Almost a week after the Election Commission scrapped its plan to get voters’ identity cards printed by the private sector, it is now mulling doing the herculean job on its own. Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety told THT that talks to engage printing machines to print voters’ identity cards were in the preliminary stage. “If we can print the voters identity cards on our own, we can them pack them in plastic pouches. Such cards, containing the photos of voters, can be used in one or two elections. We believe the government will distribute biometric identity cards based on the data collected by the EC, later,” Uprety said. Another EC official said the EC felt the need to print voters’ identity cards on its own to keep its word. “We have assured voters that we will distribute voters ID cards so we want to fulfill the promise,” the official added.
Election Commissioner Dolakh Bahadur Gurung said the EC had already formed a technical team and the printing of voter ID cards could begin in 5 to 10 days. “We will complete the distribution of voters ID cards in time,” he added.
Election Commission sources told The Himalayan Times that the Commission is attempting the near impossible task of printing, laminating, verifying and packaging 12.5 million voter Identity cards, after the Janak Education Materials Centre (JEMC) declined to undertake the project citing lack of time and capability. “The EC had also requested UN for assistance for printing of voters Identity card but they also politely declined this request”, the sources said adding that incidentally the JEMC had not participated in the tender for printing of voters’ Identity cards whereas they normally bid in all big government projects and job works.