Army at toll plazas: Is this Emergency, asks Mamata
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday alleged the Army was deployed at two toll plazas at Palsit and Dankuni on NH 2 in West Bengal without informing the state government and described it as an “unprecedented and a serious matter.”
“Army has been deployed at two toll plazas without informing the state government. This is a very serious situation worse than Emergency,” she told reporters at the state secretariat.
“It is an attack on the federal structure. We want to know the details. The Chief Secretary is writing to the Centre. Given an opportunity, I will talk to the President on the issue. Has Emergency been imposed in the country without declaration?” she wanted to know.
The Chief Minister said, “Army is our asset. We are proud of them. We requisition Army in times of major disaster or communal flare up. “I don’t know what has actually happened. Even if it is mock-trial, state government is informed”, she said.
Banerjee claimed that the people panicked due to the deployment of Army at toll plazas. Later, the chief Minister received information that army vehicles were standing at the Vidyasagar Setu toll plaza, situated a stone’s throw from Nabanna. It was learned that the army jawans were carrying out a similar exercise here as they were in Dankuni and Palsit toll plazas.
The Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee went to the spot to inspect what the army jawans were doing at Vidyasagar Setu toll plaza. He then called the chief minister and briefed her on the situation. Chief Secretary then returned to Nabanna and attended a high level meeting presided by the Chief Minister over the army deployment issue. Besides chief secretary, home secretary Malay De and DGP Surajit Kar Purakayastha were present in the meeting.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she would continue to stay in Nabanna until and unless the Army was withdrawn from the toll plazas, where they were deployed by the Centre without informing the state government. She said that the claim of the Army and the NHAI was not right, as they already had data on the number of vehicles which ply in the area.
“The motive is clear and it is nothing apart from politics. I spoke to authorities of different states and came to know that no such thing is taking place in those states. Then why is it only taking place in Bengal? I had said earlier that they could engage the Army to kill me and I apprehend that this could be the motive. The Army has already been deployed in Kolkata, Howrah and now even in Murshidabad. I don’t know what would happen at night. Thus, I decided to stay back till the Army is withdrawn and I am ready to die to protect my people.”
When contacted, a Defence spokesperson said that the army conducts bi-annual exercise throughout the country with the aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency.
“There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders”, Wing Commander S S Birdi said.
The exercise gives an estimate of the number of vehicles passing through a certain area that could be tapped during operations, he said. The union surface transport secretary Sanjay Mitra told
Millennium Post that they had no information on any such Army deployment in Bengal.
Some states being discriminated against by RBI, says CM
West Bengal and some other states are being discriminated against in the process of distribution of new currency notes, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday alleged and demanded that the Reserve Bank of India come out with “figures” in this regard. “Rs 500, Rs 100 and smaller currency notes not seen in Bengal and many parts of the country.