Seeking to end VIP culture, the Union cabinet on Wednesday decided that beacon light will be removed from all vehicles, including that of the prime minister, from May 1.
“In a historic decision, the cabinet has decided that beacon lights will be removed from all vehicles, barring emergency service vehicles, from May 1,” 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. 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.
IMAGE: Convoy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters