Nepal | July 08, 2020

Distribution of smart driving licences slow

Govt’s printing capacity caters to less than 50 per cent of the demand

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, May 15

The euphoria that Niyesh Badal of Kapan felt after successfully completing his trial for the driving licence for a two-wheeler quickly dissipated into frustration when he was told that he would have to wait nearly a month before he would be legally allowed to ride his motorcycle.

“A month-long wait for a simple service like this,” Badal, a student, said in disbelief after he finally got his smart licence card from Department of Transport Management (DoTM)’s Dhumbarahi-based office.

While Badal now has the necessary documents to ride his motorcycle without worrying about getting in a jam with the traffic police, hundreds of Nepalis continue to wait to get their smart licence card owing to low printing capacity of the government.

Acknowledging the inefficiencies in distribution of smart licences, Director General of DoTM Roop Narayan Bhattarai explained that DoTM has only three machines to print smart licence cards.

As a result of inadequate number of machines with the government to print the licences, the DoTM has been issuing only 700 to 800 smart licences in a day against the daily demand of more than 1,800.

However, Bhattarai informed that DoTM is in the process of publishing electronic-bidding notice for the procurement of four smart licence printing machines soon. “Until then, we are making preparations to print smart licences in two shifts every day to meet the demand,” he said.

Bhattarai also informed that DoTM is in the last stage of purchasing additional smart cards — 80,000 in the first phase and 200,000 in the second phase — to meet the demand of smart licences in the country. According to him, the current stock of smart cards will cater to the demand of smart licences for less than one month.

While the government officials claim to be doing their very best with the limited resources, service-seekers claim such repeated problems being faced in availing basic facilities provided by the government is a clear reflection of government’s lack of accountability towards its people.

The government had begun issuing such digital licences from December 2015 and has issued more than 150,000 smart licences in Bagmati zone till date. DoTM recently started issuing such digital licences in other parts of the country as well.

Similar to a bank debit and credit cards, the smart driving licences have electronic chips that contain rider’s identity and vehicle registration number. The entire project is being funded by the Asian Development Bank.

A version of this article appears in print on May 16, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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