Maharashtra: More than 7 lakh vehicles are sailing without high-security license plates

In order to curb vehicle theft and bring uniformity to their identity marks, the Union government has mandated HSRP for every new registered vehicle from April 1, 2019, with manufacturers being given the responsibility to install these number plates in every new vehicle before they are transferred to the customers. More than seven lakh newly registered vehicles, including the vehicles used for VVIPs such as the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, are sailing in Maharashtra without High-Security Registration Plates (HSRP), RTO officials said. The HSRP rule has been in effect for more than three and a half years to curb vehicle theft and standardization.

When asked about the reason for non-compliance, a senior official cited the lack of a specific rule for taking action against a vehicle operating without HSRP. Therefore, they are fined Rs 2,000 for spotting a fancy number plate. Another official said some vehicle dealers are breaking the HSRP rule and handing new vehicles over to customers without mounting these plates on vehicles, which is mandatory. Out of the nearly 69 lakh new vehicles registered in Maharashtra since April 2019, only about 61 lakh vehicles are fitted with HSRPs, popularly referred to as ‘IND’ or INDIA number plates.

As many as 7.68 lakh new vehicles registered in Maharashtra, including the bulletproof cars used for VVIPs such as the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, police interceptor and pilot vehicles, and leased buses in the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) among other things, the company’s fleet is sailing without HSRPs,” said officials of the regional transport offices.

According to the latest report from the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Maharashtra saw 27,740 vehicle theft cases, including 3,282 from Mumbai. Despite the HSRP rule, many vehicles are still seen with fancy license plates, on which numbers are written in cursive fonts, different sizes and languages ​​(such as Marathi and English). Notably, some vehicles fit HSRP in the front and fancy license plates in the back or vice versa, officials said.

In over 61 lakh vehicles, HSRPs are installed using regular screws and caps, rather than the snap lock or rivets, which is against HSRP rules.

“Because the HSRPs are installed on the front and rear of vehicles with regular screws and caps rather than a snap lock, they fall off over time due to potholes or other reasons. As a result, some vehicles are seen with missing or pending HSRPs, thwarting the target,” officials noted. A retired RTO official said some car dealers are installing HSRPs with a plastic or metal housing instead of rivets, in violation of the rules. RTO offices and the office of the transport commissioner have turned a blind eye to the non-use of snap locks for mounting HSRPs, he claimed.

The HSRP rule dictates that, except for two-wheelers, every vehicle must have a chrome-based hologram decal affixed to the inside of the vehicle’s windshield indicating the registration details, but many vehicles lack these decals even though they carry HSRPs, officials said. Made from a rare aluminum alloy, HSRP contains a retro-reflective film with a verification inscription ‘India’, chrome-based Ashok Chakra hologram, the hot-stamped letter ‘IND’ in blue and a 10-digit laser branding of a unique serial number, making it is fraud-resistant. If fitted with a snap lock, the HSRP will be damaged if forcibly removed.

In Maharashtra, 8,90,960 lakh vehicles were registered up to August of the current fiscal year. The vehicle population of Maharashtra is more than 4 crore, but the state government has not yet made these registration plates mandatory for vehicles registered before March 31, 2019.

“Vehicle manufacturer dealers install HSRPs on new vehicles before handing them over to customers. This happens once the vehicle number is generated after registering online with RTO. Dealers are responsible for purchasing and installing HSRPs on vehicles after purchasing them from the suppliers” , officials said. .

They said the transportation department has also made it a must for dealers to upload photos and details of HSRPs on the VAHAN portal used nationally for storing vehicle data and mounting HSRPs. Until then, the vehicle registration certificate will not be printed at RTO.

If a vehicle is found without HSRP, dealers will be suspended from their trade certificates for certain days, but despite this rule, some dealers are handing over vehicles, especially of the commercial category, to customers without HSRP, officials said.

“In some cases, they (dealers) later send the HSPR kit to customers and ask them to fit it themselves. This is why HSRPs were found on several vehicles with screw or cap bolts instead of snap locks,” he added. up. A motor vehicle inspector said there is no specific rule for taking action against the vehicle if caught without HSRPs.

He said the office of the transportation commissioner has ordered all RTOs to suspend dealers’ trade certificates for a period of time for the first, second and third offenses for handing over new vehicles to customers without HSRPs.

Maharashtra Transport Department Additional Commissioner JB Patil said RTO officials have been ordered to take action in the matter. “We are conducting a special action against vehicles without fitness documents. We will ask RTO officers to also check vehicles without HSRPs,” he added.

Some RTO officials also pointed out that even after more than three years, most vehicles, especially two-wheelers and heavy vehicles, do not come with designated places for installing HSRPs.

(With inputs from PTI)

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