Kathmandu, April 12
The distribution of smart driving licences, which has been on halt since almost a year owing to the crunch of smart cards, is set to resume from next week.
Department of Transport Management (DoTM) — the government body that issues driving licences — said that it plans to distribute smart driving licences in full swing from next week as 500,000 smart cards were imported recently.
“We have already received 300,000 smart cards last week from our supplier — Madras Security Printers — and 200,000 such smart cards have arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) today. These digital cards will be enough to address the country’s demand for smart driving licences for a few months,” informed Rupnarayan Bhattarai, director general at DoTM, adding that the government will import such cards in the future as per demand.
Owing to the shortage of smart cards, almost 200,000 people seeking smart driving licences across the country have been deprived of the same. Those service-seekers who have passed the driving trial examination or are seeking renewal of their old licence have been desperately waiting for their digital driving licences.
Bhattarai informed that smart driving licences will be distributed to these 200,000 people in the first phase and to new service-seekers gradually.
Though service-seekers had to wait for months to get their digital licences in the past, Bhattarai claimed that DoTM will be able to issue smart driving licences to people in less than two weeks along with the availability of enough smart cards.
“We have also increased the capacity of printing such cards by adding new printing machines and operating them in various shifts,” added Bhattarai.
According to DoTM, the demand for smart licences is ever increasing and the current demand stands at around 4,000 units a day.
DoTM had begun distribution of smart driving licence from December of 2015 in Bagmati Zone. Initiated by the DoTM, the smart driving licence project is funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB). For the first phase of the smart driving licence project, ADB had provided a grant assistance of $25 million.
Unlike conventional driving licences, these digital driving licences incorporate electronic chips similar to SIM cards and contain information about the driver’s identity.
A version of this article appears in print on April 13, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.