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13 Dec 2016

Army: No change in working relations

TT, Calcutta, Dec. 12: The army today said there was "no change in the working relations with the state government" and that it "always maintains good contacts at local levels", days after chief minister Mamata Banerjee launched a scathing attack on the Centre for the deployment of personnel at toll plazas.
"We maintain good contacts at the local level. Let it be clear that there is no change in the working relations," Maj. Gen. R. Nagraj of the Eastern Command said. He was speaking on the sidelines of an interaction with the media on the preparations for commemorating Vijay Diwas in Calcutta.
Vijay Diwas is observed on December 16 every year to mark India's victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war. This year, a 72-member team of war veterans from Bangladesh will take part in the Vijay Diwas celebrations. Bangladesh home minister Asaduzzaman Khan will attend the event.
Earlier this month, the army had launched an "annual data-collection exercise" at toll plazas, including at the one on Vidyasagar Setu near state secretariat Nabanna. Mamata had protested the move, staying put in Nabanna for over 30 hours till the personnel left the Setu and alleging that the Centre was using the army for "political vendetta" for her anti-demonetisation protest.
Mamata had alleged that a section of army personnel was collecting money at the toll plazas, a charge Nagraj denied today. He said such activities were "not in the ethos of the Indian Army".
"The army is a powerful organisation and we do not tolerate such incidents," Maj. Gen. Nagraj added.
Trinamul leaders saw in Nagraj's comments an attempt to scale down the tension between the state government and the defence ministry as Bengal was a bordering state that required synergy between the armed forces and the local administration.

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