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December 9, 2019

Digital solutions going well with Islooites


December 9, 2019

Land is the most contested entity in Islamabad; hence, it is a common cause of corruption. You buy a piece of land but you cannot be sure that it is yours even after completion of all procedures. It is a nightmare outside CDA-maintained residential sectors. Double allotment of plots, however, is not very rare in CDA office too.

Poor people had been fleeced of their life savings and land disputes had given birth to armed gangs that had resulted in many bloody incidents in past. The authorities had been keeping a blind eye to all this as everybody was involved in it. But now it seems; Islamabad Chief Commissioner Amer Ahmed Ali has finally put his foot down to fix it. “In the coming six months, record of all land in Islamabad will be computerized diminishing chances of corruption. It should have been done 10 years ago. But now we are doing it and we are doing it in a better way,” he told ‘The News’ in an exclusive talk.

“The project will cost Rs190 million and we will do it in six months. It has already been implemented in Punjab and we will use that software. NADRA will assist us in data maintenance. We have engaged government institutions in this process. PC-1 of the project has been approved and it will be tendered out rather sooner than later,” he said.

He is hopeful that this system will be helpful in eliminating corruption by minimising involvement of corrupt elements in the process. “We will do better than Punjab because we have learnt from their experience. We are not reinventing the wheel. We will improve laws and make necessary changes on time,” he said.

He said, “We are changing lifestyle in Islamabad through e-governance solutions. We have successfully made public service delivery at our Excise Office digital. Now, people can pay token fees or registration fees of their vehicles without any trouble. In the second phase, we will put it on ICT App and it will be up to the consumers to pay these fees either through this App or any branch of the National Bank of Pakistan,” he said.

“Remember, where there is a queue there are chances of corruption. People are willing to do wrong things to save time and get undue concessions. We have now abolished this culture of queues,” he said.

The chief commissioner is cognizant of the fact that human interaction is a cause of corruption and he has succeeded in reducing it. But he doesn’t stop here. “Many times in my tenure, I have visited the Excise Office which is being operated in a rented building. Since the office has very limited space, people face many inconveniences. Now we are moving Excise Office and Tehsil Office to the compound of Chief Commissioner’s Office. There is a lot of space available here. Buildings are built in a haphazard fashion in this compound so we have asked these offices to have a proper layout plan,” he said.

There is no doubt that the chief commissioner’s tilt towards finding e-solutions to city problems is yielding results. Public response to Darust Daam App and digitalization of Excise Office is positive though some complaints were also reported about their efficiency. We have no reason not to hope that people will gradually adapt to digital lifestyle which Amer Ahmed Ali is facilitating creation of.

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