What's in a number? A lot. Ask those who have been making a beeline to get their lucky number on their vehicle's registration plate and are ready to pay a fortune for it.
And of all the combos and numerals, nine, it seems is the king, as it has maximum takers. If the most coveted 9999 is not available, combination of digits or numbers that eventually add up to nine — such as 5400, 8100, 6030 — are selling like hotcakes.
"We have a limited number available and most of the people want to get 9, 1 or 7. Naturally, we can't issue everyone the same numbers. We have been trying to issue numbers that add up either 9 or 7," said a senior Delhi government official.In the past one year, from April 2011 to March 2012, a total of 201 vehicles have been registered with '1111' number, 198 vehicles with the number '7777' and 195 vehicles with '9999'.
"It is not just about flaunting a 'VIP' number but following the numerological advice. We can issue VIP numbers for official vehicles of ministers, MPs, MLAs and bureaucrats. But there is also no dearth of people who want to have fancy numbers," he said.
According to officials, more than 1,300 new cars are registered every day in Delhi and between 40 to 50 fancy numbers are issued each day. Though limited in number, fancy numbers are available to Delhiites for free, whereas states such as Haryana, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have been charging between R1,000 to R1,00,000 for such registration numbers.
Earlier, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had observed that Delhi missed out on a source of revenue by not formulating a policy on allotment of fancy numbers, like the one prevailing in other states. For example, charges for allotment of a fancy number in Tamil Nadu ranged from R1,000 to R1 lakh; in Punjab it ranged between R1,000 to R50,000 and in Karnataka it is between R6,000 to R75,000, etc.
Though the transport department had sent a proposal in this regard but it was not cleared by the cabinet.
Haryana sells registration number '0001' for Rs. 5 lakh, and other VIP numbers for Rs. 50,000 to Ra. 1.50 lakh.