MULTAN: The Multan Waste Management Company (MWMC) took five months to finalise the contract of a third-party contractor for the hiring of sanitary workers, Dawn has learnt.

The city has been facing a huge garbage issue with heaps of rubbish all around.

The company’s board of directors in July last decided to hire 300 sanitary workers through a third party. The opening of the bids to award the contract was held on Sept 27 in which eight firms participated. Being the lowest bidder in the process, Babar and Umar Private Limited was handed over the acceptance letter and the firm was asked to submit the performance security of Rs9.8 million against the total contract amount of Rs99.3 million.

Sources said the MWMC administration refused to accept the performance security in terms of bank guarantee which according to the Punjab Procurement Rules 2014 is acceptable and demanded that security should be submitted in terms of pay order. They said the firm was forced to start work from Feb 1 without signing the contract and during the first month not more than 150 workers joined the duty.

Meanwhile, the administration and union of the company started to pressurise the contractor to accommodate the people recommended by them.

On March 18, firm’s chief executive Zaffar Iqbal wrote a letter to MWMC Managing Director Fakharul Islam Dogar while stating that a meeting ‘to assure coordination among all stakeholders’ was held at the MD office on March 9 in which the MD informed firm’s director Babar Zaffar Lodhi that MWMC Labour Union general secretary Samiullah had some grievances against the firm. Samiullah stated that the firm was not hiring sanitary workers recommended by the union.

Mr Iqbal stated that Mr Lodhi informed that the recommended workers were not willing to work as sanitary workers by saying that they were promised some other assignments. He stated that the union leader was assured by the firm’s director that the firm would adjust all the workers recommended by the union if they fulfill the given criteria and are ready to work in field as sanitary workers as per the contractual mandate.

He stated that again on March 18, firm’s representative Hussain was on his duty when Samiullah along with a mob of 15 to 20 persons armed with sticks and wooden clubs attacked the firm’s representative and dragged him towards the office compound where he was brutally tortured and manhandled.

He stated that Mr Hussain managed to escape while the union leader was instigating the mob to kill him.

MWMC MD Mr Dogar said the letter written by the contractor was the result of misunderstanding; however, he is going to order a probe on the application. He said the contract had been signed on April 11 and payment to the contractor would be made according to contract.

“The contractor will pay the wages to the workers for the period prior to the signing of contract while the MWMC will make the payment for the wages only after the signing date of the contract,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2021

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