LAHORE - Mismanagement, poor planning, alleged misuse of funds and embezzlements by the Shalimar Town officials under the shelter of former elected representatives of National and Provincial Assemblies and in connivance with authorities concerned of the City District Government of Lahore have made the town a hell for the citizens, it is learnt.

It is also learnt that dozens of problems yet to be resolved despite complete control and physical involvement of such elected representatives from the concerned constituencies, falling in the boundaries of the said town including approval of development projects to matters of cleaning.

Some workers, belonging to different political parties and social workers alleged that the town administration especially the TMOs were puppets in the hands of MNAs and MPAs, elected from NA-123, 124, 119 and PP 143, 141, 144, 145, 146 but unfortunately they could complete only the projects, launched by the representatives of PML-Q government including construction of Kacha Band Road with laying sewerage pipeline, construction of Chah Miran Road, Ghoray Shah Road.

They said that not a single mega project was being launched or completed during the tenure of previous government in the areas of Shalimar Town. They said that the elected representatives even failed to resolve the issue of presence of cattle in the boundaries of Shalimar Town.

Mubeen Ahmad, a worker of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) alleged that some blue-eyed of MNA Pervaiz Malik from NA 123, MNA Raheel Asghar from NA 124, Shahbaz Chaudhry, MPA from PP 143 Naveed Anjum MPA from PP 145 and Allah Rakha MPA from PP 146 used to get monthly (Bhatta) Rs 500 per buffalo from the owners of cattle for providing them shelter in this regard and such practice still continued despite ban on keeping animals in the boundaries of CDGL.

Further, Muhammad Ayaz, another PTI worker alleged that such blue-eyed persons of the concerned MNAs and MPAs were also involved in the recruitment of sanitary workers, clerical staff of town and UCs on behalf of their leaders and were getting Rs 25000 to Rs 50000 against each vacancy, situated in hospitals, dispensaries and basic health units as situated in the boundaries of the town. He further alleged that elected representatives and some political workers of PML-N were also had equal share with the contractors in profit or as commission against issuing awards for all the development projects like construction of streets and some roads.

He said that supply of potable water and sewerage system are the main problems of these areas, which the elected representatives failed to resolve even in their long tenure of five years’ rule. The political figures, elected from these constituencies earlier also ignored these major issues of their concerned constituencies.     

A survey of Shalimar Town conducted by TheNation has further revealed that the citizens, residing in the boundaries of the town are living in the hub of problems. They are compelled to live substandard life due to uncountable problems such as dilapidated roads, poor sewerage system and environmental pollution. In addition, heaps of garbage at various public places are omitting stench particularly near residential localities even after the establishment of Lahore Waste Management Company, which could not start focusing on these backward areas so far because these localities are not on their priority list. Moreover, dirt spreading at every nook and corner of the town also has exposed the performance of the sanitary staffers who are allegedly used to remaining absent from their duties. The complainants added whenever they tried to know the reasons behind their absence, the workers replied that their respective sanitary inspectors were charging Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 from each sweeper and sanitary worker per month for the purpose. However, when this scribe inquired some sanitary inspectors of UCs, they on the request of anonymity replied that the in-charge of sanitary staff of the town forced them to charge the amount from all the sanitary workers every month and he used to get his due share from this collected amount.

Furthermore, increasing encroachments, dilapidated roads, poor sanitary system and environmental pollution due to dozens of unlawfully established industrial units even in the residential localities especially near China Scheme and Daroghawala are adding to the peoples miseries. Most areas are backward or under development though some areas had been established even before the partition of the Subcontinent. The residential localities particularly these areas are of middle class and lower middle class citizens. Despite allocation of huge funds the surfacing, repairing and reconstruction work of busy roads could not even start during last five years. The government focused to streamline the sewerage system of the entire town particularly that of the areas of northern parts of the city only during the previous tenure of Mian Shahbaz Sharif as Punjab Chief Minister. Likewise, the construction and surfacing of dozens of dilapidated roads and decaying streets of China Scheme, Baghbanpura, Singhpura, Gujarpura, Chah Miran, Sawami Nagar, Ghoray Shah, Wasanpura Scheme No.2, Bhagatpura, Mehmood Booty, Daroghawala, Mughalpura and other areas are lying pending with the Shalimar Town, Lahore Development Authority and the CDGL. Encroachments are one of the major issues of the town which could not be resolved by the elected representatives. Particularly, immovable encroachments could not be removed from decades by the district and town administrations. According to the town residents, some influential inhabitants, elected representatives of people, political workers and shopkeepers have encroached roadsides and footpaths by constructing different structures like houses, plazas and shops. Besides, immoveable encroachments, venders bazaars at major intersections of the area are a permanent source of frequent traffic jams. The people alleged that these pushcart and donkey cart vendors are backed by some blue-eyed of members of parliament and town officials are extorting money from them for setting up their carts at these busy roads and intersections. However, some pushcart vendors confirmed that they are paying Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 to such influential persons for setting up their carts at different places.

Nonetheless, land mafia, allegedly headed by local public representatives belonging to the ruling party is very influential and the unchecked practice of grabbing of private and government land is continued from a couple of years. Some locals included MPA of constituency PP 143 Ch Shahbaz Ahmad, PP 143 president Bao Akhtar of PML-N and some other influential people in connivance with local patwaris and LDA officials and agents in the land mafia. A former naib nazim of a local UC of China Scheme, Malik Muzaffar Hussain alleged that besides selling a number of plots, they also sold out a portion of an LDAs approved public park situated at C-Block of China Scheme. The MPA, belonged to a lower middle class family before election, But now, he is the owner of a luxurious house in Defence and also owned about 100 acre of land in Sheikhupura district despite the fact that his late father was working in a local cold storage, he further said. It is pertinent to mention here that former district nazim Mian Amir Mehmood announced a piece of land of over 3 acres for graveyard, situated in China Scheme at Sher Shah Road and also a wall has been constructed around it except a corner plot of the proposed graveyard site which allegedly is under possession of said MPA. He said that the MPA was also getting his due share from various ongoing development projects from contractors. Nonetheless, the CDGLs Health Department also recruited dozens of employees in the CDGL Hospital Kot Khawaja Saeed on the recommendations of the MPA and some members of his group who allegedly received Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 from each candidate for the above mentioned posts in connivance with the former Health executive district officer Dr Fayyaz Ahmad Ranjha, former local councilor Ejaz Ahmad said. Moreover, former UC 20 nazim Farrukh Hussain alleged that the town administration and candidates for election 2013 in the same constituencies and former MPA Chaudhry Shahbaz Ahmad under the shelter of former MNA concerned completed dozens of development projects but only in papers and got handsome amounts as share from their blue-eyed contractors. He alleged that they minted millions of rupees from some projects, which did exist only in papers.