Traffic in a snarl as PNA’s protest on Mall Road continues on second day

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  • Teachers called off protest late night on Thursday

  • Health department employees remain adamant while staging sit-in

  • Commuters facing horrifying traffic mess for past two days

 

LAHORE: The School Health and Nutrition Programme supervisors under the banner of the Punjab Nutrition Association (PNA) continued their protest demonstration outside the Punjab Assembly for the second consecutive day while demanding the regularisation of their jobs.

As per the details, the Charing Cross of Mall Road witnessed two protest demonstrations on Thursday that paralysed the whole traffic system of the metropolitan.

One of the protesting groups, hailing from the Punjab Literacy and Non-formal Basic Education department called off their protest late Thursday night after they were visited by the Additional Secretary Literacy Ijaz Goraya who assured them that their demands would be accepted. The employees of the literacy department were demanding their minimum salary be increased to Rs15,000 from a meagre amount of Rs5000.

On the other hand, hundreds of the School Health and Nutrition Programme supervisors remained adamant and did not budge from their demand of being regularised throughout the day on Friday. Over 1800 supervisors were recruited in 2008 under the Punjab Health Sector Reform Programme funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and they are providing services to the health department still on a contractual basis. The protest demonstration of the health department employees has the representation from all over the province and both male and female protesters are present on the Mall Road for the past two days.

Muhammad Sajid, a protester who came from Okara, told Pakistan Today that he holds an MPhil degree and is providing his services to the health department for the last ten years on a contractual basis. He said it is his right to get a permanent job status after the lapse of a decade.

“We give awareness to the children in schools regarding diseases like polio, measles, malaria and many others, and the health department would be limbed if we stop providing our services,” he said. He added that under the School Health and Nutrition Supervisors Act, the government’s polio campaign is completely dependent on us as we, being the medical officers, are supposed to compile the whole data of the campaigns launched in every union council on a daily basis.

“All of us have decided to boycott the government’s polio campaign that will be launched from February 12 across the province, until our demands are not met,” he said.

Meanwhile, the worst traffic jam was seen in several arteries of the city due to the sit-in on the Mall Road as well as the ongoing development schemes in the city. Commuters were seen stranded in long queues of vehicles for hours.

According to an estimate, 0.5 million vehicles use Mall Road on a daily basis and it becomes extremely problematic for the commuters whenever a sit-in takes place on it.

While it can be stated that the Mall Road has become a favourite place for the protesters, owing to the protest, the traffic was seen moving at a snail’s pace on the Davis Road, Garhi Shahu, Shimla Pahari, Hameed Nizami road (Temple Road), Queens road and other adjacent arteries. Several ambulances were also seen stuck in the traffic logjam.

The representatives of the Punjab Nutrition Association (PNA) led by its President Chaudhry Jamil and Secretary Hafiz Munir held negotiations with the high officials of the health department, but remained unsuccessful due to the alleged rigidity of the concerned authorities.

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