Questions galore over Waqf Board apathy
Srinagar, June 25: While the J&K government oft beats the drum of being “equipped and ready” to meet different eventualities, both natural and man-made, the gutting of Dastgeer Sahab shrine here has brought the claims under question of the civil society. What has essentially put the state government in dock is the failure of the State Waqf Board, which earns revenue of millions of rupees annually, to equip all shrines under its control with the basic facilities like fire extinguishers and fire-tenders.
“Waqf Board is not a small organization in terms of finances. It earns huge financial revenue every year. But when the shrines like Dastgeer Sahib Shrine are without basic facilities like fire-extinguishers and fire-tenders of Waqf Board, one has all the reasons to raise a question mark over the Waqf infrastructure and spending,” said a group of angry youth at Khanyar, where the Shrine of Dastgeer Sahab is located.
According to observers, it is unpardonable to overlook availability of emergency-nature equipments in shrines in view of their importance. “Is Waqf Board so poor that it can’t purchase fire-tenders and fire-extinguishers? This lapse on part of the Waqf authorities is simply unpardonable. You can’t overlook these things, especially in view of the significance that these places hold,” said Ghulam Qadir, a devotee. “The gutting of this shrine is a collective loss to the nation. This is exposed the state government’s readiness to meet different eventualities. The Waqf Board has simply shown that it has no mechanism, whatsoever, to meet such eventualities.”
The Waqf Board is presently manning scores of shrines across the state. While other such Boards and organizations in India have been credited with spending money for the overall welfare of the society by creating institutions like universities and colleges, the State Board has been, many a time, flayed for “being insensitive to such issues.”
“It doesn’t cost much to purchase an odd 1000 fire extinguishers and 50 fire-tenders. Waqf Board is one institution which could easily manage it, in view of the huge revenue that it has. The J&K Government must hold the Waqf Board officials accountable for the funds spending. If the money can’t be utilized in equipping shrines with emergency-nature facilities, what for is it then?” Qadir asked.
Qadir, who hails from Bandipora district of north Kashmir, links the Waqf’s failure with a famous ledged associated with Bandipora district, dating back to the times when Maharajas ruled Jammu and Kashmir.
It is believed that when a fire incident took place in Bandipora once, it would be a Maharaja who would order his subordinates to put a fire-tender into service.
“When Maharaja started the fire fighting system in Kashmir, it was mandatory for the subordinates to seek Maharaja’s permission before any fire tender was put into service. We have heard that when a fire incident took place here, the subordinates approached the Maharaja immediately. However, the sanction for the fire tender usage came nine months after the incident. After nine months, the Maharaja had said Bhuja Diya Jayey (douse it),” said 75-year-old Qadir said.
“This is exactly what has happened with the Waqf Board. It has neglected the development of different key areas.”
Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 26 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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