The federal government on Friday launched mobile utility stores in Islamabad, aimed at reducing the problems faced by the masses amid coronavirus lockdown.

During the inauguration ceremony of the service, Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar said that eight mobile vans have been allocated for this purpose.

“Initially, these mobile vans would provide grocery items to rural areas of Islamabad,” said the minister, adding that the scope of the service would be expanded nationwide within two weeks.

He said that Rs50 billion have been allocated to subsidise the rates of everyday items, saying that the government realises the miseries of the people under the lockdown. “As per the prime minister’s instructions, edible items such as flour, sugar, pulses and oil would be provided at cheaper rates.”

He said that the government would not let the supply of these items disrupted and appealed to the people to stay at home and cooperate with the government at a time of crisis.

The minister said that announcements would be made through local mosques so that as many people could benefit from the service.

Asad Umar said that the decision to ease the coronavirus lockdowns in different parts of the country would be made only after consultation with provinces and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He further said that the Pakistanis stranded in Iran would be allowed to cross the border in the remote areas of Balochistan twice a week and all precautionary measures would be taken in this regard.