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CM orders all govt departments, municipal bodies to pay pensions timely

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed all the departments, particularly the local bodies authorities, different boards and semi- government organisations to resolve the pension issues of their employees and report to him.

He took this decision while presiding over a cabinet meeting at New Sindh Secretariat on Tuesday. All the provincial ministers, senior advisers, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem and secretaries concerned attended the meeting.

The chief minister was told that there were pension issues of local bodies employees. “An employee who retires from his/her service must be given their pension and dues in time,” he said.

Shah said the local bodies such as the KMC, DMCs, Sukkur Municipal Corporation and other bodies had failed to develop a mechanism for the payment of pensions; therefore, the employees had to run from pillar to post for their legitimate right. “This is unfair and should be addressed on a priority basis.” Shah directed the chief secretary to personally resolve the issue of the payment of pensions once and for all.

E-transfer policy

In the meeting, the education department presented an e-transfer policy for the teaching staff of the school education department.

The meeting was told that a ban on transfers was imposed in November 2018 mainly to ensure the continuity of teachers during an academic year and to check frequent transfers and postings, especially transfers of teachers from remote rural areas to urban areas.

Again, in August 2019, the cabinet approved a complete ban on the transfer of all teaching staff, the meeting was told. The ban on transfers and postings for over two years has faced impediments as well, leading to the permanent and temporary closure of schools due to retirement or deaths of teachers and a worsening student-teacher ratio (30:1) in the teacher-deficient schools, the meeting participants were told.

It was also pointed out that due to a complete ban on transfer requests, the requests of female teachers under the wedlock policy and transfer requests of female teachers in case of divorce or the death of a husband and ailing teachers could not be entertained.

Education Minister Saeed Ghani and Secretary School Education Ahmed Bux Narejo presented a draft of transfer and posting policy and said that with the aim to open all the viable closed schools, ensuring availability of teachers in primary schools, to maintain the student- teacher ratio and making science and English teachers available, the school education department has prepared a transfer policy.

The policy on general transfers of teachers will be notified in the month of March every year and will be implemented from the new academic year. Requests for teachers’ transfers will be entertained as per the following timelines: a) interested teachers will be required to submit e-transfer applications for their transfers during two weeks of January; b) the scrutiny of transfer applications will be carried out by the district education officer (DEO) office during the third and fourth weeks of January; c) the scrutiny of e-transfer applications will be carried by the concerned director in the first week of February, except of those where the DEO is competent; d) the scrutiny of e-transfer applications will be conducted by the director HR during the second and third weeks of February; and e) the uploading of all system-generated orders on the website of the school education department will be done by the third week of March.

Ghani clarified that the abovementioned timelines will not be applicable in cases such as the reopening of single-room schools, wedlock cases, death of a spouse and divorce (for female teacher) cases, and teachers suffering from debilitating chronic diseases. The cabinet, after thorough discussion, approved the transfer and posting policy of the school teachers

Palm oil trees

The Coastal Development Authority told the cabinet that Pakistan was facing a high demand for edible oil. Reportedly, 4.50 million tons of edible oil worth $3.150 billion is being importedannually to meet the domestic requirement, which constitutes the highest import bill after petroleum products.

Adviser Environment Murtaza Wahab said the Sindh Coastal Development Authority (SCDA) had a success story of palm oil plantation and the installation of oil palm extraction mini mill in the coastal belt. The mill has started producing oil.

He requested the cabinet to provide 3,000 acres of forest land at two connected forests, Kathore and Hayat Gaho, Taluka Ghorabari, to the SCDA for planting oil palm trees to produce oil. The cabinet approved the proposal and provided 3,000 acres of forest land to SCDA.

Subsidy for farming community

The agriculture department told the cabinet that it intended to initiate three interventions to provide immediate relief to the farmers/growers in order to address food security.

The three interventions include the provision of agriculture implements at subsidised cost, installation of solar tube wells at subsidized cost and a subsidy for the installation of controlled atmospheric stores on a turnkey basis.

The chief minister said that a cold storage should be established at the divisional headquarter level preferably in the private sector or on a public-private partnership basis.

He said that as far as the installation of solar tube wells and the provision of agricultural implements or equipment is concerned, the government should give a subsidy to the small growers.

The cabinet also agreed with the chief minister and said that due to power shortage, growers were inclined to install solar tube wells; therefore, the government should launch such a scheme.

The cabinet urged the agriculture department to prepare schemes for the provision of agriculture implements and installation of solar tube wells at subsidized cost and present to the

cabinet for approval.

SEZ Grid Station

The land utilisation department presented a case of allotment of seven acres of land to the National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) for the installation of a 220KV Grid Station for Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Dhabeji.

Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a project of Rs4.25 billion has been approved to provide electricity to the SEZ. The cabinet approved seven acres of land for the installation of a grid station and directed the LU department to complete the legal formalities.

Extension of contract

The cabinet approved the extension of the contract appointment of managing director of the Sindh Civil Servants Housing Foundation (SCSHF), Iqbal Nafees Khan, for another two years.

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