The Government has asked the National Institute of Financial Management to conduct a survey and evaluate the prices of 2,186 enemy properties, believed to be worth several thousand crores.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the Faridabad-based autonomous body to initiate the study on such assets spread across the country, their current market value and present status.
Among the enemy properties, 1468 are in Uttar Pradesh, 351 in West Bengal, 66 in Delhi, 63 in Gujarat, 40 in Bihar, 35 in Goa, 25 Maharashtra, 24 in Kerala, 21 in Andhra Pradesh and 93 in other states.
"The properties have become a bone of contention. We want a scientific assessment and their current market value," an official said.
In 1971, the government had put the value of the enemy properties at Rs 29.40 crore and their prices have increased manifold since then.
Through an Act in 1968, the government had declared the properties left behind by people who migrated to Pakistan during partition as 'enemy properties'.
The issue of enemy property has come into the limelight recently when government wanted to make an amendment to the said Act, which was aimed at preventing Indian family members of those migrated to Pakistan from going to court to regain possession of the property of their forefathers that had been seized as 'enemy property', thereby vesting it in a custodian.
However, due to repeated pleas and lobbying of cross-party Muslim MPs, including several ministers, the government now wanted to make further amendment which will ensure that legal heirs are allowed to hold the property of their parents or grandparents who had migrated to Pakistan.
But it will continue to address the larger question of empowering the custodian to deal with frivolous litigation launched by illegal occupants of such property.
Section 18 of the Enemy Property Bill, 2010, has been made more transparent and fair, according to the sources, and now property of Indian-born citizens, who are the legal heirs, will no longer revert to the government.