Over 600,000 waiting for driving licenses for months

Published On: February 12, 2020 10:02 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Mass printer fails to clear license backlog as hoped

KATHMANDU, Feb 12: Though the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) said on December 16 that the backlog of applications for smart driving license will be cleared in 'four-five months', more than 600,000 people are still to get driving license.

The department has failed to clear the backlog even though the number of applicants has dropped by around 2,000 per day.

"We used to get as many as 7,000 applicants a day two months ago. Now, we are getting an average of 5,000 applications per day," Tirtha Raj Khanal, the information officer at DoTM, told Republica. "The drop in the number of applications will help us to clear the backlogs sooner," he added.

However, data provided by the department shows that it has managed to reduce the backlog only nominally over the past four months. In mid-December last year, when the department installed a new mass printer, it had around 700,000 pending applications for driving license. Now, the department has more than 600,000 such applications.

"The mass printer is functioning smoothly. We have not faced technical problems so far," Khanal said.

According to Khanal, the mass printer can print 500 licenses in an hour. The department has mobilized staff in three shifts to clear the backlogs. But the results are not satisfactory.

Madras Security Printers, an Indian company, had bagged the contract to supply and install mass printers. The two parties had signed a contract for the same in April last 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.

The department had started distributing smart driving license from December 2015 but the system is yet to be smooth. There are many applicants still waiting to get their smart driving license even after the operation of mass printer.

Earlier, the Department gave the reason that workers lacked training to operate mass printer but still they have a lot of reasons to hide their mistakes. Due to failure of the department to issue driving license on time, some 600,000 people are carrying payment slip issued by the DoTM as an alternative to driving license.

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