Don’t be surprised if the VVIP car with the red beacon waiting next to yours at the traffic signal switches off the ignition while it waits or refrains from using the siren or horn.
Chauffeurs of ministers and bureaucrats may soon start displaying traffic manners. At least, that is what the Environment department is hoping for.
As part of its campaign to reduce the government’s carbon footprints, the department has decided to train chauffeurs of ministers, Indian Administrative Service officers and senior government officials next month on what they can do for the environment.
“We want the government to set an example by reducing the carbon footprint and be more environmentally-conscious by following few basic tenets. One aspect of this is to follow traffic norms – to not honk, not use the siren, switch of the engine at traffic signals and not rev up the engine unnecessarily,’’ said Environment Secretary Valsa Nair Singh.
Singh said the department has planned a workshop next month, first for drivers at the state secretariat and then for drivers working at other government offices and organisations.
The drivers will be told how applying sudden brakes or acceleration uses more fuel and leads to more carbon emissions. They will also be asked to keep honking to minimal, drive at a consistent speed and avoid use of sirens especially within city limits. These instructions are a part of the green norms formulated by the department recently. The norms have got Cabinet approval and will be mandatory from October.
None of the 37 ministers and 53 IAS officers drives to their place of work at the state secretariat.
They all depend on government appointed drivers. That is why the department is keen to teach the men behind the wheel the importance of these norms. There are more than 100 drivers employed to drive red beacon cars.
Some of the other instructions to government offices to reduce their carbon footprints include use of recycled paper, reducing use of plastic, printing on both sides of paper and refraining from using firecrackers at government functions.
The department had also suggested doing away with VIP car sirens but most ministers opposed that. The car siren can now be used but only minimally.