RAWALPINDI: The first meeting of the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation (RMC) Monday was dominated with complaints over encroachments along roads, especially those in the main markets of the city.
As many as 20 UC chairmen spoke briefly in the assembly, which met just two days after Sardar Naseem had been sworn in as the new chairman of the RMC and the mayor of the city.
“We need to address allegations of extorting Rs74 million from encroachers. It is an open secret,” said Raja Mushtaq, a UC chairman. He added that the encroachments in the city also lead to traffic gridlocks on major roads.
“Commercial Market is one of the biggest markets in the city. But its streets are clogged owing to encroachments. There is a need to clean the market of this menace,” said Ghayyur Butt, a UC chairman from Satellite Town. He urged the new mayor to take immediate action against encroachers.
Another issue in his area, he said, was the dilapidated sewerage system.
Encroachment and the clogged state of traffic in the city were among the top issues identified by Naseem immediately after he took oath as mayor.
UC Chairman Raja Shahid Latif said that the Pirwadhai Bus Terminal also needed immediate attention of the mayor as the Town Municipal Administration earned 50 per cent of its revenue from the bus stand.
He also highlighted the issue of encroachments and lack of basic facilities at the bus terminal.
Other UC chairmen urged the mayor to address the acute shortage of clean drinking water in the city in addition to paying immediate attention on the traffic mess and encroachments.
Meanwhile, UC Chairman Raja Arshad highlighted corruption in the municipal administration as the key issue.
“We need to purge the Rawal Town Municipal Administration of alleged corruption,” said Arshad, adding that “Corruption in the TMA earns us [union councilors] a bad name.
The UC chairmen further asked the mayor to give a two-day notice before summoning a meeting of the RMC.
Addressing the RMC session, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Babar Jadoon and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Azhar Satti said they would play the role of a responsible opposition on issues of public importance.Naseem, meanwhile, formally assumed charge on Monday.
In his speech before the RMC, he assured UC chairmen that he would take up the issue of encroachments seriously.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2017.
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