Bangladesh to ban sale of SIM cards to youths under 18
Dhaka will formulate a policy to ban sale of SIM cards to youths under 18.
Dhaka: In order to check the rising incidents of cellphone crimes including extortion, Bangladesh`s Government is to formulate a policy that would ban its sale to youths under 18, officials reports said on Thursday.
"We are framing a policy to be enforced in next two months to curb the crimes and misuse of cell phones," Home Minister Sahara Khatun told reporters after an inter-ministerial meeting also joined by mobile phone operators yesterday.
Khatun said the government decided to tighten vigilance on the sale of Removable User Identity Module (SIMs) as well as the distributors and the retailers while the cell-phone companies were asked to submit the list of dealers and retailers to Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) by September 30.
BTRC officials said all the six cell phone companies operating in the country have 55 million active mobile phone subscribers.
"The steps were intended to curb the crimes as criminals have been committing crimes across the country by using cellular phones extortions and intimidations of people using cell phones rose alarmingly," the minister said.
Her comments came four months after the BRTA suggested enactment of a tough law prescribing five years of imprisonment and penalties for crimes using mobile phones to intensify a government campaign against cell phone crimes.
Officials said, yesterday`s meeting also reviewed a BRTA prepared draft law to stop gangster threats and extortions using the technology also proposing punitive actions against the cell phone operators for failures to ensure transparency or regulate the sell of the SIM cards.
The government earlier verbally asked operators and SIM vendors not to sell SIM (to people under 18 years of age) while each subscriber would now also need the national identity card and an introducer for buying a SIM card from any mobile phone operator.
Khatun has sought cooperation of the Election Commission for online checking of particulars of mobile phone subscribers through National ID card, issued by the EC.
Police earlier said teen aged people appeared to be dominating Dhaka`s underworld as they prepared a list of 559 young gangsters prompting authorities to launch a campaign to uproot the gangs.
"SIM cards are now so available that you will get one even from a betel leaf seller. The extortionists and criminals are using SIM cards which are not properly registered," Khatun told reporters earlier.