Camera comedy continues
Published: 2014-01-19 22:58:30.0 BdST Updated: 2014-01-20 01:41:47.0 BdST
The Parliament Secretariat is apparently not too keen on being a part of the 'Digital Bangladesh by 2021' that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised the people of the country.
Members of the 10th Parliament including her could not have photos for identity cards as the Secretariat's identity card section has no digital camera for the job.
The wing had called tenders three times but could not manage to buy a single digital camera which would be used for taking photos of the MPs for their ID cards.
It is customary for the new MPs of new Parliament to sign the signature book at the office of the Parliament Secretariat after taking oath. Afterwards, their photos are taken for the ID cards.
But as many as 293 MPs, who took oath starting from Jan 9 until Sunday, had to submit their photos for the cards. Those photos would be scanned and used for ID.
The Prime Minister herself expressed frustration on Jan 9 at the Parliament Secretariat Secretary's office after finding out that they had no digital camera.
Speaking to bdnews24.com, an official of the Secretariat, who was present there on that day, quoted Hasina as saying, 'I'm turning the whole country digital and my Parliament has no camera!'
She left the Secretary's office right away without saying another word.
Reached for comment on the matter, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury told bdnews24.com: "Cameras will be bought once the money is available."
In the 2008 polls campaign, Hasina had set a goal for the country to become fully digital by year 2021 in line with her efforts to improve economy, cut poverty and make Bangladesh a middle-income nation by then.
Many steps for the development of ICT sector were also taken after the Awami League formed government in 2009.
Measures were also taken to build a 'Digital Parliament'. Money has been made available for this from several projects funded by foreign donors including the UNDP.
As many as 350 laptops were also bought from government funding for the MPs of the last Parliament, but those are gathering dust.
Secretariat officials said a Parliament Commission meeting in 2012 had approved the Digital Access System Project for the House. Tk 50,000 was also allotted to buy a digital camera for the ID card section under that project.
Tenders had been called thrice until now after getting approval but one complication after another has prevented the purchase of a camera.
One of the officials said that process to call tenders had begun for the fourth time after the Prime Minister expressed her 'frustration'.
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