LAHORE: The Excise and Taxation (E&T) Department has stopped issuing blue number plates to autonomous public institutions starting September 5.
The department had started issuing these LEJ number plates from August 1 and had so far issued 208 of them. However, delivery of the number plates came to a halt when the private manufacturer of these plates reported technical problems.
An E&T Department official told The Express Tribune that this was a temporary break and the supply would begin again within a few weeks.
“Out of a total of 609 blue number plates, 401 will be issued to autonomous bodies next month. This is the first time that the department is issuing blue number plates for these organisations instead of green ones,” he said.
Motor Registration Branch director Masoodul Haq told The Express Tribune that the department had issued dark blue computerised number plates to around 70 semi-government bodies including authorities, agencies, corporations, boards, federations, hospitals and banks. 43 government departments under the purview of Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) will continue using the green computerised number plates, he said. Haq said that 41 plates had been issued to the National Engineering Services Pakistan, 29 to the Water and Sanitation Agency, 13 to Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, 12 to the Parks and Horticulture Authority, 6 to the University of Engineering and Technology, 48 to Lahore Electricity Supply Company Limited, 8 to Water and Power Development Authority, 9 to the National Bank, 6 to Irrigation Project Management Unit and 4 to the Pakistan Electric Power Company.
Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) Nasrullah Ahmed said that semi-government institutions had been getting LEJ number plates while LEG number plates were allotted to government departments under the amended Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965 and the relevant Motor Vehicles Rules 1969.
He said that the Lahore High Court (LHC) had ordered the Punjab government on July 1, 2007 to stop using green number plates and instead use the number plates prescribed by the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965 and the relevant Motor Vehicles Rules 1969.
The government challenged this ruling in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the government overturning the prior ruling of the LHC.
When autonomous organisations applied to get green number plates in 2009, the Home Department denied the request. It laid down that only the government departments associated with S&GAD were entitled to have green number plates.
Computerised number plates were introduced in Punjab in 2006. The system was introduced to eliminate the discretionary powers enjoyed by Excise and Taxation Department officials. The government purchased 900,000 blank number plates from a German company. The number plate for a four-wheeler costs Rs500 while a two-wheeler’s number plate costs Rs350. Each plate has a five-year warranty.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2010.