EVM repairs: Letter to be issued for funds

Election Commission BuildingFile photo

The election commission (EC) is to send a letter to the finance ministry to know whether the budget they sought to repair the electronic voting machines (EVM) will be allocated.

Amid the controversy, the EC led by Kazi Habibul Awal sent a proposal of Tk 87.11 billion to the planning commission to purchase EVMs afresh in a bid to hold elections at 150 centres with EVM.  

However, the government decided to postpone the proposal for the time being considering the existing economic crisis. The election commission purchased 150,000 EVM in 2018. Of them, 40,000 are irreparable while the remaining 110,000 are needed to be fixed which will cost at Tk 12.60 billion.

The election commissioner Anisur Rahman on Monday told the newsmen that Tk 12.60 billion is required to fix a total of 110,000 EVMs. The EC is preparing a letter to send to the ministry to ascertain if the fund will be available. The letter might be issued on Tuesday.

The EC informed the matter of expenditure to the finance ministry at a budget-related meeting on 20 February. However, the ministry hasn’t replied to their request as of now.          

Anisur Rahman, "If the financial division allocates budget, then the decision over using EVM in the elections would be finalised."

When asked, the election commissioner said, "We couldn't wait for an indefinite period. Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory (BMTF) needs six months to repair the EVMs. So we think it is high time to get the funds."

Hoping the government will allocate a budget, he said the EC will get six months if they receive the decision over finance by next few weeks. If 110,000 EVMs are operational, then they would be able to hold elections at 70-80 constituencies with EVMs.