EXCLUSIVE: Punjab's Caretaker Govt Moves Closer To A Hiring Spree In WCLA

The proposal will see the appointment of a whopping 150 people across cadres in the WCLA-managed projects

EXCLUSIVE: Punjab's Caretaker Govt Moves Closer To A Hiring Spree In WCLA

The caretaker provincial government has moved a step closer to embarking on a hiring bonanza whereby some 150 people will be hired in the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), The Friday Times has learnt.

The Standing Committee of the Punjab Caretaker Cabinet on Finance and Development (SCCFD) has approved the creation of 150 new posts in the basic pay scale (BPS) grades one through 17. 

The SCCFD further approved a move to outsource posts of BPS-1 to BPS-4, but posts of BPS-5 and above will be filled through regular recruitment under the manner prescribed in the rules. 

In a meeting of the SCCFD, the Local Government and Community Development (LG&CD) Department Secretary briefed that the proposal was based on a demand expressed by the WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari following the caretaker provincial government's decision earlier this year to expand the scope of conservation projects in the walled city, including the reconstruction and revival of 12 historical gates. The foreign-funded project will see the restoration of the Bhatti Gate and Taxali Gate, along with 11 shrines, nine churches, 12 temples, and a Dilkash project in Multan, apart from other restoration works on historical structures in Lahore, Faisalabad and Bahawalpur. Moreover, administrative control of the Shalimar Gardens, Jahangir's Tomb, etc., will also be transferred to WCLA. 

He said that these positions were discussed in a meeting of the WCLA on August 3, 2023, which Caretaker Chief Minister Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi chaired. It was decided that the Finance Department would scrutinise and submit a case for creating 250 new posts in WCLA for the chief minister's approval. 

Minutes of the SCCFD meeting, seen by The Friday Times, showed that the case for creating 250 posts was forwarded to the provincial finance department. 

"In response, the finance department had advised to move a summary for the chief minister for approval to place the case before the provincial cabinet for the creation of the following 150 new posts of various categories for WCLA for consideration/approval."

The WCLA sought the hiring of six assistant directors who are architects, an assistant director for Tourism and Events), an assistant director for electrical works, an assistant director for enforcement, three assistant directors in the engineering department, an assistant director for accounts, an assistant director for environment and parks. These officers would be in BPS-17. The finance department agreed to these demands. 

Further, the WCLA sought a graphic designer and six office assistants in BPS-16. The finance department, however, okayed the graphic designer and just three office assistants. 

The WCLA has also demanded two autocad operators, nine sub-engineers (Civil) and four sub-engineers (electrical) in BPS-14. The finance department proposed a more rationalised outlay with two autocad operators, seven sub-engineers (civil) and four sub-engineers (electrical). 

The finance department proposed hiring three computer operators in BPS-12 against the WCLA's demand for seven computer operators.

In BPS-11, the finance department proposed hiring three field activists against the WCLA's demand for five field activists. 

The finance department also proposed hiring 28 security guards in BPS-8 against the demand for 50 guards from the WCLA. 

In BPS-7, the finance department proposed hiring six tourist guides and four electricians against the demand for eight tourist guides and six electricians. 

The finance department proposed hiring three dispatch riders in BPS-5 against the WCLA's demand for five riders. The demand for 15 drivers in BPS-4 was also rationalised to 10 drivers. 

In BPS-3, the WCLA had sought approval to appoint 40 gardeners, but the finance department proposed only 20 gardeners. 

In BPS-2, the finance department proposed hiring four naib qasids against the WCLA's demand for eight. In BPS-1, the WCLA demanded 20 gangmen and 50 sweepers. These were rationalised to eight and 30, respectively.

The writer is a senior correspondent at The Friday Times with a focus on politics, economy and militancy.