ISLAMABAD – Shelter is a basic human need but around 90 per cent of the teachers in the capital till today are homeless and are compelled to live in rented houses with meagre resources.Majority of them are the schoolteachers. The government provides them so-called hiring facility to get houses on rent in the city but this facility is no more than a thorn in the flesh as there are no funds available under the head of ‘Occupancy Cost’ (hiring).“Isn’t it a pity that even in capital city of Pakistan more than 50 per cent teachers remain deprived of house rental ceiling due to non-availability of funds?” questioned a teacher. The teachers in the federal government colleges and schools may have to keep their bodies and souls together by borrowing money from others because the government has failed to provide the required funds for hiring the houses for the teachers while all the officials in other federal government departments and even in corporations are issued the cheques for rental ceiling within weeks, he added. The owners generally hover on the nerves of these teachers and repeatedly demand for early payments which gives a strong psychological shock to them and then they arrange money either by borrowing from others or the banks in the shape of loans. “What performance a state can expect from a teacher who is continuously a victim of such perils,” lamented another schoolteacher.The finance ministry, adding fuel to fire, at the pretext of non-availability of funds, has declined the request for any additional grant in this respect. The proof is that after February 2012, no teacher has been made payment in respect of house hiring and there is mounting demand from owners of the houses regarding payments but of no avail.Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), on its part, has the same biggest excuse for non-availability of funds, the teachers blame.So the teachers will have to arrange the money by adding pennies letting their children face economic hardships and even non-availability of recreation on their own until the new fiscal year comes.It is pertinent to note that teachers have been facing the non-availability of funds in the head of rental allowance since 2005 when the FDE was detached from Estate office of Ministry of Housing and Works. It is, therefore, imperative for the FDE and the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development  (CAD) to look into the matter and make availability of funds possible, by hook or by crook, for the teachers to resolve this great and long-standing issue. According to officials about Rs 1 billion are required to clear the pending rents of the teachers. Release of money in the head of ‘occupancy cost’ is dire need of the hour to improve the efficiency of teachers, bringing them out of the mental enigma as they have been facing a lot of financial and psychological problems for the last many years. One of the officials of Ministry of CAD requesting not to be named informed that the ministry requires around Rs 1 billion for the payments of rental allowance to all the teachers so that they can rent houses as official accommodations are also scarce but the Ministry of Finance will not allocate the needed amount. Every year in the budget limited funds are allocated in terms of hiring facility and the requests of supplementary grants to meet the needs are also rejected by the Finance Ministry.  When contacted Professor Deedar Ali Baloch, the General Secretary, Federal Government College Teachers Association (FGCTA) said the FGCTA has been time and again demanded of the government to release required funds. However, up till now, there has been no positive outcome. “We request the government to release the money in the head of ‘occupancy cost’ to balm the wounds of teachers. If no immediate and productive response is witnessed from the concerned corners, the teachers will be compelled to think on different options, including agitation on roads, decline to conduct the oncoming exams of boards and universities.”