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Motorists offer bribe to avoid number 39 curse

Motorists offer bribe to avoid number 39 curse

Jan 11, 2018 - 20:07

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Many motorists who apply for registration of new cars pay bribe to avoid the much-hated double digits “39” in their car number plates.

Most people in different provinces of the country consider number ‘39’ as a mark of great shame and reject numbers containing 39 digits. This issue is not limited to vehicles registration but is also considered bad in mobile phone numbers, house numbers and other places.

Middlemen, who go between applicants of car registration and traffic department officials, can be seen active in the vicinity of the Traffic Police Department in Kabul.

They were telling the applicants that currently registration number plates had reached the series starting from 39 and the process had been stopped but they could provide the applicants with different number plates.

“You must pay $250 to get registration plate without digits 39 at your doorstep in eight or 10 days,” said one of the middlemen to a Pajhwok reporter considering him as an applicant.

Nazir Ahmad, one of the applicants, said: “I purchased a car last year and did all needed formalities but the Traffic Department officials told me the number plates had reached the 39 series.”

When asked why he did not want a registration numbering containing 39, he said: “The digits bring down the price of vehicle in the market by at least 100,000 afghanis.”

He said his friend provided him the contact number of a person who demanded $300 to provide a registration number without 39.

“Finally that person agreed to accept $200 and I was able to get registration plate for my car after some days.”

Dil Agha, another applicant, said three months earlier he wanted to get a registration number for his vehicle, but he was told the process would take at least one month.

But he got the registration number within a few days through a middleman against $250.

“The person who sought commission told me that 39 digits were just 50 number plats away and if I further delayed, it will not be possible to get a number not having the cursed digits.”

One of the middlemen said Traffic Department officials received their share in the bribe money.

However, traffic officials rejected corruption in the department and added people should not get help from outsiders.

Mahbob Shah Sadaat, the Traffic Department head of Kabul, said the issue of 39 digits was a challenge that caused the department a million afs loss annually.

He asked people not to take the issue seriously as it was only a conspiracy spread by few people.


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