HYDERABAD: The offices of the district administration, revenue, land and property registration were kept shut on Thursday in most parts of Sindh as the revenue employees upped the ante of their protest.
The All Sindh Revenue Employees Association padlocked the offices of the commissioners, deputy and assistant commissioners as well as other departments manned by the revenue staff.
“We will keep these offices locked until the Sindh government accepts our charter of demands,” declared the association’s President Syed Sardar Ali Shah who led a protest at Shahbaz Building, the headquarters of Hyderabad region’s bureaucracy. He said that the association has been struggling to get its charter approved since 2014.
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According to him, three summaries based on their demands have been prepared and submitted to the chief minister but each time the summaries were returned with objections. “The provincial government dealt with our recent protest in Karachi in a high-handed way as we were subjected to baton charge, tear gas shelling, water cannons and arrests,” he deplored.
The nine demands of the revenue staff include the provision of service structure, timescale, promotions, deceased quota and allowances.
They claim that they are made to work for the protocol duties, polio campaigns, litigation and land among a set of 25 different duties. They also claim that their counterparts in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa enjoy greater facilities.
During the British era, the revenue staff used to travel on horses for collection of taxes and were paid a travel allowance, he said and added, “We continue to draw the same amount of money as the horse travel allowance till today.” He demanded that the said allowance should at least be converted to motorcycle allowance.
In Mirpurkhas, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Syed Mehdi Shah, Additional DC Syed Attaullah Shah and Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Khan Khatti visited the protest camp to express solidarity.
“Our demands have been lying before the CM for the last five years,” said Sajjan Rahimo, who led the protest.
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Abdul Hadi Bugti, the association’s Larkana chapter leader, said they were long expecting an upgrade of the posts of mukhtiarkar, assistant mukhtiarkar, sub-registrar, computer operator, data entry operator, stenographer, technical staff of survey department, supervisors, tapedar and other staff.
“The government has also failed to give us revenue, secretariat and utility allowances and timescale,” he said.
In Nawabshah, Muhammad Qasim Khokhar said that the provincial government should end the discrimination between the revenue staff in Karachi and rest of Sindh. He claimed that the former received greater facilities than their colleagues in other parts of the province. The staff will continue to lock the revenue offices till May 5.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2019.