The Congress government in Punjab was on Tuesday left red-faced when the transport department released a notification stating that all cabinet ministers, including the Chief Minister, and other emergency vehicles could use the red beacon light on their vehicles, contrary to March 18 Cabinet decision that it would be restricted to some top dignitaries.
The notification was, however, later withdrawn with CM Captain Amarinder Singh asking the Chief Secretary to have the correct notification sent to him for approval.
In a clarification, the CM denied any change in his government's policy on the use of red-beacons on vehicles of the CM and ministers.
"The Transport Department had erroneously put out a part of the poll manifesto as notification and the social media picked it up," an official spokesperson said quoting Amarinder.
There has been no order yet on the issue of red-beacons, said the spokesperson, adding a notification is expected to be issued after the Chief Minister's directives.
The manifesto of the Punjab Congress had exempted the Chief Minister and ministers from the proposed ban on red-beacons on their vehicles, he said.
But Amarinder and his ministers had voluntarily decided to give up the use of beacons in the first meeting of the Cabinet, which ratified the poll promise into a policy decision, the spokesperson said.
He pointed out that the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues had themselves got the red-beacons removed from their vehicles within hours of the Cabinet decision.
The Cabinet had decided that only vehicles of the Chief Justice, Judges of the Punjab High Court and the Haryana High Court, fire brigades, vehicles engaged in emergency services and ambulances, will be allowed to use beacons.
Describing red-beacons as the most visible symbol of VIP culture in the state, the spokesperson said the government was fully committed to end this culture and there was no change in its stand.
He pointed out that Amarinder had been personally appealing to all political leaders, Congress MLAs and others to cooperate in the move to shed VIP frills in the larger interest of the state and its democratic polity.
With PTI Inputs