Provide relief to poor masses without ruining their self-respect

Tariq Saeed

The self-respect of the poor masses continued to be ruined as in yet another tragic incident at least one person was killed and eight others injured seriously during the stampede at free Atta distribution point in district Charsadda on Thursday, the very first day of the holy month of Ramzan.

With the prices of even basic food items going much high and beyond the control of government, hundreds of poverty stricken people gather daily at different distribution points at various cities of the country amid complete mismanagement to grab a small bag of floor that is mostly found substandard.

In yet another tragic episode, large number of people gathered at a local market, one of the hundreds of distribution points setup by the government during the holy month of Ramzan in Charsadda with the hope to get hold of one may be free bag of floor.

In order to have the Atta at cheaper rate and sometimes free the poor strata including female rushed to get the basic commodity at the earliest that led to stampede which left many people wounded. Nine seriously wounded people were rushed to the hospital where one of the unfortunate victims succumbed to his injuries.

“Nine people were trampled and were taken to hospital where one person died”. The district Police Officer Charsadda Muhammad Arif said adding hundreds of people gathered at the local market for the handouts, one of the hundreds of distribution points set up by the government.

The prices of basic food items, it may be recalled, have sky rocketed in the recent months, with inflation at a near 50-year-high as the country grapples with a balance of payments crisis that has seen it forced back into negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. Millions of low-income families across the country are registered under the scheme, but a proper mechanism is yet to put in place in order to ensure effective distribution of the ration to the real deserving people.

Like other parts of the country complaints of total mismanagement in the distribution of essential commodities to the deserving people were on the rise in KP and the Caretaker Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muhammad Azam Khan taking notice of mismanagement in the distribution of free wheat flour at various place of the province has a day earlier directed the food department and district administrations to take necessary steps in order to ensure distribution of flour in an orderly and judicious manner. The caretaker CM has also directed the quarters concerned for immediate steps to make the process of flour distribution easy and systematic during the holy month of Ramadan adding that no negligence will be tolerated in this regard. He had asked the concerned quarters to ensure that the people should not face any difficulty and inconvenience in getting free flour and the free wheat flour is being given only to deserving households but in vain.

Pakistan’s finances have already been wrecked by the financial mismanagement and political instability during a year or so a situation exacerbated by a global energy crisis and devastating floods that left a third of the country under water last year.

In fact it was not the first incident. During the last few days many such like happenings have been reported from various other cities of the country where many people including elderly citizens and even ladies received serious wounds in an attempt to grab a small pack of free floor. Suck like incidents if continue to happen, would not only further add to ruining the self-respect of the poor masses but also tarnish the efforts of the government to provide some relief to the already starving poor segment of the society.