PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Finance Department on Thursday refused to release an additional one-month’s salary to doctors and other medical staff who are putting their lives in danger while treating Covid-19 patients.
The provincial government had announced a one-month basic salary as a reward for employees on duty during the coronavirus lockdown while awards for doctors, paramedical staff, nurses, rescue 1122, civil defence, PARSA, police and employees of the KP local government department had also been announced earlier his month with much pomp and vigour.
However, the KP Finance Department has now refused to pay any compensation with the excuse that they are facing Covid-19-induced financial difficulties.
A letter sent by the KP Finance Department to all administrative secretaries, divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners (DCs) and heads of all departments across the province said that the provincial government is facing a severe financial crisis due to the pandemic.
“The province’s revenue and federal payments have been significantly reduced while existing funds have been transferred to the Department of Health, Rehabilitation and Resettlement to take steps to control the situation,” the letter said.
The letter added that the KP Finance Department can’t pay any kind of compensation during the current financial year. Therefore, applications sent by the departments for honorarium will not be processed.
Young Doctors Association (YDA) Patron and Chief Dr Alamgir Khan told Pakistan Today that more than a thousand employees were infected with coronavirus as a result of working on the frontlines in the nation’s service.
“Neither the provincial government nor the federal health department has provided any facility to these employees. We’re not expecting anything from the present government as it has failed to even provide safety kits to frontline doctors,” he lamented.
Alamgir said that the doctors were provided safety gears by charities organisations. “Although none of us expects any honorarium, it does not change the fact that this is injustice with those who are working round the clock during the outbreak and putting their family at the risk of death”.
An employee of the relief department on condition of anonymity told Pakistan Today that after the health department’s staff, employees of the relief department and Rescue 1122 are also working on the frontlines to provide 24-hour emergency services to patients.
However, according to sources, in the light of the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) orders, the KP Finance Department has released more than Rs42.7 million as extra salaries for employees of the high court for performing duty during the pandemic even though they had nothing to do with patients.
A letter sent by the KP Finance Department to the PHC Registrar in this regard said that the department has agreed to award the honorarium to employees after the court order and the withheld honorarium has been released.
It may be noted here that the extra salary has been provided to the employees of Peshawar, Bannu and Swat benches of the high court while healthcare workers of the same areas remain deprived of their right.