J&K: CM Mehbooba Mufti seeks revamp of state Wakf Board

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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has sought structural revamp of state Wakf Board, asking it to take a cue from similar religious organisations which have created a huge social sector infrastructure base by prudent use of assets and endowment money.
The Chief Minister ordered immediate mapping and inventory management of landed property and physical assets including details of revenue, expenditure and human resource on the rolls of the organization, an official spokesman said on Tuesday.
Mehbooba made these remarks while chairing the 23rd meeting of the Board of Directors of the Jammu and Kashmir Wakf Board on Monday, he said.
The chief minister asked the board to take a cue from similar religious organizations functioning in the state, which by prudent use of their 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 channeled back into the system in the form of social infrastructure,” she said.
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 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 (stipend) to old and needy people,” Mehbooba said, adding the board’s official website should host all the details in this regard.
On the issue of board’s immovable properties becoming unproductive, the chief minister described as inadequate the revenue realized as rentals from multiple commercial assets belonging to the organisation.
She hinted at a possible revision of rentals on leased out landed property to improve the weak revenue base of Wakf Board.
Emphasising on 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 (95 hectares) of agricultural land has become unremunerative primarily on account of senile and fruitless orchards. The board presently, due to financial constraints, lacks the wherewithal to rejuvenate the agricultural land, the spokesman said.
While issuing directions for carrying forward the process of upgrading all Wakf-run schools as model schools, the chief minister insisted on working out a mechanism whereby bright students from poor backgrounds are provided coaching to enable them to compete at cutting edge level, the spokesman said.

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