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VIP Solution To Vehicle Identification: Bye, Bye Red Beacons, Hello Sirens[/caption]
The Centre and most state governments may have banned the red beacons politicians used on their vehicles as a symbol of their VIP status, but the VIP culture may not die down so easily, as politicians now opted for using sirens to distinguish their vehicles.
In at least two states of Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, VIPs worked around the red beacon ban that came into effect from Monday by using sirens. Meanwhile, other states like Maharashtra are exploring their options on how to mark their vehicles as VIP and still follow the rules against VIP culture.
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According to Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar, when a VIP like a minister is travelling the vehicle should be identifiable for the purpose of security. Kesarkar has written to the state DGP to find other means of VIP identification which do not violate the new rules.
Despite the Central Motor Vehicle Rules not allowing for the use of sirens or hooters in vehicles except for ambulances, fire brigades, police vehicles and construction equipment vehicles, several politicians in Madhya Pradesh planted hooters on their cars to mark their VIP status.
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Bhopal ARTO Sanjay Tiwari was quoted by Times of India as saying "Only the transport department and police have the right to use hooters. No one else can. We will fine vehicles using hooters Rs 5,000 each."
Citizens are not happy with the new hooters. "Beacons are gone, but what about hooters and sirens? It's irritating when vehicles blaring sirens tailgate you and try to overtake even on narrow roads. Sirens have no use, apart from emergency vehicles, and only add to noise pollution," TOI quoted a private firm employee Vineet Sharma as saying.
Similar situations happened in Hyderabad, when a VIP vehicle with siren kept honking, confusing citizens of what the emergency was.
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"Initially, I thought it was an ambulance trying to make way and I swerved towards the left, but soon I realised it was actually a politican's car. The beacon was not flashing, but the driver kept the siren on," an eyewitness said.
Other VIPs used a more judicious approach towards the sirens, by using them at road junctions to get the green signal.
Hyderabad joint commissioner of police (Traffic) V Ravinder said that VIPs generally use siren only near junctions and not otherwise. "It amounts to noise pollution and we do not allow its extensive usage," he said.