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Red beacon: a symbol of status, authority
While it is a pleasure to sit in a red beacon car, there are concerns too over its gross misuse. Those who are egoistic, in fact, need some beacon of knowledge, not the red beacon light. The moment the elections are over and state governments are formed, the mad race for red beacon starts.

The law which governs the beacon and its colours is clearly stated. In clause III of rule 108, Central Motor Vehicles rules of 1989, the list of people entitled to the colours is detailed by the central government and the state governments.

If simple living and high thinking were the credo of most politicians before Independence and in the first two decades after 1947, ostentatious living and vulgar display of authority and wealth is their fashion in the 21st century. Barring a few exceptions, our Netas believe that they cannot command the respect of the people unless they flaunt their political power and wealth.

Our politicians, instead of being totally focused on discussing the issues of unemployment, terrorism, inflation and other topics of national importance, their professional conduct in parliament are more driven by their demand to have a red beacon light on top of their vehicles.

But we all know most of these people do not require an emergency light, which is primarily fitted to declare, “Look at me, I am important, I have status and don’t you forget it.”

The Supreme Court is very particular about the use of red beacon vehicles and has asked the Centre and state governments to reduce the number of functionaries using red beacon vehicles. The court has said, “The use of beacon on government and private vehicles should be drastically restricted so that right of freedom of movement of people is not affected.”

With the recent enforcement of use of red atop official vehicles, the Punjab Government has slammed the use of red beacon as a status symbol. It has enforced more restrictions on the use of red light atop official vehicles. Now only DGPs, Additional DGPs, IGs (Zonal) and SSPs have been allowed this facility. No other police officer will be allowed to install a red light on his vehicle. A notification issued recently, by the Transport Department says the facility will be available to 13 categories of citizens.

Few dignitaries, right from Governor and downwards have been allowed the facility apart from barring the prominent persons and officials like Sant Mann Singh Pehwawale and Chief Information Commissioner including a section of police officers.

Public servants are actually servants of the public. The roving cars with their flashing lights are against all this country was meant to be — a democratic republic where public servants, such as MLAs, MPs and bureaucrats, are meant to serve, not rule us as the British once did.

The hierarchy ingrained in Indian society and officialdom is reflected in these lights, and even if the Supreme Court were to order it, officials and politicians are unlikely to surrender this privilege.

The most surprising fact is that the state governments randomly add to the list of official flashers to oblige the bureaucrats like Director of Health Services, Director PGI, AIIMS, chairmen of various Boards, Excise and Taxation Officers, Adviser to the Administrators, District Judges, Police Officials, CEO of insurance companies and even college principals.

The idea behind getting the cars with ‘lal batti’ (red beacon) by MPs is that they will be respected in their constituency. The MP, as a lawmaker, should start a debate for not allowing the smaller officers to have the red light. Instead, they are complaining like a child and saying – "agar chhote ko chocolate diya hai, to mujhe bhi chahiye". These kinds of MPs are just wasting public money and are becoming a burden on the economy.

The red beacon flashers should only be used by the limited VIPs otherwise its sanctity is lost if it is used by VOPs (Very Ordinary Persons).

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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