The ubiquitous symbol of being a VIP, the red-beacon car, just got a little more exclusive in the state. Wary of its misuse by terrorists, the state government has issued new norms to strictly monitor who can use the official red and amber beacons on their vehicles.
“We have streamlined the entire procedure for use of a red or yellow light to minimise any kind of misuse. There has been increasing concern over the misuse of VIP cars,” said Chandra Iyengar, additional chief secretary (home), who headed the committee that reworked the norms.
“Earlier, it was given to individuals now it will be given to specific designations that hold certain responsibility.”
As per the new rules issued by the transport department on September 17, people holding 35 ministerial and official designations can use the red beacon. This includes all ministers, ministers of state, high court justices, bureaucrats, police officials of the rank of director general and additional director general.
There are other 26 designations that can use the yellow light on their official vehicles, including police commissioners, joint police commissioners, chief conservator of forests, sales tax commissioner, excise commissioner and additional municipal commissioners.
After 17 years, a committee was set up to rework the norms to regulate the use of red beacon cars.
Though the list is not drastically minimised, the norms on the use of beacons are specific. For instance, the use of the red beacon is restricted to only the official car and in some cases to specific districts or cities. This means the mayor of Mumbai can use a red beacon on her official car, but only within the city limits.
Officials who use of these red and yellow beacons will have to also put up stickers [to be taken by the transport department] with their name, official designation, and car number.
The red or yellow beacon cannot be transferred from official car to a private car and also cannot be used by any other person.
When the specific person to whom it is allotted is not present the light should be covered.
The yellow light can be used by implementing agencies such as vigilance officials, highway police officials, excise and pollution control officials, but only when these officials are on specific duties.