LAHORE - District Council on Thursday approved City District Governments budget for the fiscal year 2009-10, after a heated debate and exchange of harsh words between the members from treasury and opposition benches. During the budget session held at Jinnah Hall on Thursday with District Naib Nazim Idrees Hanif in the chair, the treasury and opposition members criticised and levelled charges against the leadership of opponent parties that led to sloganeering and exchange of harsh words between two sides. They raised slogans during the speeches of their rival group. District Nazim Mian Amer Mahmood presented the CDG budget before the District Council, which was approved with a majority vote after heated debate. The session was held in a tense atmosphere, as members of the PML-N and PML-Q looked determined to lock horns. However, Mian Amer kept his cool and continued with his budget speech, which spelled out his eight-year achievements as Nazim and strongly defended the existing local government system. According to the budget details, total income has been estimated as Rs 14.824 billion against the expenditures of Rs 14.351 billion, thus leaving Rs 472.5 million as surplus amount. No new development scheme is included in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) as the Punjab Government has barred the district governments from doing the same. However, allocation has been made for the ongoing projects. Of the total budget outlay, Rs 9.887 billion has been reserved for establishment charges while Rs 4.63 billion for development purposes. The CDGs new fiscal year opened with a balance of Rs 2.164 billion and it anticipates receiving Rs 8.179 billion from the provincial government, Rs 1.305 billion as octroi grant, Rs 797.825 as own sources and Rs 2.376 billion as receivables. The next fiscal plans for the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) and Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (TEPA) could not be presented before the district council due to their inability to finalise budget. During the session, members of the district council congratulated Mian Amer for successfully completing his two terms in the office. The Nazim also distributed souvenirs among the members in recognition of their services. Later on, addressing the post budget press conference, Mian Amer Mahmood expressed the hope that the local government system would continue. The system that has given relief to the masses and solved their problems could be improved by giving more powers to elected representatives, he maintained. Mian Amer said with the help of citizens help efforts were underway to keep continuity in the system and the loopholes in it could be removed through consultation with the elected representatives and their electorates. Opposing appointment of administrators, he said giving control of local bodies to bureaucracy would be an injustice to the people and the system. The efficiency of bureaucracy could be judged from the fact that prior to introduction of devolution plan, armed forces help was sought to unearth ghost schools, he remarked. At present, there is no ghost school in the City while when we took over the number was 189. Students of CDGL schools are securing positions in the examinations of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education. Lahore is the only district where development schemes of all members of its council had been included in the ADPs and were completed in spite of interference on the part of bureaucracy, he said. Amer Mahmood said not even a single corruption charge against any Nazim could be proved during the last two years. Levelling corruption charges on people who join politics is a common norm in our society. In our case, audit objections were portrayed as embezzlement and we were labelled corrupt. We have yet to receive that audit objections from the local government department, he said. There are reports that the present local bodies were being wrapped up from Aug 1 and the old, 1979 system, in which elected representatives were answerable to bureaucracy is being re-enforced. In fact, the situation is not clear that is why no new development scheme has been included in the 2009-10 fiscal plan. However, all ongoing schemes would continue, he explained. Mian Amer went on to say that they could have approved and implement new development schemes if allowed to complete their constitutional tenure up to October. Under such circumstances, the Local Government Ordinance has a provision that allows a district council to approve 8 per cent of the ADP per month, he maintained. He warned that reversing back the devolution plan would have serious repercussions.