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JAMMU: Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh today called on his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at his residence in Mcledoganj, Dharamshala to seek his blessings for the welfare of the state. He also informed the Dalai Lama about the works being undertaken by the Housing and Urban Development department for the preservation of Buddhist heritage in Ladakh. Later, he also paid obeisance at Mata Bajreshwari Temple, Kangra.

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  • 18th meeting of State Wakaf Council
  • Council approves creation of corpus fund of Rs 10 lakh to help people suffering from deadly diseases

JAMMU: Stressing on the need for utilizing its donations for the welfare especially for providing quality education to poor people , the Minister for Revenue, Haj & Auqaf and Parliamentary Affairs, Abdul Rehman Veeri today asked the State Wakaf Council to take requsite steps in this regard. “Efforts should be made to establish model educational institutions or to upgrade the existing schools being run by Auqaf Islamia with modern facilities so that quality education is provided to the people of beneficiary community”, the Minister said. 

The Minister said this while chairing the 18th meeting of State Wakaf Council, here today. The  was  attended by Member Parliament Fayaz Ahmad, Legislators G M Saroori, Shah Mohammad Tantray, Firdaus Ahmad Tak, Commissioner Secretary, Revenue, Shahid Inaytullah and Secretary Law, Abdul Majid Bhat. While taking a detailed review of the status of action taken on the decisions of the 17th meeting of the Council, the Minister was briefed regarding developmental activities being carried out by Auqaf department including the status of establishment of three nursing colleges by the Wakaf Council at Rajouri, Jammu and Kishtwar. 

It was informed that all three Nursing Colleges are functional. At Rajouri, the college is being run in the BGSBU campus while as in Jammu and Kishtwar; classes are being run in a private building on rent basis. The meeting was further informed that the 8 marla each has been identified for setting up of college building and proposal submitted to the BGSBU for further process.

Regarding construction of student’s hostel in Jammu, the meeting was informed that the hostel building is ready and soon the applications would be called for utilizing it properly and making it fully functional. Progress in other issues as decided in the last meeting including preparation of Master plan for Shahdara Sharief, status of establishment of Skill and Employability Enhancement Institute at Smailpur, construction of flats/shopping complexes on wakaf land and others were also discussed. 

With regard to leasing out the wakaf property situated at Palika Bazar, Residency Road Jammu, the Minister asked Special Officer Auqaf to give wide publicity through all the mediums in both the divisions so that people would apply for leasing process. He also urged the council members to publicize it on personal level so that objective behind constructing the Shopping Complex would be fulfilled.  

The council approved construction of building for school established by Auqaf Islamia at Ziarat Chottey Shah Sahib Mendhar where at present 55 students are being provided free education, lodging and boarding facilities. To make the Millat International School, Chowadhi in Jammu as one of the best educational institution of the state, the council decided for constitution of a sub-committee and to engage some renowned educationist to help in revamping the school. 

The Minister, who is also the Chairman of the Council said that serious efforts need to be taken not only from Auqaf side but on personal level also so that this school comes  up as a  premiere institution in the state. All the members also gave their suggestions  for better functioning of  the school. Regarding the renewal of rent  of Wakaf properties, the Minister asked for renewing the existing rent in accordance with the market rates by working out a proper method for the same to bring in uniformity in the process. He asked the Commissioner Secretary to personally look into the issue. 

The meeting also discussed construction of flats and commercial complexes on Wakaf land at various other places to augment the revenue base of the Council. It also accorded approval for the construction of properties at these places as per the proposals already submitted. During the meeting, status of construction work on Jamia Masjid, Talab Khatikan was also reviewed. The Council was briefed about the present status of works with required funding to complete the works. 

The Minister asked all the Auqaf Units to contribute so that works are completed at the earliest. The Budget of State Wakaf Council and its 25 Units for the year 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 was also presented and discussed  in the meeting which was later approved by the Council. During the deliberations, the performance of Auqaf, Shahdara Sharief in terms of its income and other initiatives was applauded by all. 

Veeri appreciated the efforts of Auqaf Administrator, Shahdara Sharief and his staff for the   performance. The Administrator also informed the meeting about the welfare initiatives taken for helping the needy people of the beneficiary community. To provide financial assistance to the destitute and physically disabled poor people of the state, the Council accorded approval for creation of a corpus fund of Rs 10 lakh per annum in the office of CEO, State Wakaf Council with contribution from various Units of Wakaf Council. 

The financial assistance would be provided to the needy people suffering from life consuming diseases for their treatment after proper medical verification process. The Council also proposed for creation of a kitty of Rs 5 lakh so that students of the community, below poverty line pursuing technical course including preparation for civil services would be provided financial assistance. 

The Minister asked the Special Officer, Auqaf to come with a separate proposal for this noble cause. He said that this initiative will surely provide relief to the needy  and Wakaf Council should take such initiatives for the betterment of the people. It was informed to the Council that digitization of the land record of Auqaf department is under process and documents are being scanned for the further process. 

It was decided that Council meeting would be called every three months so that decisions can be reviewed and performance be monitored on real time basis. The Council after brief discussions approved majority of agenda points. The other members who attended the meeting included Dr Mohammad Assadullah Wani, Mufti Anayatullah, G A Khwaja, A R Wani, Abdul Wahid Tak, Noorani Sahib, Advocate Shah Mohammad Choudhary, besides the members of State Wakaf Council, Administrators of Auqaf Jammu, Shahadra Sharief Rajouri, Kishtwar, Nowshera, Rajouri and Poonch.

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  • Minister reviews Integrated Development scheme of Shrine

SRINAGAR: Terming Hazratbal shrine as the symbol of spiritual soul of Kashmir, the Minister for tourism Tassaduq Hussain Mufti today stressed for developing the shrine and its surroundings area in a holistic integrated and eco-friendly manner. The Minister said that  it will not only help in creating modern-up to date facilities for devotees and visitors but also serve as a key  to highlight ,preserve and broaden understanding of the glory of Kashmir and its spirituality Ethos.

The Minster was addressing a meeting convened to review the Integrated Development of Hazratbal Shrine and its surroundings under PRASAD Scheme. The Minister was informed that the basic premise of the plan includes conservation of heritage, planning for sustainable development, broadening the tourist experiences. Seeking details regarding the local community participation in the plan, the Minister was apprised that the plan includes a software compound for developing the community skills in the field of hospitality, art and crafts.

It was given out that  the plan has been developed within the limits of existing local land use plan, especially the Master Plan for Srinagar City, the Guidelines of PRASAD, Minister of Tourism as well as international and national charters, conventions and standards practices in the field of Heritage conservation. Tassaduq Mufti stressed for sustainability of plan in an  integrated manner by synergizing efforts to focus on needs and concerns of all stockholders to enrich religious and spiritual tourism experiences, besides enhancing employment opportunities.

Seeking details regarding the annual footfall of the shrine, the Minister was informed that the annual footfall of the shrine is 20 lakhs and monthly footfall is 1.5 lakhs. It was given out the during processions footfall reaches upto 3.5 lakhs in a day and its expected that in future trend will go upto 30 lakhs annually. The Minister was informed that the tourist activities and management of tourist facilities presently looked after by Tourism department, Lake & Waterways Development Authority and Muslim Waqaf Board in the area are covered under the proposed plan.

Mufti expressing his concern over the number of temporary sheds erected within the site premises said that these  not only mar visual appeal but also are major hindrance in the visual link between several of the sites. He was informed that it is proposed in the plan to provide mechanized tensile structures covering  the entrance courtyard. The Minister was further apprised that the various shopping units will be constructed with eco-friendly prefabricated shopping kiosks at an estimated cost of Rupees 140 lakhs.

The meeting was informed that besides various other developmental projects it is also proposed in the plan that a multi storied mechanized parking comprising 4 storey block with a parking capacity of 288 vehicles at main Hazrabal Main chowk at an estimated cost of Rupees 1132 lakhs will be established to tackle  traffic issues. The Minister was apprised that the core idea of the proposed plan is conservation of heritage and culture sharing it with visitors, besides to drive a national mission for rejuvenation and spiritual augmentation of important religious destinations

The meeting was informed that the proposed plan is to position tourism as a major engine of economic growth, creation of job opportunities and to provide complete tourism experiences by enhancing tourist attractiveness of the religious destinations in a sustainable manner. Mufti stressed for strengthening the measures for safety and security of tourist and to improve the quality tourism services, besides strengthening the mechanism for bridging the infrastructure gaps at pilgrimage destination.

Managing Director J&K Construction Corporation, managing Director J&K SICOP, Managing Director J&K Housing Board, Managing Director J&K Cable Car Corporation, Director Tourism Kashmir and various other senior officers attended the meeting.