KATHMANDU: The government’s work of installing embossed number plates has hit a snag due to court writs, lockdowns, limited services and lack of interest among vehicle owners, among other factors.
The statistics at the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) shows that about 3.6 million vehicles are registered in the country at present. However, according to DoTM Director General, only 5 percent of them have embossed number plates.
Moreover, vehicle owners can install the new embossed plates from only four places in the capital.
An agreement was reached in 2017 between DoTM and Indian company Decatur (Tiger IT Corporation) for the supply of embossed number plates and printing of plates. As per the agreement, Decatur was to issue 2.5 million number plates in five years at a cost of Rs. 4.90 billion.
At that time, it was said that installation of the embossed number plates would start from September 20, 2017. However, a case filed at the Supreme Court demanding the use of Devanagari script on embossed number plates halted the process. That writ was quashed by the Supreme Court after 22 months.
After the full text of the decision came out last Shrawan, DoTM resumed the work of installing the embossed number plates on vehicles. Work was affected again after the country went under lockdown for coronavirus control.
Director General Ghimire claimed that they have begun work of converting old number plates to embossed plates in full swing with the start of the new fiscal year (2021/22).
Currently, most of the embossed number plates are being installed at DoTM’s Vehicle Testing Office in Teku. Chief of the office Maniram Bhusal told Khabarhub that the number of owners with small and medium vehicles has skyrocketed after the embossed number plate system was made mandatory.
“Currently, 40 to 45 vehicles are being provided with embossed number plates on a daily basis,” he said.
Though more people were arriving at the office for installing the new number plates, the office is not equipped to install more than 50 embossed plates in a single day.
Currently, Province 1 and Province 2 remain to be named, and hence ‘Province 1’ and ‘Province 2’ itself is embossed on number plates. Assuming the provinces are named in future, will that affect vehicle owners? In this regard, Bhusal said, “It doesn’t matter, the embossed number plate with the state number is attached until the name is given.”
When can one install embossed number plates?
Currently, one can upgrade to embossed number plates from four places in Kathmandu.
For government vehicles, service is available at the DoTM office, in Min Bhawan. Service for large transport vehicles is available at Transport Management Office in Ekantakuna. Likewise, for two wheelers the service is available at Transport Management Office in Gurjudhara.
And, three-wheeled and small and medium-sized four-wheeler vehicles at the Vehicle Testing Office, Teku.
Fees depends on the type of vehicle
The cost of getting an embossed number plate depends on the vehicle one has. The cost for two-wheelers is fixed at Rs 2,500, Rs 2,900 for three-wheelers, Rs 3,200 for four-wheelers and Rs 3,600 for large vehicles.
Easy to manage from embossed numbers
According to Bhusal, head of the Vehicle Testing Office, Teku, embossed number is a new technology for vehicle management. Embossed number plate is fixed with radio frequency identification, which makes it easy to track vehicles from a central control room. Information about the vehicle and its number plate and its condition can be found out from the control room.
Since the number plate is recorded, it is easy to track a vehicle that is on the run after violating traffic rules. Vehicle theft is also controlled and the authority can identify vehicles that have not paid the taxes.
Bhusal said, “Many people are now driving without paying taxes. All taxes should be paid while installing the embossed number plate.”
The budget statement of the current fiscal year mentioned that vehicles registered across the country can get embossed number plates from all the provinces. The government is preparing to set up an office in every province to install embossed number plates.