It has been years since the central government has banned the use of beacons and sirens on the vehicles of politicians. While most states and union territories have followed the ban and the cars of politicians with a beacon has become a rare sight, the story is not the same in West Bengal.
Kolkata Police have removed 191 beacons that were illegally installed on the vehicles of government officials. The police started targeting such vehicles a few days ago. The seizure of illegal beacons happened over 72 hours.
The police caught most of the bureaucrats and others did not know about the new ruling as per the officers who were on the task. According to the police officers, they had to show the transport department notifications about the beacons.
An officer who was also part of the crackdown said that the public servants who were caught during the checking included the engineers, district judicial magistrate, additional district magistrate, divisional forest officer, deputy secretary, chief medical officer of health, medical superintendent of government hospitals, deputy superintendent of police, sub-divisional officer and director of a government establishment.
Even a state minister was spotted with the illegal beacon on his vehicle. All the traffic guards and special raids section of the traffic police department were chosen for the crackdown.
A traffic sergeant said to The Telegraph,
“We are stopping every vehicle with a beacon and politely asking which department the car belongs to. Then we are asking for the rank of the officer concerned and checking whether it is on the list given to us. If the officer is entitled to the beacon, we are immediately releasing the vehicle. If not, we are requesting the officer to immediately comply with the government order,”
VIPs cannot use beacons
Since 2017, the government has banned the use of beacons by the VIPs including ministers, politicians, and bureaucrats cannot use the beacons. Even the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India cannot use the beacons and sirens.
Only emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, police and army personnel are allowed to use blue flashing beacons in time of emergency. There are currently six categories of beacons in India including red, blue, yellow. The red beacon attracts the most attention and is in fashion since the Britishers introduced to the Indian roads.
Post 1st May 2017, when the new rule came into effect, most VIPs and politicians with red beacons posted pictures of removing the flashers from the vehicles. Yet there are many who keep on using the beacons, especially in the Tier-II and Tier-III cities.