CHANDIGARH: The joint capital of Punjab and Haryana has the highest number of per capita vehicles in the country, with the city seeing registration of approximately 200 vehicles daily.
More than 10 lakh vehicles are registered in the city, which has a population of around 12 lakh residents. The vehicle ownership here has increased more than 10,00 times, from 940 in 1967 to nearly 10.5 lakh vehicles in 2014.
The number of four wheelers registered here stands at around five lakh, while the two wheelers have already crossed this figure. Yearly, more than 45, 000 vehicles are registered here. As many as 45,113 vehicles were registered in the city in the last year, 51,259 in 2012 and 50,460 in 2011.
“The brand value of Chandigarh number is very high. The VIP numbers are sold in auctions as people here are crazy about it. The purchasing power of people is another reason for the sprout in the number of vehicles in the city,” said Kashish Mittal of Chandigarh’s Registering and Licensing Authority.
Till last year, the registration charges were less in Chandigarh, compared to Punjab and Haryana and it lured many people to register their vehicles here.
“Now, the registration charges are same, but the transfer fee is less in the city. If an outside number vehicle has to be transferred to Chandigarh, the authorities here charge less. So, people get their vehicles transferred to here,” said an officer.
If the vehicle has a Chandigarh registration plate, said car dealer Balwinder Singh, the local, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi police generally would not stop the vehicle as they have a perception that they would have all documents.
Bathinda-based agriculturist Gursewak bought the VIP number ‘0001’ of the CH 01 AW series in the auction for `7 lakh for his Toyota Fortuner, while Sector 33 resident Harinder Singh spent same amount to buy ‘0001’ number.
According to Ankush Goel of Goel Motors, people buy vehicles from the city and get them registered here only because of their craze for a Chandigarh registration number. “The landlords, who have lands in Punjab and Haryana, have houses or flats in the city. All their vehicles have Chandigarh registration numbers,” he said.
The other side of the story is heavy traffic and hundreds of people killed in road accidents every year. Last year, 117 people died here in 410 accidents, while 136 people were killed in 419 accidents in 2012.
More than 150 road accidents were reported in the city so far this year. The city administration has plans for Metro and Bus Rapid Transit. The administration is also contemplating on measures to restrict the increasing personal vehicle use, like no-vehicle zones in Sector 17 (commercial hub of the city), high parking charges and congestion tax, etc.