SRINAGAR: A group of traders and tenants of Muslim Waqf Board (MWB) properties on Wednesday held protest against “exorbitant” hike in rentals and demanded immediate rollback of the proposed hike. They said the Board has unilaterally hiked the tariff to the tune of 3000 percent, which is unacceptable to the traders.
The protesters gathered at the press enclave here displaying banners and shouting anti MWB slogans. They said they were ready to pay rent according to the agreement between the Waqf board and the tenants but the unilateral hike against the norms was not acceptable to them.
“We are regularly paying rent and hiking it by 15 percent every three years. This arrangement is mutually agreed upon. The unilateral rent increase by 3000 percent is not acceptable,” a protester said.
“The enhancement of rent by the waqf board is unethical. We have been paying the rent according to the agreement and we would continue to abide by the agreement,” Manzoor Ahmad Bhat, vice president of Kashmir Traders body said. “The present government and waqf board is pushing the traders and tenants to the wall. They are not allowing us to pursue our businesses smoothly. We are compelled to hit the roads again and again,” Bhat said.
Another shopkeeper said that he was paying Rs 10,000 as rent for his shop for one year. “At the end of 2016, I have been asked to pay Rs 3.5 lakh without any notice,” he said. The Waqf Board officials have not reacted to the allegations leveled by the shopkeepers and tenants.