PuneThe Pune regional transport office (RTO) earned a whopping ₹19.56 crore in 2016-17 from the auction of “attractive registration numbers” to vehicle owners. This amount was ₹51 lakh more than the previous year when the revenue generated stood at ₹19.05 crore. According to RTO officials, the demand for number 9 and combinations adding to 9 have been on the higher side. Vehicle owners also seek numbers that they consider lucky or permutations and combinations of their birth dates as their vehicle number, RTO officials said. Deputy regional transport officer, Sanjay Raut explained that in view of the growing demand for ‘attractive numbers’, the RTO regularly launches special vehicle number series for two-wheelers and four-wheelers. “Interested candidates have to submit the relevant documents and pay the fee through demand draft. There are around four series of special numbers launched for four-wheelers and around twelve series are launched for two-wheelers every year,” he said. In 2014-15, a total of 17,277 numbers were issued and RTO earned ₹17.08 crore. “In 2015-16, the total number of special numbers issue by the RTO increased to 19,262 and the revenue earned was ₹19.05 crore. In 2016-17, a total of 22,982 ‘choice numbers’ were sold resulting in revenue of ₹19.56 crore,” he said. In the past two years, just one or two numbers were sold for as high as ₹4.5 lakh while in 2016-17 around 10 to 15 numbers were sold for ₹4.5 lakh each. The rising demand for attractive number series is such that many owners of new vehicles visit the RTO even when no special number series has been launched. RTO officials said that since May 2013, the rates for choice numbers has increased slightly and even then the fascination for these numbers failed to decrease.