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SAHIWAL: Out of 18 sanctioned posts in the Old Age Home (OAH) here, 12 have been lying vacant since its inception in 2010.

The shortage of staff in the Old Age Home, which comes under the Punjab Social Welfare Department, is causing problems for 30 senior citizens, including eight women, who are residing there.

The vacant posts include key posts of a warden and two cooks. Other posts are of a junior clerk, attendant, storekeeper, two helpers and two peons.

A senior citizen, on the condition of anonymity, says that due to the absence of cooks, two women residents of the Old Age Home have to cook food for all the residents of the home.

Rafiq Ramay, caretaker of the Old Age Home, has confirmed that 12 posts are vacant. Another problem that all the six old age homes across the province are facing is related to their budget.

It is learnt such homes, in official record, are still going through a development phase and their annual budget is not released automatically just like other departments. They have to put forward the required budget before the government which takes time.

Alamdar, district officer Social Welfare Department, says the Planning and Development Department has to complete evaluation of all six Old Age Homes across Punjab in 2013 under the original plan.

“This has not been done till date and this is the reason that the homes’ annual budget has not been included in the non-development budget but in the annual development phase budget,” he adds.

Because of the absence of planning and evaluation, the Old Age Homes of the province will not get budget automatically under the Annual Development Programme for the upcoming fiscal year, starting from June 30.

Mr Ramay says they have just Rs3m left for this year which is sufficient to meet expenses only till June 30 and it will be difficult to run the Old Age Home after that.

The other old age homes in Punjab are in Multan, Narowal, Toba Tek Singh, Rawalpindi and Lahore.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2016