Bengal Governor, Mamata lock horns over army deployment

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], Dec. 4 : As Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday dubbed Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi's outburst as "a voice of the Centre", the Governor on Sunday hits back at her saying he is the voice of his conscience.

"I am the voice of my conscience," Tripathi told reporters here. The Governor on Saturday urged everyone not to make "defamatory" allegations against a responsible organisation like the Indian Army.

"Every person should take care in making allegation against a responsible organisation like army. Don't let down the army. Don't defame the army," the Governor said. However, Mamata hits back at the Governor for his outburst against her with regard to the controversy surrounding the deployment of army, and alleged that he was speaking in the voice of Central Government, even as the army withdrew deployment from Palhit toll plaza and other areas after the completion of a 72-hour exercise.

Notwithstanding Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's allegations that army was deployed at two toll plazas on National Highway 2 in West Bengal without informing the state government "which is unprecedented and serious matter", General Officer Commanding (GOC), (Headquarters), Bengal Area, Major General Sunil Yadav said army formations in Eastern Command at local levels are carrying out routine annual data collection exercises on availability of load carriers at all major entry points in various states in coordination with local police authorities.

Terming the allegations of money collection from commuters at the toll counters at at Dankuni toll plaza in Hooghly district and Palhit toll plaza in Burdwan district "baseless", the GoC said, "You must be aware that we have specific targets, specific information and data to be collected.

On the completion of data collection at Nabanno, the Bengal State Secretariat, the team was withdrawn last night around 12 o'clock.

We were there for almost for 36 hours." "Since it is a major point, we achieved our data and we withdrew.

In the entire northeast, 80 search points have been established, and as I said the exercise continuing most of the places including the toll plazas here and Nabanno," he added.

Source: ANI