Legislation to regularise ex-Fata project employees put off

Published October 19, 2021
A file view of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. — AFP
A file view of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. — AFP

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday deferred the passage of a bill for the appointment and regularisation of certain project employees in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas at the request of the government.

Labour minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai requested Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan, who was in the chair, to defer discussion on the bill saying it is to be reviewed for the inclusion and exclusion of some projects.

He opposed the proposal to send the bill to the house’s select committee for revision and said the proposed move will delay the passage of the proposed law.

Minister tells PA that bill to be reviewed to include, exclude some projects

More than 40 members of the treasury and opposition benches, including those of religious minorities, had suggested amendments to the bill in an occurrence rare in such pieces of proposed legislations.

Member of the opposition Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal Inayatullah Khan, who also proposed an amendment to the bill, urged the chair to refer the bill to the select committee. However, the idea was opposed by the labour minister.

The chair observed that under Rule 82(a) of the assembly business rules, only the minister concerned could request for the deferment of discussion on a bill.

The proposed law provides for the regularisation of over 3,000 of employees working in 121 projects executed by the erstwhile Fata secretariat, whose control was secured by the provincial government after the merger of the tribal region with the province.

The lawmakers wanted the bill to cover the contractual employees of 142 projects.

Section 3(1) of the bill says, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any law or rules, the employees appointed on contractual basis, against project posts in the erstwhile Fata and holding such project posts till the commencement of this act, shall be deemed to have been validly appointed on regular basis from the commencement of this act, subject to verification of their qualifications and other qualifications by concerned department.”

Under Section 3(3) of the proposed law, a committee headed by the secretary of the department concerned and including head of attached department, representatives of the establishment, administration, finance, planning and development departments and deputy secretary of the relevant department will be formed to scrutinise credentials of all project employees before the issuance of letters of service regularisation to them.

It also laid down conditions for the service regularisation that will not affect the service promotion quota of all employees. At the same time, the contractual employees will possess the same qualifications and experience as required for regular posts.

For eligibility to regularisation, the contractual employees should have not resigned from service over misconduct, inefficiency, or any other grounds before the enforcement of the proposed law. The names of the regularised employees will be published in the official gazette afterwards.

The bill said all employees, whose services would be regularised under the proposed law, would be junior to all existing civil servants belonging to the same services or cadre as well as those recommended by the provincial public service commission or relevant departmental selection committees before the proposed law took effect.

In June last year, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had directed all government departments for the continuation of the services of project employees until a decision was made on their regularisation through an act of the assembly.

He had said a note had been moved to the establishment department proposing that the services of project employees of ex-Fata should be regularised on the pattern of the KP Regularisation of Services Act, 2018, under which 5,000 such employees of the provincial government got their employment regularised.

The government also introduced the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Land Use and Building Control Bill, 2021, in the house to protect agricultural land and green areas, and prevent illegal construction activities on agricultural lands.

Earlier during question hour, law minister Fazal Shakoor Khan acknowledged that women didn’t have representation in various district Zakat committees in the province.

He said under the law and relevant rules, the representation of women in Zakat committees at the district level was mandatory.

Speaking on her supplementary question, Pakistan Peoples Party member Nighat Yasmin Orakzai said women had no representation in the Zakat committees of Chitral, Tank, Khyber, Orakzai, Battagram, Kohistan, Shangla, South Waziristan and Torghar districts.

On a calling attention notice, minority MPA Ranjeet Singh lamented a long delay in the acquisition of land for crematoriums and graveyards for Christian community in the province.

He said the province had only two crematoriums but they’re inefficient.

The lawmaker said the government had allocated Rs100 million for the acquisition of land to establish a crematorium in every district but the relevant district administration had failed to act accordingly.

The sitting was adjourned until Oct 25.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2021

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