Long queues, mismanagement at Ehsaas funds’ distribution

By Minahil Makhdoom

ISLAMABAD: The federal government continued on Friday the distribution of funds under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme to help the labourers, daily wage earners and the needy who have been affected by the coronavirus lockdown. More than 12 millions families will be given Rs12,000 under the programme. The government has even formed 17 cash counters in different cities.
Dr Sania Nishtar, the special assistant to PM on poverty alleviation and social safety, said that on Friday funds were distributed among 25,000 people in one and a half hour. She has stressed that transparency is the most important thing and wants te funds to be distributed among the deserving people.
The PM has given Dr Nishtar and her team a little over two weeks to complete the process. Cash counters are expected to stay open on Saturday and Sunday too. The only way to register for the programme is to send your CNIC to 8171 and then you will be told about your eligibility status. Only those people who receive an SMS telling me of the date to collect funds should leave their houses and visit the nearest cash counter.
There was a lot of mismanagement at different counters as many people were injured after those standing in queues started to push. At most centres, no precautions were taken for people’s safety. Three women were reportedly injured in Rajanpur and chaos was also reported in Matiari. In Sukkur, some women reached the place designated as a cash counter early and when they found the gate locked, they climbed it to enter the premises.
Everything went smoothly at a degree college in North Nazimabad. The recipients stood in queues keeping the required distance and they were given hand sanitisers to clean their hands before going for collection of the money. On Thursday, at least 1,5000 people collected cash from the said spot.
A woman was killed and 20 injured after a mob broke out during the distribution of money by the Ehsaas Programme in Multan’s Qasimpur Colony. Hundreds of women had gathered at MA Jinnah School to collect money distributed by the government to lower-income groups across the country.
The police also caught hold of people charging money from recipients. Two men were arrested in Tando Allahyar for taking Rs500 service fee from the people, and five in Umerkot.