Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: The Chief of Afghanistan Independent Land Authority (AILA) on Wednesday said that influential individuals have usurped some of the residential plots allocated for teachers.
The Minister of Education, Chief of Independent Administrative Reforms and Civil Services Commission (IARCSC), AILA’s chief and the Deputy Minister of Finance were the main officials summoned by the Wolesi Jirga to brief the lawmakers on grievances of the teachers who protested last week against injustice.
Chief of AILA, Jawed Paikar, said that most of the land allocated for the teachers’ townships was usurped by influential people.
While not mentioning any name, he said the “powerful figures” usurped 56,000 acres of land allocated for the proposed townships for the teachers.
He termed distribution of residential plots among teachers an unsuccessful project, adding that most of the teachers have sold their plots as they could not afford constructing house. However, the teachers received some of the plots to build houses, he said.
“Lack of shelter and low salary are key challenges for the teachers that resulted in protest against the government. The teachers are protesting for the past two months in favor of their demands,” Paikar said.
He suggested that a specific organization should be established for construction of townships for teachers instead of distributing the plots. He also proposed establishment of trust fund for teachers to build the townships.
Minister of Education, Asadullah Hanif Balkhi, said that 80,000 residential plots were distributed among the teachers in different parts of the country while distribution of the plots in other parts of the country is on the cards, but after survey.
“The teachers are unable to build houses as their salary is insufficient. It will be better if the government builds two-room houses for them,” proposed Balkhi.
He also said that a specific commission comprised of different organizations has been established to work on demands of the protesting teachers. “It requires enough time to answer to the demands of the teachers,” added the education minister.
Balkhi further said that the education ministry has drafted a new mechanism for increasing salaries of the teachers through amendments in the civil services law, adding the law would be implemented after approved by the parliament and the Cabinet.
However, he said that the ministry does not have funds to build apartments for the teachers.
The deputy finance minister, Mustafa Mastoor, said the ministry has allocated $700,000 for the Ministry of Urban Development in the current fiscal year’s budget to build townships for the teachers.
He said that extra privileges for teachers, working in insecure areas, would be provided through the ordinary budget of the ministry of education, next year. He said that it was already a huge portion of funds suggested to the finance ministry as special fund for teachers working in insecure areas, but it was rejected due to lack of funds.