Islamabad - As many as 21,000 federal employees are waiting to get accommodation, Senate Standing Committee on Housing and works was told on Monday.

Ministry officials told the committee that there has been a ban on construction of new houses since 1995. Around 17,000 employees have been allotted government accommodation on the basis of seniority while 21,000 are still in queue.

Officials said Housing Foundation provided 25 thousand houses to federal employees during 1984 to 2014.Joint Secretary, Housing and Works said the budget for ministry is provided in four different heads.

During the year 2017-18, a sum of Rs. 147 million were given to Ministry of Housing and Works, out of which Rs.126 million were spent on expense related to human resource.

For Public Works Department Rs. 3555 million were provided, out of which  1295 were spent on human resource expenditure while Rs.1754 million were spent on the renovation of houses and offices.

Out of total allocation of Rs.143 million for Estate Office Rs.124 million were spent on salaries and expenses of staff.

For federal Lodges Rs. 92 million were allocated out of which 88 million were spent on administrative expense including salaries of employees.

Committee was informed that out of total sanctioned 181 posts 29 were vacant.

It was told that federal Government Employees foundation is a Company which works under Ministry of Housing and Works but did not get any donation from the parent Ministry.

During 1984 to 2014 it constructed 25 thousand houses for federal employees.

From 2009 to 2014 it enrolled 36 thousand members. Since 2005 the company has started constructing houses on plots, which has earned more membership and during 2014-16 90 thousand new members were enrolled.

The officials said the purpose of the foundation is to provide housing to employees on no profit and no loss basis.

They also briefed about the ongoing projects of BaraKahu, Green Enclave, Thaliana housing project park road and other projects in Islamabad.

The officials said the status of the foundation is the main hurdle in timely completion of projects and time is wasted in unnecessary approvals.

They suggested converting the foundation into authority to minimize red tapism. On the observation of members that employees of grade 16 and above have been charged house rent of higher grades, Estate Office officials were summoned to brief on the matter in next meeting.

It is pertinent to mention that in February, 2007, then Minister for Housing and works Syed Safwanullah, in Karachi told media that 21,000 employees were on the waiting list for accommodations in Islamabad due to gap in demand and supply.

He said that 1,000 apartments were under construction in Islamabad for federal government employees and the government had decided to build apartments for its employees in other cities also through the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation.

After more than a decade, the same waiting list of 21000 employees poses serious questions about the performance of ministry and its allied departments.