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LAHORE: The Punjab local government commission has approved delegation of 10 powers of the mayor to deputy mayors, ending an issue between the top elected representatives of the Lahore Municipal Corporation (MC).

The commission accorded the approval in a meeting held here on Tuesday. A formal notification is likely to be issued on Wednesday (today), according to a senior official of the local government department.

“The powers transferred to deputy mayors included action against encroachments, approval of maps of houses up to 10 marla, launching dengue awareness campaigns, streetlights and launching development schemes in nine zones of Lahore (formerly town municipal administrations),” department Secretary Shahid Nasir Raja told Dawn.

He said although the mayor had already delegated such functions to deputy mayors unofficially, they were illegal since they had not been approved by the commission nor placed before the MC for approval. The approval by the commission had now legalised the delegation of powers, he added.

He said the commission had also authenticated some powers transferred to vice chairmen of union councils. “The issue was settled already through an order. But in the commission’s meeting, the participants endorsed it formally. By using these powers, a vice chairman can lodge a complaint against the chairman for not calling a meeting of the House. He can also check expenditures related to staff salaries, utility bills, rent, development etc,” he explained.

The commission, he said, also assigned various pending inquiries to officers for resolution.

Union council (UC) chairmen had protested in the House several times against the government for giving certain financial powers to vice chairmen in violation of the Local Government Ordinance 2013. They also rejected the executive order issued by the department that advised the UC administrations to route all approvals related to expenses (except payment of salaries, honoraria and utility bills) through the vice chairmen.

APPROVED: The Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) approved various development schemes worth over Rs1.3 billion. These schemes were approved in the 59th meeting of the party held here at the planning and development department.

The development schemes included construction of seven small development schemes for Hafizabad district for Rs90 million, construction of three connecting roads to Kolo Tarrar village in Hafizabad for Rs46 million, widening and improvement of road from MDA Chowk to Dera Adda Chowk in Multan (dual carriageway) for Rs575 million and construction of a flyover at Jhal Road railway crossing to Sahiwal city for Rs588 million.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2018