Threaten agitation if order not rolled back immediately
JAMMU : The tenants of Auqaf properties especially the shopkeepers running their commercial establishments at Auqaf Market Gandhinagar and other places staged a strong protest against the decision of the Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board arbitrarily enhancing the rent of the tenants holding its properties for business and other purposes. It is pertinent to mention here that the Waqf Board Jammu has dropped a big bombshell vide its letter no: WB-J/02/1622 dated 26.09.2022 steeply enhancing the rent to Rs. 11600.
Hundreds of Auqaf tenants assembled here at the Press Club Jammu and raised vociferous slogans against the Waqf Board’s decision demanding its immediate rollback saying that the said letter regarding rent assessment is in complete violation of law.
The spokesperson of the Auqaf tenants that the tenants have been regularly paying the rents as per the previous agreement with the Waqf but this time the Board without deliberating the matter with the priority stakeholders i.e. the tenants has arbitrarily raised the rent from Rs. 5500 to Rs. 11600 which is going to destabilize the shopkeepers budgets leading them to penury. He said that these premises were initially allotted to them as tenants in 1985 through open auction against an amount of Rs 42000 each with a rent of Rs.300 per month and subsequently the rent was increased periodically from time to time. However, after taking up the issue with the Advisor I/c Auqaf the Govt issued order No. SWC /CEO/ 116/316 dated 20.12.2018 through the Waqf Council wherein Administrator Auqaf was instructed to enhance the rent every two years instead of the previous practice of eleven months. He alleged that in a blatant violation of the order the Administrator refused to implement it and enhanced the rent to about Rs. 5500 pm.
The Auqaf spokesperson said that that the rates charged by JDA and other Departments range between Rs. 10 per sq. ft in maximum areas and Rs. 12 per sq. ft. in areas like Bahu Plaza which is one of the most posh and well managed shopping areas of Jammu City which leaves no justification for the Waqf to enhance the rent on such a huge scale. He said that in this regard a memorandum stands already submitted to Dr. Darakshan Andrabi, the Chairperson of the Waqf Board, UT of J&K, but there has been no positive development in addressing our genuine grievance till date.
Demanding the immediate rollback of rent enhancement letter the Auqaf spokesperson threatened to launch an intense agitation against the arbitrary order and the entire responsibility as to the consequences shall be that of Waqf Board and the Administration.