2509 Kanal of Wakaf land still under occupation: Minister
Jammu: A House Committee would be constituted to look into the complaints regarding the misuse and mismanagement of Wakaf land and recommend measures for optimum utilization of its assets, Chairman Legislative Council Haji Anayat Ali said on Monday.
The chairman was intervening after National Conference (NC) legislator Dr Shehnaz Ganai cornered the government over mismanagement of Wakaf land and assets throughout the state.
Earlier Minister of State for Hajj and Auqaf Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi in his reply to Ganai’s question informed the House that 2509.02 Kanals of Wakaf land were under occupation of various departments, agencies and individuals in the state. As the House commenced on Monday, Ganai said that the government has exposed itself for inability to retrieving and protecting the Wakaf property at various prime locations in the state.
She alleged that the government itself had failed to safeguard the precious land at Gandhi Nagar Jammu retrieved recently which has been utilized for parking as well as exhibition/trade fairs on which annual income of Rs 40 lakh is expected during the financial year.
She added that various prime Wakaf property of the state had been leased out to blue eyed persons on peanuts through Wakaf Council as compare to present market rates due to the “callous attitude” of the department and its concerned officials.
“The government in its reply has admitted that there is dire need to safeguard the Wakaf property and streamline the working and affairs of the Wakaf council keeping in view to properly protect the Wakaf property,” she informed.
Expressing concern over the Wakaf assets being occupied in the state, Shehnaz said that a large numbers of Wakaf properties falling in the state were still under the occupation of various departments of the Jammu and Kashmir State including Defence/Paramilitary forces, GREEF, Post Offices, JK Bank and Railway, Police and Home departments which is serious issue for government to retrieve the said property from above departments.
Meanwhile, PDP, BJP, Congress and NC legislators also raised various issues pertaining to protection and properly utilization of Wakaf land which has been misused by some officials sitting in the department. They also demanded a thorough probe into the working and affairs of Wakaf Council in sanctioning, allotting and leasing out the Wakaf property without any tendering and any approval of government due to which the Wakaf properties are unsafe throughout the state when some vested interest officials of the department have misusing their powers.
Earlier, the minister informed that no rent is being paid to Auqaf Islamia Poonch for the land under occupation of different agencies except for two sites of 21.12 Kanals situated at Jhullas village and Poonch city. He also said that the process for retrieval of Wakaf properties has been initiated. “The matter has been taken up with the Home Department, as well as various other concerned departments for vacation of the Wakaf properties under their occupation,” he assured.
He said the occupants have also been directed to pay the rent regularly. He said necessary proceedings under the Wakaf Act 2001 have been initiated to retrieve the property held by individuals.
The minister informed that Wakaf land, recently retrieved at Gandhi Nagar Jammu is temporarily being used as a parking lot as well as for holding exhibitions and trade fairs and the site is expected to generate approximately Rs 40 lakh during the current financial year. He said the state Wakaf Council has taken up the matter for the remaining land at Gandhi Nagar with the occupants for negotiation to bring them in Wakaf fold on case to case basis.
The Minister said that the Wakaf Board as well as Wakaf Council are being administered by separate legislation and in order to merge both the institutions, combined legislation is required.