LAHORE - The Punjab government is set to amend the Punjab Local Government Act 2013 to increase the numbers of deputy mayors of Lahore Metropolitan City and deputy chairmen of the District Councils across the province.

A committee headed by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan is working on the proposed amendments. The committee will recommend the amendments to the chief minister for inclusion in a bill tabled before the Punjab Assembly in the next session expected to be held by December 12, credible sources in the PML-N revealed yesterday.

Sources say the proposed amendments envisage conversion of the nine towns of the City into 13 zones – a number equal to the total National Assembly seats in the city. Each zone will be headed by a deputy mayor of city of Lahore. An increase in the number of vice chairmen seats in every district of the Punjab is also under study along the same lines.

Enhancing the number of vice chairman equal to the MPAs in a district is under consideration, they said but added the focus is on the city of Lahore.

The national census held last time in 1998 showed Lahore population at 6.32million but in January last, as per a media report, the population has been recorded as high as 10.07million.

Every town in the city at present compromises around one million people. Under the proposed scheme, the number of people in each town will be cut down to between 5lakh to seven lakh, subdividing the city into more zones. Sources say number of zone would also vary according to the demographical strength of each town under consideration. As such, the number of zones may run as high as 15.

The government is due to hold national population census in March next and possibility of increase in the number National Assemblies seats corresponding to number of zone in the city cannot be ruled out, they add.

Sources say it is believed that the bill to amend the Act will be passed in the session between 10 to 12 December. At that point the third phase of Local Bodies polls will be over and stage will be set to hold election for the top slots. Sources expect the whole process to be completed by the end of January next year.

PML-N City President and MNA Muhammad Pervez Malik confirmed to the Nation the proposal to increase number of seats for deputy mayors was under serious study. He said there was a need to rationalize government bodies for the growing population of Lahore. Districts of the Municipal Corporations and Municipal Committees should be kept under one million, he said. “They amendments, if decided, would carry good intentions of the government to serve the masses in a better way, he said, adding the process was just under study at the initial stage.

PML-N Parliamentary Secretary for Information Rana Muhammad Arshad added the purpose of the proposed amendment would be to let the government at the gross root level function more smoothly.

Punjab in general and Lahore in particular is regarded as political bastion of the PML-N. In the last general election the party bagged all 13 national assembly seats in the city, while it holds 298 seats of the total of 371 MPAs in the Punjab assembly. In the last two phases of local elections, the party again proved its strength, grabbing 2250 seats of the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen in Punjab.