Islamabad: Around 900 employees of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) are without salaries for the last four to eight months due to financial crunch in the organisation.
However, the management has made over 300 appointments during the current year and regularised the services of 140 of them even though there is a ban on new inductions.
On the other hand, 10 employees, who had been working in the PTDC for over two decades, were sent home on the charges of misconduct only because they were part of the labour union.
Majid Yaqoob Awan, the president of the PTDC Employees Union (CBA), Waqar Ahmed, its general secretary, and Syed Alamzeb, senior vice-president, blamed the PTDC management for the financial constraints in the organisation.
They said PTDC was established in 1972 by the then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to promote tourism in Pakistan. But now the PPP government has created lots of problems in the corporation.“In April 2011, Mir Shahjahan Khetran, a brother of PPP executive committee member Mir Baz Khan Khetran, was appointed as the managing director of the PTDC. He started leasing out the PTDC land. This badly affected the income of the corporation,” they observed. They said the union members and those who refused to implement the ‘illegal’ orders of the management were transferred to Balochistan.
Though contractual employees are not entitled to ‘leave encashment’, the management dished out Rs35 million to such employees.“After the 18th amendment, the Establishment Division had directed the PTDC not to make new inductions. However, the managing director continued recruiting new employees and even regularised them.” The Ministry of Finance releases Rs63.4 million to the PTDC on a quarterly basis but the management received the grant of the year in advance and spent it. As a result, now there is no money to pay salaries to the employees, they alleged.The union representatives said 5.5 kanals of Flashman’s Hotel in Rawalpindi was leased out on a nominal rate. Besides, 60 per cent of the staff appointed in 2012 do not come to work but nobody knows who collects their salaries.
They claimed that the CBA they represented was registered with the National Industrial Relations Commissions (NIRC) but the management was trying to form another CBA.
When contacted, Mir Shahjahan Khetran, the managing director of the PTDC, said they had been facing financial crunch due to which the prime minister was requested to approve a special grant of Rs500 million.“Though the PM approved the amount, the Ministry of Finance agreed to release only Rs50 million. At the moment, about two to four months’ salaries are pending and I am trying to resolve the issue,” he said.
Mr Khetran said terrorism incidents in the country had badly affected tourism. “But now, once again, people have started coming to Pakistan so the problem related to funds will be resolved,” he claimed.
He said it was necessary to appoint new workers and their services had been regularised under the policy of the federal government.
There are 41 PTDC motels all over the country and the new employees are working there, he claimed.He said the genuine CBA was in favour of the management’s policies. Mr Khetran rejected the allegation of corruption against him and said he even did not receive any salary.