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Ecnec clears Tk3,825cr project to procure 1,50,000 EVMs

  • Published at 11:17 pm September 18th, 2018
The Election Commission is planning to use EVMs at the polling centres in one-third of the country’s 300 constituencies, a move which drew huge criticism from oppositions and independent observers Syed Zakir Hossain
File photo of an electronic voting machine Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The Election Commission sent the EVM procurement project proposal to the Planning Ministry recently

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday cleared a Tk3,825.34 crore project to procure 1,50,000 electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The approval came from the weekly Ecnec meeting held at the NEC Conference Room in Dhaka’s Agargaon, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, reports UNB.

The project titled “Procurement, Preservation and Use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) Aiming at Bringing More Transparency in the Electoral System” will be implemented by June 2023.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said: “The EVMs will be used mainly in urban areas at first and will gradually be introduced in other areas.”

He said the prime minister also stressed the need for making sure that the machines were not misused.

The Election Commission has already announced that it wants to hold the 11th general election in the last week of December and plans to use 1,50,000 EVMs in 100 constituencies during the vote.

The commission had sent the EVM procurement project proposal to the Planning Ministry recently.

The planning minister said the EVM project would be implemented in three phases, adding that the Election Commission was yet to decide how many of these machines would be finally used in the national polls.

He also said that the Planning Commission placed the project in an Ecnec meeting after conducting a feasibility study. “We did not approve it hurriedly.”

The main objectives of the project are: to develop democracy by ensuring fairer and freer elections; making the vote-casting process transparent, flawless, credible and based on modern technology; enhancing the credibility of election results through gradual introduction of 1,50,000 sets of EVMs; training 3,110 different-level officials and employees concerned to use the machines; and enhancing public awareness over participation in the electoral process.

The 13 other projects

On Tuesday, Ecnec approved a sum-total of 14 projects – 11 new, including the EVM one, and three revised – with an estimated cost of Tk12,544.94 crore, Planning Minister Mustafa Kamal said.

Of the total cost, Tk8,842.33 crore will come from government fund, Tk257.01 crore from the own funds of the organizations concerned and Tk3,445.60 crore as project assistance.

About the Tk750.59 crore “Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) Economic Zone, Mirsarai-1st Phase Project,” Kamal mentioned that the prime minister ordered to build a state-of-the-art drainage system for the zone and run its central effluent treatment plant (CETP) centrally.

The other projects are:

- Establishment of Sheikh Hasina Tantpalli (1st phase) with an estimated cost of Tk253.30 crore

- Upgrading Hathazari-Raozan part of Chittagong-Rangamati National Highway into Four-Lane with Tk528.45 crore

- Widening and Strengthening Jamalpur-Madarganj Road (3rd revised) with Tk128.45 crore

- Infrastructure Construction and Development of Narayanganj City Corporation with Tk461.26 crore

- Construction of Railway Line between Chilahati and Chilahati Border aiming to Set up Railway Link with India with Tk80.17 crore

- Establishment of Agricultural Research Centre of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) in Gopalganj and Development of Agriculture Strengthening Environment-Ecology-Befitting Research Activities in the country's South-western Region with Tk157 crore

- Barisal-Patuakhali-Bhola-Jhalakathi-Barguna-Madaripur and Shariatpur Agriculture Development with Tk111.91 crore

- Gopalganj-Khulna-Bagerhat-Satkhira-Pirojpur Agriculture Development with Tk82.65 crore

- Establishment of BCS Economic Academy (2nd revised) with Tk257.98 crore

- Relocation of Bangladesh Betar from Shahbagh Complex to Agargaon, Construction and Modernisation (1st phase) (3rd revised) with Tk 113.15 crore

- Improvement of Drainage System to remove water-logging in Khulna City with Tk823.79 crore

- Program for Supporting Rural Bridges with Tk4,971 crore