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Monday October 25, 2021

PAC report seeking end to doling out plots dumped

September 23, 2021
PAC report seeking end to doling out plots dumped

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee’s special report of 2012, seeking an end to the policy of allotting agricultural land to army officers (except the families of martyrs), the abolition of a plot quota for judges and journalists and the provision of only one plot to grade-22 officers, has been dumped and forgotten.

The PAC had also barred the CDA and other government agencies from doling out plots to officers on deputation and others. The Committee had also recommended the cancellation or refund of price of plots from officers who had been allotted more than two plots anywhere in Pakistan. However, despite a lapse of over eight years, no government – whether of the PPP, PMLN or PTI—has implemented the PAC’s recommendations. The PAC was told that only the FGEHA (the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority) had allotted more than 30,000 plots to government servants and this number is much higher if the doling out of plots by other federal government agencies was considered.

The PAC had sought the discontinuation of the policy of allotment of two plots to BS-22 officers. Its report added, “Provision of plots of land by the executive to independent and impartial sections, like judges and journalists, would lead to allegations of partiality or bias in their working.

Therefore, there should be no special quota or allotment of plots except for the disabled, widows and families of martyrs.” The PAC also recommended that the allotment of agricultural land to military officers be stopped except for the widows and families of martyrs. It was said that allotment of plots to those on deputation in CDA be stopped and CDA should come up with a scheme for the provision of flats to its employees instead of plots of land.

It was also said that the Ministry of Housing and the Establishment Division should be tasked to prepare a database indicating the plots/ land allotted to federal government employees serving anywhere in Pakistan. Provincial governments must provide details of plots allotted to federal government officers, the Establishment Division and the Housing Ministry. The PAC also sought the merger of FGEHA and the Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) for having a similar mandate and to avoid overlaps.

The PAC in its special report, which remained ignored, said that the Defence Ministry did not provide details of the plots allotted to its officers. The Defence Production Ministry, however, merely said that “the information regarding Grade-22 officers of organisations under The Ministry of Defence Production may be treated as NIL.”

The PAC had discussed in detail the policy of provision of two plots to BS-22 officers and judges of the Supreme Court. The package, containing the policy of two plots in Islamabad, was initially approved by the prime minister in 2006 and was meant for only federal secretaries. The criteria was revised in July 2008 and all BS-22 officers of the regularly constituted groups were made eligible for the allotment of a second residential plot in Islamabad. It was, however, emphasised that the officers allowed two or more plots/ land/ houses by the federal or provincial government departments or subordinate offices of government owned land would not be eligible.

The criteria was again changed in Nov 2007 and the condition of two years’ service in BS-22 was added for eligibility. Another revision of the policy was done in Jan 2008 allowing judges of the Supreme Court to have two residential plots in Islamabad on completion of two years’ tenure. The policy was also revised in May 2008 to dispense with the condition of two years’ service for the allotment of a plot.

For federal government employees, the PAC had suggested the launching of a DHA-like scheme in which officers can contribute monthly and upon retirement can be allotted a constructed house.