Khanewal-Hundreds of health workers and officers on Sunday staged a protest sit-in here against the District Health Authority chief over delay in their regularisation and also accused him of corruption and demanding bribe.

The employees of the Integrated Reproductive Maternal Newborn Health and Nutrition Programme (IRMNHNP) in Khanewal district also demanded removal of the DHA chief executive officer and issuance of their regularisation orders. The employees including lady health workers, health supervisors, and drivers gathered on Lahore-Karachi National Highway and staged the sit-in carrying placards and chanting slogans against the CEO.

Meanwhile, traffic remained suspended for hours. Led by Rukhsana Anwar and Rozina Khan, the provincial and district presidents of the Health Workers Association respectively, the employees demanded confirmation letters of all the workers at the spot.

Earlier, they also staged a sit-in outside the CEO office Saturday night and remained there for the whole night along with their kids. Their leaders said that the government had ordered to regularise all the employees of IRMNHNP the but the CEO Health is not issuing their orders. They alleged that the CEO is demanding 5,000 rupees for each order.

They said that there are almost 2,000 health workers in district Khanewal.

According to them, more than two months has passed and still the “corrupt” officer is not issuing orders while the orders had been delivered to the workers of all the 35 districts. Three years ago, the Supreme Court had ordered to confirm these employees but the government issued temporary orders to confirm them but these employees were unable to get public servant status. Now in December 2016, the Cabinet Division approved to give status of public servants to them and to allot scales to these workers.

Sources said that these specimen orders had been received here in district Khanewal office, the officer held a meeting with Ansar Hayat who is an account supervisor and Rozina Khan. In the meeting, the sources added, the CEO demanded Rs5,000 for each orders. The sources said that Account Supervisor District Health department Ansar Hayat had been terminated from service on corruption charges some six years ago. He, however, got himself reinstated by pulling his strings in the corridors of power, the sources disclosed.

When contacted, Ansar Hayat said that he was very busy and would not comment but admitted that the information regarding corruption might be right. Rozina Khan said, “We haven't received any money from workers and no worker will pay for the orders. We will continue our struggle till the issuance of the last letter.”

ADCG and Deputy District Health officer Dr Asif started negotiation with the leaders of the protesting health workers and assured them that orders of all the employees will be delivered today.

On the assurance, the workers suspended their protest and opened the road. They, however, warned if they do not get their order, they would be constrained to block the road and stage the sit-in again.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Muzaffar Sial said that he had assumed his office recently and did not know much about the issue.