The Maharashtra government has directed its Revenue Department to remove names of individuals as owners of Wakf properties and instead name the Board or organisations as the owner.
The state government issued a GR (government resolution), in which it ordered the revenue officials to carry out a survey across the state in order to remove the names of individual owners from Wakf lands.
The decision is aimed on curbing possible misuse of Wakf land, whereby part of the land is sold to private entities in violation of the Wakf Board notification, 1995.
In the GR, the government has directed the Settlement Commissioner and Director of Land Records to undertake the survey, granting it permission to hire retired officers for some posts for the purpose.
As per the data available with the Maharashtra State Wakf Board, there are 23,566 listed Wakf properties in the state, ad-measuring 37,330.97 hectares.
All the additional collectors will be part of this survey and will be called as additional survey commissioner along with the tehsildars called as assistant survey commissioner.
Pune and Parbhani districts have been selected for pilot project, for which Rs. 1.08 crore have been sanctioned. Six months period has been given for the completion of the pilot project.
The officers have been asked to complete the project by personally visiting sites and documenting their current status.
The state governments move comes in the wake of findings of the A T A K Sheikh committee, appointed in October 2007, which observed that many Wakf properties were illegally sold or given on lease.
Out of these, a maximum of 15,877 Wakf properties ad-measuring 23,121.10 hectares are in Aurangabad division.
According to the Board, 60 per cent of the Wakf land in Marathwada region (Aurangabad division) was found to be encroached upon.