Shillong, June 16: One man’s food can sometimes turn out to be poison for many others.
Members of the Meghalaya Automobile Accessories Association (MAAA) today rued that the implementation of the high-security registration plates (HSRP) and the decision to do away with tinted glasses have ruined their business.
Some association members had also taken bank loans to open shops dealing with fixing registration number plates and tinted glasses.
The Supreme Court order “to fix HSRP in all vehicles and removal of tinted glasses” has proved to be devastating for those who have been earning a living through such jobs.
“Our lives have been dislocated in view of the loss of business. So, where do we go now? Does the government intend to do anything for our welfare?” general secretary of the association John Phira Mawa asked while briefing reporters at a press conference.
Earlier, those like Mawa earned around Rs 500 from each registration number plate. The average earning for fixing tinted glasses was Rs 600 per vehicle. “Some of our members have even availed of bank loans to open shops. How will they repay the loan now when the business has slumped?” Mawa asked. According to him and other association members, the use of HSRP since 2006 in Meghalaya has not at all reduced the number of vehicular thefts.
“We appeal to the public to join hands with us in our demand for rehabilitation and alternative employment. If the government can take away our means of livelihood today, it can take yours too in the days to come,” Mawa said.
At present there are around 30 shops within the association, and each shop employs around an average of three persons. In February, the Supreme Court warned several state governments and those of Union Territories to either ensure HSRP for all vehicles by June 15 or face contempt of court proceedings.
According to the apex court order “installation of HSRP is a statutory command which is not only in the interest of the security of the state, but also serves a much larger public interest. Therefore, it is not only desirable, but mandatory, for every state to comply with the statutory provisions/orders of this court in terms of the Constitution.”
“All states are mandated to fully implement the scheme of fixation of HSRP in their entire state, positively by April 30 for new vehicles and by June 15 for old vehicles,” the court had said.
The Meghalaya government had been implementing HSRP since August 2006, but with the company, mandated with the task to fix the plates, landing in a legal tangle, the process has slowed down. In February this year, the government restored the implementation of HSRP by Shimnit Utsch Pvt. Ltd. Four-wheelers have to pay Rs 1,905 each for HSRP while tractors need to shell out Rs 1,602. For two-wheelers, the price is Rs 771 for motorbikes and Rs 783 for scooters.