NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Minority Affairs will be launching a crusade against the mafia illegally occupying the Waqf land. The Ministry, contending that as much as half of the Waqf property is under illegal occupation, has ordered a probe to nail the Waqf board officials involved in it.
Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi revealed this while addressing the 75th meeting of the Central Waqf Council. Without naming the Minister said that “serious irregularities” in some state Waqf boards have come to our notice.
“More than half of the Waqf properties are under the clutches of Waqf mafias and it has come to our notice that people of several state Waqf boards are also involved in this sin. A high-level inquiry has been going on into these matters and strict action will be taken against those people who are responsible,” Naqvi said while averring that these mafias were scuttling the development and utilisation of the Waqf properties.
The Minority Affairs Ministry has been planning to develop these properties commercially and institutionally and by building malls, schools, hostels and offices. The Waqf Board has 6 lakh acres of land, with five lakh registered properties under it. The estimated market value of the land is in lakhs of crores but it generates meagre revenue of Rs. 150 crore. The governments of Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kerala have expressed interest in developing the Waqf properties for commercial use.
The biggest problem the government face is the non-availability of a record of the Waqf properties. The government has also started computerisation of waqf boards and their properties to help transparency.
“There are about 4,49,314 registered and non-registered Waqf properties across the country. The number of these properties will be increased after computerisation of Waqf boards. It has also been come to our notice that some Waqf boards are not registering the Waqf properties properly during the computerisation process. Strict action is being taken in such complaints,” Naqvi added.