Printing of license comes to a grinding halt for 6 months in Nepal, leaving 1.4 million drivers in limbo

Published On: December 23, 2023 08:54 PM NPT By: Bhuwan Sharma

KATHMANDU, Dec 23:  The printing and distribution of driver's licenses have come to a halt for the past six months. As a result, drivers who have successfully passed their license tests and renewed their licenses are yet to get new licenses. 

Officials at the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) said that they were printing licenses below full capacity for the last 15 months, although printing was done partially until six months ago when the printing process stopped altogether.

Currently, the DoTM is only issuing urgent licenses to a limited number of individuals going abroad for work or study, with a daily issuance ranging from 350 to 400. The primary reason for the suspension in license printing is the lack of cards with electronic chips needed for the printing. As a result, the printing of licenses has been put on hold since mid-June, and only a minimal number of cards are being printed from the limited stock available.

Despite an average of 4,000 to 5,000 people passing and renewing their licenses daily, there is uncertainty regarding when they will receive their licenses. The backlog of licenses yet to be printed has reached almost 1.4 million, prompting the issuance of temporary licenses, which are fragile and prone to damage within a few days.

Uddhav Prasad Rijal, the director-general of the DoTM, acknowledged the delay and mentioned that, for the past five months, licenses could only be issued to individuals going abroad for study or work. He assured that preparations have been made to start printing a large number of licenses from January 16, with an expected arrival of about 600,000 cards in the first batch next month.

Rijal added that provincial governments have allocated budgets for license printing, and a tender has been called to purchase a new machine to remove the printing backlog. Currently, the DoTM has only one machine for printing licenses, but with the expected arrival of a new machine, it is anticipated that the printing issues will be resolved.

The printing of licenses for Nepal is done by India's Madras Security Printers, but the DoTM has now partnered with a German company for card supply. The integration of the German company's cards took approximately four months, contributing to the delay. Rijal explained that the current machine at the department can print 500 licenses in an hour, but the shortage of cards is limiting the overall printing capacity.

While the responsibility for issuing licenses has shifted to provincial governments under federalism, all seven provincial governments are facing challenges in printing and distributing licenses. Consequently, the central government has taken the responsibility of printing and distributing licenses to address the ongoing issue.


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