Free Press Journal

Army-Bengal government relation unchanged, says Army official


Kolkata: Army jawans check vehicles at the toll plaza at Vidyasagar Setu near Nabanna (State Secretariat) in Kolkata on Thursday night. PTI Photo (PTI12_2_2016_000044B)

Kolkata: Notwithstanding West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s complaint about Army exercise at toll gates, a senior Army official today said that its working relationship with the state government had not changed.

Also Read : Row over Army drill in Bengal flares up again

“We have good communication at the local level. There has been no change in our working relationship,” Eastern Command’s Major General General Staff, Maj Gen R Nagraj, told reporters here.

Earlier in the month, Banerjee had accused the Centre of deploying the Army at toll plazas in the state without informing the state government and described it as “unprecedented” and “a very serious situation worse than Emergency”.

The CM had refused to leave her office in Kolkata till the armymen were withdrawn from toll plazas, and had asked whether it was an “Army coup”, drawing sharp reaction from the Centre.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had last week written to the chief minister expressing “deep pain” over her allegations and said it can “adversely” impact the morale of the armed forces.

Read More : Parrikar writes scathing letter to Mamata over dragging Army into controversy

Asked to comment on the allegation of collection of money by Army personnel, the Major General says that the Army is a powerful organisation and they do not tolerate such incidents.

“There was no such news before us. This is against the ethos of the Indian Army,” he said.

On Army’s preparedness to tackle challenges from across the border, Nagraj said they are always ready.

“Given the current circumstances all units and formations of the Army are fully alert. We are ready for action and also for lending a helping hand to our fellow citizens,” he said.