LAHORE: Lahore produce 5000 tonnes of garbage every day but Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC), the company which is responsible to clean the city, says it cannot dispose of more than 50%. This has created a issue in the city but also put the company in trouble.
The LWMC officially puts the recorded figure of the city’s solid waste at 5000 tonnes, however, there is no sustainable and effective way to clean the city and manage its waste. The LWMC confirmed that its current capacity only allowed nearly 2,500 tonnes of garbage to be disposed of.
For the last ten years during the tenure of Shahbaz Sharif, the responsibility of picking up garbage from Lahore was given to the Lahore Waste Management Company. This company had signed contracts with a Chinese company and then with two Turkish companies, Albayarak and OzPak, to outsource its work.
After the PTI came to power in Punjab the contract with Albayarak and OzPak expired in December 2019. The government did not want it to renew the contracts, however, with the lack of any alternative, the government renewed the contract every month till December 2020. After which the LWMC did not have any contracts to outsource its work and had to use its own machinery and manpower to clean the city, which it has admitted it not enough to even lift 50% of the city’s waste.
Therefore, last month CM Buzdaar in a meeting with Punjab Horticulture Authority (PHA), Lahore Development Authority (LDA), and other organisations’ heads advised all to help LWMC up to the time they can award new contract or procurement for needed equipment. However, the CM’s advice of cross-department help offered little solace to Lahoris as due to the lack of proper transparency, functioning and equipment the LWMC has done little to clean up the city.
Political interference in LWMC has made the company non-functional leading to piling garbage heaps around the city. Such destitute management in the provincial capital has raised many questions about the transparency of the upcoming Rs 110 Billion-contract for Lahore’s clean up.
Chairman Lahore Waste Management Company Malik Amjad Ali Noon resigned from his post on 21 February, stating that he refuses “to be a part of corruption, treachery and conspiracies of the corrupt mafia”.
In an official statement after his resignation, Mr Amjad Ali Noon said, “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. The corrupt mafia is eager to dole out worth Rs 110 billion contracts and develop new plans of corruption every day. This mafia wants to make the company a ferment of corruption, which was not possible in my presence”.
Sources confirmed three more resignations from the Board Of Directors of LWMC; Ghazanfar Abbas Malik, Athar Tahir, and Tehfeezul Wakeel.
Sources claimed that Mr Tehfeezul Wakeel resigned the next day while the other two board members, Ghaznfar Abbas and Athar Tahir, handed their resignations on Saturday.
Two former federal secretaries sent their resignations to Mr Amjad Ali Malik, who officially forwarded to the Chief Minister Secretariat on Monday, 1st March.
The 11-member Board was already short of two members, and the resignation of three more members has decreased the quorum below the functioning number, making the LWMC non-functional.
Due to differences between Chairman Amjad Ali Noon and Mian Aslam Iqbal, the Punjab Minister for Industries, Commerce and Investment, a new contract was being awarded by the LWMC to outsource its work.
In an official statement, Mr Noon alleged that Mian Aslam Iqbal was exercising influence to obstruct and thwart the workings of the LWMC. He said, “I am sure that the contracts to be awarded shortly will also lack the transparency that is necessary for the LWMC to continue functioning as a strong and independent organization.”
On the other hand, the Office of Provincial Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal confirmed that a letter has been written by the minister to CM Usman Buzdaar for a probe to be launched by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) into the company’s financial matters.
As of now heaps of garbage have started to form in most areas of Lahore, including Ichhra, Shah Jamal, Shadman, Nishtar Colony, Kahna, Garhi Shahu, Gulberg, Nicholson Road, Habib Ullah Road, Sanda, Samanabad, Allama Iqbal Town, Harbanspura, Mughalpura, Dharampura, Township, Green Town, Naz Town, Gulshan Ravi, Krishan Nagar, Sham Nagar, Rajgarh, Sant Nagar and Band road.
In old city areas of Gawal mandi, Shahalam market and Rung Mehal where all wholesales markets are located, streets are choked with garbage and heaps of trash are to be seen everywhere.
Traders organisations in Lahore have asked pro-PTI trader leaders to solve the issue or even arrange a meeting with PM Imran Khan so the trading community of Lahore can put forth its woes and complaints if the PTI wants to generate a vote bank in the Lahori business community which has traditionally tilled toward PMLN.