LAHORE - Punjab cabinet committee has recommended against holding of Ramazan Bazars during the upcoming holy month of Ramazan in view of the precarious situation arising out of COVID-19.

A high level meeting of the cabinet committee chaired by Senior Minister Punjab & Food Minister Abdul Aleem Khan, on Wednesday, sent its recommendations to the Chief Minister advising him to provide direct relief to the citizens in shape of cash instead of setting up Ramazan Bazars. It also recommended that daily goods should also not be sold through trucks and sale points.

Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Bazdar was most likely to give his final approval in this regard on Thursday (today).

The meeting also decided that at district level across Punjab masses would be given relief through cash distribution but the procedure for providing this relief would be finalized by Punjab Chief Minister.

Addressing the meeting,  Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan said that direct relief would be given to the citizens at all costs, however, the government would have to look at security measures to protect lives of the people. He said that Ramadan Package would benefit around 2 million families of Punjab and around 12.5 million citizens.

Recommendations of the cabinet committee would be presented to Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Bazdar, following which, the district administration and other Government institutions would be able to distribute the cash quickly to the citizens.

Abdul Aleem Khan said that the Federal and Punjab Governments were already providing financial support to the citizens in different ways and this Ramadan Package would be another step by Punjab Government to add relief to the people and it would be ensured that those families were reached who had not been provided financial assistance as yet.

Various options including direct cash relief were discussed in the meeting in which electricity bills and other sources were included. Senior Member Board of Revenue and Secretaries of Agriculture, Industries, Livestock and Food Departments also attended the meeting and submitted their proposals for possible relief in Ramadan with regard to their departments. The meeting was informed that the Deputy Commissioners of 30 districts of Punjab had also voted in favor of not setting up Ramadan Bazaars as the district administrations were already under considerable pressure due to wheat procurement and Corona activities.