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PUNJAB CHIEF Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s opening move to end VIP culture has triggered a fresh debate on use of beacons by zila parishad heads. Amarjit Kaur Sahoke, who unsuccessfully contested polls from Jagraon on a SAD ticket and is now chairperson of Moga zila parishad, arrived in a vehicle fitted with an amber beacon at gurdwara in Jagraon Monday.
She was at Gurdwara Gurusar Pathshahi of Jagraon to preside over a ‘thanksgiving’ meeting for the volunteers. Sahoke said, “There has been no notification yet on removing beacons from vehicles. We won’t remove it. I am entitled to use security as well as gunmen.”
She further said, “The new government might have passed orders to get beacons removed but being zila parishad chairperson, I am entitled to use it.”
Use of beacons by zila parishad chairpersons in Punjab has been a topic of debate for long. While earlier it wasn’t allowed, it was in 2010 that SAD-BJP government issued notification saying that zila parishad chairmen can even fit red beacons on their vehicles.
But in 2013, the Supreme Court of India ordered ‘restricted use of VIP lights and horns’ and said the ‘government should work on ending rampant use of beacons.’ The court ordered the complete clampdown of usage of beacons. “It is not only me but all zila parishad chairmen who are using beacons. We will remove it only if everyone else also does so,” said Sahoke.
Leader of opposition H S Phoolka from AAP said, “Complete end to VIP culture means that none whomsoever he/she is should be allowed to use beacons. The Cabinet has passed the orders and now it is our duty, as the opposition, to get them implemented. We have already told our volunteers to click photos of vehicles with beacons and send to us. We will ensure action. We have also appealed to Cabinet to not only challan vehicles using beacons but also impound them.”
Sahoke tasted defeat at the hands of AAP candidate Saravjit Kaur Manuke from Jagraon. Getting just 33,295 votes she was at third place after Manuke who got 61,521 votes and Congress candidate Malkit Dakha who got 35,945 votes. DSP Jagraon Rachhpal Singh said that “Amber beacon is allowed for SSPs, DCs or sessions judges. But we do not have any copy of written orders to take action regarding usage of beacons yet,” said the DSP.