Punjab's Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered the discontinuance of old registration numbers that are being used despite the enforcement of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. These numbers are from pre-1988 era and the move to stop their usage is aimed at ending the VIP culture as well as curbing illegal activities.
As per Section 217, read with Section 41 of the Motor Vehicles Act, old vehicle numbers were already banned in neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Taking safety into consideration as well as in a bid to end VIP trend, Singh has asked the Punjab Transport Department to look into the matter. The department has been asked to issue alternative valid numbers to vehicles owners with old registration numbers.
An official spokesperson of the Punjab government pointed out that such vehicles with old registration numbers had become a security hazard in the border states. Since these VIP number vehicles often passed security checks without the need of stopping or being checked, they were easily misused by anti-social elements to carry out disruptive activities. It also became very difficult to trace the owners of these vehicles as such registration numbers have been used on multiple vehicles over years and thus, identification of original owners became near to impossible. It was also difficult because old records were either untraceable or were destroyed to accommodate VIPs.
Besides this, owners of these vehicles have retained old numbers as a status symbol and thus promoting VIP culture.