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High-security number plates fail to charm Delhiites

So far, only 70,000 vehicle owners in Delhi have collected high security number plates for their vehicles

Piyali Mandal & Surajeet Dasgupta  |  New Delhi 

Reluctance of Delhiites to collect new secured number plates for their two-wheelers and four-wheelers may turn government’s high security registration plate (HSRP) project into a damp squib. So far, only 70,000 vehicle owners in Delhi have collected for their vehicles, against 1.6 lakh new vehicle registrations made in the state in last five months.

“Around 1,60,000 applications were made between May 2012-September 2012, but only 70,000 of the vehicles collected the number plates. 57% of the vehicle owners have not collected their high-security registration plate even after making the payment,” U R Kapoor, deputy director (operations) in Rosmerta Technologies, which is implementing the registration plate project in five states including Delhi, said.

One of the reasons, why people are not collecting the number plates could be the lack of any penal provision. The clearly doesn’t mention the punitive action that could be taken if the owner fails to collect HSRP on time,” he added.

There are 70 lakhs vehicles in Delhi and 4 lakh vehicles are added every month. The company is yet to start the process of rolling out the numbers for old vehicles.

The problem is very specific to Delhi. In other centres there are delays in collection but vehicle owners finally collect the number plates.

This is not only delaying the implementation of HSRP, but is also adding to our cost of the implementing agency.

“Already, the margins in this business are wafer thin. We are not even making Rs 5 per number plate. We now, have to maintain a library where we are storing the number plates which was not collected by the users,” he added.

The attempt to modernise number plates started in 2001 when the central government came out with a notification that all vehicles have to shift to the new security registration plates in a year. The implementation got delayed due to a plethora of court cases.

The Supreme Court resolved the various contentious issues and is monitoring its implementation across the country.

Most of the states have already awarded number plate contracts.

Some key states — Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, which constitute a large percentage of the vehicle population — have or are in the process of floating requests for proposals from private companies to implement the project.

The new registration plate are meant for added security.  In Delhi, the project last week was launched in April, 2012 and allotting of number plates started from May, 2012. A set of HSRP plates for four-wheelers cost Rs 334 and for two-wheelers Rs 111. Commercial vehicle owners need to shell out Rs 134 while Heavy Commercial Vehicles are required to pay Rs 258 (including taxes).

However the company says that they had never anticipated the additional cost which they have had to incur as a result of the unexpected behaviour of the city's vehicle owners. Kapoor says they now have to pay for storage costs, making an SMS as well as calling those who have paid up to take their plates.

The new registration plates, meant for added security is cast in aluminum plate that reflects light and carry 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 which the owner of the vehicle had to go to the nearest regional transport office.

First Published: Wed, September 26 2012. 17:17 IST