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TIMERGARA: Lower Dir Class-IV employees on Wednesday held a protest rally here against long duty hours and low salaries.

The rally was led by district president of Class-IV employees association Ubaid ur Rehman.

Workers of different departments gathered at the government high school, Balambat, and took out a procession. Carrying banners and placards the protesting employees marched on the road and gathered in front of Timergara Press Club.

Addressing the workers, Ubaid ur Rehman, general secretary Rahatullah and others complained that watchmen were being forced to perform 24 hours duty. They termed it against the basic human rights.

They said secretary and director education department had issued letter asking officials concerned to assign eight hours duty to watchmen and other Class-IV employees, but to no avail.

They said watchmen were also compelled to perform the duty of cook, water carrier and office boy.

The speakers said amid price hike they were unable to make both ends meet and demanded increase in salaries. They threatened to stage a sit-in near the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on April 30 if their demands were not met.

POLIO DRIVE: Deputy commissioner Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and district health officer Dr Shaukat Ali visited remote bordering and hilly areas to remove public complaints regarding the negative propaganda against anti-polio vaccine. Ulema, teachers and area elders were asked to counter the propaganda.

Talking to journalists, the DHO said more than 300,000 children below five years of age would be vaccinated during the ongoing anti-polio drive. He said the drive had been successful in Lower Dir as people cooperated with vaccinators.

DOCTORS PROTEST: On the call of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Doctors’ Council, the Lower Dir doctors observed boycott of duties in OPDs at government hospitals across the district, which troubled the patients.

Patients from Chitral, Upper Dir and Bajaur returned without getting any medical care.

The doctors were protesting against the formation of proposed district health authority to take control of public sector hospitals. Emergency cover, however, was provided to serious patients.

The doctors said the government planned to gradually privatise hospitals, which would affect poor patients. They said doctors had not been taken into confidence before preparing draft of the bill for hospitals’ privatisation.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2019