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Published in the 16-31 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

AP govt. cancels Waqf property sales

By Ibrahim Usmani

Hyderabad: Amid pressure from various quarters, the AP Chief Minister YS Rajshekhar Reddy on 5th January announced the cancellation of Sale registration of the Waqf Property which was sold a few days ago. The property which was worth Rs160 million was sold off at the meager amount of Rs 23.496 million by the AP State Waqf Board. A source in the Waqf Board said that a Deputy Secretary went to Vijayawada and registered the said property in the name of the tenants. Department of Minority welfare had issued a government order on 18 October 2004 which ordered the Waqf Board to do so. 

It is learnt that when congress was in power in 1994 the then special officer had recommended the sale of the same property and after ten years the same government accepted the recommendation and passed GO 22 and fixed the price of the land as 0.6 million rupees per acre although the actual price is 3.5 to 4 million rupees per acre. 

It should be noted that Waqf Board Special Officer Mr. S A Huda IPS who has just taken charge of the Waqf Board had told that he would comply by the orders of the state government. People say that it is clear from the dissolution of Waqf Board that the government considered it an obstacle in its way and it created a situation, which led to its dissolution. 

According to official sources, the chief minister has ordered a detailed report from the Collector Inspector General Registration of District Krishna and Chief Executive Officer Waqf Board. Although the sale order has been cancelled, how safe will the Waqf properties be in the hand of the present government remains a question. It is seen as an attempt by the government to acquire the Waqf land by any means. 

According to the report submitted to the chief minister, 39.16 acres of land was sold on 18th October 2004 and on 29th December the registration was done in exchange of Rs 23.496 million. The land is at a prime location whose present market value is 4 million per acre. The chief minister enquired of the Waqf and Minority Welfare Minister as to why there was such a hurry in the sale of the land and why at such a low price. The proceeds could have been used for the welfare of the Muslims. After consultations with senior officers he ordered the return of the money and the cancellation of registration. He ordered providing of complete security to the property.

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