LAHORE: In a major move, two officers of the Metropolitan Corporation Lahore (MCL) were removed for showing grave negligence in eliminating encroachments and banners, controlling unlawful construction of buildings and taking action against those illegally occupying the state land in various parts of the city.

The officers’ services were also surrendered to the Local Government and Community Development department with a request to order launch of an inquiry against them. Moreover, the services of two enforcement inspectors were also placed under suspension for 90 days, Dawn has learnt.

According to official sources, Mr Zubair Ahmad Wattoo (BS-19), MCL’s Municipal Officer (Regulations), and Akhtar Hussain Chohan (BS-17), MCL’s Deputy Municipal Officer (Regulations), have been removed while Qamar Javaid and Waseem Abbas (both enforcement inspectors) placed under suspension.

“It is submitted that Mr Muhammad Zubair (BS-19) posted as MO (Regulations) has miserably failed to perform his official duties regarding removal of encroachments, expulsion of banners & posters from roadsides / chowks, even from the surroundings of the Lahore High Court, Civil Secretariat etc. He was also directed to take strict action against illegal buildings, but he also didn’t start any operation on this target. In this context, many complaints are also being received on a daily basis from the general public,” reads a letter written to the local government department additional chief secretary by the MCL’s Chief Corporation Officer.

The letter mentions that Mr Wattoo was given ample opportunity to perform his official duty effectively and diligently, but he didn’t bother to assign required priority to the aforementioned tasks and is making a bad name for the institution. The said lethargic attitude and deliberate negligence in duty is not only making a bad name for the institution but also comes within a severe misconduct and inefficiency on the part of the said officer which cannot be afforded to tolerate in the public interest and the interest of the institution as well.

“In view of the circumstances, services of Mr Muhammad Zubair are hereby surrendered from the MCL with immediate effect in the public interest. It is requested to take strict disciplinary action under PEEDA Act, 2006 against him,” the letter seeks.

In another letter, the MCL surrendered service of Mr Akhtar Hussain Chohan (BS-17) to the department. “It is submitted that Mr Akhtar Hussain Chohan posted as DMO (regulations), Data Ganj Bakhsh Zone (defunct) has miserably failed to perform his official duties. On Nov 17, 2020, he was directed by MO (regulations) to remove all banners / posters / flexes from the surrounding of the Lahore High Court, especially Fane Road, Turner Road, Mozang Road, Mall Road, Session Courts, Civil Courts and surrounding of civil secretariat. But he didn’t take any action on the said tasks even after repeated telephonic directions,” it reads.

Furthermore, the letter said, he as an enforcement officer had to take cognizance of such offences under PLGA-2019 but he didn’t bother to perform his official duties that is a severe misconduct and inefficiency on the part of said officer.

“In view of circumstances, the services of Mr Chohan are hereby surrendered from the MCL with immediate effect in the public interest. It is requested to take strict disciplinary action against him under PEEDA Act along with suspension of services with immediate effect.”

In another written order, the services of two enforcement inspectors Qamar Javaid and Waseem Abbas were also placed under suspension for 90 days under PEEDA Act on account of poor performance, inefficiency and misconduct with a direction to report to the MCL’s director (administration & inquiries) and mark their attendance in general branch.

Meanwhile, the MCL also entrusted Ehsaan Sarwar Zaidi, DMO (Regulations), with the additional charge of the MO (Regulations) through a notification.

“It seems beginning of taking action against the allegedly corrupt and negligent officers / officials. I am expecting more actions against the mafia within the MCL in coming days keeping in view the growing public complaints related to encroachments, illegal occupation of the state land by land grabbers and other issues,” an official source told Dawn on Thursday.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2020

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