KATHMANDU, JULY 5
The process of installing embossed number plates on vehicles, which was halted since two years, has resumed with Department of Transport Management (DoTM) opening online applications from today.
Though DoTM had started the process to affix embossed number plates on vehicles since the beginning of 2018, the process was stopped a few months later following a case filed against the system at the Supreme Court (SC). Responding to a writ petition filed by Bharat Basnet that demanded the use of Devanagari script on the embossed number plates on February 7, 2018, a single bench of Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli had issued a stay order directing the government to suspend the distribution of embossed vehicle number plates.
The writ petitioner had also stated that not using the Devanagari script in the embossed number plates undermines Nepali culture and language.
However, the apex court opened the doors to implement the system in vehicles by scrapping the writ recently, as per Tirtha Raj Khanal, director at DoTM. “We have opened applications for embossed number plates from today. Initially, we aim to implement the system fully in government-owned vehicles while the system will be made mandatory for private vehicles gradually,” he said.
Prior to the court halting the process, the department had already installed embossed number plates on more than 2,000 government and private vehicles. In April 2016, the government had inked an agreement with Decatur Tiger — a US and Bangladesh joint venture company — to print and supply embossed number plates. As per the pact, Decatur is supposed to instal embossed number plates on 2.5 million vehicles in Nepal within April 2021, a target that is not reachable now.
The DoTM is also learned to have been preparing to extend the deadline for Decatur. The company is also responsible for building vehicle tracking gates across 10 major entry points — five within the valley and five outside the valley. “The process to fit embossed number plates and construction of vehicle screening gates will take place simultaneously,” added Khanal.
Embossed number plates are chip-fitted plates affixed on vehicles. Such number plates are expected to help the government keep records of all vehicles plying the domestic roads, facilitate the government in controlling vehicle thefts, crimes or any other type of offence involving vehicles.
As per DoTM, two-wheeler riders can avail the embossed number plate by paying Rs 2,500, while three-wheeler vehicle owners and four-wheeler vehicle owners will have to pay Rs 2,900 and Rs 3,200, respectively. Similarly, heavy vehicles will have to pay Rs 3,600 to instal the embossed plates.