SUKKUR: After the oath-taking ceremony of the mayor, deputy mayor, chairman and vice-chairman in Sukkur a day before, an informal meeting of the Sukkur Municipal Corporation (SMC) was held in a make-shift camp on Wednesday as there is no place available for the new local body setup.
Before the meeting went under way, the newly-elected mayor Barrister Arsalan Shaikh and his deputy mayor were given a guard of honour by a contingent of the police inside the tent, which was erected on the premises of the municipal office.
Interestingly, the number of SMC employees is 1,370, out of which only 165 were present at the ceremony. Many employees were seen calling their colleagues on the phone urging them to get to work immediately as the mayor and deputy mayor were presiding over a meeting.
The mayor and other members were briefed about the body's assets, including dispensaries and public parks.
The mayor, after a brief introduction with the members, urged them to work hard to make the civic conditions of the city better, besides requesting the women members to keep a vigilant eye on the education and health facilities in their respective areas.
"It is our prime duty to provide every possible facility to the citizens so they can feel the trickle-down effect of the local government system," said Shaikh.
Perhaps taking notice of the thin attendance, he warned all SMC employees to attend office on time and remain on their posts till the end of office hours, adding that any laxity in this regard will not be tolerated.
"We have to create our own resources to overcome the shortage of funds because we don't want to always keep looking towards the government for grants," he said.
During the meeting, SMC member Jawed Memon requested the mayor to visit various localities of the city and assured him of his complete cooperation. Memon further said that he will go along with the mayor for the welfare of the city and will resort to protest and sit-ins if needed. On this, an SMC member from the Pakistan Peoples Party, Mir Abdul Rehman Mengal, said, "Gone are the days of protests and sit-ins. We will not allow anybody to resort to negative practices." This sparked a heated debate among the SMC members and the mayor had to intervene to bring down the temperatures.
In December 2007, after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, an unruly mob had torched many government offices, including the office of the SMC. The conference hall of the SMC was completely gutted and since then, no repair work has been carried out over the pretext of shortage of funds.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2016.
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