Afroz Alam Sahil & M Reyaz, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: Investigations by BeyondHeadlines (BH) show that while real estate price is soaring in the capital, waqf properties are still available at throw away prices.
Information accessed by the BH through the Right to Information (RTI) reveals that at least 86 shops, office space, etc. in Delhi have rent as low as Re 1 to Rs 11. Two adjacent spaces in Nizamuddin are in fact hired by the World Education & Development Organization for Re 1 each.
These waqf properties are lying in Nizamuddin, Pahar Ganj, Karol Bagh, Subzi Mandi, Balli Maran, Matia Mahal and other streets in Old Delhi.
Even this meager rent is often not paid on time. Information available with the BH under the RTI till July 2009 reveal that some tenants have not paid their “arrears” for years – at times for as long as 40 years.
Information provided by the Delhi Waqf Board reveal the highest arrear of Rs 16,521 on Abdul Quddosss Siddiqui, President, Nusratul Islam Education Society in Old Delhi’s Fateh Puri area. However, this could not be verified as at Re 1 rent, such arrear seems impossible. or perhaps they never paid the rent!
For the past few years, there has been talk of overhauling the waqf board. In fact ‘The Waqf (Amendment) Bill, 2010’, was passed in April 2010 to improve the management and administration of the Waqfs in India.
However, there has been a little change on the ground so far.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Speaker K Rehman Kahn too had raised the issue of mismanagement of waqf properties in March this year. He said that there were at least 4 lakh acres of waqf land across country, major portion of which was encroached upon by different bodies, including the government.