LAHORE: The provincial government spend Rs9 billion every year on solid waste management to keep Lahore clean unlike in the past when Rs2.5 billion were spent and results could not reach beyond 60%.
During question answer session, PML-N’s parliamentary secretary for Local Government and Community Development Ramazan Siddique Bhatti responded to the question put by opposition woman legislator for minority Shunila Ruth. The legislator had queries about handing over of Solid Waste Management Company to contractors and was is it also true that Rs2.5 billon were spent in the past for cleanliness and sanitation of Lahore but now Rs14 billion were being spent for this purpose.
SSWMB land to be cleared of encroachments
Responding to the queries, Bhatti said contract system was not confined just to Lahore. It existed all over the world. He said when the task was performed by the government department, the result of cleanliness was just 60% but ever since it was handed over to contractors, the result was 90%. He confirmed the government spent Rs2.5 billion in the past and now Rs9 billion were being spent per year after Solid Waste Management Company was handed over to contractors.
Shunila lamented that people were dying and no money was available for their health while on the other hand the government was spending billions just on garbage disposal rather than addressing loopholes in the department concerned. She said even after spending such a huge amount, heaps of garbage and litter could be seen everywhere in the provincial capital. On this, Bhatti responded that there were no garbage heaps on any major point of the city. He said 7,500 tonnes of garbage was collected and disposed of daily. However, Shunila was not satisfied with the answer.
On the other hand, Dr Nausheen Hamid of PTI was also not satisfied with the confused answers of the department concerned over her question about how many fire brigade stations were functional in Lahore. The department replied there were 12 fire stations. Interestingly, the fire department had earlier mentioned 14 fire brigade stations in response to a query by another legislator. She remarked either the department was confused or wanted to cheat the House. Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan referred the question to the committee concerned and sought report within one month.
During the proceedings, Opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed demanded of the provincial government to constitute a commission to probe the allegations levelled by Abid Boxer about killings of dozens people in fake encounters to appease police high ups and politicians.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah testified in House that whenever arrests were made through the Interpol, the federal government was intimated first and then the provincial government. He said so far no intimation has been received from the federal government pertaining to the arrest of former police inspector. Rasheed, on point of order, also sought explanation on delay in bringing Boxer to Pakistan, adding the House be intimated what efforts were made by the provincial government to bring him back.
Notices sent to mayor, SEPA and SSWMB chiefs for burning garbage in the city
Later, a resolution for condolence was unanimously passed by the treasury and opposition benches over the demise of Asma Jahangir in which the House expressed its deep sorrow over the death of prominent lawyer and human rights activist.
On Friday, the House started on 9:45am while the scheduled time was 9:00am. On 9:57am the House was adjourned for 10 minutes after PML-N’s Malik Arshad pointed out secretaries board of revenue and Shehr-e-Khamoshan were not present in the House to respond to queries of the legislators.
The speaker adjourned House for Monday after the government failed to show the required number of legislators in the House.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2018.