Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) will regularise 531 employees – Daily DAWN News Report
LAHORE, June 18, 2011 – Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) management plans to regularise its 531 employees who were recruited on contract/daily wages in various phases during the ongoing and the last fiscal years despite the fact that the minorities ministry had raised objections prior to their appointments, it is learnt.
Sources told Dawn that the management in its proposed budget for fiscal year 2011-12 had made an allocation of additional funds worth over Rs43 million for regularisation of a large number of employees who had a very short service length. They said though there was no significant progress about increase in the in come/revenue of the department the management’s plan to regularise the employees would leave an additional burden of millions of rupees on the upcoming budget of ETPB.
They said the management as per Evacuee Trust Properties Management and Disposal Act-1975 was liable to prepare the board’s annual budget and submit it to the ministry of minorities every year by May 31. But it sent the final budget for 2011-12 to the ministry with a delay of 13 days after some officials concerned expressed their concern about justification for regularising the employees despite ministry’s objections even on their recruitment.
According to the budget for FY 2011-12 the management stated that an amount of Rs72.168 million had been proposed for the revised ETPB budget for 2010-2011 whereas in the budget estimate 2011-12 it proposed Rs115.229 million. “The increase in the allocation is due to planned regularisation of 531 employees by the federal cabinet committee letter No21/2010-Coord of May 25, 2011 and prime minister secretariat letter No.2 (737)/DS/Imp-II/11 of May 25, 2011,” the budget proposal sent by the management to the ministry for grant of approval reads.
Sources said the ETPB management had actually sought approval from the ministry to recruit 605 employees in various cadres during 2009 10. But the ministry, however, allowed it to recruit around 200 employees instead of filling all vacancies to avoid heavy expenditure in this regard. They said the management ignored the ministry’s objections and recruited 531 people on contract.
As per a letter F-No.8(3)/2009-P-1 of June 23, 2009 the ministry of minorities had asked the ETPB chairman to justify creation of 605 additional posts during 2009-10.
“The position regarding creation of 605 additional posts has not been properly clarified. The ETPB board is again advised to submit a separate reference for creation of all additional posts with full details/justification in respect of each scale for the approval of the competent authority. It is not understood that how and why 154 security guards and 21 security supervisors (mentioned in a list of 605 new posts) are required and for which purpose especially under the present circumstances when the security of buildings is normally outsourced because of welltrained personnel available with private security agencies,” the letter reads.
The letter also advised the ETPB chairman to clarify recruitment of people on 605 new posts which also included 86 patwaris, six naib tehsildars, 145 caretakers to look after tem ples and other places.
Sources said the ministry instead of properly pursuing the issue made its point of view lenient in a letter NoF.No.8(1)/2010-P.1 of Sept 29, 2010 issued at a later stage, allowing the ETPB management to make recruitments on 195 posts including 175 security personnel in scale-5 and 20 on other seats in grade 5-18. “Some of the officials concerned in the ministry became compassionate after the ETPB management unlawfully allotted plots to them in its various residential schemes last year,” an official requesting anonymity said.
He said during 2009-10 the ETPB earned a revenue of nearly Rs900 million that included Rs400 to 500 million from investments. But at present the income reduced to Rs200-250 million due to massive increase in the ETPB expenditures, he added. The official said the ongoing fiscal year’s budget was of around Rs1,600 million and deficit running in millions.
“Though we have showed our concerns in this regard but the management has advised us not to mention the expenditures, made already, in the upcoming budget so as to show it a balanced one,” the official said.
He said if the ETPB management succeeded in getting regularised hundreds of people it would face more loss. It would also hit various developmental and welfare work being executed for the minorities and their temples.
Commenting on the issue, ETPB chairman Syed Asif Hashmi admitted that the board had proposed to regularise its contract/daily wages staff. “But we are going through all the legal process to regularise the employees in the light of directions issued by the cabinet committee and prime minister secretariat.” He said the board would not be overburdened financially as it was already running in profit. “At present the ETPB has posted Rs530 million profit. Since I took over as chairman the board is earning over Rs1.5 billion to date,” he claimed.
Hashmi said some of his subordinates had negative approach toward regularisation of staff members and various developmental schemes for the minorities, particu larly the Sikh community. “But I am least bothered about that as I will continue to render my services for the betterment of minorities and their temples in the country,” he said. As section officers (SOs) of the ministry — Naeem Ahmad, Arshad Kazmi and Mansoor Naqvi — refused to comment on the issue, federal secretary Khwaja Siddique Akbar was not available for comments despite repeated calls made by this reporter.
(Published in “Daily Dawn” on Sunday, June 19, 2011)
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