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February 21, 2021

LWMC chief quits over minister’s ‘interference’

Lahore

February 21, 2021

LAHORE IN an unexpected development, Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) Board of Directors chairman has submitted his resignation over an alleged interference of Provincial Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal in the company’s affairs. Amjed Ali Noon was appointed as LWMC’s BoD chairman in September last year. He submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar here on Saturday. It is pertinent to note that earlier the PTI government during its tenure had already changed sevenmanaging directors of the company. “In the near future, I am foreseeing corruption, dishonesty, conspiracies and filth in the organisation of which I do not want to be a part,” he said in the letter, adding the corrupt mafia was eager to dole outworth Rs 110 billion contract and come up with new plans of corruption every day. “This mafia wants to make the company a ferment of corruptionwhichwas not possible inmy presence. As the Chairman LWMC, I thwarted all these corrupt intentions, but when there are disputes between the higher authorities, which are on the part of the CM Secretariat and Provincial Minister for Industry and CommerceMian AslamIqbal, it is better for the chairman to resign,” he said in his statement issued to the media.The chairman added that in September 2020, the chief minister had entrusted him to take over as the chairman of LWMCwith the primary responsibility of resuscitating a failing company. The foreign subcontractors were holding all of Lahore’s cleanliness functions hostage, he said adding at their hands, waste management in the City had been in continuous decline. “Along with the MD and board of directors, we worked very hard to institute orderwithin the company,” he stated. He alleged that, however, bypassing all processes of meritocracy and transparency,Minister of Industries, Commerce and Investment Mian Aslam Iqbal has been empowered to oversee procedures within the organisation to “design cost-effective solutions with a road

map/strategy for future plans”. Rather than adding value to the operations of the company, the minister exercised influence to obstruct and thwart the workings of the LWMC, he alleged and suspected that he was sure that the contracts to be awarded shortly will also lack the transparency that was necessary for the LWMC to continue functioning as a strong and independent organisation. “When chief minister Punjab asked me to take over this company, I worked in an honorary capacity, keeping the goals of the city and the country as my main objective. I haveworked to revive a failing organization, chartered a plan for execution, addressed, mitigated and corrected institutional financial malpractices, delivered a closure on contracts with Turkish companies, retained the organization’s assets and machinery, and made interim functioning arrangements until there is a finalization of newcontracts,” he said. “Given the level of political and bureaucratic interference, the obvious disregard formeritocracy and transparency, I cannot in good faith continue as the chairman LWMC. I have tried repeatedly to appraise CM Punjab in person of these grave circumstances. My resignation comes as a last attempt to direct CM Punjab’s attention to the affairs of the LWMC in an attempt to restore order,” hemaintained in his statement. He said by the grace of Allah, he has delivered on every objective and a long-term plan of LWMC has also been made and will be shared with Dr Salman Shah (advisor to the CM Punjab on economic affairs and planning & development) after getting approved by Board of Directors. On the other hand, the present government of Pakistan Tehreeke- Insaf (PTI) has appointed seven managing directors instead of a regular head to run the affairs of Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) during its tenure. Sources in Local Government Department said that LWMC is the biggest waste management company in Punjab and repeated removal of itsmanaging directors has hampered the performance of the company a lot. In the previous regime, Bilal Mustafa Syed was posted as LWMC MD in May 2016 and he continued till May 2018. After his removal, the then GM Operations Nusrat Gill was given additional charge of the post of MD in May 2018 but he continued his services asMD just for onemonth andwas transferred in June 2018. Farrukh Qayyum Butt, the then GM HR, was appointed MD of LWMC on acting charge in July 2018 and he continued till January 2019 after which Khalid Nazeer Wattoo was appointed as MD of LWMC in January 2019. Wattoo served as MD till July 2019 and was replaced by Ajmal Bhatti in July 2019 who was transferred in October 2019. Both KhalidWattoo and Ajmal Bhattiwere also posted as MD on additional charge. In October 2019, the Punjab government posted Rao Imtiaz as a regularMD for the company but he was transferred to his parent department in May 2020. He served as MD for seven months only. After the transfer of Rao Imtiaz, Punjab government brought in another senior officialMAslam Roa as a regular MD in May 2020 but, unfortunately, he was removed from the seat just in two months, July 2020, and a junior official, Dr Shahzaib Hasnain, was posted as MD on additional charge and he worked as MD for some three to four months after which Ali Imranwas brought in as MD LWMC. It is pertinent to mention here that recently Local Government secretary has also raised objections on the appointment of Ali Imran and hinted to hire a new MD for the company by completing the due process. LWMC officials said that frequent changes at the top level of the company put a very negative impact on the company’sworking as well as on the future planning.