Budget cut or delay in approval will hinder process to buy EVMs, says EC commissioner Alamgir

Election Commissioner Md Alamgir on Wednesday said 150 constituencies will not be able to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the 12th general elections if the budget for buying EVMs is cut or the proposal to buy EVMs is not passed by January 15.


“As we can buy EVMs from the Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory (BMTF) only, we are unable to assess their market price,” he told the media at the Election Commission (EC) office in Dhaka.


Without conducting a feasibility study, the EC sent a proposal for a development project worth Tk8,711 crore for purchasing two lakh EVMs and for their management. The EC forwarded the development project proposal to the Planning Commission.


According to the Planning Commission’s guidelines on development project formulation, processing, approval and revision, a feasibility study is a must for any project costing Tk50 crore or more.


Alamgir said, “There is no scope for feasibility studies as we cannot ask for a quotation to buy EVMs. We have to buy the EVMs at the price that BMTF has given us. There is no scope of a feasibility study.”


According to the proposals, EVMs with all their accessories would cost Tk3.33 lakh and about Tk6,660 crore would be needed to buy two lakh machines.


Another Tk1,155 crore would be needed to build a warehouse to store them, a customisation centre, and to buy 534 pickup vans and four SUVs. And Tk206 crore more would be required to carry out awareness campaigns on EVMs, on informing voters and training officials. The rest will go towards administrative costs.


The EVMs would be used in a maximum of 150 parliamentary constituencies during the 12th national polls. The EC currently has 1.5 lakh EVMs that can be simultaneously used in 70 to 80 constituencies.


Source: United News of Bangladesh