QUETTA: Under the federal government’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme, 6.5 million needy people in Balochistan who are affected by the lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak would get cash assistance, said the provincial government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani.
“If lockdown resumes for another month the number of affected families will be over 1.5 million. Besides, if government decides to extend restrictions even after it, the hard-hit families would surpass the 1.7 million mark,” said Shahwani while speaking at a press conference on Saturday.
He added that Chief Minister Jam Kamal requested the federal government to enhance the quota of beneficiaries who are listed under the Benazir Income Support programme.
Briefing on the prime minister’s visit to Bolan Medical Complex quarantine centre in Quetta, Shahwani said the PM hailed efforts of the provincial government in handling the deadly coronavirus pandemic in Balochistan.
Besides, the provincial spokesperson also briefed on the medical facilities to treat the COVID-19 patients.
“An isolation ward has been established which will accommodate 460 patients with the facility of medical equipment, surgical accessories and medicines.”
Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme has been initiated in Quetta to provide relief to families hit hardest by the lockdown. Under the programme, Rs12,000 per family would be distributed to 31,000 families across the provincial capital through 14 payment points.
The provincial government has ensured special precautionary measures during the distribution to maintain social distancing. To achieve the purpose, it has divided the procedure in three phases.
In the first phase, the families registered under Benazir Income Support Programme would receive the payments; in the second phase, families who registered themselves through SMS would receive the cash; and in the final phase a list of beneficiaries saved with Quetta deputy commissioner would receive payment.
Fourteen payment points across Quetta have initiated distribution, including Railway Girls High School Joint Road Quetta, Govt Girls Primary School Manu Jaan Road and others.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2020.