Hyderabad: The second Wakf Survey that began in 2001 in the erstwhile combined Andhra Pradesh state has so far identified more than 25,762 new Wakf properties involving thousands of acres of land in AP and Telangana State.
The first survey by the Wakf Board, started in 1955 and took 10 years to complete, had notified 38,529 Wakf institutions having 1,33,209 acres of land. As per Wakf Board records, more than 81,000 acres have been encroached upon in both the states.
The first survey of Wakf properties was done under section 4 of the Wakf Act 1954. As per Section 4 (6) of the Wakf Act (Amended) 2013, a survey has to be carried out after every ten years to identify and notify newly created Wakf properties.
Some 44 years after commencement of the first survey, the TD government ordered the second survey in 2001, responding to pressure from political parties and the Muslim community.
According to Board officials, a periodic survey is necessary. For, from time to time, several new properties are registered as Wakf and many physical changes take place in the existing properties, resulting in a change of boundaries and survey numbers.
M.J. Akbar, competent authority of Wakf Board and survey commissioner, told Deccan Chronicle that the office of the survey commissioner of Wakf is included in the tenth schedule of the AP Reorganisation Act, but its bifurcation has not been done.
“Despite the pending bifurcation of survey commissioner, we are carrying out the survey in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana State, and the field survey part is complete. Reconciliation of Wakf records with revenue records of the old and newly identified properties is also in progress. Once the reconciliation work is over, the newly identified pro-perties will be notified under the Gazette,” he said.
Mr Akbar said a vast majority of properties are located in Telangana State, particularly in the capital. To protect these properties, the Board has urged the government to set up a protection and enforcement wing (PEW) at the Board headquarters.
The Board also urged the government to sanction a police officer of the rank of additional superintendent of police, two inspectors, four constables and eight home guards for the proposed PEW.
Mr Akbar said, “In addition to this, we also sought sanction of a revenue official of the rank of deputy collector, an additional director of survey and land records, two tahsildars and four surveyors to carry out periodical survey of Wakf properties. The file is under the active consideration of the government.”
Andhra Pradesh to develop Wakf properties with PPP
The AP government is keen on development of Wakf properties and has fixed a target of Rs 400 crore, to be achieved in the next six months — that is, by end March, 2016 which also marks the end of the current financial year.
S. Md. Iqbal, special secretary to the state minorities welfare department, told this correspondent, “On paper, we have 67,000 acres of Wakf land belonging to more than 4,000 institutions in the state. We have deputed officers for physical verification of the properties with the help of the revenue, police and stamps and registration (S&R) departments. This verification is in addition to the ongoing second survey.”
The AP government recognises Wakf properties as a growth engine for welfare of Muslims in the state, and aims at developing the Wakf properties under the public private partnership (PPP) mode. As per initial records, 45 per cent of the properties are under encroachment. The government would first take up development of the encroached areas and litigation-free properties, he said.
Mr Iqbal said the scope of the mansha-e-wakf (purpose of wakf), which is prepared at the time of dedicating a property to Wakf, is generally limited to either maintenance of a mosque or dargah or any other Wakf Institution.
The income generated through the property is utilised for the same purpose. If the income generates a surplus, it should be used for welfare of poor Muslims.
“Now, we are considering ways to increase the revenue of all the Wakf properties so that this can be put to good use for the empowerment of Muslims across AP,” he said.
The Centre, he said, had issued a notification for bifurcation of the AP Wakf Board and creating two separate boards for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
AP has to issue a notification for constitution of the board. The file has been referred for legal opinion following the notification from the Centre. Within a week or two, the new AP Wakf Board will be constituted, he said.