Srinagar, Mar 16: Kashmir is undoubtedly the land of great Saints, Sufis. It is bestowed with religious wealth in the form of plentiful shrines and places of worship enjoying respect and commitment of people professing different faiths.
As a matter of fact, Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Wakf Board, which has the unique distinction of being second largest asset rich body in Jammu and Kashmir after the State government is the custodian of 47 holy shrines in the Kashmir Valley. WAKF Board gets tremendous income from the Nazar o Niyaz (Donations) made by the devotees visiting these sacred shrines with unflinching faith.
Painfully enough, the fact that despite generating tremendous income one fails to witness any impressive or welfare work done by the WAKF Board. The reality has been constantly hurting masses in Kashmir that despite generating tremendous income one fails to witness any remarkable work done by the WAKF Board especially in key education, health sectors . Even many of the shrines under WAKF lack proper management.
Sources states that all important fire controlling measures are totally ineffective in most of the Shrines. As the fire broke out few months back in the Kashmir’s most revered shrine, Khanqah-e-Moulla, the smoke alarms set in the building gave no signals as the equipments are lying defunct. it is learnt that that the number of smoke alarms is around 70 and all of them are “defunct.”
Pertinently, on December 2017 the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti nominated former MLA Bandipora Nizammudin Bhat as vice chairman of Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Wakf Board, but almost three months to pass since his appointment no improvement is being witnessed in the functioning of WAKF.
Around 50-80 percent of its annual expenditure of the WAKF Board accounts for salaries of its employees . Even the graveyards under supervision of WAKF have not been properly maintained and governed , the plight of Malakhah graveyard bears testimony to this fact as this and most of graveyards in Kashmir have felt prey to land mafias. Even the gravediggers have not been regulated by the WAKF as they charge anything between 10k to 15k to families for digging graves of their passed ones. It is learnt that very little amount is spend by WAKF for orphans .
Nazir Ahmad, a devotee at Makhdoom Sahab Shrine states – “ WAKF Board has failed to live upto the expectations of people of Kashmir as it has on most of times been found lagging efficiency and been symbol of unimpressive work culture . WAKF Board has failed to contribute impressively in any of the sectors be it health or education sector. . At many points, even the staircases leading to this famous Shrine are in shambles and the rooms constructed for devotees are also highly unhygienic.”
Seasoned voices urge that WAKF Board has failed to achieve anything substantial and need of the hour is to de-politicize the religious boards like WAKF and install honest persons at helm of affairs. (KNB)