On Saturday afternoon West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sought the support of the Indian army to restore essential infrastructure and services in cyclone-ravaged areas.
The eastern state was recently rocked by Cyclone Amphan which killed 86 people and has made lakhs of people homeless. According to estimates given by the Chief Minister on Friday, the state had suffered losses to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore.
According to a PIB press release, based on the request from the state's Principal Secretary of Disaster Management and Civil Defence, ten additional NDRF teams have been mobilised and will be sent to West Bengal. The teams are likely to reach late on Saturday night.
These teams will join the 26 NDRF teams that are already deployed in cyclone affected areas of Bengal for restoration work.
However, the Chief Minister has not always been amenable to the presence of Army personnel in West Bengal. In 2016, reports quoted Mamata as wondering whether it was a "military coup" after Army officials descended at several toll plazas in the state.
According to an NDTV report, officials in army fatigues were spotted at a toll plaza in Hooghly district's Dankuni, at the Palsit toll plaza and at the Hooghly Bridge toll plaza. While officials had said that this was a routine exercise, reportedly to gather statistical data about load carriers, Chief Minister Banerjee did not agree with the situation, opting to stay at the state secretariat, Nabanna and observe the situation until the officials left.
"Is this a military coup? Even for a mock drill, the army has to take the state's permission, and they have not," she had been quoted as saying by reports.
As per a tweet by the Army, they had been conducting the exercise with the full knowledge and cooperation of the West Bengal Police, the Kolkata Polie pointed out that the army exercise at toll plaza was "objected to in writing by Kolkata Police, citing security reasons and traffic inconvenience".