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Power symbol glare on Durgapur bosses

Durgapur, Jan. 22: A Durgapur activist has pointed out that the chief of the Asansol-Durgapur police commissionerate has been illegally using a flasher atop his car at a time the force has launched a drive against the unauthorised use of beacons, flashers and tinted glasses in the steel town.

“The police drive is welcome. But the police chief is himself violating the rule. He is an officer of deputy inspector-general rank and is not entitled to a flasher. I have lodged a complaint with the state home secretary,” said Sudhajit Mukherjee, a social activist in Durgapur.

He said that Durgapur mayor Apurba Mukherjee, who is permitted to use only a beacon below the bonnet of his car, also used a flasher.

The complaint also mentioned the chief executive officer of Asansol-Durgapur Development Authority, Antara Acharya, and Durgapur (east) MLA Nikhil Banerjee.

The activist also alleged that police chief Ajay Nand’s white SUV had a private vehicle number. “Government officials can only use commercial cars,” a transport department official said.

A beacon is a red light fitted either on top of a car or below the bonnet. When a beacon is installed with a device that allows the light to go on and off as a signal, it is called a flasher.

At least 50 vehicles, including that of the Durgapur income tax commissioner, were either fined Rs 100 each or allowed to go with a warning in the police drive against beacons and tinted glasses that started on Friday.

Asked about the rule on car windows, the officer in charge of Durgapur traffic guard, Gurupada Mitra, said: “There should be at least 50 per cent visibility so that policemen patrolling can see through the windows.”

According to a senior police officer, the crackdown followed a high court directive that asked the government to report on steps the police have taken in the past year to tackle the misuse of beacons.

Income tax commissioner Souvik Guha, whose vehicle was allowed to go with a warning on Friday, said he was not aware of the law and had removed the red beacon and the flasher after he came to know that his car was stopped by the police. Guha was not in the car when it was intercepted.

ADDA’s Acharya said she would “remove” the beacon.

Mayor Mukherjee echoed Acharya, but not before asserting “I am a mayor and also an MLA. So, I am using the red beacon”.

Calls to Nand went unanswered.