Troops at toll plazas as per exercise, says Defence Ministry

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Kolkata, Dec 1 (IANS) Refuting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations that troops had been deployed in the state while keeping her government in the dark, the Defence Ministry on Thursday said it was a annual exercise conducted throughout the country for getting a data about the load carriers that can be made available to the army in contingency situations.

Soon after Banerjee alleged that the army had been deployed at two toll plazas – Palsit and Dankuni on National Highway 2 (that links Delhi and Kolkata), a Defence Ministry spokesman said there was “nothing alarming about this” and the exercise is carried out as per government orders.

“The army conducts an annual exercise throughout the county with the aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the Army in case of a contingency.

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“For this purpose, vehicles are spotted to get basic parameters like make load capacity etc. The vehicle is then marked so that the next checkpoint knows that the vehicle had already been checked for the parameters. There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders,” he said.

According to the spokesman, the exercise gives an estimate about the number of vehicles that are passing a certain area that could be tapped during operations.



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