Soon, Transport dept may auction fancy vehicle numbers

Dealers to take over registrations from transport dept

The Transport department is considering auctioning fancy vehicle registration numbers and delegating the number registration process to vehicle dealers.

At present, Karnataka has not defined “fancy numbers.” However, under the Motor Vehicles Rules of 1989, the State has made a provision for ‘reservation of registration marks.’

This reservation gives citizens an option to choose the number sequence they wish to acquire in the next available block of 1,000 registration numbers. Currently, the department has fixed a fee of Rs 25,000 for reserving any number for a four-wheeler.

Pressure on RTOs

According to sources, however, this process has come under criticism as high-profile customers including ministers, officers and film actors often circumvent the process by pressuring RTOs to give them numbers already reserved by others.

The department is studying the Andhra Pradesh model of auctioning fancy numbers. Sources said that the department will have to first define what a fancy number is by amending the motor vehicle rules.

It will have to consider a base fee for the fancy numbers and then place it online for auction. The procedure is expected to eliminate allegations of favouritism and make the process transparent.

Revenue-generating

The auction process is expected to fetch the department sizeable revenue in the long run.

For example, in Punjab, where a system of auctioning fancy numbers is in force, a single vehicle number of 0001 was sold for a whopping Rs 26 lakh in August 2012.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, P Ravi Kumar, Transport department principal secretary, said the idea of auctioning fancy numbers is in a nascent stage and will require time for gestation.

“It (the auctioning model) is being studied and will take time to develop into a policy,” Kumar said.

At the other end, the regular process of vehicle registration will soon be outsourced to private vehicle dealers.

“We want to ensure that citizens do not have to run around for their vehicle registration at local RTOs. We will give all dealers access to a common database of vehicle numbers and give them the responsibility of allotting the numbers,” Kumar said and added that dealers will have to choose the numbers serial-wise from the database and not in a haphazard manner.

The department is studying the Delhi and Gujarat models of outsourcing the registration of vehicle numbers to private dealers.

On whether the department will keep tabs on vehicle dealers trying to charge an additional fee for the numbers at their showrooms, Kumar said:

“It is between the consumer and the dealer. On the part of the State, there will not be any additional charges for the registration of vehicles at the showrooms. Whatever charges are being levied for registration by the government will continue.”   

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