LAHORE - The people are facing inordinate delay in the delivery of computerised number plates to their newly purchased vehicles throughout the province. The reason behind the delay is reported an acute shortage of computerised number plates by the Excise and Taxation Department, Motor Registration Wing. The firm which was awarded contract to supply computerised number plates has stopped the delivery. It wants to revise the rates set for manufacturing the number plates, The Nation learnt through reliable sources. The sources disclosed that the supply of the computerised number plates to vehicle owners throughout the province had either been partly suspended or delayed. The sources informed that the stock of computerised number plates with the E&T Department had almost been exhausted because the firm with whom the department had signed a contract for supply purposes was undecided to carry the deal forward. The firm concerned wants revision of the rates fixed earlier, the sources said. It may be recalled that so far the supply of computerised number plates to the applicants in other districts of Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Nankana Sahib, Rawalpindi, Multan and Bahawalpur has been delayed in marked disregard of the claims of the department made at the time of its inception that all number plates and registration book would be delivered to the vehicle owners within five minutes after its listing. Departmental insiders while explaining the scenario told The Nation that the system of supplying number plates to vehicle owners by the E&T would be abolished soon and the system would get reversed to the old routine. They added that in the existing price level, the contract company has refused to continue its supply wherein in future, either the charges of the number plates would be increased or the use of private number plates would be allowed. They said as the senior-most director, motor registration wing E&T Punjab, Massod-ul-Haque is on a foreign tour, the matter is yet to be settles until he comes back. It may be recalled that the vehicle owners in Lahore have already been forced to use fake and private computerised number plates owing to an absence of the original ones. This fact reflects the lethargy of the policy-makers in the E&T Punjab, pointing a finger at the relevant department that has yet to evolve a systematic strategy to tackle the issue. It is pertinent to mention here that following a publication of a news report in a national daily in this regard, the department in a press release had stated that a First Information Report (FIR) and an affidavit regarding the proper and legal use of duplicate computerised number from the applicant along with Rs 350 bank fine is required for the issuance of duplicate number plate. By the time of launching the computerised number plate system, the Excise and Taxation Department had claimed that it had in possession 9,00,000 computerised number plates purchased from a German company. The officials then dispelled the impression of any future problems in getting number plates refuting doubts of shortages. The company, the department officials said, was selected for being one of the best in the world in this field. The officials further claimed that the new number plates had security features that cannot be replicated, causing a blow to all the crooks who never missed any opportunity to forge documents and use fake number plates.