Mehrab Shah Afridi

In the Khyber district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, an issue has arisen where people are being charged higher fees for obtaining birth and other certificates. In Landikotal, residents are being charged Rs. 300 per certificate for essential documents like birth, death, and marriage certificates, despite the government setting the fixed price per certificate at Rs. 100.

According to the government, the prescribed fee includes a Nadra registration fee of Rs. 78. However, it remains unclear where the additional money is going, especially considering that 60 to 90 certificates are being generated daily.

Various Village Councils (VCs) and elected neighborhood chairmen from Landikotal, including Haji Sher Afridi, Haji Khan Shinwari, and Yad Wazir Shinwari, have criticized the excessive charges. They have alleged the involvement of the Assistant Director of Local Government in the matter.

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The elected chairmen claim that Rs. 50 per certificate is being sent to the Assistant Director of Local Government through “Easypaisa.” While the chairmen and secretaries are receiving money, the chairman lacks the authority to withhold funds or demand an account of the expenses, they complained.

As per the established protocol, the chairman and secretary should have a joint account, and withdrawals should require both of their signatures. However, although accounts have been opened, secretaries are not depositing money into them. The chairmen have threatened to stop collecting the Rs. 300 fees if this chain of financial irregularities is not addressed.

The chairmen further revealed that secretaries have been appointed to assist them, but they do not fulfill their responsibilities and do not heed their instructions.

In response, one secretary, speaking on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that he charges Rs. 300 for urgent certificates, while the regular fee is Rs. 150. Out of this amount, Rs. 78 is allocated as the Nadra fee, Rs. 50 is sent to the assistant director of local government, and the remaining sum covers the office expenses and allowances.

However, the Assistant Director of Local Government denied the allegations of accepting money and clarified that the government-prescribed fee is Rs. 100. Those charging more than the designated amount are in violation of the rules and instructions have been issued to all secretaries to adhere to the Rs. 100 fee limit, he insisted.

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