LAHORE: More than 800,000 protective gowns, over 700,00 N-95 masks and other medical equipment along with insecticide spray machines, thermal guns, face shields, goggles and other protective gear have been provided to the departments and district authorities in Punjab, Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar was informed during a visit to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) head office on Sunday.
The chief minster reviewed the monitoring system at the coronavirus control room and observed the situation in various cities on a live dashboard.
He was given a briefing on locust threat, coronavirus situation, Insaf Imdad Programme and flood preparation.
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He said the Ramazan Package will also be launched after the Insaf Imdad Programme, while standard operating procedures (SOPs) were being finalized with the collaboration of the federal government for home quarantine.
The PDMA director general said a sub-committee of the authority, comprising experts, had set standards for the personal protection equipment (PDMA). He said the PDMA had provided Rs2.27 billion to divisional headquarters and districts to cope up with the pandemic.
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With the help of revenue field staff, citizens arriving from abroad are being identified in the districts. Their and their family members’ virus tests are also being conducted. The PDMA is providing funds and essential equipment collected from private institutions and philanthropists to the departments concerned. Two phases of providing aid under the Ehsas Kifalat Programme have been completed. Punjab is launching the Insaf Imdad Programme for the first time through its databank.
The CM said he is reviewing the coronavirus and locust situation, wheat procurement and other programmes, including Ramazan Package, by visiting different cities of the province. He also approved one-month additional salary for the PDMA employees on the recommendation of Punjab Minister Mian Khalid.
He called for completion of all arrangements to cope with floods and appreciated PDMA’s performance in coping with challenges.
The senior member of the Board of Revenue informed the chief minister that arrival of locusts from Balochistan and other provinces was being continuously monitored. Large swarms of locusts are being seen in Barkhan, Dera Bugti, Dera Murad Jamali and Kashmor. He said 2.8 million acres of land had been cleared of locusts. The chief minister expressed interest in a locally-manufactured vehicle-mounted machine for eliminating locusts.
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Earlier, an official of a corporate firm presented a Rs10 million cheque to the CM. The chief minister appreciated the assistance of private institutions in coping with coronavirus and disasters.
Meanwhile, a delegation of industrialists and traders led by APTMA head Gohar Ijaz called on the CM.
Chief Minister Buzdar told the delegation that SOPs had been finalised to allow resumption of business in a phased manner. He warned any industry violating the SOPs would be closed down. He said that besides wood and building, other industries related to construction will also be allowed to open and recommendations in this regard had been submitted to the federal government. He said feeding industries of the export sector will also be opened.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2020.