FAISALABAD, Oct 20: The creation of four new towns in the City District Faisalabad under the devolution of power plan without doing proper planning and homework has landed the newly-elect functionaries in a difficult situation.
The authorities concerned have failed to transfer manpower and other resources even though the elected representatives have joined new offices.
The urban localities of the city were previously governed by the defunct Tehsil Municipal Administration (City) while the adjoining villages were under the direct control of the TMA Saddar. But the Punjab government gave Faisalabad a status of city district and converted the TMAs of city and Saddar into Lyallpur, Iqbal, Madina and Jinnah towns just ahead of the local elections.
The local-body planners divided the city district into four town constituencies, but failed to chalk out a comprehensive strategy for the establishment of the offices of these town councils, division of staff and official assignments of various branches of the previous TMAs.
Though the nazims and their councillors have taken over the offices of their respective towns, they are unable to start working mainly due to unavailability of the staff.
The TMA City Complex has been converted into offices of the Lyallpur, Madina and Iqbal towns while the Zila Council Rest House is accommodating the Jinnah Town offices. Elected nazims have been allotted rooms in new offices, but there is still confusion about the offices of their staff as well as other functionaries, including naib nazims and chairmen of standing committees.
It is pertinent to mention that all the four newly-created towns have 35 per cent of the population from rural areas and after the final establishment of offices for these towns, the villagers would have to cover 15 to 20 kilometres for a petty task and complain about civic problems.
Of the 28 union councils in Lyallpur Town, some 16 have been included from the Saddar areas, having a rural population of 310,617. In Madina Town, eight union councils are included in its 41 union councils with a rural population of 164,207. Likewise, out of the 43 union councils of the Iqbal Town, some 15 have been included from the defunct Saddar tehsil, which have a rural population of 268,297.
Included in the Jinnah Town are nine union councils with a rural population of 180,989.
The situation is not different even with the City District Government offices, which are being set up in the Zila Council Complex. It lacks the required infrastructure for smooth functioning of the CDG. Except the office of the former district nazim, none of the rooms in the building is in a good condition. Even the hall has no capacity for 412 members of the city district.
President Gen Pervez Musharraf had introduced the three-tier local government system with lofty claims of devolving power at the grassroots and provision of services to the public at their doorsteps. However, there hasn’t been much relief to the people in the last over four years.
Talking of mismanagement, the Lyallpur Town has been delegated the powers to monitor the affairs of the entire Garden Branch as well as the budget allocation process of all the four towns till the end of the current fiscal.