KATHMANDU, Dec 16: The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has claimed that the smart driving licenses backlog will be cleared within four or five months.
There has been a lengthy delay in the issuance of smart driving licenses. Hundreds and thousands of people are waiting for their driving licenses since months if not years. Amid criticism, the department brought mass printer into operation form last week.
Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general of DoTM, said the department has installed a mass printer at its office. "We have already printed some 10,000 driving licenses since the mass printer came into operation last week," Hamal told Republica.
Earlier, the DoTM had said that it would start printing and distributing license from November. However, it couldn't materialize due to problem in installation of the printer, say officials of the department.
"This time, however, everything is working perfectly. The printer supplier has provided our staffers with needful training to operate the printer. Now, they are capable of operating the machine on their own," he said, adding that printer couldn't be operated previously due to lack of trained staff to operate the printer.
Madras Security Printers, an Indian company, had bagged the contract to supply and install mass printers. The two parties had signed a contract agreement for the same in April this year. The Indian firm is responsible for supplying one million units of smart cards along with the printer, according to the contract document.
The DoTM had previously roped in a local firm to print smart driving licenses. However, it terminated the contract with the firm as the driving licenses printed by it failed to meet the specified quality.
According to Hamal, some 500,000 people are waiting for their smart driving license to be delivered. "We hope to clear the backlog in four-five months," he added.
The department had begun distributing smart driving license from December, 2015. However, the distribution rate slowed owing to technical glitches while applications for new licenses piled up.
"The printer can operate for 10-12 hours in a day. It has the capacity to produce 500 smart licenses per hour," Hamal said, adding: "With this rate, we can clear pending applications for driving licenses in four to five months."
Due to failure of the department to issue driving license on time, some 500,000 people are carrying payment slip issued by the DoTM as an alternative to driving license.