Lalitpur, Mar. 26: The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has informed that the application process for driving license examinations was suspended until further notice from March 15 because of a large number of applicants.
The DoTM informed at a press conference organised here on Friday that there were around 570,000 people waiting to appear in the examinations with their date for visiting the office scheduled as late as December, 2024. “Suspending the application process was a must because of the queue. We plan to conduct the examinations of those who applied before March 15 by mid-June,” said Namraj Ghimire, DoTM director general.
Issuing a notice on March 14, the DoTM had informed that the application process for driving license examinations were suspended until further notice from March 15. The department plans to open application process after mid-June with a provision of allowing new applicants to appear in the exams within 15 days of applying. Citing that the COVID-19 pandemic caused some delays, DoTM officials stressed that the effects of the interruption would be resolved.
According to Ghimire, the DoTM plans to reduce the growing number of applicants for driving license by making application payment mandatory while applying. “Around 70 per cent applicants do not reach the offices in called date. Applying casually has soared due to which we plan to make payment of required amount mandatory while applying online,” said Ghimire.
The application process will also be linked with the citizenship database so that an individual cannot apply more than once in different transport offices after mid-June. “Implementation of point system in the exams across the country, installing embossed number plates and GPS in vehicles, constructing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) gates, setting-up weighbridges and digitalising transport related services are also underway,” said Ghimire.
Speaking at a press-meet called by the DoTM on Friday to reveal the works performed in the past one year, Ghimire informed that the central body was coordinating with provincial governments to make transport sector qualitative.
“A 22-point agreement on transport development being prepared after a joint discussion with transport ministers of all seven provinces and DoTM officials at Pokhara a week ago will be made public soon. It includes steps to improve transport-related services,” Ghimire said.
The press-statement shows that a total of 1.4 million driving license have been printed until January, 2022, and 6,000 licenses are being printed daily. Those going abroad are provided with printed license within a week.
“A temporary license is also being made mandatory for a year. Anyone found violating traffic rules more than five times in that period will have their license terminated. A printed license will only be provided after it,” said Ghimire.
A mobile application has been provided to the Traffic Police to check the temporary license which has a QR code. An application has also been made to prepare real time result of driving license trial exam but is not being used effectively. A total of 175,346 embossed number plates have been printed but only 17,498 have been installed in vehicles.
The department informed that it was planning to make installing embossed number plates and GPS in vehicles mandatory while registering or renewing. “The Blue Book of vehicles can also be carried in printed form now. It can be paid digitally and a receipt with a QR code is obtained. It can be scanned by traffic police to check its legitimacy,” Ghimire told The Rising Nepal.
In regards to the agitated public transport operators over the fare issue, the DoTM stated that they have requested the ministry to implement an automated fare revision structure on the basis of change in fuel price. “There are 13 indicators in scientific fare revision. Other indicators will be analysed once a year but we can make fare revision automatically based on the change in fuel prices,” said Ghimire. Ghimire argued that the department was moving forward by coordinating with provincial governments to make transport sector well-managed.
“It will take some time to amend our existing laws and regulations to bring forth required changes in transportation sector. We are moving slowly but sharply because we need a long-term solution,” Ghimire added. The DoTM also expects to operate an automatic driving trial exam centre which will function with CCTV cameras and sensors. Pokhara is said to have shown interest in it as the Kathmandu Valley lacked required land.
“We are also in need of a virtual traffic surveillance system and are working on it by consulting with stakeholders,” said Ghimire.