ISLAMABAD: With the capital already facing an acute shortage of water, plans by the local government to raise water taxes in the city ran into stiff opposition during the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) assembly session on Friday.
During the 13th session of IMC, held at the Pakistan-China Friendship Centre, council members deliberated over four agenda items including revision of property tax, water and conservancy charges, poor condition of playgrounds and parks, cleaning of nullahs, fencing the nullahs, problems of working women, house women and lady councillors in Islamabad.
The house presided over by Deputy Mayor Rifat Javed, decided that next time when an agenda item comes for discussion in the house, the relevant director of that formation would have to be present to answer members of the house.
The meeting approved the minutes of the 12th Session of the IMC while items included in the agenda of meeting such as property tax, review of water and conservancy charges were discussed at length.
The IMC unanimously decided that a committee comprising members of the house be constituted which would then submit its recommendations on the taxes before the house for further discussion.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member Raja Khurram Nawaz criticised the local government for its failure to resolve the drinking water issue.
He asked how could water charges be raised when people are not getting drinking water in the first place. He declared that the opposition would not accept any increase in water or any other utility charges until the water issues are resolved.
At this, Deputy Mayor Javed adjourned discussion on increasing water taxes till the next meeting of the house and said that the matter would be discussed at a separate meeting in detail.
Deputy Mayor Zeeshan Naqvi suggested that the water shortage issue in the capital could be overcome by constructing small dams on different nullahs. He also suggested that a playground must be developed in every union council.
While discussing the situation of parks, grounds and nullahs, IMC members said that they were in dilapidated condition and a comprehensive strategy was required to address the issue.
IMC members also emphasised that new grounds and parks should be built, especially in the rural areas of the city.
PTI’s UC Chairman Malik Rafique said that of the 202 public parks, only 12 parks were located in the rural areas, adding that in some sectors there were as many as 30 parks. This difference between parks in urban and rural areas was shameful, Rafique said.
At this, both treasury and opposition benches appreciated Rafique by thumping their desks.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2017.