Wakaf Fails to Release Funds for Hazaratbal Shrine Master Plan

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SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Wakf Board has failed to implement the much needed Hazratbal Shrine Master Plan.

Notwithstanding the Board owning assets worth crores, it has failed to execute the much awaited Master Plan of the most revered shrine of the Valley where lakhs of devotees throng. The shrine holds the sacred relic of Prophet Mohammad (SAW).

Official sources said that government had formulated a Master Plan years ago as the shrine has not the sufficient space to accommodate all the devotees especially on sacred days. “Under the  plan,  government had proposed to expand the shrine area by way of removing the surrounding residential  houses and increase the shrine capacity including over roof of Sheehkhana, adding capacity in ground floor, removal of Sheehkhana stairs to gain space for prayers and some more steps were to be taken for the convenience of devotees,” sources said.

They said the authorities failed to start work on Master Plan as it didn’t release the money on the pretext of non-availability of funds. “But the reality is that Wakaf Board has no deficiency of funds as it earns crores of rupees annual from its assets,” an official of Wakaf Board said, wishing anonymity.

According to the official details available with KNS, the Wakaf Board owns around 170 buildings, 1350 shops, 1400 rooms, over 30 showrooms, 86 sets, 50 halls, besides dozens of other assets by whom it generates crores of rupees annually. A large number of revenue also comes from donations from the devotees who visit different shrines of the Valley.

The details reveal that Wakaf Board owns hundreds of shops and rooms at Hazratbal, Zero Bridge Complex, Old Madina-Atul Aron Building, Building Complex at Gupkar, LIC Building, Hamdani Building Babademb, Taqya Building, Mulkangan Fateh Kadal building No 1 and 2, buildings at Makhdoom Sahib Hawal, Gojwari, Peerwari Complex, building at Hawal, Qutib-ud-Din Pora building No 1, 2, Old Gousia School, New Complex Soura, assets of buildings and shops at Kila Masjid, Shahi Masjd, Rustamgari, Malik Sahib Soura, Peer Maqbara Dalgate, Batwara, Old Batwara, Drugjan, Ropa Reshi, Dadra Building, complex at Kaka Sarie, Nalband Pora, Maisuma, Jenab Sahab Soura, Karanagar, Munwarabad, Char-e-Sharif, Ashmuqam, Janban Wali Baramulla, Chandanwari Uri, Awantipora, Qaimuh, Watlar, Nadhal, Lar, Tulmulla, Watlab, Aham Sharif, Baba Reshi, Kakpora besides renting out godowns and rooms. The Wakaf Board is also running a university, college and some schools.

Vice-Chairman Wakaf Board, Peerzada Mohammad Hussain said that until the houses around the shrine are not removed the execution of the Master Plan is impossible. “Board has adequate funds available for execution of the master plan. But the only hindrance is the houses around the shrine. We have to remove the houses first then we can execute the master plan,” Peerzada said over phone. (KNS)

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