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Army at toll booths in WB; Mamata refuses to leave the office

Army soldiers in fatigues were conducting some survey at the toll booths including the one at Hoogli, what the eastern command later clarified as a routine exercise across eastern states to "gather statistical data about load carriers that could be used in case of a contingency." Mamata accused the center of not seeking permission of the state government for such deployments
West Bengal state Chief Minister and Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee addresses a rally of students and youth in Kolkata, India, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refused to leave her office, objecting to the presence of Army men at toll booths on national highways in West Bengal. She accused the center of not seeking permission of the state government for such deployments .”I want to know, is there an emergency?” Mamata Banerjee asked.

“Very unfortunate. Army stationed in front of Nabanno, the Bengal State Secretariat in a high security zone, inspite of Police objection… I am waiting here at the Secretariat and watching, to guard our democracy,” she tweeted.

Army soldiers in fatigues were conducting some survey at the toll booths including the one at Hoogli. The eastern command later clarified that it was a routine exercise across eastern states to “gather statistical data about load carriers that could be used in case of a contingency.”

“Army conducting routine exercise with full knowledge & coord with WB Police. Speculation of army taking over toll plaza incorrect @adgpi,” it tweeted. But the Kolkata Police says that they had objected the request citing operational issues.

Calling it a “dangerous situation,”  TMC leader Deric O’Brian told reporters that he would raise the issue in Parliament tomorrow.

The Trinamool Congress is part of a united Opposition attack on the Centre in Parliament over its ban on 500 and 1000-rupee notes aimed at curbing corruption and black or untaxed money.

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