HYDERABAD: Owning a swanky car and flaunting a fancy number have been a craze for the affluent in the Pearl City. Though the Telangana government order directing all vehicle owners in the state to switch over to TS registration alarmed the well-heeled, a rejoinder from the state Transport department brought solace to them.
The fancy number lovers heaved a sigh of relief as the Transport department clarified that the re-assignment of registration numbers of motor vehicles from AP to TS would be hassle-free and the process would mean only change of the State and district codes.
It may be noted that the RTA has been cashing in on the number craze and a fancy number had fetched a whopping `9 lakh recently.
The practice of autioning fancy registration numbers has been a major tool for revenue generation for Transport department. The figures available with the department show that since the formation of the state, the department has received 1,06,035 applications bidding for reserved numbers and the same has helped the Transport department to contribute `48.46 cr to the state exchequer.
A year wise analysis of the statistics reveal that the there has been a steady rise in the number of applications received by the department mfor allotment of fancy numbers. If `30.21 cr was generated from auctioning of reserved numbers in the year 2014-15, the first six months of the current year has already fetched in `18.25 cr against sale of such numbers.
A block of 1,000 registration numbers in a series are released everyday, of which certain numbers are kept aside for bidding. While a vehicle owner pays `2,000 and `5,000 as registration fee for a two-wheeler and four-wheeler respectively, those bidding for reserved numbers have to pay the prescribed fee ranging from `10,000 to `50,000. In case there are multiple applicants bidding for the same number, they have to submit tenders in sealed envelopes and the highest bidder gets the number while the other bidders would be refunded their application fee.
“People go by numerology, astrology etc to choose numbers but the fact remains that people who own expensive cars or bikes do not mind spending a few extra bucks to get a fancy number. For eg, people are ready to shell out `9 lakh for a number,” explained B Venkateswarlu, joint transport commissioner, Vigilance and Legal.
The number of applications and revenue generated are not directly proportional. “Bidding for numbers is not limited to reserved numbers. If there are multiple applicants for any number, they could bid for it,” said an official.
If the department fetched `32.63 crore in 2013-14 from sale of 64,322 fancy numbers, `30.21 crore was realised from sale of 68,036 numbers in the next year.
“Sometimes, there would not be any competition for some reserved numbers and the applicant would acquire the much sought after number without any closed bidding,” the official said.