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EC seeks Tk 1,089cr for holding polls

13 October 2021

Noman Mosharef :
The Election Commission (EC) has sought Tk 1,089 crore for holding postponed Union Parishad (UP) polls, by-polls of few constituencies, City Corporation, Zila and Upazila Parishads and municipality elections.
The government has allocated Tk 414 crore for holding these elections.
However, the EC did not hold about 2,800 local body polls due to the novel coronavirus surge in the country whereas the commission is to hold almost 4,500 elections in various levels in its current tenure, which is going to end on 15 February 2022.
According to the EC, the previous allocation is not sufficient to organize a big number of polls. So, they need more allocation to complete the rest of elections.
Recently, EC Secretary Md Humayun Kabir Khondakar has sent a letter to the Finance Division senior secretary seeking more money. However, the Finance Division did not response yet.Finance Division officials said during budget presentation, the EC has demanded Tk 864 crore for maintaining and holding polls. Later, Tk 414 had has allocated after a discussion with the EC. Now they are demanding more money, which is absolutely difficult to disburse as government income is shrinking due to Covid-19 impact.
According to the EC secretary's letter, in FY 2021-2022, about 4,471 elections will be held. They include few Jatiya Sangsad by-polls, City Corporation, Zilla and Upazila Parishads and municipalities and UP polls. But due to Covid-19 about 2,800 local body polls did not hold in FY 2020-2021as these will be held in FY 2021-2022.
EC has sent a budget allocation to the Finance Ministry demanding Tk 865 crore for maintaining all election related expenditure where the later allocated Tk 414.47 crore. But Tk 1,504 crore will be needed to hold the postponed and fresh polls. So, EC is seeking more Tk 1,017 core to complete the elections.
After scrutinizing all papers, including EC's letter, it is seen that about 4,300 UP polls will be held in FY2021-2022. Using ballot papers will use Electronic Voting Machine will be used in 500 UP polls and the rest by ballot papers. EC has calculated tentative EVM cost in every UP is Tk 29.37 lakh. Total amount for using EVM in 500 UP is Tk 147 crore. EC is demanding Tk 28.6 lakh for holding polls in each UP by using ballot papers and Tk 1,66,28 crore for 3,800 UP.
EC is expecting to organize two city corporations' elections in FY2021-2022. Two city corporations' election will be held by using EVM and EC is demanded Tk 14.45 crore for it. 15 JS constituency's by-polls will be held this fiscal year by using EVM and Tk 5.25 crore demanded for each constituency and total for 15 seats Tk 79 crore. 40 Upazila Parishad election will be held by using EVM and Tk 2.28 crore demanded for each and total is Tk 91 crore.
Besides, 64 Zilla Parishad election will be held by using EVM and EC demanded Tk 32 lakh for each Zilla Parishad and total Tk 20 crore for 64 zillas. In FY2021-2022, about 50 municipalities polls will be held by using EVM and Tk 1.72 crore is demanded for each and total is Tk 86 crore.
EC Secretary Md Humayun Kabir Khondakar said about 4,500 elections will have to be organized in the current financial year. The expenses we have sent for these election programmes are what we need. Along with these expenses, the expenses of the law enforcement agencies have also been taken into account. Hopefully, the Finance Division will pay according to our proposal. The election has to be completed on time.  

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