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1 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Bangladesh Post Office to be roped in to send NID cards

HARUN UR RASHID

The National Identity Registration Wing (NIDW) does not have any mailing service to carry the huge number of NID cards from the Dhaka office to field-level offices of the Election Commission (EC) for being distributed among citizens. In 2015, a French company, Oberthur Technology, signed a deal with the NIDW to carry the Smart NID cards to the field-level offices of the EC. But the company left the NID project halfway after it failed to manufacture nine crore Smart NID cards within the deadline of December this year. As per the deal, the company was supposed to distribute all the nine crore cards. But it supplied 7.73 crore such cards. For its failure to supply the rest in time, the company has paid Tk.139.9 crore as compensation.

 With the departure of the French company, the NIDW is finding it difficult to carry the NID cards to the EC's field-level offices. The NIDW has planned to ink a deal with the Bangladesh Post Office in the beginning of next month for transporting the cards to those offices, sources said.

 In fact, the NIDW prefers the services of the Bangladesh Post Office as it would speed up the process of distributing the NID cards.

 It would save both time and money, the sources added. Generally, field-level officers of the EC come to Dhaka for the cards. This hampers field-level work and costs a large amount of money, according to the sources. Also, valuable time is lost in the process, they said.

The sources also said that the manufacturing and distribution of NID cards is a huge task. Every year new voters are added to the voter list data bank. The cards have to be renewed, if damaged or lost and for making corrections. The names of deceased voters have to be deleted.

The task keeps the field-level officers busy round the year—bringing cards from the head office and distributing them among citizens, the sources added.

Besides, from time to time, elections are held in city corporations, upazilas, unions and municipalities. And of course, there is the general election. As a result, the NID-related task is delayed at the field level.

To resolve these problems, the NIDW is thinking of involving the Bangladesh Post Office or other postal service providers in the process.

"We are discussing how to carry the cards to the field level as the French company has left the project. We want to involve the Bangladesh Post Office to ensure security.

It will save time and money. We want to do it with our own resources," the director general of the NIDW, Brig. Gen. (Retd) Mohammad Saidul Islam, told The Independent. He said they want to involve the state organisation and make it a fixed process. Asked when the agreement would be signed, saidul Islam said: "We are discussing the matter. We hope it will be done in the beginning of next month."

In reply to another query, the NDIW director general said the cost of carrying the cards has not been fixed yet. He also said that when the service starts, it will reduce the hassles of service receivers who frequently come to Dhaka for NID-related services.

He further said they are going to start distributing Smart NID cards among citizens of 37 districts out of 64 in eight divisions at a time on the first day of December amid a festive mood. "We hope people will get services at their doorstep.  We have quickened the manufacturing of NID cards. Over 1.5 lakh cards are being manufactured in a day," he added.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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