Eliminate hunger in Thar

REGARDLESS of questions that were raised by their opponents and other segments of society on 10-year performance of PPP in Sindh, people of the province once again reposed confidence in the party leadership and gave them most number of seats in the July 25 elections sufficient enough to form government without any allies.
Now it is time for the party to deliver on the promises made in the election campaign spearheaded by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. One of the main points of the party’s manifesto was that it would provide food cards to the masses through which they will get subsidized food. Bilawal had announced that eliminating hunger was part of his party’s manifesto and that that his party will open food centres in every area to be run by women. The first district where these food cards needed be issued and food centres opened should be the poverty stricken Thar where there is no end to miseries of poor people and death still reign supreme due to malnutrition and lack of other basic amenities of life such as clean drinking water and health facilities.
At least seven infants reportedly lost their lives in Mithi in the past two days as a result of an outbreak of viral diseases amidst malnutrition crisis. With the death of these children, the overall death toll in Mithi has risen to 393 in the current year alone. Over 70 children have also been admitted to six health facilities in the district. According to local health officials, these children are suffering from various infections. The desert region has been facing drought-like situations due to lower and more erratic rainfall this year. During the election campaign, Bilawal had promised to personally look into the issues of the people. No issue can be greater than the situation faced by the people of Tharparkar over the last so many years. Though entire province of Sindh including Karachi requires urgent attention from the provincial government, yet the beginning should be made from Thar by addressing their chronic problems.
The PPP Chairman should personally visit the desert region and then formulate a comprehensive strategy by sitting together with the party’s leadership regarding provision of basic amenities of life to the people there. Bilawal should oversee implementation of this strategy once the party’s Chief Minister assumes office in the province. The strategy should not only provide food cards to the Tharis but also envisage a programme that helps them stand on their own feet. Coal mining at Thar is gaining momentum and the youth of the area should be given preference in coal projects after equipping them with required training. Then exploiting the tourism potential of the desert region can also entail great benefits for the local population as one has seen on the other side of the border. So provincial government will have to tap the potential of the region to permanently rid the local people of disease and hunger.

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