CHI - A number of provincial information department officers have been deprived of their due promotions and other fringe benefits for the last 20 years due to disintegration of the department to the Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD).
No provincial government had pay any heed to address this issue causing frustration among the officers, informed sources told The Nation on Tuesday. They said that a summary in this regard had been given to Sindh chief minister house to review the policy of officers' promotion.
Informed sources in the CM house confirmed on Tuesday that a summary had been received by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, through the office of the Provincial Information Minister Shazia Marri. It stated that the present directorate of information was earlier part of the S&GAD and recognised as "Services, General Administration and Information Department," headed by an independent director public relations under the overall administrative control of chief secretary (like existing directorate of protocol). But after the disintegration of one unit in 1970, an independent directorate of information was created.
The decision to this effect would be correct at that time but with the passage of time it created a prejudice, injustice and frustration among the employees of information department, not only in terms of financial benefits but also in transfer, postings and promotions.
The officers of information department are working in the same grade since its separation from S&GAD for the last 20 years. On the contrary, the employees of S&GAD are being upgraded regularly, as per the existing rules of business and policy.
The staff of the information department felt that there is a sheer discrimination and injustice with them that they are constantly being ignored of their basic rights.
The summary which was put up to CM Sindh also mentioned the verdict of the Supreme Court in their favour which put weight in their case.
Sources said that the summary was first presented to Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri, who recommended that the original status of the department must be restored as "Service General Administration, Coordination and Information Department".
They also informed that the same issue is prevalent in Punjab as well. Likewise the same problem faced by the employees of directorate of protocol, directorate of co-operation and newly established criminal prosecution department in Sindh. "The employees of Information Department should also be considered and treated like S&GAD employees," they demanded.
District information officers across the Sindh are working in grade 17, while on the contrary all the district officers from other departments are working in grade 18 and above.
Sources mentioned that the then chief minister NWFP has also created a precedent by upgrading all those information officers of BS-17, whose services were more than 10 years, to grade 18.
The affected officers appealed to the chief minister that the information department is the eyes and ears of Sindh government. The entire department is working hard round the clock to highlight the government's performance and its projects. It also publicised government policies by providing regular flow of information to public which help in making the good image of the government among the citizens. They requested that their due promotions should be considered on priority basis.