Kathmandu, March 20

The government’s plan to install embossed license plates in vehicles has been in limbo for more than a year affecting over 10,000 applicants who had requested for these modern vehicle identifiers.

The government had formally introduced the embossed number plates in the country in August 2017.

In the first phase, the modern license plates were installed in government-owned vehicles. Since then, the plates have been installed in more than 4,600 vehicles plying on the roads of Kathmandu valley.

As the government was planning to replace all ordinary license plates with embossed registration plates, a single bench of then chief justice Gopal Parajuli, in February 2018, issued a stay order, suspending the distribution of embossed license plates based on a complaint demanding use of Devanagari fonts in those registration plates.

The apex court is yet to issue a final verdict on the case. This has forced the government to put its plan to install embossed license plates in the backburner. This has affected over 10,000 vehicle owners who had applied for the modern registration plates, which come with raised lettering and numbering unlike traditional licence plates that are handwritten.

“Things have not moved ahead following SC’s stay order. We will resume the work only if we get a nod from the court,” said Gokarna Upadhyay, spokesperson of the Department of Transport Management.

Following the court’s stay order, the government has also suspended all works related to development of a tracking system for vehicles installed with embossed license plates.

The government has appointed US-based Decatur Tiger IT to build tracking system on different routes so as to reduce incidences of vehicle thefts and misuse. The DoTM had planned to install tracking gates for embossed plated vehicles across 10 different places in the country—five in Kathmandu valley and five along major highways. However, the US-based contractor is yet to develop the system.

The embossed license plates come with a microchip, which helps the government to maintain regularity in the issuance of number plates and prevent duplication. The government has set different rates for installation of embossed license plates depending on the type of vehicle. Motorcycle owners must pay Rs 2,500, three-wheeler owners need to deposit Rs 2,900, light four-wheeler and tractor owners are charged Rs 3,200 and heavy vehicle owners must pay Rs 3,600 to install the embossed license plates.