Half of 90m smartcards yet to be made

Dhaka,  Wed,  28 June 2017
Published : 18 Apr 2017, 10:36:04
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EC's NID wing has eight months to produce over half of 90 million smartcards

The Election Commission is supposed to provide 90 million of the 101.7 million voters with smart national ID cards within December this year, but it has not readied half the cards with just eight months in hand.

The NID wing of the EC says it did not get the blank cards, on which the smart cards will be printed, within the stipulated time from the French company hired to do the job.

It also says it does not have machines for printing the smartcards, reports bdnews24.com.

The NID wing's Director General Brig Gen Mohammad Saidul Islam told the bdnews24.com the 90 million blank cards were supposed to arrive from France by June 30 this year but the company sent only 52 million until March.

He said the authorities will take action against French firm if it fails to send the blank cards within the agreed time.

In 2014, the Election Commission agreed to a Tk 8 billion deal with French company Oberthur Technologies to produce and distribute the 90 million smartcards. After several delays, distribution of the cards began in 2016.

Now the number of voters has also increased to 101.7 million. The EC is mulling over the option of making smartcards for the new voters locally.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Saidul also said the EC has only 10 printers for making the smartcards while it needs 28 to make the smartcards within December. It is making the cards in two shifts a day now to meet the deadline.

But the NID wing may have to work three shifts a day to deliver the smartcards in time.

He said around 60 percent voters in capital Dhaka have been given smartcards since the distribution started last year.
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