Election Commissioner Md Alamgir said it will not be possible to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in 150 constituencies in the upcoming national election if the project to purchase these machines is not approved within mid-January next year.
"The EVMs must be ordered within mid-January next year. Otherwise, it will not be possible to open letters of credit, bring the machines in the country, train people and send them to the field in time," he told the journalists at his office in the capital's Agargaon.
On 19 October, the Election Commission sent a project proposal to the Planning Commission to purchase around 2 lakh EVMs to use them in the 12th parliamentary election in the country.
On Tuesday, the Planning Commission sent back the proposal to the Election Commission with some observations.
Meanwhile, Ashok Kumar Debnath, additional secretary of the Election Commission, told The Business Standard, that no major changes have been prescribed in the observations of the Planning Commission.
"Some costs will have to be reduced. But for this, no sector in the project needs to be dropped," he added.
He said the revised project proposal will be sent back to the Planning Commission on Sunday.
Election Commissioner Md Alamgir said in this regard, "We will arrange a meeting to make a decision after reviewing the Planning Commission observations. If the observations are important, we will certainly accept them."
Answering a question on reducing the budget of the project, he said, "The project includes costs for establishing warehouses to store EVMs, buying cars, arranging training etc. We will try to prevent the wastage of money."
"The Election Commission wants to use EVMs in a maximum of 150 constituencies. The number of EVMs currently possessed by the commission could be used in 70 to 75 constituencies," he added.
He further said, "There is no opportunity to clarify the market price of a product with a single source. Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory (BMTF) is the source of EVMs. The price has increased due to the dollar price hike."
On the observations of the Planning Commission, Ashok Kumar Debnath, additional secretary of the Election Commission, said, "There is no correction. We have not conducted any feasibility study. They have suggested an alternative to that."
"We have a technical committee for this consisting of teachers of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) and other universities. We will discuss this issue in detail in a meeting on Thursday," he said.