Opp leaders point out problems in Ehsaas programme.

Byline: Khalid Hasnain

LAHORE -- While the government claims to have disbursed over Rs944m among 77,464 people in Lahore alone under the Ehsaas Kafalat Programme during the last eight days in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown, those seeking financial assistance are facing various problems at the centres set up by the city district administration to distribute the financial assistance.

Moreover, the opposition leaders have criticised the government for getting credit for the programme that, what they claimed, was actually the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) launched by the PPP government during its 2008-2013 tenure.

'Previously, I would comfortably receive financial assistance through the ATM card or from Nadra office at Thokar Niaz Baig. But this time, when I visited the office some days ago to receive Rs12,000, I was asked to go to a centre set up at a school at Nawab Town,' one Allah Rakhi told Dawn on Sunday.

'But when I reached the centre, there were almost 1,200 women gathered to receive money. There was suffocation and I was unwell also and I was unable to wait for many hours. So I returned. And now I plan to go again,' she added while describing her ordeal.

Rs944m so far disbursed among 77,464 people in Lahore

A recent video from a centre established in Lahore for disbursing the financial aid showed several women standing in long queues with no distancing despite the fact the Covid-19 pandemic continues spreading fast in the country.

'We have BISP cards and we are here to receive money at this centre,' a woman was shown as saying. A relative of an applicant waiting outside the centre said, 'For the last four hours, we are here (to receive cash) but to no avail'.

According to a senior PPP leader, though the government is trying hard to replace name of the BISP with the Ehsaas Kafalat Programme, it cannot do so since the BISP has a legal cover through an act of the parliament.

'It is the best ever programme introduced by the PPP government that was widely appreciated by the international institutions. In our tenure, the total beneficiaries of the BISP were 7.2m. But later, the successor government reduced the number to 4m and then 2.9m finally,' PPP central leader Chaudhry Manzoor toldDawn. He said it was very easy for a beneficiary to get financial assistance through ATM card/bank.

He claimed that Ehsaas Kafalat...

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