KARACHI                   -            Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah, keeping in view the hardships people belonging to underprivileged segments of the society are likely to face during the ongoing lockdown, has decided to provide them either cash or ration so that they do not go without food. He was chairing a meeting of welfare oragnisations here on Tuesday to jointly work out a plan to support the daily wagers and other deserving persons who have lost their sources of earning livelihood due to the lockdown. The meeting was attended by Faisal Edhi of Edhi Trust, Ramzan Chippa, Shahzad Roi of Nae Zindagi, Shakil Dehlvi of Alamgir Trust, Zafar Abbas of JDC Foundation, Sousif Lakhani of Saylani Welfare, Qazi Sadaruddin of Al-Khidmat Foundation, Hanif Motlani of Memon Federation and others. The chief minister was assisted by provincial ministers Imtiaz Shaikh, Nasir Shah, Saeed Ghani (on a video link), Advisor to the CM on Law Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, IGP Sindh Mushtaq Maher, Home Secretary Usman Chachar and Salman Shah of PDMA.   The chief minister said that he was worried about the daily wagers and for those who earned their bread and butter by setting up food stalls. “I want to support them for which a mechanism needs to be evolved,” the CM asserted. The chief minister discussed with the heads of each and every welfare organisation the mechanism of distribution of ration and cash among the deserving people. While most of the organisations’ heads said that the people should be provided ration for 15 days, some were of the view that the distribution of ration was quite a difficult job since people would gather around the vehicle carrying the ration, inviting the coronavirus.  Some of the participants advised the chief minister to distribute cash among the deserving people so that they could purchase their groceries etc as per their requirements. The Zakat department has already a mechanism to distribute Guzara Allowance among 200,000 deserving persons.

The chief minister constituted a four-member committee, headed by Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh.  He said that he had called Imtiaz Shaikh back from Shikarpur to support him here in the war against COVID-19.

The other members of the committee are Special Assistants to the CM Waqar Mehdi, Rashid Rabbani and CM Coordinator on Social Sector Haris Gazdar. The committee would take final decision in consultation with welfare organisations as how to assist the affected people: whether with ration or with cash or both.

The government has already developed an application on which people in need of ration could be able to their send messages. If the application is approved then a four-digit helpline number would be advertised for the information of people so that they could send their messages.  The chief minister directed the committee chairman Imtiaz Shaikh to firm up his recommendation within next two days so that public could be supported in a shortest time.

Sindh Chief Minister has released Rs341 million to the divisional administrations for onward distribution among the district administration. The amount would be spent on administrative work, and other expenditures being incurred on the care of pilgrims coming from different areas.