VIP culture challenged


The habit of bringing life to a standstill when a VIP passes is now being challenged by the citizens of thic country. Media activism on this issue has reached a crescendo and we hope that some salutary effect is felt right down the hierarchy of power. In Assam, people are put to a great deal of inconvenience each time the Chief Minister travels from his home at Khanapara to his office at Dispur and back with an entourage comprising at least 50 policemen and six pilot vehicles guarding him. Even ambulances are not spared and are told to make way for the CM’s entourage. Earlier the Supreme Court had ruled against the use of red lights atop the VIP vehicles, whose list is ever expanding and includes those holding offices that are not deemed so important as to merit an emergency-like movement. Most states have not yet complied with this Order. India is a country where public servants hanker after special privileges. The Chief Minister of Karnakata uses about 250 policemen every day to guard his person even while the ordinary citizen is harassed by such VIP movements.

Several public spirited citizens who have joined the campaign against the VIP culture have taken strong offence to special privileges given to VIPs, such as wheel chairs at airports or their vehicles entering right up to the tarmac when genuinely disabled people have no such facilities at airports. In Meghalaya we have often seen the Chief Minister’s vehicle moving with an entourage of pilot vehicles and creating quite a din while passing through the city. Also the vehicles of army officials who would not have enjoyed VIP status in Delhi and elsewhere flaunt their statuses in this State and city and move around with red light beacons and blaring sirens. This VIP culture is not seen elsewhere in other countries. India seems to be the only country where elected representatives have a penchant for VIP treatment and others just copy them. The public of Meghalaya should take a cue from what is happening elsewhere in this country and start a campaign against the VIP culture.

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