KATHMANDU, Jan 14: The state coffers will have to bear an additional burden of Rs 350 million for reprinting smart licenses after the contractor undertaking the printing works was found to be using low-grade thermal technology instead of the high-quality laser technology in the printing process.
Malika Incorporate Private Limited, a firm set up primarily for printing smart licenses, was awarded the contract for printing the licenses through a cabinet decision on September 16 without any prior invitation for tender bids.
Technicians have warned that the smart licenses printed with the thermal technology will not even last for five months.
They claimed that the card is likely to have the problems of fading of letters, unclear photos, and the traffic police personnel will not be able to read the chip of the cards in five months.
With these issues and the failure of Malika Incorporate to hand the smart licenses on time nagging the government officials, the government has issued a fresh tender for printing new smart licenses with laser technology, which will burden the state coffers with additional Rs 350 million.
A senior government official told Republica that Prime Minister KP Oli’s honorary Information Technology (IT) consultant Asgar Ali insisted on using the low-tech thermal print technology instead of the advanced laser technology for printing the smart licenses in order to land the contract for Malika Incorporate.
A source at the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) claimed that action could not be taken against Malika Incorporate even though it was printing the license at snail’s pace since it had the political backup of the PM’s IT consultant.
A high-level source from the DoTM claimed that IT consultant Ali is also trying to land the new contract worth Rs 350 million to a company he favors.
Ali is said to be lobbying for Madras Security, a company which was previously awarded the contract for printing such license but was not able to print 750,000 licenses on time.