The cards were for people who became voters after 2012
The Election Commission (EC) will destroy 9.3 million low-quality paper printed laminated national identity (NID) cards. For reprinting the cards, it has signed an agreement with Smart Technologies that manufactured the low-grade cards.
The cards were for people who became voters after 2012.
Printing of the cards was completed in February of this year, two months beyond schedule. An EC investigation found that the cards were printed at local shops in Agargaon near the EC Secretariat.
NID wing Director General Brig Gen Saidul Islam said they did not pay the company any money.
“The company suffered financial loss. We are giving them a chance to recover,” he said. “This time we will monitor everything.”
He said the printing section will be set up in the EC building so that quality, time and security can be ensured. “I hope reprinting will start from July 23. We will be able to start distribution within 15 days,” he added.
An agreement was signed in July 2011 to provide high-quality NID cards to 90 million voters under the IDEA Project with the help of World Bank and UNDP.
The EC signed a contract with France's ‘Oberthur Technologies’ in 2015 for the production and distribution of 90 million smart cards. The project expired in June 2016 but was extended by 18 months.
As the company failed to meet the deadline, the EC canceled the contract.
When smart card distribution started after the delay, the number of voters had risen to more than 10 million. So, the EC decided to provide laminated NID cards to the other 9.3 million voters.
It signed a Tk7.93 crore agreement with Smart Technologies.
The company’s Managing Director Jahirul Islam admitted that they made mistakes. “We worked hurriedly because the EC gave us only two months,” he said. “But the cards were not printed at roadside shops.”
Jahirul said they signed a contract with the EC again “as this is a question of our reputation.” We will reprint the cards within the given three months ensuring quality,” he added.
He said they will print more than 100,000 cards a day.
Smart Technologies General Manager Sujoy Joarder said they are going to set up nine production belts on the 11th floor of the EC building. Each belt can print 15,000 cards a day.
He said 150 workers will be involved with the process that will be monitored by a 20-member Smart Technologies team.
“We will start our work by July 25,” he added.