June 6: Seven months after the Supreme Court cleared way for the government to distribute embossed number plates, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has started process for installation of the number plates on vehicles. DoTM has opened online application for the purpose and the process to install the number plates will start from July 16.
DoTM in early 2017 had awarded the Rs 4.78 billion contract to a Bangladeshi company Decatur Tiger IT to supply and install the embossed number plates on vehicles. The installation, which started in the same year was halted due to language related problems. Advocate Bharat Kumar Basnet and Rajan Burlakoti filed a petition saying that the plates were imprinted with English language which violated the constitutional provision that mandates the use of Devanagari script in any government work. Chief justice Gopal Parajuli issued an interim order to halt the installation of embossed number plates in February 2018.
In November 2019, a bench comprising Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana and five members dismissed the writ and opened way for fixing the embossed number plate. Though DoTM was preparing to install the number plates from February. However, the process got halted due to the lockdown. According to Tirtha Raj Khanal, director of DoTM, has resumed the process with the easing of the lockdown.
DoTM had signed a contract with Decatur Tiger to install embossed number plates on 2.5 million vehicles in five years. As the process got halted due to the interim order, only 4,600 vehicles were installed with the embossed number plates. Khanal said that the company, which has been producing the number plates even after the interim order of the Supreme Court, has already produced 2,00,000 number plates. “The plates are ready. Now, we will move ahead with the installation process,” said Khanal.
According to DoTM, the number plates vehicles registered in the Bagmati Province will get the new number plates in the first phase. DoTM has allocated four locations at Transport Management Office, Gurjudhara, Vehicle Inspection Centre, Teku, Transport Office, Ekantakuna and Department of Transport Management, Minbhawan for the purpose.