 10 state chief ministers, most of them from non-Congress ruled states, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the centre had put NCTC's operationalisation from March 1 on hold and decided to hold consultations with the states.
However, a meeting of state chief secretaries and directors general of police had led to a controversy over the union home secretary reportedly telling state officials not to act as "stenographers" of the state chief ministers.
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