Red beacon out, most Bengaluru VIPs fall in line before deadline

Bengaluru: Following the Centre’s decision to ban the use of red beacons atop vehicles, many VIPs in the state removed the red lights. However, a few VIPs including Food and Civil Supplies Minister U T Khader continue to use the red beacon. In Mangaluru, Khader moved around in his official car with a red beacon on Monday.

Just 24 hours before the ban kicked in, Mangaluru District Minister B Ramanath Rai had the beacon on his car removed on Sunday. A few days ago, he had refused to comply with a ban unless he received the order copy.

On Monday, when the rule came into effect, none of the cars parked outside Vidhana Soudha had red beacons.

Last week, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had removed the red light from his vehicle prompting ministers, bureaucrats and politicians in the state to fall in line.

“There is no clarity in the Centre’s red beacon rule but how can we object when the chief minister himself has removed the beacon light from his vehicle,” said a senior bureaucrat. A few patrolling vehicles in the city were seen using amber beacon lights although they are not supposed to.

While only five categories of dignitaries were allowed to use red beacons in Karnataka till now – Governor, Chief Minister and Ministers, Chairman of Karnataka Legislative Council, Speaker, Chief Justice and sitting judges of Karnataka High Court – hundreds of vehicles, including that of zilla panchayat presidents, have been seen sporting beacons without authorisation. Several ZP heads began sporting red beacons after the state granted minister of state rank to them.

Bhaganagowda Patil, president of Tur Development Board, who removed the red beacon on his vehicle, said, “Prohibiting the use of red bacon lights was a wrong decision by the Prime Minister.”

Kalaburagi District Minister Sharanaprakash Patil, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, chairman of Border Area Development Authority Babu Rao Chinchansoor and chairman of Housing Board Malikaiah Guttedar are among those who have removed red beacon lights from their vehicles.

In Hubballi, Kundagol MLA C S Shivalli was among the first elected representatives to remove the beacon. He said, “We welcome the Union government’s move.”

The leader of the Opposition in Legislative Assembly Jagdish Shettar, who removed the red light, fixed on his car, said, “I don’t like this kind of VIP treatment. I was using it after public and party workers forced me.”

Police officials said they had not received any order in this regard and hence many vehicles continued to sport red beacons.  As Monday was an official holiday, very few vehicles of bureaucrats were spotted on the road in the district.

Vehicles belonging to Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council K S Eshwarappa and District Minister Kagodu Thimmappa were running with red beacons, but the lights were later removed.

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