Chandigarh: Punjab has the highest number of Waqf Board properties under encroachment in India with the number totalling 5,610, some of them have been encroached upon by government departments and a few by influential politicians, say records.
This means every sixth property of the Punjab Waqf Board is encroached upon.
The state has 34,237 properties registered with the Waqf Board. Out of these 430 land units have been encroached upon by the government and semi-government departments.
Officials admit over 3,500 properties fall under the “not located” category as revenue records of them have either been tampered or changed.
To prevent the Waqf Board properties from encroachment, a dedicated online portal — WAMSI (Waqf Assets Management System of India) — was developed by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs.
The encroachments in Punjab are maximum in Ludhiana (1,493 units), followed by Bathinda with (1,475), Jalandhar (465), Amritsar (430) and Rajpura (410).
As per provisions of Section 32 of the Waqf Act 1995 as amended, general superintendence of all Waqf properties in a state is vested with the state or UT Waqf Boards and the Waqf Board is empowered to manage these Waqf properties.
However, the details of Waqf properties and the revenue generated from each of such property are not maintained by the Central government.
In Punjab, Muslim outfits have time and again threatened to launch an agitation against the government if properties, allegedly allotted illegally to various individuals and organisations, are not restored to the Waqf Board.
So far records of 8,01,954 immovable Waqf properties across the country have been entered in WAMSI Registration Module and GIS Mapping of 2,53,628 Waqf properties have been done.
For the first time 3,32,344 records of Waqf estates have been digitized.
In addition, the guidelines of Qaumi Waqf Board Taraqqiati Scheme (QWBTS) of the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has been revised and a provision has been made for providing financial assistance to SWBs for deployment of retired tehsildars or retired patwaris as a mutation assistants to complete the process of mutation of un-mutated Waqf properties.
As per Section 32 of the Waqf Act 1995 as amended, the Central government has a limited role and general superintendence of all Waqf properties in a state is vested with the State Waqf Board, and the Waqf Board is empowered to manage the property.