As Wafk Board’s income dwindles, Govt constitutes committee to revise rent

Officials informed that the decision has been taken to constitute committee after board failed to increase its revenue despite possessing prized properties at prime locations in the State.

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: May 20 2017 1:11AM | Updated Date: May 20 2017 1:11AM
As Wafk Board’s income dwindles, Govt constitutes committee to revise rent

Jammu and Kashmir government has constituted a committee for revision of rent of the Wakf properties in the State. The decision has been taken after the Wakf Board functioning has been marred with mismanagement, with its revenue realization constantly failing to meet its bulging expenditure.

Jammu and Kashmir General Administration Department’s order reads that in reference to CMS/Gen/Misc/2017 dated 28.04.2017 from Chief Minister's Secretariat, Government Order No. 598 -GAD of 2017 dated: 15 .05.2017, sanction is hereby accorded to the constitution of a Committee to look into all aspects and issues connected with the revision of the rent of the Wakf properties.

“The committee to be serviced by the JK Board for Muslim Specified Wakf and specified Wakf properties shall review the whole matter of revision of rent in terms of the prevailing market rates and by taking all relevant factors into account in the respective locations. It shall submit its report/recommendations within a period of one month,” the order issued by GAD reads.

The Administrative Secretary, Revenue Department will be chairman of the Committee. While as per the order,  Er Khalid Muzaffar, Member JK Muslim Wakf board, Prof Mushtaq Qureshi, Dean, Islamic University of Science and Technology (member of the JK Muslim Wafk board), Chief Executive, JK Wafk Board, Representative of the Finance Department, Executive Engineer, Roads and Buildings, are appointed as members, while Secretary JK Muslim Wafk Board is member secretary of the panel.

Officials informed that the decision has been taken to constitute committee after board failed to increase its revenue despite possessing prized properties at prime locations in the State.

A look at the balance sheet of Jammu and Kashmir Wakf Board reveals that in 2015-16, total income from Wakf properties was Rs 23.28 crore while the expenditure incurred was 23.48 crore. Thus the expenditure exceeded the income, leaving nothing for charities.

In 2014-15, of the Rs 19.40 crore revenue generated by the Board from different sources including donation (both cash and kind); Rs 11.70 crore were spent on salaries and honorarium of employees.

The state government last year issued an order to the board asking it to collect the rent at Wakf-owned shopping complexes at the rate of Rs 38 and Rs 75 per square feet.

The new rate caused a difference between the board and the shopkeepers, with the latter denying paying rent as per the revised rates.

The Wakf Board owns as many as 1,400 shops in Kashmir. Of them, less than 20 have paid this year’s rent as per the revised rates.

The institution has often come in for severe public criticism for failing to undertake progressive initiatives for betterment and uplift of J&K Muslims.

While Wakf Boards in other states and such institutions of other religions in the State have come up with universities, modern hospitals and even medical colleges, the Board - which has remained under political control since 1940 - has miserably failed to undertake similar initiatives. And the large workforce of the institution cannot escape the blame for ruining the institution.

A committee constituted by the government in 2012 had claimed that illiterate workforce was messing up the Board’s operation. The panel revealed that majority of employees working in the institution was either under-matric or illiterate. Out of the total strength of 382 permanent employees, the report claimed, only 34 were graduates, 23 have studied up to 12th standard and 76 have passed 10th standard.

The Wakf Board was established in 1940 by National Conference founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah as Muslim Auqaf Trust to help the poor sections of Muslims in the state.

The Board has, however, failed to generate adequate revenue from its assets.

Apart from owning shops and multi-storey buildings, the Wakf Board has several thousand kanals of land.

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