The Centre may have banned use of beacons atop vehicles in a bid to end VIP culture but the ‘victims’ have found another way to flaunt their professional status on roads.
Fancy name plates displaying designations on vehicles are now in demand.
On May 2, the Bihar government also banned use of red and blue beacons atop vehicles of all ministers, politicians and bureaucrats and state employees.
Though as per the provisions laid down in the motor vehicle act and Central motor vehicle act, nothing except the registration number should be displayed on the number plates of vehicles, name plates displaying designation is now common on Bihar roads.
All kinds of name plates can be seen on vehicles, which is not restricted only to VIPs. Apart from the generic ones like ‘police’, ‘administration’, ‘press’ or names of department, there are various others with specific designations that read ‘Vidhayak’, ‘Parshad’, ‘Sachiv’, ‘Pradhan Sachiv’, ‘chairman’, ‘SSP’, ‘commissioner’, ‘Mukhiya’, ‘Sarpanch’, ‘police Nirikshak’, ‘ADM’ ‘BDO’ and many more.
One also comes across name plates displaying ‘lipik’ (clerk), ‘nursing adhikari’, ‘principal’, ‘engineer’ or designations of functionaries of different political parties. In rural Bihar, even some motorcycles carry name plates now.
“The demand has gone up in the last 15 days. We make all kinds of number and name plates. Earlier, the demand was restricted to Patna, but now it comes from all parts of the state,” said a local shopkeeper who makes such plates on the Bhattacharya Road.
Principal secretary, department of transport, Sujata Chaturvedi said she would verify the provisions and if orders regarding use of name plates on vehicles had been issued in the past. “With ban on use of beacons, emergency services will use multi-coloured light with sticker of transport department,” she added.
Patna traffic SP P K Das, however, said that instructions had been given to those involved in vehicle checking to look into growing use of name plates.
The norms of the government are specific. There are specific colour codes for different kinds of number plates on vehicles for different purpose, say for example, commercial, private, VVIPs, foreign delegates, etc.
Even stickers or labels are not allowed on number plates. Senior police officials have designated plates with stars as per rank.
A couple of years ago, the Uttarakhand high court had ordered the state government to stop unauthorised use of name plates and hooters on private vehicles.
“As far as name plates are concerned, instructions had been sent earlier to districts to prevent use of name plates by mukhiya, sarpanch and others. We are not aware of any new order. We will examine the provisions,” said a police officer, adding that the mindset of people was to flaunt their social status.