KARACHI                    -                 Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Ali Haider Zaidi here on Thursday demanded an urgency on part of TV channel and media house owners to be extra sensitive towards the needs of their workers, as country passing through trying times in face of COVID-19.

Presently in Karachi, his home town, on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan to see for himself the actual situation in the megapolis, he said reporters, cameramen and scores of essential staff were among the people who actually deliver.

“Being fully conscious about the ground realities, I request the owners, they must not only clear dues but also ensure timely payment of salaries of the people who are actually living from hand to mouth,” said the minister.

Talking to the reporters during his visit to Ehsaas Centre, in Karachi South, he expressed regret about media personnel being laid off under circumstances that were getting grimmer due to a global situation.

“We come across these people more frequently as compared to their employers and do understand their problems,” said the federal minister while paying tributes to them as well as all those who are in the field and exposing themselves to grave risks.

PTI Government initiated Ehsaas Cash Relief Programme underway across the country, Zaidi said disbursement of Rs.144 billion among 12 million poorest of the poor was a gigantic task that was being undertaken in a very organized and transparent manner through efficient application of updated technology.

He appreciated the infrastructure being provided by Habib Bank Limited and Alfalah Bank Limited and assured the people that PM Imran Khan stood by his commitment to uplift and empower people accordingly.

Responding to queries raised by media, he said “positive criticism” must be appreciated and acknowledged emphasizing that Sindh government can make optimum of opportunities being generated during existent COVID-19 crisis as the shortcomings are being glaringly exposed.

“Deficiencies in healthcare infrastructure are particularly severe and an opportunity has been provided to address these for good,” said the federal minister.

He emphasized that federal government was absolutely committed to assist the provincial government and despite the fact that provinces were far more powerful than the federal government each of the federal government departments, with any stake in the province or its capital, have been providing needed cooperation.

Zaidi referred to allocation of Rs. 80 million approved by the PNSC board for procurement of life saving equipments and Personal Protective Equipments (including kits) for different and reputable hospitals including Indus Hospital Karachi.

This, he said was besides the fact that Karachi Port Trust as well as Port Qasim were also working in close coordination with local bodies in their disinfectant campaigns whereby fire tenders of the two federal government entities were being used for the purpose without any distinction.

Zaidi mentioned that under his ministership Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) had been turned into a profitable organization with its earning surging to Rs.2.2 billion and while being able to pay-off a loan of Rs. one billion it had also managed to procure two more ships enhancing its commercial transportation capacities.