THE Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has closed down seven Maternal and Child Health (MCH) centres, ordered auction of equipment and cancellation of 39-year old allotments to the Pakistan Family Welfare Council (PFWC).

The MCH centres located in Allama Iqbal Town, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Faisal Town, Packages Quarters, Green Town and Walton Road, were set up by the Pakistan Family Welfare Council (PFWC) in 1982 in katchi abadis and slums.

In 1982, the LDA offered 50 accommodations to the PFWC to enable it to set up its MCH centres to serve the poor, children and needy women of katchi abadis and neglected areas.

Subsequently, the MCH centres were handed over to the PFWC at a nominal rent of Rs 12 per annum for each centre which with the passage of time was increased to Rs 43 per annum and paid through bank challans up to 2006 in advance. The PFWC provided furniture, machinery, equipment, medicines and professional trained staff.

PFWC Director Naseer A Chaudhry told The News that the Markaz-e-Sehat located on Walton Road was equipped and staffed to serve as a four-bed maternity centre.

He said that some officials of the LDA visited the MCH centre at Walton Road on September 9, 2008 and objected to plants and flower pots on the premises.

He said plants and flower pots were put there as an ‘Environmental Health Education Project’ by providing environmental health education material developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment on the instructions of then chairperson of the Pakistan Environment Protection Council (PEPC), Asif Ali Zardari.

He said that in order to provide environmental educational atmosphere around 6,000 plants of different species were collected to train students, NGOs and civil society members in environmental education.

He claimed that the LDA had not received any rent amount from the PFWC since 2006 but he continued accessing one-window services in this regard but no challan forms were issued to him on the ground that the case was pending for final decision. He said the LDA had not served any notices and locked the premises without informing him.

He said the LDA had intended to sell the land through open auction for commercial and residential purposes which would put an end to the 27-year old welfare project offering free health, maternity and environmental education services to poor and needy people. Talking to The News, officials of the LDA said that though the LDA had allotted land to the PFWC in katchi abadis for many years but it had decided to cancel the allotment.

They said the LDA had also adopted proper procedure while issuing notice to the PFWC. The allotments were cancelled irrespective of the services provided by the PFWC, they said.

Source: The News