October 24, Kathmandu. From next November, it will be mandatory to convert the number plate attached to the vehicle to ’embossed’ technology. The embossed number plots have to be connected from the specified date to the vehicle in the specified category in the specified province in a phased manner.
The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has published a notice in the Gazette stating that the system of making embossed plates mandatory is being implemented. The government is only going to make embossed connections in the named provinces.
As per the Gazette, from November 20, 2078, the newly registered vehicles in Bagmati, Gandaki, Lumbini, Karnali and Far Western Provinces will have mandatory embossed plate connection. As the names of provinces 1 and 2 are yet to be finalized, embossed plates will not be mandatory there right now.
Embossed number plates will also have to be attached while transferring vehicles from February 1, 2078 in the already registered provinces. Similarly, from 1 June 2079, the vehicle registration certificate (blue book) will have to be attached while renewing. It is mentioned in the Gazette that if anyone wants to connect before the stipulated time, such facility will also be available.
After repeated disputes and debates, the department had voluntarily started the installation of embossed plates in vehicles again from January, 2077 BS.
The government has set a fee of Rs 2,500 for two-wheelers for attaching embossed plates, Rs 2,009 for three-wheeled small vehicles including tempos and Rs 3,200 for four-wheelers including cars, jeeps, vans and tractors. Large vehicles have to pay a fee of Rs 3600 to keep the embossed plate. The government has said it will maintain the fee despite complaints that it is too expensive.
Namaraj Ghimire, director general of the department, says that now all the disputes over embossed number plates have been resolved.
No Devanagari script on number plate
The demand for the use of Nepali letters and numbers (Devanagari script) on this number plate was made from the very beginning. However, the government did not listen. Instead, the government took legal action against such demands.
After the patriarch of Nepal Pragya Pratisthan Ganga Prasad Upreti drew his attention on August 19, 2077, the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that he would immediately stop using English language on the plate in consultation with the concerned ministry and body.
Even in some urban and rural areas, the percentage of English language literacy is very low. He was of the view that the use of Devanagari script was essential to create an environment where the victims could easily get justice as they could not pick up the number in case of an accident.
The distribution of embossed number plates was postponed after the Prime Minister’s Office expressed concern over the possibility of using Nepali language on embossed number plates. However, during the discussions at the government level, it was concluded that English language should be used. The government concludes that the use of English is world-class and that devices that recognize such plates can only read English.
Three years ago, advocates Bharat Kumar Basnet and Rajan Burlakoti had filed a petition in the court demanding to stop the use of English on the embossed plate. The government had won the case by advocating for two years at the apex court that the use of English language was right. As there are no legal or technical issues in the work of plate connection, the government has a plan to implement it.
The Department of Transportation Management had started affixing embossed number plates on vehicles from September 20. However, a dispute had started over the non-use of Nepali language numbers and letters on the plate. The dispute had reached the Supreme Court. A single bench of the then Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli had issued an interim order on March 26 not to use embossed number plates on vehicles immediately. The distribution of embossed plates was then stopped.
A five-judge constitutional bench, including Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher Rana, had decided to dismiss the writ petition against the use of English language in embossed. After that, the Department of Transport Management had started distributing embossed number plates in Bagmati Pradesh from July 20. Such plates were being distributed from four transport offices in the Kathmandu Valley before the Prime Minister stopped them.
The purchase agreement was signed on 16 June 2073 to print 2.5 million embossed plates by 16 June 2078. Initially, the plates were distributed in the name of the constitutionally repealed zones. After the dispute, the distribution was started by mentioning the number of the state. However, the language dispute had reached the court as there was a demand not to add embossed plate instead of naming the province.
The agreement stipulates that the government of Nepal will have to pay 95 percent compensation to the Bangladeshi company Tiger Decatur for failing to provide plate printing for five years. The Bangladeshi company was awarded a contract worth ३ 38.750 million excluding VAT to implement the plate. Tiger has so far managed to print only about 10,000 embossed plates. The department has planned to extend the agreement if 2.5 million plates could not be printed within the stipulated period.
How is embossed?
The government has given number plates to the President’s vehicles. Governments and institutions have a red number on the white plate, while diplomats have a blue number on the white plate. Arrangements have been made for private white plates and rental vehicles to have black number plates on the yellow plates.
The number plate of the vehicle is mentioned on the outside of this number plate. The letters on the metal plate stand out. This number plate cannot be removed once connected. If removed, it must be cut. That is why it has been claimed that no one can steal a car and drive it. The embossed number plate can be easily checked by the reader machine carried by the police.
The department affixes electronic safety stickers on vehicles with embossed number plates. Details of the vehicle are kept on that sticker. The technology chips placed on this number plate also contain vehicle details and various details of the vehicle. Based on which, the police can get the details of the vehicle immediately.
There are also plans to install gates with embossed number plate reading machines in different parts of the city and on highways. The machine will read all the details of any vehicle crossing it and automatically ‘enter’ it in the computer. It doesn’t take long to know which vehicles are in which area.