Our parliamentarians can’t have enough of privileges and perks, it seems. Free air and train travel won’t cut it anymore for MPs, as their latest list of demands makes obvious.
Apart from asking to be exempted from queues at toll plazas on highways, the nation’s legislators now want a nodal officer at airports across the country to ensure they are allowed hassle-free passage.
Already exempted from paying toll on highways, MPs now don’t want to be asked for proof of identity, till now necessary to avail the facility. They want the road transport and highways ministry to issue passes to all MPs instead, so their vehicles are spotted from a distance and given smooth passage. They would also like those working at these toll plazas to be “sensitised” about the issue.
These were among recommendations made at a meeting on Monday by the Lok Sabha House Committee — which looks into providing accommodation and amenities to Lok Sabha members -- following complaints from several MPs.
The committee, headed by BJP MP Arjun Ram Meghwal, asked the ministries concerned (home, highways and civil aviation) to impart behavioral training to their staff. “CISF security personnel who man airport security and the staff at toll plazas need to be trained to behave courteously not only with the MPs but the general public as well. We have asked the concerned ministries to train their staff,” Meghwal told HT.
Another member of the House committee, BJP MP Suresh Chanabasappa Angadi, said though MPs are permitted to enter airports after showing their identity cards, CISF men continue tostop them and ask for tickets. “No one is asking the CISF to compromise with security. But if we are showing our identity cards, they should be a little flexible. A nodal officer at every airport would help ensure that MPs are not hassled unnecessarily,” he said.
Waiting at queues at toll plazas is another big grouse. “We have flights to catch and back-to-back meetings to attend. We get delayed as we are made to wait while toll plaza staff verifies our identity. A pass would do away with this,” said Telangana MP Sukender Reddy Gutha, also a member of the house committee. Angadi conceded that it was a two-way street. “We have also recommended that if an MP misbehaves, the issue should be bought to the notice of the respective party.”