The Standing Committee on Housing and Works in its meeting on Wednesday discussed and deliberated on the Government Housing Authority Bill, 2019 and decided to defer it with the view to enable the members to examine the bill in detail and make solid recommendations to make the propose bill comprehensive and free from flaws. The Committee meeting was presided over by Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi at the Parliament House. Chairman of the Committee expressing his opinion on the bill observed that absolute powers have been given to the Director General of the Authority in the proposed bill which needs to be considered to avoid any misuse of authority. He asked the ministry to explain this aspect with reasons in this regard. He also asked about the five year tax exemption extended to the authority under the proposed bill.
The meeting was attended by Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi, Senator Naseebullah Bazai, Senator Anwar Lal Dean, Senator Khanzada Khan, Senator Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and senior officers from the Ministry for Housing and Works along with all concerned. Federal Minister for Housing and Works, Chaudhary Tariq Bashir Cheema was also present.
The agenda that came under discussion was recruitments of Estate Office, abolition of current mechanism of granting lease of commercial holdings, status of framing rules to address issues involved in allotment /retention for temporary accommodations and construction of 50 to 60 rooms in Federal Lodge Quetta. In addition the Committee was briefed on illegal accommodation of Federal Government Servant Colony Sariab Road and increase in fares of touring officers accommodations.
While discussing implementation status of recommendations, the Committee was informed that as per directions the Establishment Division, the positions vacant at the Estate Office for grade 1-4 posts will be filled through balloting. The Committee called for adopting a transparent mechanism to provide equal chance to all to participate in the competition and recruitment process for lower grade slots.
While taking up the matter of abolishing the current mechanism of granting lease of commercial holdings, the Committee was informed that the mechanism to be adopted now would be through open auction granting lease to the highest bidder.
Regarding framing of rules to address issues involved in allotment / retention of temporary accommodation, the Committee was informed that rules have been framed and approved by the CCLC and is currently with the Cabinet Division.
Discussing the construction of 50 -60 rooms in Federal Lodge Quetta, the Minister of Housing and Works categorically regretted that no such project can be taken up by the Ministry since currently the government policy is to privatize all such property. He, however, assured the Committee that the Ministry will ensure that the rooms are in liveable condition.
While being briefed on the illegal occupation of government accommodations in Federal Government Servant Colony Sariab Road, Quetta and steps being taken to vacate it; the Committee called for amicable resolution of the issue. It was asserted that a policy must be formulated to regularize such lodging country wide and report to the Committee within two months.
Taking up the matter of increase in fares for lodges of touring officers, the Minster for Housing and Works admitted that the measure was unfair and that this decision will be reviewed; revising lodging fares according to allowances of the residing officers.