Smart driving licenses backlog to be cleared within two months

Published On: October 24, 2018 06:00 AM NPT By: SHUVAM DHUNGANA

KATHMANDU, Oct 24: A private company has started printing smart licenses from Tuesday in order to ease the distribution of licenses pending since a long time.

The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) had awarded a contract to print 600,000 backlog smart licenses to Malika Incorporate Pvt Ltd following a cabinet decision taken about a month ago.

The company has pledged to clear all backlog licenses within two months, government officials told Republica. The company has installed 20 printers and can print up to 20,000 smart licenses per day.

The government decided to sign the one-off contract with Malika Incorporate amid growing complaints from service seekers regarding the inordinate delay in issuing licenses by the government.

DoTM officials admit they have been excessively slow in distributing licenses because of the huge number of applications they receive, which an Indian company tasked with printing licenses has been unable to handle effectively.

According to the department, around 400,000 people have already received smart licenses whereas 600,000 applications are still pending and around 1.4 million people are currently using receipts instead of smart licenses.

Due to the delay in distribution of smart license, a cabinet meeting on September 16 had decided to give the contract to print the licenses to the new company. However, Malika Incorporate will be using the cards already purchased by the government from the Indian firm, Madras Print, for printing fresh licenses using thermal technology instead of laser technology.

This is expected to bring down the cost as well as time of printing the cards but will have to compromise on the quality of the licenses.

According to Gokarna Prasad Upadhyay, information officer at the Department of Transport Management, the department receives around 5,000 applications in a day.

“The number of applicants was only around 1,200 previously. Due to the high demand of smart license, a temporary contract has been given to Malika Incorporate. The contract will automatically end after completing of the printing task,” Upadhyay said, adding, “Four companies had applied for the contract out of which Malika Incorporate was selected by the cabinet.”

If everything goes as planned, the pending smart license will be printed within two months although the quality will not be the same as the smart licenses printed by the Indian company, according to Upadhyay.

Experts have warned that the use of thermal technology may result in unclear photo or photo being deleted after a certain period.

The cost of printing a smart license is only Rs 13, excluding the cost of the cards which the DoTM has already purchased from Madras Print. The rate of printing the smart license using laser technology is Rs 80 (including the cost of cards). This means Malika Incorporate has bagged a contract of Rs 7.8 million.

Privy sources also claimed that the government is mulling to award a separate contract to Malika Incorporate for printing smart bluebooks after the completion of this contract.

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