LAHORE - The year 2008 could safely be billed as the year of local bodies' undoing as compared to the previous years when these institutions under the Musharraf rule even gained supremacy over other political institutions like provincial assembly and the government. The real downfall of the local bodies came with the advent of political governments in Pakistan after landmark February 18 elections. In Punjab, the PPP and the PML-N joined hand to form government with the latter given the lead role. It is common allegation against the PML-N leadership, levelled by the nazims, that Shahbaz Sharif became Chief minister with an agenda to finish the local body system nurtured under Musharraf. His Law Minister was an established critic of the local government system even before the PML-N took over the power in the province. Since coming to power, the PML-N led government in Punjab took several measures to rob the local leaders of their powers. Resultantly, at present the Nazims on every level figure nowhere. They have practically become non-functional. This is evident from the absence of District Nazim Lahore, Mian Amir Mahmood, from the public life. Even the nine Town Nazims are seen nowhere discharging their official duties. With the ouster of PML-Q in the February 18 elections, nazims from the Kings Party found themselves helpless in the absence of backing from the Punjab government. After coming into power, the PML-N government in the province carried out audit of local governments with a mindset to dig out corruption of previous rulers. The corruption unearthed during this audit brought the Nazims and Punjab government face to face. Some 19 District Nazims from the province asked the Governor to protect the local bodies and provincial government was bent upon demolishing it under one excuse or the other. They termed the corruption charges as a ploy to defame the local bodies' institution in the eyes of public. In another measure, the Punjab Government made approval from the District Development Committee, headed by the DCO, compulsory for initiation of development projects. This particular step delayed initiation of even those development projects which were part of Annual Development Programme 2008. The nazims drew their powers mainly from their respective councils, even to bring changes in any project. But approval from the DDC, headed by the DCO, was compulsory for initiation of any development scheme. This step enabled the Punjab Government to give precedence to the wishes of MNAa and MPAs from the ruling PML-N in the development schemes. The Punjab Government then resurrected Commissioner office with even more powers. These divisional commissioners were not only given administrative powers but the district nazims were made answerable to them which was the final straw on the camel's back. Following appointment of commissioners to control district governments, the Punjab government assigned the task of looking after the affairs of towns to administrative secretaries, a step that raised eyebrows among the bureaucratic and political circles. Now these secretaries are looking after the affairs of these towns in addition to sanitation and cleanliness of the areas that come under the jurisdiction of respective secretaries. Illegal structures demolished Lahore Development Authority on Wednesday demolished more than 30 illegal structures along main road Johar Town, from Shaukat Khanum Hospital to Maulana Shaukat Ali Road. The LDA staff demolished platforms that had been constructed in front of showrooms and offices, in contravention of building regulations. The staff also removed scores of other infringements during the jointly carried out operation which was participated by the officials of the Estate Management Directorate and Town Planning Wing as well as representative from WASA. All these encroachments were impeding pedestrian movement, flow of traffic and quick disposal of storm water. LDA officials have urged residents of its scheme areas for voluntarily eliminating all encroachments without further delay, failing which they will have to bear the demolition charges as well.