PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to amend the Local Government Act 2013 to incorporate the proposed two-tier local government (LG) system in the province and slot in the newly-merged seven districts of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in the new LG system.
Officials of the Local Government Election and Rural Development Department (LGE&RDD) told The News that Prime Minister Imran Khan has already been briefed on the proposed changes in the LG system.
The draft bill would now be put forward to the cabinet, which would meet next week on the matter, they said, adding that consultations with stakeholders of the newly merged (tribal) districts on the proposed legislation had also been underway.
The document shared with The News shows that the draft bill to amend the LG law would be tabled in the provincial assembly in the last week of the current month as the government wants to ensure LG polls in the province, including the newly-merged districts by the end of this year as part of its 100-day plan.
The proposed amendments to the LGA-2013 would cover composition and schedule of the tehsil and VCs, NCs in the province, including the newly merged districts.
It would also determine the authority and responsibility of tehsil governments, functions and powers of tehsil nazims and councils.
It would amend the schedule of taxes and incorporate provisions about disqualifications, defection, vacancy and vote of no-confidence.
The proposed amendments would include enabling provisions for dissolution of the local governments in the province, for which the final date is being mulled by the government.
The document suggests that after the passage of the new LG law, the rules, bylaws, manuals and set of instructions would then be framed before the LG elections in the province.
It said that the proposed LG system would be based on the two-tier of the local governance, in which the village and neighbourhood councils (VC and NC) would remain the basic tier.
Similarly, the district tier would be scrapped and the numbers of members of the local councils would also be brought down from 10 to six that would reduce the total number of local councillors from over 43,000 to 24,500 in the province.
The document indicates that each VC and NC would consist of six members, including, nazim, one general councillor and four others elected on reserved seats.
Earlier, it was proposed that each VC and NC would be composed of seven members, including nazim, naib nazim, one general councillor and four others elected on the reserved seats.
However, in the new scheme, the slot of the naib nazim has been proposed to be abolished and elections to these councils will be held on non-party basis and free list system.
The tehsil council will serve as the top tier to provide municipal and social services through the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA).
The nazims of the VCs and NCs would be members (ex-officio) of the respective tehsil council, while tehsil nazim would be elected directly through a popular vote on the pattern of a mayor.
The Board of Revenue will facilitate the division of Peshawar district into urban and rural tehsils to perform the same functions as allocated to other tehsils across the province, while Hassankhel sub-division will be retained as separate tehsil.
The LG elections and subsequent local governments in the seven newly merged districts would be held in 42 tehsils and 19 subdivisions on the pattern of the rest of the province.
The key stakeholders have been consulted on delimitation and an indicative number of VC/NC in newly-merged districts, but no decision has been taken yet in this regard.
The document also indicates that certain functions could be devolved, for which huge restructuring will be required by the departments to align with tehsil tier and these departments have sought time for departmental consultation to firm up proposals on the tier.
It added that the LGE&RDD has placed a formal request to the BoR for a consolidated list of revenue tehsils.