High security number plates in doldrums
High security number plates in doldrums. The Rs 2,000-crore High Security Number Plate (HSNP) project has hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
• HSNPs are in short supply & production
• Legitimacy of the private agency questioned
• Former CS Minnie Mathew had raided doubts about the agency
The Rs 2,000-crore High Security Number Plate (HSNP) project has hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons. After prolonged discussions and debates, the project finally took off, but moved at snail’s pace. Afresh now, the project has been hit by the allegations on the legitimacy of the private agency and the fact that less than 100 HSNPs are affixed every day, while the number of newly registered totals up to over 400 a day.
HSNPs are affixed at Khairatabad, Secunderabad, Mehdipatnam, Bahadurpura and Malakpet by Linkpoint Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd, which is an agency appointed by the APSRTC to oversee the installation of the number plates.
It was made mandatory for all new vehicles to be affixed with HSNP from December 11, 2013. However, it was evident that even the RTA was not abiding by them. And on the whole, the five major RTA offices are able to install only 100 in all every day, as they do not have the required number of plates.
A HSNP making centre was to be established at Miyapur, which would be supplying the number plates. But, this centre is barely functional and this is leading to a shortage of the number plates. Before HSNPs came into play, new vehicles used to get registered in one go. But, one has to visit the Road Transport Authority (RTA) twice now; first, for the proceedings and the second visit to pay the challan.
The shortage of HSNPs has hit politicians too. Recent reports with the RTA suggest that minister’s men were apparently miffed with the authorities after they were asked to come again for registration.
Legitimacy of private agency
Allegations have also cropped up which say that the state government chose to ignore the violations by the firms involved in the project.
The situation turned grim when the testing institutes, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and Central Research Road Institute (CRRI) suspended the certifications issued to Utsav Safety System Pvt. Ltd and Link Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd, who are involved in the implementation.
On January 15, ARAI issued a notice to Utsav, suspending the Conformity of Prodcution (CoP) for HSNP after observing multiple misconducts under the Central Motor Vehicles Rule. The CRRI had suspended the Type Approval Certificate (TAC) in mid-December, 2013.
As per CMVR (Centre Motor Vehicle Rules) Rule 50, TAC and CoP of HSNP are mandatory for a manufacturing company to be eligible to apply for the tender for the HSNP.
Questions are being raised about the state government’s ignorance about former chief secretary Minnie Mathew’s note against awarding the project to the Utsav-Link consortium that has a chequered history in implementing similar projects in other states, that too at a higher price.
The Supreme Court had earlier issued contempt notices to the Andhra Pradesh Government for implementing the scheme in the state in violation of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, and for disobeying its orders. In its December 19, 2013 order, the apex court had sought responses on the violations.