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Mamata Defends Minister For Using Red Beacon, Says Centre Passed it Without Hearing

A day after West Bengal PWD minister Arup Biswas was found using a red beacon on his official vehicle despite the Centre’s ban, chief minister Mamata Banerjee defended him saying that Biswas had done nothing wrong.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:May 30, 2017, 10:14 AM IST
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Mamata Defends Minister For Using Red Beacon, Says Centre Passed it Without Hearing
File image of Mamata Banerjee. (image: PTI)

Kolkata: A day after West Bengal PWD minister Arup Biswas was found using a red beacon on his official vehicle despite the Centre’s ban, chief minister Mamata Banerjee defended him saying that Biswas had done nothing wrong.

“He has not committed any crime. The Centre passed the order without consultation from the states,” said Mamata, adding that the ban on red beacon was a forceful imposition.

“I have never heard or experienced such a thing in my life. They just passed the order without any consultation. This is not acceptable to us. There should be some coordination between the state and the Centre,” she added.

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“I don’t understand the logic of keeping police escort vehicles and not red beacons. Keeping a police vehicle is more expensive. Even media people use press stickers, then why can’t we use beacons? My ministers don’t even use it in the city. They only use on highways,” she said.

West Bengal PWD Minister Arup Biswas is still using a red beacon, despite a nationwide ban on it and claims that the Mamata Banerjee government has not banned lal battis yet.

Earlier, the Shahi Imam of Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan mosque, Maulana Noor-ur Rehman Barkati, had also drawn criticism for refusing to take down his red beacon.

ALSO READ | Ministers On Official Visits Can Use Red Beacons: Uma Bharti

“I don't think this even matters. It is pointless. There are red beacons everywhere, on top of planes, then why not cars?” Barkati had said.

The cleric had claimed that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has given him the permission to use red beacon and that Shahi Imam has been given the nod by the erstwhile British government.

Barkati finally removed the red beacon, but only after persuasion by the Bengal CM. He was also involved in a war of words with Mass Education Minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury who had protested outside the Tipu Sultan mosque against Barkati.

The Union Cabinet on April 19 decided that the red beacon light will be removed from all vehicles, including that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The move got implemented from May 1 is seen as a crackdown on the VIP culture.

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