Formal inquiry urged over PSM gratuity funds issue

Committee also urges management to withdraw chargesheet against employees

Our Correspondent May 25, 2016
Committee also urges management to withdraw chargesheet against employees. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production recommended holding an inquiry, preferably by NAB or FIA, into the alleged misuse of gratuity funds of Pakistan Steel Mills’ (PSM) employees by its management.

The committee was told that the PSM management had spent the gratuity funds - that belong to the employees - in day-to-day operations.

The issue would be brought to the notice of the Senate chairman and referred to anti-corruption watchdogs.

The committee, chaired by Senator Hidayatullah, also noted that the PSM management had issued a chargesheet to its workers after they protested and demanded release of their salaries.

“This is totally unfair and also unlawful, it should not have happened,” Hidayatullah said. “The chargesheet should be withdrawn immediately and the labourers should be given their rights at the earliest.”

The Committee was also informed about the details of the Ramazan subsidy package, worth Rs1.75 billion, in which around 22 essential items would be sold at reduced rates.

The Ramazan Relief Package includes a subsidy of Rs280 million on wheat flour, Rs250 million on sugar, Rs588.83 million on ghee/oil, Rs108.91 million on gram pulse, Rs120 million on white gram and Rs25 million on gram flour among other items.

A performance report of the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) was presented at the meeting, which was deemed unsatisfactory by the members. USC Managing Director Gulzar Hussain Shah said that the USC was facing losses during the current financial year.

Members, expressing concern over the performance, issued directives to contain corruption and mismanagement in the corporation.

The committee was further informed that a total of 9 monitoring teams have been constituted and 153 officials are designated by USC itself for effective monitoring of the Ramazan Package 2016.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2016.

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