MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Provincial council members and residents of northern Balkh province on Monday demanded inhabitants of war-affected areas should be given priority in the National Food Programme (NFP).
They also demanded the scheme should be implemented transparently. Injustice and irregularities that happened in free bread distribution programme during the first wave of coronavirus should not be repeated in this scheme.
NFP officials in Balkh said they were fully committed to implementing the scheme, benefitting 179,000 less fortunate families, in a transparent manner.
Provincial officials say NFP had already been launched, benefitting 42,000 poor families in Khelm, Marmal, Charkint and Balkh districts.
Ghulam Rasoul Malakzai, a tribal elder and civil activist, said people were concerned about transparency in the scheme.
He alleged some village elders in Balkh district had included the names of their relatives in the NFP list of deserving households. They have handed over the lists to the government.
The activist asked the government to strictly monitor NFP’s implementation in Balkh and other provinces to prevent corruption and misuse of assistance.
“Our people are poor; they don’t have even one-time food. The government should consider such families in the first category for this aid package,” he believed.
Abdul Hadi, a resident of Chamtal district, claimed: “Ours is the wost-affected district in Balkh.”
He alleged the district close to Mazar-i-Sharif, where the economic condition of people was better, had been considered for aid in the first phase of the programme.
“The government should distribute food assistance to deserving people if it really wants to help the poor. We are unhappy because the district that witnessed conflict in the past 10 years had been ignored.”
Mohammad Afzal Hadid, the Provincial Council chairman, said it would be premature to judge the implementation of NFP. He hoped the scheme would be free from corruption and interference.
“We hope we would be able to bring a measure of relief to the people through NFP,” the public representative said.
According to NFP facilitators, 179,000 families will be distributed food packages at a cost of 378 million afghanis.