The number of applicants for new driving licences in the country has exceeded 500,000.

After suspending the driving licence issuance since April of last year in consideration of the coronavirus outbreak, the government had resumed the process in December.

According to Loknath Bhusal, information officer at the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), the number of applicants for the written exam of driving licence seems to be huge because the applications had piled up over the last 10 months.

He further said that the service-seekers can now fill the online form 24/7. "The service-seekers can fill the form at their convenience and just appear for the examination on the date fixed by the department," he said.

The department has been providing online service to fill up the application form since December. However, back then the department had applied a quota system and fixed a time limit for filling out the forms, which deprived many from taking the service.

"Even now, there are more service-seekers filling the form in the afternoon than in the morning and evening," Bhusal said, "But the complaints that service-seekers are unable to fill the form have gradually decreased in the recent days."

Soon after the infection cases went up, the government had imposed a nationwide lockdown in the country and the driving licence issuance along with other services were halted for a long time. Even though the offices resumed operations after the lockdown was eased, the procedure for licence issuance was halted to prevent the COVID-19 infection from spreading.

Citing possible crowd of service-seekers, the transportation offices were only distributing driving licences.

While the responsibilities related to transportation have been divided between federal government, provinces and offices at the local levels, the department is currently only working on the online service and printing of the drivers' licences.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 9, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.