Mehbooba hints at revision of rentals to boost revenue
SRINAGAR: Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti asked J&K Wakf Board officials to make an inventory of the Board’s lands and such details as revenue, expenditure and human resources.
She asked the Board to take a cue from similar religious organizations functioning in the state, which by prudent use of its assets and endowment money, have been able to create a huge social sector infrastructure base.
“I see no reason why we cannot replicate the same methodology where our immovable assets become more remunerative and endowment money is channelled back into the system in the form of social infrastructure,” she added.
She made these remarks while chairing the 23rd meeting of the Board of Directors of the J&K Wakf Board.
Advocating better management of resources, the Chief Minister, who is also the Chairperson of the Board, said the onus for proper utilization of endowment money entirely lies on the Board as devotees, who throng various shrines in large numbers, contribute with such a great sense of reverence.
“We need a transparent system of operations which ensures that this endowment money goes straight into the Board kitty so that it is ploughed back into the system in the form of assets or wazeefa to old and needy people,” she said and added that the Board’s official website should host all the details in this connection.
On the issue of Board’s immovable properties becoming unproductive, the CM described as inadequate the revenue realized as rentals from multiple commercial assets belonging to the organization. She hinted at a possible revision of rentals on leased out landed property to improve the weak revenue base of Wakf Board.
The Chief Minister was apprised about the possible amendment to the Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Specified Wakf and Specified Wakf Properties Act to bring about a sizable hike in the current rentals.
Emphasizing upon out-of-box and innovative ideas to improve economic returns, Mehbooba advised the Board to involve unemployed youth in a revenue-sharing partnership where the agricultural land, primarily orchards, is used for high density plantations, vegetable farming and floriculture. For this, she asked the Wakf Board to seek expert advice of scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences, Kashmir.
The meeting was informed that nearly 1883 kanals of agricultural land has become un-remunerative primarily on account of senile and fruitless orchards. The Board presently, due to financial constraints, lacks the wherewithal to rejuvenate the agricultural land.
While obtaining to-date status of the nursing colleges being established by the Board, the Chief Minister directed the VC to expedite registration of the same with the Indian Nursing Council. She said keeping in view the upcoming healthcare infrastructure in the state, the nursing colleges will help meet the demand for trained paramedics to run these institutions.
It was given out in the meeting that Board will set up new nursing colleges at Chrar-e-Sharief (Budgam), Awantipora (Anantnag) and Srinagar. A number of issues relating to the present status of Bibi Halima Nursing College at Srinagar were also brought into the notice of the Chief Minister.
While issuing directions for carrying forward the process of upgrading all Wakf-run schools as Model Schools, the Chief Minister insisted for working out a mechanism whereby bright students from poor backgrounds are provided coaching to enable them to compete at the cutting edge level.