Delhiites are not too keen on high-security registration plates (HSRPs) for new vehicles, despite these being mandatory.
So far, only 70,000 vehicle owners in Delhi have collected high security number plates for their vehicles, while 160,000 new vehicle owners paid for these in last five months.
The new registration plates are meant to enhance the safety of cars.
“Around 1,60,000 applications were received between May and September, but only 70,000 of the vehicle owners collected the number plates. About 57 per cent of vehicle owners have not collected their high-security registration plates, even after paying for these,” said U R Kapoor, managing director (operations), Rosmerta Technologies, which is implementing the registration plate project in five states, including Delhi.
The company says it hadn’t anticipated the additional cost it had to incur due to only a small number of people collecting the new number plates. Kapoor said , the company had to pay for storage costs, as well as spend on SMSes or calls to those who didn’t collect their plates.
The company is yet to start rolling out the numbers for old vehicles, a process that delayed by at least a fortnight.
According to the Motor Vehicles Act, punitive action cannot be taken on vehicle owners if they fail to collect the HSRPs on time. Also, many feel the high cost of travelling to the registration office to collect plates that have low prices, makes it unviable.
“Already, margins in this business are wafer-thin. We are not even making Rs 5 per number plate. Now, we have to maintain a library to store the number plates that aren’t collected by users,” Kapoor said.
There are about 70,00,000 vehicles in Delhi, and about 4,00,000 are added every year.
The process of modernising number plates for vehicles started in 2001, when the Centre brought out a notification that all vehicles had to shift to the new security registration plates in a year. The implementation was, however, delayed due to a plethora of court cases. After resolving the contentious issues, the Supreme Court is now monitoring its implementation across the country.
The problem, however, is specific to Delhi. Though other centres saw delays in collection of the plates, vehicle owners finally collected these.
Most states have already awarded number plate contracts. Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, which account for a large percentage of the country’s vehicles, have floated, or are in the process of floating, requests for proposals from private companies to implement the project. In Delhi, the project was launched in April, and the process of allotting the number plates began in May.
A set of HSRP plates for four-wheelers costs Rs 214, while one for two-wheelers costs Rs 69. Light commercial vehicle owners have to spend Rs 214, while those who own heavy commercial vehicles have to pay Rs 219 (including taxes) for a set of these plates.
The new registration plates are cast in an aluminum plate that reflects light and carries a hologram issued by the state government, hot-plated into the sheet. The registration number is embossed by special machines and a hot foil is rolled over the number. The plates are not fitted by screws, but by a snap lock for a vehicle owner has to go to the nearest regional transport office.