— Dawn
— Dawn

OKARA: The beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) have to face a great deal of inconvenience to get the quarterly amount through the designated centres.

There are only four centres -- two in Deepalpur and one each in Okara and Renala Khurd -- for distribution of money among the 47,000 registered people.

In Okara city, there is one centre at the Government Post Graduate College for 19,000 people. Five employees of a private bank have been deputed to distribute the amount after biometric verification which takes a lot of time.

Hundreds of people daily turn up at the centre and have to wait for hours together to collect their money while being exposed to the coronavirus as well chilly weather.

An untoward incident took place outside the centre on Wednesday when an elderly woman was almost trampled upon when she fell unconscious and was shifted to the DHQ city hospital by a team of the Rescue 1122.

Focal person Ms Sonia said the centres had been reduced to four from six and people were informed from the BISP headquarters in Islamabad to collect the money without time and date which crated rush on a daily basis.

Many women this correspondent spoke to, corroborated that there was no specific date and time to collect the amounts so everyone tried get it at the earliest.

This correspondent saw people, young and old, making beelines for their turns without observing SOPs. The college guards kept telling people to wear face masks but very few people heeded their advice.

Meanwhile, the PTI officials distributed cards among senior citizens under the Punjab government’s ‘Ba Himmat Bazurg Programe’.

Commisioner Amir Aqeeq Khan and PTI local leaders Syed Gulzar Sibtain, Abbas Raza Rizvi, Rao Safdar Ali Khan, Rao Hasan Sikander , Chaudhry Muhammad Saleem Sadiq, Mahr Javid Iqbal and Muhammad Zeeshan distributed the cards. As many as 1,520 people will get Rs2,000 a month at Deepalpur, 1,075 at Okara and 461 at Renala Khurd.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2020

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