Mamata Banerjee protests Army's presence at toll plazas
Kolkata/New Delhi: Registering protest against the presence of Army men at toll plazas, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday claimed she will not leave the state secretariat until the Army personnel are withdrawn from the two toll plazas on a national highway.
She blamed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government of creating worse situation than Emergency by positioning Army officials at the toll plazas without providing any info to her government.
Army Eastern Command, however, gave clarification over the issue saying the Army personnel were deployed at toll plazas as a routine exercise and they have provided full information of the same to the state police department.
The Eastern command also rebuffed the rumours that Army is going to take over the toll plazas.
Interacting with the media persons at the state secretariat, Mamata, who has been strongly opposing demonetisation imposed by Centre on November 8, 2016, alleged that Army men were deployed at two toll plazas (at Palsit and Dankuni) on NH2.
"The state government hasn’t been informed anything about the deployment of Army officials at the two toll plazas. Its a very serious situation that is worse than Emergency," she said.
"The Centre has launched an attack on the federal structure by doing this. We want details why the decision was taken. The Chief Secretary is writing a letter to the Centre. If I get an opportunity, I would personally talk to the President over the issue," she said.
She also questioned, "Has Emergency been imposed in the country without declaration?"
"Army is our asset which makes us feel proud. We take their help in times of major disaster or communal flare up. I don't understand what actually has happened. Even if there is mock-trial, state government isn't informed," she said.
She also alleged that there was a panic among the people after seeing Army officials at the toll plazas.
On being questioned over the issue, a defence spokesperson claimed that the Army in every two years conducts an exercise throughout the country to get statistical data about the load carriers which can be used by the Army in case of a contingency.
"There is nothing to worry about and the exercise has has been carried out as per government's orders," Wing Commander SS Birdi said.