Why has Karnataka extended deadline again for motorists to install high-security registration plates?

The department issued a notification in August 2023 mandating the installation of HSRP on an estimated two crore vehicles registered before April 1, 2019, setting a November 17, 2023, deadline

February 29, 2024 09:00 am | Updated 04:59 pm IST - Bengaluru

Akila Karnataka Vehicle number plate manufacturers and sellers association during the press meet at Press Club, in Bengaluru.

Akila Karnataka Vehicle number plate manufacturers and sellers association during the press meet at Press Club, in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: Murali Kumar K

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In Karnataka, despite the State transport department setting deadlines for the installation of High-Security Registration Plates (HSRP) on all vehicles registered before April 1, 2019, the lack of awareness among vehicle owners has resulted in the government extending the deadline three times.

The Karnataka Government has extended the deadline for HSRP installation in vehicles to May 31, 2024. The department issued a notification in August 2023 mandating the installation of HSRP on an estimated two crore vehicles registered before April 1, 2019, setting a November 17, 2023, deadline. However, as very few people installed the HSRP, the department extended the deadline till February 17, 2024, and now the government again extended the deadline till May 31, 2024, since the transition progress was sluggish.

What is HSRP?

HSRP is a new form of number plate that is tamper proof and has non reusable locks. This means once a number plate is fixed, it can only be removed by breaking the lock, which is not easy to replace.

According to a Transport Department official, all the HSRP plates will have a similar font and design, having a ‘Chakra’ on the left side in blue colour. The rest of the plate colour is decided based on the vehicle type. For example, white background with black numbers is for private vehicles. There’s also “INDIA” hot stamped on the number plate.

The HSRP includes a unique 10-digit number connected to the vehicle chassis and engine numbers stored in a centralized database. Cars receive two such numbers — one for the front and one for the rear plate. A windshield sticker displays the vehicle’s registration date, registration number, and the two HSRP identification numbers. For two-wheelers, a single 10-digit number is engraved on the rear plate, and no sticker or card is issued.

What is the benefit of HSRP?

The regular number plates are made by pasting stickers on the plate, which can be easily tampered with and were used for getting away after committing an offense.

“The HSRP, on the other hand, is fixed using non-removable snap-on locks and has the number hot stamped on the plate itself, making it difficult to tamper. Also, HSRPs are fixed by automobile dealers and private vendors approved by the state authorities and can only be issued after the vehicle owner provides information like engine number, chassis number, name and other pertinent details,” a official explained.

“Another problem is that in many states, people like to fix number plates with numbers and letters written in regional languages, which is against the law. The fonts and number plate size also varies from person to person. The HSRP will bring uniformity to the numbering system,” he added.

How to get HSRPs?

To obtain HSRP, individuals can visit either https://transport.karnataka.gov.in or http://www.siam.in and select the “Book HSRP” option. They should then pick their vehicle manufacturer and provide essential vehicle details. Afterward, they can choose a dealer location convenient for the affixation of HSRP.

Vehicle owners are required to make the HSRP fee payment online; cash payments are not accepted, as per the guidelines of the transport department. An OTP will be sent to the mobile phone of the vehicle owner. Subsequently, the owner should select a suitable date and time for affixation and visit any of their vehicle manufacturers or authorized dealers. Prior to the appointment date, an SMS notification will be sent indicating that the HSRP has arrived at the dealer. The owner should then visit the dealer at the scheduled appointment time to have the plates installed.

The essential documents needed to book HSRP include the Registration Number, Chassis number, and Engine number, all of which can be found in the owner’s Registration Certificate.

A.M. Yogesh, Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety, said that the public can get HSRP registration details by visiting the authorized website. Additionally, they are required to verify the scheduled HSRP fitting date, as well as the name and address of the vehicle dealer. It is emphasised that HSRPs obtained through any other website will be considered unauthorised, and only those fitted through the specified platforms will be deemed valid.

Mr Yogesh also specified that people encountering difficulties in obtaining the HSRP online can contact 9449863429 or 9449863426 between 10 a.m. and 5.30 p.m.

What is the penalty for not having HSRP after the deadline?

The notification, issued on August 17, 2023. by the Karnataka Transport Department specifies that owners failing to comply with this rule will face penalties ranging from ₹500 to ₹1,000.

Transport department officials said that as per the provisions of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) 1989, Rule 50, it is mandatory to have HSRP on all vehicles.

Why was the deadline extended again?

The decision to extend the deadline is due to the limited number of motorists choosing to adopt this system, according to Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy.

He announced the deadline extension in the Legislative Council on February 14, in response to demands from legislators. The Minister cited the installation of only about 18 lakh high-security number plates in Karnataka as the reason for the extension.

What is causing the delay in the timely installation of HSRP by people?

The primary cause for vehicle owners not installing HSRP number plates by the deadline is the transport department’s lack of awareness efforts.

Reddy said, “While there was limited awareness before, we are now actively spreading awareness about the significance of HSRP with the extended deadline. Dedicated helplines have been established to address issues related to HSRP number plates in the state.”

Transport department officials mentioned that they are currently raising awareness and have posted Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) about HSRP on the department’s website.

How are unauthorized vendors exploiting the HSRP mandate?

The Association of Registration Plates Manufacturers of India has alleged that numerous unauthorised HSRP manufacturers in Karnataka are illegally affixing HSRP number plates due to a lack of awareness about the order.

The Association of Registration Plates Manufacturers of India claimed that numerous vehicle owners were installing HSRP through unauthorised dealers or manufacturers.

Sudhir Goyal, Executive Member and spokesperson of the association, told The Hindu, “Many are installing lookalike HSRPs, IND mark or get INDIA inscribed on their number plate through roadside vendors. This is illegal. These are not authorized HSRP. Motorists should get the number plates only from the vehicle manufacturer (OEM), or from authorized dealers.”

In its notification, the Transport Department warned of legal action against dealers or any other person found to be selling or supplying HSRP in Karnataka without being authorised by the OEMs.

Goyal said, “In June 2023, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had written to all the State transport departments to take punitive action, including blacklisting or termination against such unauthorized HSRP agencies, which are openly supplying unauthorized HSRP number plates in the market to unsuspecting vehicle owners.”

What confusions are experienced by vehicle owners?

Vehicle owners, especially those with older vehicles from defunct companies, are encountering confusion and difficulties in installing HSRPs. Additionally, some owners are reporting problems where the website fails to recognize their vehicle numbers.

However, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers has says that companies that are no longer operational and older companies are included on its HSRP website. Mahesh Malhotra, the spokesperson for Rosmerta Technologies, a company engaged in HSRP number plate production, advised people to be aware of the manufacturing company’s name. He suggested reaching out to dealers or contacting the nearest RTO offices for accurate information.

Regarding vintage vehicles, Malhotra told The Hindu that a majority of these vehicles are not utilised for daily road use and are primarily used during vintage rallies.

Meanwhile, a Transport Department official said, “We will look into these issues. However, people can only book for those vehicles whose brand names are displayed on the website. For other brands which are not displayed, we are not authorised to process the HSRP order. They should get in touch with their dealer.”

Why does the Manufacturers’ and Sellers’ Association oppose HSRP number plates?

The Akhila Karnataka Vehicle Number Plates Manufacturers’ and Sellers’ Association opposed the notification and circular issued by Karnataka Transport Department.

Satish S., president of the association, said that the HSRP implementation decision has caused many problems for customers and also the small manufacturers who work in this sector. “The order which says the affixation of HSRPs through only the vehicle manufacturer’s dealership network, has thrown out of business around 25,000 people and their families engaged in selling number plates,” he said.

“Over 50% of our members have been involved in the number plate business for the past two to three decades. Consequently, they are unable to transition to other employment opportunities at this point. If the government does not rescind the circular, they may face severe hardships,” he added.

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