The Lahore High Court on Thursday suspended Punjab government decision of withdrawing the ad hoc relief to doctors working in rural areas.
Justice Saghir Ahmed Qadri of the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench, ordered the Punjab finance department not to discontinue the payment of 50 per cent allowance on basic salaries of doctors till May 19.
The court, also asked the Provincial health secretary and Accountant General to submit their detailed reply to the court on a petition filed by the rural chapter of the Young Doctors Association (YDA).
Justice Qadri took up the hearing of the petition filed by YDA rural wing through one of the petitioners, Dr Raja Muhammad in reaction to a notification issued by the provincial government on April 21 asking the district accounts officers to immediately stop the allowance.
“The provincial government withdrew the allowance only to blackmail and harass the young doctors who are lawfully demanding a raise in salary”, said the petitioner’s lawyer, Mian Muhammad Arshad Javed.
The petitioners call it a discriminatory act as other departments also receive the same amount of relief.
The Punjab government denying this claim said that irregular payments will only encourage other departments to agitate. Furthermore, the authorities claimed in the official letter that adhering to just one department’s demands would create problems as the government is in no position to bear additional financial burden. It further said excess payments would have to be immediately recovered from the concerned government’s employees
On the other hand the young doctors working in rural areas are firm on their stance; they are neither receiving house rent nor transport allowance, despite the fact they have to travel long distances to reach their work place. They however admitted of drawing a monthly Health Sector Reforms Allowance of Rs12,000 since 2006, in addition to the ad hoc relief.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2011.
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