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K Sandeep Kumar, Hindustan Times
Allahabad, January 21, 2013
Sanyas is all about renunciation – officially. Off the record, it involves flashy cars that go va va vroom along the pontoon bridges of Kumbh mela.

Forget the ordinary Innovas, Mahindra Xylos and Tata Safaris, even Toyota Fortuners, Mitsubishi Pajero Sports and BMWs seem a dime a dozen. Most of them even sport wide nameplates, proudly announcing the posts of the sadhus or the organisations they belong to.

And if you thought red beacon cars are only meant for politicians – at least till recently – think again. The in-charge of Juna akhada rides a white Fortuner that sports a read beacon.  The car itself is priced at Rs. 21.6 to Rs. 22.60 lakh.

Though the luxury vehicles can be spotted all over the mela area, most are visible on the Triveni Marg -- which happens to be the “VIP street” of this tent city.

Not surprisingly, brazen consumerism is taboo. While no Juna akhada was available for comment, even the police appeared reluctant to touch the red beacon issue. SKS Singh, deputy superintendent of police, Kumbh mela, said, “We are not aware of this, we will look into the matter”.

Secretary of Sri Panchayati Akhada Mahanirwani, said, “The vehicles belong to the akhada and are meant for carrying out official work.”