ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production has sought details of the disciplinary action taken against the employees of the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) linked to embezzlement and misuse of power in last three years. The committee meeting was held at the Parliament House on Wednesday with Senator Hidayat Ullah in the chair. USC Managing Director Syed Gulzar Shah told the committee that embezzlement, misuse of authority and misappropriation of funds caused a Rs 714 million loss to the corporation in three years. He said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were investigating these cases. He said that about 140 officials were removed from service on charges of corruption in three years. He said that mainly corruption was committed in Balochistan where corrupt officials misappropriated Rs 360 million. In Punjab, he said, Rs 310 million were taken away. In Sindh, Rs 40 million were misappropriated whereas the least dishonesty was committed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where Rs 20 million were embezzled. During the briefing, Shah said, the total loss of the USC in the FY 2013-14 was Rs 4 billion and now it had been reduced to Rs 1.40 billion. He said that measures were being taken to curb corruption. He said that all regional and zonal offices and stores were being computerised to transform the USC into a profitable organisation. He said the USC would offer subsidy on 22 kitchen items in the holy month of Ramazan. Special teams would check the rates and quality of products available at the utility stores. The committee observed that misuse of gratuity and provident fund of the workers of the Pakistan Steel Mills was a misdeed, which should be investigated and the people who were involved in it should be brought to the law. The committee was told that an important meeting on privatisation of the Pakistan Steel Mills would be held next month. Representatives of the Sindh government, Finance Department and Privatisation Commission would attend the meeting. The committee was told that automobile companies in Pakistan imported all spare parts and not even a plug was being made here. It said that companies in Pakistan were not abiding by the agreement signed with the government and stressed the need for review of this agreement. “A complaint cell is being set up at the website of the EDB for the buyers of vehicles where owners of vehicles could lodge their complaints about poor quality and delay in delivery of a vehicle,” it said. The committee was informed that not even a single automobile company in Pakistan checked the ABS system. Recommendations for amendments to the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1969 were being prepared and they would be presented to the committee soon. It was said that vehicles manufacturing companies were not submitting reports about the quality of parts. The committee has sought details of all agreements signed with the three vehicle manufacturing companies in Pakistan. Committee members Senator Ateeq Shaikh, Senator Kalsoom Perveen and Senator Mohsin Aziz have expressed their concerns over the quality of vehicles being manufactured in Pakistan. They said that manufacturing of auto parts had not started in Pakistan despite a lapse of several years. Shafqat Ranjha, additional secretary for industries, told the committee that the Economic Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) had approved payment of salary of two months to the employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills and recommendations were being sent to the ECC for payment of salary of another two months. The committee was informed that the finance department had refused to pay gratuity and provident fund to the employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills on the pretext that it had not been consulted on this issue. The committee was informed that privatisation of the PSM was decided at the meeting of the ECC. It was decided that one month would be granted to the Sindh government for this purpose. The committee was informed that the Privatisation Commission chairman had written a letter to the Sindh government in this regard. Senator Mohsin Aziz said that amount of gratuity and provident fund of employees cannot be spent in any case, as it was the privilege of the employees of the organisation. If anybody does so, it would be considered a criminal act and must be investigated. Senator Kalsoom Perveen regretted the privatisation of the PSM. She said if the provincial government was serious in buying the PSM, it should consult all stakeholders. The committee said that all stakeholders should be invited to the next meeting on the privatisation of the PSM. The committee has recommended an enquiry into the spending of the gratuity and provident fund of the PSM employees. The committee has recommended that PSM employees should be paid their salaries and the charge-sheet against the protesting employees should be withdrawn.