As politicians and businessmen get themselves busy in amassing as much of the Wakf land in Maharashtra, the Wakf headquarters here in Aurangabad lies in a shambles. None of its 60 employees get a pension or even an ex gratia in cases of death in service despite being part of the state government's revenue and forest department staff.
While its counterparts in Andhra Pradesh get an annual grant-in-aid of Rs 34 crore and the neighbouring Karnataka Wakf board receives a Rs 12 crore annual aid from its government, the Wakf board in Maharashtra receives not a single rupee from the state government.
"The families of at least two of our employees, who died this year in service, have been virtually thrown on the road," said Iftekharullah Baig, secretary of the Wakf board employees union while talking to Hindustan Times. Salaries remain unpaid for months together. While the government has been deducting a provident fund from their salaries for the last five years, nothing has been credited to our PF accounts yet, says Baig, wondering how the government can escape such a criminal offence.
Part of the blame, however, lies on the Wakf Board itself, says a former member of the board. "If the Wakf properties are indeed so many and located in such prime lands, why is it that the Wakf Board earns a meagre Rs 60 lakh in the form of lease rents?" he asks.
Struggling to keep himself balanced in a broken chair in his office, at the Panchakki, Baig, however, says the employees cannot fathom how inefficiency of the Wakf properties could affect their rightful earnings. "Interestingly, a huge bulk of Wakf property has been encroached upon by the state government itself," says Baig.