Narendra Modi govt bans use of red beacon lights on VVIP vehicles across India from 1 May

The Narendra Modi Cabinet has taken a decision to stop the use of red beacon lights atop official VVIP vehicles. The decision will come into effect from 1 May, according to media reports.

Once this comes into effect, the report in The Financial Express said, only officials of five categories — prime minister, president, vice-president, Chief Justice of India, and the Lok Sabha Speaker — will be allowed to use the beacons.

 Narendra Modi govt bans use of red beacon lights on VVIP vehicles across India from 1 May

Representational Image: Reuters

"In a historic decision, the Cabinet has decided that beacon lights will be removed from all vehicles, barring emergency service vehicles, from 1 May," Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said. Gadkari showed the way by becoming the first minister to take the beacon off his official vehicle after the Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It has been decided to do away with beacons of all kinds on top of all categories of vehicles in the country. The minister said "this government is a government of common masses and has decided to abolish VIP culture of beacon lights and sirens". The government has taken the decision with a view to strengthening "healthy democratic values" in the country.

"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," Gadkari reasoned. Beacons, however, will be allowed on vehicles concerning emergency and relief services, ambulance, fire service etc.

Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter to thank the people who applauded his decision.

In light of the decision, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will make necessary provisions in law. According to Gadkari, this is start of a healthy culture and tradition as blaring of sirens and blazing of beacons used to anger the masses.

In many states, even MLAs blatantly used beacon lights, he said, adding that some of them had the practice of using detachable beacons. Even use of sirens by ministers is not legal as these can be used only by pilot police vehicles, he pointed out. The step is bound to increase faith and respect of common masses in the Narendra Modi government, he hoped. Asked what will be the punitive measures in case of violations, the minister said action will be taken as per provisions.

He said a detailed notification in this regard will be issued soon and there is no need for any amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act. "We can issue the notification under respective rules and before that, a notice will be issued for public hearing," he said.

The decision comes just days after the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab had issued a formal notification on 15 April, prohibiting the use of red beacons on all vehicles barring those belonging to a few high dignitaries, a step aimed to end the VIP culture in Punjab.

The Punjab government's notification, issued by the Department of Transport under Rule 108 of Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, supersedes all previous notifications on the use of red and other coloured beacon lights, an official spokesperson had said.

As per the notification, red lights with flashers can now be used only by a few high dignitaries, including the Punjab governor, and the chief justice and judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

According to Hindustan Times, in March, a video had gone viral in which power and irrigation minister Rana Gurjit was heard expressing his resentment against the government's decision of banning beacon lights.

There were reports saying beacon lights were being allegedly bought by ordinary people in order to gain easy access. The reports said the beacon lights were easily available in car accessory shops for Rs 2,500 per piece.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Apr 19, 2017 20:54:50 IST