LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) was put in an uneasy position after the government intervened on Friday and directly issued a notification to post its five deputationists as deputy directors.

While the government says it has corrected a wrong going on in the LDA since long --where a grade 17 official is holding a grade 19 post which is illegal -- the LDA DG insists that she has the authority to do it.

The situation is likely to worsen in the coming days as all those working on senior positions may be asked by the LDA administration or directly by the government to better work on such jobs as they deserve to hold under the law, Dawn has learnt.

Govt removes five directors. It says a grade 17 official can’t hold a grade 19 position, DG refuses to implement order

“Such a development seems to be happening for the first time since the inception of the LDA in the 1970s as the provincial government finally intervened on Thursday (April 25) after it found some deputationists of BPS-17 working on key positions of directors in BPS-19. Under the law, a BPS-17 officer can hold a maximum of BPS-18 post and not of BPS-19,” an official source explained while talking to Dawn.

According to a notification, the Housing and Urban Development & Public Health Engineering Department (a parent organisation of all development authorities), removed five officers/deputationists (BPS-17) of the Provincial Management Service (PMS) from the posts of directors (BPS-19), appointing them as deputy directors. They are: Shabbir Hussain Cheema (demoted from director to deputy director land acquisition), Shakeel Ahmad Bhatti (from director to deputy director LDA-Avenue-1 Housing scheme), Ali Shahzad (from director finance to deputy director-Directorate of Land Development-II), Ameer Hussain (from director law to deputy director-DLD-I) and Ashfaq Ahmad Khan (from director DLD-III to deputy director DLD-III).

The department issued orders to remove five deputationists from the BPS-19 posts and appointed them as deputy directors in BPS-18.

The department’s secretary Dr Zafar Nasrullah Khan told Dawn that nothing wrong was done with the officers posted in LDA on senior positions.

“The government takes such decisions on its own when no one bothers to work under the law. Under the law and the policy, an officer can be posted in the next grade. But the aforementioned BPS-17 officers were posted as directors in BPS-19. We have just posted them on the positions they actually deserve. So there is no issue on the part of department or the government with the LDA administration in this regard,” he explained.

“There is also a clear instruction of the S&GAD department in this regard. And it is not for the LDA alone but for other departments/authorities too.”

While responding to the development, the LDA DG in a note she sent to minister for housing said as per delegation of powers in LDA Act, 1975 only the LDA DG was competent authority for transfer of officers from BS-17 to BS-19 within the authority. The DG further intimated the secretary that the implementation of his orders was not possible as it would entail legal complications.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2019