800,000 deprived of smart driving licence

Kathmandu, December 7

As the government has not bothered to provide knowledge to concerned officials on how to use the related software and printing machines, almost 800,000 service seekers have been deprived of smart driving licences.

An interesting aspect, however, is that the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has installed a mass printer to print smart driving licence cards and high-level officials had visited Italy to learn about its functions, however, the machine has not been brought to use yet. “The issue here is that instead of technical personnel some highlevel officials who are not involved in the printing process had gone for the training,” said an official at DoTM seeking anonymity.

As a result, the DoTM is still using the older printers that have limited capacity to print the smart cards. Consequently, DoTM has not been able to issue smart driving licences to almost 800,000 service seekers who had applied for renewal of old licences or had passed vehicle trial 15 months ago.

Even DoTM officials accept the fact that it has not been able to issue smart driving licences as per demand owing to low printing capacity.

Tirtha Raj Khanal, director at the department, said they have been facing problems in issuing licence to the people since the smart driving licence was introduced four years back and the problem has compounded since the last two years. “We are trying our best but have not been able to resolve the issue.”

Earlier, Gogan Bahadur Hamal, who had been appointed as director general of the department on May 2, had claimed that he would eliminate the problem entirely by December but his claims have not yet materialised and the problem still persists.

“It is true that we have not been able to cater to the demand for smart driving licence and a large number of service seekers have been affected. However, we are doing our best to print as many smart licences as we can,” said Khanal. “Once we start utilising the mass printer, which we hope will be by next week, we will be able to resolve this predicament.”

The new mass printer has the capacity to print 400 smart cards per hour, as per DoTM. “After the mass printer is put into operation we plan to print cards for 18 hours a day in three shifts,” Khanal stated.

To make matters worse, nearly 14,000 smart licences that the department had issued earlier have to be reprinted as the information of the cardholders printed on the cards is unclear and the chips embedded in them have also dislodged. As per DoTM, information related to blood group and address were not clearly printed and the photo of the cardholder was also not clearly visible.