Under fire, Waqf Board admits irregularities
‘Employees Scuttle Anti-Corruption Measures; Lion’s Share Of Offerings Goes To Mujawirs’
Srinagar, Sep 5: Under criticism for “mismanagement” and “wrongdoings”, Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Waqf Board on Wednesday admitted that irregularities are taking place in the institution and “some cases have been handed over to the Crime Branch for investigation.”
“I have tried my best to ensure transparency over the past three years, but I have found many cases of irregularities and misconduct in the Board which is a national property of the Valley’s Muslims,” Vice-Chairman of the Waqf Board, MY Qadri told newsmen at his maiden press conference, since he took over in 2009.
Qadri said that some employees of the Board were scuttling the steps aimed at weeding out corruption at different levels in the Board. “When I sought answers from them over their alleged misconduct, they went on strike. Similarly, when I advertised the posts, they raised hue and cry and again resorted to the strikes and blackmail,” the VC asserted.
But, he added that the Board wouldn’t desist from taking severe action against the employees indulging in malpractices. “In the coming days, you will see that the delinquent employees would be shown the door,” Qadri said.
Asked about the report published in Greater Kashmir Tuesday over the alleged graveyard scam, the VC corroborated the story and added that conduct of the Secretary of Board is under investigation in the said case.
“I have not given clean chit to him (Secretary) and it will take us one more month to get to the bottom of the case,” Qadri said, adding that he has already disengaged the Land Record Officer (LRO) after the dubious deal came to fore.
Giving details about the irregularities in the Board, Qadri said that six kanals of land of the Board were fraudulently sold to a private party and after “I came to know about the matter, I immediately handed over the case to Crime Branch for further investigation.”
“In another case, I was told that timber of withered trees at Asham Sonawari would fetch Rs 90000, but I sold the same timber for Rs 4 lakh,” he said.
He also claimed that Rs 1.5 lakh were shown drawn as salary against the wages of a painter and after a thorough investigation, the irregularity came to fore.
The VC said that lion’s share from the offerings by the devotees at the shrines of valley was going into the kitty of Mujawirs (attendants at shrines).
The VC admitted that the Board has failed to provide seed capital of Rs 20 crore to Islamic University of Science and Technology but added that they are providing Rs 2 crore annually to the varsity from the last year.
Replying to the queries about the arbitrary appointments made by him in the Board during his tenure, Qadri said; “I have not done any such appointment, although I was empowered to do so.”
“These are baseless allegations, but I have appointed a driver who is a very poor person and is getting only Rs 3000 per month,” he said, when asked about the allegations that he has appointed four of his servants in the Board.
He said that the rent earned from the shops and hotels in the Valley is very meager and they are carrying out market valuation of the assets to increase the rent.
The VC claimed that Waqf Board has made significant achievements particularly in revenue generation, since he took over.
“We have also evicted Geology and Mining Department from our 4-storeyed building as they used to pay nominal rent of Rs 3500 per month. Besides, we are also getting huge amount through auctioning of our forest land at Baba Reshi Sahab and orchards of Asham Sonawari. Earlier, the amount earned from both the assets was very meager,” he said.
Qadri also made public details about the assets of Waqf Board – second largest asset rich body in the state.
According to the details, Waqf Board owns 1453 shops in Valley, while 2160 kanals of orchard land, 99 kanals of paddy land, 242 kanals of Malyari land, 6840 kanals of forest land, 32 kanals of marshy land and 630 kanals of Idgah are in its possession.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 5 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 5 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 6 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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