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UP mulls developing Wakf properties as commercial complexes

Written by: Staff

Lucknow, Mar 23: Baffled over the encroachment of the precious Wakf properties in the state by land sharks, Uttar Pradesh government is planning to develop about 1.25 lakh such properties commercially on a joint venture basis.

Taking a cue from Maharashtra and Karnataka governments, where the prime propoerties were being developed by roping in private parties, the UP government has chalked out an ambitious plan in this regard.

As per the initial survey and estimation, there is a potential for an annual investment of Rs 5,000 crore in developing commercial and residential complexes on Wakf properties in the state.

Admitting that the existing laws were not suifficient to check encroachment and illegal occupation on these properties which were in abundance in the state, an official spokesman said the development on Wakf propoerties was the only alternative to curb the trend.

It has been of public consumption for the past several years that the anti-social elements and land mafias have encraoched upon the Wakf properties a in blatant manner and the state government is just unable to restore the possession. These proporties, some of which are in prime locations of the state capital and other major cities of the state, have the potential to be developed into commercially viable projects which will benefit the minority community, the spokesman added.

The development of Wakf properties would rake in money as well as provide security to them to prevent encraochment and illegal occupation. ''In Uttar Pradesh, the development on Wakf properties was almost nil as compared to Maharashtra and Karnataka, where the income from this endeavour is being used for the welfare of minority community, hence the fresh plan has been made by the UP government,'' the Assistant Wakf Commissioner, Dr Shuaib Ahmad, who prepared the project, told UNI here.

There is, however, a separate organisation Uttar Pradesh Wakf Development Corporation for the purpose and development worth Rs two to four crore was done every year but the volume was absymally low. The Wakf Development Corporation along with Central Wakf Council was engaged in developing 10 to 15 properties every year since 1987, but it was insufficient, he said.

''The Corporation should indulge in developing high rise multi-storeyed complexes but with a share capital of just Rs five crore it is immpossible for it to execute works of this nature,''he said. Besides, the lack of technical staff and sanctioning limit upto Rs 20 lakh per project, it is almost impossible for Wakf Development body to engage itself in big projects, he added.

To meet the financial and technical inputs for the development of Wakf properties, joint venture projects seemed to be the need of the hour. Big private players and known builders could be roped in for the prurpose, Dr Shuaib said.

The project also suggests constitution of District Wakf Development Empowered Committees headed by respective District Magistrates (DMs) which would be empowered to allow development work upto Rs two crore. The projects bigger than these would be cleared by the state government, the project report added. The only criterion, as the project report has suggested, should be to ensure sanctity of the property and the economic viability of the proposed joint venture project.''The twin idea behind the whole project is to prevent the Wakf properties from being encroached upon and to get the desired return while developing these,''Dr Shuaib said.

The project envisages that joint venture developement should be done on a large scale and those properties should be prioritised where development of 'big' commercial complexes was possible.

A related project has already been submitted with the state government to identify all the Wakf properties by introducing the latest technique of GIS mapping. ''It is necessary to identify all the properties and further ascertain which of these properties could be devloped under the joint venture,''he said.

''The computerisation of details of all Wakf properties was essential for developing them and the Survey Commissioner should have control over the computerised details,'' Dr Shuaib added.

Dr Shuaib said a project worth Rs 17.92 crore has been submitted by the UPDESCO in this regard with the state government. The government has sent the project to the Central Wakf Council with request to sanction the funds.


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