A group of ministers (GoM) that the state government set up recently to recommend restrictions on the indiscriminate use of red/blue beacons and sirens in the state in light of a Supreme Court order was unlikely to be ready with its report before July 7, the day the government was due to file an affidavit in the apex court on the action taken to ensure compliance, sources said.
“They may simply inform the court about the constitution of the GoM, saying it will study things and based on its report the state government will restrict the use of beacons and sirens as directed by the court,” the sources added.
The GoM comprises health minister Ahmad Hasan, transport minister Durga Prasad Yadav, basic education minister Ram Govind Chaudhary and a minister of state.
“The GoM will study the entire issue in detail and give its report on how to restrict the use of red/blue beacons and sirens in the state in accordance with the Supreme Court directions,” principal secretary, transport, BS Bhullar told HT.
A senior official in the transport department claimed constitution of the GoM was a ploy to see to it that the decision on restricting the use of beacons and sirens lingered on as long as possible. “This is also why the GoM has not been given any deadline to submit its report to the government,” he said.
Sources said the state government was in a catch-22 situation because if it limited the use of beacons and sirens it would end up displeasing a large number of politicians and bureaucrats who consider these a status symbol. But if the government imposed no curbs, it would be facing the Supreme Court’s wrath, they added. “By setting up the GoM, the government may keep the issue suspended for as much time as possible,” they said.
In April, the Supreme Court had asked the states and the Centre to consider limiting the use of beacons and sirens to vehicles used by only top constitutional authorities, fire services, police and military.