LAHORE: A recent SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis reveals that the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has been facing serious governance-related issues amid corruption that requires immediate attention and intervention from the government to improve service delivery.

Based on simulation exercise, the analysis was conducted during the 39th mid-career management course (Research Group-6) organized by the National Institute of Management, Lahore, on Chief Minister Task Force for Inspecting Public Service Delivery of LDA.

Discussing governance, the analysis identifies one-window cell, digitisation of record, adoption of international standards, urban regeneration projects, disaster resilience planning, public private partnership, GIS mapping, artificial intelligence, planned urban development, stakeholders’ management and litigation issues as “strengths and opportunities” of the LDA. However, the rapid urbanisation /informal settlements, enforcement/encroachment issues, infrastructure deficiencies, governance and transparency, political interference, corruption and bribery, litigation, budgetary constraints and land mafia have been identified as “weaknesses and threats” of the authority.

Discussing the issues, the report mentions human resource as one of the major issues given the vacant posts of 373 officers (BS-17 to BS-20). It also raises concerns over performance of various LDA directorates, as they raised objections on total 173,190 applications and sent replies to the applicants through one-window cell.

SWOT analysis advises against delegating additional charge of DG

In 2023, the LDA’s planning, engineering, headquarters, housing and town planning wings received total 80,4071 applications (28,031, 01, 99, 512,167 and 263,503, respectively). Of these, the LDA directorates disposed of 400,985 applications, out of which 176,072 and 224,913 applications were disposed of timely and with delay, respectively. The directorates approved 365,131 applications, while rejecting 35,854 others.

The report recommends hiring of legal experts, digitizing/sifting of record, monthly feedback of complaint (response) timeliness, enhancement of one-window cell’s capacity, crackdown against unlawful activities, and devising of a mechanism for monitoring.

It also suggests the government should not appoint director general (DG) of LDA on a temporary basis (by entrusting the officers with additional or look after charge).

“Despite being an old, autonomous and financially independent authority, the LDA failed in achieving its mission of effective service delivery, it faces significant challenges related to budget, HR and procedural constraints, lack of innovation and IT infrastructure, bureaucratic and policy insufficiency. LDA needs to effectively address these issues through targeted actions to improve existing IT & AI structures, revenue generation, staff upgrade, improved accountability methods, stakeholder management and public inclusion. These targeted actions are critical to enhance LDA’s full potential in efficient service delivery on par with international standards,” the analysis concludes.

Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, in a recent review meeting, had also expressed grave concerns over the rising public complaints, related to corruption and other issues, against LDA. During the meeting, she also sought improving service delivery by all means with a direction to newly-appointed LDA DG Tahir Farooq to make all-out efforts to give relief to the public at large, besides taking innovative initiatives to make Lahore a “sustainable and livable” city under a phased programme.

NTDC: National Transmission and Despatch Company has completed all necessary arrangements to ensure uninterrupted power supply throughout the country on the occasion of Eidul Fitr.

A central control room, according to a spokesman, has been set up to maintain a close liaison with the National Power Control Centre and all distribution companies (Discos), which will work round the clock during Eid holidays.

Regional control rooms have also been set up in Islamabad, Multan and Hyderabad to deal with any emergency situation.

All control rooms will be connected with each other through video link. These control rooms have been working throughout Ramazan.

The teams of Asset Management (North) and (South) have also been constituted for immediate response in case of any fault at the NTDC grid stations or transmission lines across the country. The officers concerned will remain present at the grid stations round the clock during Eid holidays.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2024

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