LAHORE - The Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control (ET&NC) Department has failed to run the smart registration card project.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar had inaugurated the motor vehicle registration smart card system at the office of the Excise & Taxation director general in Shadman last month.

“The process of motor vehicles registration has entered a new phase today. Now, the vehicle owners will be issued smart cards instead of registration books, that will eliminate the chances of forgery and theft of vehicles,” CM Buzdar said. He added a similar card would be launched in the federal capital within a month against payment of Rs1,500 and of Rs695 in Sindh. However, he said, in Punjab an improved version of the card having multifarious features would be issued for just Rs520 within 48 hours by paying the fee in any district of the province.

Official sources said the agreement signed with a courier service to deliver cards at doorsteps was also ‘incomplete and defective’.

A senior officer said on anonymity that the senior management of Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control   department could not make the courier service bound to deliver all documents to a vehicle owner.

The agreement did not clarify as to who (excise officials or courier crew) will be responsible for packing of smart cards.

The sources said the courier management wanted to charge three times for delivery of three different things of a vehicle –smart card, registration number plates and original file – whereas the excise officials wanted the delivery as a single package.

The Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control could not provide any device to MRA or any officer concerned to verify the smart card.

“If someone come to me and request transfer of a vehicle, I have no system to verify that card being requested to be transferred,” said an MRA said on the condition of anonymity.

“We are collecting cards from the DG office to deliver the people in MRA office.

During road checking, the excise staff has no mechanism to verify the smart card.

These cards have launched in Punjab, moreover, the department was supposed to dispatch smart cards at applicant’s address.

The machine can generate 20,000 cards on a daily basis whereas the manual system could issue only 8,000 registration books a day. The new system was aimed at improving efficiency and speeding up the process.

The card is developed in collaboration with Nadra and the excise department. After performing the data entry at ETO office, Nadra executes verification and validation checks on the provided data from ETO. The chip-based card is then printed by Nadra when the data has been verified and validated.

Also, the vehicle smart cards will be easier to carry compared to the vehicle books which is often an inconvenience for many drivers.

The vehicle cards will be the same size as the identity cards. Reportedly, all procedures required for the implementation of this technology have been executed - the Government of Punjab is not binding individuals to replace their books with these cards.

When contacted, Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control Director General Akram Ashraf Gondal said system was running smooth and delivery of cards was underway.  However he said that some issues with the courier service were yet to be resolved and the department scheduled a meeting with the courier service today (Monday).