Hardly a fortnight after the Punjab cabinet decided to do away with beacon atop vehicles, the state transport department on Tuesday committed a faux pas and issued an “order” permitting its use for the chief minister and cabinet ministers.
The purported order, which also allowed the beacons for chief justice and judges of the Punjab and Haryana high court, was withdrawn when it went viral on social media and people started taking potshots at CM Capt Amarinder Singh, who after the first cabinet meet had announced to shun VIP culture.
By the evening, the CM had to intervene and a government spokesperson issued a clarification, denying any change in his government’s policy against use of beacons, categorically ruling out dilution of the stance.
The spokesperson said the transport department had “erroneously put out a part of the (Congress) poll manifesto, which the social media had picked up and published as an official notification”.
Following a cabinet decision on March 18, the CM and his council of ministers stopped using red-beacon lights on their cars. Though the chief minister and ministers were exempted in the party’s manifesto, they had decided to bring themselves within the decision’s ambit, a spokesman had then said.
Sources said the goof-up occurred on the part of office of the state transport secretary as the actual noting of the Congress manifesto was not read properly. The file regarding the notification, sources revealed, was also signed by transport secretary Sarabjit Singh, who did not respond to repeated calls and text messages by HT.
Amarinder also talked to chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh and ordered to issue a fresh notification. Sources said the chief secretary also pulled up officials of the transport department, which withdrew the “purported order”.