Painters excluded from fixing HSRP again


Opposition to high security registration plates is likely to resurface, with Transport Department stating that ‘no local painters would be allowed to fix the plates’. The HSRP will be re-tendered for the third time now.
Last year, in a bid to water down opposition to HSRP, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, had assured the local painters that they would be allowed to fix the plates. In what appears to be contradictions within ministry and the department, the transport department has said that ‘the act amounts to violation of Supreme Court order’.
 Technical bids for the number plates would be opened on February 15. The government, in the past had canceled the HSRP contract twice, following widespread opposition and technical faults in the bidding process.
Director Transport Arun Desai on Tuesday clarified that according to Supreme Court order there cannot be ‘splitting of contract’. “The company that will manufacture, design and supply the plates will also have to fix it and repair it. There cannot be several parties involved in it,” he said.
The local painters had raised strong objection to HSRP, claiming that livelihood of several thousand people would be at stake if HSPR are introduced. They had demanded that they should be allowed to fix the plates as fixing of vehicle number plates is their only source of livelihood.
Desai said that only Indian companies will be given preference and unlike previously the new tender document has omitted the contentious clause of compulsory operation of the company in five countries.
According to the new contract regulations, the price of plates would be reduced by almost 50 percent as compared to that charged by M/s Shimnit Utsch, the company which was awarded the first contract in 2008.  The company faced strong criticism due its rates. The motorcycle number plate cost Rs 550, three-wheeler plate cost Rs 650, four-wheeler Rs 1200 and six- wheeler plate cost Rs 1250.
Their contract was terminated in 2010 following glaring irregularities. The department opened a fresh tender in 2011 and Delhi based Utsav Technology was short listed but it was later cancelled. [H]