Flaunting misplaced importance

Flaunting misplaced importance

Status Symbol

Flaunting misplaced importance

The former judge holds no official position to sport these on his vehicle. It is certainly a matter of shame that a person, who once held such an esteemed post, is now violating the law. It is known that those in official positions are notorious for misusing and even exploiting official luxuries.

Metrolife spoke to officials and people at large to understand the concept behind beacon lights, its importance and delved into the extent of its misuse.

Transport Commissioner T Shaam Bhat says that approximately 37 people in the government service are entitled to use red beacon lights.

“We have noticed a lot of misuse and violation but we can only politely tell the officials concerned not to use them. We cannot impose, it’s a matter of prestige for them,” he says.

Bhat says that sometimes government hires taxis for official use and fixes red beacon lights on them.  “They have to obtain an official consent. We have started a drive to check vehicles that are not entitled to use these lights but it will take a while before we can clamp down on the offenders,” he adds. 

People who hold respectable positions point out that it’s high time the government appointed an independent body to check the misuse of red beacon lights by the officials.
Lokayukta Santosh Hegde observes, “It’s a status symbol for those who are entitled to use beacon lights and once they retire from the government service they find it difficult to give up that status. It’s a sad scene.”

He says that there’s gross misuse of these lights but nothing is done to control this menace.  T V Mohandas Pai, a well-known face in the IT industry, thinks the government needs to do a full review of those who use government property and those who continue to use it even if they’re not entitled to.

“This would be an ideal way to clean up the system. The government is obligated to the tax payer to use his money judiciously. This would bring a lot of transparency,” he says.  
The public think it’s outright discrimination and apart from the ambulance, the red beacon lights on all government vehicles is unnecessary.

Sindhu Nambiar, a software engineer with Sun Microsystems says, “Having to wait for hours for a minister to pass or some VVIP to pass by is exasperating. It’s not fair on the common man who otherwise waits in traffic to get home or to work.”

Jishith Balan, another senior engineer with Robert Bosch, too points out that people are reluctant to let an ambulance pass through and don’t want to give way. “Here when ministers with beacon lights pass through, we are forced to wait. It’s a waste of time,” he says.