ISLAMABAD: Every fourth district of Punjab will have a metropolitan corporation, taking the number of such bodies to nine from one, according to the recently promulgated Punjab Local Government Act 2019.
Previously, only the provincial headquarters of Lahore enjoyed the status of a metropolitan corporation. The eight other districts added to the list now include Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan, Rawalpindi, Sahiwal and Sargodha.
In addition, there will be 16 municipal corporations, 134 municipal committees, 160 town committees and 136 tehsil councils in the province.
The minimum population benchmark for a city to be classified as metropolitan or municipality has been set at a quarter million.
According to Section 9 (1) of the local government act, an area displaying distinct urban features may either be classified as metropolitan, municipality or a town. Under Section 9 (2) all areas comprising Lahore district and the areas comprising cities of another eight districts will have a metropolitan.
Each local government, under Section 18 of the act, will consist of a directly elected head, a head’s cabinet comprising specified number of councillors and experts and a council comprising councillors including a convener. The law explains that an expert means a person who has successfully completed 16 years of education from a recognised institution and has an experience of not less than 10 years in public administration, public finance, education, public health or any other area relating to the functions of a local government.
Metropolitan corporations with more than five million population will have a total of 10 members comprising at the most five councillors. The metropolitan corporations having population over 1.1 million and up to five million will have eight members of the head’s cabinet with the maximum permissible number of councillors standing at four. The metropolitan corporations or municipal corporations with population over 0.8m and up to 1.1m will have seven members of the head’s cabinet with the maximum permissible number of councillors coming to three.
The metropolitan corporations or municipal corporations with population between half a million and 0.8m will have six-member cabinet with a maximum of three councillors. The ratio of experts and councillors will substantially change in metropolitan corporations and municipal corporations with a population between a quarter million and a half million. The total strength will be five with a maximum permissible number of councillors in it as low as two.
The total strength will be five with a maximum permissible number of councillors in it as low as two.
Municipal committees having population between 0.125m and 0.250m will have four-member head’s cabinet with the maximum permissible number of councillors coming to half of the total strength. In municipal committees with a population of over 75,000 and up to 0.125m, the total strength of the cabinet will be three and will have only one councillor.
The town committees will have a minimum population of 25,000 and up to 75,000. These will have a two-member cabinet and one councillor.
Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2019