KARACHI: Three years after the ministries were devolved to provincial governments, 3,600 employees in Sindh are still working on “deputation”. The Sindh government has neither provided them any allowance nor has it made a decision about their future, creating resentment among the employees.
“I spent almost 15 years in the archaeology department in Islamabad as a permanent employee. My promotion to grade-18 was due but after the promulgation of the 18th Amendment, our department was devolved to the provincial government and we were transferred on deputation,” said a senior official of the archaeology and museum department, which has now been merged with the culture department. “Since then, there has been confusion as to whether the government will take our responsibility or we will continue our job on deputation.”
More than 300 permanent employees of the archaeology and museum department were transferred to Sindh in March 2011 after heritage sites, including Moen Jo Daro, National Museum, Makli graveyard, Quaid-e-Azam’s museum and his birth place, Umerkot Fort and Kot Diji Fort, were handed over to Sindh. All the employees were asked to work on three years’ deputation after which the government was supposed to accommodate them. “The government notified us that during the deputation tenure, we are entitled to get 20 per cent of our basic pay as deputation allowance every month. But this has yet to be implemented,” said one of the deputy directors of the culture department.
The employees of other departments that have been devolved to the provincial government include those from social welfare, population and planning, minorities, special education, labour and manpower, health, local government and culture and tourism.
“We are only 20 employees who have been transferred to the provincial tourism department. Earlier, we used to get residence and travelling and medical allowances, which have now been suspended. We demand an end to our deputation tenure and ask that we are made permanent employees,” said Manzoor Marri, the assistant controller directorate of tourist services.
The secretary of culture department, Saqib Soomro, told The Express Tribune that they have prepared a draft bill which will be tabled in Sindh Assembly in order to “absorb” these employees. “CM has approved the summary and 300 employees working in my department would be regularised soon,” he said. The provincial law secretary, confirming the reports about absorption of these employees in various departments, said, “A bill has been drafted which is likely to be moved in the next Sindh Assembly session.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2014.