<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday claimed that the Army has been deployed at two toll plazas at Palsit and Dankuni on NH 2 in West Bengal without informing the state government. However, the Army maintained that it is a routine exercise held annually, where officials take down data about load carriers operating in the state. “Has Emergency been imposed in the country without declaration? Army has been deployed in the State without informing the State Govt. This is unacceptable. Army has been deployed at two toll plazas without informing the State. Army is normally deployed during disasters. This is a black day. Why have they been deployed?” Banerjee posed a question to the Centre, while addressing the media at the state secretariat.A statement from the Army Eastern Command Headquarters said that the exercise is aimed at getting statistical data about load carriers. “The Army conducts an annual exercise throughout the county with the aim of getting statistical data about load carriers that could be made available in case of a contingency. For this purpose, vehicles are spotted to get basic parameters like make load capacity. The vehicle is then marked so that the next checkpoint knows that the vehicle had already been checked for the parameters. There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders,” read the statement, adding, “This gives an estimate about the number of vehicles that are passing a certain area that could be tapped during operations.” Sources in the Army reveal that Thursday was the second day of the three-day long annual exercise. Some more figures of the load carriers will be noted across different toll plazas tomorrow.However, Mamata said, “Army is our asset. We are proud of them. We requisition Army in times of major disaster or communal flare up. But even if the Army is conducting a mock trial, the permission of the state should have been sought.”Meanwhile, the CPRO, Defence, Kolkata, SS Birdi claimed that the exercise was being undertaken after informing the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police. “This is not a deployment. This exercise is taking place under the laid down rules of the Central Government. The police and the administration are kept in the loop. There is nothing to get alarmed about,” said Birdi.An infuriated Banerjee said, she will write to the Centre and approach the President on this. “The Chief Secretary is writing to the Centre. I will approach the President regarding deployment of Army without our knowledge. We are living in terrible times. This is a black day. In a federal structure, the functions of Centre and state are clearly divided. We know our jurisdictions,” she said.
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