Mobile free food programme extended to more cities

Published April 6, 2021
In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan distributes food packets at the launch of ‘Koi Bhuka Na Soye’ initiative in Islamabad. —White Star/File
In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan distributes food packets at the launch of ‘Koi Bhuka Na Soye’ initiative in Islamabad. —White Star/File

ISLAMABAD: On the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government has expanded its mobile free-food programme and launched it in three more cities to help the poor, especially the labour class, get two square meals and ensure nobody goes to sleep hungry.

According to the plan, the concept of truck kitchens ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ (EKBNS) will start operations in Lahore, Faisalabad and Peshawar before the advent of Ramazan. EKBNS mobile trucks carrying cooked food will visit localities of labourers and hospitals to distribute free meals.

The prime minister had first inaugurated the programme on March 10 to serve free meal boxes twice a day to daily wage workers in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The government plans to further expand the programme to other cities.

Detailing EKBNS operations, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division Dr Sania Nishtar said: “In an initial phase, two trucks are currently serving the poor and labour class of the twin cities. Each truck feeds 1,500 people daily on designated service points. With the upcoming expansion to three other cities through 12 new truck kitchens, EKBNS would explicitly target those who cannot access Ehsaas Panagahs and Ehsaas Langars.”

A social welfare department official said the delivery of free meals would help the poor, deserving, labourers and piece-rate workers to save their hard-earned money to feed their families. The programme would be expanded to other parts of the country later this year, the official said.

Designed to serve healthy meals, EKBNS truck kitchens are well equipped with safe cooking appliances. EKBNS is founded on a public-private partnership and, accordingly, Pakistan Baitul Mal is responsible for the operation of truck kitchens and Saylani Welfare International Trust for provision of meals.

The Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division has established a ‘Donor Coordination Group’ to encourage the private sector to fund the programme.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2021

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