MUMBAI: The state minorities welfare department is increasing the rents for waqf properties that have been given out to public and private establishments at nominal rates. The revenue generated would be used for the education of minority students.

This is the first rent revision since formulation of the Waqf Properties Lease Rules in 2014.

The decision was taken after a court ordered that a south Mumbai property’s monthly rent can be increased from Rs 2,500 to Rs 2.5 lakh. The property, registered under the Waqf Board Roge Charity Trust No. 1 in Bhuleshwar, was given to Indian Oil Company on lease in 1934. The lease agreement was extended periodically.

The rent was as low as Rs 800 between 1978 and 1983, and revised to Rs 1,750 between 1983 and 1988. The matter pertaining to the low rent was later taken to court. As per the court order, the company has to pay the trust Rs 2 lakh a month, besides an annual 5 per cent hike in the rental amount. As per the agreement with the company for January 1, 2015-December 31, 2029, this amount comes up to Rs 2.5 lakh per month. Also, the trust stands to earn arrears of Rs 1 crore.

Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik said the Waqf Board has around 2.5 lakh acre of land in Maharashtra. “We will encourage waqf property lessees to revise their agreements and rents, and ensure approval of the proposals presented before the government or the board.”

The Maharashtra government has ordered a survey of all waqf properties in the state; no updated data of such properties is so far available. The first survey was conducted in Pune and Parbhani districts two years ago. Mumbai, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Nashik, Konkan and Vidarbha regions are next. Aurangabad area, which was under the erstwhile Nizam’s rule, has the most waqf properties in the state. Owing to negligence and lack of data, many properties are said to be encroached upon. In some cases, the old lease agreements have not been revised or the records have not been maintained properly.

The properties fall under the ambit of the Waqf Act, 1995, whose provisions state that any further leasing out, transfer or exchange of these assets is illegal.



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