Pradeep Pattanayak

The Odisha State Transport Authority (STA) has decided to ensure strict enforcement of the High Security Registration Plate (HSRP) for vehicles with registration numbers ending with 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 from January 15, inviting wrath of vehicle owners. 

The annoyed vehicle owners alleged that the infrastructure for ensuring installation of HSRP is still not up to the mark to cater to the entire number of vehicles in the State. 

Be it Bhubaneswar or Balasore, pictures of vehicle owners making a beeline to get their HSRP are emerging from everywhere. They alleged they have to wait in queues for hours to get their HSRP. 

In such a situation, the government should have extended the deadline. Instead of that, how it has set the deadline. 

What ails the vehicle owners most is while the deadline for the vehicles with registration numbers ending 1 and 2 was December 31, the new deadline is January 15 for all the vehicles with registration numbers ending 1,2,3,4,5 and 6. 

They are worried about the fine of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 they have to cough up for not affixing HSRP. 

“People have different works to do. It is also not good to gather in front of show rooms. Had the deadline been extended for some more days, it would have been better,” said a vehicle owner. 

Expressing his anger, another vehicle owner said, “I have taken a day off from my duty. I have been in the queue since morning. It seems I have to wait for more two hours.” 

The private organisation, Celex Technology, which has been awarded the tender has also expressed doubts about covering all the vehicles in one and a half months. 

“A target of 24 lakh was given to us. We have already crossed 16 lakh. We have seven to eight branches across the State. And we are working in both day and night shifts. To achieve the target, it will take five to six months more,” informed State in-charge of Celex Technology, Saroj Kumar Rath. 

Accusing the STA of imposing rules like Jizya tax, road safety expert Subrat Nanda said, “They are issuing notifications from time to time which are self-contradictory.  The problem is arising because they (the STA) had not studied how many vehicles are there in Odisha and how many number plates have to be prepared. Hence, at least one year time should have been given.”

What added to the vehicle owners’ woes is that the deadline for vehicles with registration numbers ending 7 and 8 is set to be January end and for vehicles with registration numbers ending 9 and 0 is February end.