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CM slates opposition for doing politics on Covid-19

By Our Staff Reporter 2020-03-31
LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has chided the opposition for doing politics on the coronavirus, which is a collective national challange.

`It is a matter of grave concern that the opposition is busy point-scoring while the whole world is facing the coronavirus pandemic,` he said in a statement here on Monday.

Mr Buzdar added that the opposition was pursuing its political agenda even during these testing times and the negative role being played by it in this hour of trial would not be remembered in good words.

Mr Buzdar said the opposition (without particularly naming the PML-N) was engaged in hollow sloganeering as it had not done anything practical during itsruleinthe province.`Today, the nation needs unity as the national debt can be retired through collective efforts,` he stressed and added that Prime Minister Imran Khan was also calling for taking collective action to enable the nation to win the battle against the coronavirus.

The CM said timely steps had been taken to deal with the coronavirus and the PTI-led federal and Punjab governments had announced the best package worth billions of rupees for providing relief to the daily wage earners.

MEETING: The political and military leadership has vowed to strictly implement the government measures for control of the coronavirus.

The military leadership assured the civil government of its full cooperation in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar at his office on Monday to review the situation of the pandemic.

Lahore Corps Commander Lt-Gen Majid Ehsan, Punjab DG Rangers MajGen Muhammad Amir Majeed, chief secretary, IG Police, SMBR, chairman P&D, ACS (Home) and civil and military officials attended the meeting.

The CM told the meeting that doctors and health professionals engaged in the treatment of coronavirus patients wouldbe given one month`s additional salary as well as incentives to the heirs of doctors, health professionals and employees under Shuhada Package who died during the anti-coronavirus campaign.

The chief minister said standard operating procedure (SOP) had been devised to trace the people who came in contact with the coronavirus patients.

He said new testing labs were being set up.

Mr Buzdar said the wheat harvesting would start in April and the government had increased wheat quota for the flour mills. He announced that 5,000 metric tonne wheat was being given to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa daily. He said the wheat would be procured from the farmers at Rs1,400 per maund.

INSAAF IMDAD PACKAGE: The chief minister approved Chief Minister Insaaf Imdad Package worth Rs10bn.

Chairing a meeting in his office, he issued directions for early launch of the package for distribution of financial aid of Rs4,000 to each of the 2.5m needy families through a foolproof mechanism.

Giving detail of the package, he said the applications would be received online and after the veriHcation of theapplicants, aid would be transferred online while complaints could also be received online. He directed the authorities that the application form should be made simpler and only necessary information like names, CNICs and mobile phone numbers of the applicants should be collected.

Provincial ministers Basharat Raja, Mian Aslam Iqbal and Hashim Jawan Bakht, the chief secretary, SMBR, chairman P&D, ACS (Infrastructure), secretaries of finance, information and P&D departments and chairman PITB attended the meeting.

According to the process of the application, a needy person will be required to send an SMS to 8070, mentioning his/ her name, cell phone number and ID card number.

The data gathered from across Punjab will be verified/scrutinised by the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) as per the laid down eligibility criteria. The scrutinised lists will be shared with the deputy commissioners for further veriEcation by the district committees, comprising of local public representatives/district administration etc. The payments will be made through telecom companies/easy paisa.The geographical spread of the relief package will be on the basis of population of the districts. Under this criteria, about 8,000 families would get Rs4,000 in each Punjab Assembly constituency.

It may be mentioned that the eligibility criteria excludes the beneficiaries of other relief programmes except zakat and Baltul Maal; any family having combined utility bills exceeding Rs10,000 and government servants/pensioners.

The government has requested the provincial ministers to coordinate with the parliamentarians/ticket holders to ensure that no deserving family was left out/deprived/missed out.

The government has stressed that private assistance should be ensured for the applicants, if they face any technical issues/glitches or lack any other logistic support such as availability of cell phone for SMS etc.

The district administration and representatives have been directed to hold meetings for efficient, speedy transparent and smooth implementation of the programme. However, the government added that that minimum possible human interaction should be ensured and gatherings be avoided to protect health and well-being of all concerned.