With little welfare and development work, shelling out salaries to its employees from the revenue generated by shrines and Muslim properties seems to be the only job of Muslim Waqf Board in Kashmir.
Around 50-80 percent of the annual expenditure of the Board accounts for salaries of its employees.
A look at the balance sheet of the 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 from different sources including donation (both cash and kind); Rs 11.70 crore were spent on salaries and honorarium of employees.
On the other hand, the institution meant for uplift of downtrodden Muslims including orphans and widows, has spent meager Rs 33.16 lakh on charity during 2015-2016.
The data reveals that each passing year, the expenditure of the Board is going higher than its annual income.
Out of the Rs 14 crore expenditure during 2011-2012, Rs 7 crore were utilized alone for salaries of employees while in 2015-2016 expenditure exceeded the income, leaving nothing for charities, reveals that data.
Muhammad Shaban, a devotee at Sonawar shrine here said that unaccountability of Board officials has encouraged them to create unnecessary jobs for their kith and kin. "Wakf Board has literally became a hub of employment for influential persons. An audit should be conducted to know what is the exact number of employees and the backdoor appointments," he suggested.
Though no official shared the exact number of employees, however sources said that around 1450 employees are there, most of them regular.
One of the retired bureaucrats had expressed his desire to serve the Board without any charges. However, after being appointed to the post, he charged Rs 45000 per month as honorarium against the Rs 25000 what was paid to his predecessor.
Under Wakf Board rules, for the higher posts, retired senior government officials have be given preference for the reason that they would be given lesser honorariums keeping in view their pension benefits of their earlier service.
"Every penny of the Board belongs to Muslims. The custodian of its assets and money must be someone who knows what directions of Islam about this trust are; how and where to spent it," said Shabir Ahmad, a devotee at Hazratbal.
In 2012, a committee constituted by Omar-led government had claimed that illiterate workforce was messing up the Board's operation. The panel revealed that majority of employees working in the institution were either 10th fail or illiterate. Out of the total strength of then 382 permanent employees, the report claimed only 34 were graduates, 23 have studied up to 12th standard and 76 have passed the 10th standard.
Vice-chairman of the Board, Peer Muhammad Hussain, admitted that most of the income is spent on the salaries of employees. However, he said that presently the Board is busy doing a lot to improve.
He said that fresh employees are seasonal and not permanent.
Regarding higher honorarium to one of the officials than his predecessor, he said: "He is very hard-working person having lot of experience. He has done lot of good things to Wakf. Even Rs 45000 per month is much less for his services."