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Measures taken to utilize 1.9 lakh kanals of Auqaf land productively: Andrabi

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 17: Minister of State for Hajj & Auqaf, Syed Farooq Ahmed Andrabi today said that innovative measures have been taken to make optimum use of Auqaf assets on commercial basis.
Replying to the Demand of Grants of Hajj & Auqaf Department in the Legislative Assembly today, the Minister said the functioning of the department is being streamlined on modern and scientific lines to make it more vibrant and competitive organization besides providing maximum help to the needy in the form of cash and kind, education and vocational training in different trades to make the wards of poor families self-sustained.
The Minister said the shopping malls and other commercial assets, besides modern educational and health institutions are being established in the State out of the Auqaf funds. He said under the historical decision by the former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Syeed, four Nursing Colleges at Kishtwar, Jammu, Kote Bhalwal, Rajouri, besides two such colleges in Kashmir valley have started functioning where 300 students are undergoing trainings in different courses.
He informed that a boys hostel was also established in Jammu where facilities for 120 college and university students are being provided.
The Minister further said that Auqaf has earned an income of Rs 59.48 crore from its assets during the past three years. He said the department has undertaken rigorous exercise of conducting survey of Auqaf land measuring 1.9 lakh kanals across the State of which 96,000 kanals of land has been notified, adding that efforts are on to notify the remaining Auqaf land. He said in Jammu, 140 kanals of land has been fenced, while as six kanals of land has been utilized for parking facility at Gole Market Gandhi Nagar.
The Minister said under the Public Private Partnership (PPP), the Auqaf is constructing a mega shopping complex at Residency Road, Jammu at a cost of Rs 23 crore. He said the construction of Jamia Masjid at Talab Khatikan was taken up at a cost of Rs 20 crore. He said construction of Rs 6 crore Eidgah Jamia Masjid Rajouri has been completed and the construction of shopping complex at Rajouri is nearing completion. He said four more shrines in Rajouri were brought under the control of Auqaf.
Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi said the Auqaf is providing Rs 2 crore grant-in-aid annually to Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University and so far Rs 46 crore has been provided to the university. He said the income from Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah (RA) shrine has increased to Rs two crore during last year.
He said Milat Higher Secondary International School was established in Jammu besides a skill development institute was also set up at Samba where 110 seats are available of which 50 seats are reserved for underprivileged category.
The Minister said keeping in view the  demand of residential quarters, the Auqaf is planning to construct residential flats on its land  at Lothra Academy Jammu while the department is also considering to take up a similar mega project at Pata Bohri Jammu in collaboration with JK Bank and Estates Department .
He said the Auqaf is also considering construction of inns at Jammu so that the people from far flung areas visiting Jammu are benefitted.

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