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 Staff Correspondent  

The country’s sixth census set to take place in 2021 will be conducted through satellite imaging.

The US aerospace research organization, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), will help complete the project.

Terming the satellite method more authentic, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) director and project director of the upcoming population census, Md Zahidul Hoque Sardar made the disclosure to Bangladesh Post. Using satellite will help to identify a minimum area of 0.5 meters, which can be identified easily. Even a needle can be recognized easily through this medium.

The project director said, the next population census of the country is so important that upcoming development will be taken based on census statistics.

But there are also challenges using satellite method to cover hard to reach areas like char lands, haor, reserve forests, cantonments, barracks, halls, hostels and apartment buildings in large areas, he added.

China conducted a micro preparatory census in 2015; Iran also conducted a multimodal census in 2016 where they collected 48.4 percent data through internet. Other countries of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) are also preparing to conduct 2020 round census as most censuses will be held in 2020 and planned to be e-census, he further added.

When asked about using the country’s first-ever Bangabandhu Satellite-1, he replied, ‘as our satellite is telecommunication one, it cannot provide us images we need, but we will take help of other satellites which will be available for us at a minimum cost’.

According to BBS statistics, census means huge working activities throughout the country, but the next census will be digitalized, known as e-census, and not like the other censuses using paper and pen. Using satellite method, data will be collected from online media. BBS has already started primary work in this regard. This method will count each family in the country.

The statistics showed, a total of four lakh data counters across the country will be engaged with BBS to collect data viewing satellite imagery. It will be easy to ensure the location of all people using satellite images.   These four lakh data collectors will take part in the census through outsourcing. BBS also will train the data collectors with email, online, tabs, modern technical, audio visuals and other digital means.

BBS has to pay Tk 50 crore to NASA for their technical help with the satellite for this census. The total expenditure of sixth census is estimated at Tk 1500 crore.

There is currently no accurate statistics of the country’s population. Some say there are 20 crore people while some says 16 crore. During 2011, the country conducted the last census. As per that census the total population of the country is 152518000. As per rules, population census is conducted after each 10 years.