ISLAMABAD-At a time when Prime Minister Imran Khan is sloganeering about austerity measures, the Capital Development Authority has sanctioned an amount of Rs3 million to give ‘ex gratia’ to those employees who participated in the recent auction of plots.

It was a routine in CDA to give an amount equalling to a basic pay as special allowance to each employ participating in auctions of residential and commercial plots.

However, it was discontinued in the tenure of former CDA chief Usman Akhtar Bajwa.

Bajwa was of the opinion that the officers of civic body involved in auction process were doing their duties and paying extra pay to them was extravagancy. He had refused to approve such ex gratia in his tenure.

However, now once again a total amount of Rs2,936,350 has been approved by the Chairman CDA Amir Ali Ahmed on recommendation of Member Finance CDA Dr Fahad Aziz to disburse among the employees, who performed their duties during the recent auction of plots, which was held between April 8 to 11 here at Islamabad.

It is pertinent to mention here that the last auction of plots remained successful according to the official stance of the CDA and Prime Minister Imran Khan had also tweeted in this regard. The city managers fetched around Rs11 billion by selling residential and commercial plots.

The said allowance would be given to the members of auction committee and supporting staff, which includes the officers and employees of Estate Management Directorate, Security Directorate and Public Relation Directorate of CDA. Some of the employees, who spoke to The Nation were of the view that it was a token to encourage the staff members for better performance, however; most were against the initiative.

When contacted, Director Public Relation Sayd Safdar Shah said that according to rules, Chairman CDA could approve such allowances.

However, when questioned that when the same practice was stopped by previous Chairman then why CDA was going to distribute Rs3 million this time, he replied that at that time the CDA was in financial constraints but after a successful auction, now it is in batter position.

On Saturday, during a post-budget talk, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on CDA Affairs Ali Awan said that the authority had reflected the PM’s austerity drive in its budget for the next fiscal year by not proposing increase in non-development expenditures.

He further said that increase in salaries and allowances of the CDA staffers would also reflect the austerity drive of the present government. In addition, he said that in the budget for the next fiscal year, the authority had focused development schemes in the federal capital.

Meanwhile, Capital Development Authority is planning to relocate 3 proposed pedestrian bridges and has selected other sites for their construction on major thoroughfares of the federal capital, citing the facility was already being provided through Metro Bus project on Kashmir Highway.

The crossing bridges would be built at Islamabad Expressway near Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Jinnah Avenue close to Mehran Gate and Kashmir Highway near H-9 weekly Bazaar, official sources in the CDA said.