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Almost 800 driving licences issued through speedy application scheme

The programme aims to issue licences in one day and condenses the one-week theory and practical driving exams so they can be sat in an evening.



Almost 800 people have been given a driving licence during the first two days of the Ehluckin Mashah Licence programme, the economic ministry said.

The programme, run by the Maldives Transport Authority, aims to issue licences in one day and condenses the one-week theory and practical driving exams so they can be sat in one evening.

The economic ministry, which oversees the transport authority, said Sunday that 746 people successfully obtained the licence out of the 1,394 who took part in the programme over the weekend.

But there are concerns the programme may add to the capital’s congestion and that licences are being issued to people who are not qualified to drive, as well as complaints over the scheme’s politicisation.

A man who took part in Ehluckin Mashah Licence told The Press on condition of anonymity that the supervisor gives a pat on the back and says “you have passed” even when a driver runs over his feet.

Acting Police Commissioner Abdulla Nawaz admitted the programme may add to the traffic problem, but insisted that “this may cause more right than wrong.”

“I am sure that the public will be pleased because more people will now be driving with the licence. This will also help us, the law enforcement officers,” Sun Online quoted him as saying.

“The reality that we must accept is that someone, somewhere will be driving when they get the licence. We do not have to worry whether it happens today, tomorrow or in the coming days. This is why we have to take wise measures.”

The economic ministry has been using hashtags for President Abdulla Yameen’s campaign – #ZuvaanungeRaees #RY2018 – with photos of Yameen to promote the programme.

There was previously concern after people were asked to provide details of their social media accounts on the application form.

Nobody from the economic ministry or transport authority was responding to calls for comment about the concerns and complaints.

Hundreds queued up Friday for the speedy licensing scheme, which has been extended for applications until Thursday night. It will also be carried out in Hulhumalé and other regions with big populations.

Ehluckin Mashah Licence also aims to introduce a special agreement to allow traffic violation fines to be paid in installments over the course of a year.

Photo: Ministry of Economic Development