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Ban on red beacon Chouhan dubs PM’s decision historic, announces to implement it immediately

Uma Bharti and minister in Chouhan cabinet had supported beacon light use

bhopal Updated: Apr 27, 2017 10:06 IST
Bhopal, India - April 20, 2017: Red beacon light over the vehicles of ministers being removed at state garage in Bhopal, India, on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Photo by Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times)
Bhopal, India - April 20, 2017: Red beacon light over the vehicles of ministers being removed at state garage in Bhopal, India, on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Photo by Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times)(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)

Bhopal: Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet’s decision to remove red beacons from all vehicles from May 1 as historic chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced to follow the PM’s footsteps immediately here on Tuesday.

However, barely a month ago a minister in Chouhan cabinet dubbed Punjab chief minister Amrinder Singh’s similar decision as a trivial issue and advised him to be focussed on welfare of people in the state.

Union water resources minister Uma Bharti during her visit to Bhopal last month too justified use of red beacon and went to the extent of saying that even flights could be delayed for 5-7 minutes for a minister to board a plane if he was to attend an official meeting.

Chouhan tweeted, “I welcome PM @narendramodi & Union Cabinet’s decision to remove #RedBeacons from all vehicles. I & my team will implement it immediately.”

In the next tweet he said, “Prime Minister @narendramodi and Union Cabinet’s decision to remove #RedBeacons is historic and upholds the principal (sic) of true democracy.”

The union cabinet decided on Wednesday to ban use of red beacons atop vehicles of dignitaries and government officials including the Prime Minister and the President. The decision comes into effect from May 1. However, the vehicles belonging to fire services, police, army and ambulances can use blue flasher as an exemption.

Though Chouhan has taken a decision to remove red beacons from all vehicles, he and his ministerial colleagues are not supposed to use red beacon even otherwise from May 1.

Besides Amrinder Singh, newly appointed chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Aditya Nath decided not to use red beacon on their official cars.

Leader Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Ajay Singh announced in the state assembly during the budget session in March that he had returned red beacon to the state government as it represented ‘feudalism’. He also advised the government to bring to an end to use of red beacon light on the government vehicles.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had also decided that none of his ministers would use red beacons on their official cars immediately after his occupying the chair in 2015.

In support of red beacon Uma Bharti had said using red beacons on vehicles, stopping traffic and even delaying a flight was acceptable if a minister was travelling for an official duty.

“This is wrong ... If a car is without beacon light and other cars in the motorcade are running with such lights that may lead to accidents,” Uma Bharti had said in reply to journalists’ questions in Bhopal.

Bharti had said the rationale behind her argument was that if a minister failed to attend a meeting, a decision regarding a project might be delayed and cost the state exchequer crores of rupees.