Apprehending that the sale of wakf land to various private organisations might land it in legal trouble, the state government onannounced that it would develop the wakf property across the state through private-public partnership (PPP).
A proposal to this effect was mooted by the minorities welfare department recently and the law department has now given the green signal saying that it was a legally valid proposal, minority welfare minister Md. Shabbir Ali said.
Although no survey has been done in recent times to assess the extent of property held by the Wakf Board, official sources estimated that it could be around 70,000 acres. However, much of it is believed to have been sold away and it recently came to light that the land that was sold to corporations like Microsoft and the International School of Business was originally wakf land. Addressing a press conference on Monday, Shabbir Ali said the government would hold talks with religious heads, public representatives and community leaders and discuss the proposal thoroughly and seek their consent before implementing it.
He said if this proposal gets acceptance, it would help in developing the wakf property and help the Wakf Board generate good revenue. He said there has been a growing feeling that though the Wakf Board had huge property worth crores, it has not been able to earn enough revenue as some of it was locked in legal battle while some were occupying the land for decades by paying pittance as rent.
If the system of private public partnership was followed, the property can be developed by private agencies and it can be given on lease to them. This would help the Wakf Board to have full ownership rights on the property and also get good income. He said the meeting with religious heads and other leaders would be held during July and a comprehensive policy would be announced there after. He said the government will also convene a review meeting next week to discuss the modalities to implement the recommendations of Sachar Committee report. The state-level committee had submitted its report in November 2006.
It recommended enhancement of plan allocation of the department from Rs 66.24 crore to Rs 120 crore. The minorities are to be provided share in various schemes like beedi housing scheme, apprenticeship training scheme and others. The committee had also recommended 12 pre-matric and 14 post-matric hostels in the state. But the government finds that there are not many takers for it. It has now decided to utilise Friday prayers to publicise the new hostels and has extended the admission date by 10 days from June 30.