LAHORE - Punjab Local Government and Community Development Department has forwarded a summary to the chief minister for the approval to necessary amendments to recently-passed Punjab Local Government Act, 2013, in order to resolve the longstanding issue of overlapping of municipal functions among the various departments, it has been learnt.

As performance of the same function by the various departments was creating confusion not only among officials but also in general public, the government decided to clearly define the responsibilities of all the municipal services providing bodies in major cities.

The chief minister had constituted a committee, headed by Local Government and Community Development Department Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, to examine various operational/maintenance issues relating to traffic signals, streetlights, sewerage, drainage, parking and other allied matters among departments such as Lahore Development Authority, City District Government Lahore, town municipal administrations, Water & Sanitation Agency, Communication & Works, and Traffic Police.

The minister, however, passed on the responsibility to a sub-committee, headed by the department secretary, that finalised its recommendations which were sent to the chief minister on Thursday for making the same part of Punjab Local Government Act, 2013, through making necessary amendments.  The majority of recommendations are aimed at strengthening Metropolitan Corporation Lahore and municipal corporations in other major cities by downsizing respective development authorities.

Punjab Local Government and Community Development Department proposed to relieve development authorities from the responsibilities of provision of water and drainage of sewerage by placing Water & Sanitation Agency under the control of metropolitan/municipal corporations.

The department also proposed to assign the tasks of management of parking lots, traffic signals and streetlights, transport provision to citizens and operation and maintenance of development projects to metropolitan/municipal corporations, relieving institutions like LDA, TMAs, CDG and C&W Department.  To enable metropolitan/municipal corporations to fulfill the responsibility of operation and maintenance of projects, O&M cost will be made part of the PC-1. Concerned staff will be taken on board right from the inception of any mega project to ensure a smooth transition. To provide fiscal space for better traffic management, amounts of fine collected for violation of traffic rules will be given to metropolitan/municipal corporations.

Also, metropolitan/municipal corporations will perform garbage disposal function and desilting of storm water drains through solid waste management companies.

Giving another blow to the power of development authorities, the department proposed to constitute building control authorities in Lahore and other major cities. As such one body will perform building control function instead of TMAs and development authorities. Maintenance of parks, including those in the approved schemes of development authorities, will be the responsibility of Parks & Horticulture Authority.

The development authorities, however, will continue to perform development activities to augment the metropolitan/municipal corporations effects.  The task of preparation of master plan for major cities is given to development authorities. Commissioner for Lahore will be member of governing body of LDA and deputy commissioners in other four major cities.

The department also proposed to re-introduce district and divisional coordination committees to resolve trans-municipal bodies issues.