Deal with encroachment on Wakf properties: Gadkari to PM
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Last Updated: Friday, August 06, 2010, 00:24
New Delhi: In a bid to reach out to the minorities, BJP President Nitin Gadkari today wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that his government take steps to deal with encroachments on Wakf properties.

"It is my request to you to take effective steps to free all Wakf properties which have been encroached across the country so that these can be used for welfare measures which the Muslim community needs today," Gadkari said in his letter.

He further stated that he has directed BJP-ruled states to take the needed steps in this direction at the earliest and hoped that the Central government would do so too.

Gadkari's letter to the PM is being seen as a move to strengthen the party's minority base, especially after his statement after taking charge of the party's affairs in December that he wanted to increase the party votebank by 10 per cent and the minorities formed a major target group in this task.

The BJP leader said in the letter that there are five lakh Wakfs across the country and the total area falling under the organisation is around six lakh acres. He added, 50 years back, the cost of Wakf properties was estimated to be around Rs 5,000 crore.

Sachar Committee has estimated these properties to be worth Rs 1.20 lakh crore now," Gadkari said in the letter.

The BJP President pointed out that if freed, these properties or the money derived from sale of any of them can be used to finance education of students from the minority community, building community centres and lodges, maintaining dargahs and cemetries, providing funds for widows, and other benefits.

Giving a suggestion, Gadkari said these properties should be exempt from the Rent Control Act so that they become more profitable.


First Published: Friday, August 06, 2010, 00:24

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