The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has said it will complete distribution more than 300,000 smart driving licences by mid-August.
Around 400,000 licence cards and additional printing equipment have been procured to ensure the process is completed within two months, according to the department.
Apart from 200,000 driving licences to be issued to new-riders, the department has received an additional 100,000 applications for licence renewal. Since such licences are hand-written, the department will have to issue fresh cards, taking the total number of driving licence cards to be issued to 300,000.
DoTM Spokesperson Tulsi Ram Aryal informed that the department has procured four new printing machines, taking the total number of machines to nine. “These machines will be operated in double shift to meet the target within the stipulated time,” Aryal told the Post, adding that the department can now issue 5,000 smart driving licences each day. “As demand for licence cards stands at around 4,000 daily, we are sure of normalising licence distribution within two months.”
After clearing the backlog, the department will start issuing smart driving licence to the applicants within a couple of days, Aryal assured.The DoTM introduced the smart driving licence in December 2015. The new driving licence resembles bank ATM card with electronic chips which can store information like the driver’s identity and vehicle registration number, among other data. Transports offices across the country can access to the data recorded on the smart driving licence. The traffic police and insurance agencies, among other authorities concerned, can also access to information about the licence holders.
The government had planned to complete the entire replacement process within three to five years. The replacement process was delayed due to slow progress, the DoTM official accepted.
The department expects to receive an additional 350,000 licence cards within a couple of weeks to cater to the demands. The government prints smart driving licence cards in Kathmandu and distributes them across the country through its zonal and district offices.
Meanwhile, the department has said that there were no reports of disturbance in the written and practical examinations for driving licence across the nation. “We had issued circulars to the transport offices, asking them to make financial adjustment before the new fiscal year. Services in some of the offices might have been affected for a few days. The report about complete closure of licence service is false,” Aryal said.