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West Bengal Governor, Leader of Opposition missing from list of VIPs eligible for lights atop cars


Other notable omissions include the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, Speaker of the State, and the Advocate-General.

West Bengal has issued a fresh list of VIPs and officials who are eligible to have beacon lights atop their cars, the idea being to check misuse of the entitlement by those not eligible as well as impostors.

But the list, surprisingly, does not include the Governor and the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly. The last time such a list was issued, in 2014, the Governor was mentioned right on top and the Leader of Opposition was also specifically mentioned.

“The omission of the Governor and the Leader of Opposition doesn’t seem to be an oversight,” an official in the Transport Department, which issued the order on Friday evening, told The Hindu.

There is no love lost between the current Governor, Jagdeep Dhankar, and the Trinamool Congress government, while the Leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, deserted the Trinamool Congress ahead of the elections and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“Had someone else been the Opposition leader, the government might have been kinder,” the official said, adding that Mr. Adhikari could well be entitled to the beacon light because his rank is that of a Cabinet Minister. All Ministers — Cabinet Ministers as well as Ministers of State — are allowed to use a light atop their cars.

Other notable omissions — compared with the 2014 list — include the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, Speaker of the West Bengal Assembly, and the Advocate-General.

Soon after the order was issued, lights were removed from the cars of officials no longer eligible; among bureaucrats, only those of the rank of Principal Secretary and above can use a light on top of their cars.

Others eligible for the beacon light include Director Generals and Additional Director Generals of Police, Inspector Generals and Deputy Inspector Generals of Police, Director General of Fire Services, Divisional Commissioners, and Municipal Commissioners.

The fresh list, according to officials, was necessitated after the busting of a fake vaccine racket in Kolkata, which was masterminded by a man called Debanjan Deb, who masqueraded as an IAS officer and travelled in an SUV fitted with a blue beacon light. Ever since the fraud came to light, police in Kolkata have been noting down the registration numbers of cars fitted with beacon lights to tally them with the list of cars used by those eligible for such lights.



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