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KP govt delaying action on LG law

December 16, 2012

PESHAWAR, Dec 16: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has failed to implement the local government law in the province even after seven months of its approval by the assembly.

On May 8, the provincial assembly passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act, 2012, paving the way for the revival of the pre-Musharraf era local bodies with minor changes.

According to Sub-clause (3) of its Clause 1, the Act shall come into force on such date as government may, by notification appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act.

The law provides for creation of local councils, including a municipal corporation for Peshawar, a municipal committee for each city or town other than Peshawar, a union council, and a district council for each district.

The provincial government had dissolved the elected councils on Feb 20, 2010, and replaced the elected nazims with administrators.

Announcing the dissolution of these councils during a news conference, Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour, who also holds the portfolio of local government and rural development department, had claimed that the local body elections would be held within six months.

Later, the local government act was tabled in the assembly on Mar 25, 2010, and was referred to a select committee of the assembly, which finalised it days before its passage.

Over the last seven months, the present provincial government neither conducted local body elections nor did it show interest in the implementation of  the Act.

“Whenever the government issues directives to us, we will start the implementation of the law,” said a local government department official.

Asked how thousands of employees working in tehsil municipal administrations will be adjusted in the municipal corporation in Peshawar and municipal committees in the rest of the province and district councils, he said it was a challenging task needed a big exercise.

“The government has so far not prepared any criteria regarding merging of employees into municipal corporation, municipal committees and district councils,” he said.

Prior to abolishing the TMAs, there was need to declare urban and rural particularly in the big cities of the province including Peshawar before the rival of previous local body system, said a tehsil municipal officer.

He said the map of the capital city had been changed since 2001 as the urban areas had expended in all directions.

Another problem was the building for the municipal corporation in Peshawar as government has established city girls’ college in its previous office after sitting up of TMAs, he said.

“There is no big building owned by the local government where an office for the municipal corporation could be established,” he said.

The official said once Peshawar was divided into the municipal corporation and district council, big offices were needed for both as the number of employees had been increased manifold.

The official said the office of Town-I was established in a rented bungalow on Shami Road when it was demolished to provide space for construction of Mufti Mehmood Flyover.

He said the administration of Town-I failed to establish its office as there was no proper place, then how the office of municipal corporation would be established.

“From the day first, it seemed that the provincial government has no intention to conduct local body elections and implement the law,” Local Council Association general secretary Israrullah Khan told Dawn.

Minister Bashir Bilour was not available for comments.