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Sunday April 21, 2024

Majority remains excluded from Ramazan relief packages

Middle class and salaried class persons were neither on merit to get registration nor to get ‘Ramazan Relief Package’ from Punjab and federal government

By Khalid Iqbal
March 15, 2024
A photo of a utility store in Karachi, Pakistan.—X/File
A photo of a utility store in Karachi, Pakistan.—X/File 

Rawalpindi: In the state of helplessness, middle-class and salaried persons have been running from pillar to post to get registered with Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to get ‘Ramazan Relief Package’ from the Punjab government and Utility Stores Corporation (USC) but in vain because middle class and salaried class persons were neither on merit to get registration nor to get ‘Ramazan Relief Package’ from Punjab and federal government.

It seems that Punjab and the federal government have closed all doors upon middle-class families and salaried persons to get relief from all sides because the government declared them ‘rich’ people so they cannot have any kind of relief from any side.

To facilitate the citizens, the federal government has provided ‘Ramazan Relief Package’ at the utility stores under which 19 essential items are being sold at subsidized rates. Unfortunately, middle class and salaried class people were not able to get this relief package.

Punjab government also provided a maximum relief package in the name of the ‘Neghaban Relief Package’ but middle-class and salaried-class people were also not able to get this relief. “Where the middle class and salaried class people who are in majority should go,” people belonging to all walks of life told ‘The News’ here on Thursday.

The basic food items on which subsidy has been provided include flour, sugar, ghee, cooking oil, rice, pulses, dates, chickpeas, gram flour (basin), milk, beverages, and spices.

The Ramazan package has been offered through the Ministry of Industries and Production to those families registered with the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) whose score on the poverty index is PMT-60 or less and they can benefit from the relief package.

Authorities urged the deserving families not registered with BISP to contact the nearest offices of BISP for enrolment purposes.

A survey conducted by ‘The News’ that over 80 per cent of people were facing famine-like situations because the government had closed all doors of relief packages for them because they were not registered under BISP. Over 80 per cent of people were not only deprived of relief packages but also facing the worst kind of inflation in the open market. Nobody was ready to provide them relief either in stores or in open market shops.

The government was looking after through subsidies or ‘Ramazan Relief Package’ only 5 to 10 per cent of people while over 80 per cent of people were deprived of all kinds of relief. The middle and salaried class people have appealed to higher authorities to provide relief to them because they were also deserving people. “Inflation has increased for all, how we could survive in this situation, they bemoaned.

All utility stores are packed with ‘atta’ and other subsidized items but over 80 per cent of people could not get any kind of benefit from it. They are paying a huge amount to purchase all these items because they are not registered with BISP.

The utility store corporation (USC) has established a total of 52 sale ‘atta’ sale points in Rawalpindi where only 5 to 10 per cent of people are getting relief while others are not.