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EC determined to complete smart NID card distribution this year
The Election Commission (EC) has ordained to complete the Smart National Identity (NID) card distribution process across the country by December of 2018. The digital cards are now being distributed among 37 districts and the distribution process in in the remaining 27 districts will start in February.‘We think we’ll be able to complete the distribution of smart cards well before December next,’ said Brig. Gen. Mohammed Saidul Islam, the Director General of the EC’s National Identity Registration Wing. ‘Now we’re distributing the cards in 37 districts and we will start the distribution in the remaining 27 districts on February 1,’ he also added. The EC started the smart NID cards distribution to replace the existing laminated ones on October 1, 2016 , but it could complete hardly three% cards’ distribution within the extended deadline of July 2017.To accelerate the distribution process, the EC is now procuring 2,000 Image Recognition Intelligence Software (IRIS) scanners and 2,000 fingerprint machines. The shipment of the IRIS scanners and fingerprint machines was made on December 29, which is expected to reach the country soon, he said.The Election Commission currently has around 500 IRIS scanners and some 500 fingerprint machines.Blaming Oberthur Technologies for the little progress it made in this regard, the EC did not extend the project period and realised Tk 140 crore as compensation from the company.Now the Commission’s own staffs are personalising the blank cards provided by Oberthur Technologies.‘Now we can personalise on average 50 lakh cards in a month. But the French Company had been able to personalise only 13 million cards in 30 months,’ the Director General said.As the number of the country’s voters increased at nearly 102 million now from 90 million in 2012, the Commission has designed a new project to provide the smart NID cards to the remaining voters and continue the distribution for expected new voters.