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MANSEHRA: The nazims on Wednesday announced they would agitate and move the court against the government’s decision to deprive them of the powers to award contracts for development schemes in the province.

On Monday, the local government and rural development department had formally asked its assistant directors working across the province to carry out the tendering exercise for development schemes in their respective offices instead of the village and neighbourhood councils, which earlier used to do so.

It however cited no reason for the move in the communication. The assistant directors were also told to comply with the directives in letter and spirit.

Earlier, the village and neighbourhood councils had tender-opening committees. The nazims rejected the decision declaring it draconian.

Threaten to agitate, challenge govt’s move in court

They said they would resist the stripping of their authority to open tenders and award contracts for development schemes by agitating and taking the government to the court.

The Nazmeen Ittehad, a grouping of nazims, rejected the decision saying it was unilateral and went against the Local Government Act, 2013.

“We have summoned a meeting today (Wednesday) to decide the future course of action on the tender-opening committee decision. We cannot accept curtailment of our powers,” Nazmeen Ittehad general secretary Basharat Ali told reporters here.

He said the local government department had tried to snatch the tendering opening powers from the village and neighbourhood councils but the nazims won’t allow that to happen.

TEACHERS PROTEST: Professors and lecturers of colleges from across Mansehra district on Tuesday took to the streets against the proposed privatisation of public sector educational institutions.

“The Higher Education Act meant for the selloff of government colleges will render hundreds of professors and lecturers across the province jobless and increase the cost of education to the misery of poor students. We will never allow the government to hand over its higher educational institutions to the private sector,” Prof Riaz Hussain told protesters outside the Mansehra Press Club.

The professors and lecturers from across the district participated in the protest.

Mr Hussain said the new proposed law on higher education would lead to the formation of the board of governors, which was unacceptable to college teachers.

Another speaker, Prof Mohammad Kareem, said the government didn’t take stakeholders, especially teachers, on board on the proposed on higher education.

“We want the government to avoid confrontation with stakeholders, who should instead be consulted in the larger interest of students,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2017