With a view to arresting the potential of pilferage in donation made by the devotees and income generated out of commercial assets owned by J&K Wakf Board, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Sunday ordered constitution of a Committee to suggest a mechanism to streamline collection of endowments and rentals in a more transparent manner. He also indicated possible revision of rentals on leased-out Wakf Board’s landed and commercial assets to improve its weak revenue resource base. “If need be, we can even contemplate amending the Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Specified Wakf and Specified Wakf Properties Act,” he said, while favouring a sizeable hike in the abysmally-low rentals currently in vogue. The Chief Minister made these observations while chairing the 21st Board of Directors meeting of J&K Wakf Board, here today. The meeting, which began with the recitation of the Holy Quran, was attended by Minister for Horticulture, Haj & Auqaf, Abdul Rehman Veeri, Vice Chairman, J&K Wakf Board, Peer Mohammad Hussain, Vice Chancellor, Islamic University of Science & Technology (IUST), Awantipora, Prof. A. R. Trag, Secretary Revenue, Haj & Auqaf, Mohammad Afzal Bhat, Secretary to Chief Minister, M. H. Malik, besides the Members of the J&K Wakf Board and Principal, Bibi Haleema Nursing College. Expressing concern over low income generated, Mufti Sayeed, who is also the Chairman of J&K Wakf Board, highlighted the need to embed a system which ensures that endowment money goes straight into the kitty of Board’s income so that it is ploughed back into maintenance of assets and shrines. “We must put a mechanism in place to suggest checks and balances over the collection of donations at various shrines,” he emphasized. During the meeting, the Chief Minister observed that all Imams of Wakf-managed Masjids and religious organizations should be well-versed in Islamic teachings and preferably be Hafize-e-Kalam Allah. He also asked the Wakf Board VC to make the historic Madinat-ul-Uloom, a vibrant centre of Islamic learning. On the issue of functioning of various educational institutions managed by Wakf Board, the Chief Minister directed the Vice Chairman to fast-track up-gradation of all schools as Model Schools, as has been done by the School Education Department with encouraging results. He also stressed upon exposing students to modern education with focus on Science, Maths and English subjects. Mufti Sayeed had in the previous BoDs meeting of Wakf Board on September 11 emphasized upon providing students in Wakf schools access to modern tools of teaching like smart classrooms and e-learning. Considering the requirement of paramedic staff for newly-sanctioned AIIMS and medical colleges in the state, the Chief Minister said Wakf Board will have to think of opening of new nursing colleges. He framed a five-member Committee headed by the Vice Chancellor, IUST, which will work out modalities of minimum teaching and non-teaching staff for each nursing college with qualification, experience, scales of pay / salaries, number of posts to be created and tentative expenditure involved for each college. VC Wakf Board also briefed the Chief Minister about beautification of Asar-e-Sharief Hazratbal, which is being executed by the Tourism Department. The Members of the Wakf Board who attended the meeting were Khalid Muzaffar, Advocate Azhar-ul-Amin, Maulana Showkat Keng, Ghulam Hassan Shah, Dr. Nisaar Ahmad, and Mrs. Mian Altaf Sarwar.
2015 Kashmir Despatch