Wakf Act does not provide for extension of the existing body

A question mark hangs on the fate of the State Wakf Board, with its elected body completing its term on Sunday. With no indication yet of the government constituting a new body, administration of the Wakf Board is expected to come under the special officer control from December 16.

There is no move to put in place a new body with the issue of bifurcation of the State weighing heavily with the government.

No extension

The Wakf Act doesn’t provide for extension of the existing body and this leaves government with no option but to appoint a special officer to look after the Wakf Board, officials say.

If this happens, the Wakf Board will be the fourth minority body to become headless. The A.P State Minorities Finance Corporation, Urdu Academy and State Haj Committee do not have elected bodies after their terms expired.

With a total of 35,000 institutions and landed property measuring 1,45,000 acres, the Wakf Board is a richest body and to administer it an elected body is essential, it is said.

Increase in revenue

The present body headed by Syed Ghulam Afzal Biabani has succeeded in substantially raising the Board’s revenue from Rs. 11.10 crore in 2008-09 to Rs. 25.60 crore in 2012-13.

This is due largely to enhancement of the annual rents from Rs. 66 lakh to Rs. 7 crore after eviction of encroachers. It was also able to recover Rs. 5 crore from various government departments towards compensation for the wakf lands acquired under Land Acquisition Act.

No land sale

“We have not allowed sale of a single inch of wakf land. On the contrary 398 acres of land is recovered from encroachers after tough court battles”, says Mr. Biabani, also a member of Central Wakf Council. This apart, the Wakf Board successfully contested the allotment of prime land of Dargah Hazrat Hussain Shah Vali by government to various multinational companies and establishments, including M/s Lanco Hills.

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