LANDI KOTAL, July 21: Hundreds of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) beneficiaries observed a token strike here at the main bazaar, demanding opening of a regional office of the programme in Landi Kotal.

Holding placards and banners inscribed with their main demand and problems, they told media persons that hundreds of deserving women in Landi Kotal tehsil were deprived of the BISP amount due to the difficult process, as besides other matters they were compelled to travel to the BISP Peshawar office to collect the money.

They said that due to the prevailing situation Rs12.5 million in the BISP bank account couldn't be distributed among deserving recipients for a long time. They said that most of the women, including widows and elderly, were unable to travel to Peshawar to collect their debit cards and fill other necessary documents as they were either unfamiliar with the process or without a male family member to accompany them.

“The process is lengthy and results in additional financial burden for most of the female recipients travelling all along from Landi Kotal to Peshawar,” they said and added that it had deprived many deserving people from getting their monthly stipend.

It is difficult to take a woman to Peshawar for registration, collection of debit card and then for third time for the collection of money, they said while explaining their ordeal. “Sending of mobile team could also help sort out the problem on an emergency basis,” they suggested.

The affected people said that a total of 7,500 female beneficiaries from Landi Kotal tehsil had been registered with the BISP programme of which, according to the official record, only 200 had so far received the Benazir Debit Cards from Peshawar office.

They said that despite their repeated requests the officials in Peshawar BISP office were not willing to open local offices in tehsils of the tribal agencies.

When contacted, BISP assistant director Kamran Jan and assistant complaint officer Mohammadullah Afridi said that 25,000 women from Khyber Agency had been registered with the BISP and they intended to increase the number of beneficiaries. —Correspondent

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