The backlog is about 41,000 vehicles, admits Transport Minister

Purchase of a new vehicle this festival season has become a harrowing experience for residents of Delhi as they are made to wait for as much as a fortnight to a month to get their new high security registration number plate (HSRP). In the absence of the new number plates they run the risk of paying Rs. 2,000 in challan for bringing the vehicle out on the road without proper documentation.

A prominent car dealer who has three showrooms in Delhi and Gurgaon said the problem has been compounded by the fact that these plates can no longer be installed at the dealer’s premises. “As per a Supreme Court ruling, they can only be installed at the end of the contractor who has been engaged for the same.”

The dealer added that once a car is sold, the contractor is paid Rs. 213 for the HSRP and the slip is given to the purchaser. “There is a long delay at the end of the contractor and if you are not able to influence your way through the wait is agonizingly long. We used to sell about 700 cars every month and now in the festive season we are selling around 70 per day. Just imagine the kind of demand that there is but the contractor is unable to meet the rush.”

Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami said the Government is doing everything to minimize the inconvenience. “There are 14 centres across the city where the number plates are being installed. Somehow, people are not going to these centres in the six days’ time which is given to them.”

The Minister acknowledged that the backlog runs into 41,000 vehicles right now. “About 74,000 HSRPs have been installed so far. We are clearing between 2,000 and 3,000 cars daily and have been working without a break. We are working on even Sundays and holidays.”

The Minister said the norms now specify that the number plates have to be installed in the presence of the owner and at the premises of the contractor. “We have been in touch with the Traffic Police too and had urged them to defer the action against the new vehicles till October 15.”

Recently a meeting of the dealers and the Traffic Police was also convened to resolve the issue and it was explained to the latter that the problem was of logistics.

“Efforts are being made to minimize the inconvenience to the buyers,” the Minister said.

A dealer said many people were wary of taking out their vehicles on the roads due to the high fine amount. “Even the ‘applied for’ stickers are not being acknowledged by the police. Attempts should be made to ensure that the public is not harassed in any way for the shortcomings of the system.”

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