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19 Mar 2017

Punjab to do away with beacon lights

chief minister Amarinder Singh
TT, Chandigarh, March 18: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh will move without any beacon lights and so will his ministers, lawmakers and bureaucrats in Punjab.
The decision to do away with the beacon lights was taken today at the first cabinet meeting of the newly-elected government.
"My cabinet has decided to rid the state of VIP culture. All beacon lights to be removed from vehicles of ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats," Amarinder tweeted after the meeting this afternoon.
The use of red beacon lights by politicians and their cronies has been a much talked about issue that had been brought to the notice of the Supreme Court after an Uttar Pradesh resident filed a public interest petition.
In its ruling on December 10, 2013, the apex court had ruled that only dignitaries holding constitutional posts at the Centre and states were entitled to the privilege.
The apex court had allowed ambulance, fire services and emergency maintenance services to use blue, yellow, white or multi-coloured lights.
The abolition of beacon lights on VIP vehicles was a promise made by the Congress in the party's manifesto for the recently concluded Assembly polls.
AAP MLA and leader of Opposition H.S. Phoolka had met the Punjab chief minister on Friday and assured him that none of the 20 AAP legislators would use red beacon lights on their vehicles.
"People of Punjab have suffered a lot because of this VIP culture promoted by the Akali-BJP rule. We welcome the decision," Phoolka said.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues have also not used beacon lights on their vehicles, a part of the AAP's poll promise.
The Congress government in Punjab has also decided not to go on a mega inauguration spree as an austerity measure. Punjab has a debt burden of Rs 1.25 lakh crore and in his pre-election rallies Amarinder had often talked about measures big and small to bring the state out of the debt trap.
"Irrespective of the volume of investment in a project, names of the chief minister and other ministers will not be displayed on the foundation stones or inaugural plaque. It will be mentioned that the project was made by taxpayers' money," state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said.

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