The Punjab Department of Excise, Taxation, and Narcotics Control is mulling the proposal to outsource the production of computerized number plates to overcome the shortage permanently.
As per the new proposal, the contracts for the preparation of new number plates will be given to 6 to 10 companies in Punjab. The government has also decided against increasing the fee for the number plates.
The development came about in a detailed meeting held to discuss the proposal. The meeting discussed the positive and negative aspects of the proposal.
The vehicle owners will be able to obtain the number plates from the nearest office of the company that got the contract. Whereas, the excise department will look over the entire process and discourage the use of non-sample number plates.
Notably, Punjab Excise Department has been facing a shortage of number plates for several years. People are also frustrated by this, as they have to pay challans for not having the number plate despite paying for it.
The department started the preparation of computerized number plates in September 2006 and since then, the department has faced the crisis five times. The issue of preparing and supplying motorcycle number plates arose in 2008. From 2012 to 2014, 700,000 motorcycle owners did not receive the number plates despite applying.
From 2013 to 2014, over 125,000 car owners met the same fate. In 2018, the crisis resurfaced and aggravated because of the ‘go-slow’ policy of former excise secretary Babar Shafi. Now, the crisis has worsened with the change in government, as the projects of old government have been ceased.