Compensation demanded for prime waqf land of Visakhapatnam

By Mohammed Siddique,

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh State Wakf Board was yet to get the due compensation for its 230 acres of prime land in Visakhapatnam allotted to the two pubic sector companies Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd and the National Thermal Power Corporation.

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It was part of the 5307 acres of land under the Dargah of Hazrat Ishaque Madani, after whom the city was initially named as Ishaquepatanam and later it became Visakhapatnam

Raising the issue Akbaruddin Owaisi, the leader of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) in the state assembly said that the compensation of land at the rate of Rs 2.25 lakh per acre was deposited by the land acquisition officer with the revenue department but it was still not handed over to the state Waqf Board.

In a letter to the Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Owaisi detailed the history of the dispute over the Waqf land since mid 1990s when the district administration took over the land describing it as government and private property and the matter was still pending in the local courts.

“There is not reason for the administration to persist with the case in the local courts when the Supreme Court has declared it to be the Waqf property and the state government has accepted the Supreme Court decision”, Owaisi said in his letter.

He also pointed out that the revenue department was not willing to pay the compensation even at the low rate of Rs 2.25 lakh when the market value of the land was Rs 50 lakh per acre.

‘If the price of the land is paid in accordance with the market value, then it will to up to 115 crore”, he said.

He also recalled that the state assembly’s committee on minority welfare had written to the government that the compensation for this land should be paid at the rate of Rs 50 lakh per acre.

But as an immediate step he wanted that amount of Rs 5.17 crore should be handed over to the Waqf Board. He also urged the Chief Minister to direct the district administration to withdraw all the cases in civil courts challenging the Waqf status of the property.

The waqf lad under the Ishaque Madani Dargah was handed over for a major power project in 1996 by the then Telugu Desam government and part of the proceeds were used for building Haj House in Hyderabad on another Waqf land.

This is one of the scores of major waqf properties which have come under dispute as the state government took them over as its own property and allotted them to the private companies for different projects.

On such property was about 100 acres of land under Paahadi Shareef Dargah in Hyderabad which was allotted to the Andhra Pradesh Housing Board by the government. But in February this year, a couple of months before the elections, the state government returned half of the land back to the Waqf Board and assured to considering returning the remaining land also.

Another prime waqf property handed over to a private company was 100 acres of land under Hussain Shah Wali Dargah in Hyderabad. The land was allotted by the present Congress government for a prime Housing project to Lanco company owned by Congress MP L Rajagopal. Muslims are also fighting for the recovery of the property. The land was allotted through auction at a total price of Rs 427 crore. The matter is pending in the court.

During Telugu Desam government 729 acres of land under Hussain Shah Wali Dargah was also allotted to the IT companies in Manikonda area for mere Rs 16.40 crore at price of Rs 2.25 lakh per acre.

Another 900 acres of waqf land under Pahadi Shareef Dargah was also allotted by the TDP government for the new international airport at Shamshabad and other projects.