Govt to cash in on people’s superstitions
While numerology and good luck are believed to be the most common reasons for choosing a registration number, the state transport department has decided to auction ‘fancy’ and ‘choice’ numbers. Guwahatians, meanwhile, are rather peeved with the way DTO Kamrup Metro is functioning as changes implemented by the department takes quite a long time for the DTO officials to get accustomed to resulting in public harassment. G Plus checks why there continues to be such long queues at the DTO and what are the novel ways by which the transport department is trying to generate revenue?
A few days ago the transport department upgraded their vehicle registration software ‘Vahan 4’ in all DTOs. After that it took a few long weeks for the DTO officials to get accustomed with the software. Even now the officials are not totally familiar. Consequently, people are made to wait in long queues. A clerical level official of the DTO, taking to G Plus in anonymity, said that they have not been properly trained to use the software. Moreover, there are many technical issues where the software gets ‘hung’ every now and then, the same not being user-friendly and so on. The official said that for the first few weeks the requests of the public were kept in queue because of which the queues have not diminished even now and the demonetisation exercise has added to the agony. To top it all, the price for fancy numbers has been recently increased even though no one in the DTO is clear about the rules thus complicating matters further and making things difficult such that people remain unaware about how many days it might require to obtain a fancy number after application. The government has increased the price for obtaining fancy numbers and have planned to auction them.
According to the new rule of the state government, reservation of choice/fancy registration mark or number shall be made on an application to the registration authority (DTO) on Form 40 with necessary documents in a sealed envelope with the receipt of a fee deposited and a demand draft not less than half the base price for the registration mark applied for. When G Plus asked the officials in DTO they did not know how long it will take to obtain the fancy number. We talked to the transport commissioner Puru Gupta, who said that there are 411 numbers identified as fancy numbers from the 9999 numbers in a particular series. The base price of the fancy numbers is decided according to the number and its demand. For example, the base price for 0001 and 0786 for private vehicles is Rs 1,00,000 and for commercial vehicles it is Rs 20,000. After the requests are made there will be a manual auction and the highest bidder will get the number. Similarly, the base price for any number between 0002 to 0009 is Rs 50,000 for private vehicles and Rs 10,000 for commercial vehicles. Any number between 0010 to 0099 will cost Rs 25,000 if there is no competing bid from private vehicle owners and Rs 7,000 in case of commercial vehicle owners. Similarly 411 fancy numbers will be auctioned manually and the base price will be decided according to the demand. Gupta also said that the numbers, other than the fancy numbers, if chosen, will be provided on first-come-first-serve basis for a fee of Rs 10,000 for private vehicles and Rs 5,000 for commercial vehicles. The numbers which are not chosen will be provided with the normal registration fee and no extra charge will be levied. Enquiring how long it will take for an applicant to avail a fancy number, Gupta said that the guidelines are yet to be decided and this will take two-three days. So the transport department is hoping to cash in on people’s superstitions as many people believe that certain numbers are lucky for them. The only issue that remains is that for any new rule or change in the DTO, Guwahatians have to suffer.
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