Fazal Khaliq

MINGORA:  Civil society members here on Tuesday demanded of the government to install hand washing facilities and provide relief packages to the poor communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They demanded this in an emergency meeting of civil society members organized by Khwaga Kaliwaal Kokarai Swat Advisory Council. The meeting aimed to create coordination with the government and non-government organizations regarding the Coronavirus outbreak.

They said that Kokarai union council was thickly populated with more than 40,000 people where majority of them belonged to poor communities who had no source of income during the lockdown.

“The relevant departments and organizations must take care of the marginalized communities who had no source of income during the lockdown. They work as daily wagers in restaurants, construction sectors and many of them are low wage farmers,” said Fazal Mauala, chairman of the advisory council.

They also demanded of the government to immediately install hand washing facilities in their town with soap and sanitizers.

“The relevant departments or organizations should install the hand washing stations in maximum possible locations, with special focus on busy places and buildings, like banks, medical centres etc,” said Akthar Ali president of the advisory council, adding that public transport should also provide the hand washing facility in their vehicles. He said that the area needed hand washing facilities at 25 locations.

Members of the advisory council said that before normal life resumed back, hand washing or sanitization facilities or both might be extended to more public places. “The hand washing facilities should also be installed in bus terminals, school buildings, taxi stands, mosques, markets, streets, factories, police stations, check posts, and where important meetings are held,” said Ayaz Bacha the media coordinator of the advisory council.

The civil society members said that posters and boards must be installed displaying signs and instructions telling proper hand washing near the hand washing stations.

“Volunteers from the local communities will be responsible to manage and keep regular eye and watch on this crucial activity, the day around,” they said and expected that the hand washing facilities would keep the risk of epidemic at minimum possible levels in the long run, if people were convinced to wash hands promptly and frequently.

WSSC Chief Executive Officer Sheeda Muhammad said that the handwashing stations with essentials would be installed in the area after consulting his team.