The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government is seeking Rs140 million from the federal government to regularise around 4,000 employees currently working in the water and power department on contract.
“The federal government has been informed of the additional budgetary requirements if these employees are regularised. A delegation from G-B will also visit the prime minister to discuss the proposal,” a local government official told The Express Tribune.
Most of the inductions in the lower ranks of the department are political appointees made by previous governments. “They have become a liability for the present government,” said the official, adding that once they are regularised, the government would need to enhance their pay scales, which it cannot afford to at the moment. The regional government is already dependent on the federal government since it is unable to finance its affairs through its own resources.
According to G-B Law Minister Wazir Shakeel, the state government did its homework before presenting the case to the federal government. “We have gotten encouraging signals from the federal government about the proposal,” he said.
Sources said that many employees currently awaiting regularisation of service have been working on contract for several years, with some about to cross the upper age limits. If they are not regularised now, they will not be in a position to get regularised in the future.
In a separate request, the state government has also requested an additional grant for the repair and maintenance of water channels and water reservoirs damaged in the 2010 floods. The amount being sought runs into billions of rupees, according to an official.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.