Senate Panel Warns OGRA Over Lack of Action Against Unregistered LPG Manufacturers

The Senate Cabinet Secretariat Committee after a detailed inquiry transpired that no prosecutions and no convictions so far have been made on unregistered LPG manufacturers indulging in violation and selling substandard cylinders causing incidents of the most dangerous cylinder blasts under the existing law.

The committee expressed a severe sense of regret to OGRA for such negligent performance from a pivotal organization and warned the OGRA that if they fail to compete for the challenges of the gas cylinder blast in a diligent manner, the assessment will be carried out and if found unproductive the committee will proceed against the organization, the chair remarked.

The OGRA on multiple asking told the committee that no records of any FIR filed against violation of section 286 can be found. The committee gave OGRA a time period of 06 weeks to give practical results on the recommendations of the committee including mechanisms to legalize and make mandatory registration of unauthorized dealers, fix timelines, issue warnings, advertise and give detailed specifications (quality and material )to be used in the manufacturing of LPG cylinders.

The committee also directed to hold meetings with the Ministry of Law and Justice in order to vet the draft prepared further to amend Pakistan Penal Code to enhance punishment for those contributing threats to human life and property through increasing LPG cylinder Blasts.

The Senate Cabinet Secretariat Committee on Tuesday received a detailed briefing on the Special Central Superior Services (CSS) Examination, 2023, and also discussed revamping the education system in underdeveloped areas for candidates who are capable and deserve to join the civil services. The chair lamented the colossal quantum of failure of the competitive examination especially from the rural areas.

It was informed by the Establishment Division that presently 52 unfilled vacancies belong to non-Muslim candidates of Punjab. It was argued that the concession of age relaxation by 32 years and one additional chance under the Special  Central Superior Services (CSS) Examination, 2023 will enhance chances of success. It was briefed that the opportunity of special CSS is available to candidates belongings to minority quota from Punjab & AJK, women and minority from KPK, and open for all candidates from Sindh (R) Sindh (U) Balochistan and Ex-FATA.

It was further briefed that for special CSS two phases of application have been allowed. The first phase continued from 18-12-2022 to 04-01-2023 and the second phase continued from 26-02-2023 to 14-03-2023. A total of 44,238 applications have been received as of 8-03-2023.

It was informed that coaching will be provided for compulsory subjects and interviews to the MPT-qualified candidates from June to August. Four candidates will be selected against each existing vacancy falling under the respect quota for special CSS. The matter was deferred for further discussion on practical practice and monitoring of the same.

The matter related to the recruitment of officers of the Senate in BPS-17 and above grades by The Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) was discussed in detail. The Joint Secretary, Senate Secretariat debated that under the special instructions of the Chairman Senate on defusing the culture of Political Influences on recruitments in the Senate of Pakistan, a transparent and fair procedure must be adopted as per merit for recruitments to be made.

He said that the Chairman Senate revised the Senate Secretariat Services Act, 2017, and later notified the Senate Secretariat Service Rules 2021. He said that as per directions of the Chairman Senate, the Senate Secretariat Service Act 2017 and Senate Secretariat Services Rules 2017 have been reviewed and necessary amendments have been made in the amended Act and revised Service Rules.

He said that it is emphasized by the Chairman Senate that the recruitments of BPS -17 and above should be made through the FPSC. The Secretary of FPSC was of the view that the service rules of the Senate Secretariat and the recruitment policy of the FPSC are in contradiction. There are also several procedural issues related to the matter, and minor discrepancies to be removed.

To address these concerns, the FPSC officials suggested that Senate service rules need to be vetted by the Establishment Division and necessary amendments in the FPSC Act. Moreover, they also objected to the allocation of positions of only BPS-17 and above to the commission and instead suggested that positions in BPS-16 should also be sent to the FPSC from the Senate once the issue of the mandate is resolved.

The Bill titled “The Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2023 introduced by Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Senator Hidayat Ullah, Senator Zeeshan Khan Zada, and Senator Dilawar Khan was also discussed in detail. The bill has been designed to amend the Civil Servant Act in terms of the re-employment of Civil Servants should not becoming a rule.

Senator Muzafar Hussain Shah said that all employees should enjoy equal opportunity to excel and said that the legitimate expectation of a civil servant to be promoted to a higher position is denied when another civil servant who after has reached the age of superannuation is re-inducted against a senior post.

The officials of the Establishment Division did not support the proposed amendment and said that employment under the act is allowed in order to make a pool of experience available at the disposal of the Government. Besides, there is a detailed and strict process that is being followed for re-employment.

He further said that the re-employment does not cause a promotional block and retention of the retiring officer is for a specified period in the public interest. The committee deferred the matter for further discussion and also sought a list of details on all the officers’ re-employment and if any on regular posts.

The meeting was attended by Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Senator Muzafar Hussain Shah, and Senator Syed Waqar Mehdi. Secretary FPSC, Addl Secretary Establishment Division, Chairman OGRA, and Senior officers from the Ministry of Law and Justice and Senate Secretariat were also in attendance.

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