In a special drive against the use of beacon lights on vehicles, the Kolkata Police have removed 314 such lights from the vehicles in the last five days. The special drive comes at a time when several persons were arrested in the last few days impersonating as bureaucrats and using the beacon light.
According to one senior police officer of the Kolkata traffic police, even on the day of Eid when most of the government offices were closed the Kolkata traffic police removed beacon lights from 32 government vehicles, including those used by IAS officers, traffic police officers, judicial officers, forest department officials and other bureaucrats. Since Saturday, the police have so far removed 314 such beacons across the city.
“We have noted down the registration numbers of these cars in the past five days ever since the special beacon drive began. These government officials have been asked to be present with either the notification or the order ascertaining that they indeed are allowed to use beacons,” said a highly placed official at the Kolkata traffic police.
More such notices are likely to be issued on Thursday, after which “necessary action as per law” will be taken, depending on the reply, stated police sources.
The police have also served notices on 12 government officials, who work with both state and Central governments, for using beacons, to which they are not entitled. All these officials have told traffic sergeants that they were entitled to the beacons and had argued that they should not be stopped on the road for such checks.
In a city where the Chief Minister does not use a beacon, instances of misuse of red and blue beacons are common because beacon-fitted vehicles can be seen illegally parked along thoroughfares like the CR Avenue and Park Street and such vehicles are often spotted jumping signals.
“It is not always possible to stop beacon-fitted cars and check the veracity of the person sitting inside. We often get rebuked or scolded if the person inside turns out to be one who is entitled to a beacon-fitted vehicle,” said a sergeant in south Calcutta.
Beacons have always been a peeve point for ordinary citizens and even a section of the police but the pandemic has made them useful to a section of the people more than ever before and a simple example will prove the point.
“There were four cases in 2016 and five in 2019. Challans are issued here under sections 226 (3) of West Bengal Motor Vehicle regulations along with 177of MV Act. The other section pertains to section 108 (III)CMVR and 177 Of MV Act. The first one saw 33 challans while the second saw 11 day of challans,” said an officer.
Not just vaccine scam accused Debanjan Deb, who allegedly moved around in a beacon-fitted car, or Asiful Haque, who was allegedly caught misusing a beacon-fitted vehicle on Theatre Road on Tuesday — there are several others who use the beacon as their “legitimate weapon to move around in the city” at a time when other cars are being prosecuted for being on the road.