Building Control Authority: Not many takers for Punjab govt’s divisional setup,

LAHORE, Oct 9: The Punjab government is all set to establish the divisional building control authority despite serious reservations by various quarters who relate it to the policy of pressing Islamabad to devolve its authority and at the same time pick up functions of the local government.

“The cabinet has approved the draft bill relating to the authority and it will surely be tabled in the Punjab Assembly in its next session for passage,” a source said on Tuesday.

Historically, building control is a local function but as per the plans it is being withdrawn and placed under the authority which will hold it through divisional commissioners, having district and tehsil level branches. The commissioners will report to the provincial government.

Those who find faults with the plan say this is a violation of Article 140-A of the Constitution which provides for devolution of provincial authority to the local governments. To the contrary a local function is being picked by the provincial government in this case.

They say town planning, which is a bigger function, will remain with the local governments. And the shifting of a lesser function of building control to the provincial government will definitely raise questions, they say.They believe that the new system will provide more room for corruption because of absence of local level accountability in the shape of elected representatives of people. A citizen having problems in getting approved the building plan of his three-marla house will find no relief near his doorstep and will have to visit divisional headquarters and the provincial authorities for justice.

The local governments have all the building control paraphernalia which will have to be raised for the authority anew, they say while pleading for allowing the local governments to perform their function with improvements if required to abide by the constitution and save people from the anticipated trouble.