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Municipal body in turmoil after revival

January 08, 2013

PESHAWAR, Jan 7: The newly revived Peshawar Municipal Corporation (PMC) was passing through an administrative chaos with official business experiencing bottlenecks since its reestablishment on Jan 1, 2013, officials told Dawn.PMC had been without a head since it came into being seven days ago and officials holding administrative and clerical posts in it had no idea about their roles and job specifications in presence of a permeating confusion following introduction of the new local government system, said a well-placed official of the local government and rural development department.

“The corporation is in complete turmoil after having been revived without doing any homework,” said Malik Naveed, chairman United Municipal Workers Union CBA, when contacted, on Monday.

He said the post of PMC’s administrator had not yet been filled, no one knew the exact number of its employees as the lists of employees were being prepared and the newly revived entity’s liabilities and assets had yet to be determined. Mr Naveed said that the corporation was still without principal officers, including account officer, audit officer, and tax officer. The officials performing those roles in Town-I under the defunct system, he added, were present in the newly revived PMC offices but they were clueless about their status under the new system.

The new local government system, he said, had taken effect, but officers who were town municipal officers (TMOs) under the previous local government system had illegally inducted new employees and issued promotion orders of some of the existing workers in violation of the official rules.

“Our union will move the court to protect its members’ rights since the appointment and promotion letters have been issued with effect from backdates,” said Mr Naveed, adding that the workers were happy with the PMC’s revival, but they did not support the way the change had taken effect.

The haphazard change is also reflected from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Council Board’s order dated January 4, 2013.

It asks the subordinate staff, previously working in the now defunct towns of the done away with Peshawar city district government, to immediately report to the PMC’s chief municipal officer.

Those employees, who were previously working in the former district council and the defunct town, have been directed to report to the chief coordination officer of the newly defined district council of Peshawar.

“Necessary adjustments will be made in due course of time with the approval of the competent authority,” contains the Jan 4 order, without specifying the competent authority.

Similarly, it has required legal advisers working in defunct city district government, Town-I and Town-III, to report to chief municipal officer (PMC) along with a list of all cases and case files.

Besides, the legal advisers previously working in Town-II and Town-IV have been asked to report to chief coordination officer, district council, Peshawar, along with list of cases and case files.

“Proper handling/taking over of record may be ensured with full care and caution,” asks the official order.

The defunct city district government of Peshawar comprised four towns. The staff of all the four defunct towns has been distributed among the newly revived PMC and district council of Peshawar, with a majority going to the former.

The PMC workers’ leader said the newly revived PMC had been housed in a few rooms at the deputy commissioner office, which was inadequate. He said that limits of the newly revived PMC had been extended when compared with its old area of jurisdiction when it was wounded up following the introduction of the devolution of power plan in August 2001.

He said that during the days of the now defunct Town-I, its offices were functioning in four different parts of the city. Now when Town-I and Town-III had been merged into PMC its offices had been housed in a section of the DC’s office, he added.

“This is not to going to work,” said Mr Naveed. He said that authorities should house PMC in its old building, presently housing a municipal college for girls.

According to official sources, the newly revived PMC did not have the seating capacity to accommodate all of the clerical and administrative staff. “The number of officers would exceed the number of chairs and tables available at PMC,” said an officer, requesting anonymity, This means the newly revived entity would need to invest money into procuring non-productive stuff.