‘Deprive Himachal ministers of red beacons’

Shimla, Dec 30: Inspired by the Aam Aadmi Party, a group of retired officials Monday asked Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to remove red beacons and hooters from the vehicles of ministers and government functionaries.

The chief minister should also curtail vehicles in his cavalcade, K.B. Rahlan, vice president of the People’s Voice, a social organisation based in Kangra district’s Palampur town, told IANS.

“We have been raising the demand for the past three years to minimise use of red beacons by ministers and officials,” Rahlan said.

Noting that the use of red beacons is a symbol of power, he said: “Now when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party has decided to shun VIP culture, the chief minister here should also draw inspiration from him,” he added.

The Supreme Court earlier this month had slammed the rampant misuse of red beacons on cars, saying the practice had “perhaps no parallel in the world democracies”.

Roads are also meant for pedestrians and they have the right to walk freely, said Dalip Sharma, president of the organisation, which comprises retired government officials, defence personnel and judges.

Shimla, the erstwhile summer capital of the British Raj, is a pedestrian city and walkers have the right to move around freely, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has ruled.

A division bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol in a Dec 30, 2011 order, had directed the district administration that while granting vehicle permits, the inherent historical aspect of the city should not be violated.

“These restrictions should apply to all concerned from highest to the lowest. The law is equal for all,” the court said.

IANS