The much-awaited videography of Waqf properties in Rajasthan began at the historic Akbari Masjid near the Amber Fort here over the weekend with the State Waqf Board calling for protection and development of thousands of Waqf properties situated across the State.

Waqf Board Chairman Liaqat Ali Khan said the State Government had allocated a budget of Rs.53 lakh for videography as the first step towards identification, classification and listing of properties in order to devise the plans for their development in the second stage.

About 3,900 Waqf properties such as mosques, dargahs, graveyards, Imambaras, Khankahs and burial grounds for Tazias situated at the 33 district headquarters in the State are to be videographed in the first phase.

Mr. Khan said the work had started in Jaipur and Ajmer on Friday.

“Videography will enable the Waqf Board to get the first-hand information on the [present] status of these properties. Numerous Waqf properties have been encroached upon in the State, while tenants at several places are neither willing to vacate nor paying the rent,” said Mr. Khan. Akbari Masjid, situated at the foothills of Amber, was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1569. Akbar is said to have stopped at the place to offer prayers on his way to the Ajmer dargah for an annual pilgrimage.

Four minarets rise from the corners of the huge structure.

Mr. Khan – a former Inspector-General of Police appointed as the Waqf Board chief in December last year – said the videography work would be outsourced to various firms in Jaipur, Ajmer, Kota, Bharatpur and Jodhpur divisions.