Technical difficulties in mass printer delay smart licence printingThere are around 7,000 new applicants every day but only 1,500 cards are being printed currently.
After widespread complaints from service seekers about the delay in smart licence delivery, the Department of Transport Management had purchased a mass printer from Italy in July.
The department officials, after installation of the printer, had told the Post that printing of the licences would start in a week. But nearly two months later, the printer has yet to become operational.
According to Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general of the department, the delay was caused by problems in installing the software.
“We are continuously working on the mass printer to fix it as soon as possible. We trialled the printer previously,” Hamal told the Post. The previous printers were small with small printing capacity but the new printer can print 500 smart cards in an hour.
However, Hamal claimed that the department was in the last stages of the work and the mass printer will come into operation from Sunday.
“From Sunday, there won’t be any technical issues in the new printer after its installation as the company has sent an expert to look after any problems that arise in the first two years,” said Tirtha Raj Khanal, information officer at the department.
The department has purchased an additional one million units of smart cards to ensure their smooth supply in the future. However, according to Hamal, only 100,000 cards have arrived so far. “The remaining cards are expected to arrive within this month,” said Hamal.
More than 600,000 applicants are waiting for smart driving licences. According to the IT department, there are around 7,000 new applicants every day. Since the printers can only print 1,500 smart cards a day, applications have been piling up.
On October 23 last year, the transport management department awarded a contract to Malika Incorporate to print more than 500,000 backlog licenses but it was able to print only 360,000 cards in the contract period.
“The office failed to print the licences in the given time. In addition, we received numerous complaints about the quality of licences, so we had to stop printing through Malika,” said Khanal.
Altogether 1.6 million people have applied for the smart licence. However, the department has only been able to issue around 900,000 such licences so far. Smart licences were first issued in December 2015.