By Muslim Mirror
With assets totaling at least Rs 5 lakh crore, the Telangana State Waqf Board is one of the wealthiest Muslim endowment institutions in India. However, because it has taken over approximately 75% of the land, these assets only exist on paper.
The Waqf Board has been a mute observer to the destruction and encroachment of its valuable properties in Hyderabad and other areas of the state for decades due to corruption, mismanagement, and irregularities at the organisation as well as the indifference of succeeding administrations. The institution lacks choices to either protect what it already possesses or increase its income through rent because it has no record of many properties that are being encroached upon.
Over the past three decades, Hyderabad and its surrounding areas have experienced significant economic growth, yet the Waqf Board has steadily lost large properties. The government has occasionally been caught intruding on waqf property.
With a total land area of 77,538 acres, the state is home to 33,929 waqf institutions. But 57,428 acres, or three-fourths of Amir’s land, have been encouraged upon. It is sometimes claimed that the Waqf Board can easily support the requirements of the underprivileged and the Muslim community’s educational demands given the great money it possesses.
The board, however, is now reliant on the government for funding in order to cover personnel wages and other costs. The board actually owns 20, controls 110 acres, but only makes about Rs 5 crore every year. Many tenants either pay rent that was fixed decades ago or do not pay rent at all.
Records of many waqf assets vanished after Andhra Pradesh was divided.
Surprisingly, a section of the employees is said to have aided and abetted the intruders. By disclosing details regarding complaints about encroachments, they are aiding them rather than carrying out the laborious task of eliminating them. Similar to past Andhra Pradesh governments, the TRS government in Telangana also requested an investigation into irregularities at the Waqf Board, but to no avail.
The Waqf Board’s documents were sealed by the government in 2017 on the grounds that they were safeguarded. Many feel that the action is more detrimental than beneficial because the board lacks access to the records needed to contest ongoing legal proceedings.
After a record room was abruptly sealed off, records needed to be sanitised or treated with antifungals. No antifungal was carried out.
A CID investigation into alleged encroachment of waqf properties throughout the state was ordered by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in October of last year, but little progress has been achieved since then.
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