LAHORE: Residents of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) have vowed to continue their struggle to have more say in the decision-making process of the society to address the problems facing the residents.
They have declared the annual general meeting and the election of the DHA Residents Association a milestone for a brighter future and the establishment of a sense of goodwill for the community. Both elections and the meeting took place on Sunday morning, with the presence of around 400 members, the outgoing governing body, the executive body and the newly elected office-bearers.
The newly elected governing body comprises of President Mohammad Sadiq, Vice-president (VP) Wahid Chaudhry, General Secretary Major (r) Gul Nawaz, Joint Secretary Imtiaz Khan, Finance Secretary Fawad Saeed and Information Secretary Gulzar Chaudhry. They have replaced the previous body – president Rohail Ikram, VP Colonel (r) ZI Farrukh, general secretary Colonel (r) Ashfaq Amjad, joint secretary Colonel (r) Nasir Siddiqui, finance secretary Raja Riaz Ahmad and information secretary Azam Nasir Chaudhry.Spend: Executive body members Azam Nasir Ch, Nisar Fatima, Abdul Majeed and Aqeela Abbas said the residents were facing a number of issues – the ratio of property tax, and water drainage problems (especially during the rainy season), lack of footpaths in some sectors, security issues, water shortage in a number of sectors during the ongoing load shedding.
They said the biggest challenge the residents were facing was having no say in the housing authority’s decision-making process, adding that the DHA administration did not involve all stakeholders while making by-laws for the authority. They said the residents wanted to have a feel of ownership by aiding the DHA in the decision-making process.
They said the Walton Cantonment Board should spend at least 80 percent of the revenue they collect on the DHA, adding that the board collected at least two-thirds of its revenue from DHA residents. They said the board did not even spend 25 percent of its revenue on the DHA.
Open court: The executive body members also urged the administration to hold separate open court-type sittings for every sector of the DHA. They said the DHA only had a suggestion box outside the main office, adding that the box did not provide the residents with much of a say.
The outgoing president said the previous residents association had left no stone unturned to work for the welfare of the locality’s residents, adding that the association was a registered organisation, representing over 6,000 residents across the DHA. He said it had been functional since 1982.
He said there was no concept of choosing elected representatives for the association in the past, adding that his governing body had been the first to organise proper elections. He said the association had not been allowed to aid the DHA in making decisions about the authority’s by-laws despite repeated requests. He said no law making process was considered credible without the involvement of all stakeholders, because the laws were meant to facilitate them.
Meetings: The newly elected president said the association body would hold meetings with the DHA and continue to cooperate with them for the maximum benefit of the residents. He said they had already conveyed their problems to the administration, adding that they would urge it to involve the residents in the law making process. He said the DHA had started to hold meetings with representatives from the association every other month.
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