Building Control Authority Punjab cabinet ‘approves’ bill despite flaws

LAHORE, Oct 31: The Punjab cabinet which has not met for the past many months has reportedly approved the divisional Building Control Authority bill which is aimed at shifting the responsibility from local councils to the provincial government.

The bill was circulated to cabinet members as there was no plan to hold its meeting despite a huge pending agenda. Now it is ready for sending to the Punjab Assembly but there are no indications of its session in near future.

Sources said on Wednesday that the government was pushing ahead the bill despite major flaws in the scheme of shifting the building control function from local councils to the provincial government.

They say that those opposing the scheme are of the view that the building control is a major function of local councils. It is a revenue generating function which will go to the provincial government, leaving behind the expenditure-related duty of town planning, master planning, zoning and development with local councils.

Losing a major source of income will make it difficult for the local councils to perform their duties which require funds, they say.

They say the divisional authority will function through divisional commissioners, making it difficult for people to get their complaints redressed at the local level.

In the present scheme of things the people having problems can get them resolved at the local level. But after the creation of the divisional level authority they will have to visit the commissioner at the divisional headquarters, or the provincial level supervising department that will certainly be based in Lahore.Another objection is that the commissioners are appointed by the chief minister and as to how they will resist any direction from the political boss to approve the building plan of a favourite or a family member, like son or son-in-law. A refusal will mean transfer which no-one will desire.

They say that it will be better to allow local councils to perform the building control function while withdrawing its related discretions. Giving them independence to say no to the influential will also approve the affairs a lot.