THE Sindh Excise and Taxation Department has announced the introduction of new camera-readable vehicle number plates with security features, such as laser serial number identification, integrated laser mark, radio frequency identification tag, embedded graphics, laser serial number identification, and an ‘ajrak’ design to make them unique.
These new number plates were planned to be introduced in the province effective November 2020. In the backdrop of this announcement, there are thousands of pending conventional number plates from ‘BHA’ to ‘BHR’ and other registration series that have been pending at the department’s end for the last over three years.
Several letters have been written in these columns by the affected motorists, but to no avail. The department has claimed that the pending number plates would be issued soon, but these claims have proved false so far.
It has also issued lists of the official number plates available, but has conveniently skipped the backlog in the list, citing them ‘not available’.
Ironically, the payment for these number plates has been made by the car owners concerned at the time of registration. For no fault of theirs, these motorists are regularly harassed by the traffic police for not having official number plates affixed on their cars, and are sometimes even issued challans.
As an affected motorist whose official car number plate has not been issued since January 2017, I would like the department to sort out the issue of the pending number plates first before venturing into the new project. Otherwise, this new project is bound to be a bigger fiasco than the current mess.
Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2021