Red Beacon ban: West Bengal Minister Arup Biswas on May 29th was seen using a red beacon atop his car in Siliguri, reported ANI. Other than Biswas, chairman of Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) was also seen using the red flashing light on his vehicle. This is despite Centre ordering a nationwide ban on using red beacons by all officials with effect from May 1. When confronted by the media, Biswas defended his act by saying, “Our government has not banned red beacon.” The minister further said that he is not bound to follow other instructions. According to the ban, only five officials including Prime Minister, President, Vice-President, Chief Justice of India and the speaker will be allowed to use the red beacons after the implementation. The ban also excludes emergency vehicles on duty, police vehicles, defence and paramilitary forces. The decision was taken by the Centre in order to put an end to VIP culture in the country.
The notification issued said that vehicles which are not on designated duty would not be allowed to use the multi coloured beacon atop vehicles. It further said that it is the responsibility of the transport department to issue a notice for the general public for their awareness on which all ministers are allowed to use the beacons. In addition to Union ministers and chief ministers, the law also applies to bureaucrats and judges of High court and Supreme court.
The list of politicians who have been defiant about the law also includes Karnataka minister UT Khader. Reflecting on the Cabinet’s decision to prohibit red beacons, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hailed the move and had said that such a step should have been taken long time ago. Saying that every Indian was special and a VIP, Modi had further said that these symbols were out of touch with ‘New India’s’ spirit.