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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Hyderabad Blasts

Four years and 11 terror attacks later, Natgrid, NCTC still in pipeline
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 23, 2013
First Published: 01:39 IST(23/2/2013)
Last Updated: 02:49 IST(23/2/2013)
Hyderabad blasts: NSA assures justice after detailed probe

Four years and 11 terror attacks after the 26/11 nightmare, the country still hasn't woken up to the need to speed up the setting up of two big hi-tech projects that could help prevent terror strikes.



The National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) - meant to set up a sophisticated network that could pull out data about any terrorist suspect within a matter of seconds - has slipped on deadlines since various departments were too busy trying to protect their fiefdoms.


It has only recently been provided approval to recruit the necessary experts from the private sector.

But the bureaucracy isn't the only one protecting its turf.

The National Counter Terrorism Centre -  the one stop-shop for generating intelligence, analysing the inputs to connect the dots and carrying out counter-strikes - has been in the deep freezer since last year after states put their foot down. The states were worried it encroached their powers.

Former intelligence bureau chief AK Doval said the two projects should be key priorities for the government. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/2/23-02-13-pg11a.jpg

"Natgrid needs to be made operational immediately," said Doval, convinced that a strong and clear political message from the prime minister could work wonders to cut the red tape and turf wars.

Instead of putting Natgrid on the fast track, there had been voices in the home ministry that the private sector expert driving the project Raghu Raman needed to acclimatise to "how the government functions".

Doval suggested there was no reason why experts who have the confidence of the chief ministers and the Centre could not move forward on NCTC either.

If granting arrest powers to the Delhi-headquartered NCTC is a problem, it can be provided that a local police officer will accompany the team. Or that the police would be told of arrests within a few hours, not 24 hours as originally conceived.

'These blasts show why NCTC is needed'
Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday stressed the need for setting up the NCTC in the wake of Thursday's blasts in Hyderabad and expressed readiness to consider certain proposals from the opposition to break the logjam on the issue.

The NCTC has faced resistance from some states which claim that it would encroach on their rights.

Replying to a discussion on Thursday's blasts in the Rajya Sabha, Shinde said the government was willing to keep intelligence agencies away out of the proposed unified counter-terrorism body and make any other changes to make it acceptable to states.

"The blast proves there is a need for the NCTC. When we were bringing it, every one said it is against the states," he said.


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