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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

Challan drive on, but work on high-security plates crawling

Vivek Gupta, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, February 11, 2014
First Published: 12:42 IST(11/2/2014) | Last Updated: 12:54 IST(11/2/2014)

Even as more than half of the old registered vehicles from the CH-01-AR to AN series are yet to get mandatory high security registration plates (HSRP) affixed, the local police have started challaning them.

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The Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA) began the HSRP affixation on 'old' vehicles with the AR series from September-end last year, and had set a month's deadline for each series. The series issued before March 2013 are referred to as the old registered vehicles, and those after that are new.

However, the HSRP pendency is running as high as 20,000 overall, showing that the one-month-per-series deadline was not adequate, given the large backlog, inadequate infrastructure and manpower shortage.

As a result, chaos prevails at the RLA offices in Sector 17 and the sub-offices in Sector 42 and Industrial Area. An RLA official asserted that the pressure of "backdoor entries" had also increased considerably.

The rush has increased particularly after the police started challaning vehicles that do not have HSRPs.

At present, nine series of vehicles - from AW to AN - are under police scanner. Of these, AW, AV, AU, AT and AS fall under the category of 'new' registered vehicles, that is, those registered after the September decision to affix HSRPs. The AR, AQ, AP and AN series are of old vehicles.

Till last month, the police had challaned 400 vehicles for absence of HSRP. But in the past 10 days, the number has reportedly gone over 800, and most of these are old registered vehicles. 

Even as the RLA officials maintain that proper time was given for the owners to get the plates affixed, residents blame inadequate infrastructure. A Sector-35 resident, Surinder Singh Maken, said the RLA authorities should have made proper arrangements to handle the applicants' rush before asking the police to start the challaning drive.

"With vehicles of all the series scrambling for the HSRP, there is a mad rush in all three RLA offices. We need multiple locations for the plates' process, so that the process can be speeded up," he said.

Activist-advocate Ajay Jagga called for immediate suspension of the challaning drive. "Under the present circumstances, when the backlog is running high and infrastructure is insufficient, the challaning drive is arbitrary. The authorities did not make adequate arrangement for HSRPs for vehicles with old series, in particular." 

The HSRP pendency for new registered vehicles is comparatively less, as affixation of plates for them began in March last year. The AV and AU series are nearly complete, while not much backlog is seen in AS and AR. The new, AW series has most of the vehicles affixed with HSRPs. 

RLA Kashish Mittal said they would not start with the latest, AL series till the old pendency was cleared. "The police have been told not to issue challans to vehicle owners who have receipts of HSRP application. Residents were initially slow to respond but that has changed. We will set up counters at new locations to clear the backlog too," said Mittal.

HSRP work needs pace
Total registration numbers issued in each series is 9,999. Not all numbers in the AW series have been issued yet; the AO series does not exist, while figures for AT were not available.

Old: Vehicles registered before March 2013

Series   
                            Work started  HSRPs affixed till Feb 9  
CH-O1-AR                        7,305   
AQ                                     4,927
AP                                      3,660
AN                                     2,520
AM                                       516

New: Registered after March 2013, are to get HSRPs to start with

Series                 Covered till Feb 9
CH-01-AS                7,788
AU                            9,751
AV                            9,637
AW                           2,717

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