KATHMANDU, July 5: The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has yet again called on vehicle owners to get embossed number plates for their vehicles. The distribution of embossed number plates drew a number of controversies in the past.
Issuing a public notice on Sunday, the DoTM has asked vehicle owners to move ahead for the process of acquiring “the advanced type number plates” to replace the hand-painted vehicle licence plates from the beginning of the next fiscal year. According to the department, the provision is now in place only for the vehicles registered in Bagmati Province.
The embossed number plates come with microchips that enable the government to maintain uniformity in the issuance of number plates and prevent duplication. Similarly, the new number plates also help authorities to maintain digital records of vehicles plying the roads, to collect revenue on time and control auto theft.
The plan to launch embossed number plates was included in the Three-Year Interim Plan 2007-10, but it remained in limbo for about a decade due to a number of reasons. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had intervened in the project following a complaint regarding irregularities in 2010.
The government had begun the process of distributing embossed number plates for vehicles on the basis of the provincial structure against the current zonal format from October 22, 2017. But the Parliamentary Committee on Development intervened in the process, suspecting foul play in the procurement process that handed over the work to print and supply the number plates to Decatur Tiger — a US and Bangladesh joint venture company.
Later, the Supreme Court on February 23, 2018, issued an interim order to stop the issuance of the high-security number plates, seeking to make mandatory the use of Devanagari font on the number plates. Last December, the apex judicial body paved the way for the government to move ahead with the process.
According to the DoTM, the embossed number plates to be installed in automobiles are divided into five categories. The first type of embossed number plate is for vehicles used by the President. The second type of embossed number plate is for vehicles used by government agencies. There is also a different embossed number plate for vehicles used by diplomatic agencies. Similarly, different types of embossed number plates have also been designed for commercial and private vehicles. These new number plates appear shiny and can be traced from a distance.
According to the DoTM, individuals can apply online to receive embossed number plates for their vehicles. The owners of heavy four-wheelers need to spend Rs 3,600 to fetch the number plates. Similarly, car owners can purchase these license plates for Rs 3,200, while owners of auto-rickshaws and other three-wheelers will have to pay Rs 2,900 to get the embossed number plates. Owners of two-wheelers, meanwhile, have to pay Rs 2,500 to get these number plates.