SRINAGAR: Unlike in other states, the government in Jammu and Kashmir doesn’t auction the vanity vehicle registration numbers online.
As per the information shared by the Motor Vehicles Department of the Regional Transport Office, Kashmir in response to an RTI, the availability of vanity numbers, such as 0110,0111, 0121, 0123, 0222, 033,0444, 0786, 1111, and 2222, is publicised through print media alone.
Subsequently, the numbers are allotted to highest bidders among the limited number of participants with the help of software Vahan (version 1), which is also used for allotment of the other numbers.
The vanity numbers—each registration series has a fixed number of them—are available to both commercial and non-commercial vehicles, the department said in the reply.
It is, however, contrary to the practice followed in other states. Most states in India regularly auction the vanity registration numbers online. People bid for every number, and the highest bidder gets it eventually. The practice earns the governments revenue, while the allotment of numbers happens transparently.
Usually, the starting price or the base price for each vanity number is set quite high, and it gets sold at an even higher price because of bidding.
In Delhi, for instance, the base price for 0001 number is Rs 5 lakh, while the average prices for most other vanity numbers ranges between Rs 1 lakh to 2 lakh.
In Jammu and Kashmir, however, the average base price for a vanity number is just Rs 5,000, and if it has no multiple claimants, the number is allotted without any special effort, the department said.
Rarely, however, many people ask for a particular vanity number, lending the department an opportunity to sell it at a higher price through bidding.
“The number 0001 was allotted for Rs 1, 47,500 as revenue, while 0786 yielded Rs 1, 05, 000,” the department revealed.
The recently concluded ‘X’ series, it said, generated Rs 12, 87, 000 while the current series has already earned Rs 7, 35, 000, it said.
While the method of allotting vanity numbers in Jammu and Kashmir doesn’t appear transparent, giving space to rumours that only bureaucrats and ministers get them, the department stated in the RTI that “no preferential treatment in allotment of such numbers to ministers or bureaucrats is accorded”.
The department has said that the software Vahan (version 1)”doesn’t allow online allotment or auction” of the numbers.