VIP Number Plates
Residents of the city feel that if someone believes that the ‘VIP Culture’ pervading our country would end with the banishing of red beacons from atop ministerial vehicles number plates, he is living in a fool’s paradise.
VIP Culture, they say, is not only about red beacons, it is about a mindset, which manifests itself in many ways. The blaring hooters, the stoppage of traffic to clear the way for VIPs, the plates declaring the occupant of the vehicle to be the collector or MLA or even a tehsildar, the gun-toting security guards surrounding top politicians, the long motorcades, the special treatment given to our netas at hospitals and airports, the VIP quotas in admissions and train reservations – all are a part of VIP Culture. In fact, they say, it is the VIPs who will have to give up their desire to be given a preferential treatment and special facilities. Only then will the VIP Culture end.
The Union cabinet has decided to ban the use of red beacons on all VIP vehicles, including those of the president, vice-president and prime minister, from May 1.
Here is what people say about whether it was a merely symbolic action or if it would bring about any substantive change.
“I think it’s not enough. Every person doesn’t have red light facility. Still, there are many things which are needed to be removed. For example, escort vehicles are given to VIPs. Due to this, traffic of all routes is stopped or diverted. Due to this we have to wait for long hours. Even ambulance is not allowed to go at that time. Here, it shows that there is no importance of our time. Their time is more important than ours. Also if they have fear for their life then why should they sit on that post? If they really want to remove the gap then they should first face the traffic like common man.”
“I think siren in VIP cars should also be banned. The loud sound of the hooters creates cacophony on the roads. Its sound is quite different from ambulance and fire brigade. It is very dangerous for our ears and it creates fear among people. Also, VIP treatment in traffic should only be given to president, prime minister and chief minister. Rest of them should be trated as normal traffic users.”
“Laal batti nahi raha to kya hua, rahisipana abhi bhi khatm nahi hua hai. Still every sadakchhap people use press and police on number plate of their vehicle. Even relatives of councillors, politicians and police use lal patti (red ribbon) and their name for their personal use. Our vehicles are stopped for long hours for safety of VIPs which is injustice with common man. But it doesn’t happen in western countries. Their security is very strong. In India, aam aur khas ka fasla hatana bahot hi mushkil hai… It is next to impossible.”
“Hmien lal batti itni pareshani nahi hai jitni siren se (We have more problem from siren than red light ). It shows we are common and they are ruling us. Also traffic police stop our vehicles for VIPs and divert routes too. It is very painful for us and brings out the stark differentiation between the common man and VIPs.”
“It is good to ban red beacons on all VIP vehicles. But it is not enough. In our country, the children or relatives of VIPs think themselves VIPs. And due to this sometimes they misuse their parent’s position. They don’t understand the importance of money. But it is not so in developed countries. Children of billionaires are being taught there to lead life like a common man and understand importance of money and moral values. I think our children should also follow them for building new society.
“There is nothing that is going to happen by banning red light. If they really want to lead common man’s life then VIPs should stop their other facilities like VIP quota in temples, trains, buses, aeroplanes, traffic and other places too. People are VIPs for them not they are VIPs for people because we opt for them by casting our vote.”
“As per the Motor Vehicle Act, to use name on number plate is illegal across the country. We charge fine if any person is found guilty in this.”
“Once you’ve bagged that number plate – if it’s a good one it adds value to it. Some are iconic and will be sought after. Some of the best are simple but exquisite.”
The biggest went for £180,000 in May last year – for KR15 HNA – which was a new British record for the most expensive current style personalised registration plate.
Today, plates with just one number and two letters cost an estimated £60,000, 20 times more than the early 1990s, when drivers could expect to pay somewhere between £3,000 to £5,000.
A DVLA spokesman said: “Many people enjoy displaying a personalised registration number and the general sale and auctions remain extremely popular with the public.
“Since we began selling personalised registrations we have raised around £2.3 billion and all the money raised is passed to the Treasury.”
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