West Bengal Minister Arup Biswas was caught on camera using a red beacon on his vehicle on Monday but sought to justify saying that the state government had not banned it yet with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also defended him.
“Unless and until the state government bans it, how can we do it (stop using red beacon),” Biswas told media persons in Siliguri when quizzed about it.
Meanwhile, Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, told the media at the state secretariat Nabanna: “He has not done anything wrong. We have already opposed the decision. We have written to the Centre opposing the decision but we have not received any response yet.”
“I have told my ministers not to use the red beacon in the city but while travelling along the national highways, we need some alternative (signage). To circumvent the problem, now I have to resort to a car escort which incurs additional expense of fuel and escort members.
“When someone comes up with an idea, one has to consider the cost aspect as well. If the media can use press stickers then we also have to use some sort of signage,” she added. The Congress on Monday denounced the deployment of the beacon by the minister.
In April, the Centre announced a ban on red beacons atop official vehicles of VVIPs, effective from May 1. Ambulances, fire services, police and Army can still use blue flashing beacons.