In order to shift departmental responsibility, an internal order was issued by the Karachi Commissioner and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) administrator Muhammad Hussein Syed to place the city wardens under the control of the deputy commissioners (DC) of the city’s five districts.
“The Karachi commissioner decided to transfer the wardens administrative responsibility to the DCs before Ramazan,” said KMC commissioner Altaf G Memon. The DCs, however, have not yet agreed to take responsibility of the wardens. This disagreement further complicates the situation as the wardens have been divided into three administrative departments. The new system requires that they report to their main department for attendance, work under the deputy commissioners and go to the commissioner for their salaries and benefits.
Memon added that it was the deputy commissioners’ responsibility to ensure that all necessary resources were present for the wardens. “In the next couple days the deputy commissioners have to make sure that the wardens receive iftari provisions as well,” he said. While talking to The Express Tribune, Central DC Matanat Ali Khan claimed that although the wardens were the deputy commissioners responsibility they were not responsible for the wardens salaries or benefits. He added that the wardens would be appointed to help the traffic policemen manage traffic. “I have asked the shopkeepers to donate iftari treats to the wardens who are on duty near their shop,” Khan said.
A KMC deputy director told The Express Tribune that many departments had been upset by the revival of the commissionerate system. “Salaries and departmental matters have been spread so thin that nothing is clear. No one knows anything about their duties, responsibilities or employee rights,” he said. “Till last year, the wardens were given Rs1,000 per week for iftari but this year they are being given nothing.”
There are 1,575 wardens in the city and 300 of them are on contract. The contract workers are paid around Rs7,500 a month while permanent employees receive around Rs16,000. There are 28 mobile vans meant to take the wardens to and from duty. However, 15 are parked at their headquarters as the fuel supply has stopped.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.
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