PESHAWAR: The issue of the non-payment of salary to 1,200 ad hoc doctors, who were appointed to government hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa around four months ago specifically for coronavirus emergency, echoed in the provincial assembly here on Tuesday.
Inayatullah Khan of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and two opposition MPAs Sirajuddin and Humaira Khatun raised the issue through a joint calling attention notice during a session chaired by Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan.
Mr Inayatullah said the ad hoc doctors led the fight against Covid-19 from the front but it was very disappointing to learn that the government hadn’t paid them salary despite recruiting them on emergency basis after the outbreak of coronavirus.He criticised the provincial government over ‘failure’ to complete the verification of the documents of those ad hoc doctors in the last four months and said the process could be completed in 15 days.
Minister says half of doctors got salary, orders issued for payment to rest
“This attitude is an injustice with our heroes (doctors), who have been performing their duties day and night amid fear caused by coronavirus. They have been facing multiple financial problems as they’ve not paid for four months,” he said.
The opposition lawmaker demanded of the government to immediately release the salary of those doctors to address their financial problems.
He also called for the announcement of Shuhada Package for healthcare providers, who died of coronavirus, while performing duty.
Mr Inayatullah said the influential doctors managed to get salary, while the others were unpaid.
MPA Humaira Khathun said all ad hoc doctors were young people and the nonpayment of salary had disappointed them.
“Instead of giving away reward to these doctors, the government is not paying them due salaries,” she said.
Responding to the calling attention notice, law minister Sultan Mohammad Khan praised doctors over ‘outstanding’ performance during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said those doctors were appointed for six months on April 2 to combat the outbreak of coronavirus.
“Half of them [doctors] have got salaries. The health department has issued a letter to all district health officers and administrations of hospitals to immediately release salary of the remaining,” he said.
He said all ad hoc doctors were appointed in emergency and not under the normal procedure and therefore, administrations of all hospitals was issued directives to verify their credentials that took months.
“Now, the government has directed the authorities concerned to release their [doctors’] salaries even if their academic credentials have not been not verified,” he said.
The opposition members also criticised the government over failure to implement the minimum wage of Rs17,500 for unskilled workers that was fixed by the government in the last financial year.
The issue was raised by ANP member Salahuddin during the question hour.
In a written reply to the question, the higher education department said it had been paying Rs14,000 fixed salary to the contractual Class-IV employees recruited in the government colleges.
“The government is the maker and breaker of its own rules,” Salahuddin responded.
He said the government had accepted that Rs14,000 monthly salary was below the minimum wage.
Inayatullah Khan of the MMA said he knew many employees of the local government department who hadn’t been paid the minimum wage for the last many years.
The house also witnessed a heated debate on the formation of the National Finance Commission, delay in its award, ‘denial’ of net hydel profit to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The chair adjourned the session until Friday.
Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2020