LAHORE: The Punjab government has almost finalised the structure of the proposed local government system.

The LG system has placed the Metropolitan Corporations (MCs) and the district councils on top being supreme authorities, Dawn has learnt.

The metropolitan corporations, according to a proposed draft of the system, will have town councils at each divisional headquarters and all tehsils of Lahore district. MCs will further have neighbourhood councils in the third tier.

Similarly, the district councils will have tehsil councils (other than the divisional headquarters and all tehsils of Lahore city district) across the province which will further have neighbourhood and village councils. The elections for VCs / NCs will be direct and on a non-party basis that will have six seats of general councillors (each VC / NC), a chairman, vice chairman and councillors on reserved seats. For all upper tiers, the elections will be direct and party-based (30% on the basis of panel -- head and councillors on reserved seats and 70% on the basis of closed list proportional representation (general councillors).

Tiers of local governments have been proposed as one Metropolitan Corporation in Lahore and 35 district councils (Tier-1), 13 town councils (Divisional headquarters / tehsil and all tehsils of Lahore district and 133 tehsil councils (Tier-2) and neighbourhood councils in town councils and village & neighbourhood in tehsil councils (Tier-3).

The neighbourhood shall consist of one or more urban Census Block Codes and the government will determine number of neighbourhood in town councils and tehsil councils. The election commission shall delimit the area of neighbourhoods. Establishment of village council will consist of patwar circle having population of 5,000 or more. However, the population of a patwar circle if found less than 5,000, such circle shall be merged with another contiguous patwar circle having the least population among all contiguous patwar circles so as the combined population of the two becomes more than 5,000.

The functions of the VCs and NCs will include registration of birth, deaths, marriages and divorce and issue certificates, hold fairs and recreational activities, promote local sports, execute development works pertaining to the services rendered by village or neighbourhood council, provide and maintain graveyards, nominate members of panchayats, mobilise the community for maintenance of public ways, public streets, culverts, bridges, public buildings and local drains and planting of trees, provide and maintain public sources of drinking water such as wells, water pumps, ponds, tanks and open drains, provision of security, streetlights, cleanliness, dispute resolution and monitoring of local staff of offices in a village through panchayats.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2021

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