THE STATE Government’s pick and choose policy in authorising politicians and officials to use beacons on their vehicles, is coming in the way of the High Court’s directives against the unauthorised use of beacons.
As if the existing list of those entitled to a beacon were not illogical enough, the State Government on Tuesday made the list even more irrational by adding to it many new names. Perhaps, the Government thinks that the special secretaries in the Chief Minister’s secretariat are more special than their counterparts in other departments. So, on Tuesday it issued a notification authorising them to fit a blue beacon on their vehicles. Surprisingly, special secretaries, in no
other departments are entitled to a blue beacon.
The notification also authorised the chairperson and members of the State Women’s Commission to use a blue beacon on their vehicles. But one fails to understand what is so special about the Women’s Commission and why a similar honour cannot be accorded to the chairpersons and the members of the Commissions like the ST-SC Commission, Backward Commission, the Minority Commission and a host of others.
A look at the already existing GO, authorising ministers, officials, etc, to use a red/blue beacon shows that there is hardly a justification of why one should respect the rules. For example, among the HoDs, only the transport commissioner, the excise commissioner, the entertainment commissioner, and the IG (Prisons) are authorised to use a blue beacon.
Significantly, the trade tax commissioner, whose department contributes more than 55 per cent of State’s total revenue to the exchequer, has been denied a blue beacon. The argument, which is always given by authorities, is that a blue beacon is given to those whose nature of job is that enforcement. How the trade tax commissioner does less enforcement work than others is not understandable. By the way, the trade tax department has a separate enforcement wing and check-posts.
Likewise, the GO authorises even mayors and District Panchayat chairpersons to use a red beacon but denies the same honour to MPs and the MLAs. How can one expect the MPs and the MLAs not use a beacon when even the District Panchayat chairpersons use one? This is humiliating for them or they so think.
Obviously, in a State where beacons are thought to be a status symbol, the arbitrary pick-and-chose policy of the Government to select the beacon users often evoke protest and resistance from the deprived ones.
Though the Allahabad High Court has asked the transport department to remove unauthorised beacons from all vehicles the, people are not ready to be deprived of their ‘status symbol’. It explains why most law-abiding and responsible officers and politicians have not yet volunteered to remove beacons from their vehicles despite appeals and warning by the transport and the traffic departments.
The rules on the red/blue beacons, as stressed by a senior transport department official, would continue to honoured more in their breach till the GO was mended to make it logical, rational and acceptable.
Another senior official said that the use of beacons is considered to be a status symbol in UP and suggested their unauthorised use could be checked only when only its use is restricted to a few dignitaries like the Governor, Chief Minister, and the Chief Justice.