New Delhi, Apr 16: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today warned against an “emerging pattern” wherein the state's powers are “abrogated” by the Centre through passage of bills and accused it of showing “scant respect” for state governments.
In an all-round attack on the Congress-led UPA, Jayalalithaa accused the central government of “encroaching on state powers” through the National Counter-Terrorism Centre which was in “contravention” to constitutional provisions that accord priority status to police in the State list.
Addressing the Chief Ministers' Conference on Internal Security here, she claimed that the Centre unilaterally decided on the Indo-US joint naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal without taking the state government into confidence.
“Lack of consultation with the states and failure to take the states into confidence is a cogent commentary on the system of governance in the Centre.
“...This is not all. Adding insult to injury, the central government did not permit the Consul-General of the US Consulate, Chennai, and senior Indian Navy Officials based in Chennai to meet me as the constitutional Head of the Government,” she said.
Jayalalithaa, who is opposed to the NCTC, said this implies that the central government has “scant respect” for constitutionally-elected state governments.
She also expressed the hope that the Centre follow the principle of prior consultation with the state governments, whenever such important decisions are taken by the central government.
“No doubt, it is a pre-arranged exercise according to the prescribed tenets under covenant between two countries. Even so, is it too much to expect to be kept informed?” she asked.
In her speech, the Tamil Nadu chief minister also said she was afraid there is an emerging pattern wherein the powers vested with the states are sought to be “abrogated without the attendant responsibility, either by the passage of bills or issuance of notifications.”
Alleging that the leverage and operational magnitude of the state is sought to be kept under control by tightening finances, she said states are getting accustomed to this formula being repeated in almost every aspect of revenue accrual from the Centre.
“The constant attempts to reduce states to the level of glorified municipal corporations heavily dependent on the Centre for funds is a travesty of the federal nature of our existence. This attitude is disturbing and the implication of such exercises is not conducive to either state or national growth,” Jayalalithaa said.
She also said she comes with “great hope” of receiving assistance from the Centre every time she visits Delhi, but it has eluded her.
“Hope, however, springs eternal,” she said. She said the Tamil Nadu Police have successfully handled various protests, either at Koodankulam or at the site of the Mullai Periyar Dam have been tactfully and successfully handled, protecting all segments of Society.
“The Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant was successfully re-opened without any bloodshed or disturbance to law and order. The disturbances provoked by some unruly elements along the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border were successfully quelled.
“Land grabbing and exploitation of the common people by the land mafia which was a scourge prevailing particularly in major cities such as Chennai, Madurai and Trichy has now become a thing of the past,” she said.
Jayalalithaa said the state government received 34,703 complaints of land grabbing in various districts and lands worth Rs.758.04 crores have been retrieved so far.
Separation of crime investigation from the law and order police wing as provided for in the Supreme Court judgement on police reforms is indeed the right way forward, she said.