NEW DELHI: Rs 7.1 lakh could well get you a sedan, though not many are willing to shell out much money in these times of economic distress. So, if someone paid that sum simply to own a registration plate reading 0009, then perhaps it is a sign that Delhi is headed to an economic revival.
The state government’s transport department mopped up Rs 33.8 lakh through the e-auction of fancy registration numbers for cars and two-wheelers in July.
The highest bid was Rs 7.1 lakh for a licence plate that would give the car a distinguished 0009 licence plate. The number appears popular, for high bids of Rs 4.2 lakh and Rs 3.1 lakh for the figure in other series were also accepted last month. Registration numbers that fetched more than Rs 3 lakh include 0005, 0007 and 1111. The highest bid received for a two-wheeler plate was Rs 50,000 for the number 0006.
When the e-auction of what are termed “fancy” registration numbers restarted in April, only one number — 9000 — found a bidder, who paid Rs 1.5 lakh. In May, five numbers collected Rs 9.3 lakh for the transport department, with 0022 fetching Rs 2.1 lakh. In June, the takings rose to Rs. 21.7 lakh, with Rs. 3.4 lakh for 0002 the highest bid.
In April-July, the transport department earned Rs 66.3 lakh for the fancy numbers. But the Covid-19 effect was evident because in the same period last year, 1,078 numbers had sold for Rs 3.7 crore. However, government officials aren’t too discouraged because there have been far fewer car sales or extravagant spending this year because of the pandemic.
In fact, officials said that the very fact such amounts were being spent now on licence plate numbers only indicated that buyer confidence was re-emerging.
Till the Covid outbreak, Delhiites weren’t averse to splurging on unique registration plates. In June 2017, a hospitality firm created a record, which remains unbeaten, by paying Rs 16 lakh for the honour of having a 0001 registration number. The earlier record of Rs 12.5 lakh had been established in September 2014, again for 0001. That number is rare because the transport department has run out of alphabets with which it can be combined. Other sought after numbers are 0009 and 0007.
The online e-auctioning of much desired registration numbers was started in 2014, and is conducted by the Delhi Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited on behalf of the transport department.