Bangladesh plans to buy 1.5 lakh electronic voting machines at a cost of nearly USD 456 million, the country's top economic policy-making body announced Tuesday.
The project was approved at the weekly Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting here headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal said the Prime Minister had directed that the voting machines should initially be used in urban areas as the number of educated people in cities and towns is higher.
"The EVMs will be used mainly in urban areas at first and will gradually be introduced in other areas," he was quoted as saying by the 'Dhaka Tribune'.
The ECNEC on Tuesday cleared a Taka 3,825.34 (USD 455.9 million)crore project to procure 150,000 electronic voting machines, the report said.
The ECNEC approved a sum-total of 14 projects with an estimated cost of Taka 12,544.94 crore, he said.
The Election Commission has already announced that it wants to hold the 11th general election in the last week of December and plans to use 150,000 voting machines in 100 constituencies during the vote.
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, the report said.
Former Prime Minister Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief Khaleda Zia and her party's allies are against the use of electronic voting machines.
BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan led a three-men delegation to the Election Comission in May last year, demanding that the use of electronic voting machines be banned.
"We have told the CEC that our party does not want EVMs to be used in the next national polls," Nazrul had told reporters after handed over the letter to Chief Election Commissioner K M Nurul Huda.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)