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TAXILA: The working of the Municipal Committee (MC) Taxila has come to a halt due to the absence of its chairman and deputy creating problems for the citizens.

MC chairman Mehmood Hussain Shah and his deputy Zeeshan Butt were unseated after a no-confidence motion against them on June 29. The no-confidence move against the PML-N backed MC chairman and vice chairman was moved to the secretary Punjab local government and community development department on April 21. Later, Mr Butt resigned as he was awarded a PML-N ticket for the provincial assembly.

According to local government ordinance, the secretary local government and community development notifies the assistant commissioner of the area as the administrator to run the administrative and financial affairs of the municipal committee concerned in case of disqualification, death or unseating of the chairman. But the secretary has failed to appoint an administrator in Taxila.

As the municipal committee is without its administrative heads, public services such as water supply, sanitation and approval of commercial building plans could not be carried out.

“Since June, no development project has been approved as there is no legal authority to run the affairs of the municipal committee,” said Syed Mehtab Shah, a councilor.

He said the water supply system, which collapsed in Ramazan in union council Mohra Shah Wali Shah, was repaired by the local people on their own as there was no chairman or administrator to approve and release fund.

Malik Mohammad Pervaiz, leader of the opposition in the Municipal Committee, said development funds remained suspended due to the absence of the chairman and its deputy. On the other hand, the secretary local government has not appointed an administrator to run the affairs of the civic body.

He said a delegation of councilors belonging to the PTI met designated minister for petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan and apprised him of the problems. Mr Khan assured the delegation that the issue would be addressed in consultation with the provincial authorities after Eid holidays.

“I have applied for the construction of shops and submitted a building plan to the municipal committee but due to absence of the chairman the plan has not been approved even after three months,” said Humayun Butt, a local resident.

He added that due to the delay in official approval, he could not initiate the construction. Subsequently, the construction cost has increased by 30pc because of the recent hike in the prices of cement, iron and transportation charges.

When contacted, Chief Officer Municipal Committee Mian Mohammad Usman said the secretary local government had been approached many times to appoint an administrator for the MC. He said the budget approval for the new fiscal year 2018-19 was also pending due to the absence of the chairman.

The official said he had financial powers to approve only contingency expense up to Rs0.1 million and run the salary accounts. He confirmed that the approval of development schemes, commercial building plans and expenditure costing over Rs0.1 million were pending.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2018