Hostility among local body reps over allocation of funds continues


LAHORE: Hostility among local body representatives of the provincial capital has increased on the issue of non-allocation of funds within the past few months, Pakistan Today has learnt.

The situation was created after the approval of Municipal Corporation Lahore, on July 30, approved its annual budget worth Rs18 billion. According to the details of the budget, every union council was provided with funds of Rs5 million for different development projects. However, submitting proposals for development schemes have been passed on to the chairmen of the union council, which has left the vice chairmen and councillor of the union councillors agonised.

UC vice chairmen and councillors have expressed reservations for not being provided with the right to submit proposals for the development works in their wards.

Speaking to Pakistan Today, Councilors Ittihad Chairman Saleem Bhola said they had also been elected by the people and had promised their voters to resolve their issues.

“We, the councillors had requested MCL Lord Mayor Col (r) Mubashar Javed over the allocations of funds but he refused to meet us,” he said, adding that they would knock every door for the provision of their due rights.

Vice Chairmen Ittihad President Dr Sibtain Ali said that depriving them of funds was a barrier in the way to deliver for the masses. He said that if only the chairmen were to be considered as local body representatives then there was no need to hold elections for vice chairmen and councillors.

“Depriving vice chairmen and councillors of their due rights was a major cause behind Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz’s (PML-N) defeat in the recent general elections,” he said.

Sibtain added that they had requested the authorities concerned to consider them while the allocation of UC funds otherwise they had the right to protest. He maintained that there was a huge trust deficit between UC chairmen and vice chairmen over the use of public funds.

It is pertinent to note that councillors and vice chairmen of union councils have been fighting for power since they were elected. Seeking the fulfilment of their demands, they have staged various protests in Lahore along with other cities of Punjab and also conducted seminars to empower all elected representative and not just UC chairmen.

Meanwhile, speaking to Pakistan Today, Lord Mayor Lahore’s staff officer Mian Waheed said that this was the only discretion of UC chairmen to submit proposals of their respective UC regarding development funds as they were the members of the district council. He said that there was no law that permitted UC vice chairmen or councillors to submit proposals of their development schemes. “Reservations of the vice chairmen and councillors in this regard are baseless,” Waheed maintained.