BHOPAL: Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan decided to get red beacons removed from his own vehicle as well as the vehicles of ministers and bureaucrats immediately after the Union cabinet took the decision to scrap, what had become a status symbol. He implemented the decision even before the receipt of formal orders. After Chouhan’s decision, politicians started vying with each other in getting the beacons removed from their vehicles.
While the Modi phobia seems to have prompted this ultra-fast reaction, but all these vehicles are still fitted with sirens (hooters). There is no provision for hooters in the Central Vehicles Act. Only emergency service vehicles including ambulances, fire engines and police are authorised to use hooters. No one else can use them.
Hooters are still fitted atop vehicles of Chouhan, other ministers and most of the BJP leaders. The hooters are patently illegal but the police dare not remove them. ASP Traffic Sameer Yadav says that as emergency service vehicles have to make their way through crowded streets to reach the place where they are needed, such vehicles are permitted to use hooters. Recently, home minister Bhupendra Singh had ordered a crackdown on vehicles using sirens in the state.
The vehicle owners were fined and the sirens were got removed. This action was taken against more than 3,000 vehicles in the state. Chouhan had also admitted that many unauthorised persons were using red beacons. He said the red beacons were a symbol of arrogance and the decision to remove them was correct.
STATE GOVT AWAITS CENTRE’S NOTIFICATION
The Centre will shortly issue a notification on red beacons. Objections and suggestions will be invited on it and then it would be forwarded to the state government. The state government would have to issue a separate notification after which the use of red beacons would become illegal in the state. Transport departments officials said presently the use of red beacons was not illegal in the state provided the person concerned was authorised to use it under the rules currently in force.