Lucrative jobs?: CDA overwhelmed by flood of applications

Published: May 18, 2013
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“We are still compiling details of the applicants. The actual number of applicants is yet to be ascertained but it’s probably around 250,000,” says an official. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

“We are still compiling details of the applicants. The actual number of applicants is yet to be ascertained but it’s probably around 250,000,” says an official. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

ISLAMABAD: 

How lucrative even low-grade jobs are in the capital’s civic agency can be gauged by the hundreds of thousands of applications the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has received for recently advertised posts.

Rough estimates compiled by CDA’s Human Resource (HR) directorate state that around 0.25 million jobseekers applied for 1,089 posts in grade 1 to grade 19 advertised this month.

“We are still compiling details of the applicants. The actual number of applicants is yet to be ascertained but it’s probably around 250,000,” said a senior official of the HR directorate. Some 200,000 applications were received against 928 posts in grades 1 to 14, while around 50,000 people applied for 161 posts in grades 16 to 19. He said the lists would be finalised within 10 days. There is limited quota for women, people with disabilities and residents of the four provinces.

When contacted, CDA Chairman Tahir Shahbaz said the number of applications received was beyond his imagination. “We will strive to keep the recruitment process transparent. I want to assure applicants that all the posts will be filled on merit.”

Over 1,000 posts were advertised after carrying out an HR audit in all the directorates. “Yes, it is a fact that some are overstaffed but there are many wings and directorates where hundreds of technical staff members are required.” Shahbaz said according to the HR audit, 3,000 sanctioned posts were vacant, while applications were sought only for 1,089 posts.

Another factor that could cause a delay in the recruitment process are the recommendations of a three-judge commission formed by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) over violation of rules and procedures in the appointment of hundreds of people in CDA during the last government’s tenure.

The commission had suggested the IHC to direct CDA to constitute a committee of senior officers headed by the CDA chairman to scrutinise all appointments and remove ineligible persons and those hired on inflated salaries.

Following the recommendations of the judicial commission I’ve formed a committee to scrutinise the recruitments made during the last regime, the chairman added.

The commission also suggested disciplinary action against officials who approved the illegal appointments. CDA has yet to determine whether the appointments were made on a political basis and most of them hold fake degrees.

The commission’s report stated that since 2008, around 1,776 regular appointments were made in CDA, 270 people were appointed on contract and 2,701 on daily wages. CDA recruited 58 persons on lucrative packages and four persons were appointed as consultants.

However, there are rumors that like in the past, the recruitment process will be hijacked by the government once it assumes power.

“By the end of 2009, CDA had advertised 650 posts for which around 0.28 million people had applied,” a senior official said, adding that the process was later manipulated and almost all the recruitments were politically motivated. Supporters of the previous government were entertained, ignoring thousands of applicants.

“It’s yet to be seen if the new PML-N government will influence the recruitment process. CDA is delaying the process and waiting for the installation of the federal government,” the official said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2013.

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