Memorandum causes number plates confusion

If the order on a memorandum sent out last week is to be implemented, automobile manufacturers will have to redesign the portion of road vehicles front and rear where number plates are attached. The issue which has left the Road Traffic Organisations (RTO's) asking more questions than they can answer, is the number of languages the number plates will have to be displayed in.

The memorandum insists that the number plates must be in Kannada as a way to show local Karnataka pride and English. Curiously, the last date for adhering to this rule, mandatory for private and government road vehicles alike, was April 30th. The transport department Joint Commissioner Vijay Singh said the memorandum was issued some four years ago, allowing people to display number plates in Kannada, if they so preferred.

However, the provisions of the Road Vehicles Act, states that number plates have to be in English and Arabic. "So, it was suggested in the memorandum that vehicle owners who wish to use Kannada to display the registration numbers would have to use four number plates two in English and Arabic and two in Kannada. The department has not made it mandatory to have three or four number plates" Singh said, trying to clear the air.

But the RTO officials here have been scratching their heads as to how to implement the memorandum because no automobile manufacturer has so far made the provision to have two (or more) number plates either in front or rear of the vehicles. What is more problematic is that the memorandum states that motorcycles should display the registration numbers in English on the right-hand side and Kannada number plates on the left in front of the vehicle. The third plate in English will have to be fixed to the rear.

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