EC draws plans to spend Tk 80bn on EVMs in the next parliamentary elections

The commission plans to buy another 200,000 machines and preserve the ones already in operation

Published : 12 Sept 2022, 07:41 PM
Updated : 12 Sept 2022, 07:41 PM

The Election Commission is planning to spend Tk 80 billion to buy 200,000 electronic voting machines, or EVMs, and maintain those already in operation for the 12th parliamentary elections.

It will table a proposal for the project, which is the second for EVMs since 2018, in its meeting on Tuesday.

EC’s Additional Secretary Ashok Kumar Debnath on Monday said: “If the proposal receives approval from the EC, it will be sent to the Development Project Proposal under the Planning Commission.”

Ashok Debnath said along with the purchase of nearly 200,000 EVMs, the budget includes maintenance, preservation and training of people to operate the machines.

Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal said that EC plans to employ EVMs for 150 constituencies at a maximum in the next election.

Although other political parties are divided in opinion on using EVMs to cast ballots, the EC and Awami League both favour the decision.

The commission now has 150,000 EVMs, through which it can hold elections in 70-80 constituencies. It will need to purchase new equipment to conduct polls in additional seats.

The 12th general elections for 300 constituencies will be held between November 2023 and January 2024.

The project undertaken by the former EC for the 11th parliamentary elections will end in 2023. In the 2018 parliamentary polls, votes were cast through EVMs in six seats.

The potential cost for the 2018 project was set at Tk 38.25 billion.

According to EC officials, more than Tk 360 million was spent on the maintenance of the existing machines and the expenditure is rising all the time.

The budget for the second EVM project will include maintenance expenditures.

A media briefing will be held on the matter on Wednesday.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher