Lal Battis Keep Going in State Despite Apex Court Orders
By Rahul V Pisharody | Published: 17th January 2014 07:37 AM |
The lal batti culture continues in the State despite a Supreme Court directive that all State governments should restrict the use of the red beacon on vehicles to only Constitutional functionaries. In fact, the apex court had set a deadline of one month when it issued the directive on December 10 last year.
Asked about it, State government officials cited “procedures” or in other words, simply passed the buck. NV Ramana Reddy, special secretary to Government (protocol), General Administration Department (GAD), said, “We do not have the list of those who are violating the rules. We have transferred the papers regarding those eligible for beacons to transport, roads and buildings department.”
When Express contacted D Lakshmi Parthasarathy, special chief secretary, Transport, Roads & Buildings Department, said, “We are sincerely following it up. Many departments are involved and a lot is being done in this regard.” As of Dec 31, 2013, 350-odd vehicles are learnt to be plying across the State with red beacons, while only around 50, including those of the Governor, are eligible as per the law. Earlier, in a circular issued on August 19, 2003, the GAD had said, “It has been brought to the notice of the government that a number of persons other than those permitted are using red/blue lights on vehicles in violation of Govt Orders.”
It went on to instruct commissioners of police, collectors and superintendents of police to ensure compliance of the orders within their respective jurisdictions and see to it that red/blue lights used by ineligible persons are removed immediately. A compliance report of such removal must be sent to the government within 15 days, it had ordered.
The same orders were later issued on August 12, 2008. In an RTI reply on February 27, 2013, NV Ramana Reddy had said instructions were issued to the DGP and district collectors for strict compliance. However, nothing much has changed on the ground. Now, the Hyderabad Traffic Police is mulling a drive against unauthorised usage of red/blue beacons and officials said a “fresh list” of those violating the rules was being prepared. Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma, on the other hand, summed up the issue thus: “In Hyderabad, we hardly find a red beacon. We are pretty scrupulous. The issue is not so alarming here, may be those in the Army are using red beacons.” And, for good measure, he added that no bureaucrat is using the red beacon.