LAHORE: The Punjab government on Wednesday removed Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) Managing Director Dr Shahzeb Hasnain -- the sixth MD to have been changed within two years in a public sector entity dedicated to keep the provincial metropolis clean in association with the two international contractors.

“The government seems to be making immature decisions by frequently changing MDs, as the outgoing one (Mr Hasnain) is the sixth officer who couldn’t retain this position for a considerable duration,” an official source deplored while speaking to Dawn.

The LWMC continues to be in trouble, especially for the last two years, as it lost six MDs and confidence of the Turkish contractors due to various administrative and operational issues. In July 2018, Farrukh Butt, Human Resource General Manager, who was also holding the additional charge of the office of MD, was replaced with Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) officer Khalid Nazir Wattoo. After some months Mr Wattoo was changed after he developed differences with the government over the issue of intervention in the company’s operational issues by the then DC.

The incumbent is the sixth officer to have been removed

“After Mr Wattoo’s transfer, the government posted Ajmal Bhatti (PAS) as new LWMC MD. But the government also changed him after some time, entrusting the charge of the MD office to PMS officer Rao Imtiaz, additional secretary (development), local government department (a grade-20 officer). But, later, the government relieved him of the additional charge, appointing Rao Aslam, another PAS officer. But he survived only for two months or so as the government changed him, appointing Dr Shahzeb Hasnain (Additional Secretary, local government) as new MD on an officiating basis.

“The problem exists on the part of the government as it keeps changing the officers frequently instead of resolving the real issues the company has been facing for the last two to three years,” the official said.

“The problems include frequent change of MDs, delayed payments to Turkish contractors, delay in hiring new vendors / contractors, obsolete machinery / equipment, vehicles etc, interference of LWMC board of directors (BoD) chairman and members into the company’s operational affairs, delayed decision making due to NAB’s fear prevailing among the officials,” the official explained.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020