Misuse of red beacons goes on with impunity
Govt, Private Cars Arbitrarily Fitted With Lights; IGP Assures Action
Srinagar, Aug 15: In a major concern, a number of government and private cars in Jammu and Kashmir are being arbitrarily fitted with red light on top, with the law enforcement agencies acting as mute spectators to the blatant misuse of the facility.
A fleeting look on the streets of the summer capital suggests how a number of state government offices are misusing such a privilege despite not being entitled to it. Similarly, cars owned by former legislators, former ministers, their children and even the lower-rung police officers are seen using red beacons in violation of rules—something which seems to be no concern for the Traffic Department.
The cars, according to observers, happen to be wrongly parked on the streets of Srinagar, especially outside restaurants, departmental stores and shopping complexes, with traffic cops doing little about the rising menace.
The misuse comes in the wake of almost zero efficacy of a government SRO No. 33 Dated 08-2-2007 which identifies only 31 categories of dignitaries who can use the red-flasher light. These, according to the SRO issued by the State Transport Department, includes the Governor, Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Speaker Legislative Assembly, Chairman Legislative Council, Chief Justice of High Court, Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State, Leader of Opposition, Mayors of two cities (within their jurisdiction), Chairman of LAHDC/Kargil/Leh (within their jurisdiction), Members of Parliament and State Legislature. Also officers like Chief Secretary, Advocate General, Chairman PSC, Financial Commissioners, DGP and equivalent rank officers, Principal Secretaries and Divisional Commissioners fall in the category.
While there is already a debate on the use of red-flashers by so many officers, the ground situation reveals that scores of lower rung officers in police and government departments are using the facility.
“This has become a huge problem for ordinary people who have to pave way for these cars even during acute traffic jams. These cars happen to be parked wrongly most of the times. And there is nobody to penalize them. All the laws in the state are applied on ordinary people while the VIPs have been given a free hand to do anything they want,” said a government official, wishing anonymity. “The violators mostly happen to the family members of legislators, retired government officers, members of political parties which is a gross violation of government notification. Somebody has to address the problem which can have security ramifications as well.”
Pertinently, an RTI activist from Jammu, Balvinder Singh, had sometime back sought details on the beacon lights, with the Transport Department specifically referring to the SRO 33, the implementation of which is too poor on ground.
IT IS A PROBLEM AREA: IGP TRAFFIC
Acknowledging misuse of beacon lights, the Inspector General of Police (Traffic) HK Lohia told Greater Kashmir that it is a problem area that needs to be looked into. “In Jammu we have already threatened action against dealers selling red beacon lights. This time around we have launched a drive against unregistered vehicles and checking the misuse of red lights would form a part of it. But I acknowledge that it is a problem area which needs to be looked into,” he said.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 15 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 15 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 16 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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