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EC proposes to buy 132,000 EVMs for national polls

  • Published at 12:26 pm August 20th, 2018
GCC polls EVM machine 001.jpeg
File photo: A voter's identity is being checked before she casts her ballot using a electronic voting machine (EVM) at a polling centre during the Gazipur city polls on July 27 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

This will be proposed at the Ecnec meeting, for approval

The Election Commission (EC) is planning to buy 132,000 electronic voting machines (EVM) for the upcoming national elections. 

Last week, the commission submitted a project proposal to use EVMs for different elections –  including the 11th parliamentary polls – to the Planning Commission—for the  the National Executive Committee of Economic Council’s (Ecnec) approval. 

The proposal is likely to be approved after Eid-ul-Azha, an EC official said.

SM Mahmud Arafat, official (Operations Planning), at the commission’s IDEA project, said the commission wants to buy 318,500 EVMs for union parishad polls.

But as the national election is only months away, the commission primarily proposed to buy 132,000 EVMs for 150 constituencies. 

According to the proposal, there are 220,000 polling booths at 44,000 polling centers across 300 constituencies. So, 264,000 EVMs will be needed.

However, there are 110,000 polling booths in 22,000 poling centers across 150 constituencies. So, that will require 132,000 EVMs.

An extra EVM will be kept at each polling center. 

The project proposal submitted to the Planning Commission, proposes six points—including the procurement of EVMs. 

Other proposals include undertaking initiatives, implementing public awareness programs among voters, and providing training to increase the skills of election officials.

The total project cost is estimated at Tk3,821 crore. Most of the money will be spent on buying EVMs—each of which costs about Tk2 lakh per unit.

Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam said, on Sunday, that the commission is working to amend the Representation of the People Order (RPO) by including the use of EVMs in 11th parliamentary poll.

The revised RPO will be placed in parliament in the upcoming session.

“We are working toward the next parliamentary polls. The amendment of the RPO is in progress as well. Two commission meetings have already been held on these issues,” she said.

“Some additional corrections and other suggestions have been proposed. The commission will decide on these at the next meeting,” Kabita added.

Another Election Commissioner Rafiqul Islam said the issue has not been placed before the commission meeting yet. 

“This is an administrative issue. The chief election commissioner and secretary can speak about this. Basically this is the work of the EC Secretariat.”

The project will be implemented in five years, from July 2018 to June 2023. 

One of the main objectives of the project is to publish election results as fast as possible—and restore confidence in election management.

EC officials said the EVMs will be used for 11 city polls, 323 municipality polls, and 4,555 union parishad polls from July 2018 to June 2023. 

As many as 35,000 EVMs will be used in 30,000 polling booths in 5,000 centers of city corporation polls; 35,000 EVMs in 30,000 polling booths in 5,000 centers of municipalities; and 318,500 EVMs in 273,000 polling booths in 45,500 centers of union parishad polls.

The previous commission purchased 190 EVMs at the cost of Tk192,975.

The existing commission has bought 2,535 EVMs. Only 380 EVMs have been received.