Red beacons will be allowed only for emergency vehicles, said Road Minister Gadkari
The Union Cabinet has decided to remove beacons atop all vehicles, including that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from May 1.
The government feels beacons are seen as symbols of a VIP culture that has no place in a democratic country.
“It has been decided to do away with beacons of all kinds on top of all categories of vehicles in the country,” Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said after the Cabinet meeting. Beacons, however, would be allowed on vehicles employed in emergency and relief services like ambulances and fire tenders, an official statement said.
Gadkari became the first VIP to remove the beacon from his car on Wednesday. “This government is a government of the masses and has decided to abolish the VIP culture of beacons and sirens,” he said. According to Gadkari, this is the start of a healthy culture because sirens and beacons used to anger the masses. Asked about punitive measures in case of violations, the minister said action would be taken in accordance with the rules. He said a detailed notification in this regard would be issued soon and there was no need for an amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act.
“We can issue the notification under respective rules, and before that a notice will be issued for public hearing,” he said. The implementation will, however, depend on state governments, which will also need to frame rules in this regard. “After May 1, no one will be able to put red light atop his/her vehicle. Blue light will be used only for emergency vehicles in the country… Neither states nor the Centre will have power to give any special permission (for use of beacon lights),” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the Cabinet meeting.
He said the use of red beacons atop vehicles has been a matter of discussion and debates for long as to why certain people have special privileges on road.
The matter was under discussion for some time and “the Prime Minister took the decision and informed the Cabinet,” Jaitley said, adding amendments will be made soon in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules to give effect to the decision. A rule that empowers the Centre or state governments to allow use of red beacon lights to dignitaries will be altogether removed from the statute books, the minister said.(read more)