As the 72-hour routine lead carrier information exercise of the army came to an end, it has withdrawn from the Palhit toll plaza and other areas.
CPRO defence SS Birdi said, “As 72-hour exercise got over, we withdrew deployment from Palhit toll plaza and other areas Friday night.”
When the army deployed its team at two plazas in West Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that the deployment was made without any prior information to state government. She also termed the day as “black day”, pointing out that such a deployment takes place only normally during disasters.
The army, however, clarified on the issue by releasing a series of letter stating that it was very well in contact with the Kolkata Police and that it was nothing but a routine exercise which takes place every 3-4 years.
“This is an exercise carried out for operational purposes, which will terminate to its logical and tonight. They are only collecting data of heavy vehicles, which is an annual exercise being carried out every year. Similar exercises are also being carried out in Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar from September 26 to October 1 this year,” said acting general officer commanding (GOC), (Headquarters), Bengal Area, major general Sunil Yadav.
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress MLAs staged protest outside Raj Bhavan in Bengal, demanding withdrawal of the army deployed at toll plazas.
BJP lashed out at Mamata Banerjee for dragging in the army into politics and sought an apology from her and her party. BJP spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh said, “It’s very unfortunate, the kind of politics Mamata Banerjee has been doing after demonetisation. BJP is of the opinion that the issue of army deployment in Bengal has been politicised.”