LAHORE: The local government system may be working across the province, but it is the drawing rooms and deras of elected representatives that double as union council (UC) offices, The Express Tribune learnt on Tuesday.
Lahore Lord Mayor Colonel (retd) Mubashir Javed said the provincial government released Rs350,000 to maintain office expenditure at each UC and fixed a ceiling limit of Rs25,000 for office rentals.
The mayor said although some UCs had found premises to establish workspaces, over 50 were in still search of suitable offices. After delimitation, 127 new UC were formed in Lahore alone and many were still were in search of a suitable premises.
Mubashir indicated public representatives faced several procedural hurdles in spending public money. The government announced ceiling limits, besides stringent audit systems, and several UCs complained it was impossible to get a reasonable space for UC offices in the given amount.
Responding to a question, Mubashir said the old City District Government Lahore (CDGL) had been removed to make way for the new system which was still evolving. Earlier, the CDGL had 26 departments which had been reduced to six or seven under the new local government system.
“If the issues were limited to Lahore, they might have been solved. However, the system is for the whole province and it will take time,” he stated.
The retired colonel said he and other mayors from different areas of the province were struggling to expedite the system. “You can find many local government representatives striving to get local issues resolved. People in their areas are getting frustrated by undue delays in finding solutions to local problems,” he said.
Answering another query, the lord mayor pointed some of the problems were created by public representatives as well. He added many were unaware of the manner in which government departments function. “Even after serving in several public offices, I still face problems in understanding the system,” he said.
“However, the government recently issued rules of business for local governments and the document answered several questions on the minds of representatives,” he concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2017.