RAHIM YAR KHAN - As many as 140 Mentors/Social Needs Officers (SNOs), appointed in 36 districts at Punjab Social Welfare (PSW) and Baitul Maal (BUM) departments, are deprived of their salaries. Their one-year contract, which expired last month on July 15, has also not been extended.

Visually impaired SNO Ijaz Ahmed told the media that 182 vacancies for special persons were announced in February 2018 and a total of 140 special persons including visually impaired, physically disabled and hearing impaired were appointed in 36 districts of Punjab at PSW and BUM departments to facilitate the educated special persons. “Their extendable contract period started from July 15, 2018 and expired on July 15, 2019, and now their salaries have been stopped,” he said.

Ijaz explained that they were visiting the offices of district and divisional offices of PSW and BUM, but their contract was not being extended. He said that initially the government was very interested in their jobs as it released huge funds and also arranged a month-long training at Lahore for special persons. He further told that after the appointments of special persons at PSW and BUM departments, the registration of educated special persons increased up to 15pc, and enrolment of the special children also increased in schools.

When contacted, spokesperson for Provincial Minister PSW and BUM Raja Basharat, Malik Naeem told that a summary for regularization of visually impaired persons had been sent to CM Punjab. He said that their salaries would also be released soon, adding that 1,118 special persons were appointed in which 107 persons were visually impaired. He stated that the remaining 2,500 vacancies for special persons would also be fulfilled within a month, adding that the minister had instructed all the departments to give jobs to special persons as per fixed quota.