The Punjab Excise Department has found itself in a tough spot after the company responsible for the production of vehicle registration cards halted its operations.
The department awarded a contract of five years to the ‘Inbox Company’ and it ended in May. The company was contracted to supply 8.5 million cards at a cost of Rs. 438 per card.
The contract was extended for a brief period and another 400,000 cards were produced. The Excise department delivered more than 80,000 registration cards before the temporary contract came to an end.
According to a report, the department issued a late tender to avoid the risks of the entire process coming to a standstill. However, the progress beyond the technical bid phase has been slow.
At the moment, the Excise department now faces a backlog of 2.5 million number plates. It is exploring different options to address the issue such as introducing virtual cards.
According to a national daily, the price of smart registration cards for cars and motorbikes is expected to get a massive price increase in Punjab.
The hike in prices is due to a significant increase in the US dollar’s rate vs the Pakistani Rupee. When the contract of five years was awarded to the private company in 2018, the dollar was worth Rs. 140 and now it has skyrocketed to over Rs. 280.
The Punjab Excise Department-issued smart card has over ten security features including a monogram, a blue pattern that changes color with temperature, and unique lamination. However, the raw materials required for these cards are imported.