HYDERABAD: The High-Security Registration Plates (HSRP) that needs to be compulsorily installed in all vehicles in the city has been facing quite a few quality-related complaints from vehicle owners. The 10-year contract for fixing HSRP plates is with a private firm which insists that the Central Motor Vehicle Rules(CMVR) approved by the Supreme Court be followed but also admits that these standards do not assure the best quality number plates for the vehicle owners.
The vehicle owners have very similar complaints when it comes to HSRP number plates. “The paint wears off within two years,” said Abdullah Khan, an Uber driver. Meanwhile, some even find it pointless. Sundeep K, director of Autobatics private limited, was wrongfully issued a challan for driving in the wrong direction. “It turns out that a bike faked my number plate that is also HSRP. It’s not exactly as high security as it claims to be,” Sundeep points out.
A senior official with Road Transport Authority (RTA) said, “There is no need for these number plates. All this headache is just because of a court order.” HSRP was first recommended to the Union government by its technical committee as a means to curb vehicle theft and tampering with number plates. In order to facilitate HSRP, rule 50 of the Motor Vehicles Rules was amended in 2003 and later it came into effect in January 2004. Many State governments and Union Territories by then had already started inviting tenders for HSRP manufacturers.
However, those tenders ran into trouble in 2003 after a written civil petition was filed by the Association of Registration Plates against the Union of India. They questioned many of the conditions that had to be met by number plate manufacturers to take part in the bidding. But the court decided to stick to a single manufacturer per region by upholding to the government’s view that different manufacturers would mean variation in quality of the material.
“This has created a monopoly for a few companies that meet the set criteria. They should allow other companies to take part in the bidding and keep an open market to avoid any form of monopoly. Why should RTA be the only place to get a number plate fixed?” said Sundeep.
“So far we have received only one complaint officially but several people have reached out to us with the quality issues. We have written to the manufacturing company regarding the issue and have asked them to improve the quality,” said Pandurang Naik, Joint Transport Commissioner, Hyderabad. “The company won its contract in 2013 and we do not have a say on these matters,” he added.