By Gul Hamaad Farooqi
CHITRAL: As many as 108 Class -IV employees of Health Department have staged a sit-in in front of the office of District Health Officer Chitral for the last seven days. They have also started a hunger-strike. The chief complaint of the protest employees is that they have not been paid since 12th December 2019, when they were hired.
The employees say that they were recruited in December 2019 for the Class-IV posts in different civil dispensaries and health units which were also advertised in regular newspapers and after test interviews we were sent to various civil dispensaries etc. Since then they have been performing their regular duty but they haven’t received their salaries yet.
Shujauddin, who was among the protesters, told the media that he was recruited on December 12, 2019. Eight months have passed but he has not received his salaries yet. He said that he and others like him applied for the posts after they advertised in different newspapers, and they were hired through due process.
Mohibullah is also a class 4 employee. He says that the staff have been performing duties in quarantine centers in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. He added that the employees had met the local politicians, MPA Maulvi Hidayat-ur-Rehman and MNA Akbar Chitrali. Both assured them of their support, but nothing has changed yet.
Bibi Hajra was recruited as a midwife. She was also part of the protest.
Khush Bibi, another employee, was holding her child while protesting. She complained that she was forced to step on the roads along with her four-month-old child because her salaries have not been paid.
“We appeal to the director general of the health department to have mercy on the poor employees and give us our salaries,” she said. We also met the MPA who told us that our problems would be solved in two days but we are still being told that we have been terminated.”
In this regard, our correspondent also sought the version of District Health Officer Dr. Shehzada Haider-ul-Mulk who said that these recruitments were made in December 2019 against which the MPA and other political leaders had complained in written. Therefore, on the orders of the health Secretary an inquiry was launched, leading to suspension of the recruitment.
According to the DHO, the health units have been informed that the employees should not be allowed to offer services.
The DHO further added that 115 people were recruited against 105 vacant posts in which those who had given land for dispensary, as well as those qualifying based on quota as sons of deceased employees, minority and disabled, were not taken into consideration. He further said that some staff from other districts, like Mardan, were also recruited in violation of the laws.
The employees have demanded from the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and high ups of the Health Department to release their salaries from December and deploy them in suitable places as they are ready to work but how can they perform their duties without pay.