ISLAMABAD: Managing Director Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) Aamer Manzoor on Wednesday said PTV required Rs2 billion to clear the dues of 423 pensioners pending since 2016.
“We have arranged Rs700 million which will clear pension and other dues of 190 to 210 pensioners till December 2017. We request the committee to play its role in clearing the dues of 2018,” he said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting which was chaired by Senator Faisal Javed.
Prime Minister’s Adviser on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, who also attended the meeting, said a number of steps were being taken to address the financial crisis in PTV.
“We are taking the PTV in the right direction but it is a fact that the corporation has not paid pension and other dues to former employees since December 2016. Moreover, it has become difficult to clear salaries due to financial crunch,” she said.
Chairman PTV Arshad Khan said that the primary responsibility of PTV was to promote culture and protect the narrative of the state.
“Because of this responsibility we don’t get advertisements just like other television channels. We get only Rs35 as television license fee as compared to Rs2,500 which is being charged by state-run television channels in other countries. The PTV has been in loss for two years but in last financial year it earned a profit of Rs300 million,” he said.
“However, we have to clear dues of Rs6 billion so we expect support from the government to clear the dues,” he said.
A retired employee of PTV Mohammad Ashraf, who was present in the meeting, said when he retired dollar was available at Rs70.
“Today the dollar’s value is Rs160 but our pending amount is the same which was announced years ago. We have been holding a protest outside the PTV for the last 20 days and will continue until the issue is resolved,” he said.
Former controller news Asmatullah Niazi, who retired in April 2018, while talking to Dawn said that initially the government had agreed to pay Rs1 billion which would be distributed among retired employees and payments would be cleared before Eidul Fitr.
“However, dues were not cleared despite an agreement reached the PM Office. Currently, a number of employees are sick and some employees have postponed weddings of their daughters because of financial issues. We appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan to look into the matter,” he said.
The Committee was also given a detailed briefing on working and performance of Lok Virsa.
It was told that Lok Virsa had received Rs95.54 million grant-in-aid from the government.
The Committee appreciated the proposal of setting up book stalls at airports and railway stations which would have books about the organization and its working and promote awareness about culture and heritage.
The committee recommended marathon transmission on PTV on special events arranged by Lok Virsa. The committee was told that Lok Virsa was arranging Lok Melas in provincial capitals, in collaboration with universities to promote awareness about heritage, conducting cultural surveys and research, arranging talent hunt folk festivals and making efforts to revive dying arts and crafts.