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LAHORE: The inordinate delay in empowering the public representatives of the local bodies has created a very embarrassing situation for the elected chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors who are under immense pressure from the electorate to deliver.

In Maskeenpura, an area of Lal Pul (Mughalpura), the chairman, vice-chairman and councillors of the UC-142 have reportedly started cleanliness drive on their own after the officials of Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) and its Turkish contractor allegedly refused to do the job.

“You cannot imagine the embarrassing situation we have to face daily, forcing us finally to start cleaning of our streets on our own in Maskeenpura and other localities in our UC,” Union Council Chairman Jahangir Khan Durrani told Dawn on Thursday.

Mr Durrani, who belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, said it was due to delay on the part of the government or the election commission in empowering the elected people or involving them in supervision of developmental activities in their constituencies.

“Because of the delay in giving us powers, the government officials don’t bother about our advice, nor involve us in any development activity. Even the sanitary workers deputed in my UC for cleanliness have stopped visiting the area in connivance with their seniors,” he regretted and added: “In attendance register, they (the workers) are shown present on the job, while actually they are not,” he said.

He said when he and councillors raised the matter before an official of the company (Mr Umair), he also didn’t bother about the complaint. And after the complaint, the workers completely stopped visiting the streets for cleanliness purposes, he alleged. He said that he had also taken up the issue with the respective MNA and MPA, but to no avail.

He said keeping in view the ever-increasing voters’ complaints, he and his councillors decided to perform the sweepers’ job themselves. “For this purpose, I personally bought three brooms and started cleaning the streets in morning hours couple of days back,” Mr Durrani said, demanding the quarters concerned to either empower the elected people or remove them from their offices. “If the situation persists, the voters will really start beating us,” he warned.

When contacted, the LWMC general manager (operations) expressed concern over the situation, stating he would soon take action in this regard.

“I will take action against the officials involved in negligence,” he claimed.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2016