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-coloured beacon lights having red, blue and white colours. Seeking to end the VIP culture, the Union Cabinet last month had decided that beacon lights will be removed from all vehicles from May 1, except emergency vehicles, like ambulances and fire brigade.
“The central government hereby specifies that the vehicles on office duty which are designated for the… emergency and disaster management duties may be allowed to use multi-coloured red, blue and white lights,” the road transport and highways ministry said in a notification. Elaborating such vehicles, the notification said these pertain to the duties relating to control of fire and the duties by police, defence forces or paramilitary forces for maintenance of law and order.
Also the duties relating to management of natural disasters including earthquake, flood, land slide, cyclone, tsunami and man-made disasters including nuclear disaster, chemical disaster and biological disaster can use such lights.
“The multi-coloured light shall not be put to use when the vehicle is not on the designated duty,” 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.
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.
It said such vehicles shall display on their windscreen the sticker issued by the transport department of the concerned state or union territory which shall include details like the state government or union territory, designation of the officer and vehicle number.
“Only one sticker shall be issued to the designated officer for one vehicle at one point of time,” the notification said, adding the sticker shall be on security printed water mark paper and shall carry hologram as specified by the transport department of the concerned state government or union territory administration.
The government after the Cabinet meeting on April 19 had said that the vehicles with beacon lights, which are seen as a symbol of VIP culture, “have no place in a democratic country”. A rule that empowered the Centre or state governments to allow the use of red beacon lights to dignitaries will be altogether removed from the statute books.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had said, “The government is of the considered opinion that beacons on vehicles are perceived symbols of VIP culture and have no place in a democratic country. They have no relevance whatsoever.”