12 thousand taka machine for 25 thousand taka 1 crore 16 lakh lopat 907 primary schools in Jhenaidah digital attendance machine
Staff Reporter, Jhenaidah
Billions of rupees have been embezzled for buying biometric attendance machines for teachers in 908 government primary schools in Jhenaidah. All these machines bought with the money of the slip fund of the education office have been damaged within a few months of installation. Moreover, it has been shown that a machine worth Tk 12,000 has been bought for Tk 25,000. In this way, about one and a half crore rupees of slip fund has been misappropriated. According to the information, these machines have been compulsorily bought by the teachers through a sub-dealer in Jhenaidah at extra price in addition to the market price. The district and upazila primary education offices have been accused of being involved in irregularities and corruption. Teachers of Porahati Government Primary School said that they have been signing the attendance register for a long time as the digital attendance machine is broken. Not only this picture in Jhenaidah Sadar Upazila, the biometric attendance machines installed in the primary schools of the remaining 6 upazilas of the district have failed. As a result, the attendance data of the teachers in the school is not going to be stored in the digital attendance machine. Children and students said that teachers do not come to most of the schools regularly. It is learned that on April 27, 2019, Enamul Quader Khan, Director, Planning and Development Department, Department of Primary Education, issued a circular for the compulsory purchase of Biometric Attendance Machine with the money of Slip Project. According to him, biometric attendance machines were purchased in 908 primary schools of Jhenaidah district for 2 crore 26 lakh 75 thousand rupees. According to the information, the market value of these machines installed in the primary school is only 12 thousand rupees. But as a result of buying this very low quality biometric attendance machine with 25 thousand rupees, the government has lost 1 crore 16 lakh rupees. However, it has been alleged that the district and upazila education officials have pocketed the extra money by signing an agreement with the supplier. A visit to Charkhajura, Laudia, former Nityanandapur, Ratanhat and Purbetetulbaria primary schools in Jhenaidah revealed that their machines were broken. Teachers said the situation was similar in many schools. It is learned that Jhenaidah District Education Office purchased digital attendance machines through a local computer company called Fair. Another company called Techno Systems, a Dhaka non-governmental organization, supplied the goods to the fair. Their purchase receipt was priced at Rs 25,000. In this regard, the seller of digital attendance machine Lipu said that the machine which has a maximum price of 10-12 thousand rupees has been bought at three double price. He said that according to the current market price, if the price of each digital biometric machine is 12 thousand rupees, then the price of 908 machines is 1 crore 8 lakh 64 thousand rupees. However, additional 1 crore 16 lakh 91 thousand more expenditure has been shown in the expenditure account of government projects. In this regard, the president of the district Sanak Saidul Alam said, this money has gone to the pockets of the primary education officers and has been distributed. He also complained that most of the machines bought with Slip Fund money were broken. Regarding corruption, Jhenaidah District Primary Education Officer Jahangir Alam said, “Digital attendance machine was bought before I joined.” I can’t even say how much it was bought for. He said he could have investigated and taken action if he had received specific allegations. In this regard, the project sub-contractor Mamun Hossain said, the machine of Techno Company has been given with a three-year warranty. Many machines are damaged but are being repaired. However, he avoided the issue of extra value.