The provincial government established some prestigious educational institutions called the Balochistan Residential Colleges (BRCs) in Loralai, Khuzdar, Turbat, Zhob and Uthal. This was done to impart quality education to the youngsters of the relatively impoverished province.
The teaching staff for these institutions is selected in BPS-17 and above from across the country, while the remaining employees of BPS-16 and below are appointed on the basis of their local certificates or domiciles. Since their inception, the provincial government has been providing regular budget to all these institutions despite the fact that the Act passed by the Balochistan Assembly in 2005 contains the word ‘grant-in-aid’.
The governing body of these institutions approved an attractive allowance of 75 per cent for those associated with these colleges in order to attract competent, qualified and dedicated people from the entire country.
In addition to carrying out teaching duties, the staff members also monitor student hostels in post-academic hours in order to ensure smooth academic and administrative issues, if any, being faced by the boarders.
In July 2015, the federal government announced freezing all special allowances of the employees working in different departments. Following the budgetary announcement, the finance department also capped the attractive allowance of the BRC employees. Since then, they have been deprived of this allowance despite their hectic efforts to convince the authorities concerned about its specific nature.
The education department and colleges for higher and technical education moved a summary in favour of the employees to the chief minister via finance department for approval, but the latter raised objection, saying that the allowance would be admissible provided the institutions were brought within the pool of grant-in-aid instead of the regular budget.
This grant-in-aid is no problem for the employees, but how can a system being run on a regular budget since 1989 be abruptly changed overnight? Dozens of employees have retired from service and are receiving monthly pensions from the department. Besides, the majority of the employees have joined the service through proper channel, leaving lucrative posts and pensionable jobs behind.
In the current phase of galloping inflation, the employees of these residential colleges can hardly manage their domestic expenses. Without the suspended allowance, they live from pay cheque to pay cheque.
They need to be facilitated through other financial sources for their laborious work and discharge of the additional hostel duties if the restoration of the proposed allowance is not possible for the government.
GULDAR ALI KHAN WAZIR