LAKKI MARWAT - Local administration decided to tighten vigilance on the border with Punjab to stop import of non-iodized salt to the district from Kalabagh, Mianwali.

The decision to this effect was taken in a high-level meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Bakhtiar Khan, in which other officials including District Health Officer Dr Abdul Ghaffar Wazir, Micronutrient Initiative (MI) Consultant Sadiq Hussain and District Coordinator National Programme for Lady Health Workers Dr Tariq Saleem were also present.

MI consultant presented a detailed briefing on hazardous effects of consumption of non-iodised salt on human health. “The consumption of non-iodised salt is the major public health problem in Pakistan as over half of population in the country and one fourth of the world are faced with iodine deficiency disorders”, he maintained. He told the meeting that besides arranging trainings, the MI provided salt processors with potassium iodate and drip feed equipments for preparing iodised salt at their respective units. “The training activities aiming to sensitise people on usefulness of consumption of iodised salt have also been arranged for health providers, traders and students and teachers”, he claimed while underlining the role of local administration to stop sale of non-iodised salt in the district.

The deputy commissioner asked the authorities concerned to arrange trainings for cops posted at border check posts to check salt being imported to the district from Punjab. He directed the relevant officials to seal salt factories if found involved in producing non-iodised salt.

“The traders will also face stern action if they were found involved in selling non-iodised salt at their respective outlets”, the deputy commissioner warned. He also directed health and MI officials to submit a detailed report within a week on achievements and future course of action to ensure availability of iodised salt in the district and consumption of the commodity by each individual.

Meanwhile, in a meeting of the census coordination committee, the deputy commissioner reviewed arrangements for the upcoming population and housing census scheduled for March.  Civil and military officials attended the meeting.

An official of the statistics department told the meeting that Lakki Marwat and Naurang tehsils of the district have been divided into 522 blocks for the census activity. The official said around 200 enumerators including reserved staff would perform their duties in 361 blocks of Lakki tehsil while 88 enumerators would be deployed in 161 blocks of Naurang tehsil. He said Lakki Marwat district had been included in the second phase where population and housing census would begin in the end of April. 

On the occasion, Bakhtar directed the officials of line departments to utilise all out energies to make the national census a success. “The census is an important and sensitive issue and the enumerators should leave no stone unturned to record accurate data of houses, individuals and homeless people”, he maintained.

The deputy commissioner directed the education and revenue officials to sensitise employees of their respective departments about the importance of national census as they had a major role on their part to play in this regard. He said the district administration with the support of nongovernment organisations and line departments would also launch a massive awareness campaign to convince people to cooperate with enumerators and provide them with accurate data.

“The nazims and secretaries of village councils will be asked to play a role in this regard and sensitise people in their respective councils to fully cooperate with enumerators”, he added. The deputy commissioner warned that the employees refusing to perform census duty, entering wrong data or misbehaving with individuals would face stern legal action. He also said the individuals refusing to proved data or not cooperating with enumerators would also face action.