Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ahmedabad RTO drops number 420 to save you blushes

Numbers are a deciding factor everywhere and Amdavadis pride in their personalised number plates. But an "offensive" number plate that isn't an "honest reflection of its owner" has played havoc in their lives and left them visibly embarrassed. Following complaints from uneasy and self-conscious Amdavadis stuck with their '420' number plates, Regional Transport Office, Ahmedabad, is planning to scrap the number '0420' from its system, making it the first RTO in the country to do so, an RTO official claimed. The number 420 is considered "nasty" because of its association with Section 420 of the IPC (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property).

Around 350 two-wheelers and four-wheelers in the city sport the number '0420'. According to D H Yadav, assistant regional transport officer, Ahmedabad, "We have been receiving the maximum complaints and inquiries relating to vehicle registration number '420'. Since Section 420 of IPC deals with cheating, people don't want to be associated with that number, but we also have some instances of people paying additional amount to avail of the number." There are two series of number plates that people have to pay extra to avail of — Golden and Silver, Yadav said.

Golden series contains one number like 999, 9999, 1111 and Silver has numbers like 1234, 3366. But 420 does not fall in any series and will be given in the normal course of allotment. 'We dread to take it out' It's been over three years that senior citizen Rashmikant Doshi (62) has bought an i10 car, but to this day Doshi or his son Nirav find it discomfiting to take it out. Everybody was elated in the family that a new car is coming home. But the euphoria did not last long. "After my son received a text message from the RTO that GJ-1RC-0420 is our vehicle registration number, the joy of owning a new vehicle suddenly crash-landed.

We became the not-so-proud owners of the car," Doshi said. In the initial months, the Doshis were not ready to take their car out. Now, over three years later, they are still to come to terms with it. "Whenever we take the car to a function, people would glance at our car number and then stare at us. Some would even pass comments. It becomes very embarrassing," the 62-year-old said. Doshi believes '420' is bad omen, and even hotels remove that number from their rooms, he says. "If the RTO is thinking of doing away with that number, then they are on the right track and should expedite it."

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