Kathmandu, January 15
The Department of Transport Management today decided to halt the printing of smart driving licences since the company responsible for printing the cards has failed to meet the required quality standards set by the government.
The DoTM’s decision will worsen the crisis at the department as there are over 450,000 applicants waiting for their smart driving licences. The number includes those who have already passed their written exams and trial and also those who have submitted applications for renewal of their licences. There are some who have been waiting for more than a year to receive their smart licences.
As a result of this delay, thousands of commuters have been driving their vehicles on the basis of licence fee receipt they got from the DoTM.
In a bid to ensure timely availability of smart driving licences to service seekers, the government had decided to allow a private firm — Malika Incorporated — to print smart driving licences on October 24.
Lawanya Kumar Dhakal, director general of DoTM, said Malika Incorporated had printed around 400,000 smart licences, but had failed to meet the necessary standards. “Since the number of complaints regarding the quality of smart licences had been rising we decided to inspect the cards and found them to be of poor quality,” he told THT.
“We have decided to print smart licences through our own resources,” he added.
According to Dhakal, numerous complaints were received against electronic chip embedded in the card. “We found that the chip easily dislodged from the card,” he said.
Moreover, Malika Incorporated had used thermal printing method instead of laser printing due to which letters printed on the card easily eroded over a short span of time, he added.
Dhakal added that DoTM would soon scrap contract with Malika Incorporated and decide what to do next after calculating the number of cards that had to be printed. Apparently, DoTM is not able to print sufficient number of smart driving licences as its printing machine has low capacity.
According to the DoTM, to meet the rising demand for smart licences it needs to distribute around 4,000 licences every day. However, its printers are capable of printing only around 2,000 to 2,500 licences a day.
A version of this article appears in print on January 16, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.