Spot-on steps allay sufferings amid virus

With the effective and measures taken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is being praised by different countries and international organisations for its proper management of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis facing the people of the country.

Food and financial support to destitute and poor-income group people could be mentioned significantly while the health service, excepting for a few matters, is almost better despite the coronavirus, a deadly disease.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken effective and immediate steps to address the crisis from the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Her supportive guidelines for the poor and low-income people, as well as the medical system, were also timely. The Prime Minister has used the administrative machinery and field administrations with efficiency and success for the implementation of these decisions.

Since the lockdown started on March 26, mainly the distressed and low-income people fell in a severe crisis. The sudden stop of the wheels of the economy has had an adverse effect more or less on everyone.

To resolve the crisis, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held meetings in phases with top officials of the government. Announcing various financial incentives for people of all walks of life and professions, she issued various directives through a series of video conferences from Gonobhaban with field administration officials.

The relief activities countrywide are almost transparent and accountable for the strict surveillance by the Prime Minister. Although a section of unscrupulous people, including officials and elected representatives had tried to misappropriate the relief and aid money, they had to face immediate punishment. Around 80 of the elected representatives have so far been suspended for their misdeeds while many political leaders and activists have been arrested. As a result, relief materials could be reached to the target group of people easily and almost successfully. In this regard, the government has even provided the transportation costs. 

A government official from each of the upazila administrations accompanied the elected local representatives so that they could not misappropriate the relief, or abuse power. As a result, the relief distribution activities were almost transparent and poor people did not have to suffer much.

According to information received from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Gonobhaban, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has talked to the officials of almost all the districts through video conferences in the last three months. Local leaders, personnel from the civil society and religious leaders were also present at the conferences alongside the government officials.

During the conferences, the Prime Minister issued 31 directives on April 1, 10 directives on April 16, 13 directives on April 20 and 10 more on April 27. She had issued the directives to tackle the situation through proper management and support of the government. In this regard, a secretary of the government has been assigned in each of the 64 districts to implement the directives. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself is coordinating with them both directly and indirectly.

As part of the government initiatives to reduce sufferings of mass people, mainly the destitute and low-income people, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for them remains continued. As the government has stood beside the people, relief support has been provided among over 6,00,00,000 people from 1,25,00, 000 families. In addition, 10 kgs of rice will be distributed among 1,00,00,000 destitute people as relief on the occasion of the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha. In this regard, 1.76 lakh metric tons of rice has been allotted.

Moreover, the government in an official note from the Ministry of Relief and Disaster Management on Tuesday said that at present the government is distributing Tk 2,500 among each of 50,00,000 families. For this purpose, the government has to spend Tk 1,250 crore.

On the other hand, the process to provide food at Tk 10 among 76,00,000 families is also ongoing.
According to officials, under these initiatives, over 1.25 crore families or around 6,00,00,000 people are being facilitated directly by the government.

On the other hand, the health and treatment system to fight the coronavirus is being dealt with with an iron hand so that people get proper service. Although some irregularities have been found in many cases, the government is taking measures against those who are found involved in the corruption and mismanagement.