ISLAMABAD: Shahnaz Masih, a sanitation worker, is distressed and does not know whether her children will celebrate Christmas because she for the last two months could not get their due salaries along with hundreds of others .

“Christmas is fast approaching. While, we have to run our houses but these cruel people (government officials) have not released our salaries for the last two months,” she said in a sobbing voice at a protest staged by a large number of sanitaion workers outside of Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) Office.

“Our salary is very meagre and we have to run our houses with a little budget, but delay in our salaries has become a fashion,” she said and added that their Rs5,000 Easter bonus has also been pending for the last eight months.

In the past few months, the workers have been staging protest for constant delay in release of their salaries.

Earlier, the sanitation directorate was part of CDA, but after formation of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), this directorate was devolved to MCI, which has been claiming shortage of funds.

The MCI in its accounts has around Rs2 billion, but according to MCI officials, in the absence of financial rules, the MCI is unable to spend them, while CDA which used to pay salaries to sanitation workers now considered that it is the responsibility of MCI to pay salaries to its employees.

Last month after a protest CDA paid salaries and according to Director Sanitation Sardar Khan Zimri, on Wednesday CDA also approved payment of Rs30 million for paying salaries to sanitation workers.

“Tomorrow, the sanitation workers will be paid one month salary,” he said.CDA’s spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said that paying salaries to its employees is the responsibility of the MCI, not CDA, but “today we released Rs30 million for sanitation workers of MCI,” he said and added that CDA has been paying to MCI from funds that it received under Prime Minister (PM) Package.

Another official of CDA said that it is strange that when CDA made transfer and posting in MCI’s directorate, the MCI reacted by terming it encroachment in their domain, but when it is a matter of paying salaries to employees, they look towards CDA.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2019