–25 secretaries, three commissioners, ten deputy commissioners among officers authorised to purchase Rs92,000 smartphone
ISLAMABAD: In what is being termed as “mockery” of the centre’s austerity drive, the government of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) has allowed every officer (from secretaries to deputy commissioner) to buy the latest Samsung Galaxy Note 8 at the cost of public money.
According to a notification issued earlier this month, the administration in GB has allowed at least 40 officers to purchase the smartphone by Samsung, which prices over Rs92,000 in the market and get the cost refunded from the Finance Department by presenting the purchase receipt.
“The competent authority has been pleased to principally allow purchase/replacement of mobile sets Samsung Note 8 or equivalent with a maximum cost of Rs92.000/- or below for official use,” the notification reads whereas the entitled officers include 25 secretaries, the chief secretary, three commissioners, 10 deputy commissioners, GB House controller and PS to the chief secretary.
The notification further states that the administration, in order to ensure uniformity, conducted a market survey and found Samsung Note 8 suitable for official usage/utility.
“Therefore it is proposed that Samsung Note 8 or any equivalent smartphone may be purchased by following the prescribed procedure for the entitled officers by the offices concerned within their sanctioned budget grant 2018-19 for official use as per entitlement and the authorised sealing. The concerned PAOs/DDOs may approach the Finance Department for the provision of funds if required so. It is further requested that an attested copy of the purchase voucher/receipt clearly mentioning the model and cost of the mobile set may be endorsed to the department concerned for record purposes. Similarly, the old sets along with accessories may be returned to the department.”
It merits a mention here that the GB government, earlier this year, had also entitled all former chief secretaries of the province to lifetime VIP privileges.
The facilities include free access to VIP accommodation at government guest houses, rent houses, circuit houses in GB, Islamabad or any other part of the country; pick and drop service in Gilgit, Skardu and Islamabad with protocol coverage, detailing of staff car and driver for three days during stay in GB House, Islamabad, services of driver for lifetime, services of a gunman from the provincial police or an orderly for lifetime.
A retired BS-22 officer, who served as federal secretary to the ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, had said that “the development was shocking for the former bureaucrats especially for those who served in BS-22”.
“The facility is against the existing rule. The provincial government has no authority to grant this facility. Law prohibits application of rules from retrospective effect. All the funds are provided by the federal government and cannot be utilised to facilitate an individual,” he had said.
“I remember once the Punjab government had raised the salary of the chief secretary and the inspector general of police, over which the auditor general of Pakistan had objected,” the officer had added.