The government is planning to introduce the smart card concept in the transport sector after a gap of two years. The Department of Transport Management has decided to introduce smart cards for driving licences and bill books from the current fiscal year.
The department will call a global tender for the smart card soon, said director general of the department Chandraman Shrestha. “We have regenerated the concept following a directive from the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management,” he said. The ministry has decided to introduce smart cards in mid-July to reform the transport sector.
Earlier, in 2010, minister for labour and transport management Mohamed Aftab Alam had tried to introduce smart cards for licences and bill books. However, the process was halted after the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority suspected irregularities in the process.
Minister Aftab had formed a committee in the ministry to carry out the bidding process breaching the area of the department. According to law, the department should have started the bidding process. The commission found discrepancies in the process.
According to Shrestha, the tender process will start in three months and implementation of the smart cards will begin at the end of the current fiscal year. “We are serious about implementing it,” he said, adding that smart cards can be effective in controlling the use of fake driving licences and bill books.
The Asian Development Bank is providing financial support for the initiative.
Similarly, the department is also planning to introduce embossed number plates for vehicles. The introduction of embossed number plates will help control criminal activities. “Embossed number plates can’t be changed easily, so it will reduce the use of vehicles in crimes,” he said.
Former director general of the department Saradchandra Paudel had envisioned the concept three years back. “We have been conducting a feasibility study,” he said, adding it will be implemented this year once the study shows a positive result. Tender will be called soon, he added.
Nearly 1.4 million vehicles are registered in the country including more than 850,000 motorcycles. The policy will affect vehicles plying across the country. The department is planning to implement the smart card from Bagmati zone where about 50 per cent vehicles are registered.
Meanwhile, the department has completed building digital record of driving licences and bill books in all its 14 zonal offices. The process was started about a decade back. Similarly, the department has introduced e-billing system for collecting transport revenue — licence or vehicle registration and for renewing them.