Transport department not ready to resume driver’s licence tests yetOfficials say they hope to conduct the tests after Tihar, provided the Covid-19 situation improves by then.
The Department of Transport Management has said the driver’s licence tests will resume only after the Tihar festival, around November end.
Earlier, the department officials had said that they were planning to resume the tests by October end.
The driver’s licence tests, both written and practical, have been halted for the past six months due to the Covid-19 lockdown and the prohibitory orders.
Raju Khadga wanted to get a driver’s licence and start working as a taxi driver in the Capital. He would have to wait for now.
The 25-year-old had joined a driving school after the government lifted the four months-long nationwide lockdown on July 21. He says he decided to become a taxi driver as his previous job at a corporate house stopped paying him after the country went into the lockdown from March 24.
“I went to a driving school in Kupondole for two weeks after the lockdown was lifted. When I was ready for my driver’s licence test, it was then I came to learn that the department had not been conducting the tests,” said Khadga.
While the transport offices in Kathmandu Valley, including in Thulo Bhyrang, Sukedhara, Jagati and Ekantakuna, have resumed the works relating to licence and vehicle registration certificate renewal, they are not catering to the service seekers applying for new licences at the moment.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division in Kathmandu has come up with an online application system for reclaiming lost licences or vehicle registration certificates.
These services mean little to the people like Khadga and hundreds others who want to obtain licences, many of whom are planning to go abroad for jobs and studies.
The department’s decision to postpone the resumption of driver’s licence tests till at least November end has also affected many driving schools and institutes, as they have not been getting as many clients to support their business.
The majority of driving schools are run on leased property, and without enough customers they cannot pay their rent.
The transport department says resuming the driver’s licence tests is still risky as the cases of coronavirus infections have not subsided.
“Moreover, the transport offices are seeing a large number of service seekers for licence and vehicle registration renewal. The staff are already overwhelmed because all services were closed during the four-month long lockdown. We cannot add more crowds by resuming the tests,” Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general of the department, told the Post.
According to the department’s record, around 8,000 people apply for driver's licence and another 4,000 or so people pass the tests across the country daily.
If we were to consider these numbers, Hamal says transport offices would not be able to cater to the crowd, let alone prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“If the Covid-19 situation improves after Tihar, only then we will come up with a detailed strategy to resume the tests with proper health and safety measures,” Hamal said.