By Zaheer Hussain
Kandhkot- The novel coronavirus has disrupted business activities leading to the closure of factories, markets, shops, schools and all modes of transport. To lessen the hardship of labourers, workers and daily wage earners, the federal government, as well as the provincial government, have not been taken serious steps though announcement relief package has been made earlier.
Labour community and daily wagers are looking with questionable eyes to government, local foundations, NGOs and other associations for relief as they are worst affected due to lockdown throughout the country. In such circumstances, the youth of Kandhkot and kashmore approached to this correspondent and told that kashmore is an industrial district especially having massive gas, petrol reserves and even second largest thermal power station of the subcontinent and also the second-largest gas field of PPL in kashmore.
Despite all these resources, the citizens of the district have been deprived of basic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives as promised by oil and gas companies through their Memorandum of Understanding MoUs with Federal and Provincial Governments.
According to the agreement, they have to spend 10 per cent of their profit on Social Activities such as building Infrastructure, Roads, buildings, establishing standard schools, colleges hospitals and obliged to provide emergency relief in times of Natural disasters and epidemic situations.
Despite the District Government requests and the echoing pleas of People who have lost their livelihood earning opportunities, the corporate sector specially PPL and OGDCL stand inactive though, they are earning millions on daily basis.They have completed left the people at the mercy of God as they have turned a deaf ear towards the echoes of heart wailing for the help and financial assistance to support and feed their families including children.
The lack of ample food has started affecting children and there are cases of malnutrition in the families of labourers and daily wage workers as well as skilled labourers. It would redress the problems of people If the allocated funds under CSR are placed at the disposal of District Administration with representation from the corporate sector, This will ultimately soothe the misery of the stranded labourers, daily wage workers and those who ran any type of small business to support their families financially.
The relief package announced by Federal Government and Provincial Governments still awaited to reach the poor segments of the society despite deduction of amount from the salaries of Government employees in Sindh. The people looking towards the rulers for any relief and rationing as lockdown in Sindh enters the second week. The MNAs and MPAs throughout Sindh are only supporting morally to the people as none of them helped the poor segments with dignity and honour, So far, they are running their social media campaigns by merely distributing handwashing soaps to have selfies. Soaps and selfies cannot fill the bellies of hungry souls.
The relief package of 20 million for each district released by Sindh Government must reach the deserving people immediately to provide temporary relief in times of emergency. The relief package must be monitored by personnel from the secretariat, Army and Judiciary to ensure that relief must reach the actual beneficiary.
On the other hand, Al-Khidmat Foundation is the only welfare organization in District kashmore that is doing wonders by providing rationing, vegetables and other required items to the poor families. They have also placed their volunteers, Ambulances and Hospitals at the disposal of Federal and Provincial Government. The welfare activities of Al-Khidmat Foundation during covid-19 lockdown are commendable.
It is high time that the government should direct the corporate sectors especially lucrative Oil and gas industry to pledge their funds for this global emergency and help save the lives of the people who became either jobless or lost their earning potential due to lockdowns. If Government fails to provide any relief package for the labourers and daily wages workers such as barbers, tailors, drivers, rickshaw riders and cobblers etc, they will die of hunger before covid-19.