- The minister maintained that the looters being held for accountability were not ordinary people but magicians and their wizard works.
LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Industries & Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal said on Thursday that zero waste target would be achieved by the evening of January 15 ( tomorrow) as the Lahore Waste Management Company had removed 85 per cent garbage from the city.
While addressing a press conference here at DGPR office, the minister disclosed that Rs1.050 billion were annually spent on cleaning Lahore city in 2009; but when the PML-N government awarded cleanliness contract to two foreign companies, the amount rose to Rs 7 billion in 2010 and the expenditure further escalated to Rs 14 billion in 2018. Meanwhile, special grants given on special occasions were in addition to this budget, he added.
Giving the details, the minister disclosed that a 320 million dollar contract was signed with these companies with a time-period of seven years and 70 per cent amount was paid in dollars. Work charge employees were hired for foreign companies through Suleman and Company and Skill Hub and millions of rupees were given to these companies during the last eight years. There was an ambiguity in the agreements and the forensic audit report had also been received, he added.
He said the LWMC was the legitimate owner of all the machinery after the expiry of the agreement under RFP. When this condition was given the shape of an agreement, the representatives of the former government changed the agreement in connivance with the foreign companies, he said.
Thus, the PML-N government picked the pockets of the poor nation in the name of cleanliness. When the LWMC took control of machinery after the expiry of the agreement, the minister further told that 35 per cent machinery was operational while 65 per cent equipment was non-operational.
This way, the past government ruined the cleanliness system of Lahore city, he regretted. But the incumbent government would improve the cleanliness system, he assured.
The minister further regretted that national resources were also looted in the name of mechanical sweepers. Giving the details, he disclosed that money was received by placing trackers at private vehicles instead of putting them at mechanical sweepers. The audit report had recommended recovering Rs 7 billion rupees from these companies, he said. Those who claimed that they had not done corruption of even a single penny, details proved that the amount of their corruption goes into billions, he said.
"Chief Minister Usman Buzdar assigned me to oversee a cleanliness drive on January 2 when 25,000 ton garbage was lying on the roads and another 5,000 ton filth was added every day," he said and added that till Thursday, just 1200 ton garbage was left which would be removed by Friday (tomorrow).
Replying to the questions, the minister said that a forensic audit report had been originated which would be tabled before the public accounts committee and the matter was also under deliberation in the NAB.
To another question, the minister said that the local body system was essential to solving public problems at the grassroots and local bodies elections would be held as soon as permission was granted by NCOC.
To yet another question, the minister maintained that the looters being held for accountability were not ordinary people but magicians and their wizard works. They were acrobats and their jugglery worked even in cleanliness contracts, he remarked.
The LWMC had started a cleanliness operation and Rs 5 billion would be saved, he said. The PTI believed in strengthening institutions to get best results, he said and added that past governments tried to derail the system and institutions were weakened through political appointments but this would not happen now.
Special Assistant to the CM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan was also present.