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January 28, 2021

Sindh govt told to consider KDA’s loan proposal for paying retirees


January 28, 2021

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday directed the provincial government to consider the proposal of the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) for granting it a loan of Rs844.159 million for clearing the outstanding dues of its retired employees.

Hearing the petitions for the payment of outstanding dues to over 1,000 retired KDA employees, an SHC division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar asked the KDA’s counsel about the remaining 36 per cent of the dues that were still not deposited in court for paying to the retirees.

The counsel submitted a copy of the summary moved by the local government secretary to the chief minster on January 8 requesting the grant of a loan to the KDA in the sum of Rs844.159 million so that further payment may be made to the retirees.

The KDA’s director general said that they have also put some plots up for auction in compliance with the court’s order to sell some commercial and residential plots to discharge the liability of pensionary benefits of the retired employees.

The DG, however, pointed out that in order to follow the proper procedure, at least six months will be required to put the properties up for auction, to get the sanction of the competent authority and for their sale.

He said that it was for this reason that they had requested the LG department for the grant of a loan so that the pensionary benefits of the retirees could be paid, adding that after the plots’ auction and realising the proceeds, the amount would be paid back to the provincial government.

The SHC directed the provincial law officer, the chief secretary and others to consider the proposal and to make it feasible so that the Sindh government may grant the loan to the KDA that would be paid back to the government after the plots’ auction.

The court was informed that 10 per cent of the pensionary benefits were paid on September 25, another 22 per cent on January 15 and 32 per cent more on January 22. The petitioners’ counsel said that only 32 per cent of the amount has been received by the retired employees, and that no further payment of 32 per cent has been received.

KDA officials said that the letter was sent to the bank on January 25, and that the amount will be credited to the bank accounts of the retired employees within a few days. The bench directed the official assignee to liaison with the bank to ensure that the amount has been credited to the bank accounts of the retired employees at an earlier date.

The court also modified its previous order with regard to stopping the salaries of KDA officers of grade 17 and above as well as the restriction on transfer and posting of KDA officers on the application of the KDA officers association.

The applicant’s counsel said that the salaries of employees of grade 17 and above have been stopped, and that the employees have been deprived of their lawful wages. It was further contended that this order was passed without providing any opportunity of hearing to the officers, and that in the case of the retired employees’ unpaid benefits by the KDA, these employees should not be blamed.

The bench observed that after the perusal of the progress report submitted in court, it is clear that 64 per cent of the liability has already been discharged and the matter is only related to the remaining 36 per cent.

The bench also observed that for these remaining dues, efforts are already being made and a proposal has been forwarded to the Sindh government, while efforts are also being made to auction some plots to comply with the court’s order.

The court observed that since some serious efforts have already been made for compliance with the assurance of the payment of arrears, the SHC’s order will be modified. The bench ordered the KDA to release the salaries of all the employees according to their wage bill, saying that the restriction imposed by the December 17 order is being withdrawn immediately, with the strict caution that compliance for the remaining amount should be made and a progress report submitted on February 18.

The court also vacated the restriction on the transfer and posting of KDA officers, observing that the KDA is also at liberty to transfer and post officers according to their exigency and administrative requirement in accordance with the law, saying that in this regard also, the restraining order is being discharged.