Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday cleared a Tk 3,825.34 crore project to procure 1.5 lakh electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The approval came from the weekly Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room here with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The project titled ‘Procurement, Preservation and Use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) Aiming at Bringing More Transparency in the Electoral System’ will be implemented by June 2023.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal informed that the Prime Minister said EVMs should initially be used in urban areas limitedly as the number of educated people in cities and towns is higher.
The EVMs should gradually be used across the country, the Prime Minister added.
Sheikh Hasina also stressed the need for making it sure the machines are not misused.
Mustafa Kamal said, "Today, Ecnec approved a total of 14 projects with the total estimated cost of Tk 12,544.94 crore.”
Of the total cost, Tk 8,842.33 crore will come from government fund, while Tk 257.01 crore from the own funds of the organisations concerned and Tk 3,445.60 crore as project assistance.
Of the 14 approved projects, there are 11 new projects, while the remaining three are revised ones.
About the EVM project, he said they have taken the project which will be implemented in three phases. “The EVMs (1.5 lakh EVMs) will be procured in three phases.”
Replying to a question how many EVMs will be used in the next national election, the minister said the Election Commission will decide it.
He said the Planning Commission placed the project in an Ecnec meeting conducting a feasibility study over it. “We didn’t approve it hurriedly.”
The main objectives of the project are to development of democracy through arranging fairer and freer elections; making the vote-casting process transparent, flawless, credible and modern technology-based one; enhancing the credibility of election results through gradual introduction of 1,50,000 sets of electronic voting machines, providing training to 3,110 different-level officials and employees concerned over the vote-casting through EVM and enhancing public awareness over participation in the electoral process.
About another project titled ‘BEPZA Economic Zone, Mirsarai-1st Phase Project’ involving the estimated cost of Tk 750.59 crore, the minister said the Prime Minister gave directives that the drainage system of the economic zone must be made in a scientific way and its central effluent treatment plant (CETP) must be run centrally.
The 12 other approved projects are Establishment of Sheikh Hasina Tantpalli (1st phase) project with an estimated cost of Tk 253.30 crore; Upgrading Hathazari-Raojan part of Chattogram-Rangamati National Highway into Four-Lane project with Tk 528.45 crore; Widening and Strengthening Jamalpur-Madarganj Road (3rd revised) project with Tk 128.45 crore; Infrastructure Construction and Development of Narayanganj City Corporation project with Tk 461.26 crore; Construction of Railway Line between Chilahati and Chilahati Border aiming to Set up Railway Link with India project with Tk 80.17 crore; and Establishment of Agricultural Research Centre of BARI in Gopalganj and Development of Agriculture Strengthening Environment-Ecology-Befitting Research Activities in the country’s Southwestern Region project with Tk 157 crore.
The remaining projects are Barishal-Patuakhali-Bhola-Jhalakathi-Barguna-Madaripur and Shariatpur Agriculture Development project with Tk 111.91 crore; Gopalganj-Khulna-Bagerhat-Satkhira-Pirojpur Agriculture Development project with Tk 82.65 crore; Establishment of BCS Economic Academy project (2nd revised) with Tk 257.98 crore; Relocation of Bangladesh Betar from Shahbagh Complex to Agargaon, Construction and Modernisation (1st phase) project (3rd revised) with Tk 113.15 crore; Improvement of Drainage System to remove water-logging in Khulna City project with Tk 823.79 crore; and Programme for Supporting Rural Bridges project with Tk 4,971 crore.
Gopalganj, Sept 18 (UNB) – Separate traditional boat competitions on the occasion of Vishwakarma Puja of the Hindu community were held at four places in Kaliganj, Tungipara and Muksudpur upazilas on Tuesday.
Vishwakarma Puja, which is celebrated on 17 September every year, marks the birth anniversary of Hindu god Lord Vishwakarma, who is known as the 'architect of gods'.
Different groups of boatmen from Madaripur, Pirojpur, Narail and Barishal districts with more than hundred boats took part in the competition.
Several thousands of visitors from different districts witnessed the spectacular view when the crews of the boats dressed in colourful T-shirts begin the completion.
Kotalipara’ Kalabari Union Chairman Michael Ojha said the boat competition has been celebrating here for last 200 years and still the locals are witnessing the tradition on the next day of Vishwakarma Puja.
Kotalipara Upazila Nirbahi Officer SM Mahfuzur Rahman said, “The boat competition here is very colourful comparing to those of other districts.”
Support from the local administration will be contained in the future, he added.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - Ekattorer Ghatak-Dalal Nirmul Committee, a campaign forum for war crimes trial, on Tuesday urged the political parties to not to nominate any candidate from anti-liberation force.
At a press briefing at the National Press Club, it also urged the Election Commission (EC) to take necessary measures to avoid any communal violence in the coming national election.
Shahriar Kabir, President of the forum said, the political parties should not nominate people against whom there are allegations of committing crime against human rights and genocide in 1971.
If the children of the war crime convicts don't repent for their parents’ crimes and seek apology from the martyrs’ families and the nation, then the political parties should not nominate them as well, he urged.
He also called for not giving nomination to those who are directly or indirectly involved in fundamentalist criminal activities, drug trading, smuggling, corruption and so on.
Shahriar Kabir asked the EC to make sure no candidate from Jamaat-e-Islam can take part in the election as independent candidate.
The forum urged the government to introduce a minority protection law to ensure their safety during the election time so that they can vote according to their choice.
"In 92 electoral regions of Bangladesh, 12 to 48 percent voters belong to minority communities", he said and demanded for forming a committee to prevent any communal violence.
The administration should play stronger role to avoid any communal propaganda to avoid violence, said Shahriar.
The forum’s vice presidents Muntasir Mamun and Shyamoli Nasrin, general secretary Kazi Mukul and its legal aid committee head Nizamul Haque also spoke, among others.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) – A speedy trial tribunal here on Tuesday fixed October 10 to deliver its verdict in two cases filed over the August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally in the capital in 2004.
After hearing the closing arguments, Judge Shahed Nuruddin of the Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 fixed the date.
The court also rejected the bail of eight accused and issued an order to send them to jail immediately.
Earlier, the court set September 17 and 18 for hearing the closing arguments after hearing the prosecution's rebuttal arguments against defence arguments on September 12.
On October 23 last, the prosecution started placing arguments before the tribunal in connection with the two cases filed over the August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally in the capital in 2004.
On August 21, 2004, the grisly grenade attack was carried out on an anti-terrorism rally arranged by Awami League at Bangabandhu Avenue during the BNP-Jamaat alliance's rule, aiming to kill then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina.
At least 24 leaders and activists, including AL's women affairs secretary and late President Zillur Rahman's wife Ivy Rahman, were killed and 300 others injured in the grenade attack.
Although Sheikh Hasina fortunately escaped unhurt in the attack, her hearing was affected badly.
Then the two cases -- one under the Explosive Substances Act and another for murder -- were filed in connection with the grenade attack.
On June 11, 2008, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) submitted a charge-sheet against 22 people in the case.
The court on August 21, 2010 ordered further investigation into the grenade attack following a petition filed by the state.
Savar, Sept 18 (UNB) – Police recovered three bodies including two readymade garment workers from separate areas of Savar and Ashulia on Tuesday morning.
Aslam, 45, a human hauler driver, hailing from Munshiganj, was beaten to death allegedly by Jewel and Rubel, owner of Jewel Steel and Engineering, over parking his vehicle in front of their shop in Niribili area of Ashulia in the morning, said Rezaul Haque, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station.
On information, police recovered the body and sent it to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for an autopsy.
Besides, a team of Savar Model Police Station recovered the body of garment worker Parvin Akhter, 22, from the house of Eklas Mia in Joynabari area under Tetuljhora union.
Neighbours spotted the hanging body of Parvin in her room and informed the police.
Later, police recovered the body, said Abdul Awal, officer-in-charge of Savar Police station.
Meanwhile, another readymade garment worker Abdur Rahim was crushed under a vehicle in Singair road area while he was crossing the road.
On information, police recovered the body.