Curbing VIP culture, Captain makes red beacons illegal

  • Ranjeet Jamwal | Chandigarh

    March 18, 2017 | 07:40 PM

Days after they became VVIPs, newly appointed Punjab ministers including the chief minister (CM) Capt Amarinder
Singh on Saturday decided against using the biggest symbol of being a VIP -- the red beacon light.

In the very first meeting chaired by Captain Amarinder, the council of ministers decided against use of red beacon lights by the CM, ministers, MLAs and government officials.

Red beacon light will only be allowed for ambulances, fire brigade vehicles and the vehicles chief justice and judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

"Use of red beacon has become illegal in Punjab," finance minister, Manpreet Singh Badal, told reporters while informally briefing about the decisions taken during the over-three hour meeting held two days after  the Congress took over Punjab’s reins.

In all, 118 items were discussed during the meeting and more  than 100 decisions were taken to fulfilling the electoral promises.

A formal notification to this effect will be issued after a new policy on use of such beacon lights on vehicles is formulated, an official spokesman said.

The council of ministers also decided to ban foreign travel of all ministers, MLAs and officials on government expense for two years, except where it is so mandated or provided under and bilateral agreement or arrangement.

In another decision, the council of ministers decided that the CM, minister or legislators will lay the foundation stone of any project or inaugurate the same. "To the most, if a project is of over Rs.100 crore, only a stone will be placed there saying "this project was completed with the money collected from the taxes paid by the people," Badal said.

He said it has also been decided that all legislators and ministers will make public their property every month.  "A anti-graft Lok Bill more stringent than the one brought by social activist Anna Hazare will be brought and  everyone including the CM will be covered under its purview," the minister said.

He said 33 per cent reservation will now be given to women in all government jobs including contractual.  "Thirty-five per cent reservation will be given to women in local body elections," Badal said.

For loan-waiver, a decision was taken to set up a group of experts to assess and analyse the quantum of the agriculture debt of farmers in the state, and propose ways and means to waive the debt in a time-bound manner.

The Amarinder Singh government also decided to exempt media persons from payment of toll tax on the state highways.