An Indian businessman in the UAE has been accorded a special status by one of the state governments in India. AM Yousuf Ali will henceforth have blue beacon flashlight on his personal vehicles - a privilege given only to ministers and bureaucrats in the state administration.
A special cabinet decision was made to have certain provisions of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules revised in order to include Ali - Vice-Chairman of Norka Roots and Managing Director of Emke Group - under the category that can use beacon flashlight on personal vehicles.
However, officials at Emke Group, Abu Dhabi, declined to comment.
A Kerala Government Gazette notification states that Abu Dhabi-based Ali will be allowed to fix a blue beacon light on his private car that will allow him special privileges to circumvent traffic congestion and free access to various offices and departments including the State Assembly buildings.It added: “Government of Kerala hereby specifies that vehicles carrying high dignitaries shall be permitted to use red light on the top hood of the vehicle, and people specified by the administration can be allowed to fix blue light with flash at the center on top of the hood."
Meanwhile, there are reports that some political groups are planning to oppose the special status given to Ali in court. A militant youth movement, Bharatiya Janatha Yuva Morcha, said at a press conference on Saturday that their volunteers will stop such private vehicles carrying beacon flash lights. According to V V Rajesh, President of Yuva Morcha, Kerala Government has circumvented the motor vehicles act to give special privileges to MA Yusuf Ali and that the volunteers and workers of Bharatiya Yuva Morcha will stop the NRI businessman's vehicles, if it enters public roads with beacon flash lights. According to Rajesh, the decision was opposed by a section of the Cabinet Ministers and removing the earlier restrictions on using beacon flash lights on private vehicles will create more chaos on the congested roads of Kerala and pose even security threat.
It is also rumoured that other board members of Norka as well as some government and semi-government officials are keen on getting similar privilege.
A Dubai-based NRI said: “This is not a relavent issue because Yousuf Ali is a very busy businessman and he does not have time to waste in traffic or face other bureaucratic hurdles. Since he is working for the welfare of overseas Keralites, he should get such dignitary status.”
However, not all NRIs have the same opinion.
Norka-Roots is the field agency of the Department of NORKA (the Non Resident Keralites Affairs Department), set up in 2002. It acts as an interface between the Non-Resident Keralites and the Government of Kerala and a forum for addressing the NRKs’ problems, safeguarding their rights and rehabilitating the returnees.