HYDERABAD: Customers for cars and two-wheelers in Telangana may have dwindled dramatically over the years, but it would seem that the money spent on ensuring the fanciest number plate for these vehicles remains almost the same. In fact, a glance at the data indicates that there has been a marginal rise to the trend.
It may be mentioned that back in 2018, during the period of April to September, the Road Transport Authority (RTA) had fetched a whopping Rs 24.16 crore from the fancy number business. During the same quarter in 2019, the amount of RTA fetched increased to Rs 24.46 crore. Even as the automobile industry has been seeing a slowdown, the fact that this passion for fancy numbers led to a rise in their earnings by over Rs 30 lakh has caught even the officials by surprise.
The RTA has a string of fancy numbers, which will be put up for auction after interested parties pay a stipulated amount ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000. There are 67 such numbers for which the RTA charges this basic sum. Over and above this, the parties in question can bid for the number, by submitting a DD of the bid amount. The highest bidder gets the number.
All of the 53 areas under the Transport Department’s jurisdiction are gathering money in this manner. In the state’s leading RTO at Khairatabad, however, a slowdown has been sensed in terms of registration, as well as the craze for fancy numbers. The RTO has, in fact, faced a dip in the earnings from Rs 3.97 crore in 2018 to Rs 3.41 crore in 2019, in the phase of April to September.
“Khairatabad has seen quite a muted response for fancy numbers off late, as even numbers which would have ideally fetched Rs 3-4 lakh is now going for just Rs 1 lakh,” said an official from the department. This slowdown is even more surprising in the context of Khairatabad zone, as in the area, even regular numbers like ‘5103’ have often been reserved for high amounts. “Some numbers hold personal significance to people. It might be their date of birth or even some numerologically auspicious number. They bid for these irrespective of other takers. People are willing to shell out a few more thousands for them,” added an official.
Previously, Express had reported how the life tax collected from new vehicle registrations had dropped to Rs 711 crore in 2019 during the four-month period of April to July. When compared to the April-July phase in 2018, when the tax collection was Rs 715 crore, a real slowdown in terms of purchases made can be seen.