Due to a shortage of material used to manufacture vehicle registration plates, the Excise and Taxation Department (ETD) of Punjab has not issued a single number plate for a new car bought in the last one and a half months.
Customers complained about the shortage and accused the department of negligence.
Safdar Hussain, a resident of Neela Gumbad who was waiting outside the ETD office said, “It’s my fourth visit to the office in the last 15 days. Still the officers are saying it will take some more time.”
He said that the officials were not even able to tell customers when the situation would get better. He said due to the security situation, driving without a number plate was creating problems for the vehicle owners and drivers.
Another citizen said that the office hours had been decreases for Ramazan and so it was even more crowded there. He said it took at least three to four hours waiting in queues to know if the registration plates had reached the office.
Motor and Registration Authority official Estafa Hyder, who deals with the registration of new cars, told The Tribune that there was a shortage of registration plates as they were in the process of switching contractors. He said tenders for the new contractor will be advertised soon and the situation would improve. Moreover, he said, the plates were embossed on aluminium sheets imported from Germany and there was a shortage of these sheets.
“The factory responsible to provide the number plates has so far delivered only 3,000 number plates. The problem is not related to Lahore only. It’s faced by all the offices in Punjab,” Hyder said.
According to the ETD, some 200 customers submit documents to get their vehicles registered every day. Prior to the shortage, number plates were issued the same day the documents were registered. However, since mid July, the process has completely come to a halt.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.
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