West Bengal minister uses red beacon, says, ‘not bound to follow Centre’s orders’
Putting the Centre’s order of ban on use of red beacons by ministers and bureaucrats at bay, West Bengal PWD minister Arup Biswas on Sunday seen using red beacon atop his vehicle.
“Our government has not yet banned red beacon. So we are not bound to follow the other instructions,” Biswas told media here.
The Centre has allowed emergency vehicles on duty for maintaining law and order, including those of the police, defence and paramilitary forces, to use multi-colour red beacon lights having red, blue and white colours.
In an attempt to end the long-cherished VVIP culture, the Union cabinet had last month ordered a blanket ban on use of red beacon from May 1, exempting emergency vehicles, like ambulances and fire brigade.
The notification issued in pursuance of powers conferred on the Central Government under sub-rule 4 of rule 108 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 said that the multi-coloured light shall not be put to use when the vehicle is not on the designated duty.
The notification mentioned that every year, the transport department of the state or union territory administration, as the case may be, shall issue a public notice bringing to the notice of the general public the list of authorities to whom the permission to use the vehicles specified.
The ban applies to union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of the High Court and Supreme Court while President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and the Lok Sabha Speaker are exempted from the ban.
It was earlier reported that politicians in West Bengal are now resorting to new ways to skirt the Centre’s ban.
With the ban applicable from May 1, there has been a substantial increase in the demand of police pilot cars. The ministers now want a police escort to clear their way.
Besides the option of police pilot car, few ministers have also decided to use the National Flag to get priority.
Many have already switched over from the blue beacon with a flasher to the KMC flag displayed prominently on the bonnet. Others have installed large brass plates with their names and designations inscribed.