Mayor Sunil Prabhu has criticised the state’s latest government resolution (GR) which seeks to curb the number of red beacon vehicles in Maharashtra.
In accordance with a Supreme Court order of December 2013, the state government on April 4, 2014, published a list of 34 high-designation officers, who are allowed red beacon vehicles as they hold constitutional posts. It includes the chief minister, deputy chief minister and principal secretary-level officers. The post of city mayor has been left out of this list.
“The decision to exclude the mayor from the list is not well conceived. For several years now, as first citizen of the city, the Mumbai Mayor has been given a red beacon vehicle. The state government should bear in mind that as the mayor of the richest municipal corporation in Asia, there are certain protocols that have to be followed,” Prabhu said.
The mayor also compared his post to the principal secretary. “The post of the Mumbai Mayor is just below the state minister and chief secretary. If principal secretaries are allowed red beacon cars, then why can’t they allow the mayor. The budget of the BMC is equivalent or more than a lot of the smaller states in the country,” Prabhu said.
He added that a red beacon vehicle was not only a symbol of importance, but was also necessary for duties performed by the post. “Whenever we have the President and prime minister visiting Mumbai, it is the mayor who receives them. Even foreign dignitaries who visit Mumbai, the international financial hub, are welcomed by the mayor. The red beacon car allows us to carry out these tasks smoothly,” Prabhu said, adding that he will further protest against the GR.
The SC passed the order against red beacon vehicles on a PIL filed by Uttar Pradesh resident Abhay Singh. The court noted the misuse of red beacon and siren, granted by government to VIPs.