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The Punjab government has decided to expand the scope of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) to other areas of the province.

The proposal was made some days ago during a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the chairman of the WCLA.

A proposal was made to upgrade the authority to enable it to work at the provincial level in other mega cities of the province.

“The CM gave a go-ahead to the officials concerned, and sought constitution of a high level committee that could prepare the recommendations to be sent to the CM office,” said a WCLA official.

The authority is currently executing the package-2 of the Walled City rehabilitation project that involves restoration of various residential and commercial buildings and heritage sites. The project also aims to replace the Walled City’s outdated infrastructure with a new one by mobilising the local traders and residents. These days, the WCLA is restoring facades, Masjid Wazir Khan and Lahore Fort.

During the meeting, according to the official, the CM also sought to hand over some more heritage sites to the WCLA after taking them back from the Archaeology or Auqaf departments.

“The officials concerned were also directed to introduce the WCLA in other mega cities of the province, including Multan, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad, by assigning it some heritage sites’ restoration,” the official said.

He said the meeting also decided to approve all the pending PCs-1 submitted by the WCLA to the Planning and Development Department. The WCLA, in the light of CM’s direction, has also proposed members of the committee, including planning and development department chairman, secretaries of local government, law/regulations, archeology, Auqaf and the WCLA director general.

“The WCLA admin has sent this proposal to the CM office,” the official said.

Penalising shopkeepers, in form of arrests and sending them to jail for three days, has almost become a permanent policy of the City District Government of Lahore (CDGL).

According to officials, during the last 20 days, 5,532 shopkeepers, including over 4,000 from the provincial metropolis, were arrested in the division. “It is now a policy of the city administration to better send those involved in overcharging and hoarding to jail rather than imposing fine,” said an official. He claimed the strategy helped the government reduce public complaints. Besides the arrests, Rs6.2 million was also imposed on others. — (khalidpak284@yahoo.com)

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2016