MUZAFFARABAD: The Local Government and Rural Development (LG&RD) Coordinating Council of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has approved its budget worth Rs2.8 billion for the financial year 2022-23.

The coordination council meetingwaspresided over by Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas, who directed the LG&RD department to give top priority to the projects of public welfare with focus on provision of basic amenities to the neglected segments of rural population.

The department should ensure quality of work apart from fast-tracking an effective monitoring regime, he stressed.

The prime minister said since the local bodies (LB) elections were on cards, the LG&RD department should prirotise the construction as well as completion of the office buildings of union council buildings.

He also directed that model cemeteries should be developed at all district headquarters to address the problems with regard to burials.

Similarly, he said the new water supply schemes and suspension bridges over water channels should be constructed on priority basis.

Earlier, Additional Chief Secretary LG&RD Ehsan Khalid Kiani briefed the meeting on thesalient features of the council’sbudget, saying that the LG&RD department was facing serious problems due to a cut of Rs730 million slapped by the federal government during the last quarter of the last financial year.

The prime minister on the occasionformed a four-member committee, headed by finance minister Abdul Majid Khan and comprising additional chief secretary LG&RD, additional chief secretary development and secretary finance, to come up with feasible recommendations within two weeks to address this problem.

LB polls

Presiding over another meeting, Prime Minister Ilyas directed the authorities concerned to conduct the LB elections before Nov 30.

The AJK Election Commission was reported to have informed the government that it planned to announce the schedule for the LB polls in the second week of November.

The meeting held detailed discussions on fulfillment of logistical requirements of impending election as well as the requisite financial resources and security personnel.

It was decided that the government would fix and subsequently inform the Election Commission about the final date for announcement of schedule after holding essential consultations on the issue with all stakeholders.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022

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