PUDUCHERRY: The introduction of High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) and the crackdown on the use of black sun-control films on the windscreens of vehicles have rendered those in the business of fixing registration plates and manufacturing the black films in the UT jobless.
On April 2, the UT government announced that HSRPs would replace conventional registration plates on all vehicles. Only certain vendors have been authorised by the Transport Department to fix the HSRPs. Earlier, several persons in the UT were in the business of fixing the conventional registration plates. However, with the advent of HSRPs, vehicle owners no longer approach these manufacturers of conventional registration plates.
Similarly, the fixation of black sun-control films on the windscreens and windows of four-wheeled vehicles, though a violation of the Motor Vehicles Act, was a widely prevalent practice in the UT. Now, with the traffic police cracking down on such tinted windscreens and enforcing the ban on their usage with penal action, this business has also come to a grinding halt.
According to Appadurai, who runs a shop, Thirumalai Stickers, at Govind Salai, there were around 75 to 100 such shops in Govind Salai, near the Road Transport Office (RTO) and other places, through which more than 200 families earned their livelihood.
For two-wheelers, a conventional registration plate used to cost anywhere between `50 and `80, while for four-wheelers, the price range was `200 to `400.
Similarly, depending on the quality, the charges for pasting a sun-control film on your vehicle used to range between `1,000 and `5,000. “Now since this business is gone, we are simply pasting stickers on damaged areas, with practically no earnings. We have been in the business for 15 to 20 years and do not know any other job,” Appadurai rued.
All the affected persons engaged in this profession have now decided to form an association, teaming up with those in the business of digital painting of banners and posters. R Ayyappan, who is spearheading this move, said, “We are going to register the association on Wednesday under the name, Stickers and Signboard Owners Association.”
“Once the association is formed, we will go and hold discussions with the Chief Minister to work out alternative sources of livelihood. Most of those in the business are educated youth and have taken up the trade due to the dearth of jobs,” Ayappan pointed out. Ayappan, who himself used to be in the business of pasting registration stickers and sun-control films, later shifted to painting digital banners and posters. However, with a ban on banners and posters, implemented to some extent by the previous Congress government, the going became difficult. Now, the AINRC government was considering regulating such banners by restricting the size, allotting specific places for display a nd making prior permission mandatory.
For those in the trade of fixing the conventional plates and black films, switching to this trade could prove difficult as it involved an investment of `20 lakh. “The government can consider giving such persons subsidy or loan,” Ayappan said.