The newly elected Mayor Snehal Ambekar seems to go flip-flop on the issue of the red beacon light atop her official car saying that she will now seek the opinion of the standing committee members and fellow corporators before ‘formally’ insisting on the red beacon.
Ambekar made this statement in her first media interaction at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters on Friday. A first-time Shiv Sena corporator, Ambekar was on Tuesday elected as the 75th mayor of Mumbai.
Ambekar had courted controversy on Wednesday by stating that a mayor is “equivalent to the chief minister” and thus, should be allowed to use a red beacon light on the official vehicle.
Unsure whether the chief minister uses the red beacon on his official car, Ambekar reasoned that the mayor’s post holds a certain respect and is equal to that of a minister of state and the red beacon is a part of the status accorded to a mayor.
“Being the mayor is a prestigious post and the mayor receives prominent guests as well as international guests, having the red beacon highlights the priority of the mayor’s post. Going against a Supreme Court order, as pointed out, is not my intention. I will discuss with standing committee members, especially BMC standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse, before taking a final stand. The former mayor (Sunil Prabhu) had written to the chief minister regarding this issue and I am still awaiting the reply,” said Ambekar and added that “I represent the city and Asia’s richest civic body, which the government recently accorded an A+ grade, so why should I not be allowed to use the red beacon?”
Prabhu too had refused to follow the directives and used the red beacon till the end of his tenure on September 8 and had written to the chief minister saying that it was a “traditional right” of the mayor to use a car with a red beacon light.
In December 2010, the Supreme Court has banned the use of red beacon light with flashers on all vehicles except those used by high dignitaries holding constitutional post. Subsequently, the state cabinet had on April 4, 2014, issued a government resolution (GR) limiting the number of dignitaries to be allowed to use vehicles with red beacons on top. According to the GR, VIPs including only the chief minister, his/her deputy and principal secretaries will be allowed to use red beacon-fitted vehicles. The resolution, however, excluded mayors from the list.
On her priority list is women’s safety, Ambekar said. “ I will meet police officials and work with them to ensure better safety of women in the city and promote Mahila Bhachatgads,” she said.
She stressed on the need to spread awareness about the cruelty of female infanticide and urged citizens to take measures to curb it. She wants to promote organ donations, strengthen Mumbai Fire Brigade, ensure better education facilities in the city as well as push for the speedy completion of the Nariman Point to Kandivali Coastal Road project.