Sunday, January 22, 2012

High security registration plates for new vehicles by April: official

By April, new vehicles hitting the city roads will come with high security registration plates (HSRP). The existing vehicles would also have to comply within two years.
A senior Transport Department official said that a schedule is being drawn and each vehicle owner would be given a specific date to visit their respective Regional Transport Office (RTO) for replacing the existing number plates with the HSRP.
The move to introduce the high security registration plates has been under review since 1989. After the Supreme Court criticised the State governments in September last year for the repeated delays in implementation, most of the States floated tenders for the project. The Supreme Court on Friday set a deadline of March 31.
In Tamil Nadu, five entities have prequalified, based on a set of technical criteria, and the financial bids were opened last week. The Transport Department official said that an evaluation is being carried out and the company that will implement the project will be announced shortly.
Based on the experience of other cities, the new embossed high-security plates are expected to be available for around Rs.300, which would have to be paid at the time of registration.
While the scheme would be implemented throughout the State, a pilot implementation would happen in a few RTOs in Chennai first. Eventually embossing/fixing stations would come up within the premises of all the RTOs and unit offices in the State.
The official said that the number plates would have features such as a laser hologram and a non-removable/non-reusable snap lock to prevent counterfeiting and duplication.
Any attempt to remove or replace the number plate will damage the snap lock making it impossible to install any other number plate in the vehicle.
All plates would also have a unique identification number and can be tracked all across India, the official added. It would also eliminate the problem of fancy number plates.

Panel to study heritage buildings in Chennai

A major fire broke out in Khalsa Mahal, a heritage building, destroying the offices of the directorates of Social Welfare, and Industries and Commerce, in the early hours of January 16, 2012. File photo: R. Ragu
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has asked a technical committee, formed to examine the stability of the fire-ravaged Kalas Mahal in Chepauk here, to study the state of heritage government buildings in Chennai.
It will submit a report on safety measures to be undertaken in such buildings, according to a government release on Saturday.
The Chief Minister has also directed officials to carry out periodic checks on fire safety equipment in government buildings, ensure they are kept ready in the event of fire and that electrical equipment are tested at regular intervals and defects, if any, rectified.
Headed by former Dean (Civil Engineering) of Anna University A.R. Santhakumar, the committee includes Engineer-in-Chief of the Public Works Department (Buildings) R. Gopalakrishnan and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA)'s Chief Planner and convener of the CMDA's heritage committee C. Palanivelu.
Ms. Jayalalithaa instructed the panel to submit its report on the Kalas Mahal in five days. Besides studying the issue of stability of the structure, it would explore the possibility of restoring the heritage building or constructing a replica of the old structure.
The damage suffered by the Social Welfare Directorate has been estimated at Rs.1.2 crore and the Industries and Commerce Directorate, Rs.1.5 crore.
The offices of the two directorates have been provided with alternative accommodation.
The Social Welfare Directorate has started functioning from an unused building of Chennai Corporation's primary school at Chintadripet and the Directorate of Industries and Commerce from the headquarters of the Industrial Cooperative Bank's at Raja Annamalaipuram.
As an initial measure, the Social Welfare Directorate has been allotted Rs.96 lakh and the Industries and Commerce Directorate Rs.1.5 crore for purchasing furniture and stationery.
Ms. Jayalalithaa asked officials to re-construct employee service records and files. She held a meeting with senior Ministers and officials at the Secretariat to review the situation in the wake of the fire at Kalas Mahal.