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Saturday May 25, 2024

Provision of free flour to only registered members of BISP deprives thousands

By Khalid Iqbal
March 26, 2023
Local residents gather to purchase government-priced wheat flour at Hyderabad in Sindh province on January 9, 2023. — AFP
Local residents gather to purchase government-priced wheat flour at Hyderabad in Sindh province on January 9, 2023. — AFP

Rawalpindi: The majority of people have been deprived of free flour bags because they are not registered with the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). It seems that the government is providing free flour to only the ‘selective poor’ that are registered with BISP. The government is only taking care of the public that is ‘below the poverty line’ means providing free cost commodity has turned out to be a ‘flop show’ for poor and middle-class families in the province including the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for four days.

On the other hand, those who have been denied this facility just because they are not registered BISP have protested against this step-motherly behaviour of the sitting government and appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to take suo moto notice of this indifferent attitude of the sitting government.

Talking to ‘The News’ they asked what was their fault and where should they go to purchase flour because the Punjab government has not only increased the price of subsidised flour but it has also disappeared from the open market for a week. It seems that the Punjab government is compelling people to purchase expensive flour bags selling at Rs2800 to Rs3000 per 20-kilogram, they said.

The caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi also admitted that several people were not registered in the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). “Thousands of people complained of non-verification of their Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) and admitted that they were not registered with the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP),” he added.

The caretaker CM has directed local management, Rawalpindi to register people with the BISP so that they might not face any difficulty in future.

Over 95 per cent of poor and middle-class segments of society said that there are thousands of ‘Atta’ bags in trucks but we could not get the commodity. If the sitting government really wants to provide any kind of relief to the public, it should sell subsidised ‘Atta’ bags and a fixed rate of Rs400 for a 10-kilogram bag.

Some key post officials from district administration, Rawalpindi on condition of anonymity said that only 100,000 to 150,000 bags have been distributed free of cost per day in the whole region means only 1 to 2 per cent of people are getting it while over 97 per cent of poor and middle-class families have been deprived of this facility. There was no subsidised flour here in the government-run utility stores.

Sub-Registrar and In-Charge ‘Atta’ Sale Point (Liaquat Bagh) Syed Asad Abbas Sherazi said that they were only providing free-of-cost ‘Atta’ bags to those who are registered with BISP. Thousands of other people who are not registered with BISP come here at the sale point to request free commodity but we could not provide them due to policy matters, he claimed.

‘The News’ interviewed different people who were turning back empty-handed from ‘Atta’ sale point and they were of the view that the sitting government was playing a game with the public. The sitting government was trying to get cheap popularity by providing free of cost ‘Atta’ bags to only 1 to 2 per cent of people.

Rukhsana Sohail, a lady said that she visited here in free ‘Atta’ sale point but concerned management refused to provide the commodity to her. “I am a poor lady, but the sitting government has declared me a rich lady because I am not registered with the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), she strongly protested.

Muhammad Saeed, a local said that how many people were registered with BISP, only 2 per cent and where should the people who were not registered go. “I am appealing to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to take notice of this behaviour because the sitting government was continuously killing the public through its wrong decisions,” he appealed.