RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards have failed to prepare their annual budgets for 2020-21 even two months after the start of the new fiscal year.

Moreover, both the cantonments did not hold any board meeting to approve building maps and administrative issues in the last four months.

A senior official of the RCB told Dawn that a board meeting could not be held due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the civic body failed to approve its annual budget which used to be done in June and July.

He said under the cantonment act 1924, the civic body prepared budget proposals for tax collection, water charges and fees on other services as well as for the development works and present them in the board meeting, comprising public representatives and nominees of the station commander who is the president of the cantonment board.

“The RCB did not call a board meeting in the last four months. Many residents are facing problems to get approval of their building plans for commercial and domestic units. Some decisions regarding development works are also pending.”

He said transfer of houses, old cases and civic issues were also pending. The civic body is running its affairs without approval from the elected members.

In Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB), no development work was carried out last year. Some streets and roads were constructed and water supply lines laid but many schemes are pending as the board is yet to convene a meeting.

A senior official of the CCB told Dawn that there was no plan to convene a board meeting as some decisions were pending for approval of the board.

“The budget proposals are ready but it would not be implemented till the approval of the board,” he said.

He said many people had submitted their building plans which would be approved at a board meeting.

When contacted, CCB Vice President Raja Irfan Imtiaz said the board meeting would be held soon. He said the meeting could not be convened due to the coronavirus outbreak. But, he added, things have improved and all problems of the residents would be resolved.

RCB spokesman Qaiser Mehmood said the board meeting would be called in a week or two. He said due to the coronavirus, it was not possible to hold the board meeting as some officials of the civic body had also contracted the virus.

He admitted that the budget was to be approved before the new fiscal year but due to the pandemic it was delayed this year.

“Though we are running affairs of the civic body smoothly, there are some issues which have to be presented before the board.”

However, another official said the board meeting was likely to be called after Ashura. He said the board was also considering getting information about the status of elected members of the board from the election commission though the latter had allowed them to work after expiry of their term last year.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2020

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