KATHMANDU, July 9: A total of 617,252 people are using payment receipts issued by the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) as substitutes of driving license as of Monday, due to inability of the department to provide smart license to the applicants on a timely manner.
“The daily demand of smart license is more than 7,000 including service seekers who come for renewal, additional category, or a copy of their driving license,” according to the department, the government body responsible for issuing driving licenses.
Tirtha Raj Khanal, information officer at the DoTM, said that the department currently does not have the capacity to print smart licenses as per the need because the printing machines have not been printing to the full capacity.
“I passed my driving license test from the transport management office based at Ekantakuna in Lalitpur. But it takes a long time to get the smart license. So I have been carrying the payment slip as substitute of my license,” said Pranesh Chettri, 19, who works for an IT company.
The government had authorized a private firm to print smart driving licenses. “They printed 300,000 smart license cards but failed to meet the quality,” Khanal said. “We started receiving complaints so we have sorted those cards on behalf of those who are yet to collect their licenses.” The department has sent those cards for reprint.
The department had opened a tender bid for mass printer and signed the agreement for its supply in April 30. “The mass printer will be delivered by July,” he added. The new machine is expected to print 450 cards in an hour.
“If we use the machine to its full capacity, the backlog can be cleared by the second week of November,” said Khanal.
Anju Gurung, a student at Tribhuvan University, has been waiting for her smart license card for seven months. She said: “I was told I would receive my license card after six months of the trial, but I have not received it yet.”
“I stopped counting the days. I occasionally check the status of my license card through an SMS. I checked it a few days ago. It still said: ‘Not Printed’,” Gurung added.
Similarly, Buddha Lama, a web developer at an IT company applied for renewal of his license three months ago. “I have seen my friends getting their cards after an average of nine months. So I don’t bother visiting the DoTM office,” Lama told Republica, adding: “When asked about the date of issuance of smart license, they told me to check the print status through SMS.”
“A total of 1.57 million smart license cards have been issued, out of which 959,000 have been printed and distributed,” said Shree Chandra Sah, IT director at DoTM. “The DoTM is technically sound as we send the auto-generated data to the service seekers through the SMS.”
According to the DoTM, an average of 2,200 to 3,000 cards are printed every day. The department had launched an SMS system to inform the public about the status of their smart license cards and the results of their driving license tests in February this year. It had started distributing smart driving license from December 2015.