How the elderly struggle to get free flour under govt scheme
The elderly seem to be facing a dilemma in getting free flour bags through the government-announced scheme for the underprivileged during the holy month of Ramazan.
In Faisalabad, it has become difficult for the senior citizens and differently abled people to get free flour.
Haji Saeed, 80, from Faisalabad, tried his luck to get free flour and had to stand in a long queue while fasting.
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The price of basic food items has rocketed in recent months, with inflation at a near 50-year high, as the country grapples with a balance of payments crisis that has seen it forced back into negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
The district administration has set up a counter for the differently abled and senior citizens, but there is no banner or staff at the Kalim Shaheed Park distribution center.
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The in-charge of the center said they have set up special counters and deputed police and civil defense personnel to assist the physically challenged persons in getting their slips. The Faisalabad district administration is giving away about 50,000 free flour bags daily across the city.
On one hand three provinces are getting free flour, on the other, Balochistan is receiving the commodity on inflated prices.
In the market, the price of a 20kg bag is fixed at Rs2,760 to Rs2,880, while a 50kg bag has reached up to Rs8,000.
The Balochistan government spokesperson defended the inflated prices of flour in the province and cited non-supply of wheat to the flour mills as the reason.
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The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government took notice of the mismanagement during distribution of free flour in Charsadda and Bannu.
The KP food secretary directed the Bannu and Peshawar commissioners to improve the situation.
One killed in stampede
One person was killed and eight others injured during a stampede for free flour on Thursday.
“Nine people were trampled and were taken to hospital where one person died,” said Muhammad Arif, the Charsadda police chief.
Arif said hundreds of people gathered at the local market for the handouts, one of hundreds of distribution points set up by the government during Ramazan.
Millions of low-income families across the country are registered under the scheme.
In a nearby district, a man died and four others were injured when a wall they were sitting on collapsed as crowds amassed for free flour.
Authorities told AFP it was not clear why the wall collapsed.