PDMA to regulate philanthropy in Punjab

Updated April 07, 2020

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A number of cases have been reported that people, in need of food, throng the places where food items were being distributed and just forget social distancing protocols. — Reuters/File
A number of cases have been reported that people, in need of food, throng the places where food items were being distributed and just forget social distancing protocols. — Reuters/File

LAHORE: The Punjab government on Monday extended lockdown in the province for another seven days from April 7 to 14 (Tuesday) 5pm believing that the number of coronavirus cases is rapidly increasing that is alarming and highly dangerous for the health of the people.

In another development, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has decided to regulate philanthropic activities so that [social distancing] protocol could not be breached.

The lockdown extension order issued by the Punjab additional chief secretary (home) says it is mandatory to take all pragmatic and possible measures to contain and counter the further spread of coronavirus on a war footings.

According to the updated data of Covid-19 patients, the Punjab home department has reported 9,059 suspects, 1,422 positive patients, 13 deaths and 31 people recovered.

It merits mentioning that the Chinese doctors and specialists, who met Usman Buzdar on Sunday, had called for completing lockdown in the province for 28 days and later gradually and cautiously start lifting restrictions while taking into account the prevailing conditions.

The Punjab province is currently undergoing a 14-day lockdown till Tuesday (today) 9am as an immediate preventive and speedy remedy to ensure public safety.

The Punjab government’s order under Section 144 had called for shutting down public and private offices, stopping public transport and completely banning movement of people by public transport to save people from the coronavirus spread threat that could lead to some kind of catastrophe.

The government had also imposed a complete ban on gatherings of all kinds for social, religious or any other purpose at any place, public or private. Though the government had not announced closure of mosques in the March 23 order, it realised later that social distancing was not being observed during prayers particularly Juma prayers and ordered closure of mosques in consultation with the ulema belonging to all sects. Ban on pillion riding is still operative.

By the end of the last month, the Punjab government had also reviewed its decision and further squeezed all grocery and general stores’ timings from 9am to 5pm and allowed only milk and yogurt shops to stay open till 8pm.

The medical stores, kiryana outlets, fruit and vegetable markets and bakeries are also open to meet masses’ day-to-day needs.

While the Punjab government was compelled to go for 14-day lockdown as the people had only restricted movement, where banned, but voluntary social distancing was not observed, the Punjab government had now learnt the social distancing was not again observed at places, where ration was being distributed by the philanthropists.

A number of cases have been reported that people, in need of food, throng the places where food items were being distributed and just forget social distancing protocols. The situation was instrumental in increasing the number of suspected and positive cases of Covid-19 that may have devastating effects on human lives. The situation warranted taking all possible measures to contain further spread of coronavirus.

Identifying that widespread philanthropic activity in the province violated and compromised the public health safety and social distancing protocols, Punjab Relief Commissioner Babar Hayat Tarar has ordered that “any philanthropic activity by any individual, organisation or any other entity in the province shall be routed through the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA). This authority will organise the ration distributing activities under the standards and protocols set by the Punjab government”.

The relief commissioner has also offered an option to the individuals, organisations or other entities in the province that intend to undertake philanthropic activity on their own, to submit an application to the deputy commissioner concerned, who will determine the mode, mechanism, area and extent of the philanthropic activity with appropriate checks for conformity with the Punjab government guidelines regarding Covid-19, under intimation to the PDMA.ReplyForwardDisplaying A5.jpg.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2020