Lucknow, Jan 27 : If necessity is the mother of invention then creativity is the father of politics.
Creativity in Uttar Pradesh has been flowing directly into the registration number plates of vehicles. The numericals on the registration plates of vehicles have been distorted and contorted to resemble names of politicians and positions.
This is a flagrant violation of the Motor Vehicles' Act that clearly defines the size and type of font in which registration numbers are to be painted but, apparently, the concerned authorities are wary of initiating action against the offenders for obvious reasons, political clout being one of them.
The decision of the government to make high security registration plates (HSRP) mandatory for all vehicles -- old and new -- in Uttar Pradesh, has already run into rough weather.
While new vehicles are being fitted with HSRP by dealers at the rime of delivery, old vehicles continue with old number plates because there is a lack of infrastructure for changing number plates.
The 'variations' seen on number plates, some of which are hilarious, therefore continues.
A motorcycle, for instance, has everything except the registration number. It reads thus -- "Vidhayak Mahesh Trivedi, cousin Rajan Trivedi, Gift Anshuman Agarwal". The actual registration number is written in a tiny font size at the end of the number plate that is painted in saffron and green, instead of the mandatory black and white.
Another motorcycle has "All India Press Editor' printed in red and leaving one to guess what exactly this means.
An Ambassador car has done away with the number plate and replaced it with a signboard that says "Poorv Lal Batti Dharak' which means former owner of a red beacon.
There are also number plates with RAM written in a mix of Roman and Devanagari. The actual number is 2144, but written in Roman and Devanagari, it reads 'Ram'. Similarly, 8055 is written to read 'BOSS'.
The number 4749 is written in a mix of Devanagari, and Roman to make it read MODI.
The number 4061 is contorted to read YOGI.
One such vehicle that recently got into trouble had a number plate with the number 1515 which was written in a manner that it looked like ISIS. On getting information, the police went into a tizzy and tracked down the car. The owner was asked to change the number plate and apologise.
In the previous Samajwadi regime, it was a common sight to find 'Yadav' written on registration number plates. Rajiv Yadav, a postgraduate student in Lucknow University, confessed that he had got his surname written on his two-wheeler because "It saves me from traffic constable when I break the traffic rules".
'Yadav' on registration plates continues to give VIP status to the owners and most of them continue with the trend. A luxury car bears the registration number UP 65 CM 4149 but while all letters are small 'CM' is bigger and bolder and the number has been written to read 'Yadav' in Devanagari.
At first glance, it reads CM Yadav and on the top, in a smaller font, is written 'Akhilesh'.
UP 65, incidentally, is the registration number for Varanasi.
Another car owner, who did not wish to be identified, said that such number plates make it difficult for the police to find the vehicles because the numbers are not easy to read.
Number plate manufacturers, in the past, charged twice the normal rate for such number plates.
"It takes time to contort the letters and numbers so we charge extra", said one dealer in vehicle accessories but added that he could not be held responsible for violating the law since the owners demanded it.
A senior transport official, when contacted, admitted that violations had become a rule in the past but said, "Making HSRP mandatory will end this problem. It will take a few months before all vehicles get HSRPs and the problem will be solved.
Traffic officials, on the other hand, said the cops often avoided imposing fine in these cases since the vehicles invariably belonged to those with political connections.
"It is only people with clout who insist that it is their way on the highway. The normal people would not do such things and invite trouble," said an Additional Superintendent of Police.
(Amita Verma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
-- Except for the title, this story has not been edited by Prokerala team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed