Strike by sub-engineers brings Rawal Dam maintenance to a standstill

Updated February 17, 2020

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All activities such as checking of key infrastructure and repair and maintenance of Rawal Dam and canals in Rawalpindi division have come to a halt due to a pen-down strike by sub-engineers of the Punjab government. — Photo courtesy Mohammad Asim/File
All activities such as checking of key infrastructure and repair and maintenance of Rawal Dam and canals in Rawalpindi division have come to a halt due to a pen-down strike by sub-engineers of the Punjab government. — Photo courtesy Mohammad Asim/File

ISLAMABAD: All activities such as checking of key infrastructure and repair and maintenance of Rawal Dam and canals in Rawalpindi division have come to a halt due to a pen-down strike by sub-engineers of the Punjab government.

Though the strike has affected the performance of other departments too, its impact on the irrigation department is severe as limited time is available for development works and repair and maintenance before the arrival of monsoon rains.

The incharge of Rawal Dam has written a letter to the chief engineer of the irrigation department in Lahore, stating that the whole system had been disturbed due to the strike.

“All sub-engineers, senior sub-engineers and promoted subdivisional officers working in this organisation are observing pen down strike since 03.02.2020 for their demand of technical allowance,” stated the letter written by the project director of Rawal Dam.

It said the sub-engineers played a pivotal role from construction to routine operations.

The striking sub-engineers are demanding technical allowance, official says

The progress on the annual development plan works has hampered, and operation and construction process have jammed.

“Being custodian of the government structures and assets, they have to ensure safeguard of government assets and services. This whole system is disturbed due to their strike,” said the letter. The matter is most serious for the irrigation department as all development projects, repair works as well as routine matters like cleaning of canals have to be completed before the end of May.

The infrastructure works at all existing and new canals in Punjab have come to a standstill, but it is serious in Rawalpindi division as the area lies in the Barani belt.

“The monsoon rains erode any incomplete infrastructure and damages are furthered in monsoon,” said a senior official of Small Dams Department.

General Secretary Punjab Diploma Engineers Federation Mohammad Tauqir Ranjha said several requests had been made to the authorities to resolve the issue.

“But bureaucracy is creating hurdles as a result the government work and public service delivery has been affected,” Mr Ranjha said.

He said engineers of Punjab government were given technical allowance while executive allowance was given to CSS officers. Similarly, doctors get special allowance.

“All these allowances are 150 per cent of their basic salary. But our case becomes controversial because of malintention by bureaucrats.”

With the financial year closing in four months, the continuation of strike by the sub-engineers could lead to delay in the development works, he added.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2020