LAHORE: After the previous local government was removed by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), authorities scrapped most development schemes of the previous city administration, The Express Tribune learnt on Saturday.
A senior official of the Local Government and Community Development Department (LG&CD) disclosed that following the removal of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led local government system, authorities decided to hand over the control of development projects to district administration and civil bureaucrats. They would be responsible for completion of development schemes proposed by members of the provincial assembly.
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He indicated that nearly Rs2 billion worth of development projects, proposed by the previous local government, had been scrapped. Earlier, the current regime imposed an unwritten ban on development projects proposed by the previous government. Now, it has decided to continue with development, but scrap the proposals of the previous regime. Now, development schemes would be proposed by MPAs, he maintained.
The official highlighted that in a recent meeting of the provincial cabinet, the government had already approved the first phase of the Punjab Municipal Services Programme (PMSP) with a total funding of around Rs27 billion.
To execute the PMSP, the government also formed a five-member District Planning and Coordination Committee (DPCC), under the leadership of Lahore Deputy Commissioner Saleha Saeed. Lahore Division Commissioner and Metropolitan Corporation Lahore’s nominated representatives and others would be members of this committee. The body would receive proposals from elected public representatives of the ruling party. It would get these projects approved from the DPCC and forward the same to Lahore Division Commissioner for the final nod. The committee would ensure availability of funds and implementation of development projects in true letter and spirit, he highlighted.
In the recent meeting of the provincial cabinet, a strategy was formed to release funds for 194 urban and 3,316 rural local government institutions so that necessary facilities could be provided to people at their doorstep. The cabinet decided that district-level committees would be formed to implement the programme and the first phase would be completed by June 2020 in the current financial year.
Former Lahore Lord Mayor Col (retd) Mubashir Javed had earlier said the PTI government had haphazardly approved the new local government act and now it scraped all development projects of previous regimes. “During the last one year, the PTI government had hardly initiated a single development project. Recently, it had initiated some patchwork on different roads of the city,” he said.
Through hectic efforts, Javed said, he approved these development projects after getting proposals from union councils. Earlier, the PTI government had intentionally delayed the projects, but now scrapped the schemes altogether, he lamented.
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Punjab Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Local Government Raja Basharat had recently announced that the government would hold panchayats and neighbourhood councils by June 2020 after completing delimitation. He said that the new local government system was a reflection of Prime Minister’s vision of the transfer of power to the grassroots level. “Concerned departments were making efforts to make the new LG system a success,” he said. He directed the LG department to start work on delimitation immediately and take solid steps to remove objections raised by Election Commission of Pakistan on the Local Government Act 2019.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2019.
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