CDA puts a stop to hiring, licensing

ISLAMABAD, Oct 16: In one swoop, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has banned licensing more kiosks in the city and further hiring in the authority.

Dawn has learnt that the reshuffled top management of the CDA feels that the 4,000 workers hired and 600 kiosks licensed during the last four years were already too many.

A CDA official said the former had become a financial burden and the latter a big nuisance. The induction of 4,000 workers had increased the staff strength to 18,000 and the extra kiosks had been encroaching upon the green belts in the city.

But the official assured no extra hand would be fired, but the kiosk licences issued by the former CDA chairman, Farkhand Iqbal, during the last two months stand cancelled.

“These kiosks have emerged almost at every intersection alongside roads and main highways, where a plaza is over Rs200 million but a kiosk is given to an owner mainly because of political influence for just Rs5,000 with a monthly rent of Rs1,000 only,” said the source.

He said ban had been imposed because of multiple factors and one factor was alleged corruption attached with file processing and issuance of kiosk licences to potential owners.

One financial wing official said that a kiosk owner at any premier location like Blue Area or in front of some important intersection or highway earned around Rs5,000 in a day.

“The CDA now wants the kiosk licence issuance system to be blocked on a permanent basis,” said the source.

In a twist of events the authority has also decided to impose a complete ban on hiring of new human resource in all of its directorates.

“There will be complete ban on hiring of new staff since the authority has 4,000 surplus workers on its pay roll,” said one senior ranking administration official.

He said that CDA’s human resource strength was close to 14,000 in 2008 but now it has jumped to over 18,000.

“We want to manage our human resources since 4,000 workers — out of 18,000 — are a financial burden on the authority,” added the official.

It is pertinent to mention here that the CDA was recently given Rs1 billion by the office of the prime minister. This money, according to one official, was due on the federal government after it allotted land to the Saudi embassy. The amount was stuck with the government.

Commenting on CDA’s bankruptcy, the official said: “Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has given a go-ahead to the current CDA management to work out an ‘emergency financial and revenue generation’ plan to arrest the speedy declining reserves of the authority.”

He said that the authority hardly had any money in its accounts in September, and giving salaries to over 18,000 CDA employees had become a major hurdle for the new management.

The administration official said: “The CDA management will not fire any employee however, after performance audit of available human resource, additional workforce will be given specific tasks in different directorates to utilise their services.”

The official also refused to share any figures of contract, daily wage workers and employees working on a permanent basis.

“I can’t share any figures but can assure you that CDA’s human resource departmentwill be conducting a performance audit within a few weeks,” the official added.

Meanwhile, when CDA spokesman, Ramzan Sajid, was approached for comments, he quoted the authority’s chairman, Syed Tahir Shahbaz as saying: “I have given consent to the authority’s board for putting a complete ban on new hiring of human resources till formulation of a new human resource development policy in the authority.”