Md Abdur Rahman, an inhabitant of Pandargaon union of Dowarabazar upazila, is happy because he has not to travel miles to pay utility bills as ‘eKpay’ brings such service at his doorstep, thanks to the digitization of payment system.
“Once we had to go to upazila town crossing a river and stand in a long queue for paying electricity bills. But now we are able to pay various bills and fees through the ‘eKpay’ platform from our UDC,” he said.
Noting that usually takes more than 30 to 40 minutes to go to the upazila and costs about Taka 50 to 100 for once, he said the people of the union, however, are now able to pay their bills and fees through the digital payment platform at the UDC, saving their time and money. “We can now pay the bills of Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution System Limited and fees of e-Porcha through the ‘eKpay’,” Rahman added.
Since the rural people hardly use smart phones and have little access to the information technology, the UDC is playing a vital role as a bridge between the rural people and technology, he said, adding the people are getting the benefits of the digital payment platform through the UDC without having knowledge about the digital technology.
Abdul Wahid, a resident of Sowdergaon union of Chhatak upazila of the district, said it was a very unpleasant situation for him to go to Sonali Bank, which was only designated bank for receiving utility bills, Import & export permit fees from DAE (Dept. of Agriculture Extension) and deposit various bills and fees standing in a long queue. “Before setting up the UDC, we all have to go to the Chhatak Branch of Sonali Bank and pay different bills and fees like electricity, gas and e-porcha showing the highest level of patience. But now it is much easier for us to pay the utility bills and fees of e-Porcha using the ‘eKpay’,” he said.
Another resident of the Sowdergaon union, Abdul Karim said the digital payment platform ‘eKpay’ has made the people’s life easier by simplifying the ways of paying various fees and utility bills. “Now we don’t need to go to the upazila town for such a trifling matter of paying bills. We are now getting all digital services, including ‘eKpay’ staying at home,” he added. The haor people are getting the city amenities staying in their respective villages, thanks to the government’s ‘Digital Bangladesh Vision’, Karim said.
Entrepreneur of the Pandargaon UDC of Dowarabazar, Foysal Ahmed said about all people of his union pay electricity bills and gas bills, e-Porcha fees from his UDC through the ‘eKpay’. “Many do not know the use of eKpay. Therefore, they come to the UDC and pay utility bills from here,” he said, adding that more than 300 to 400 people come to the UDC daily to receive different services.
Entrepreneur of the Sowdergaon union of Chhatak, Sujel Miah said more than 200 people daily visit his UDC to receive different services, including payment of utility bills and e-banking. “Many people come to me to pay, especially electricity bills, when I pay those through eKpay. A large number of people also come to pay Jalalabad Gas bills while I assist them through ekPay” he said.
Sujel said the digital endeavors of the government is helping the haor people receive civic amenities staying at home instead of going outside defying obstacles like crossing rivers or walking dawn dilapidated or mud roads. “It is also saving money and time of the rural people and helping pay utility bills timely,” he added.
According to an official, the a2i of the Cabinet Division and the ICT Division with the support from UNDP has developed the digital payment platform ‘eKpay’ with a view to bringing all utility bill payment services under a single window to achieve the government’s vision of ‘Digital Bangladesh’.
“The rural people across the country, however, are now enjoying the hassle-free utility bill and fee payment services using the one-stop payment platform ‘eKpay’ as it has facilitated even the low-income and unbaked population with an integrated bill payment system in a simplified way,” Programme Manager (DFS) of a2i Tohurul Hasan told.
Since inception of the digital payment gateway, he said more than 6,515,407 people used the ‘eKpay’ while transactions of over Taka 525.29 crore has been made through the platform.
Tohurul said the ‘eKpay’ is facilitating the people across the country with an interoperable bill payment service which is easily accessible through online and network of agents to all customers with convenience, reliable and secure mode of transactions.
Shahadat Hossain, National Consultant of a2i – Project Implementation, said the digital platform ‘eKpay’ has been enabling its users to pay any utility bill easily using a wide range of payment methods, including credit and debit cards, MFS, wallets, e-banking and mobile banking, instantly anytime from anywhere.
A total of 29 services, including 14 utility bill payment services and 15 e-services, are now live at the ‘eKpay’ platform, he added.
The services are: Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO Postpaid), Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC Postpaid), Dhaka Wasa, Khulna Wasa, Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution System Limited, Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company Limited, West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited, Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution company limited (KGDCL), DPDC Prepaid, DESCO Prepaid, Chattogram WASA, e-Municipality System, e-Porcha, Bangladesh Shipping Corporation, Import Permits of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Release Orders of DAE, DAE Registration (Exporters-Importers), Phyto-Sanitary Certificate of DAE, DESCO New connection, DESCO Security deposit, DESCO Load Clearance fee, DPDC Misalliance fee, My Gov, Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC – e-Registration), Digital Chadpur System, Land Port Authority and DAE fee of Water and Irrigation.
Tohurul also said that the process of incorporating the following institutions and the services into the ‘eKpay’ platform is underway.
These are: Bangladesh Biman Airlines, Probasi Kollan (Fee Collection), Comilla Education Board, Madrasah Education Board, Dhaka Education Board, Bureau of Mineral Development (BMD), Benapole (Port Clearance), Sundorban Gas, Titas Gas, National Board of Revenue, Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) and Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP), Bangladesh Rural electrification board, North West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd. (NESCO) and Pashchimanchal Gas Company Limited (PGCL).