Kathmandu, May 18

The government is set to introduce the much-hyped embossed number plate system for automobiles in the country by mid-June.

The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) is in the final stage of drafting the directive to regulate embossed number plate system in the country. “We’ve prepared a draft of the directive and sent it to the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance for approval,” said Rupnarayan Bhattarai, director general of DoTM, adding the department will enforce the system in less than a month.

Embossed number plates are more scientific than the traditional licence plates that are in use at present. It involves embossing of the metal plates with raised lettering and numbering unlike the traditional licence plates in vehicles, which are handwritten.

Such embossed number plates will have a chip fitted into it that will help the government keep records of all vehicles plying the domestic roads, as per DoTM officials. As such plates will have to be fixed onto the vehicle with a ‘one-way’ screw, DoTM claims vehicle owners will not be able to change such number plates on their own.

“The best aspect of such licence plates is that we will be able to track vehicles anywhere at any time. This will significantly help the government control vehicle thefts, crimes or any type of offence committed by a vehicle owner,” Bhattarai said.

Although the traffic police have been checking the bill book of vehicle owners on a regular basis, it is believed that a significant number of vehicle owners still do not pay the taxes owed to the government. While DoTM officials could not give an exact figure as to the number of people evading such taxes or the amount that could be recovered after implementation of the new number plates, they said it is expected to bring such people to the books.

Moreover, as many people flee the site after traffic accidents, which makes it difficult for the police to nab the culprits, implementation of embossed number plates will also go a long way in controlling traffic accidents, as per DoTM officials.

In a bid to effectively implement the embossed licence plate system in Nepal, DoTM is set to install ‘sensor gates’ along major routes and highways of the country. With the help of these gates, DoTM will keep track of every vehicle passing the gate. However, DoTM is yet to finalise the places where these sensor gates will be set up.

In the first phase, the government has planned to implement embossed licence plate system on two-wheelers in Kathmandu Valley. It will then be gradually expanded to include four-wheelers across the country. DoTM plans to replace all handwritten vehicle number plates in the country within the next five years.

As per DoTM, motorists can affix the embossed licence plates at DoTM offices after paying certain charges. “We have sent a proposed fee for the new plates to the Ministry of Finance,” an official at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport told The Himalayan Times, but refused to divulge the exact figures.

The embossed number plate system was first envisioned by the three-year interim plan 2007-10 of the government. However, the plan was constantly deferred due to the inability of the government to import required machinery to print such digital licence plates.