TEVTA sends employees in a tizzy
* The organisation proclaimed amendment to an ordinance before it was presented in PA
By Waqar Gillani
LAHORE The Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) altered the 1999 TEVTA Ordinance 17 days before the amendment bill was tabled in the Punjab Assembly.
Presented on December 31, 2003, the bill is still being considered by a PA standing committee.
TEVTA was created by the 1999 ordinance, which conferred special status on it. Its employees came from various government departments, though the organisation never remained part of the public sector.
“We were assured we would remain government servants,” said a TEVTA employee on condition of anonymity. “We would be able to go back to our parent department, if and when we wanted.”
But in a letter written to district managers on December 13, 2003, a human resource manager at TEVTA said no officer would be repatriated since the Punjab Assembly had amended the ordinance, permanently endorsing the transfer of these employees to TEVTA.
Sources say the Punjab Industries Department amended the TEVTA rules a month before the amendment draft was moved in the Punjab Assembly. The rules, however, could not have been changed before the provincial legislature amended the ordinance.
Sources also claim the provincial secretary of industries proclaimed on November 13 that the rules had been changed, encouraging TEVTA to proclaim on December 13 that the assembly had amended the ordinance even before it was tabled.
The secretary had deleted Section 2 (4), which authorised the organisation to give perks and privileges to its employees without letting it take disciplinary action against them.
An official working with the Punjab Industries Department told Daily Times the rules were amended only when authorities at TEVTA assured the department that the amendment bill would be passed by the assembly in a day’s time.
“The understanding was that if the assembly delayed the amendment, changes to the rules would also be revoked,” he added.
TEVTA Chairman Sikandar Mustafa Khan refused to comment, saying: “The matter doesn’t concern me. Ask the Punjab government.”
However, Industries Secretary Fayyaz Bashir threw the ball in TEVTA’s court, saying the newspaper should talk to the managers of that organisation. He said the Punjab government was empowered to amend the rules, and so was the department.
Asked about the letter issued by TEVTA manager, the secretary said the concerned officer was responsible for that and his department had nothing to do with it.
Mr Bashir, however, said it was an illegal act which must be rectified.
An official at the Punjab Law Department said TEVTA had challenged the authority of the legislature.
Sources say the member of the PA standing committee were also surprised to know about the development. During the last meeting, the committee took exception to it. The TEVTA chairman, reportedly, admitted his mistake before the committee, which had also summoned the HR manager who issued the letter.