CHENNAI: Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palanisami on Thursday removed the beacon light from his car, a day after the Union cabinet decided to do away with the VIP culture. Palanisami personally removed the red beacon light from his car in the presence of his cabinet colleagues and state officials sending a clear instruction to power corridors of state secretariat.
“From today the red beacon in my car is removed and my colleagues in cabinet and other officials will follow the same to the end the VIP culture”, he told reporters at the secretariat. Car drivers and personal assistants of ministers, department secretaries were seen removing the light till late evening. Union minister of state for road transport, highways and shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, the lone Central minister representing Tamil Nadu, also removed the beacon light from his car. The minister who directed his security officers to remove the beacon light hailed PM Narendra Modi’s initiative of ushering in a new culture. “No more ‘Lal Batti,’ Asked protocol to remove #RedBeacon @PMOIndia,” he later tweeted.
In a related event all the judges of Madras High Court also ordered their security officers to ensure that the lights were removed from a fleet of 53 cars given to the Madras HC judges. According to informed state officials, Tamil Nadu has roughly about 300 vehicles fitted with red beacon lights. Ministers, mayors, department secretaries, district collectors, commissioners and judges will now have to avoid the red lights. However top police and a section of IAS officers are resorting the use of blue lights instead of the beacons thus defeating the purpose of VIP culture. According to the union cabinet decision beacons, however, will be allowed on vehicles concerning emergency and relief services, ambulance and fire service.