KARACHI: The provincial authorities have informed the Sindh High Court that a grant of Rs500 million has been approved to settle the pensionary dues of retired employees of the Karachi Development Authority.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar directed that the disbursement of post-retirement dues would be made through the official assignee of the SHC and the exercise must be undertaken within a reasonable time.

It said that the matter would be taken up for hearing after four weeks and directed the official assignee to file a report before the next hearing.

At the outset of the hearing, Finance Secretary Sajid Jamal Abro filed a compliance report and a provincial law officer stated that the compliance with the court’s earlier orders had been made as the competent authority had approved an amount of Rs500m as grant-in-aid for disbursement of post-retirement dues of KDA employees.

Sindh govt has approved Rs500m grant-in-aid to settle post-retirement dues

He further submitted that the amount could only be used to settle dues of retired employees of KDA and not otherwise.

The bench directed the official assignee to undertake the task and also asked KDA secretary Shamsul Haq to be in attendance on the next hearing.

The official assignee, Chaudhry Waseem Iqbal, was present in court. He was directed to look into the grant-in-aid and take appropriate measures and ensure that the grant would be only used for disbursement of post-retirement dues to the retired employees of KDA, it added.

“The competent authority of KDA shall ensure that the subject disbursement of post-retirement dues of KDA employees be made through the Official Assignee of this court and not otherwise. The aforesaid exercise shall be undertaken within a reasonable time. The Official Assignee shall submit his report on or before the next date of hearing,” the bench ordered.

The bench was hearing a set of petitions filed by a large number of retired employees of the KDA seeking direction for respondents to the payment of outstanding dues of over 1,400 retired employees of the authority.

The SHC had in November 2021 directed the authorities to disburse the pensionary dues in two months. It had said that the issue of grant being provided by the provincial government be taken up on an urgent basis by the chief secretary and finance secretary and after fulfilling the formalities the amount be released to the KDA within a period of one month.

Thereafter, the KDA will release the amount to petitioners/pensioners after completing codal formalities within one month and in the meanwhile the amount already available in the pensionary account of the KDA be released/disbursed to the petitioners within a period of 15 days, it added.

The SHC had also issued directive for liquidating all the investments made by KDA in the National Investment Trust (NIT) and National Savings Schemes as well as sale of its properties to settle the liability.

The provincial local government and finance secretaries in their report had informed the SHC that 19 out of 31 development projects of the KDA had zero financial/physical progress and the remaining were in the process of completion.

The report had highlighted flaws in the financial affairs of KDA and said that it had kept receipts estimations in eight different heads in the last three years and not received any amount other than two heads while the pension payment increased by 59pc in the same period.

It recommended that KDA may be directed to stop all new development projects and only spend Rs100m to Rs150m in its annual development programme subject to the approval of competent authority and the saving of around Rs300m may be used to finance pension arrears, commutation and final payment.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2022

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