Be it four or two wheelers, residents of Pimpri Chinchwad seem to have a special fixation for “golden numbers”. Thanks to this, the office of the Deputy Regional Transport Office, PCMC, has earned more than Rs 8 crore since April 1 through the sale of special numbers in the region.
Data from Deputy RTO’s office indicates that in the above time period a total of 9,331 people had applied for and obtained the fancy numbers. More than 60 per cent of the applicants had obtained the golden numbers for their two wheelers. Officials say that the craze for golden numbers for two wheelers is more as it costs less than that of a four wheelers.
The golden number ‘0001’, costs Rs 4 lakh for a four wheeler while for a two wheeler it costs Rs 50,000. Similarly, for the series of numbers 0009, 0099, 0999, 9999 and 0786 it costs Rs 1.50 lakh for four wheelers, while it costs only Rs 20,000 for two wheelers.
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For the series of numbers 0111, 0222, 0333, 0444, 0555, 0666, 0777, 0888, 2222, 3333, 4444, 5555, 6666, 7777 and 8888, it costs Rs 70,000 for four wheelers and Rs 15,000 for two wheelers. The officials point out that this difference in cost exists for the other golden number series as well.
Allocation of the fancy numbers is done by lottery and on first-cum-first-serve basis. Such is the craze for the numbers, often the series finishes off within hours of opening for auction.
Officers while commenting about the craze for golden numbers in the Pimpri Chinchwad, said that it stems mostly from the periphery and rural areas of the township.
Areas like Khed, Maval, Ambegaon and towns like Alandi, Khed Chakan, Rajgurunagar are hot seats for fancy number plates on two wheelers. People who opt for these numbers, as per the officials, are either land lords or small time industrialists of labour contractors of the area. Craze for such numbers for two wheelers is also seen among the lower rungs of political workers of the area.
Sagar Shirke had paid Rs 50,000 for the golden number ‘1’ for his motorcycle. In fact Shirke has two more bikes with the same number. Asked about this craze for the number, he said that in his area no one else has this number and it makes his bike unique. “People would recognize my bike by its number and thus I have taken it,” he said.