Traffic sergeants to escort VIPs on blue and white bikes
The Kolkata police have replaced the city's age-old Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles with blue and white ones to pilot VIPs and VVIPs.
The major shift came after senior police officials had decided to use blue and white motorcycles, which have become the official colour in Bengal. The colour signifies happiness and the city looks brighter in these colours. It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had introduced the colour scheme in 2011, a few months after coming to power. It is also incidentally the chief minister's favourite colour.
An officer of the Kolkata Traffic Police said that for the first time five blue and white Bullet motorcycles were deployed as pilots to escort VVIPs and VIPs from their residences to the venue of Republic Day Parade this year at Red Road.
Each of the five motorcycles piloted cars of the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee, Home Secretary Malay De, Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purakasyastha and Commissioner of Kolkata Police Rajeev Kumar.
The convoy of the Chief Minister stopped at the intersection of Mayo Road and Red Road, from where she walked up to the dais on Red Road, the officer said. He also added that "the motorcycles were taken back after it was used only for that particular day."
When contacted, V Solomon Nesakumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said: "There are around five such bikes which are mainly meant for piloting cars of VVIPs".
There is a logo of the Kolkata Traffic Police on the fender of the Bullets used by tunic-clad traffic sergeants. The blue beacon lights fitted on the rear of the bullets makes it look smarter.
A senior police officer said that the red Bullets may get phased out gradually. Already, 30 blue and white Bullet motorcycles have been introduced in Howrah Police Commissionerate on which policemen managing traffic keep patrolling to ensure better traffic management. There are first-aid kits in the motorbikes so that it can be used in case of any emergency.
The British government introduced red motorcycles for traffic sergeants over a century ago to make them look smarter. Harley Davidson motorcycles with side cars, along with Norton motorbikes, were used by British traffic sergeants.
It may be mentioned that some of these old Harleys used by the police were taken to old Delhi where diesel engines were installed and they are being used as phatphatis today. After independence, the British bikes were replaced by Bullet motorcycles. A fleet of traffic sergeants astride their Bullet motorcycles at the Republic Day Parade is a sight to behold.