CHITRAL: Soon after the government announced financial assistance for daily wage workers hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the ruling party workers and activists have started preparation of lists in both lower and Upper Chitral.
But it is unclear if the government is going to prepare new lists or criteria to provide the monetary relief to the poor people or would use the data available with Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
Under an announcement, the government is relaxing the eligibility threshold/criteria for accommodating more people under the “Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme” mainly daily wagers/labourers whose livelihood has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a relief package of Rs200 billion for daily wagers/labourers and another Rs144 billion for relief to vulnerable families which are aimed at providing quick relief to all those who have been affected by the pandemic.
According to the sources, around 93 per cent of data of low-income groups is available with the government collected under different household surveys for BISP.
The government is likely to start disbursing the cash grants of Rs12,000 each next month to the deserving families affected by the coronavirus. This cash programme is part of the relief package announced by the prime minister.
But if what sources told ChitralToday are to be believed like the BISP in the past this new package would also be used as a political bribe by the ruling party (PTI). The sources said PTI workers and activists in both Lower and Upper Chitral had started preparing lists in almost every village.
Workers of the ruling party as well as former village council nazims have become active in including names of the prospected beneficiaries in the lists.
Some PTI workers even claimed that they had been asked by the district zakat committee chairman to prepare the lists of daily wage workers, both men and women, from their respective villages.
After such announcement came to surface through social media the local workers of PTI started reaching out to people. Likewise, people are rushing to the offices of the village councils where the ex-nazims were spotted facilitating the preparation of the lists.
However, no one knows about the credibility of all this exercise being carried out because so far no such announcement has been made by the government and terms of reference, including entry forms, are not made public.
All this has raised questions about the process which is being practiced by the PTI workers at the behest of the district zakat chairman and ex-nazims.
Three days ago, the deputy commissioner of Lower Chitral had distanced himself from the process being carried out by the PTI and told a meeting that the district administration was no aware of it. He had also said a committee would prepare the lists after making field visits.
Sources told ChitralToday on condition of anonymity that the entire process was full of flaws and smacked of nepotism and favoritism. They said both the PTI workers as well as the former nazims were trying their best to take this as a political gaining opportunity.
Like the BISP in the past, this is going to be yet another example of doling out public fund on political basis. In the BISP, deserving and needy people were neglected and resourceful people were included in the lists of beneficiaries.