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‘Scheme’ to divide Lahore into four dists in the works

In view of Lahore’s burgeoning population, the Punjab government is contemplating a proposal to divide it into four districts.

A scheme (based on the proposal) is being drafted after consultations amid reports that Lahore’s population has reached 20 million.

The Home Department had formed a committee comprising senior officials of the relevant departments to discuss ways to materialise this scheme. The Lahore Commissioner was acting as convener and mayor as co-convener of the committee. The other members were the Capital City Police Officer, the DIG Investigations and an additional secretary of Local Government.

The committee in its initial findings that were shared in a recent meeting endorsed the scheme and formed a “mega board” to proceed.

“After deliberations, the committee observed that it is an admitted fact that Lahore district, with its existing boundaries, is unmanageable administratively and for its division geographical as well as functional aspects may be kept in view,” reads minutes of the meeting of the Home Department.

During the meeting, DIG Investigations Chaudhry Sultan supported the scheme saying at present Lahore district is housing six divisions — Saddar, City, Cantt, Civil Lines, Iqbal Town and Model Town which are functional in terms of human resource, logistics and allied infrastructure.

He said Lahore district had witnessed unabated population growth which needs sound planning in short and long terms. “Consequently, my department fully supports the proposal for the division of Lahore into four districts,” documents quote the DIG as having said.

The deputy secretary local government shared that the “district” and “tehsil” have been notified under section 5 of the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1967, which fall within the administrative domain of the Punjab Board of Revenue under the Punjab Government Rules of Business, 2011. He lamented that the Punjab Board of Revenue had not been taken on board while constituting committee to divide Lahore into districts.

He said such exercise may create legal and administrative issues in future and suggested to the participants to include this department too before taking a final decision.

The Mayor said all the departments concerned should be taken into confidence before dividing Lahore into four districts. Any hasty decision would not yield proper results, he said, adding that these departments should be given assignment to present their respective reports regarding their subjects. The departments should be given sufficient time for the completion of their reports and statistics, the mayor said.

After reaching the consensus to divide Lahore into four districts, the meeting formed another sub-committee of various departments and agencies to formulate recommendations.

The departments/agencies on the committee include Excise & Taxation, Housing and Urban Development, Public Health Engineering, Local Government and Community Development, Co-Operative Department, Lahore Development Authority, Law, and Bureau of Statistics Punjab. These departments/agencies have been given tasks to submit their reports to the Home Department’s committee. “The final recommendations shall be submitted to the cabinet sub-committee on law & order.”

Chaudhry, Asif. ‘Scheme’ to divide Lahore into four dists in the works. Dawn, April 26, 2017.

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