Smart driving license backlog piles up as mass printer remains unutilized

Published On: October 22, 2019 12:19 PM NPT By: Sujita Pradhan

KATHMANDU, Oct 22: The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) is yet to operate the mass printer for printing smart license cards, which it had brought from India in August. The delay in using the mass printer has led to increasing backlogs of smart license cards.

According to the department, 600,000 to 700,000 smart license cards are overdue to be printed. The department had started distributing smart driving license from December, 2015 but the system is yet to be smooth. There are many applicants waiting to get their smart driving license. Till date, the total number of people receiving their smart driving license cards stands at 1,000,000.

Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general of DoTM, said the printer would start operating in a few days. “The mass printer is under testing period, it will start printing smart driving license after a few days,” he said. “It took time to operate the mass printer as it was brought from India, and we did not have expertise to operate it.”

The DoTM had awarded the tender to supply and install mass printer to an Indian company, Madras Security Printers. The two parties had signed a contract agreement 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. Earlier, the DoTM had roped in a local firm to print smart driving license. However, it severed contract with the firm as the driving licenses printed by it failed to meet the specified quality.
According to officials of the department, staffers are now trained to operate the machine. They will work in three shifts, and operate the machine for about 10-12 hours every day.

Earlier, officials from the department said that they would provide smart driving license to all applicants from November this year. But it does not seem likely as November is about to begin. 
“It takes minimum 15 days to provide smart driving license after completing all the procedures. We cannot provide it within a week in any case. It was a mistake to announce to provide smart driving license without completing preparations,” said information officer of the DoTM, Tirtha Raj Khanal. “In the present context it is taking time to provide license on time as we are learning to operate the machines with new technology. There must be proper plan and study before announcing anything.”

What is mass printer?
Mass printers are those types of printers that are used for printing bulk of text and images within a short period of time. These are especially used in big organizations and factories to complete the printing work in bulk within a short period. A mass printer could print 500 units per hour.

For the purpose of printing smart driving license, the mass printer has been brought from Madras Security Printers of India. The contract was signed between DoTM and the Indian company on April 30.

Printing of 700,000 cards still pending

The DoTM has been repeatedly failing to provide smart driving license. There are 700,000 backlogs still left to be printed. This means still 700,000 people who have passed all the tests for driving license are waiting for up to one year to acquire their cards. One can obtain smart driving license after he/she have passed written exam and completed the trial taken by offices under DoTM.
“Backlogs cannot be completed immediately as operating with mass printer is new to our employees. But after it comes into operation, we may clear all the backlogs in three to four months,” said Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general of DoTM.

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