PESHAWAR: The disbursement of Rs12,000 handouts under the Ehsaas emergency cash programme’s to economically vulnerable families across the province started on Thursday.

The province has around 942,245 beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme.

They will receive Rs12,000 cash handout each from the federal government, while the provincial government will also pay them Rs6,000 each in the second stage.

Officials in the district administration and BISP told Dawn that at least 51 points were set up in the provincial capital alone to disburse cash to the needy families.

“The process began at around 1pm and went on smoothly,” a BISP official in Peshawar told Dawn.

Govt spokesman says 3,600 cash points set up across province

He said the process was hassle-free and the district administration had made adequate arrangements for social distancing at the disbursement points.

The official said 51 such centres had been set up in provincial capital and the disbursement would continue on Friday as well.

An official said the district administration actively supported cash disbursement to the needy families.

He said the district administration provided school buildings for disbursement purpose as bank only process would have led to huge gatherings.

The official said the administration was also providing security to such places besides helping with the enforcement of social distancing.

He said the tehsil municipal administrations also helped with cash disbursement effort.

Spokesman for the provincial government Ajmal Wazir also visited a cash disbursement centre set up at the Government Higher Secondary School No 1, Peshawar city.

He said at least 3,600 cash disbursement points had been established all over the province to facilitate the process.

Mr Wazir said every family was being given Rs12,000 under a transparent process, which started at around 1pm on Thursday.

He said the administration also trying its best to ensure social distancing at these venues to stop the spread of the deadly pathogen.

The spokesman said in the second phase, the provincial government would provide Rs6,000 to those needy people.

“Our government will also provide Rs12,000 to 100,000 needy families from the Zakat funds,” he said.

Mr Wazir said 2.2 million families across the province would be provided cash handouts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement issued here said the provincial government’s cash handouts would cover 42 per cent of the province’s population.

The statement quoted Chief Minister Mahmood Khan as asking the relevant authorities to make all payments under the programme before the start of the fasting month of Ramazan.

The chief minister said no deserving family should be left without the government’s aid.

He directed the officials to ensure social distancing at the cash disbursement centres and said that he would personally monitor the entire process.

Mr Mahmood said the government had put in place a transparent system to disburse cash handouts from both the provincial and federal governments.

He said the government was fully committed to helping out its needy segment of population and the rich should play part due role in the current testing times.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2020