After mayor’s eviction: ‘CDA has stopped cooperating with UCs’

Elected representatives, residents of UC 31 decry ignorance by civic body

Saqib Bashir February 26, 2018

ISLAMABAD: After the court declared the appointment of the mayor as the chairman of the civic body as illegal and effectively evicting him from the hot seat at the change of the year, the body has allegedly stopped cooperating with elected representatives of the city.

Elected representatives of Union Council 31 in Sector G-7 of the capital have said that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) stopped cooperating with them soon after Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) Chairman and Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz lost his heat in the civic body. Moreover, neither have they been granted offices, staff or funds.

They added that an application for according due authority to local body representatives has also been filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

This negligence on the part of the government has all but ruined the local government system, said UC 31 Chairman Ahmed Khan.

The local body representative highlighted that there was a need to change out the sewerage and water pipelines in the area apart from streamlining the supply of clean drinking water.

“There is a need to upgrade conditions of roads in the sector,” the councillor from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said, as he held the CDA bureaucracy responsible for failing to resolve issues.

A survey conducted by Roznama Express showed that the water and sewerage pipelines were leaking at several spots in the Union Council. As a result, clean water and sewage get mixed together. This was also confirmed by residents of Sector G-7 street 24 who said that they have been getting dirty water for the past three months.

The UC, which covers key commercial areas including Sitara market, Khadda market, Bank Colony, Faisal Colony, Muslim Colony, Shopper Colony, Allama Iqbal Colony and Christian Colony where are over 45,000 people live and work. Over 20,000 residents are registered voters of the UC.

Ahmed said that despite the fact that two years have passed since the IMC and union councils were formed, they have yet to get any offices, staff, or funds. He complained that a neighbouring UC had an office but they have not been provided with one.

He claimed that chairmen aligned with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were provided with these offices but those not affiliated with the ruling party were ignored.

To address acute water shortage, he said that they had installed a tube well after boring for water. However, due to insufficient water storage options in the area, water supply remains erratic.

“At a few spots, tube wells were been installed over drains but their water is harmful to the health of consumers,” Ahmed said, adding that the CDA had accepted the fault. “The CDA needs to give attention to the matter,” the UC chairman said.

With the sector home to some of the largest slums of the capital, Ahmed said that those recognized by the government are offered facilities of water, electricity and gas facilities in accordance with their turn. Settlements which have been termed as illegal, are deprived of even these basic facilities, he said.

With IMC and CDA still clashing over the transfer of departments, funds and personnel, the UC chairman said that there is no system to clean the drains in the area.

As a result, if there is more than moderate rain, water can flood the settlements since most of them are settled on the banks of drains.

While votes are gleefully accepted, Ahmed said that residents of some colonies — such as Shipper Colony — are not even offered basic amenities by labelling them as illegal settlers.

Labour Councilor Junaid, Lala Izzat Khan, Kamal Khan, Muhammad Zahid, Sohaibullah, Fazal Sher and several others said that even though residents of the union council pay the five per cent tax for CDA’s services, the civic body only offers residents with promises.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2018.