Sujan Dhungana, The Himalayan Times, 23 Nov 2017
Owing to the shortage of smart cards, more than 150,000 people seeking smart driving licences across the country have been deprived of the same.
Following the failure of the government to ensure the availability of such cards, service seekers — including those who have passed the driving trial examination or are seeking renewal of their old licence — have been awaiting their digital driving licences for almost six months.
As a result, many riders on the streets break into cold sweat every time they come across traffic police checkpoints. Bikki Bohara, a resident of Balaju, is one of the applicants for digital licence. “Since I don’t have a licence I have to face hassles at traffic checkpoints. It only shows how poor government service is in Nepal,” he said.
Even government officials say these applicants will have to wait until the end of December to get their smart driving licences, as the agency printing smart cards is unlikely to supply digital cards before that.
“Digital licence distribution has been affected due to lack of smart cards. We are doing our best to resume the service as soon as possible,” said Tok Raj Pandey, spokesperson for Department of Transport Management.
Following acute shortage of smart cards, DoTM had awarded the contract of printing and supplying additional 750,000 smart driving licence cards to Madras Security Printers of India. The Indian company has to start supplying smart cards to the government by December-end.
DoTM has been accusing the previous management of the department for scarcity of smart cards. The DoTM management has been saying that the earlier administration did not issue a tender for smart cards in the last fiscal, even though the government had allocated Rs 160 million for the purpose, which resulted in the funds remaining frozen.
However, Pandey is optimistic that smart driving card distribution will be smooth after the government starts getting the new lot of smart cards from the Indian company.
“We are also preparing to issue another tender soon to purchase smart cards and printing machines in bulk. This will ensure that service-seekers will not face any problem in getting digital licence in future,” said Pandey.