You will soon have to pay for the fancy number plates of VIPs. The transport department has decided to do away with the provision to allot free number plates with desired registration numbers to the chief minister, state ministers and other VIPs.
So if a VIP wants a special number the government will have to pay for it, which means the taxpayer will eventually foot the bill.
The department created a draft notification proposing these changes last month. At present, government vehicles with red or amber beacons can get attractive number plates for free, with the transport commissioner's permission.
"If anyone wants a VIP number for their government car, they will have to pay for it," said a Mantralaya transport official.
The notification also suggests increasing the fee for these numbers, which will now range from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 3 lakh. The earlier range was from Rs. 2,000 to Rs1 lakh.
"To get the number '1', people will have to pay Rs. 3 lakh instead of the current Rs. 1 lakh, and in districts such as Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, people will have to pay Rs. 4 lakh," said the official.
Special registration numbers are highly sought after by motorists, especially VIPs. They are a good source of revenue for the transport department.
Recently, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan's office secured the number '999' for the CM's new government vehicle. Other government officials too prefer VIP numbers.
The transport department gets more than Rs. 50 crore annually through the allotment of VIP numbers, which will go up further once the new rules come into effect.