Delhi Wakf Board unable to keep its website up

By Md. Ali,

New Delhi: A world of information might be available on internet but Delhi Wakf Board (DWB) is not. Delhi Wakf Board has a website but due to their cheaper plan it is inaccessible to everyone.

Support TwoCircles

Delhi Wakf Board’s website was unavailable since the beginning of August.

This correspondent went through this irritating and shocking experience while doing a news story on the DWB. Instead of going to the dusty and humid office of the Board in Darya Ganj and facing some stupid and foul-mouth clerk, I opted visiting the Board’s site.

But to my utter surprise, this was the message I got on my computer screen “Bandwidth Limit Exceeded. The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.”

Talking to, Mehfooz Mohammad, Incharge of Computers and IT, Delhi Waqf Board, pointed out, “There is some technical glitch in the website of the Board which we are trying to fix.”

“We had established the DWB site two years back. It is being hosted by Easy Tech solutions, New Delhi and we pay them Rs. 1000 annually,” he further added.

Bought cheap hosting plan
Then I talked to a technical guy who is an expert of web hosting and handles websites. It turned out that DWB has probably bought a very cheap plan which will host the site only till a fixed number of visitors visit its website. After a point it simply won’t be available to people on web. So it’s a very good strategy to withhold information which the public could have used to scrutinize the functioning of DWB. Remember information is power.

Delhi Wakf Board’s office in Daryaganj. [TCN Photo]

Website status
Website, when it was up, was also poorly managed just like the waqf properties. Its comments section was full of spam messages that the staff never deleted. The website had copies of various forms that will save someone a trip to their office and instead go prepared with all the relevant documents ready but with the site down this option is now closed.

Website was launched in 2008 but no attempt has been made to keep it updated or adding new features. The DWB staff claims that they don’t even know how many people visit their website.
“There is no peoples meter so we don’t have any idea about the number of visitors. Since last two years we have not received any comments either,” said Mehfooz Mohammad.

To avoid public scrutiny?
So DWB can withhold information from public domain and thereby avoid accountability and public scrutiny by just buying a cheaper plan. Even though on paper it has a website, practically it is non functional. And DWB can say quite easily, that there is some technical glitch which it is trying to fix. That’s all. Now you can not even ask any further question.

It becomes all the more significant in the context of reports of massive corruption in Wakf Boards across India and the collusion of the Board employees with the encroachers of Wakf properties. Besides, there is an increasing interest of Muslim educated class in the mess which the Wakf Board is; some thing which the Board doesn’t want to entertain and that is why has come up such a fantastic plan.

It might be a strategy to withhold information from public domain and thereby avoid public scrutiny.

Internet has widened people’s access to information
Thanks to internet entire profile of any government department is available to the general public on just a click because of which government agencies have to face increasing public scrutiny. It is the same information which a decade back, one could not have got by visiting government offices even in one’s entire life time.

But for agencies which want to withhold information from public, there is some thing to learn from DWB.

(This is a first part of a series on the mess and the mismanagement in Delhi Wakf Board.)