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Post abrogation of Article 370, government starts process to geo-tag Waqf properties in Kashmir

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Srinagar:  Post abrogation of Article 370, the Jammu and Kashmir government has started the process of geo-tagging Waqf properties and digitization of its records in order to increase the revenue and upkeep its assets.

Earlier this week, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha held a meeting with Revenue Department and Deputy Commissioners and ordered for the speedy geo-tagging of Waqf properties.

 

“The governor ordered that the Waqf properties should be geo-tagged in order to have complete data about the assets. In this regard, the process has been started and the district commissioners have already been given the directions,” said an officer.

He said geo-tagging will help the authorities to devise a plan for the safety and maintenance of Waqf properties. He said the Waqf at the same time has been directed to digitize its records in order to ensure transparency in its functioning.

“The data regarding the number of structures, shops, and schools owned by the Waqf will be put into digital form.  It will give the government an idea about the performance of the Waqf board,” the official said.

The Central Waqf Council is providing financial help for the digitalization of Waqf records.  The government had initiated GIS/GPS mapping of Waqf properties in India with the help of IIT Roorkee and the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in 2019.

The process couldn’t take off in Jammu and Kashmir due to the lockdown post abrogation of article 370 in 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chairperson of Waqf Development Committee and Member Central Waqf Council of Union Ministry of Minority Affairs, Darakhshan Andrabi told The Kashmir Monitor that the administration has started the process in order to retrieve the Waqf property from the encroachers.

“This is the main motive behind digitization and geo-tagging of Waqf property. A lot of Waqf property has been encroached or illegally occupied by some people and nobody dared to retrieve it from them. But now, the government is serious in restoring the glory of Waqf,” she said.

Andrabi said the government after completing the process will establish the Waqf board and revise the rates of its assets.

“A Waqf board will be established very soon. The rates of shops and buildings will be revised as per the market value and location,” she added.

Jammu and Kashmir Board for Muslim Specified Waqf has around 1200 employees and 3500 properties across Kashmir including a university, shrines, shopping complexes, and educational institutes. More than 5000 students are enrolled in Waqf board run educational institutes in the valley.