R. Vimal Kumar

Tuticorin: The Superintendent of Police, Deepak Motibhai Damor, has cautioned that action would be taken against the officials/ citizens who are using the beacon lights as a “status symbol”.

The Collector, R. Palaniyandi, said that all red lights fitted on the cars of officials in “incorrect manner” would be removed immediately.

It was only last year that lights fitted above the official vehicles of District Revenue Officer (DRO), Project Officer of District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), President of District Panchayat, Deputy Superintendents of Police, Inspectors of Police, among others, in the district, were removed following a directive from the Department of Home, Chennai.

Many officials have now started using it again after a ‘cooling off’ period, violating the Motor Vehicles Act.

Official sources told The Hindu that only following VIPs/ dignitaries are eligible to use the beacon lights: Governor, Chief Minister, Speaker, Mayors of Corporations, Ministers, Chief Justice and Judges of High Court, Director General of Police (Law and Order), City Police Commissioners, Ambulances, Pilot and Escort vehicles, District Collectors, Superintendents of Police, Range DIGs of Police, State Election Commissioner, Chairman of Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, Inspector Generals of Police ( Law and Order), Chairman and Member of Advisory Board for National Securities Act and Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali.

Of this, the Collector and the SP are the two district-level officials who are entitled to use the red revolving light on their vehicles. “Even the district judge or any of the officials in the judiciary at the district level can not use beacon lights,” RTO sources said.

Regarding the danger of “unauthorized” use of red lights, a senior police official said it can confuse policemen and security standing at critical check points, sometimes allowing a free entry for troublemakers/militants to enter protective zones as happened in Parliament sometime ago.