The Bihar government on Tuesday issued orders banning use of red and blue beacons atop vehicles of all ministers, politicians and bureaucrats in the state with immediate effect.
However, vehicles plying within airport premises, those being used for law and order or engaged in relief work during natural disasters, ambulances and fire tenders have been allowed to use blue flashing beacons to cut through traffic.
The decision to ban the use of beacons was taken after the Union cabinet on April 19 decided to discontinue the display the ‘symbol of VIP culture’ atop cars of dignitaries and government officials, including the Prime Minister and the President. The ban came into effect from May 1, also extends to the vice-president, the Chief Justice of India, Union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of the high court and Supreme Court.
Earlier, the state government was reluctant to enforce the Centre’s decision till the central government resolved “certain objections” raised by it”.
“When a draft proposal to amend section 108 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 (through which it was proposed to abolish the power vested in the state government to determine the dignitaries entitled for beacon lights), was sent to us, we had lodged a protest over the move,” an official of the transport department, preferring anonymity said.
“The objections were overruled,” said transport commissioner RK Mishra.
Earlier in December 2015, soon after coming to power, chief minister Nitish Kumar had banned the use of hooters in the light of rising noise pollution in Patna. The governor, Patna high court chief justice, fire tenders and ambulances were exempted from this ban.
The measure was also aimed to check misuse of hooters by criminals.