Thursday July 18, 2024

Punjab govt facing Rs1b loss due to delay in convening DPDC meeting

By Khalid Iqbal
May 20, 2024
The image shows the logo of the Punjab government. — X/@GovtofPunjabPK/File
The image shows the logo of the Punjab government. — X/@GovtofPunjabPK/File

Rawalpindi:The Punjab government has been facing a loss of over Rs1 billion due to the continuous delay in convening a meeting of the District Planning and Design Committee (DPDC) for the past nine months. The local administration in Rawalpindi has once again cancelled the DPDC meeting and has been providing excuses for the delay. As a result, affected individuals have decided to file a writ petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC), Rawalpindi bench against the non-conducting of the DPDC meeting for over nine months, which has led to a halt in all commercial activities in the city.

There are hundreds of pending cases of commercial activities in the Metropolitan Corporation Rawalpindi (MCR) awaiting final approval to start their businesses.

The Secretary of the District Planning and Design Committee (DPDC), Sohail Ahmed, mentioned that the meeting was cancelled due to the absence of members. Although there are a total of 19 members in the DPDC, only 11 were present, leading to the cancellation of the meeting by the deputy commissioner.

The Punjab government has directed to conduct DPDC meetings twice a month, and a meeting can be held in the presence of 50 per cent of the members. However, the local administration in Rawalpindi has disregarded these directives and has not conducted the DPDC meeting for over nine months.

There are reports of key officers in the local administration approving cases at their discretion. Efforts by affected individuals to resolve the issue have been unsuccessful.

Due to the busy schedule of the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner, who acts as the de facto administrator of the RMC, the DPDC meeting has not been held for over nine months. This has left the status of these plots uncertain and deprived the RMC of millions of rupees in revenue from commercial fees and other charges.

Once these cases are commercialized, the RMC stands to earn millions of rupees in revenue from the approval of building plans and other development charges. Additionally, construction on these plots will accelerate commercial activities, create employment opportunities, and stimulate the sale of construction materials.

Despite efforts, Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Aamir Khatak’s letters to the local administration to conduct the DPDC meeting have been in vain. Chaudhry Fakhar Warraich, the Chairman of the Metropolitan Corporation Rawalpindi (MCR) Labour Union, has expressed frustration over the lack of action and has warned that affected individuals may take to the streets if the Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz does not intervene in the matter.

The local leadership of PMLN has requested not to mention their names and has acknowledged the grievances of affected business owners, advising them to seek resolution from Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz or through legal channels.