Issue surrounding new high-security registration plates remains unresolved

Chennai: Scepticism about high-security registration plates (HSRP) and their implementation were ruling high and when the Centre stopped handing out registration certificates, the problem rose further. However, the issue was only partially settled with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways stating that it (the plate) is only mandatory for vehicles sold on or after 1 April 2019.

In this context, Suresh Kumar, Inspector, Regional Transport Office – Chennai West, exclusively told News Today that registration of new vehicles has been temporarily stopped. Asked about HSRPs, he said, “A unique identification number is also to be printed on the windshields of the cars and also on the number plate with the hologram. These number plates cannot be tampered with. To make things easier, the cost of the registration and number plates has been included in the vehicle cost. We have been given an initial time limit of two years to make the necessary changes in the registration of new high-security number plates.”

He reiterated that after the initial phase of this registration process, high-security registration plates will slowly be rolled out for older vehicles too.

It must be noted that new vehicle registration in Tamilnadu came to a staggering halt when the Transport Ministry banned access to online registration portal ‘Vahan 4.0’ designed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). Earlier in the year, the Ministry issued an order stating that all vehicles manufactured on and after 1 April should contain tamper-proof, high-security number plates to be registered.

The new rule came into effect 1 May as per Union Government orders. The Ministry also made it clear that vehicles manufactured before 31 March will continue to be registered without HSRPs. The digital number plates will have a barcode which can be scanned to retrieve data including the name and address of the owner, along with the engine and chassis number. Automobile manufacturers had been mandated by the Ministry to issue the security licence plate that includes a hologram which cannot be duplicated.

“We were informed about the high-security registration plates 14 April. We have stopped the registration of new vehicles currently as per those orders. This is a good move as it can prevent duplication of number plates. The registration process is not too tedious; it is similar to the old method,” says one of the floor managers of a two-wheeler dealer on Arcot Road on condition of anonymity.

Implementation process
As per reports, authorised sellers will block the registration numbers and then send it to the manufacturers, who then produce the high-security number plates for the vehicles. With the introduction of smart cards replacing the traditional driving licence and RC book, the Transport Department is looking forward to increase the security of vehicles and vehicle-owners.

“My bike was stolen and I was stranded at Ashok Nagar. I got it back after four months through the help of the residents of Ashok Nagar who tracked me down with the address in the insurance papers. These digital number plates will certainly help owners like me and police officers speed up the tracking process,” says A Kumar of Egmore.

With this step, it is hoped that swift tracking of lost and stolen vehicles will be enabled. The high-security number plates come with a five-year guarantee and the chromium-based hologram is designed in such a way that it gets destroyed if taken out of the number plate.

In addition, these number plates are fixed with tamper proof, non-reusable locks that will break in case of any foul play. The Supreme Court and the Union government have been trying to make this change from 2005, after the Parliament attack in 2002, in which a vehicle with a tampered number plate was used by terrorists.

Currently, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana continue to roll out registration of new vehicles as they use their own software instead of the ‘Vahan’ portal designed by the National Informatics Centre for the Transport Ministry.

(Report by K R SADAKSHI)

NT Bureau