‘Lal batti’ fixation, to stay or to go?

The red light on top of the ‘VIP’ cars are set to get removed from May 1, meaning which the traffic clearances, free drive through toll plazas, the special salutes from duty offers will also be scrapped to the self acclaimed ‘VVIPs’.

The government has decided to ban the use of all beacons – red, amber, blue, yellow, white – atop vehicles of dignitaries and government officials, including the Prime Minister and the president. The ban extends to the vice-president, the Chief Justice of India, Union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of the high court and Supreme Court.

Such is the fetish with beacons that giving them up is made to appear like the ultimate sacrifice. The Aam Admi Party was the first off the block to ban beacons on VVIP cars in 2014, followed by Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh who put an end to the beacon culture in one of the first orders on taking over office this year. The unease among his ministers was such that richest legislator and power minister Rana Gurjit Singh complained, “We worked very hard for it for many years, and now you say remove it.”

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath went halfway to ban sirens but retained the ultimate status symbol. He, however, took dozens of retired bureaucrats and politicians off the privilege list. – PR


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